- 1st: Louvre
- 2nd: Bourse
- 3rd: Temple
- 4th: Marais, Ile-St-Louis
- 5th: Latin Quarter
- 6th: St-Germain, Luxembourg
- 7th: Eiffel Tower, d'Orsay
- 8th: Opera, Champs Elysees
- 9th: Opera, Shopping
- 10th: Canal St Martin
- 11th: Bastille, Oberkampf
- 12th: Bastille
- 13th: Place Italie, Chinatown
- 14th: Montparnasse
- 15th: Montparnasse
- 16th: Trocadero, Bois de Boulogne
- 17th: Batignolles, Monceau
- 18th: Montmartre, Sacre Coeur
- 19th: Belleville, Villette
- 20th: Pere Lachaise
- La Défense
- Paris Boat Tours
- Places of Worship in Paris
Paris may be known as the City of Light, but it's also the City of Passion. Lovers of language, architecture, culture and history will find plenty to feed their passions in the French capital.
The Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau reports these are the Most Visited Paris Museums & Monuments:
4. Tour Eiffel
10. Arc de Triomphe
To the north is the charming Montmartre, with the magnificent church of Sacré-Coeur contrasted with the lusty and exotic area of Pigalle. To the south is Montparnasse, home to countless artistic and intellectual movements of the last century. To the west is the massive park, the Bois de Boulogne and to the east, another beautiful Parisian park, the Bois de Vincennes, both gloriously huge nature areas where lovers nestle during the day.
And in the very center are all the wonderful must-does: the top two Paris museums, the Louvre and d'Orsay; the majestic Eiffel Tower; the historical Notre Dame Cathedral; the romantic Place des Vosges; the very ritzy Place Vendôme (with the Ritz Hotel); Place de la Concorde, which offers one of the best views of Paris, the Meurice and Crillon Hotels (and where Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were beheaded); the gorgeous view up the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe; a catnap in the ultimate Parisian gardens, the Jardin des Tuileries and the Jardin du Luxembourg; strolls around the small and charming streets and the medieval Carnavalet Museumin the Marais; take a café crème and people watch in the perfect Paris neighborhood of St.-Germain-des-Prés; a photograph session in front of the domed opera house, Palais Garnier, and go inside to see the Marc Chagall painted ceiling; and a moment of awe when you walk over Pont Alexandre III towards the golden-domed Les Invalides.
Twenty arrondissement (districts) spiral out from the plate-sized landmark Point Zero in the middle of Paris (in front of Notre Dame Cathedral), from where every village in France is measured. Paris is the most densely populated major city in the developed world (two and a half times denser than New York), 65 square miles where tremendously varied inhabitants add new character every day. According to the City of Paris statistics in 2011, more than 2.1 Million residents live in the City proper with a total of more than 11 million including surrounding Île de Paris area. Tourism is the city's biggest industry, with more than 27 million visitors annually.
When it comes to weather in Paris, be prepared for the unpredictable. Winter can bring snow, but rain is more likely. August can be stifling (95°F and above), but the average temperature is a pleasant 53°F.
Parisians get a bad rap for being rude, but this is simply a cultural misunderstanding. Just as we would consider not accepting a hand shake to be rude, they tend to consider a simple, "Can you help me?" discourteous without the customary intro tag line. Open their verbal doors with the right key "Excusez-moi de vous déranger" ("I'm sorry to disturb you"), and they'll charm the pants off you.
Destinations in the Paris
Paris - 1st Arrondissement
The 1st arrondissement is home to the Louvre‑the world's largest, most exquisite art museum. How best to see the Louvre is your prerogative, but BonjourParis highly recommends not entering through architect I.M. Pei’s pyramid because there are many other entrances that will bring you to the Mona Lisa much faster. Although Leonardo’s iconic lady is a must-see, your first glimpse of the Winged Victory of Samothrace atop the marble Daru staircase‑placed where it is the epitome of magnificence‑will change something in you in an indescribably, good way.
Paris - 2nd Arrondissement
First and foremost, the second is the financial district of France, housing the French stock exchange—La Bourse de Paris. The one site tourists tend to visit the most is the Bibliothèque Nationale—admittedly this it tends to be a spot people visit if they're going past it on their way to other destinations or they've been to Paris countless times and want to explore more.
