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Visit Paris

It is absolutely no secret that I adore Paris. It’s romantic, historic, beautiful, and has so much to offer. I first visited Paris about 8 years ago when I came over to visit my then boyfriend because he lived just about an hour away. In fact, it’s the same city we lived in again last year!

Since my first visit, I have been back a few times. I often get asked what to see, where to go and what to do. So I thought I would do a mini series with what to see and do when you visit Paris.

A complete guide to visiting Paris

Oh gosh, just looking at that picture gets me all gushy inside. Paris will always have such a special place in my heart.

I thought I would start with the top things to see. Now, first let me start by saying this is definitely a personal decision depending on what interests you. For example, if you like history you might lean toward the Conciergerie or Place de Concord (where the beheading took place during the revolution including Marie Antoinette). If you like art you might want to hit up the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay. If you’re a foodie, then this post just isn’t for you. I usually grab a baguette and cheese or stop at the best looking sidewalk cafe in the area. But hopefully these will give you an idea on what there is to see and in future posts how to get there and more info. Now, let’s visit Paris!

  • Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Because it embodies Paris. Because it’s such a stylish icon. Because it’s huge and magnificent and lives up to its fame. I don’t think you should go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower. Unless, of course, you’ve already seen it. It’s over 100 years old and absolutely incredible. If this will be your only time visiting, I would suggest paying the fee, waiting in line, and heading up to the top. If you’re ambitious (or cheap) you can pay less and climb the stairs. Worth it!

  • The Louvre

The Louvre

If you’re an artsy person or a history lover, The Louvre is great. It’s also very fun, in my opinion, to stand where movies were filmed or history actually took place. Part of The Louvre used to be the Tuileries where kings and queens used to live, before Versailles. It houses the Mona Lisa, which isn’t the most spectacular piece of art I’ve ever seen, but I’m glad I can say that I have. It would take you months to visit it all, so I suggest picking a wing or section that’s most interesting to you. Oh, and from the room that houses old royal jewels you can see Notre Dame!

  • Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cathedral

Probably one of the most famous cathedrals in Paris, maybe even in the world for that matter. It is not the most beautiful cathedral I’ve ever seen but because of its location, the architecture, and the fame to go with it, it’s a must-see. My favorite part is that on the inside they have a wooden replica that depicts how Notre Dame was built. It is over 500 years old, so it’s definitely amazing what they accomplished at that time. It’s free to get in and they still hold mass right in the middle of all the tourists!

  • Sacre Coeur

sacre couer

Of all the times I had been to Paris I had never made it to Sacre Coeur until this last Paris trip in October. I am so glad I made it. The view is worth the trip in and of itself. On a clear day — which we had — you can look out and see all of Paris. We didn’t even make it inside and I still would say this was worth the trip. Side note – if you have purchased a subway ticket for your stay, you can use that ticket to take the trolley up to the top!

  • Opera Garnier

Paris Opera Garnier

Hands down my absolute favorite popular attraction in Paris. And the first time I managed to go was this last October trip. I would highly recommend reading the Phantom of the Opera before visiting. It definitely adds to the allure and mystery. I don’t know whether or not the Phantom was a true story, but if it was he most certainly could have lived in this Opera House. It’s huge with so many levels and staircases and corners to hide. I visited his box as well, totally spooky if you ask me! Note — I probably shouldn’t write this, but there’s not a ton of security. You can definitely snoop around. It’s magnificent.

Phantom aside, the architecture, intricate details, layout, and utter opulence of the Opera Garnier make it a must  visit. Not to mention it’s also over 100 years old and plenty big names have walked those halls. Definitely put this up high on your must-see list.

  • Champs-Élysées

champs elysees

If you want to know where the rich live in Paris, visit the Champs-Élysées. To my knowledge, it’s the wealthiest street in France and if not the wealthiest, it’s up there. It’s home to stores like Louis Vuitton and Cartier. Don’t worry though, there’s something for everyone, including a McDonald’s! Definitely the nicest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure. It’s really a beautiful tree-lined street, as you can see, with lots of beautiful lights. It’s very upscale but with the touch of culture and history that is France. It’s also so beautiful in the rain.

