The 23 best sights in Paris

We were recently in Paris again and are thrilled every time! Paris is bursting with sights: there’s a picturesque church, a historic building or a masterpiece of modern architecture waiting to be discovered on almost every corner! So that you do not lose the overview, we have put together our best sights of the city of love.

In addition, we have more great spots and insider tips for you!

The sights in Paris on a map

At a glance, we show you where to find the top sights of Paris with our city map. You can see our favorites here:

sights in Paris

The best sights in Paris

Even if you don’t have much time on your trip to Paris, these 23 top attractions are not to be missed.

  1. 01

    Eiffel tower

    Building in Quartier du Gros-Caillou
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    Probably no other building stands for the “City of Love” as much as the Eiffel Tower, which was opened for the World’s Fair in 1889. Around 7 million people a year visit the steel colossus in the heart of the French metropolis.

    The 324-metre-high landmark of the city met with little love from the locals at the beginning. The Eiffel Tower was seen as an ugly eyesore on the Seine. The fact that it was only supposed to stand on this spot for 20 years and then be taken down again suited most people.

    The Eiffel Tower is perhaps the most famous, but not the most visited attraction in Paris. Here it is only ranked 4th!

    But as time went by, the view of the building changed, and today it is hard to imagine the city without it. The Eiffel Tower remained, and to this day enjoys steadily increasing visitor numbers. Three floors with viewing platforms and gastronomic offerings can be reached comfortably by lift; the lowest two can also be reached by stairs. The view is truly unique!

    As with most major attractions on city trips, we recommend booking your tickets online in advance and arriving at your preferred time. At the Eiffel Tower, this not only saves you queuing at the ticket office, but also allows you to pass through the priority security check.

    Opening hours:

    9.30am to 11.45pm daily, 9am to 00.45am in summer.

    Metro:

    Bir-Hakeim or École Militaire (line 8)

  2. 02

    Louvre

    Museum in Quartier Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois
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    The Louvre is not only the third most visited sight in Paris, but also one of the world’s most frequented museums. Every day, more than 15,000 people crowd between the over 35,000 works of art on the 60,000 square metres of exhibition space.

    For most of them, the destination is clear: they follow the specially installed signposts directly to the most famous painting in the world: “La Gioconda” by Leonardo Da Vinci – better known as the Mona Lisa. The rush to see the painting, which measures just 77 x 53 centimetres, is always huge, but it’s worth the wait.

    Our tip: Visit the Louvre on the long museum days from 6 pm. Then it is much emptier than usual!

    In addition to the numerous works of art, the architecture of the Louvre itself is a real visual highlight. The large glass pyramids in the inner courtyard, the largest of which serves as the main entrance to the museum, are a popular photo motif with visitors from all over the world, and not just since Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code”.

    It can get quite crowded in front of this main entrance at peak times. So if you want to visit the Louvre, you should definitely book your tickets in advance. Otherwise, it may well happen that there are waiting times of several hours.

    Opening hours:

    Wednesdays to Mondays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays even until 9.45 p.m.; closed on 1, May, 1 November and 25 December.

    Metro:

    Louvre-Rivoli (line 1) or Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7).

  3. 03

    Notre Dame

    Religious Site in Île de la Cité
    Our highlight
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    The old lady of Paris is enthroned on the Ile de la cité in the middle of the Seine in the heart of the city: Notre-Dame Cathedral. It is considered one of the most important and most visited cathedrals in the world. Since its completion in 1345, after almost 200 years of construction, it has shaped the silhouette of the city.

    With the dramatic fire of 15 April 2019, this almost changed forever: A devastating fire, presumably caused by renovation work, destroyed the roof and the steeple of the building. Although the fire was extinguished in time to save the cathedral from collapsing and to preserve its characteristic shape – the future of Notre-Dame is still uncertain.

    The willingness to donate for Notre-Dame was enormous after the fire – but the future of the cathedral is still uncertain.

    Yet Notre-Dame was already doomed several times. During the French Revolution, many of the church’s characteristic features were destroyed. When Napoleon came to power, Notre-Dame was in such a bad state that it was already planned to demolish it. Only the attention brought to the church by Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” finally saved it from destruction.

    Due to its condition, it is currently not possible to visit Notre Dame. Of course, you can visit the Ile de la cité and catch a glimpse of the outside. This is also possible from the opposite banks or from one of the many Seine observation boats!

    Opening hours:

    Currently closed

    Metro:

    Saint-Michel Notre Dame or Cité (line 4)

  4. 04

    Sacré-Coeur

    Religious Site in Quartier de Clignancourt
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    After Notre-Dame, Sacré-Coeur is the most visited church in the city – and attracts as many visitors as the Louvre every year! Little wonder, because for us too, the snow-white basilica is one of the absolute highlights of every visit to Paris!

