Top Attractions in Paris
Collected by Sylvia Sabes, AFAR Local Expert
When in Paris, try to balance the gravity of the famous landmarks with the intoxicating verve of the city's cobbled streets. In the spaces between seeing the can’t-miss monuments, let the romance of the City of Light speak for itself.
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
This former royal palace is one of the largest museums in the world, and its art collection is considered one of the most comprehensive. It contains around 400,000 works, although—mercifully, perhaps—not all are on display at any one...
Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
The Centre Pompidou, France's national museum of modern art, led the way for steel and glass buildings in the 1970s. Now the museum leads the way in modern art with its extraordinary collection, currently the world's second largest....
1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
Small enough to get around without being overwhelmed, the Musée d'Orsay is a favorite stop in Paris not just for its size but for its collection of impressionist, postimpressionist, and art nouveau art. Perfectly set in the center of the...
84 Rue Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny, France
It’s a quick train ride from Paris to Vernon and the 19th-century home of impressionist artist Claude Monet. From the station, most visitors hop on the bus waiting to take them to Giverny, but right across the street, a bike rental shop...
13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France
The Palais de Tokyo is a grand, templelike building with a view of the Eiffel Tower. But the interior, where offbeat contemporary art is often showcased, is a wreck; parts of it are almost ruinous. I love the contrast between the formality of the...
6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
For a first-time visitor to Notre Dame, investing in the audio guide is essential to immerse in and understand this overwhelmingly significant Paris icon. There's a lot to see and absorb—history, architecture, artifacts,...
3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris, France
Step off the beaten path that leads to Jim Morrison’s grave at Père Lachaise and head instead to the lesser-known, yet extraordinary Montparnasse Cemetery. Locals bring metro tickets to leave on Serge Gainsbourg’s grave in...
10 Place de l'Opéra, 75009 Paris, France
The Palais Garnier, the national opera house of Paris, is a magnificent building dripping in ornate details and glittering with gold. The five-ton chandelier, made famous in The Phantom of the Opera, still takes center stage in the auditorium. It...
18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 Paris, France
The tiny Bourdelle Museum was once the atelier and home of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, whose monumental art deco masterpieces are a highlight of the Champs-Élysées Theater. The museum displays works the artist purchased for his...
62 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France
Lions and tigers and bears…oh my, this museum has everything for the aspiring naturalist. Examining the relationship of human and animal throughout history, original displays of classic and contemporary art mingle with taxidermic animals,...
Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 75008 Paris, France
A kid can spend only so much time in “Isn’t that pretty, don’t touch, be quiet” museums. Parisian families looking for rainy-day activities where kids can be themselves head to the Discovery Palace. Located in the western...
5 Rue de Palestine, 75019 Paris, France
More rough-and-tumble and far less touristy than the Tuileries and Luxembourg gardens, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a green space that's worth a visit—especially given the recent resurgence of its surrounding district, the formerly...
6 Rue Baudelique, 75018 Paris, France
French chef Eric Fraudeau spent 30 years working in three-star kitchens. When he returned to France, he opened a cooking school to share the wealth of French cuisine with visitors from across the globe. He started with market-to-table classes...
8 Place de la Concorde, 75005 Paris, France
Paris is a wonderful city to explore on one’s own, but sometimes it can be nice to have a guide to bring the city and its history to life in a special way. Group tours aren’t for everyone, though—get the personal touch...
Port de la Rapée, 75012 Paris, France
Board an elegant 1930s Venetian taxi boat for the most romantic Seine River tour on the waters of Paris. Champagne is chilling in the ice bucket and a few snacks are served as well, but the real show is life on the river, up-close and more...
37 Quai de la Seine, 75019 Paris, France
The boat basin Bassin de la Villette is berth to Marin d’Eau Douce, a service that rents out easy-to-steer electric boats by the hour. Captaining your own boat is an unforgettable way to see Paris and beyond. Cruise through the...
