Paris is one of the most visited places on the entire planet and with that repetoir comes lots of tourist destinations within the city itself. And after many trips to the French Capital and a deep love for Paris, if you’re trying to wade through the numerous things to see and do in Paris, I’ve come up with a top 10 list of what I think are the most important and worthwhile spots in the city for first timers. So if you’re heading to the City of Light, here’s the top 10 things to do in Paris!
1. Eiffel Tower
Obviously, this makes the number one spot for many reasons – but the first being that you can’t go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower. I’m a fan of the views from the Trocadero or if you want to brave the crowds, go directly under the tower and marvel at the architecture.
2. Arc de Triomphe
This famous Parisian landmark is at the center of a massive round-about at the end of the Champs Élysées (see below) and is one of those spots in the city where you look up and go “wow, I’m really in Paris!”
3. Louvre + Tuileries
You can’t miss the famous Louvre museum while in the City of Light, where such works as the Mona Lisa hang. Also don’t miss the famous glass pyramid entrance to the museum and the lovely Tuileries garden next door.
4. Jardin du Luxembourg
One of my favorite spots in all of Paris, this more local park on the Left Bank is a serene and quiet spot away from the craziness of the main tourist hubs. With Eiffel Tower views and gorgeous landscape, this park is a must see.
5. Palais Garnier
The Palais Garnier Opera house on the Right Bank of Paris is a magical building. Covered in ornate decoration and flanked by some of the best shopping in Paris, this building and the area around it definitely is worth seeing.
6. Notre Dame
The famous cathedral located on a little island in the middle of the Seine River is one of those famous landmarks you just have to see for yourself.
7. St. Chapelle
Just close to Notre Dame is the often overlooked St. Chapelle chapel, but just because it’s often overlooked doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be seen. The stained glass here is truly remarkable.
8. Musée d’Orsay
My favorite museum in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay is a remarkable collection of art and usually way quieter than the Louvre.
9. Sacré Coeur
The famous church on the hill in Montmartre is a postcard picture of Paris. The views from up here are sweeping and the Montmartre area offers a ton of character.
10. Champs Élysées
And finally, the Champs Élysées… an intense shopping boulevard in central Paris. You have everything from high end to Zara here and everything in between. But beware, it’s usually jam packed with tourists and don’t eat here (it’s expensive and touristy) but it’s well worth a stroll down this famous boulevard.
Headed to Paris?