Hello Future Guest-
So you’re on your way to Paris or thinking about coming to our wonderful and beautiful City of Light. Paris has hundreds of famous landmarks, and it’s impossible to see them all in a short visit, but we’ve highlighted some of our favourites. With the exception of Versailles, they are all only a few minutes’ walk from the nearest metro. If you can’t visit all of them, try to get a glimpse for a great photo opportunity and memory.
No visit to Paris would be complete without at least a glimpse of Paris’s most famous landmark. At the time of its construction in 1887, it was the world’s tallest structure and, at 324 meters, is still the tallest structure in Paris. You can ascend the tower to any one of 3 levels, with the lower levels accessible by either stairs or elevators whilst the summit is only accessible by lift. By taking the stairs you can avoid the worse of the queues. Although it can be best viewed from all over Paris, the best photo opportunity is from the Trocadero just across the river.
Cool Tip: Gather some people from your hostel, buy a few bottles of wine, some baguettes and cheese and park yourselves in the park in front of the Eiffel. The perfect picnic spot and on a nice evening it must be the most popular wine hall in the world. That’s right, THE WORLD.
Open: 9.30am-00.45 am.
Entrance: 2nd floor (stairs): 4.70€, 3.70€. 2nd floor (elevator): 8.20€, 6.60€. Top: 13.40€, 11.80€ Tel 01 44 11 23 23
Metro: Bir-Hakeim, Trocadero, Ecole Militaire , RER : Champs des Mars
Probably the most famous street in the world, and after New York City’s 5th Avenue, the 2nd most expensive real estate, that runs for 2 km between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. The western end, nearest the Arc, is lined with cinemas, sidewalk cafes, glitzy restaurants (such as the famous Fouquet’s) and luxury brand shops (including the largest Louis Vuitton store in the world). Other famous names on the Champs include: Planet Hollywood, Virgin Megastore, Europe’s largest Gap, The Disney Store, and Pub Renault. Further down towards Place de la Concorde, the shops give way to trees and lawns with statues and grandiose buildings such as the Grand Palais. The ‘Champs’ is the location of many festivities, some organised such as the Bastille Day Parade or the finish of the Tour De France, and many more spontaneous ones such as celebrations of sporting triumph.
Arc de Triomphe
At one end of the Champs-Elysées stands a giant arch commemorating French military victories particularly those during the Napoleonic Wars. At 51m high & 45m wide, it is so large that in 1919 a pilot flew his biplane through the centre. The Arc is best known for the backdrop of military victory parades, both by the Germans (1871 & 1940) and the French & Allies (1918,1944 & 1945). Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame burning in memory of the unidentified dead from 2 World Wars. On the top of the Arc is an observation platform providing stunning views, down the 12 avenues, radiating from the busy roundabout below.
Open: 10am-11.00pm (Closed July 14th in the morning)
Entrance: 8€, 5.00€ (students 18-25), U18 Free
Tel: 01 55 37 73 77
Metro: Charles de Gaulle-Etoile.
Perhaps most famous in Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and the subsequent Hollywood & Disney films, this magnificent gothic cathedral right in the heart of the original city has been an icon of Paris since its completion in 1345AD. Throughout history it has witnessed coronations of kings & emperors, royal weddings, royal funerals, and even the beatification of Joan of Arc. Budding architects may be interested to know that it was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress.
Cool Tip: For one of the best views of Paris and to see all those famous gargoyles featured on all the postcards spend the money to go into the tower. Honestly, this is one of the best views of Paris and bar none some of the best picture taking « Look I was in Paris! » spots.
Open: 8-6.45pm (7.45 Sat, Sun)
Entrance: Tower 6.10€, 4.10€
Tel: 01 42 34 56 10
Metro: Cite, St Michel
Originally a fortified royal palace and the cornerstone of the wall built around Paris in 1190 by Philip Augustus to protect it from English attacks. The existing palace building was started in 1535 after demolition of the old castle and it was first opened to the public as a museum in during the French Revolution in 1793. Nowadays it is home to the Musée du Louvre (See Paris Museums), main entrance in the central courtyard is through a giant glass pyramid (controversially added in 1989).
Open: Mon, Thurs, Sat, Sun 9.00am-18.00pm, Wed, Fri 9.00am-10.00pm. Closed on Tuesday
Entrance: 10€, Free for under 18s and EEC citizens Under 25
Metro: Louvre Rivoli
One of Paris’s major squares situated between the Champs-Elysees and the Tuileries Gardens. During the French Revolution, it was re-named Place de la Revolution and was the site of the dreaded guillotine (which in its heyday executed more than 1,300 people per month). Nowadays, the guillotine as been replaced by the 3000 year old Obelisk of Luxor, a gift from Egypt in 1831 decorated with ancient hieroglyphics. Other surrounding buildings include the Hotel de Crillon, reputedly the most expensive in Paris, and the former HQ of the German army during World War II and the US Embassy.