  • Arc de Triomphe

arc de triomphe

Located at one end of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc of Triomphe was built for Napoleon in honor of his victories. It’s a beautiful monument and definitely worth a visit. It’s in the middle of what is probably the biggest roundabout in Paris. We drove to Paris last year to meet friends for dinner and came to the roundabout. Our GPS said “enter the roundabout – 8th exit.” Yep, it’s that huge! You can go under the roundabout up to the Arc and actually go up the Arc as well. I’ve never gone up, but I’m sure it’s a great view of the Champs-Élysées.

  • Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company Paris

I am a sucker for Shakespeare and Company. My mom actually slept here when she was back-packing through Europe when she was just outside of high school. She signed a book and everything and 30 years later was able to go back and read her entry! This store is literally ceiling to floor covered in books. The workers are bilingual, usually British. This is where I get most of the books I read. It’s right across the river from Notre Dame and is definitely worth a visit.

  • Angelina’s

Angelina's Paris

This is a new spot for me! While in Paris last October I met up with a friend who lives there (and could probably do a lot better with this post!). She suggested we meet at Angelina’s. Well, I’m always game for something new and finding a new gem and that’s exactly what this was. It’s basically a salon de thé — tea house — and they are known for their mont blanc (a pastry) and their chocolat chaud (hot chocolate). I had the hot chocolate and let me tell you… chocolate lovers of the world, go to Paris for this reason and this reason alone. It’s basically liquid chocolate with cream. I shared a version here but with some coffee added. mmmmmm…

  • Versailles

versailles

The only reason this is last on the list is because it’s not actually in Paris. It’s about 20 – 30 minutes outside by train. It’s very easy to get to though. Versailles is most famous for being the home of Marie Antoinette. The tour is incredible. I’m a huge history nerd, so I absolutely love it here. I try to go every time I’m in Paris and I’m never disappointed. The gardens are beautiful, the inside is beyond incredible and it’s really just mind blowing. It also takes you back to the times when it was used. These types of things always amaze me! It’s worth the tour. I haven’t been to Marie Antoinette’s gardens yet, but I plan on doing that next time around.

PHEW!! There you have it! These are the top things I would say to visit in Paris. What do you think? What would you add to the list? I’m sure there’s a few more suggestions out there! Leave it in the comments! And if you know of any friends or family members taking a trip to Paris soon, be sure to share this post with them!!

Next week I’ll be back to share how to get around in Paris. Different options you have, costs, metro stops, etc. Hopefully it will be super helpful and practical information.

Have a great day!

Check out more posts about visiting Paris!

guide to getting around paris

take a walk through Paris

Guide to Where to stay in Paris

 

23 Responses to Visit Paris

  1. grammygoodwill March 4, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    Ohhhhhhhhhh, I love this post. I’m a big fan of Paris, too, and have been fortunate enough to travel there twice. I would go again in a heartbeat. I haven’t been to the Opera House or the bookstore or the tea . Thanks for three more reasons to go again. hehehe

    • Natalia March 5, 2014 at 7:38 am #

      Yes! Three more very good reasons!! I hope you make it out there again, Paris is always a good idea! 🙂

  2. Andrea March 4, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    You have no idea how much I needed this post! I just finished planning a surprise trip for my husband and I this spring (first long trip away from our boy), and we will be in Paris for two days. Thank you so much!

    • Natalia March 5, 2014 at 7:38 am #

      Oh I’m so glad! Next week I’ll be writing about the subway system and some suggestions to get around Paris with stops & everything. Hopefully that will be helpful! 🙂

      • Andrea March 5, 2014 at 8:30 am #

        That will be super helpful! I’m already going crazy trying to figure out how to get from the airport into the city! 🙂

        • Natalia March 9, 2014 at 6:07 am #

          Oh it’s actually so super easy! Trains, trams, buses, and subways stops are everywhere, it’s so easy to get around. Next Tuesday I have a post about how to use the subway system and the week after that I am going to have a post with a long walk you can take through the city. Hope they’re helpful!

  3. Autumn March 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    I absolutely LOVED Paris when I visited 13 years ago! I’ve been to most of these places, and loved them all! Oh, I wish I could go back! I remember also enjoying the Musee d’Orsay.

