It is difficult to pick out 10 reasons why Paris should be near the top of your bucket list – there are possibly a hundred reasons! But here are our top 10 favorites:
Eiffel Tower (Bigstock)
1. Eiffel Tower. Who doesn’t think Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower in their mind? It is actually the most visited paid monument in the world. Built in 1889 for a World’s Fair, this structure, still the tallest in the city, was named for the engineer who constructed it, Gustav Eiffel. There are restaurants on the first and second floors; you can buy tickets to ascend to these levels either by stairs if you are fit, or by elevator if you prefer. You must take an elevator to the highest, or third, level.
Louvre at Night (Bigstock)
2. The Louvre Museum. No excuses not to visit this centre of art, history and culture, it is open every day except Christmas, New Year’s and first of May. The museum opened to the public in 1793 but has been closed for various periods to undergo repairs. This is because it is actually housed in the ancient Louvre Palace, originally a fortress built by Phillip II in the 1100’s. Little of that presence remains today having been changed over the years by various royal figures, Napoleon and others. Witness the modern day glass pyramid.There are eight departments from antiquities to sculpture. Plan to spend the day!
Moulin Rouge (Bigstock)
3. Moulin Rouge. If all you have experienced of the can-can is from the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, then you must experience this slightly risqué live show with meal included. There are two evening shows of about 1 ½ hours each every night year round, and you can buy children’s tickets as well – that is if you want to keep them up this late!. This famous revue has been on stage for over 100 years. The theatre is housed in a converted windmill in the “red light” district of Paris.
Luxembourg Palace (Bigstock)
4. Gardens at Luxembourg Palace. Currently this building houses the French Senate but it was originally built as a palace for the mother of Louis XIII. It is supposedly modelled after the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. In its history, it has served as a royal home, museum, prison, headquarters of Hermann Goring and the Luftwaffe during the war years, and is now a governmental building. The Gardens occupy 25 hectares and are truly spectacular. There are musical concerts on the grounds ( jazz, classical , variety etc.) The Palace is open to groups only and is free.
5. Versailles. Technically this beautiful royal palace is not in Paris proper but in a suburb; however, it is one of Paris’ most visited attractions. Besides functioning as a museum and exhibition centre, parts of it such the Hall of Mirrors are still used for state functions. You can schedule your visit to take in various concerts or special displays. Two day passes are available – there is a lot to see!
6. Notre-Dame. This cathedral was built starting in the 12th century and finished 167 years later with restoration work completed in the 1800’s. During more recent renovations in April of 2019, the cathedral caught fire and suffered extensive damage. The French government has vowed to restore the cathedral to its previous glory and hopes to have the first mass celebrated there in 2024. Unfortunately there is no visitation due to its current state. View the devastation from a distance for now, remind yourself how quickly these world treasures can disappear ( so that is why it is important to travel) and vow to return in a few years to see the restoration progress.
Arc de Triomphe (Bigstock)
7. Arc de Triomphe. At the intersection of twelve famous Parisian streets on the Place Charles de Gaulle, this is a memorial structure dedicated to those who fought in the Revolution and/or Napoleonic wars for France. It also contains the tomb of the unknown soldier from World War I. It is a huge building – a biplane was flown through its open archway during celebrations in 1919. It is open daily ( except holidays) and there is a fee.
House of Claude Monet (Bigstock)
8. Monet’s Home. Located in Giverny about 45 minutes by train from central Paris , you can visit this long, vine covered building where Monet lived and painted from 1883 to 1926. You can’t photograph inside of his home which now houses a museum, but when you have the colorful grounds – familiar from his paintings – to photograph , you won’t be disappointed. There are two gardens, the water gardens and the flower gardens which you can photograph from designated paths.
A rest from exploring (Canstock)
9. Canal-St.Martin. This canal navigates Paris from the Palais de Stalingrad to Port de l’Arsenal at the Seine. Along it are many locks and bridges, and part of it is actually underground. This is a great place in Paris – and popular – to grab a café seat and watch the canal traffic pass by. If you are people watcher any seat in Paris is front row.
Sign on a famous street (Canstock)
10. Champs d’Elysees. This avenue stretches from the Place de Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. It is one of the most beautiful and famous streets in the world. Here you can shop, dine, and attend the cinema. The shops here are luxury ones such as Louis Vuitton and Lacoste, or upscale and large ( Adidas location is its biggest in the world). Bring your wallet!
Feature image of aerial view of the city courtesy of Canstock.