The City of Love can be daunting for first timers, as almost every inch of the city is filled with beauty and history - all of which are worth visiting and exploring. However, there are still several destinations in Paris you simply cannot miss, whether it is because they are popular, steeped in historical importance, or brims with aesthetic appeal.
Here, we list down the top 10 attractions in Paris you should see first before anything else.
1. The Louvre
One of the worlds largest and most popular museums, The Louvre is also Paris' best attraction. Housing a diverse collection of masterpieces from renowned artists of the pre-20th century, it is a place where you can revel in the works of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Caravaggio to name a few. And who would want to miss seeing Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, or Alexandros of Antioch's Venus de Milo? Even The Louvre's distinctive architecture of a glass pyramid is a work of art in itself.
2. Notre Dame Cathedral
How can any first-time visitor miss one of the most postcard-worthy monuments in the world? The medieval, gothic cathedral is Paris' most beautiful architectural marvel. With its dramatic spires, cavernous interiors, and intricate stained-glass windows, Notre Dame will surely take anyone's breath away. Climb the north tower and view Paris from Quasimodo's vantage to complete your visit.
3. Eiffel Tower
The iconic landmark, which has come to represent all that is French and Parisian, should be on every visitor's list of things to see in the capital. Missing it is like a cardinal sin and is punishable by castigation. Originally built by the engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel in 1899 for the World Exposition, the structure was unpopular among citizens and was nearly torn down. Today, it's hard to imagine Paris without the tower dominating the skyline, day and night.
4. Musee d'Orsay
One of the world's most famous museums, a visit here means viewing some of the greatest works ever done by impressionist and post-impressionist masters. Three floors of spacious rooms that house the works of Degas, Gaugin, Van Gogh, Manet, and Delacroix are must-sees. Of particular interest are Degas' ethereal dancers and Monet's water lilies.
5. The Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter
Established in 1257 for an intimate group of theology students, Sorbonne University is one of Europe's oldest universities. It has played host to many brilliant thinkers of our time, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Rene Descartes. The university is the soul of the Latin Quarter, which is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet stroll and relish the nostalgic charm of ages past, lush gardens, open-air markets, and winding backstreets.
6. Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe
Commissioned by Emperor Napoleon I, the 164-foot Arc de Triomphe was a show of triumph in battle and sheer military power. The intricate relief and sculptures are a commemoration to Napoleon and his soliders' victory and might. It is the perfect place to start or culminate a walk down the dazzling Champs-Elysees, where you'll find rows of shops and cafes.
7. Sacre Coeur and Montmartre
Sitting on the highest point in Paris, at the summit of the Montmartre butte, Sacre Coeur is a beacon with its prominent white domes. This basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was built in 1914 and is famous for its garish interiors, gold mosaics, and terrace with sweeping views of Paris. After, head to the village-like avenues of Montmartre where you can play a guessing-game of "What Movie?" as the locale is the setting for many hit movies.
8. Tour of the River Seine via Boat
Take a picturesque down the River Seine and view Paris' most beautiful sites. Many boat tour companies offer 1-hour tours that can cost a little more than 10 Euros. Hop on close to the Eiffel Tower or around the Notre Dame and start your journey on the river. You can opt for a night tour and see Paris' twinkling lights.
Whatever you chose to do on your time in Paris, just make sure that you won't miss these top 8 iconic landmarks to complete you vacation.