Bonjour and welcome to Paris, the capital of France, its biggest city and a trove of treasures. You’ll love sightseeing in Paris, the City of Light, and probably the most romantic city in the world.
Here you’ll find the world’s center of culture, art, fashion and cuisine. See the famous sights in Paris that inspired great literature, painters of genius, stunning architecture and parks. Breathtaking beauty is everywhere you look. The French have an expression, “joie de vivre,” which means joy of living, zest, and enthusiasm. Parisians know how to take time to savor the joy in every moment. Your vacation in Paris will introduce you to French joie de vivre. Here are the inspiring landmarks for sightseeing in Paris. A tour of of these famous places will make your vacation memorable.
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Musee du Louvre, Louvre Museum
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Palace of Versailles
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Musee d’Orsay, Orsay Museum
- Sightseeing in Paris at the La Tour Eiffel, Eiffel Tower
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Notre-Dame Cathedral
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Sacred Heart Basilica
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou
- Sightseeing in Paris at the the Pantheon
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Sainte-Chapelle
- Sightseeing in Paris at the Hotel des Invalides
Paris is a beautiful vacation spot. It is an old city that was part of the Roman Empire and then became the capital of France under the Frankish King Clovis I in 508. Flowing through the center of Paris, the River Seine divides the city into two areas, called the Left Bank and the Right Bank. More than two million people live in Paris and almost 12 million live in the metropolitan area.
Sightseeing in Paris at the Musee du Louvre, the Louvre Museum
Sightseeing at the Louvre
The Louvre Museum, Paris FranceThe Louvre, once France’s largest royal palace, is now the world’s largest museum with the world’s most important collection of art and antiquities. It is an important vacation spot. 8 million people a year enter these galleries, making it by far the world’s most-visited art museum. The entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris is through a glass pyramid in the central courtyard. The collection at the Louvre includes Greek Antiquities from as early as 5th century BC, and works of art all the way to the 19th century. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is a particular favorite of visitors. The Egyptian collection of sphinx, mummies and statues of pharaohs is said to be the best outside of Cairo. The statue of Hermaphrodite Sleeping comes from Rome, sculpted in marble in the 2nd century AD. Dutch painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer and Frans Hals, Italian painters and sculptors like Donatello, Michelangelo and Da Vinci, French painters like Watteau, de la Tour and Fragonard are represented with exceptional examples of their works.
Sightseeing in Paris at the Palace of Versailles
Sightseeing at the Palace of Versailles
Hall of Mirrors, Paris FranceMake the half-hour trip by train to the Palace of Versailles, and let a guide take you sightseeing through the opulent rooms of Louis XIV, the Sun King who lived like a god. Versailles set the standard for lifestyles of the rich and famous that no one has surpassed. The rambling main palace, called the Chateau, is a famous place, with the King’s and Queen’s apartments, Royal Chapel, Hall of Sculpture and the illustrious Hall of Mirrors. Watch fountain spectacles in the formal gardens. and visit the smaller palaces on the grounds. You can walk in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette who, when told the hungry peasants had no bread, reportedly said “Let them eat cake.”
Sightseeing in Paris at the Musee d’Orsay, the Orsay Museum
Sightseeing at the Orsay Museum
Musee d’Orsay, Paris, FranceOur next vacation spot in Paris, The Orsay Museum is, for some visitors, even better than the Louvre. The delicious collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters from the period between 1848 and 1914 will reward your visit. I’ll just drop a few names to whet your appetite. The Musee d’Orsay gives you Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, plus Delacroix, the Symbolists Gustav Klimt, Edward Munch and James Whistler, and a host of other famous names, all under one roof. The controversial paintings by Edouard Manet of Le Dejeuner Sur l’Herbe, Picnic on the Grass, and Olympia, a naked courtesan, scandalized Paris in 1860s. Claude Monet’s painting of Blue Water Lilies established one of this favorite themes. There’s Toulouse-Latrec’s painting Jane Avril Dancing. You’ll recognize the best known paintings by Renoir, including Dancing at the Moulin de La Galette. There’s La Bella Angele by Paul Gauguin. And there’s lots more.
Sightseeing in Paris at the La Tour Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower
Sightseeing at the Eiffel Tower, ParisThe Eiffel Tower welcomes six million visitors a year who go to see this most famous Paris landmark. This is one of the best sights you absolutely must see while in Paris. Erected in 1889 for the Universal Exhibition, and more than 1,000 feet high, the Eiffel Tower was for a while the world’s tallest building. It is Gustave Eiffel’s masterpiece of design and engineering in iron filigree. See this famous place at night when it sparkles in lights for 10 minutes each hour. Take the elevators to the three observation levels and enjoy the spectacular views of the city. The two restaurants in the tower make for a romantic dinner. Hollywood actor Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes at this famous place in Paris.
Sightseeing in Paris at the Notre-Dame de Paris
Sightseeing at Notre Dame
Notre Dame Cathedral, ParisOur next spot for sightseeing, Notre-Dame de Paris, the cathedral of Our Lady, is a masterpiece Gothic church located in the absolute center of Paris, on Île de la Cité, an island in the Seine River. The twin towers and the spire of Notre-Dame are landmarks visible around the city. Notre-Dame Cathedral was built on the site of an ancient Roman temple. Construction was begun in 1163 and continued until it was finished in 1334, almost 2 centuries later. Those remarkable architectural braces outside Notre-Dame are called flying buttresses. Inside, you’ll see religious carvings, sculpture and painting from the Middle Ages. On Good Friday, the faithful are shown the religious relics housed here, the Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross. The three rose windows of stained glass are also spectacular. If you climb the outside stairs, you’re rewarded with a panoramic view of Paris. Notre-Dame Cathedral was the center of much French history. Henry V was crowned here in 1430. Napoleon crowned himself Emperor here in 1804. Notre-Dame also appears in much French literature. For example, Victor Hugo wrote his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1831, the love story of Quasimodo, a hunchback bell ringer at Notre-Dame, and gypsy Esmeralda.
