Top 10 Things To Do In Paris, France
Ah, Paris, one of our most favorite cities. It is one of those cities that has a special feel to it – that you can only find in that city. The monuments, the architecture and elaborate rooftops, the tree-lined streets all combine to, well, feel Parisian! There are so many things to do in Paris!
Paris is the capital of the country of France. Located along the Seine River in the center of the country, it is known as the City of Light.
Its name comes from a Celtic tribe called the Parisii, who settled on the Ile de la Cite in the 3rd century BC. They named their village, Lutetia, “boatyard on a river.”
Here are my favorite Things to Do in Paris!
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France is one of our favorites and one of the most famous landmarks in the world. It’s not only “must-see” – but also a “you can’t help but see” because it is the tallest structures in the city and visible from all over the city. It’s as tall as an 81-story skyscraper building.
Gustave Eiffel designed the Eiffel Tower. Initially built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair (1889 l’Exposition Universelle), it was intended to showcase French engineering. It was meant to be temporary and taken down but has been there ever since.
More about The Eiffel Tower.
The Champs-Élysées (pronounced shawn zay-lee-ZAY) is a very famous street that runs between the Arc de Triomphe and Place De La Concorde. It’s name means ‘of the Elysian Fields’ (a mythical Greek heaven for heros).
This tree-lined street is chock-a-block full, from end-to-end with shops and cafes. While a bit touristy, this 2 miles (3km) is still one of the most famous streets in the world where you’ll find national and international companies with shops to showcase and sell their products.
More about Champs-Élysées.
Paris has so many famous and memorable monuments and buildings. The very medieval Notre-Dame Cathedral (pronounced noh-truh DAHM) is – for sure – one of them! In French, Notre-Dame means “Our Lady” so the cathedral’s name means “Our Lady of Paris.”
You will notice Notre-Dame has so many arches, statues, intricate details, gargoyles, and stained-glass windows – this style of building – or architecture – is called “French Gothic.” Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the world’s most famous Gothic cathedrals. It took 170 years to build.
More about the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Pronounced TWEE-luh-ree Garden, this gorgeous public park was once the gardens of the Tuileries Palace. In 1667, the Tuileries Garden became the first royal garden open to the public! Now it’s where Parisians and visitors come to walk and relax.
The Garden is located between Place De La Concorde and the Louvre Museum.
More about Tuileries Garden.
The Seine (pronounced seyn) is the long river winding through Paris, dividing the city into two sections, the “Left Bank” to the south and the “Right Bank” to the north. The full river runs 483 miles (777 km) long through France.
A Celtic tribe settled along this river in the 3rd century BC and named their village, Lutetia, “boatyard on a river.”
More about the Seine River.
In addition to easily spotting the Eiffel Tower, you will notice a hill in the North part of the city with a big white church on it. This is Montmartre (mohnt-mah-truh), the highest point in the city and a great neighborhood for a leisurely few hours.
You can head to Montmartre by taking the Metro (Paris’ subway system). To get up the hill, you can walk up the 270 steps – or take the more fun way to the top – the Funicular, it’s a tram that goes UP a hill! You can find it at the end of Rue Foyatier.
When you get to the top, you will be at the beautiful white Sacré-Cœur Basilica. (See more on it in number 7). Up here – high above the city – you get a fantastic view of the w-h-o-l-e city of Paris.
More about Montmartre.
Sacré-Coeur (pronounced sah-kray-kurr) is one of France’s most important Roman Catholic buildings. The Basilica (another name for a church) is based in Roman architecture and took over 40 years to build. (That’s more than it took to build the Parthenon but not as much time as it took to build Notre-Dame!)
More about the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.
The Louvre (pronounced LOO-vruh) is the most popular and largest museum in the world. It was once one of France’s largest palaces and Napoleon turned it into the museum.
It is chockablock full of very famous works of art (35,000!) including the most renowned painting in the world, the Mona Lisa.
There is SO much to see in this museum, it would take at least 9 months to try and see every piece of artwork.
When visiting the Louvre, it is best to have a map to find your way around, and guidebook – or personal guide – to learn the story behind the art!
More about the Louvre Museum.
Of course, another must-see in Paris is the Mona Lisa! This famous Portrait of Lisa Gherardini (wife of Florentine Francesco del Giocondo) is called La Gioconda or Mona Lisa and was painted by the famous Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci between 1503 and 1506.
It is said to be the best known, most visited, most written about work of art in the world. It was also da Vinci’s favorite painting! It is the Renaissance master’s only known surviving work of portraiture.
Read more about the Mona Lisa.
At the end of the Champs-Élysées is another very famous Paris monument, the majestic Arc de Triomphe. It is a very tall archway, inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome, Italy… but the one in Paris is three times bigger. It’s 164 feet (50m) high.
More about the Arc de Triomphe.