Many beautiful things are associated with this remarkable city. When you think of Paris you think love and romance, art and culture, cafés and coffee. These things are all part of what make Paris such a popular vacation destination but there’s more! Thing of the history and architecture, museums, and even cemeteries – not to mention the natural beauty!
Iconic Sights to See
There is no shortage of interesting things to see, no lack of picturesque spots for photos. Here area a few of the well-known landmarks and monuments to visit as you stroll about town.
At the top of everyone’s list is the Eiffel Tower (I know it bought me to tears), the long-standing icon of Paris. It’s hard to believe it was built as recent as 1889 – and as a temporary exhibit, at that! There are three levels within the tower accessible by elevator but those who love stairs can also walk up 704 steps from the ground to the second level. For those who ascend to the top, a champagne bar awaits.
Arc de Triomphe
Some say that this is actually the true symbol of Paris, and not the Eiffel Tower. Built in 1836, this painstakingly sculpted arch stands in the middle of the Étoile roundabout and boasts a beautiful view from the platform up top, 284 steps from the ground. All four sides of this bold archway are engraved with different relief panels, each with its own story. Below the arc rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a WWI combatant who died in 1921.
Another Paris icon is the neoclassical dome of the Pantheon, originally designed as an abbey and has an interesting history. Since 1791 it has served as a mausoleum and holds within it some of France’s most admired philosophers including Voltaire, Rousseau, and Hugo. Also laid to rest here are Marie Curie, who was the first woman allowed to be interred thanks to her Nobel Prizes.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
Since tickets are not purchased and tracked, it’s hard to know exactly how many visitors come to see these astounding cathedral; however it is known the be one of the most visited sites in Paris with estimates of more than 14 millions guests each year. This astounding example of French Gothic architecture was the main Catholic church for 700 years and accommodated over 6,000 people. Things to note within these walls are the three rose windows, treasury, and bell towers that can actually be climbed. Go up more than 400 steps that spiral to the top and you find yourself up close and personal with grotesque gargoyles and a breathtaking view of Paris, right from within the very heart of the city.
Musée du Louvre
One of the most must-see visits in Paris is the Louvre. Known for its unsurpassed collections, antiquities, and diversity you absolutely allow yourself a day to take in this pièce de résistance. With four floors to explore, up and down stairs, in and out of wings, you’ll feel like a kid in a magical palace. It’s amazing to think when the museum first opened its doors in the mid 1700s it only contained 2500 various artworks. Now it’s the most renowned museum in the world that includes priceless items such as the crown jewels of Louis XV.
Off the Beaten Path
If you’re looking for something a bit different, Paris has plenty of off-the-wall attractions to offer, as well. From zany to downright dark, you’ll find any number of oddities to enjoy during your stay.
Paris is full of unique and even bizarre tidbits but you might be surprised to find out there’s an unground set of tunnels that are lined with skulls and bones. In the 1700s Paris had a problem with overflowing graveyards, which became a hygiene problem for the locals. It was decided that bones were to be exhumed and stored in the old quarry tunnels – and thus the Catacombes were born. Merely walk 130 narrow spiraling steps below ground level and follow the passageways to the ossuary. You can travel all two kilometers of the tunnel system but you’re not allowed to bring home any bones as souvenirs.
Grevin Wax Museum
If you’re not looking for something quite that macabre but maybe something a bit more fun and lighthearted, check out the wax museum. Have your picture taken with your favorite pop star or athlete or any of the other 300 wax figures available for a gander. Learn about the history of Paris and celebrate its culture. So you think you know Gaultier? Find out! For even more fun don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors, created in 1900 for an exhibition and take the Discovery Tour to find out how wax figures are made, all the way down to the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes details.
There really is just an abundance to see and do in Paris and it’s all worth your time. So book your Paris Hotel now and start planning that itinerary – no matter how long you plan to stay you’ll wish you had more time in this beautiful city to experience all it has to offer.