Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and the grounds are well known. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the majestic Palace of Versailles, past the must-see museums of Orsay and the Louvre, there is no shortage of Paris attractions - such as museums and historic monuments.
Given the popularity of Paris as a travel destination, the large visit the main attractions of Paris can be a problem. Fortunately, there is a way to mitigate this inconvenience.
Get to know the best attractions of Paris and learn how to visit the most emblematic museums and monuments no rows.
This text is part of a series produced with the support of GetYourGuide, with the aim of recommending the main tourist attractions in ten destinations around the world. In many of these museums, palaces, cathedrals and other monuments, the visit can benefit from the advance purchase of tickets.
What to see in Paris
#1 Louvre Museum
Surely one of the most important art museums in the world, the Louvre Museum is truly impressive. In addition to the Mona Lisa, perhaps the most mediatic painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and the Venus de Milo, a marble statue from ancient Greek times, the museum exhibits numerous Renaissance masterpieces, relics of Ancient Egypt and a vast ensemble of paintings from the 13th to the 20th century.
Get ready to walk a lot - that the Louvre Museum is one of those Paris attractions where, most likely, it will take longer than you imagined.
To visit the Louvre Museum wasting less time in the queues, Just buy the ticket in advance. It currently costs 20 €, and allows access to the museum by a special entrance for visitors with early admission (after passing the mandatory security check). Ticket has a scheduled time, and does not include audio guide.
For a more exclusive experience, consider visiting the Louvre Museum in a GetYourGuide Originals Tour. Originals are towers led by selected local guides, who allow changes in schedules if plans change and the money back if not completely satisfied.
#2 Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable icons of France and, unsurprisingly, one of the most visited monuments in the world. It was built as an entrance arch at the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris; and so named in honor of Gustave Eiffel, the famed French designer who conceived the iron monument.
For visitors, the Eiffel Tower offers three distinct levels, all overlooking the heart of Paris crossed by the River Seine. A must see.
#3 Palace and Gardens of Versailles
Another of the main attractions of Paris, the Palace of Versailles does not leave anyone indifferent. Located about half an hour by train from the center of Paris, Versailles was little more than a small village; until Louis XIII decided there to build a hunting refuge. Gradually, with the expansion of the castle, Versailles became one of the symbols of the current regime, having Louis XIV transformed Versailles into the residence of the royal family around 1682.
A visit to the Palace of Versailles thus provides a glimpse into the life of the French court at the time. Not to mention the well-preserved gardens, filled with fountains, sculptures and gardens that are worthy of the best European landscape architects.
To visit Versailles with full access to the complex - Palace of Versailles, Domaine de Marie Antoinette, Trianon and Palace Gardens -, enough buy the ticket in advance. The ticket currently costs 20 € and includes an audio guide available in 11 languages (including Portuguese).
#4 Orsay Museum
Installed in an old railway station, the building of the Musée d'Orsay would, in itself, be worth the visit. In any case, the museum displays names of European painting and sculpture, such as the artists Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch and Auguste Rodin. others.
Being one of the main attractions of Paris in what concerns museums, it is worth considering a strategy that allows to reduce the time lost in the queues of access to the museum.
#5 Arc de Triomphe
Located at the base of the Arc de Triomphe, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier pays homage to the 1,3 millions of French soldiers who died in World War I.
Symbolism aside, climbing to the existing rooftop terrace is well worth the effort (despite the 284 steps). From there, from the top of its 50 meters, the view on the main Parisian avenues is overwhelming. One more place to see in Paris!
Located on the so-called City Island, Sainte-Chapelle is a Gothic chapel built in the mid-13th century, famous for the incredible stone-framed stained glass windows that brighten the interior. Without a doubt, one of the attractions of Paris absolutely not to be missed.
To visit Sainte-Chapelle without wasting time in the queues, just buy the ticket in advance. Note that in this case, it is worth buying the Combined Sainte-Chapelle and Conciergerie (no queue).
#7 Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs of Paris are a system of tunnels existing in the basement of the French capital; officially designated as Les Carrières de Paris. The system, active since the period of Roman occupation, is about 400km long and will be the result of centuries of quarrying. It is therefore organized in various sectors of tunnels and underground caves.
In one of these sectors of the catacombs, there is a giant underground ossuary where the presence of remains of five to seven million people is estimated. This is one of the most visited areas of the catacombs - and currently one of the main attractions of Paris.
Note about the Cathedral of Notre Dame
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is one of Paris's ex-libris but the tragic 2019 March accident left it severely damaged; and of course, closed to tourism. That is the reason why it is not on this list of main attractions in Paris.
Attractions in Paris: useful tips
Se travels to Paris with children, a visit to Disneyland Paris is key. Here's how to get the ticket for 1 Day for Disneyland Paris. For other suggestions, see Lina Hauteville's tips on Things to do in Paris.
Paris Museum Pass: Worth It Or Not Worth It?
Of course, it depends. If you plan to visit many of the major attractions of Paris and its surroundings, it is natural to buy the Paris Museum Pass compense. The pass exists in the versions of two, four or six days; and includes access to sites such as the Louvre Museum, the Palace of Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, the Pompidou Center, the Sainte-Chapelle and the Musée d'Orsay. Knowing What to see in Paris, is a matter of doing the math. The cost of the Paris Museum Pass starts at 53 €.
Buy your tickets in advance
Due to the high number of tourists visiting Paris, it can be difficult to get into some of Paris' most popular attractions quickly. I therefore recommend that, whenever possible, choose tickets to avoid queues.
They are naturally more expensive than normal tickets, but they are worth every extra penny (no one wants to stay for two hours waiting to board the Eiffel Tower or enter the Louvre!). Buy tickets on-line for the main attractions of Paris, before traveling, has, therefore, several advantages over buying on the spot. To know:
- In most cases, you can avoid the long queues of museums, monuments and other attractions of Paris;
- The additional cost is ridiculous (no one wants to wait an hour or two to enter a museum!);
- O voucher is sent by e-mail and, in most cases, you do not even need to print (just show in the smartphone).
For me the only disadvantage of buying tickets to museums and attractions in advance is the loss of some flexibility during your stay in Paris. This is in case the visits to the attractions are scheduled.
Be that as it may, this is the price to pay for the comfort of not having to buy tickets on time; and especially avoid the queues. In these cases (which require scheduling), the ideal is perhaps to mark the visits for the beginning of the day, leaving the rest free to discover the city at your own pace.
All in all, I highly recommend the early purchase of Paris attractions. I do this regularly in my travels!
Paris is one of the most connected European capitals by air, so, wherever you are, you will have no trouble getting to the city. See my tips for finding cheap flights and enjoy.
Where to stay
Being Paris a territorially immense city - and a very expensive destination - I recommend reading the text where to stay in Paris (shortly), where I speak of the best neighborhoods to stay in the French capital according to your tastes and available budget. Alternatively, search all available hotels using the link below.
A World Nomads offers one of the best and most complete travel insurance recommended by National Geographic and Lonely Planet. Other excellent and cheaper option is IATI Seguros, which has no age limit and allows multivariate insurance (including long-term travel) to any destination in the world. It's the insurance I use in my travels.