Most first time visitors to Paris head straight to the Eiffel Tower, where they take a selfie. Then they stroll down the Champs Elysee before retiring to a sidewalk cafe to imbibe a stiff espresso. Where should they head next?
Paris, France, is the world’s most popular travel destination, attracting 45 million tourists a year. Here are 10 must-see tourist attractions.
Located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris, the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur represents the city’s past while Montparnasse Tower, which sits at the heart of its new commercial zone, represents the city’s future.
The basilica and the tower make good bookends for a tour of Paris as they both offer excellent views of the city, but from a very different perspective.
One can give you an introduction of what you are going to see, and the other can sum up what you have seen.
What to See + Do After You’ve Seen the Eiffel Tower
Click on the names of tourist attractions for a direct link to their official websites for more information.
1. Basilica of Sacre-Coeur – a.k.a. the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic church at the top of Montmartre. As the highest natural point in Paris, this is a good spot to start a tour of the city.
2. Louvre Museum – one of the world’s top museums, containing some of the world’s most important works of art.
3. Notre Dame Cathedral – a historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern side of the Ile de la Cite in the fourth arrondissement of Paris.
4. Palais Garnier Opera House – a neo-baroque theatre, which is home to the Paris Opera.
5. Musee d”Orsay – a museum housing one of the world’s most important collections of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Included are works by Degas, Manet, Monet, and Van Gogh.
6. Sorbonne University – one of the oldest institutions of higher learing in Europe, dating back to the 13th century.
7. Pompidou Centre – a multidisciplinary cultural centre in the Plateau Beaubourg district of Paris. Attractions include a large library and a collection of more than 60,000 works of contemporary and modern European art.
8. Cemetery of Pere-Lachaise Cemetery – the final resting place of Edith Piaf, Moliere, Oscar Wilde, and countless other luminaries.
9. Montparnasse Tower – offering what is arguably the most comprehensive view of Paris from its vantage point on the 56th floor.
10. Palace of Versailles – an imposing royal chateau in Ile-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of Paris, a great outing into the country after you’ve toured the city.