It wasn’t long ago that i came back from my first trip to Paris. And trust me, I am still indulging on the memories of the Parisian lane ways and sights!
I went to Paris for seven days during mid April with my husband and we just loved it. We pretty much covered all the iconic places that you are expected to visit there but it still didn’t feel like we had enough time. There is just so much to see and seven days felt short for this big city. So my first suggestion would be to take your time and spend around 10-12 days there, especially if you want a laid back, adventurous holiday rather than the full on, “no rest”, “always on the go” sort of holiday that we had. I would also strongly advice to get a sim card with data when in Paris. It is just so much easier to plan your journeys on Google Maps and you never get lost! I found Lyca to be cheapest as internet plans tend to be expensive there.
In this post, I am going to highlight all the places that you must visit in Paris. To visit most of these museums and top attractions in Paris, we pre-purchased the Paris Pass which worked out perfect for us. The Paris Pass is available online and is a cheaper way of visiting all the major attractions in Paris.
1. Visit Musée du Louvre
I am sure all of you have heard about this museum. It’s the world’s largest museum and showcases many famous artworks including Mona Lisa, Vincent VanGogh’s masterpieces and many more. Make sure to take a moment and look around the museum as the architecture of this place is just mind-blowing and you also get the perfect view of Jardin des Tuileries.
This photo shows the outskirts of the garden but trust me, it is just prettier in reality.
We used our Paris Pass to get in and there is a separate line for those who hold the Pass rather than the long queue for those who didn’t have it. We went at the start of Spring and it was still quite busy with a lot of tourists around. Even with the Pass, we had to wait for half an hour before we could get inside. The museum is gigantic and would take you 6 months to view every single art work there and that’s if you only took 30 seconds to look at each artwork. My favourite part was the different medieval and modern sculptures showcased within the museum. They are just gorgeous and compliment the museum’s beautiful interior.
2. Take a stroll in Jardin des Tuileries
This famous garden is just opposite the Louvre Museum. It is filled with various shades of greens, mostly trimmed and groomed trees, a perfect view of the ferry’s wheel, carousels, beautiful statues and food carts. It’s just a perfect place to sit back and relax.
3. Walk to Palais Garnier from Jardin des Tuileries
I am not a person who likes walking, but I probably walked 6-7 km everyday in Paris! Its about a 20 minutes walk to the Palais Garnier from Jardin des Tuileries but the walk is well worth it. The streets and buildings are quite different from what I get to see in Melbourne.
We even came across the beautiful Statue of Napoleon on a tall ornate pillar in Place Vendome on our way.
Palais Garnier is probably the most famous Opera house in the world. It was the primary home of the Paris Opera and is a masterpiece.
4. Visit the Panthéon
The Panthéon was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, but after many alterations, it now combines liturgical functions with its role as a famous burial place. It is the final resting place for many well known French writers, poets and scientists such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo and many more.
The painted ceilings and walls paired with the extraordinary architecture of the interior is a treat to the eyes.
6. Climb up Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe is a famous monument that honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Climb up to the top of this beauty to get breathtaking views of the Paris city.
Just a head’s up its not easy climbing up these stairs!
7. Admire the beautiful stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle
Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel in the heart of Paris City. The chapel is known for its Gothic architectural style and has the finest stained glass windows. Your trip to Paris would be incomplete without admiring this beauty.
8. Visit Notre-Dame
Notre-Dame is a medieval Catholic cathedral which is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world.
9. Walk by the Seine River
Right in the heart of the city, the River Seine flows through the middle of the left bank and the right bank. Hop on a cruise on the Seine and admire all the spectacular views and monuments of Paris. If you do end up getting the Paris Pass, the Seine River Cruise is included.
10. Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel tower is bigger than I thought it would be. We went all the way to the top (known as the summit) of the tower to gaze down on the beautiful views of the city. The Eiffel Tower is the most beautiful when it lights up with thousands of led light just 5 minutes before every hour after sunset. The tickets for the Eiffel Tower is not included in the Paris Pass and sells out pretty quick, especially to the Summit.
The view from the top of the tower!
One of the best views of the Eiffel Tower is from Trocadéro Square which is just on the opposite side of the tower.
Eiffel Tower at night.
10. Visit Sacré-Cœur and explore Monmartre
Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus located on the top of the hill of Monmartre. The whole view of the church alongside the beautiful hilly surroundings is absolutely beautiful.
I would suggest to walk around Monmartre and have a look around the streets. If you do get the Paris Pass, you will get a free mini train ride around Monmartre which takes you around the village.
The famous Moulin Rouge in Monmartre.
The Wall of Love where people have written I love you in various languages.
The mini-train that takes you around Monmartre.
12. Take a trip to the Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was one my most favourite places in Paris. The RER C train line goes directly to the palace. Versailles was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved the royal court from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789, within three months after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime. The entry to the palace is included in the Paris Pass, however we had to pay to get into the Gardens of Versailles.
The architecture of this palace is just phenomenal.
The Garden of Versailles is huge and is groomed to perfection!
13. Visit Disneyland
I don’t think I need to say too much about Disneyland. It was just fantastic! There are tonnes of rides and activities to do and they are all themed according to all the popular Disney characters, shows and movies. We bought the 1 day 2 park ticket from Expedia and it worked out perfect for us. The RER A train line goes directly to Disneyland.
Disneyland has the cutest gift shops that have the perfect souvenirs to bring back home.
Thousands of people waiting for the firework show at night at the Disneyland Park.
14. Go on a day tour to Colmar
We booked the TGV train to go to Colmar. It was around a 2 hour train ride from Paris each way and we spent the whole day there. Colmar is the third largest commune of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. Be prepared to be mesmerised by the beauty of Colmar as it will feel like you have entered Belle’s town from the Beauty and the Beast. The old school houses and buildings are just picture perfect. Do visit Little Venice and the Food Hall if you visit this village.
You can get gondola rides through Little Venice!
Well that’s the end of my trip and I hope this post helps you plan better for your next trip to Paris!