There is no shortage of places of interest in Paris. Whether you’re visiting Paris for the weekend, spending seven days on a tour of the city, or participating in a full months long tour of Europe, planning your itinerary will help you make the most of your time in Paris. Don’t wait until your plane lands to figure out exactly where you’re going after you drop your luggage off at your Paris hotel. Here you’ll find a list of some of the places of interest that will keep you occupied and engaged for your entire trip, no matter your preferences. From free attractions to places few tourists ever get to see, you’re sure to find lots of helpful tips and all the information you’ll need to maximize your time in the beautiful city of Paris.
For the budget minded traveler, finding free things to do is always a bonus. The Tuileries Gardens, located between the Louvre and Place de Concorde, is the place to be if you’re interested in meeting the locals and practicing your french speaking skills. Jardin de Tuileries, as the French call it, was designed by Catherine de Medices in 1564 for Louis XIV. The garden is a fine example of French style, where visitors can stroll along the paths and experience the splendour of one of the finest gardens in all of Paris. On your walks you’re sure to see some of the 18 bronze statues designed by Maillol, and you may even recognize some of the scenery from paintings done by Monet and Renoir if you’re a fan of impressionist art. Its easy to find Jardin de Tuileries, just go to the Concord or Tuileries metro station and hop on a train, unless your hotel is within walking distance of course. An hour can easily pass you by while you enjoy one of the best free places in Paris.
Another place of interest in Paris for the art lover is Place du Tertre in the Montmartre area of Paris. Here lovers of Salvador Dali will find a permanent exhibit of his works at one of the little shops bordering the square, known as the Montmartre Cultural Centre. The little apartments also bordering the square were once home to Dali as well as artists such as Renoir and Van Gogh, and you can be sure to encounter a number of local amateur and recognized artists who are more than willing to immortalize them in portraits. You can also find prints of famous art, and can often haggle with the local artists who set up their tools of the trade in the square for the best price for their original paintings, displayed and hung from every available surface. There’s no better free place of interest for the art lover visiting Paris than Place du Tertre.
The Louvre, of course the most famous place in Paris aside from the Eiffel tower, is another place of interest that you don’t want to exclude from your itinerary. For 16 Euros, around $17, you can experience the wonders of the world’s largest collection of fine art. You can spend hours marveling at the Mona Lisa, trying to unlock her secrets, and wandering the halls enjoying the tens of thousands of art pieces and antiques housed in this fortress like building. The Louvre was in fact built as a fortress in 1190, but was rebuilt as a royal palace in the 16th century until was converted into the first national museum after the French Revolution. You can enjoy antiques from Ancient Egypt, the far east and the Greek and Roman periods as you stroll through almost half a mile of exhibits. If you visit only one Museum during your trip to Paris, the Louvre should definitely be your first choice. Due to the sheer magnitude of the Louvre, its helpful to plan your visit carefully and make a list of the pieces of art you simply can’t leave Paris without setting your eyes on.
For the traveler looking for an atypical Paris experience, a visit to the Catacombes is in order. This underground cemetery, located south of the original gate to the city of Paris, was built in the late 1700’s and is considered the world’s largest grave. The remains of millions of French people are laid to rest in the catacombs, officially known as L’Ossuaire Municipal. After signing up for a tour of the catacombs, you’ll meet your group at a small building in the center of a park and make your way through a mile of underground networks, ending at rue Remy Dumoncel. You’ll experience the eerie atmosphere of the last resting place of so many Frenchmen, and marvel at the history of the tunnels, which were once used as headquarters of the French Resistance during the Second World War.
Young or old, science buff or not, the Paris Science Museum, also known as the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie is definitely worthy of a place on your itinerary. The largest of its kind in Europe, and probably the best science museum in the world, it’s the perfect place of attraction for the entire family. The museum boasts an Imax theatre, and the world famous Explora exhibits, giving visitors the chance to experience science first hand. The Planetarium is a hit with kids and adults alike, and the “Story of the Universe” exhibition provides fascinating insight into the science of light and space. After you visit the Paris Science Museum you can check out the Grevin Wax Museum, which houses wax statues of greats such as Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi, as well as modern movie stars and personalities. These two places of interest will surely be a hit with the entire family.
Needless to say, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Pantheon should feature strongly on your itinerary, as they are some of the top landmarks in Paris. Wherever you choose to go, you’re sure to thoroughly enjoy your visit to Paris.
Photo by *nikita