Originally a fortress and prison in Paris, it is best known today for the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution on July 14th 1789, a date that is commemorated every year as the Fete Nationale or Bastille Day. Famous prisoners of the Bastille included: the Marquis de Sade, Voltaire, Dr Alexander Manette (A Tale of Two Cities) and Mr Thénardier (Les Miserables). Nowadays, Place de la Bastille is a large traffic circle around the July Column, a monument to the Revolution of 1830, with the Opera Bastille on the Eastern side.
An iconic image of Paris since its erection in 1889, the Moulin Rouge (or red windmill) is a traditional French cabaret situated in what was once the red-light district of Pigalle at the foot of Montmartre. It’s perhaps best remembered as the subject of many paintings by post-impressionist painter Toulouse Lautrec. The current show includes over 100 artists, 60 “Doriss Girls”, 80 musicians, 1000s of stunning costumes and sumptuous sets.
Show: 2.45 pm (95€), 9pm (99€), 11pm (89€)
Tel: 01 53 09 82 82.
At the summit of the Butte Montmartre, you have reached the highest point in the city, and although it seems much more historic, it was only consecrated in 1919. The brilliant whiteness is due to the stone used in its construction constantly exuding calcite when it rains. The top of the dome affords a spectacular panoramic view, and the steps below are a popular picnic rendezvous.
Open: 6am – 11pm
Entrance: Basilica free, Dome 5€
Tel: 01 53 41 89 00
Metro: Anvers, Abbesses
Since 1789, the Pantheon has been a mausoleum for many great Frenchmen including; Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Marie Curie, Louis Braille, Alexandre Dumas and Jean Jaurès.It is also the site of a 67m pendulum suspended from the central dome that was used by physicist Léon Foucault in 1851 for an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth.
Entrance: 7€, Under 17s free
Metro: Cluny La Sorbonne
The giant golden dome visible above the Paris rooftops was originally a hospital and retirement home for war veterans. Nowadays, it serves as a mausoleum for famous French war heroes, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and the home of the Musee de l’Armée.
Entrance : 9€, 7€
Tel : 01 44 42 38 77
Metro : Latour-Maubourg, Invalides, Varenne
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Reputedly the most visited cemetery in the world. Since its establishment in 1804, it has been the final resting place for many famous Parisians, including: Sarah Bernhardt, Bizet, Chopin, Delacroix, Isadora Duncan, Edith Piaf, Pissarro, Proust, Rossini and Oscar Wilde. But by far the most visited grave is that of legendary 70s rock star Jim Morrison – so much so, that his grave now has a full-time security guard. Other interesting inclusions are the crypt of Abelard & Heloise where love-struck visitors leave love-letters and the Communards’ Wall, the site where in 1871, 147 Communards were shot dead ending the Paris Commune.
Metro: Philippe Auguste, Pere Lachaise, Gambetta
The Paris Opéra
A 2000 seat opera house dating from 1875, also known as the Palais Garnier. Although most theatrical productions have since been relocated to the more modern Opera Bastille, it is still the Opera Garnier with its ornate, monumental exterior and lavish velvet & gold-leaf interior that captures the imagination. It’s perhaps best known as the setting of The Phantom of the Opera.
Hours: Visits available every day 10am-6pm
Entrance: 9€, 6€ with guided tours in English every Wed, Sat and Sun:
11:30am & 2:30pm. 12€, 10€
Tel: 01 72 29 35 35
Château de Versailles
Between 1682 -1789 the Château de Versailles was the royal residence and seat of absolute power in France. It was expanded from a royal hunting lodge into the most magnificent palace in the world, with palace grounds including some of the largest formal gardens ever created. On display are the Royal Apartments, the Royal Chapel and the Hall of Mirrors.
We recommend taking a tour to help you save time and best of all to help you learn all about the delicious and salacious Versailles history.
Open: 9-6.30pm (Closed Mon)
Entrance: 15€, 13€ (10€ after 4pm) Free for <18s & EU citizens < 26
Tel: 01 30 84 74 00.
RER C: Versailles Chantiers/Rive Gauche
Going to Magic Kingdom? Getting there is no problem. Just take RER A city from central Paris to Disneyland throughout the day at roughly 15 minute intervals from five large central Paris RER A Stations: Charles de Gaulle Etoile (at Arc de Triomphe), Auber (at Galeries Lafayette shopping center), Chatelet Les Halles (massive underground shopping centre and largest underground/subway station in the world), Gare de Lyon (largest Paris train station), and Nation.
