Any trip to Paris is a voyage of discovery.
For the first-time visitor, there will always be several musts at the top of the list. Many of the sights are popular for repeat guests as well, since like the Louvre, there is more than can be enjoyed in just one visit. Sights on the “must see” list include:
- The Arc de Triomphe – Started by Napoléon to celebrate his victories, the Arc now stands guard over the remains of an unknown soldier from World War I.
- The Champs d’Elysées – Radiating out from the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysées is a tree-lined thoroughfare to the Tuileries Gardens. To one side lies the Seine, to the other, grand houses of the 18th century.
- Eiffel Tower – Built in 1889 for the World Fair, the tower was saved from demolition in 1909 by the need for a radio antenna. At nearly 1,050 feet, it can be seen from almost everywhere in Paris. The view from the top is like seeing Paris from a light aircraft.
- Hotel des Invalides – The gold dome to the south of the Eiffel Tower is the Hotel des Invalides. Built by Louis XIV as a residential village for wounded soldiers, it now houses Napoléon’s extraordinary red sarcophagus, the tomb of Maréchol Foch, and a magnificent military museum.
- The Louvre – Originally a fortress, the Louvre has been a museum for two centuries. Home to over 35,000 works of art, the Musée du Louvre features eight areas of focus: Near Eastern Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Paintings, and Prints and Drawings.
- Ile de la Cité – Notre Dame, one of Paris’ classic landmarks, is located on this island in the Seine. Built in the 13th century, the Notre Dame is a much-recognized example of Gothic architecture and features rose windows and twisted gargoyles. At the opposite end of the Ile is the Palais de Justice and the beautiful chapel of Sainte Chapelle with its magnificent stained-glass windows.
- The Latin Quarter – A long-time home to students, the Latin Quarter is also home to some of Paris’ oldest relics. The National Museum of the Middle Ages is housed in the Hôtel de Cluny, one of only two remaining medieval homes in Paris. Built over the ruins of a Roman bath, the building features crenellated walls with the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries showcased inside.
- Montmartre – Topped by the large white Sacré Coeur Basilica, Montmartre is the highest hill of Paris, offering a magnificent view of the city. Montmartre is the last village in the big city of Paris. It still keeps a very subtle and unique atmosphere in spite of the number of tourists from around the world. Reminiscent of the penniless artists who lived a Bohemian life here in the early 20th century, the many painters of Place du Tertre are always ready to sketch your face or sell you their paintings.
- Often thought of as the culinary capital of the world, Paris offers numerous dining options. From the extravagant restaurant to the everyday local café, something great is always cooking. An array of international choices is available – reflecting the changing complexion of Paris itself, and its increasing appreciation for food from other cultures. So, in addition to cuisines from every province of France and her former colonies like Morocco and Algeria, you will find Spanish, Vietnamese or West African specialties.