A trip to France is incomplete without Paris being on your list of places to visit. This gorgeous romantic city is quite renowned and distinctive due to its grand structures and monuments. This capital of France is a tourist hotspot and a place where you can explore architecture, history, fashion, and gastronomy in a way like nowhere else.
When it comes to entertainment, there is no shortage of things to do in Paris. This city is grand in every way and what makes it much more interesting to explore is its intimate quarters. These quarters are gorgeous villages that are fun to stroll through. This fashion center of the world has many high-end boutiques and shops where you will find amazing stuff. When we talk about Paris, it goes without saying that you would want to visit the famous Eiffel Tower in the beginning. This wrought-iron tower is associated with romance, which is why it is great for visiting with a loved one. If you head to the top of the tower, you can witness the picturesque views of the city. Other impressive structures and building you must visit in Paris include Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame cathedral. Each of these structures is beautifully architected and has an interesting history as well. When it comes to food, you will find many things to do in Paris. This city is world-famous for its cafes and restaurants. If you head to the street market, you will get a chance to experience the real taste of French cuisine and its mouthwatering desserts.
If you are interested in historical sites and archeological finds, then you will find many places to visit in Paris. Although this city is known as the romance center of the world, there are places that will give you the chills like the Catacombs of Paris. This place is an underground burial site that has almost 6 million skeletons. If that’s too haunting for your taste, then head to the fascinating Notre Dame Cathedral. This architectural wonder is in the heart of the city with impressive ceilings and gorgeous stained-glass art on the windows. The Palace of Versailles is also a site that you must not miss out on. This castle is magnificent to say the least with its mesmerizing gardens and architecture. Head to Sainte Chapelle, a 13th century church, which is nothing less than spectacular. The upper chapel of the church features jaw-dropping stained-glass windows and a heavily decorated ceiling. The Champs Elysees is another popular tourist spot in Paris that offers great views into the architectural history of this part of Europe. Make sure to get to the top of the Champs Elysees to witness the panoramic views of the city. Some other popular spots to visit in Paris include Musee de Louvre, The Pantheon, Musee de Cluny, and La Conciergerie.
When going up the rue de la Paix, the Opera National de Paris (Opéra Garnier Palace), one of the best things that you can do in Paris, greets strollers. A true masterpiece of theatre architecture of the XIXth century, the “Palais Garnier”, built by Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875, is the thirteenth opera house in Paris since the creation of this institution by Louis XIV in 1669.
The construction of Opera National de Paris was initiated by Napoleon III among other important renovation projects in the capital, successfully conducted under his reign by Baron Haussmann. This historical monument is open to visitors who can namely admire the famous ceiling of the Opera Room by Chagall. The Opéra Garnier also features remarkable Lyrical and choreographic performances.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame (Notre-Dame Cathedral) is the most beautiful church in all of France and offers some of the best things to do in Paris. Not only is it historically important, it is also one of the most spiritual places to visit in the city. If you are even a little religious then this place is a must for you. Even if you aren't religious you will love the beautiful gothic architecture of the building. The most notable thing about the architecture of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame (Notre-Dame Cathedral) is that while the whole design is very Gothic, it also has some elements of the renaissance era, which makes it very interesting for people interested in architecture.
The inside of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame (Notre-Dame Cathedral) is just as beautiful as the outside of it. There is a grand feeling due to the beautiful wooden work that is inside and the beautiful lighting as well. An important piece of art also resides in this church; The Political Prisoner, a statue by the famed local artist Lucien Wercollier. It depicts a prisoner whose hands are bound; it shows the plight of a prisoner Lucien Wercollier himself saw being tortured while he was locked up in the prison by Nazis. The sculpture does a great job of showing the despair of the prisoner.
If you are a tourist in Paris, it is easy to miss the fact that Notre Dame is built upon an island. Île de la Cité is actually the original heart of Paris. Before there was a globally celebrated city with a thriving art culture and amazing historical buildings, Paris used to be a simple settlement in muddy waters. The Île de la Cité is also home to the Palais de Justice, and Place Dauphine among other important buildings. It is also, technically, the center of France, and there is a bronze plaque at the point calculated to be the center.
According to scholars, the majority opinion is that the Parisii, a small Gallic tribe lived on this island in 52 BC. The island has always been of importance in civic, military, and government matters. Even the distances in Paris are usually calculated from Île de la Cité.
This is also one of those places where you realize the true beauty of Paris. The island is small and of a peculiar shape, and the buildings are made with this in mind. The buildings (aside from the obvious ones) aren’t too grandiose. This is Paris as it is to the people who live there, and it is beautiful.
