We've taken the big list of must-see Paris attractions (and we do mean BIG list) and grouped them together in manageable half-day or full-day itineraries to make your Paris visit as much fun as possible.
Whatever your pleasure — the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, Sacre Coeur, Champs Elysées, the Louvre or Musée d'Orsay — our itineraries will save you time and get you to a whole bunch of great Paris attractions in one fell swoop.
Luckily for visitors, Paris is a relatively small city, so it's possible to see a lot in a short amount of time.
Of course, it's important to leave extra time to explore the neighborhood after your visit to the top attractions. There are small, local parks; narrow streets; bars and cafés to discover in every part of Paris.
Did we mention the shopping?
Start your day at Trocadero (Metro: Trocadero) to get the best view of the Eiffel Tower.
Then either spend more time at Trocadero exploring nearby museums or stroll down the hill and cross the Seine to get directly to the Eiffel Tower. If you've booked your tickets in advance, or have booked an Eiffel Tower tour, you'll be able to get to the top without the long wait.
After your visit to the Eiffel Tower you have a choice to make. It's a short walk to the Musée du Quai Branly, which we think of as the museum of the rest of the world.
Or take the pedestrian bridge at Quai Branly and cross to Palais de Tokyo, home of the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris.
Or, if you've had enough of sightseeing and want to have an authentic Paris moment, stroll to Rue Cler, also in the 7th Arrondissement, where you'll find a variety of cafés, bistros and food shops.
Attractions & Itineraries. Start your tour at top of the Arc de Triomphe (at the west end of Champs Elysées, Metro Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoille) and get one of the best views of Paris.
From there, walk down Champs Elysées towards the Louvre, and do a bit of window shopping at Louis Vuitton and the other designer shops.
From Louis Vuitton it's a nine-minute walk to the traffic circle at Avenue Montaigne, home to another batch of luxe shopping destinations — Christian Dior, Valentino, Chanel, Bulgari and others. Oh, look, there's the Canadian Embassy, also on Avenue Montaigne.
But you can't shop forever, especially at those prices! So, pop down to Avenue Winston Churchill and stop at the Petit Palais, home of the Museum of Fine Arts of the City of Paris, for a dose of free art. (Almost all City of Paris museums are free.)
Now, back on Champs Elysées, stroll along the beautiful, tree-lined section of the avenue and pass through Place de la Concorde into the luscious Tuileries Garden, where you can have a rest and a drink at one of its outdoor cafés. You've earned it, you've walked the entire length of the most famous avenue in the world!
This walking itinerary starts at the postcard pretty Places des Abbesses where you get off the Metro at station Abbesses.
Notice one of the last surviving Art Nouveau Metro station entrances designed by Hectar Guimard.
From there wander up Rue des Abbesses (against the traffic direction) to take in the village vibe. You'll notice that this part of Montmartre is not jammed with tourists.
After a slice of real life in real Montmartre, continue up Rue des Abbesses and take Rue Lepic uphill. Wind your way through the old village streets and famous cabarets until you reach Place du Tertre, hangout of artists in Picasso's day and still the haunt of many Parisian artists. It's touristy, but fun!
Finish up your day in Montmartre at Sacre Coeur, the big white church on the hill, for some of the best views of Paris.
Attractions & Itineraries. It started life as a train station, but the d'Orsay is now home to the most famous Impressionist paintings and one of the major Paris attractions.
The Musée d'Orsay is found on the Left Bank of the Seine and is something you are not going to want to miss. Plan to spend three hours there, maybe having lunch in the Belle Époque dining room.
Once you've left the museum, head across the pedestrian bridge to the pretty garden of the Tuileries. Stroll through the garden and take a quick tour of the Musée l'Orangerie to see Claude Monet's famous water lily paintings.
Exit the Orangerie into the Place de la Concorde, replete with fountains and romance, as well as the famous Egyptian obelisk. If you're up to it, cross Rue de Rivoli for a well-deserved hot chocolate at Angelina's.
It can't be done in a day, perhaps not even in a lifetime, but the Louvre Art Museum should be on your short-list of Paris attractions.
Start your tour at the Tuileries Metro station, where you'll approach the Louvre through the park. Head to the Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel and stop to admire the other Napoleonic victory arch — the only one completed in his lifetime.
Next, use the secret staircases near the Arc to access the Louvre from underground. This tip alone will save you time by avoiding the Pyramids entrance where the major lines are formed. If you want to see many of the highlights in a short time (and avoid the looong ticket lines), you should book a Louvre museum tour.
A normal person can probably only take 3 or 4 hours at a time in the Louvre. So, after you emerge from the museum, cross Rue de Rivoli and spend time relaxing in the garden of the Palais Royal, one of the under-appreciated spots in Paris.
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