See the best of Paris
From its dazzling boulevards and iconic landmarks, Paris lives up to its reputation as the "City of Lights." Paris is home to mesmerizing masterpieces of art, architecture, and gourmet pattiseries that continue to seduce people from all over the world.
To navigate around Paris, it's good to familiarize yourself with the 20 numbered arrondissements (districts) around the city, which start in the center and spiraling outwards. Most top attractions can be found in the districts along the banks of the river Seine. To help you explore the city's highlights, we’ve listed the top sights per district and provided you with walking directions:
- Arrondissement 1 (Louvre)
Stare into the mysterious eyes of Mona Lisa and and get lost in the winding halls and art galleries of the Musée du Louvre. Get some fresh air and greenery at Jardin des Tuileries and visit Musée de l'Orangerie for Claude Monet's famous Water Lilies paintings. After this long museum tour, make sure to check out Forum des Halles for unique food finds and cocktail dens.
From the Tuileries Garden, head west onto the busy Place de la Concorde to the 8th arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 8 (Élysée)
Stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, renowned for its high-end boutiques and theatres, and walk towards the imposing Arc de Triomphe, a monument to Napoleon's victories. On your way, make a little detour to see the Élysée Palace, where the President of France resides.
From the Arc de Triomphe, walk south and cross the Seine river towards the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 7 (Palais-Bourbon)
The most iconic symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, can be found here. See it up close, or take the lift to the top for a panoramic view of the city. Then explore Hôtel des Invalides, a complex of military museums and monuments which houses the tomb of Napoleon. Art enthusiasts can spend a few hours in the Musee d’Orsay and the Musée Rodin.
From the Hôtel des Invalides and the Musée Rodin, head east to the 6th arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 6 (Luxembourg)
Admire the bare stone walls and columns of Church of Saint-Sulpice and the 6th-century Abbey of Saint-Germain de Prés. Take a break from the busy city and relax in the gardens of Luxembourg Palace, where the French Senate gathers. Find inspiration in famous cafés Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, which were once frequented by the likes of Picasso, Hemingway, and Sartre.
From either of the cafés, head east along the Boulevard Saint-Germain to reach the 5th arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 5 (Panthéon)
Looking to chill out in a laid-back atmosphere? Visit the Quartier Latin, the student district centered around the Sorbonne. If it's too early to grab a drink, take in the view over the river from the Panthéon on Sainte-Genevieve hill and browse the famous Shakespeare & Company bookstore.
From the bookstore, head directly north across the Seine towards Notre-Dame in the 4th arrondissement.
- Arondissement 4 (Hôtel de Ville)
Head early to Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on the Île de la Cité in the Seine, to avoid the long lines. Entrance to the church is free but visitors pay extra €10 to go up the tower. Walk to the city hall, Hôtel de Ville, then spot Victor Hugo’s house in the Place des Vosges. Don't miss the remarkable Centre Pompidou, which contains Europe’s largest modern art collection.
From the Centre Pompidou, walk north to reach the Musée des Arts and Métiers in the 3rd arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 3 (Temple)
Get a feel of medieval Paris as you wander around the streets of Le Marais, known for its hip boutiques, cafés and bars. Explore the Musée Picasso, and visit the Musée des Arts et Métiers, a museum of industrial design containing a repository of preserved scientific instruments and inventions. The old Jewish quarter can be found here too, extending into the 4th arrondissement.
From here, follow the Boulevard de Magenta north to reach the 18th arrondissement.
- Arondissement 18 (Butte-Montmartre)
The hilly district of Montmartre has a very authentic charm. Discover the place that was once called home by great artists like Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Dalí. Catch one of the extravagant shows at the famous French cabaret Moulin Rouge and admire the cityscape view from the top of the hill where the white Sacré-Coeur Basilica is located.
- And so much more...
Still craving more from Paris? Check out the remarkable Sainte-Chapelle across from Notre-Dame with its impressive stained glass windows and pay a visit to the world-famous Père Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondissement – it's the final resting place of Oscar Wilde, Édith Piaf and Jim Morrison, to name just a few.
A different “tour” for your tour
More than 7 million people visit the Tour Eiffel in Paris every year. It is the country's most famous symbol and the single most recognized travel icon in the world. But before you center your plans around it, ask yourself: where is the absolute worst place to see the Eiffel Tower?
Here’s a hint: it’s at the top of the Eiffel Tower. None of your photos from the top will do the tower any justice. To get the ultimate photos, head over to the Tour Montparnasse for awesome skyline views or climb 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for a spectacular view.
From delicate eclairs and macarons to the famous escargot, Paris is packed with gourmet treats. It seems that there’s not a single street you can stroll down without being bombarded by boulangeries.
If your train arrives at the Gare de Lyon, treat yourself to an iconic dining experience at Le Train Bleu. This ornate restaurant overlooking the station hall is worth a visit for some classy French cuisine. Don't miss the steak frites in brasseries tucked away in romantic Montmartre or along the banks of Canal St. Martin.
A trip to the city of Paris can be really busy with its urban, fast-paced nature. So if you find yourself in the 12th arrondissement, take a long, romantic stroll along the wide green boulevards of the city or go to Coulée Verte René Dumont. This decommissioned railway line was the first of its kind to become an elevated city park. Situated on top of a viaduct, it’s a unique, green escape from the hustle and bustle below.
"I especially like the Belleville area for its mix of bars, cheap restaurants and multicultural crowd. Go to Le Food Market if you’re hungry for street food or to Le Cent Quatre in the 19th arrondissement if you’re looking for cultural exhibits and art expos."
Getting to Paris by train
You can reach Paris by train from anywhere in Europe. The city has 6 large railway stations which makes it a perfect destination for rail travellers. Make sure to check where you'll be arriving or departing. For example, trains from the north (Netherlands, Belgium) usually arrive at Gare du Nord, while long-distance trains from the south terminate at Gare de Lyon.
You can find all trains to and from Paris in the Interrail Timetable.
From Amsterdam to Paris
From Barcelona to Paris
From Geneva to Paris
Flights and public transport
Most international flights to Paris arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), located in the north of the city. The RER train from the airport takes you to the city center in 30 minutes. An important airport for domestic traffic is Paris Orly (ORY), located to the south. From here, take the OrlyVal Airport Shuttle to reach Paris within 40 minutes.
The metro is the easiest and the fastest way to get around Paris. Famous for its density, the 16 metro lines will take you anywhere in the city. If you prefer to stay above ground you can also travel by bus. Both modes of transport accept the same tickets, which cost 1.90 euro for a one-way journey. You can also get a carnet, which is 10 tickets for 16 euros.
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