Paris isn’t known only for its history but also because of its culture. When you are visiting any place, it is necessary to not just visit its monuments but also its culture. Quartier Latin is one of the most happening places in the city for students. Due to a history of educational institutes around the Quartier the place has become the main place for students to hang out and discuss things.
It is also one of the best places to see French culture. You will find many intimate bistros and shops selling cheeses and local items. Since this is a student area, you will not just see old Paris here but will also get an idea of how the Parisian youth live today. You will see a lot of fast food places. You will also see a lot of foreign food (middle eastern mostly) being sold, and you will see how different cultures are being infused into Paris.
Visiting the Quartier Latin will make you realize something; Paris isn’t great because it adheres to its traditions. The opposite is true. The true tradition of Paris is to stand against tradition and to defy and rebel and to be free. Paris isn’t just a city, it is an idea and that becomes apparent in the Quartier Latin.
The Jardin du Luxembourg (also known as the Luxembourg Garden) is one of the most serene places in Paris. It was started in 1612 by the widow of King Henry IV of France, Marie de' Medici. She wanted to build a residence and thought that a beautiful garden needed to be around it. The garden is known for its impressive greenery and views. Jardin du Luxembourg is very well designed and maintained. It mostly consists of a flatbed of gravel and greenery. The interesting features in this garden are the statues and the basin of water in between.
There are more than a 100 statues here, all of them of prominent people from French history. Children can sail model sailboats in the octagonal water basin. It is a great fun activity for the whole family. If you are alone, this garden is a great place to just sit in and feel the atmosphere. The fountain of discovery is also a great sight. It was finished in 1874. It shows 4 women holding the world up and is considered a great work of art. If you are on a romantic trip then Jardin du Luxembourg is a place you cannot miss, as the calm and beautiful atmosphere is the perfect place to be with loved ones.
Not far off, one of the top things to do in Paris, the Palais du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Palace) houses the Sénat (Senate) which is the French parliament’s supreme chamber since 1958.
The site that embraces today the Gardens and the Palais du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Palace) was originally a Roman camp. In 1257, when the Chartreux family settled in, this lavish place was a disreputable spot to a point where it was considered as cursed. The Chartreux family transformed it into a flourishing convent.
In 1612, Marie de Medicis buys the hotel owned by the Duc de Luxembourg and builds, in 1615, her own palace designed by Salomon de Brosse in a Renaissance style, reminding her of her native Tuscany. Although she was sent into exile, the Palais du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Palace) remained the property of the royal family until the Revolution. The gardens are extended over the Chartreux family land and offer today a splendid panorama for walkers.
The Pantheon, is at first, very confusing. You will be wondering what a building from Rome was doing in Paris, and you wouldn't be wrong. This building is openly inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, and was made in 1791. It was built on the instructions of King Louis XV, and was intended as a church of St. Genevieve. The Revolution changed plans for the Pantheon, and it was converted to a mausoleum. Some of the greatest French thinkers of the era were buried here. After that it has become a church and reverted twice. It was also the home of The Thinker, one of the most famous sculptures for 16 years.
The Pantheon also has historical importance in the field of science. This is the place where Foucault conducted the experiment which demonstrated the rotation of Earth in 1851. The building is still an awe inspiring and sobering visit, and is a popular place for tourists to visit. The size of the dome and the building itself is great, and evokes a very grand feeling. This is a place for people who love French history. We wouldn't really recommend this for a family visit, but if you are an explorer out to discover and connect with history you cannot miss this place.
If you walk around the Pantheon you can't miss "Place Sainte Geneviève" and "Saint Étienne du Mont" church, both are worth a visit.
The Georges Pompidou Center is visually the most unique building in Paris. Built in 1977, it stands out of the crowd. Its modern design is unlike anywhere else in the world, and it becomes doubly jarring due to the historical sites one is used to seeing in Paris.However this is precisely why the building is so well respected; art isn't about conforming to standards. Some of the most famous pieces of art were ground breaking in their times, and started trends which makes them seem normal to us today. You probably will not have to look out for this building, it will appear to you if you're discovering Paris, and it will have your curiosity.
However the architecture is not the only reason to visit Georges Pompidou Center. It also houses a vast public library, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne, both of which are worth a visit themselves. The Musée National d'Art Moderne is perfectly placed in this building, as it is an important piece of modern art itself. There are often exhibitions in the centre, most of them concerning modern art.