I’m so happy that two weeks ago I finally visited Paris for the first time and spent five incredible days exploring this beautiful city, walking for hours every day, taking lots of photos and eating way too many croissants and macarons (I miss that already). If you haven’t been to Paris and you’re planning on visiting soon, you’ll probably want to see as many landmarks in the City of Lights as possible, so I’ve put together a list of my personal favourites to help you narrow things down a bit. There are things I haven’t yet seen or done in Paris, but for a first visit I managed to tick a lot off my list.
The Eiffel Tower – The 324m-high 19th century tower is one of Paris’ most iconic symbols and probably #1 on your list. I’d highly recommend getting the lift to the top; there’s admission fee and if you haven’t booked a ticket online, you might need to wait in line for over an hour, but the view from the top is definitely worth it. And make sure you see the Eiffel Tower at night when it’s lit up, as it is a spectacular sight.
Notre-Dame Cathedral – This unique gothic cathedral in the heart of Paris is a must-see. It’s beautiful inside and outside and you don’t have to pay an entrance fee, unless you want to climb the steps to the top from where you can see other famous landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe and Montmartre. I didn’t do this due to extremely cold and windy weather that day (end of November), but it’s something I want to do next time I visit Paris.
The Louvre – The world’s largest art museum with a vast collection of about 35,000 pieces (if you haven’t been there you probably can’t imagine the enormity of it) including the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace also known as Nike of Samothrace. There’s so much to see in this massive museum, so you’ll need to plan a half day to a full day to spend there.
Arc de Triomphe – This national monument is truly magnificent and I don’t think that the photos do it justice. It is so elaborately designed and beautifully engraved and if you climb to the top, you’ll have a spectacular view of Paris. The observation deck is at 50m height and there’s no lift to take you up there, but seeing the Eiffel Tower, La Defense and the Champs Elysees from the top of the arch is so worth climbing those 284 steps.
Champs-Élysées – A stroll down the Champs-Élysées is a must when you’re in Paris. This famous avenue runs from the Arc de Triomphe through the Place the la Concorde and reaches the Louvre. It’s bordered by cafes, shops and theatres and as you can imagine, it’s very busy and has a pretty commercial atmosphere with predominantly high street shops, like Sephora, Gap, Zara and H&M, and a few high end ones, like Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton (this is the LV flagship store which is beautiful and definitely worth a visit). If you’re looking for a quiet luxury shopping experience in Paris, you might not find that on Champs-Élysées, so I’d recommend Avenue Montaigne. With the likes of Chanel, Celine, Dior and Gucci it’s the ultimate high end fashion destination in Paris.
I’m ending this post here, as I don’t want to make it too long, but there will be a second part coming soon with more beautiful places that you need to visit in Paris.