    The church, made of limestone that has not darkened even more than 100 years after its completion, towers high above the entertainment district of Montmartre. You have to climb around 237 steps to stand in front of it. The view over the city is correspondingly sensational – especially in the evening.

    If you still have some energy left, you can not only admire the impressive nave itself with its enormous ceiling mosaic by Luc-Olivier Merson, but also climb another 300 steps to the dome, which is around 55 metres high. Here, an impressive 360 panorama awaits you far beyond the city limits. The visit to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is free of charge. If you want to visit the towers and crypt, there is a combined ticket dome (8 euros). Entrance to the Sacré Coeur towers of Sacré Coeur costs 6 euros and entrance to the Sacré Coeur crypt costs 3 euros.

    Opening hours: Basilica daily from 6am to 10.30pm; dome and crypt from 8.30am to 8pm (May to September) or 9am to 5pm (October to April).
    Metro: Anvers (line 2) or Abbesses (line 12)

  5. 05

    Arc de Triomphe

    Building in Quartier des Champs-Élysées
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    If you walk along the Champs Élysées boulevard with its countless shops and boutiques towards the west, you will spot it from afar: the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. It was built in the first half of the 19th century under Emperor Napoleon.

    He promised his soldiers that they would be able to return home after the Battle of Austerlitz through an Arc de Triomphe. Although Napoleon had to abdicate before the building was completed in 1836, the Arc de Triomphe is still a proud landmark of Paris today.

    At the foot of the 50-metre-high monument, soldiers guard the “Eternal Flame” surrounded by flowers: for under the Arc de Triomphe has been the tomb of the unknown soldier since the end of the First World War.

    THE ‘ETERNAL FLAME’ IS LIT ANEW EVERY EVENING!

    If the bustling traffic chaos at the foot of the arch is too much for you, it’s best to join the queue – to enjoy the spectacular view from the top! Especially at Christmas time, when the Champs Élysées are festively illuminated, this is a real highlight!

    Opening hours:

    Daily from 10.00 to 22.30; closed on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December.

    Price:

    9.50 euros for the ascent; free otherwise.

    Metro:

    Charles de Gaulle – Etoile (line 1, 2 and 6)

  6. 06

    Place de la Concorde with Obelisk

    Square in Quartier des Champs-Élysées
    Our highlight
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    At the eastern end of the Champs Élysées, a no less impressive building towers overhead. In the heart of the spacious Place de la Concorde, you will find the 22-metre-high Luxor Obelisk.

    The obelisk dates back to the 13th century BC. However, it has only stood in its present location since 1836, when it was a gift from the then Egyptian king to help French archaeologists and scientists decipher and translate hieroglyphs. It was transported from the Nile to the Seine at great expense.

    LOOK AT YOUR FEET TOO: WITH THE MARKINGS ON THE GROUND, THE OBELISK SERVES AS THE WORLD’S LARGEST SUNDIAL.

    The square itself also has an eventful history. It was built in the mid-18th century by order of King Louis XV and also named after him. During the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and over 1100 other people were executed here. After the end of the Revolution, the square was given its current name.

    Opening hours:

    Around the clock

    Price:

    Free

    Metro:

    Concorde (line 1, 8 and 12)

  7. 07

    Centre Pompidou

    Museum in Quartier Saint-Merri
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    No, this building is not under (re)construction – it actually looks like it! Since 1977, the Centre Pompidou has polarised with its extravagant appearance. The clou: The architects moved essential parts of the building’s technology, such as the girder construction, pipes and escalators, to the façade!

    Mocked at first, the Centre Pompidou quickly became a magnet for visitors – and is now considered a showcase example for every budding architect. In keeping with the modern façade, the main attraction at the Centre Pompidou is the largest museum of contemporary art in Europe. But the building also houses a cinema, theatre and some shops.

    Especially at weekends, the Centre Pompidou can get quite crowded. If you already know when you want to visit the museum, we recommend that you buy your tickets in advance. The price is not higher and you save a lot of time. 🙂

    Opening hours: Wednesdays to Mondays from 11 am to 10 pm; closed on 1 May.
    Metro: Rambuteau (line 11) or Étienne Marcel (line 4)

  8. 08

    Musée d'Orsay

    Museum in Quartier Saint-Thomas-d'Aquin
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    When it comes to exceptional museums, the Musée d’Orsay is not far away! Originally built as a railway station for the 1900 World’s Fair, the imposing hall now houses the largest collection of Impressionist art in the world.

    You can see sculptures, paintings and photographs by masters such as Monet and Renoir. But of course the building itself is a real highlight and worth exploring anyway!

    Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays until 9-45 p.m.
    Metro: Solférino (line 12)

  9. 09

    Panthéon in Paris

    Museum in Quartier Latin
    Our highlight
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    Unmistakable: the Roman Pantheon served as the model for the Parisian version! However, the “copy” is a good one and a half millennia younger than the original in the Italian capital. But it is certainly worth seeing!

    The building, completed in 1790, is France’s “Hall of Fame”: the nation’s greatest personalities found their final resting place in the underground catacombs: from Victor Hugo to Voltaire to Marie Curie.

    Opening hours:

    Daily from 10am to 6pm (from April to September until 6.30pm); closed on 1 January, 1 May and 25 May.

    Metro:

    Cardinal Lemoine or Maubert – Mutualité (line 10).

  10. 10

    Tour Montparnasse

    Building in Quartier du Montparnasse
    Our highlight
    Tour-Montparnasse-Blick
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    You want to see (almost) all the highlights from this list at a glance? Here you go! Then you shouldn’t miss the viewing platform of the Tour Montparnasse.

    From the outside, it’s just a nondescript office building, but the viewing platform is about the same height as the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Eiffel Tower. So the view is truly spectacular, combining the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur, Notre-Dame and more in a single panorama!

    Opening hours:

    Daily from 9.30 a.m. to at least 10.30 p.m., in summer until 11.30 p.m.

    Metro:

    Montparnasse – Bienvenue (lines 4, 6 , 12 and 13).

  11. 11

    Père Lachaise Cemetery

    Cemetery in Quartier du Père-Lachaise
    Pere Lachaise cemetery. Paris, France
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    Hardly any other place in Paris manages to combine romance and the creepy factor in such a unique way as the Père Lachaise cemetery. It is the largest cemetery in Paris and the final resting place of famous personalities such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Molière and Jean de La Fontaine.

    Entry to Père Lachaise is free, but it is possible to explore the secrets and famous burial places of Paris’ largest cemetery, Père Lachaise, with an expert. On a 2-hour tour in English or French, you’ll be guided to the cemetery’s most famous graves and along small paths and trails that lead you to lesser-known places that make the park cemetery so special.

  12. 12

    Le mus des je t'aime

    Monument in Quartier du Faubourg Montmartre
    Je-t
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    Romantics, on the other hand, are probably drawn to Montmartre. Here, at the foot of Sacré-Coeur, it is not only picturesquely beautiful, there are also plenty of hidden art highlights. For example, the Je t’aime wall, on which artists Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito have immortalized the words “I love you” in 250 languages over 40 square meters. And if you’re more into wickedness than romance, don’t miss a show at the world-famous Moulin Rouge.

  13. 13

    Canal St. Martin

    River in Quartier de la Folie-Méricourt
    Our highlight
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    Away from the tourist hustle and bustle of Paris, the romantic waterfront promenade of the Canal St. Martins beckons with Venetian bridges, shady chestnut trees and cozy restaurants right on the water. A special boat trip on the canal and through an underground tunnel awaits as a highlight! Canal Saint Martin is one of the special tips for those who want to see a different face of Paris and mingle with the locals.

  14. 14

    Jardin du Luxembourg EN

    Park in Quartier de l'Odéon
    Our highlight
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    The Jardin du Luxembourg is grouped around the stately Palais du Luxembourg – once a royal palace, today the seat of the French Senate. The park was designed at the beginning of the 17th century by none other than Maria dei Medici herself. The heart of the park is therefore the Fontaine Médici – an ornate fountain entirely in the Italian style. With its numerous water features and trees, as well as the large collection of orchids, the park is a real gem. If you like, you can also play boules and tennis – or linger over a game of chess or bridge. Art lovers should also visit the Musée de Luxembourg with its large collection of contemporary art.

  15. 15

    Palace of Versailles

    Historic Building in Versailles
    Schloss Versailles
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    The pompous palace complex of Louis XIV is located a good 20 kilometers from the gates of the city and is one of the most remarkable buildings of the world’s cultural heritage. Until the French Revolution, probably the most opulent palace in history was the political and cultural center of France. You can expect magnificent chambers, magnificent parks and detailed water features. In addition, there is a comprehensive program of events. Not for nothing the most popular among the excursions from Paris!

  16. 16

    Champ-Élysées

    Street in Champs-Elysées & Grands Boulevards
    Champs-Elysees-Paris
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    “See and be seen” is the motto here. The much-sung boulevard Champ-Élysées Paris is probably the most famous avenue in the world! Over two kilometers long, it stretches through the city center, lined with chic boutiques of the finest brands. What you can discover on a stroll, you learn here!

