When it comes to planning a first-time trip to Europe, there’s no better destination than Paris. As the capital of France and the European capital of culture, Paris offers an unparalleled experience for travelers. With ancient origins dating back over 2,000 years, the city is overflowing with history and countless attractions waiting to be explored.

Iconic Landmarks

No visit to Paris is complete without seeing the city’s quintessential and iconic landmarks:

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Built for the 1889 World’s Fair, this wrought-iron tower stands at an impressive 324 meters (1,063 feet) tall. Visitors can take an elevator or climb the stairs to the top for breathtaking views of the city.

The Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe, located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, is a monumental arch commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to honor his military victories. Climb to the top of the arch for panoramic views of Paris and to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the arch.

The Champs-Élysées

The Champs-Élysées is perhaps the most famous avenue in the world. Stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, this tree-lined boulevard is home to luxury shops, cafes, and theaters. Take a leisurely stroll along the avenue to experience the essence of Parisian life.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, has stood on the Île de la Cité since the 12th century. Though the cathedral suffered significant damage in a fire in 2019, efforts to restore this beloved landmark are underway. Visitors can still admire the cathedral’s stunning exterior and the adjacent square.

The Louvre

The Louvre, the world’s largest art museum, is housed in a former royal palace. With a collection that spans from antiquity to the 21st century, the Louvre is home to some of the most famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Plan to spend several hours exploring the museum’s vast galleries.

Discovering Paris Underground

Paris is not just about the sights above ground; there’s a whole world waiting to be discovered beneath the city streets:

The Métro

The Métro, Paris’ underground railway system, is not only a convenient way to get around the city but also an attraction in itself. With its Art Nouveau-style entrances and tiled station walls, the Métro is a testament to Paris’ commitment to art and design.

The Catacombs

The Catacombs of Paris are a network of underground tunnels and burial chambers that hold the remains of over six million people. This macabre attraction offers a unique glimpse into the city’s history and is not for the faint of heart.

The City Sewers

Believe it or not, even the city sewers are worth a visit. The Paris Sewer Museum takes visitors on a fascinating journey through the history of the city’s sewage system, which dates back to the 13th century. It’s an unusual but educational experience.

Museums and Art

Paris is a city that lives and breathes art, with more museums than one can count and art spilling out onto the streets:

Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay, housed in a former railway station, is home to the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Marvel at masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and more in this stunning museum.

Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou, with its distinctive inside-out architecture, is a hub for modern and contemporary art. Along With its extensive art collection, the Centre Pompidou also houses a vast public library and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of Paris.

Street Art

Paris’ love for art extends beyond the walls of its museums. As you explore the city, keep an eye out for street art in various forms, from colorful murals to thought-provoking installations. The neighborhoods of Belleville, Oberkampf, and the 13th arrondissement are particularly known for their vibrant street art scenes.

Strolling and Wandering

One of the greatest joys of visiting Paris is simply strolling along the Seine or wandering through the city’s quaint neighborhoods:

The Seine

The Seine river, which flows through the heart of Paris, is lined with pedestrian walkways, making it the perfect place for a leisurely stroll. Along the way, you’ll pass by some of Paris’ most iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre.


Montmartre, the hilltop neighborhood in the 18th arrondissement, is a charming area known for its winding streets, picturesque houses, and artistic history. Visit the famous Sacré-Cœur Basilica, explore the lively Place du Tertre, and follow in the footsteps of famous artists like Picasso and Van Gogh.

Le Marais

Le Marais, a historic district spanning the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, is a trendy neighborhood known for its medieval architecture, stylish boutiques, and lively gay scene. Lose yourself in the narrow, cobblestone streets and discover hidden courtyards, art galleries, and cozy cafes.

Parisian Cuisine

No trip to Paris is complete without indulging in the city’s renowned cuisine:

Croissants and Baguettes

Start your day like a true Parisian with a freshly baked croissant and a baguette from one of the city’s countless boulangeries (bakeries). The flaky, buttery croissants and crisp, crusty baguettes are the perfect way to fuel up for a day of sightseeing.

Cafés and Bistros

Paris is famous for its cafés and bistros, which offer a quintessential Parisian dining experience. Sit at a sidewalk table, order a café au lait or a glass of wine, and watch the world go by. Don’t forget to try classic French dishes like steak frites, coq au vin, or escargots.

Michelin-Starred Restaurants

For a truly unforgettable culinary experience, book a table at one of Paris’ many Michelin-starred restaurants. From the iconic L’Arpège to the innovative Septime, these restaurants offer the finest in French haute cuisine, prepared by some of the world’s most talented chefs.

Getting Around

Paris is a large city, but it’s easy to navigate thanks to its efficient public transportation system:

The Métro

As mentioned earlier, the Métro is the quickest and most convenient way to get around Paris. With 16 lines and over 300 stations, the Métro can take you to almost any point in the city. Purchase a carnet (book of 10 tickets) to save money on your rides.


The RER (Réseau Express Régional) is a commuter rail system that serves Paris and its suburbs. If you’re planning to visit attractions outside the city center, such as the Palace of Versailles or Disneyland Paris, the RER is the way to go.

Vélib’ Bikeshare

For a more active way to explore Paris, try the Vélib’ bikeshare system. With over 1,800 stations throughout the city, you can easily pick up a bike and cycle to your next destination. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with the city’s bike lanes and traffic rules before setting off.

Useful Tips

Here are a few additional tips to help you make the most of your first trip to Paris:

  • Learn a few basic French phrases, such as “bonjour” (hello), “merci” (thank you), and “s’il vous plaît” (please). Parisians appreciate it when visitors make an effort to speak their language.
  • Be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist areas like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Keep your valuables secure and be mindful of your surroundings.
  • Make reservations for popular restaurants and attractions in advance to avoid disappointment and long queues.
  • Take advantage of the city’s many free attractions, such as the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Petit Palais art museum, and the Paris Plages (artificial beaches set up along the Seine during the summer months).

Bienvenue à Paris! (Welcome to Paris!) With its iconic landmarks, world-class museums, charming neighborhoods, and delectable cuisine, Paris is a city that will capture your heart and leave you longing to return. Whether you’re strolling along the Seine, discovering hidden gems in the city’s quaint arrondissements, or indulging in a flaky croissant at a sidewalk cafe, Paris is sure to enchant you at every turn.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your first trip to Paris today and get ready to fall in love with the City of Light. Click the thumbnails below to read more about what to see, where to eat, things to do, and getting around in this magnificent city.

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