    • Natalia March 5, 2014 at 7:36 am #

      I have heard the Musee d’Orsay is great, but I’ve never been. And I’m not a huge museum buff, so the Louvre is enough for me! Such a beautiful city though! 🙂

  4. Maria @ Little Miss Cornucopia March 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    ohmygoodness! there is SO much beauty here…no wonder you fit right in! 🙂

    • Natalia March 5, 2014 at 7:34 am #

      You’re too sweet! It is a beautiful city though, I know I’m in love with it!

  5. Miss Angie March 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    J’adore! Je veux à visiter Paris quelque jour! Je pratique mon français parce que je veux visiter!

    • Natalia March 9, 2014 at 6:04 am #

      Parfait, je peux parler en francais avec toi! J’adore Paris aussi et j’aime bien que je peux visister souvent. Je souhaite que j’habite a Paris, mais France est tout joli, alors je suis content!!

  6. Desiree March 5, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Loved this very helpful, as I’m not sure what I needed to see. Angelina’s looks really good. You’ve made me more excited for future blogs about paris! Oh and the shopping at Champs, can’t wait!!!

    • Natalia March 9, 2014 at 6:02 am #

      Oh girl, you’re gonna have a BLAST. Paris is incredible and I know you’ll love it. I think I’m going to do a post in the future about ‘off the beaten path’ of Paris. So excited for you to go!

  7. Agi March 6, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    Paris is on my bucket list!!!!! Next year will be my 10th wedding anniversary. Told my husband a trip to Paris would be the perfect gift!!!! I pinned this, so hopefully when i go this will help me plan where to go. Love this list.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

    • Natalia March 9, 2014 at 5:58 am #

      So glad!! I hope it is helpful. Paris is definitely the perfect vacation for an anniversary!! Hope you get to go! 🙂

  8. Kristin March 11, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    I have climbed both the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. I’d suggest climbing the Arc de Triomphe instead…. because then you get a magnificent view of Eiffel Tower! Definitely go and walk around the Eiffel Tower though. Also, the Arc De Triomphe is also included on the Paris Museum Pass, which is a great way to see a lot of what Paris has to offer including the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay(my favorite Parisian museum), Notre Dame Crypts and Towers, etc. http://en.parismuseumpass.com/rub-museums-monuments-by-name-5.htm

    • Natalia March 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

      Wow, great information, thank you so much for sharing!!

  9. Michelle January 23, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

    I’m so glad I saw your post!!! My husband & I are going next month for our 25th anniversary & I had no idea what we were going to do there. We are planning on staying at the Hôtel L’Echiquier Opéra Pari. Have you heard of it. Just wondering if its a good place.
    Do you know if there are any guided tours there w could do?
    I know, I’m probably overloading you with questions, but I would love to know what to expect.

    • Natalia January 26, 2016 at 6:40 am #

      What to expect in Paris? Umm… the most beautiful city you’ve ever been to!? I’m a little biased, but I’ve been to quite a few European capitals and Paris still has my heart. I haven’t heard of this hotel, but I’m sure it’ll be lovely. Try to see where they nearest metro is to it, because I think that would be the most important. You’re gonna want to use the metro, it’s the easiest way around. Just make sure to watch your purse and have your husband put his wallet in his front pocket. My dad almost had his stolen twice, they’re really tricky! There are so many guided tours but to be honest, I’ve never done them. I would suggest looking them up ahead of time, but leave a little bit to just wonder around, grab a pastry from a street-side coffee shop and just sit and watch the people. It’s very ‘francais.’ Most places don’t need guided tours like the Opera Garnier which is fabulous! I would suggest reading the Phantom of the Opera before visiting, it makes the trip there so much more interesting! Sacre Coeur doesn’t need a tour, Eiffel Tower you should book in advance, it’s gotten quite busy. You could take a romantic boat trip on the Seine, those are fun and you see Paris from a whole new view. Also the Louvre doesn’t need a tour, it’s so large you could just spend the day wandering around it. I hope this helps a bit, you can probably tell I get excited when talking about Paris! You’ll have an amazing time!!

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