Those who love to rent apartments when they visit Paris will often choose to rent on or near rue Montorgeuil, because the market is fantastic. The covered passages and shops (Galerie Colbert, Passage des Panoramas, Galerie Vivienne) are delightful places to happen upon, and, of course, Les Halles (watch out for pickpockets) and the Grands Boulevards are hot spots for shopaholics.
Paris - 3rd Arrondissement
When people talk about wanting to live in the Marais, it's generally the quieter 3rd arrondissement they’re talking about, but it is not without its must-sees. Museum lovers will often choose Musée Picasso after the Louvre and d'Orsay, and Musée Carnavalet follows as a close fourth.
Paris - 4th Arrondissement
The 4th arrondissement has one of Paris's must-see jewels: the charmingly gorgeous square, Place des Vosges. Grab a fresh baguette, your favorite cheese, sliced saucisson, et voila, a Paris picnic on a budget. There is so much to enjoy here.
Paris - 5th Arrondissement
Home to the Sorbonne University, the 5th is considered the real Latin Quarter. St. Michel is the busy bustling area nearest the Seine, the closer you get to the border of the 6th, the more charming medieval alleys you'll find yourself in. But the 5th also shares part of the Luxembourg Garden with the 6th, and that’s an area not to be ignored.
Paris - 6th Arrondissement
Bonjour Paris, indeed! For the majority of Parisians and those who travel to Paris religiously, the 6th arrondissement is the perfect neighborhood made of three important areas: the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Garden and the village of Saint Germain des Pres.
Paris - 7th Arrondissement
The first destination stop for those heading to Paris for the first time will almost always be the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement. Seeing the majestic tower is almost surreal‑and certainly exciting. Go early in the day so you avoid long lines, or run up the 1,665 steps of the East pillar. Once you get up top, you'll have this gorgeous view of Paris—without the Eiffel Tower in it! BonjourParis suggests that it’s best to arrive first thing in the morning or in the evening after sunset to savor the views and beat the lines. The light show starts up after dark, every hour on the hour for five minutes and it is not to be missed.
Paris - 8th Arrondissement
For the visitors who have waited all their lives to find themselves in Paris, standing on the famous boulevard Champs Elysées will bring, perhaps, the biggest thrill of all. It’s so, well, Paris! It will also bring elbow-to-elbow tourists from around the world and sodas that cost an arm and a leg if you’re too entranced not to sit down at one of the cafes. Keep walking!
Paris - 9th Arrondissement
The 9th arrondissement offers everything from exquisite elegance—the Opéra Garnier —to the sleaziest side of Paris—Pigalle.
Paris - 10th Arrondissement
The tenth offers the Canal St-Martin for those who want to cycle, stroll tree-lined promenades, cross iron footbridges, or quietly savor coffee at an outside café.
One interesting alternative to the popular boat trips along the Seine is a river cruise on the Canal St-Martin. The cruises depart from nearby Port de l'Arsenal (11th), cruise through the Canal St-Martin and finish at Le Basin de la Villette (19th).
Paris - 11th Arrondissement
If nothing else, the 11th arrondissement is the capitol of Paris Nightlife. The suburbanites tend to rush to the Bastille to dance and drink, while the city centrists tend to hit the doors in the Oberkampf. These are the hip neighborhoods of Paris where the youth of Paris go to play and live because they can actually afford to be here.
Paris - 12th arrondissement
A trip into this arrondissement on the swanky ultra-futuristic metro line 14 from Madeleine to Halles de Bercy (aka Bercy Village with its hectares of refurbished white wine warehouses) is another wonderful option for visitors to Paris. The shops and restaurants at Bercy tend to be French chains, but there are tons of them, and all have outside seating and you travel via the very cool, Météor (métro sans driver), where you were able to rest your weary legs.
Paris - 13th Arrondissement
The 13th arrondissement is probably best known by locals as having a hopping nightlife around the Seine. There's also the larger Chinatown here (most don't know about the one in Belleville in the 20th), adjacent to the village-like district, Butte aux Cailles, here on the Left Bank.
Many consider the Paris 14th the most exciting of the outer snail-wrapped arrondissement. Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre, and Guy de Maupassant, to name but a few, didn't only live and love the 14th, they're buried in its famous Montparnasse Cemetery. It is here that you will three of the most popular Paris restaurants favored by travelers: Le Dôme Café, La Closerie des Lilas and La Coupole.
