Paris is not only a travel destination for neighboring Germans, but is also one of the most popular and well-known cities worldwide. The capital of France with its more than 2.2 million inhabitants not only attracts fans of extravagant architecture and urban planning, but also offers a broader spectrum in terms of culture, history and lifestyle than in almost any other place.
Paris is more than just the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame, Paris is the concentrated center of an entire, absolutely proud nation. From here, modern democracy spilled over to Europe, where world history was written with Napoleon, Charles de Gaulle and Francois Mitterand.
Today, trends are not only set in terms of fashion and enjoyment in the cosmopolitan city in the central north of France. Paris can be reached by road from the south-west of Germany, more conveniently from the air of course. If you want to delve deeper into the city, you should treat yourself to at least a week and specifically head for its highlights.
In the following we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Paris.
1. The Eiffel Tower
Paris is unthinkable without its “Tour Eiffel”. In fact, the Eiffel Tower is perhaps the most famous sight in the world and should of course not be missing on any trip to Paris. With its height of 324 meters, the pointed steel colossus is usually in the field of vision in the city anyway. If you come from above, from the Trocadéro, you will experience the tower, which was completed in 1889, from the best field of view.
Alternatively, it is worth taking the path from the other side over the Champs de Mars with its small parks and lush lawns, which are populated by Parisians and tourists alike in summer. Then of course you go up to the tower, be it on the lower platform in the still wide part including the skywalk and an ideal view of all the sights or right up to the summit of the cosmopolitan city.
2. Louvre – THE Paris Museum
The Musée du Louvre is the most famous and most visited museum in the world and is worth the trip to France alone. Some voices claim that it can take over two weeks to experience this temple worthy of the art. The ambience couldn’t be better, as the Louvre is housed in the former residence of the French kings and boasts a striking glass pyramid in the center.
35,000 of the ten times as many works in the collection are exhibited in the Louvre and include such well-known exhibits as the Mona Lisa, the Venus of Milo or the Nike of Samothrace. Of course, the Louvre is one of the most important cultural sights in Paris and all of France.
3. Walk on the Champs-Élysées
Right in the center of the city, for some even in the world, is the legendary walk from the Louvre up to the Arc de Triomphe. With the Louvre pyramid in your back, you go through the royal Tuileries Gardens past the Ferris wheel to the busy Place de la Concorde with its obelisk.
Then the Champs-Élysées, France’s splendid, promenade and parade boulevard and, last but not least, the end of every Tour de France await. Past exquisite shops, straight ahead, Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe is enthroned at the top of the avenue. An entire stay in Paris could be planned on just these 2.5 kilometers.
4. Paris and its resting places
Even when it comes to cemeteries, Paris stands out. If you like it a little quieter and want to relax, you can drive to the outskirts of the city to Père Lachaise, where wide parks and small chapels await. Tribute can be paid here to Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde or Jim Morrison. Stony crypts, creepy mausoleums and a very special charm await you at the Cimetière de Montmartre.
The graves of Heinrich Heine and Jacques Offenbach can be found in its labyrinth, alongside countless cats. The most magnificent burial site is the Panthéon, the national hall of fame, with the remains of Marie Curie, Victor Hugo or Voltaire, for example.
5. From Pont Neuf to Notre-Dame
The historical origin of Lutetia can be found on the Île de la Cité, a small island on the Seine. The famous Pont Neuf can be visited at the top, while the pretty Sainte-Chapelle or the Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette waited for her execution, is located in the center.
The big highlight, however, is waiting on the other side of the island, picturesquely directly on the river: Notre-Dame Cathedral, which scores not only with its literature, but especially with its impressive Gothic architecture with the buttresses that were innovative at the time. Notre-Dame is the main attraction of Paris with 13 million visitors annually.
6. Esplanade des Invalides
Paris is the city of love and pretty much the most romantic thing in the world is a boat trip with the sweetheart on the Seine. The Pont Alexandre III with its gold decorations stands out as the most beautiful bridge. If you walk across it from the Champs-Élysées, you will first marvel at the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.
Then you enter the green Esplanade des Invalides. Here is the Rodin Museum with one of the “Thinker” casts, but above all the impressive Invalides Dome. A visit is definitely worthwhile, as there is nobody less than Napoleon Bonaparte right under the dome.
7. Fun for young and old: Disneyland
As if the metropolis didn’t already have enough to offer for everyone, a new world attraction was created in 1992 with Disneyland Paris. The facility is located about 30 kilometers from the gates of the capital and is the most popular amusement park in Europe. Like its great role models in Orlando or Anaheim, the French Disneyland also has the striking Cinderella Castle as a highlight in the center.
Thanks to the adjacent hotels and other parks, you can spend a complete holiday here if a single day on the huge site is not enough. It is advisable to first spend a few days in the city and then at the end to enjoy a little free time in Disneyland.
8. Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur
The city’s local mountain is Montmartre, where Paris is reinventing itself. Artists of all facets meet at Place du Tertre and like to portray their lives. A few meters below, La Pigalle is ideal for evening entertainment, crowned by the legendary Moulin Rouge.
But right at the top, on the roof of the city, it is not only the Sacré-Coeur, an impressive white basilica, that attracts visitors, but also the most beautiful view over Paris on the steps in front of it, especially at dusk. Here you can end a perfect day in France’s capital.
9. Detour to Versailles
About 25 kilometers outside of the city, but still within reach of the metro, is the small town of Versailles, which of course becomes a tourist magnet primarily due to the palace of the same name. The epitome of every baroque palace in Europe was the seat of kings up until the French Revolution, mainly the Sun King Louis XIV.
A tour of the splendid rooms cannot disappoint, and the historic hall of mirrors in particular attracts the crowds. In glorious sunshine, the extensive parks are hard to beat. A whole day can be planned for the detour to Versailles, but it will not be forgotten for a lifetime.
10. Just breathe France
It is rare to find so many sights close together as in Paris. But if you run from the Eiffel Tower to shop on the Champs-Élysées to drive on the Seine and then to the Moulin Rouge, you may end up missing out on the real value of this city. Paris is often hectic, but France through and through. Just let yourself drift and do without being a tourist.
Paris invites you to live. In the morning, like Heinrich Heine, a croissant with coffee with a view of one of the many parks, later rummage through old books at the little bouquinistes, then watch the artists on the Place du Tertre. The typical accordion sounds can be experienced in unspectacular metro stations, and in the evening the red wine entices you to savoir-vivre.