    No visit to Paris is complete without a stroll down the Champs-Élysées. Metro line 1 takes you to several stations along the avenue, so you can start from anywhere. However, the most beautiful place to start your stroll is Place de la Concorde. You can then walk the two kilometers to the Arc de Triomphe at a leisurely pace – and enjoy the view from above!

  17. 17

    Pont Alexandre III

    Bridge in Quartier des Champs-Élysées
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    For many, the Pont Alexandre III is considered the most beautiful bridge in Paris. It connects the banks of the Seine between the Invalides and the Grand Palais. Built for the World’s Fair in 1900, it is not only a masterpiece of the Belle Epoque, but also a symbol of French-Russian friendship.

    Tsar Alexander III laid the foundation stone, and a total of 15 artists worked on the richly decorated bridge. Four piers, each seventeen meters high and crowned by golden statues, mark the beginning and the end of the bridge. They symbolize industry, trade, agriculture – and war. At night, the bridge is illuminated by 32 street lamps from the turn of the century.

  18. 18

    Musée du Quai Branly

    Museum in Quartier du Gros-Caillou
    Musee-Quais-Branly-Paris.jpg
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    The museum, built under former president Jacques Chirac, is a real speciality among the big museums of Paris: You will look for the big, European artists here in vain – because the museum is dedicated exclusively to non-European arts! This does not only mean paintings or sculptures, but also everyday objects – for example African masks or Polynesian musical instruments. The building itself – consisting of a lot of glass and planted exterior walls – in the large garden area is also an eye-catcher.

  19. 19

    Sainte Chapelle

    Religious Site in Île de la Cité
    Our highlight
    Sainte-Chapelle-Paris-Sehenswuerdigkeiten
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    On the Íle de la Cité, just a stone’s throw away from Notre-Dame, lies a place of worship that you should not miss: The magnificent Sainte-Chapelle was built in the middle of the 13th century in the Gothic style and yet stands out clearly from other churches of that time. It is known for its colorfully painted walls and ceilings, mainly in shades of blue and purple. In combination with the up to 12 meter high windows, this creates a unique light.

  20. 20

    Disneyland® Paris

    Theme Park in Chessy
    Disneyland-Paris.jpg
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    Probably the most popular theme park in Europe, Disneyland attracts far more visitors each year than the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame – and is unofficially the most popular of all Paris attractions. In the two theme parks Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios, both the young and the old get their money’s worth. It goes without saying that you should book your tickets online before you leave. This will not only save you a lot of money, but also time for your rendezvous with Mickey, Elsa & Co.

  21. 21

    Jardin des Tuileries

    Park in Quartier de la Place Vendôme
    Jardin-des-Tuileries.jpg
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    The Jardin de Tuileries is not only the most famous garden in Paris – it is also the oldest! It was created in 1564 for Catherine dei Medici, then Queen of France. You can expect wide avenues, numerous water features – including the Medici Fountain – and iconic statues by Rodin or Maillol. There are also impressionist works by Monet and co to marvel at in the Musée de l’Orangerie. In summer, the Fête de Tuileries is a large fair with a Ferris wheel. The gardens are located directly in the center of Paris, between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, and are part of the Axe historique.

  22. 22

    Musée de l'Orangerie

    Museum in Quartier Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois
    Orangerie-Museum-Paris.jpg
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    Actually, the impressive building in the Jardin des Tuileries served as a winter garden for the garden’s delicate plants. In the 1920s, however, great art made its way here! Through a donation, eight large water lily paintings by Claude Monet came into the possession of the French state at that time. The meter-long works of art are staged in an oval room with a skylight. In other rooms there are further permanent as well as changing exhibitions, among other things with works of Picasso or Rousseau.

  23. 23

    Paris Catacombs

    Cemetery in Quartier du Petit-Montrouge
    Catacombs Paris
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    The catacombs in Paris are a real highlight that you shouldn’t miss. You can explore the two-kilometre walk-through section of the catacombs with the museum on your own or join a small group tour to learn more about this underground attraction in Paris. The public entrance to the catacombs is at Place Denfert-Rochereau, where you walk a few steps underground.

    The catacombs of Paris house millions of bones of inhabitants of Paris who died from epidemics or famine before the 19th century. Due to the large number of dead, they could no longer be accommodated in the cemeteries, which gave rise to the catacombs. Today, supply lines run through parts of the catacombs, which is why not all of them are accessible. One part of the catacombs even houses the gold treasure of the French National Bank.

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About the author
Steffen

I am an absolute travel enthusiast with a great love for the USA, Spain and Italy. And England. And France. You can find lots of travel inspiration from me regularly on our YouTube-channel .

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