Paris - 15th Arrondissement
A residential neighborhood (and a section of Montparnasse), the 15th arrondissement might be best left for those needing a less expensive hotel, or those who are on their second trip to Paris and are ready to explore more than the usual tourist sites. But once here, what should you do? Start at Parc Andre Citroen and take a ride in the world's largest hot air balloon (actually, it's really helium). For those who crave museums, you can't go wrong with the Musée Pasteur, where you can view many of the scientists instruments and scientific work, and afterward, stroll outside to find his rather wild mausoleum. France's largest exhibition center, the Parc des Expositions can be found here. If you have absolutely nothing better to do, you can always visit the not so exciting Tour Montparnasse (think the Empire State Building without any charm). You'll get to see all of Paris, but usually through a very hazy sky.
Paris - 16th Arrondissement
If arrondissements were women, the 16th would be the exquisite Catherine Deneuve—cool, with that certain je ne sais quoi, wearing Chanel, pearls and sipping Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Being haute residental, most people tend to ignore this arrondissement's tourist side—and for the most part, that's understandable. But if you've already been to Paris once, the 16th might be the next best arrondissement to explore.
Paris - 17th Arrondissement
Lovers of French Impressionist Claude Monet's work will want this to be a must-do on their schedule, as five of his important works were painted here. There are other delightful surprises too: a windmill, a pyramid, an oriental fort, les colonnades, a grand rotunda, an art nouveau entrance gate, gorgeous flowers in season, quite a few playgrounds and statues of famous Frenchmen peppered throughout. All this and it comes with free Wi-Fi access too.
Paris - 18th Arrondissement
As far away from the center of the city (a good 30-minute metro ride‑60 minutes roundtrip) a place can be and still be in Paris, the 18th arrondissement remains a must-visit for many tourists. Here one can find Montmartre, with Place du Tertre and its crank-em-out artists—see the square, but save your money for Espace Dali at nearby 11, rue Poulbot to check out the Salvador's surrealist sculptures; or head to 12, rue Cortot to visit the former home of Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Maurice Utrillow, now the Musée de Montmartre, and worth a quickie 30 minutes in and out for a hat's off to the artists and Bohemians who made this area what it is today.
Paris - 19th Arrondissement
Like every major city, neighborhoods change to reflect its residents and the bustling 19th has changed for the better. Once you've seen the major Paris landmarks, hit the 19th's thriving ethnic cafés, bars, shops and art galleries. Some say Belleville park is the best place to snap skyline photos of the Eiffel Tower and Paris sunsets.
Paris - 20th Arrondissement
The 20th Arrondissement is a gentrifying quartier of Paris where a returning visitor can see another side of Paris. Visit the area and find a mix of ethnic and traditional restaurants, old-time wine bars and funky cocktail bars plus shops and studios tucked into alleys with cobblestone paths. Originally a rural area of Paris, over time two bordering villages grew into the 20th arrondissement with neighborhoods Belleville, Ménilmontant Charonne, Père-Lachaise and Saint-Fargeau. Belleville is a lively up-and-coming area favored by young and young-at-heart alike. Some considered Belleville a bit far from Paris center to rent an apartment or hotel room, there is charm to be found here and, if you don't mind the extra travel on the metro, the bargain for budget travelers is astoundingly good.
The Batobus serves the eight following stops: Eiffel Tower, Musée d'Orsay, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Notre Dame, Jardin des Plantes, Hôtel de Ville, Louvre, and Champs Élysées.
For something completely opposite from what is perceived as typically Parisian, take the metro just outside the city to the La Défense. This ultra-modern industrial park looks as if the architects and artists of the Pompidou museum were given free reign to decorate an entire neighborhood at their whimsy. The main attractions of the area is the Grande Arche de la Défense, which echoes its older and smaller sister, the Arc de Triomphe, which also sits in front of it along the voie royale, and can be seen far off from La Défense. The newer arch boasts an unrivaled size, however, as Notre Dame cathedral could fit under its arch. Get off the metro at Esplanade de la Défense and walk along the esplanade to get to the arch, so you have the opportunity to look at all of the quirky modern sculptures along the way, from colorful fountains, to mirrored-balls, to colorful sculptures nestled between (and the same size as) skyscrapers.
The Seine riverscape is lined with old quays, crossed by 37 beautiful bridges and many famous sights line its banks. Why not take a view of Paris from the water? The beauty of the experience will last a lifetime.
Travelers are welcome at many places of worship in and around Paris. Here is our guide to some places of worship in Paris popular with travelers. Sites are alphabetically listed and, although not a complete list, include several denominations.