Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with over 30 million foreign visitors per year. Besides the well-known landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum, the City of Light offers a wealth of other breathtaking, graceful and majestic marvels to behold. Below you will enjoy a list of the 30 most beautiful and must-see places in Paris. See also Top Museums in Paris and Top Fun Places in Paris for Kids!
The Eiffel Tower is Paris’s most famous landmark and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Visited by more than 5 million people each year, it is the most visited entrance-paying monument on the planet. The 300-metre-tall (984 ft.) tower was meant to last only for the duration of the World Exhibition in 1889. But despite all protests from those who feared that it would not fit into the architecture of Paris, it still stands today and it is actually hard to think someone visiting Paris without seeing this icon.
The Musée du Louvre is a must stop for those going to Paris. It is a retreat that appeals to both lovers of art, as well as to common people who, after a day touring the museum become art lovers. It is one of the greatest art museums in the world, with representative examples from almost every civilization on Earth. Its architecture is an artwork itself, where a giant 21-meter-glass Pyramid rises from the ground contrasting to the palace’s classical lines.
The Pantheon Paris is one of the most noticeable monuments of the city. Sitting atop Mont Sainte Geneviève, it looks out over the entire city. Once a church, today it is a mausoleum where martyrs and illustrious Frenchmen are buried. This is a vast neoclassic building, modeled on the Pantheon in Rome. It has a massive portico of Corinthian columns façade surmounted by a huge dome and a very ornate marble interior.
4 – Palais Garnier
Photo by: Degrémont Anthony – Wikimedia Commons
The luxurious Palais Garnier is one of the most famous opera houses in the world, partly due to its use as the setting for “The Phantom of the Opera” novel. The building is of exceptional opulence, vast and rich decorated with velvet and gold leaf. Some of its famous features include the gold Grand Foyer with its innumerous chandeliers, the 30m/98ft-marble Grand Staircase and the auditorium’s magnificent chandelier, which weighs more than six tons.
The Moulin Rouge is the most famous cabaret in the world. Built in 1889, it is a legendary parisian landmark marked by the famous red windmill on its roof. Best known for the can-can dance, the Moulin Rouge is a tourist destination that offers musical dance entertainment for visitors from around the world. The sumptuous shows are full of feathers, shinestones, sequins and beautiful girls.
6 – Galeries Lafayette Paris
Galeries Lafayette is a must-stop for those who love shopping. It houses the most prestigious names in fashion, jewelry, cosmetics and home decoration. Housed in a stunning Art Nouveau building, this 10-story French department store worth the visit even if you don’t intend to shop. It is especially enchanting on Christmas, when a huge Christmas tree is placed under the famous coloured glass dome, and wonderful lights decorate the store inside and out.
The Grand Palais was constructed in just three years and is best known for its enormous glass roof, which is the biggest in Europe. It is currently the largest existing ironwork and glass structure in the world: a beautiful combination of a classicist stone facade, art-nouveau ironwork and glass. The building is separated into three distinct areas: an event hall, the Nef du Grand Palais, a science museum, the Palais de la Découverte and an exposition hall, the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais.
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris and the second largest triumphal arch in the world. It is located at the end of the Champs-Elysées, one of the most famous avenues in the world, and in the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle, a large circular square from which 12 streets emanate. It honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars.
The magnificent Palace of Versailles was the official residence of the French kings from 1682 until 1790. The Palace and its magnificent formal garden became a model of the ideal royal residence for over a century in Europe. Its most notable features include: the ostentatious bedrooms, the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel, the Queen’s bedroom, the Geometric Garden, and the Latona Fountain.
The Centre Pompidou houses Europe’s most important museum of modern art, the Musée National d’Art Moderne, and one of the world’s most significant art galleries. Completely focused on modern and contemporary creation, it broke with conventions by placing coloured functional elements such as escalators, water pipes and air conditioning to the outside of the building, freeing interior space for the display of art works.