132-140 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, France
Marché aux Puces de St.-Ouen, aka Clignancourt, is Europe’s largest flea market and the city’s favorite place to find a bargain. Exiting the metro at Porte de Clignancourt, those in the know pass by the counterfeit...
16 Rue des Saints-Pères, 75007 Paris, France
Paris is known not just for romance but also as a destination for art—creating art, viewing art, and buying art in all its forms. On the first Thursday of every month the art galleries in the neighborhood of St.-Germain-des-Prés...
3 Place du Palais Bourbon, 75007 Paris, France
L’Atelier Renard has been making custom handbags for France’s elite for generations, using a technique that was originally created for horse saddles. Atelier Renard handcrafts elegant bags destined to become family heirlooms....
Viaduc des Arts, 85 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, France
Le Viaduc des Arts, an abandoned railway line, was converted into an elevated park, and the arches below it were turned into ateliers for artisans. Parasolerie Heurtault is one of the workshops worth a detour. Master artisan Michel...
111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France
It isn't uncommon to see large tour buses idling in front of Merci, one of the city's most popular home and design shops, as visitors alight, armed with canvas shopping totes and credit cards at the ready. The store's philanthropic mission brings...
33 Rue de Poitou, 75003 Paris, France
Tammy & Benjamin offers an antidote to the modern disposable lifestyle with a selection of limited-edition leather bags. The shelves are stocked with streamlined backpacks, practical yet charming totes, and pocketbooks that could have...
46 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France
Since 1831 Deyrolle has been the taxidermist for Parisians. In the two-story shop on the lovely Rue du Bac, you'll find everything from domestic animals and large exotic mammals (lions! zebras!) to insects, shells, birds, and educational...
81 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris, France
Known for the poetic hippie style of her jewelry designs, Emmanuelle Zysman works from a Paris atelier, designing pieces in hammered silver, vermeil, and gold studded with semiprecious stones, like black diamonds, garnets, and turquoise....
5 Rue de la Banque, 75002 Paris, France
Shopping passages were built in the 19th century to give Parisians protection from muddy streets and horse-drawn vehicles. Galerie Vivienne is a beautiful restored 19th-century passage with entrances at the Rue des Petits-Champs, Rue de la...
9 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris-9E-Arrondissement, France
The friendly neighborhood of Rue des Martyrs is a favorite destination for buying edible souvenirs of Paris. To get started, head to No. 9, where the beautiful La Chambre aux Confitures stocks endless jars of jam for your...
Place d'Aligre, 75012 Paris, France
Marché d'Aligre is a very special place: Commerces de bouche (mouth businesses!) line up to sell their goods, an orchestra of voices calls out daily specials, and cheesemongers offer free samples. The market's selection changes...
3 Rue Notre Dame des Champs, 75006 Paris, France
At Maison Verot, locals get in line to stock up on all kinds of elaborate goodies. Verot has been making some of Paris's best charcuterie since 1930, and it is still winning prestigious awards. Products vary with the season but will...
86 Avenue Gambetta, 75020 Paris, France
Even before its designation as 2010's best bakery by restaurant guide Gault & Millau, La Gambette à Pain drew long lines to buy its bread. The boulangerie bakes some of the best loaves in the city, working with carefully...
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
Located at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, a stone’s throw from the Seine and draped in the shadow of Notre Dame, is what should be proclaimed one of France’s national treasures: the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This is...
99 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris, France
Locals queue up for delicious cheeses from this fromagerie, whose namesake owner received a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the country's highest honor for a craftsperson (in this case, for his skills as a master of cheese). Aged Comté is king...
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
Situated a block from the Canal St.-Martin in the 10th arrondissement, Du Pain et des Idées is your favorite corner bakery—only better. The owner, Christophe Vasseur, was named best boulanger in Paris in 2008, and for good reason....
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris, France
This private cultural initiative was officially announced in 2006 “to promote and support contemporary artistic creation for a wide French and international audience.” The new art and culture museum was opened in November 2014 in...
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