Paris, France

Map of routes and landmarks in Paris

Paris' must-sees

1. Eiffel Tower
2. Louvre
3. Notre Dame Cathedral
4. Triumphal Arch
5. Musée d'Orsay
6. Pantheon

Flag and Coat of Arms of Paris

Useful Information

Route 1. Paris Express

This route will lead you quickly to all of Paris’s main attractions: the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, and finally, the Notre Dame Cathedral. The route may take between two and three hours on foot, though that will vary depending on how much time you spend at each place.

Start at the Arc de Triomphe and take Avenue d'léna until you reach Pont d'léna (“Jena Bridge”). After crossing the bridge, you’ll reach the Eiffel Tower. Follow the path along the Seine River until you come to the Musée d’Orsay. In front of the museum is the Tuileries Garden, with the Louvre located at the far east end of the gardens. Follow the Seine to the Notre-Dame Bridge. Cross the bridge to reach the Notre-Dame Cathedral. You can now say that you’ve express-seen Paris!

Route 2. Route Napoleon

As you start out at the Arc de Triomphe and follow Ave. Marceau, you might enjoy a historical flashback by imagining marching alongside Napoleon’s army as they returned from war. You’ll pass Palais Tokyo, where the Paris Museum of Modern Art (MaM) is located, across from which is Palais Galliera, a museum of fashion and fashion history. The MaM exhibits works by Picasso, Matisse, Georges Braque and Yves Klein, among others.

Following Ave. Président Wilson, you’ll pass the Guimet Museum of Asian Art. Continue onto Ave. l’léna towards the Jardins du Trocadéro gardens, where you’ll get some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower. Cross the Pont d'léna (“Jena Bridge”) to reach Champ de Mars, the open green space on which the majestic Eiffel Tower stands.

Located behind the Wall of Peace and the Champs de Mars Military School are the UNESCO headquarters. From there, Ave. de Ségur will take you to Les Invalides, an impressive complex of museums dedicated to war that also contains Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb. By the time you reach the end of the route, you'll have relived the glory and death of one of Europe's most controversial figures.

Route 3. To the Louvre on Champs Elysées

Start at the Arc de Triomphe and head down Ave. des Champs Elysées until you reach Place de la Concorde square. Aside from being the largest square in Paris and exhibiting an enormous, 3,300-year-old Egyptian obelisk, this square is where the royal executions during the French Revolution took place.

Adjacent to the square is the head of the Tuileries Garden, the largest park in Paris, and which hosts the Musée de l’Orangerie art gallery. The gallery’s estimated viewing time is an hour and a half, enough to see Claude Monet’s grand Nenufares paintings and numerous works by Picasso, among others.

Follow the entire length of the Tuileries Garden to reach the Louvre, which borders the Seine. So extensive is the Louvre and with so many exposition rooms, it’s highly recommended to plan your visit to the museum ahead of time to decide which sections you intend to tour (a single visit is not enough to properly view all eight).

The Louvre's collections are grouped into eight curatorial departments: 1) Egyptian Antiquities, 2) Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, 3) Near Eastern Antiquities, 4) Islamic Art, 5) Paintings, 6) Sculptures, 7) Decorative Arts, and 8) Prints and Drawings. Among the Louvre’s most famous works and displays are the Mona Lisa, Liberty Leading the People, Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Seated Scribe, and the Crown Jewels.

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Population

Paris city limits: ~2.5 million

Metropolitan area: ~12 million

Nearby cities and towns

Saint-Denis (10 km / 6 mi)

Versailles (27 km / 17 mi)

Orléans (133 km / 83 mi)

Amiens (158 km / 98 mi)

Orléans (226 km / 140)

Tours (239 km / 149 mi)

Brussels, Belgium (320 km / 199 mi)

Transport

Paris and its surrounding areas are extensive, so visitors are encouraged to plan their method of transportation ahead of time.

Paris's public transportation is managed by RATP, which oversees the metro, public buses and the tramway. The metro is the quickest and cheapest method of transport. Its 16 lines and 300 stations cover nearly the entire city.

Paris has two airports: Paris-Charles de Gaule and Paris-Orly, both of which are about 40 minutes away from the city center by car or public transportation. The G7 taxi service is stationed at both airports and offers services for people with limited mobility.

Train company SNCF manages train transport in all of France, and is a useful and affordable way to travel short and medium-length distances between Paris and other French cities and towns (travelers are advised to buy tickets ahead of time).

Paris

In the early 20th century, this metropolis known as the “city of lights” staked its claim as the cultural, political and economic power of the West. The question is, is Paris still all that it was? It does indeed still hold all the charisma it could ever need – Paris has helped make France one of the most visited countries in the world. As for the rest, you’ll have to decide for yourself after immersing yourself in the Parisian life, having strolled down its grand boulevards like Champs Elysées, visited its magnificent museums and sipped numerous coffees in its chic cafés. Complete the experience by treating yourself to some fine dining along the Seine, accompanied by a freshly baked baguette and a glass of exquisite wine.

Speaking of what attracts visitors – the Eiffel Tower is now the most visited monument of the world and the symbol of Paris, though it did initially receive criticism for its design. Built by Gustave Eiffel, it was inaugurated in 1889 as the main attraction of the Paris World Fair. At 324 meters (1,063 feet), the monument towers over Champs Mars, the surrounding open space with crisscrossing paths and florid gardens. It was the tallest structure in the world until 1930, when it was dethroned by the Chrysler building in New York. You can get a great view of the Eiffel Tower from afar atop the hill of the Montmartre historical district, at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. This beautiful basilica was designed by Paul Abadie following the Franco-Prussian War and was inaugurated in 1919. Below the basilica lie the romantic streets that were once home to artists like Dali, Picasso, Renoir and Van Gogh. A tranquil escape from the flurry of the city, Montmartre’s artistic effervescence has made it a notable tourist attraction.

These artistic currents have vigorously flowed through Paris for centuries. Paris’s many museums are witnesses of the city’s long relationship with art, with the Louvre at the front. The most visited and largest museum in the world (nearly three times the area of the British Museum), the Louvre exhibits numerous collections of ancient civilizations, as well as the works of world-famous artists like Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Delacroix, Caravaggio, Goya, Van Gogh and Rubens, among others. Just a few hundred meters from the Louvre are the Orsay and Orangerie Museums, which complete Paris’s collection of western art, with the world’s largest repertoire of impressionist and post-impressionist art.

In this city of showy splendor and luxury, the famous Versailles Palace is perhaps what most stands out in extravagance (see route 6). Less-known but equal in opulence is Garnier Palace. This palace exhibits a large, multi-colored marble dome suspended 30 meters (100 feet) in the air, a majestic main stairway and ceilings painted by the esteemed Marc Chagall. Built by Parisian architect Charles Garnier, who also constructed the Monte-Carlo Casino of Monaco, the palace is now home to the Paris Opera House.

Though most agree that Paris is a charismatic city, it’s not so easy to concur in which season it is most charming. Only one way to find out… so, until next time! Paris awaits you…

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