Paris, the City of Light, offers a treasure trove of cultural, historical and artistic experiences. With countless gems to discover, highlighting just 5 must-see places for your first visit can seem like a challenging task. However, here I bring together a selection of sites that represent the essence and distinctive charm of this magnificent city.
The capital of France is one of my cities that I never get bored of visiting, even a while ago I stayed in the city for about 3 months and I always discovered something different that made me fall in love with Paris even more. My stay during that time was practically learning French, but spending time with Argentines, Brazilians and Australians, it became a little difficult to learn when it became easier for me to speak their languages :)… but hey, that would be another post.
For some reason, especially when I visit for a short time, I always go with someone different, so it became easy for me to think about what are those 5 must-see places for your first visit in Paris:
1. The Eiffel Tower: The iconic Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris and one of the most recognizable monuments in the world, so obviously this is the 1st option. Climb to the top for stunning panoramic views of the city or simply admire its grandiose structure from the surrounding gardens. I have probably gone up 3 times and I have to say that although the wait is long since many want to do the same, it is to see the sunset from above, the city takes your breath away. However, to avoid so many people, try to visit before 10am or just after sunset, at night. You can buy tickets online before visiting.
2. Louvre Museum: Considered one of the largest and most visited museums in the world, the Louvre houses an unparalleled collection of art and culture. From the Mona Lisa to the Victory of Samothrace, this place will immerse you in history and artistic beauty. I recommend 2 options, see which one seems best to you, 1) get the Paris Museum Pass to access all the museums (here’s the site to get it) that you can buy it for 2, 4 or 6 days, or buy the Louvre ticket alone (here’s their official site) to avoid long lines when you arrive.
3. Notre Dame Cathedral: Despite recent restorations, the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral remains an architectural marvel. Explore its ornate façade and discover the Gothic elements that make it a fundamental piece of French history. And nearby, although very touristy, is the famous Latin Quarter. (Quartier Latin), although for my tastes I recommend visiting a little more local Saint-Germain-des-Prés which is there next to it. According to the official website, the Cathedral will reopen on December 8, 2024.
4. Montmartre: This bohemian neighborhood has a unique atmosphere, with its cobblestone streets, quaint cafes and the iconic Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. Go up the hill to the basilica and experience with pleasure the panoramic views of the city. Although, I confess, the first time I visited this place was on my last visit, after about 4 times.
5. Luxembourg Garden: This beautiful park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Its manicured gardens, ponds and statues offer a tranquil and charming atmosphere in the middle of bustling Paris. Although the most popular is Jardin des Tuileries since it’s very closed to the famous Champs-Élysées avenue, Jardin du Luxembourg is definitely my favorite in the city. But hey, when visiting Tuileries from the Louvre, go for a stroll along the entire avenue until you reach the Arc de Triomphe.
These 5 places seem to me to be unmissable at least for a first visit to Paris and are just a small sample of the wonders that the city has to offer. Definitely charming places, each of them contributes to the magic and history that make this metropolis such a captivating destination for travelers from all over the world.
What other spot would you add to this list?