Actually you can book your ticket and get more information right here.
From ancient Egyptian history to contemporary art, Paris has world class museums to suit all interests. If you are around for a few days you may want to consider investing in the Paris Museum Card which, for 30€, gives you 3 days unlimited access to all the museums listed and can be purchased at the 1st museum you visit.
Musée du Louvre
One of the oldest, largest, most famous and visited art gallery in the world with over 30,000 works of art including the Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa. It could take days to explore completely so pick your priorities carefully.
Open: 9am – 6pm (till 10pm Wed and Fri – Closed Tue)
Tel: 01 40 20 53 17
Metro: Louvre Rivoli, Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre
Entrance: 10€, 6€ after 6pm, Free for under 18s and EEC citizens under 25
Musée National du Moyen Age
Set in the medieval Hotel de Cluny, and constructed on the remains of 3rd century Gallo-Roman baths, the Musée de Cluny houses a variety of important medieval artefacts, in particular its tapestry collection.
Open: 9.15am – 5.45pm (Closed Tue)
6 Place Paul Painlevé, 75005. Tel: 01 53 73 78 00
Metro: Saint Michel, Cluny-La Sorbonne, Odéon
Entrance: 8.00€, 6.00€
Centre Georges Pompidou
The largest permanent collection of modern art in Europe, with pieces from 1905 to 2007, covering everything from Andy Warhol to Hitchcock movies. Arrive after 5pm to avoid queuing and pass by the roof for a terrific view of Paris.
Open: 11am-9pm (closed Tues)
Rue St-Martin, 75004 . Tel: 01 44 78 12 33 .
Metro: Les Halles, Hotel de Ville, Rambuteau
Entrance: 10€ , 8€
Maison Européene de la Photographie
A remarkable collection of over 15,000 photographs, prints and films.
Open: 11am – 8pm (Closed Mon/Tue)
Entrance: 7€, 4€ – free after 5pm Wed
82 Rue François Miron, 75004 Tel: 01 44 78 75 00
Metro: Saint Paul, Pont Marie
The history of Paris from its pre-Roman beginnings through the Revolution and right up to the 20th century. All under a single roof!
Open: 10am – 6 pm (closed Mon)
23 Rue de Sévigné, 75003. Tel: 01 44 59 58 58
Entrance: Perm. collection free, Temp. exhihibit 4.50€, 3.80€
Metro: Saint-Paul/ Chemin Vert
A former Victorian railway station converted into a magnificent setting works of art dating from 1848 to 1914, including a remarkable collection of French Impressionists.
Open: 9.30am -6pm (9.45pm Thu -Closed Mon)
Entrance: 10€, 7.50€, 2€ for EU citizens 18-25
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Tel: 01 40 49 48 14
Metro: Musée d’Orsay
Musée Du Quai Branly
Jacques Chirac’s legacy and the latest must see in Paris, is a collection of indigenous art, artefacts and exhibitions from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Open: 11am–7.00pm (9.00pm Thu, Fri, Sat – Closed Mon)
Entrance: 8.50€, 6€
37 Quai Branly, 75007. Tel: 33 1 56 61 70 00
Métro: Iéna, Alma-Marceau, Pont de l’Alma, Bir-Hakeim
Musée Marmottan Monet
Hidden away in a quiet residential neighbourhood of Paris is the world’s single
largest collection of Monet paintings (along with other impressionists).
Open: 10am -6pm (8pm Thurs, Closed Mon)
Entrance: 10€, 5€
2 Rue Louis-Boilly, 75016. Tel: 01 44 96 50 33
Metro: La Muette
Rodin’s former residence and gardens house an extensive collection of his most famous sculptures, along with sketches, plaster casts and waxworks.
Open: 10.00-5.45pm (Closed Mon)
Entrance: 6€, 5€, EU citizens 18-25 Free, 1€ garden only
79 Rue de Varenne 75007
Tel: 01 44 18 61 10
Metro: Varenne, Invalides, Saint-François-Xavier
Palais De Tokyo
The hippest art venue in the city with permanent displays of modern art, frequent temporary exhibitions, fashion shows, performances, and chilled out DJs setting the mood for late night viewings.
Open: 12 noon – 9pm. (Closed Mon),
Entrance: 3€, 1€ Art students, artists and teachers of art, Free for under 18s
13 Ave de President Wilson, 75016 .Tel: 01 47 23 54 01
Metro: Iéna, Alma-Marceau