Sightseeing in Paris at the Sacred Heart Basilica
Sightseeing, Sacred Heart Basilica
Basilique du Sacre Coeur, ParisBasilique du Sacre Coeur, Sacred Heart Basilica, is a beautiful sight in the area of Montmartre at the highest point in Paris. The Basilica was just completed in 1914, but Its monumental white domes are a favorite Parisian landmark. You can reach it by the funiculaire cable railway, the Funiculaire de Montmartre. Or, you can walk through Montmartre, a bohemian district where famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Modigliani, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Salvador Dalí, lived and worked. The other church on the way is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, where the Jesuit order of priests may have been founded. Outside the Basilica of the Sacre Cœur, the terrace has a fine view of Paris. On the portico are bronze statues of Joan of Arc and of Saint Louis, both on horseback. Inside, the dome has a sweeping mosaic of Christ as the Sacred Heart. One of the domes is circled with stained glass windows. You can also visit the crypts.
Sightseeing in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe
Sightseeing, the Arc de Triumphe
Arch of Triumph, ParisThe Arc de Triomphe, the Arch of Triumph, Napoleon’s triumphal arch and an iconic vacatio n spot, marks the western end of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, one of the most famous streets in the world. It was begun in 1806 to celebrate Napoleon’s victory at the Battle of Austerlitz. Statues and a small museum are inside the Arc. Sightseers who climb to the top of the Arc will find a viewing platform where you can see how twelve avenues radiate from the Arc de Triomphe like the points of a star.
The Champs-Elysees is a seventeenth century avenue and promenade connecting the Concorde and Arc de Triomphe. You’ll discover delightful sightseeing and a major shopping street. The name Champs-Elysees is French for Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed dead in Greek mythology. The avenue runs for a mile and one-quarter in northwest Paris, from the Place de la Concorde and the Obelisk of Luxor, west to the Place Charles de Gaulle, previously known as the Place de l’Etoile, where the Arc de Triomphe stands.
Sightseeing in Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou
Sightseeing at the Pompidou Center
Centre Georges Pompidou, ParisCentre Georges Pompidou, Pompidou Center, is the home of the Paris Museum of Modern Art. The radical design of the Pompidou makes it a distinctive site on the street and a much talked about vacation spot. It is one of the world’s most famous pieces of modern architecture. The Pompidou Centre is a building turned inside out, with an external escalator, water, electricity and air conditioning pipes all on the outside of the building. The utilities are all brilliantly color-coded. green for water, yellow for electricity, blue for air conditioning and red for the escalator.
Inside the Centre Georges Pompidou is the Modern Art Museum, Musee National d’Art Moderne, on the fourth floor, plus a cinema, cafe, library, shops and performance hall. The view from the top of other Paris landmarks is remarkable. The museum collection of important modern art includes the studio of sculptor Brancusi, along with works by Georges Braque, Joan Miro and Matisse.
Sightseeing in Paris at the the Pantheon
Sightseeing, the Pantheon, ParisSightseeing takes us to the Pantheon of Paris, a church built to look like the Pantheon in Rome, completed in 1790. The great and the good of France are buried in the Pantheon, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Louis Braille, the inventor in 1829 of Braille reading system. Frescoes are dedicated to Sainte Genevieve who reputedly saved Paris from Attila the Hun in 451 AD. At this famous place, Foucault proved that the earth rotates by suspending a plumb bob, that we now call Foucault’s Pendulum.
Sightseeing in Paris at the Sainte-Chapelle
Sightseeing at Sainte Chapelle
Holy Chapel, Paris FranceSainte-Chapell, the Holy Chapel, is a splendid thirteenth-century medieval church in the Gothic style. This spot is called the most beautiful church in Paris and the “gateway to Heaven.” It was completed in 1248. King Louis IX, also known as St. Louis, built Sainte-Chapelle to house the religious relics he collected on the Crusades. It is located in the courtyard of the royal palace on the Ile de la Cite, the island in the Seine River. Its 15 stained glass windows are the oldest in Paris. The vaulted ceiling is covered in stars. They say Louis purchased the Crown of Thorns from the Emperor of Constantinople while on a Crusade in 1239, and later collected pieces of the True Cross, nails from the Crucifixion and a few drops of Christ’s blood. Classical evening concerts are also held here.
Sightseeing in Paris at the Hotel des Invalides
Sightseeing, Hotel Des InvalidesHotel des Invalides, a remarkable spot for sightseers, was built as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans in Paris, France. It was completed in 1678 under Louis XIV, the Sun King, as a home for wounded soldiers. Now it contains three museums and many monuments, all relating to the military history of France. In the museums here, you’ll find the artifacts and mementos of French military history. The garden paths are lined with cannons. The Army Museum, Musee de l’Armee, is one of the largest military museums in the world. The central golden dome of Dome Church, part of the complex, is unmistakable above the rooftops of Paris. Dome Church is site of the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. Military leaders like Marshal Foch and Marshal Vauban are also buried here. Another church, St-Louis-des-Invalides, is next to it.
I hope you have an exciting vacation in Paris.
I wish you a very happy day.
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