Overview: This tour of major sites in Paris starts out at the Louvre Museum. Along the way you'll have the chance to see stunning views of the... more »
Overview: This tour of major sites in Paris starts out at the Louvre Museum. Along the way you'll have the chance to see stunning views of the... more » Seine, the lively Place St. Michel, as well as Paris' oldest restaurant. You'll discover the île de la Cité, where Parisian life began, taking in Sainte-Chapelle's stained glass, the royal prison and ending your walk at the iconic Notre Dame cathedral. less «
When planning to visit the Louvre, it helps to buy your tickets beforehand. You can escape the lines completely by purchasing your... more » ticket in advance at the FNAC Department Store or other department stores. There’s usually a small fee of a couple of euros per ticket for this service.
Note: The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.
You have to pass through security scans (not unlike at the airport) to get into major sites like the Louvre and Sainte-Chapelle. Don’t worry about liquids over 3 ounces, but if you try to take in a pocketknife it will be confiscated. less «
Home of that infamously ambiguous smile, this enormous collection has a lot more to offer than Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa." Art history fans will be overwhelmed by iconic masterpieces; trying to see it all would take you weeks. Since the museum is separated into different wings, a good way to avoid exhausting yourself is to choose one or two ... Morewings that interest you and stick with that.
Not surprisingly, this place stays busy. Regardless of when you go, expect to share the experience with tourists from all around the world. To avoid being suffocated by crowds, it's good to go on the early side of the day and to purchase tickets in advance.
Tip: The longest entrance line tends to be at the glass pyramids; you can avoid this by entering the museum at one of its other doors: the Porte des Lions just east of the Pont Royal, number 99 Rue du Rivoli, the Arc du Carrousel, or enter directly from the Metro station Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre. If you've bought your ticket beforehand, you'll be able to saunter in with ease, no matter what time you arrive.
Address: 75058 Paris cedex 01
Phone: +33 (0)1 40 20 57 60
Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 9am-6pm
Wednesday, Friday 9am-9:45pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Admission 10 Euros (under 18 free)
Exit the Louvre on the east side and walk along the Seine toward the Pont Neuf. When this bridge was built in 1607 it was named "New Bridge" in French to distinguish it from the older bridges that surrounded it. These days the name is ironic, as it has outlasted all of its medieval neighbors and is now the oldest bridge in Paris. The... More bridge looks much the same as it did when it was built 400 years ago and jugglers, mimes and street musicians have set up shop here for centuries. It also offers one of the best views of the river in town.Less
In the middle of the Pont Neuf you will find steps that descend down onto a narrow part of the île de la Cité Island. Just east of the bridge is the Place Dauphine. This public square in the First Arrondissement is actually a triangle. Bordering the Seine, it's perfect for a picnic. On one end you can see the quays (banks) of the... More Seine and on the other, the towering Conciergerie, the royal prison where Marie Antoinette was held while awaiting the guillotine. It's not overrun by tourists, probably because of its small, hidden entrances. This partial isolation makes it a charming and peaceful spot in the center of everything.Less
On the opposite side of the Pont Neuf from Place Dauphine is the lovely Place du Pont Neuf. This tip of the île de la Cité juts out into the Seine, offering incredible views of the river and the banks on either side.
If you're in the mood for a meal, cross over to the left bank, wander up Rue Dauphine and hang a left on Rue Mazanne to find Café Procope. This is the oldest cafe still in business in Paris. Opened in 1686, it started as a cafe where fashionable men would come to drink coffee--an exotic drink at the time.
Today this French cafe serves... More bistro-style food within a charming 18th century style interior complete with Pompeian red walls, crystal chandeliers and a tinkling piano. Best of all, the waiters serve your meal dressed in French Revolutionary-style uniforms. It's as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the belly.
13 Rue Ancienne Comédie
From Place Dauphine, walk East along Quai de l'Horloge and you will see the large gray walls of the Conciergerie, Paris' old royal palace. Countless prisoners were held here throughout the centuries, including nobles like Marie Antoinette, awaiting execution by guillotine. Tours are offered, accessible by the same door as Sainte-Chapelle on the... More Boulevard du Palais.
Address: 2 Boulevard du Palais
Phone: 33 / (0)1 53 40 60 80
Adults 7 Euros
Kids 4.50 Euros
Admission to both the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle:
Adults 11 Euros
Kids 7.50 Euros
In this chapel you will find the most ornate 13th century stained-glass windows in existence.
In 1241, King Louis IX began planning the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle to house his collection of precious relics (including Christ's Crown of Thorns and sections of the True Cross). It became an easy target during the French Revolution when it... More was mobbed, ransacked and later converted to an administrative office. The beautiful stain-glassed windows were obscured by enormous filing cabinets until 1846 when the chapel was restored to its original state. A few of the relics that were salvaged are now held in the treasury of Notre-Dame and the Bibliotheque Nationale Richelieu.
Green, blue, and glowing red light streams through the towering walls of stained glass. The windows tell the story of the Bible starting with Genesis and ending with the Apocalypse. Here you can make out vivid depictions of Adam and Eve, St. John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary. These are the oldest windows in Paris and two-thirds of them are original.
Phone: 33 / (0)1 53 40 60 80
March 1-Oct. 31, Daily 9:30am-6pm
Nov. 1-Feb. 28, Daily 9am-5pm
Adults 8 Euros
Kids 5 EurosLess
Cross the Seine on the Pont Saint-Michel and you will run into this popular square, Place Saint-Michel, with a fountain of St. Michel fighting a dragon dating from 1860 at its center. Linger long enough to be entertained by the many street performers who stop here to delight the crowds. Feel free to stop into one of the many sidewalk cafés ... Morefor a coffee or pastry.Less
This popular ex-pat English-language bookstore is a tribute to all of the great literary minds that have called Paris home throughout the years. Named after the bookstore that was frequented by Hemingway and James Joyce during the early 20th century, this narrow shop crammed with books of all sorts is full of dusty, intellectual charm.
37 Rue ... MoreBûcherie
Phone: 00 33 (0) 1 43 25 40 93
The Cathedrale Notre-Dame's exterior has been photographed, painted and filmed so many times that by now the sight of it will feel familiar. That does not make it any less magnificent. In recent years, workers have successfully removed decades of dirt, soot and pigeon droppings from the building, making it a bright alabaster white. The improvement... More is dazzling.
In English, Notre Dame de Paris translates to "Our Lady of Paris." Construction on the building began in 1160 and was completed in 1345. It remains one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, even though its rose window hints at Romanesque architectural roots. The cathedral was one of the first buildings in the world to use flying buttresses for support. The French Revolution did its fair share of damage to the church, but during the 19th century it was extensively renovated, including the addition of its steeple and infamous gargoyles.
It's hard to find a time when Notre Dame isn't mobbed by visitors lining up to ascend its towers. Doors open at 8am, but arrive at least an hour earlier to snag a place at the front of the line. If you'd prefer to skip the wait, you can opt to tour the majestic gold-tinged ground floor. There is rarely a wait to get in this way.
Inside, it's dark and cool; you can see why Victor Hugo imagined a hunchback lurking around the narrow balconies. Be sure to get a good look at the cathedral's organ with its 7,800 working pipes.
On the east side of the cathedral you can examine the flying buttresses and linger in the lovely, green Square Jean XXIII.
6 Place Parvis Notre Dame
+33 1 53 10 07 00
Tower visit hours:
April 1-Sept. 30
Saturday-Sunday in July and August 10am-11pm
Oct. 1-March 31
Adults 8 Euro
Kids 5 Euro