When you’re trying to plan what to see in Paris you could well find yourself spoilt for choice. A city brimming with culture, style and romance, it draws millions of tourists every year - all searching for the best places in Paris to visit and usually fighting against a tight schedule at the same time.
From world famous lures such as the Eiffel Tower, to hidden gems such as the Crypte Archeologique, there are so many things to do in Paris that a long weekend just isn’t enough!
So if you’re planning to visit this romantic hub and want to make the most of your trip, then our selection of the top places to visit in Paris could be just the thing for you. We’ve put together an expert selection highlighting what to see in Paris on a short trip, with our top ten places to visit stacked alongside a few additional recommendations that didn’t quite make the cut but shouldn’t be ignored if you have more time.
And if that’s not enough, you can even explore our full list of sites in Paris to your heart’s content.
Ok, ten out or ten for stating the obvious. Everyone puts the Eiffel Tower top of the list of things to see in Paris. But with good reason, because the Eiffel Tower is a place you just can’t miss. From its looming construction to its stunning views of the city and just the general energy and buzz of the place, it really does live up to the billing.
While most people come to this city for romance, there’s a darker side to be found… This underground burial complex houses six million skeletons dating to the 18th century. Stacked in endless corridors, it’s a fascinating and haunting place. If you have the courage, it’s one of the most interesting places in Paris to see.
Firmly seated among the most famous places to visit in Paris, you could spend your entire trip exploring the Louvre. It is vast and packed full of masterpieces at every turn. So do you zip through to see the highlights – the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo et al - or do you take your time and risk joining the collection…
The Pantheon's in Rome right? True, but it’s also in Paris. At least, the Paris Pantheon is in Paris. Makes sense, if you think about it. The Paris Pantheon is a church turned mausoleum and resting place of France’s famous. Little visited, it’s a magnificent building and ranks as one of the best things to do in Paris.
A monument to the decadence of royalty and a constant draw for vast numbers of visitors, Versailles is simply astonishing. And if the massive opulent palace isn’t enough, the gardens will simply blow your mind. Representing ostentatiousness beyond measure, it’s clearly one of the very best places to visit in Paris.
Standing at the very heart of the city, Notre Dame is an iconic cathedral and a staple entry on any list of what to see in Paris. With its looming ceilings and magnificent stained-glass windows, it's a wonderful place to visit. Its fame and location leave it slightly over-glorified, but it's genuinely impressive all the same.
This cemetery is not the most obvious of things to do in Paris, and yet it has a strange allure. As well as many famous figures and military grandees found here, and alongside ornate and elaborate tombs, are a number of graves which have become cult destinations – principally the burials of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
One of the city’s best hidden gems is the Crypte Archeologique – an underground museum of Roman Paris. Indeed, few people even think of Roman ruins among the interesting places in Paris to visit. This site is more curious as it's directly below Notre Dame; yet of the thousands above, barely dozens descend its steps.
If there was ever an example of good things in small packages then Sainte Chapelle is it. A 13th century church, its beautiful upper chapel is formed of intricate stained-glass windows and a richly decorated ceiling. It’s easily one of the top ten Paris places to visit and really has to be seen to be appreciated.
A hidden gem in the heart of Paris, Musee de Cluny is a medieval museum nestling within an ancient Roman bath complex. In fact, this tucked away treasure is one of the very best remnants of the ancient Roman city which would become Paris. If you’re seeking interesting places to visit in Paris, this is hard to beat.
Another very obvious entry on the list of what to see in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. An iconic landmark, you can’t really come to the city without seeing it, and you can get some excellent views of Paris from the top.
Tucked away among cramped modern streets, the remains of this Roman amphitheatre are well worth a passing look. Though not the best roman ruin on the planet, it’s nevertheless centrally located and easy to get to. It may not the most obvious of places to see in Paris, but it’s definitely a quick one to add to the list.
While there’s no doubt that walking the Champs Elysees is one of the most clichéd things to do in Paris, it’s still worth the stroll. From the Arc de Triomphe to the shops and attractions there’s quite a bit to do. And standing at the top of the Champs Elysees to take a photo remains an unmissable tourist activity.
The Basilica of St Denis is often overlooked by visitors and overshadowed by Notre Dame. Yet it was here that French royalty was laid to rest and, despite destruction during the Revolution, this royal necropolis can still be seen. Combined with stunning architecture, this is one place in Paris that is well worth a visit.
The country home of Napoleon Bonaparte, Chateau de Malmaison is one of the most famous grand houses in Paris. Containing impressive collections and a deep sense of history built around the renowned footsteps which graced its halls, this iconic property is on the outskirts of the city but is worth the effort.
As impressive for the architecture as for the history and exhibits, this famous former prison lies in the heart of the city. You can still visit the old prison, including Marie Antoinette’s cell, and its convenient location means it often appears on most itineraries of places in Paris to visit.
Originally a military hospital, Les Invalides is a large complex of buildings and monuments which houses museums, a hospital and a home for war veterans. However, it is the tall chapel dome and the tomb of one of the country’s most famous figures, Napoleon I, that perhaps ranks it among the most famous places in Paris.
It doesn’t take long to see Place de la Concorde, indeed it’s just a quick stop along the route along Paris’s famous places. And yet in terms of history, it’s hard to find a spot in the city which witnessed such momentous moments. For it was here that King Louis XVI was executed in 1793, an act that sent shockwaves across the world.
You pretty much have to visit Pont Neuf when you come to this city. Almost all the most famous places to see in Paris require that you walk over it one way or the other. It’s the oldest bridge in the city and a great spot to snap some pictures.
For a building which is so renowned, the remains of the Bastille are curiously obscure. Lying almost entirely forgotten at the edge of a tiny park, the last remnants of this famous prison are marked only with a small plaque. If you’re looking for things to see in Paris that most people miss, this is one gem worth seeing.