The first visit to Paris, France can feel overwhelming with all the amazing landmarks to see. There are so many iconic places that you can’t fit or choose them all in one day. With proper planning and mapping out days, you’ll be able to explore the area like a pro! We spent a few days in Paris and visited over 10 landmarks, but we but decided to put together the top ten places you’ll want to focus on for the first few days!
1. Eiffel Tower
When you think of Paris, the first thing that comes to mind is the iconic, Eiffel Tower. Also known as known as the “iron tower”, you’re able to access the top, where the view is unbelievable. Every hour, on the hour, between sundown to 1:00 am, the Eiffel Tower puts on a sparkling light show that looks incredible at night! We saw the Eiffel Tower from many angles but my favorite place was the Place du Trocadéro. Tip: Get there at sunrise, before the crowds, and you’ll get some amazing photos!
2. Notre Dame
Who else thinks of childhood movies when you see this famous landmarks? When I was a child, I loved Hunchback of Notre Dame and I was in disbelief when actually standing right in front of Notre Dame. This is one of the most awe inspiring cathedrals in Europe with its classic architecture, stained glass, and flower garden (behind the cathedral). You’re also able to climb the North tower of Notre Dame from the hunchback Quasimodo’s vantage point (Bell Tower) and see a unique view of Paris (with an extra cost).
3. Arc de Triomphe
All of Europe is rich in history with the Arc de Triomphe being a center piece. Constructed in 1806, it was built to honor great French Generals, the fallen in the Napoleonic Wars, and home to the unknown soldier of WW1. It was also paraded through by Hitler during his conquering of Paris in WWII. Although a beautiful sight to behold, it is a bit dangerous to visit in regards to the fast paced-car traffic that never seems to let up. Fun Fact: A plan has flown through both the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower, respectively.
4. Town of Montmartre
The streets of Montmartre is full of life! It’s a beautiful little micro-town, inside the greater Paris, where you’re able to walk everywhere. From restaurants, shops, sight seeing, to arts, and famous landmarks, there are many things to see and do! There are a lot of cute spots to take photos, particularly in the famous “I love you,” wall which has 250 languages of “I love you.” It is also the original house of the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret.
5. Basilique of the Sacré Cœur
Also located in Montmartre is the Basilique of the Sacré Cœur. This is a roman catholic church located at the top of Montmartre and it has the most incredible view overlooking Paris. We headed here after we did a little shopping but it’s great because there are many places to eat around here and just an overall pleasant place to relax.
6. The Louvre
Thinking of all these incredible Landmarks in Paris makes me wish Hawaii had various landmarks entrenched with a rich history. The Louvre museum is the world’s largest museum and best known for displaying the famous Mona Lisa painting – The actual painting is quite small!. Other than large, marble, Romand and Greek statues and thousands of historical paintings outside offer a surreal, futuristic setting. It’s a great place for photos, during sunrise, before the crowds arrive. If you plan on visiting the museum, you need at least a day for this place – it’s huge!
7. Versailles Palace
The Palace is a royal château along with a breathtaking garden! Highly suggest booking a tour for the palace reserve some time for a meditative walk through in the garden. The garden is huge and has restaurants and activities such as boating on the lake. You can even rent bikes and golf carts to explore the gardens. This is another attraction that needs at least a whole day to explore and enjoy. If I were to choose a place to go back to and spend more time, it would be Versailles Palace.
8. Sainte Chapelle
My favorite church that we visited! It has an incredible gothic interior and the most beautiful stained glass I’ve ever seen! If you go at the right time, where the light shines through the magnificent glass, it will take your breath away! The best part is, you don’t have to be religious to be an admirer of the beautiful display.
9. Pont Alexandre III
This royal bridge is Paris is a popular spot to see. One of the many wonderful bridges over the Seine River, which intertwines itself through Paris. The stone and metal sculptures, along with beautifully decorated architecture define Paris. The most decorated bridge in Paris can be enjoyed by walking on or, my personal favorite, passing under it via boat tour.
10. Champs Elysees
Last but not least, the famous shopping strip of the Champs Elysees. It is one of the world’s most famous streets and a paradise for avid consumers! It’s a home to the mothership of Louis Vuitton and surrounded by other high-end designer brands. To aid in your shopping indulgences are little cafes and restaurants to get your grub during those intermittent shopping breaks!
The list can go on and on, but this is only for 10 places to see in Paris. According to the Wanderlustyle family, these are the top “must” sees when visiting Paris. These are obviously the main ones and if you’re visiting once in a lifetime, be sure to experience these wonders. There you have it, the most wonderful landmarks and spots to see in France. Leave us a comment on what you would rather do and see! Much Aloha and Mahalo for reading!