Choosing the best things to see in Paris can be overwhelming especially if time is limited. There are so many options vying for attention. However, there are some sites that make the “must see” list.
The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair and designed by architect, Gustave Eiffel. As an easily recognized symbol of Paris, visitors from around the world flock to this iron lattice tower. It is the tallest site in Paris with the third level reaching over 900 feet in the air.
Visitors can access three levels each with amazing views. On the first level there is a post office, so be sure to take postcards to mail back home, which will be postmarked from the Eiffel Tower. Le Jules Verne, an elegant restaurant, beckons foodies for a sophisticated meal on the second level of the Eiffel Tower. The third level offers breathtaking views of Paris. Visitors may opt to climb the stairs to the first and second level of the tower. This is not for the faint of heart or those in poor physical condition. An elevator is available to all three levels.
Notre Dame Cathedral
No visit to Paris would be complete without a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. The Cathedral is easily identified by the flying buttresses that provide support to this Gothic Cathedral. Initial construction on the Cathedral began in 1163 and finished in 1240. During the French Revolution in the 1790s, many of religious images were damaged or destroyed.
During a visit to Notre Dame, be sure to pay attention to the organ, which has an amazing 7,374 pipes. If time allows, be sure to climb up to the bell tower. The entrance to the stairs that lead to the bell tower is on the left side of the main entrance. Once upstairs, there are magnificent views of Paris. From this level, Notre Dame’s famous gargoyle rain spouts are easy to see in great detail. Additionally, one can visit the tombs of Notre Dame. Remember that Notre Dame is an active Catholic Church offering mass daily, so dress and act appropriately.
Le Louvre Museum
Housed in the Palais du Louvre, the Louvre Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world. The Louvre first opened its doors as a museum during the French Revolution in 1793 with just a little over 500 paintings. The collection has grown to cover prehistoric art through art of the 19th century. The museum currently displays almost 35,000 pieces, ranging from paintings to sculptures.
The main entrance to the Louvre Museum lies just under the modern iconic glass pyramid in the palace courtyard. To glance at each piece of art would take an estimated nine months, so decide which pieces to see beforehand. However, two of the most popular pieces are Michelangelo’s Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and the armless Venus de Milo.
A trip to Paris is exciting and filled with new experiences. There is much to do and see, but do not miss these top three sites.