Gorgeous Parisian Gardens
Visit the Jardin des Tuileries situated between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde to experience the formal design of a French garden stylized by André Le Nôtre, the gardener of King Louis XIV. Parisians and visitors alike walk through the gardens aligned with Maillol, Giacometti, and Rodin statues. The beautiful walkways and the two garden ponds attract many after visiting the neighboring Musée de l’Orangerie. Here you will also find three restaurants and a bookshop to complete your day.
Influenced by the design of the Boboli Gardens in Florence and commissioned in 1612 by Queen Marie de Medici, the Jardin du Luxembourg evokes an atmosphere of elegance and comfort. The garden stretches over 25 acres between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter and is home to French and English garden divisions separated by a forest and pond. Here you will find a plethora of natural discoveries, from a rose garden to apple orchards and greenhouses, but also stunning statues across the gardens. Discover the Medici fountain and the Orangerie, or even sit down for a game of chess and stroll through a photography exhibition.
Nestled in the 8th arrondissement on Boulevard de Courcelles is the Parc Monceau commissioned by the Duke of Chartres in the 17th century. With an entrance of gold and iron gates, the Haussmannian and neo-classical garden welcomes all visitors with its stunning trees, statues, birds, pond and Renaissance archway owned by what was once the Paris City Hall. Luxury is bountiful both in and out of the garden as it is next door to the Musée Cernuschi, mansions, and regal buildings.
Walk through the Hôtel de Magny to enter the historic Jardin des Plantes of the Museum national d’Histoire Naturelle. Created in the 16th century and originally known as the Jardin Roy, the garden is full of historic treasures such as the chapel bell of the Royal Garden of Medicinal Plants and the portrait of Georges-Louis Leclerc, the Count of Buffon and renowned naturalist who significantly shaped the garden. Diverse galleries, greenhouses, buildings, a menagerie, a restaurant and an extensive library archive enrich the garden for a spectacular experience.
At the roundabout of the Champs-Élysées from the Place de la Concorde is the Jardin des Champs-Élysées. Dating back to the 17th century, the garden offers an abundance of exploration with its surrounding elegant buildings, statues, fountains, museums such as the Grand Palais or Palais de la Découverte, theaters such as the Théâtre Marigny or Théâtre du Rond-Point, and restaurants. Trees and flower beds are spread throughout the garden, offering beautiful walkways for all visitors.
The Most Beautiful Parisian Churches
Churches in Paris are not only havens of architectural beauty and spiritual resonance, but also homes to classical concerts.
The Notre Dame Cathedral stands as one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. A medieval Catholic cathedral, the Notre Dame embodies French Gothic architecture and stuns visitors with its flying buttresses, gargoyles, chimeras, and bell. The church's interior with its magnificent stained glass windows will surely impress you just as the outside view of Paris atop its 387-step stairs.
Not far from the Notre Dame is the Sainte-Chapelle with 1,113 stained glass windows each portraying scenes from the Old and New Testament. The dazzling church was initially intended to house Christian relics like Christ’s Crown of Thorns and remains today a fine architectural example of the Rayonnant Gothic period. It is located within the Palais de Justice, the previous home of French kings. Saint-Chappelle is currently home to two chapels: the Lower Chapel (Chapelle Basse) and the Upper Chapel (Chapelle Haute).
Between the Place de la Concorde and the Opéra House of Palais Garnier is the Église de la Madeleine. At first sight, the church may seem to be more like a Greek temple or museum with its goliath Corinthian columns lining the building, but be sure to find a church and giant organ inside. Situated in the Place de la Madeleine, this neo-classically designed church commissioned by Napoleon is one not to miss.
Famous for its view of Paris, the Sacré-Coeur is a Roman-Catholic church and basilica at the top of Montmartre named after the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The white-stone church with Romano-Byzantine style also serves as a monument for the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune in 1871. Although the overall attractiveness of the Sacre Coeur is up for debate, the church is a Parisian sight to see on its renowned hill.
Other popular and beautiful churches to visit in Paris are the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Place Saint-Germaine-des-Prés, Église Saint Suplice at Place Saint-Suplice, Église Saint Eustache at 2 impasse Saint-Eustache, and Église Saint Etienne du Mont ar 30 rue Descartes.
Iconic Monuments and Landmarks in Paris
Paris Monuments and Landmarks
The Tour Eiffel is the incontestable classic icon of Paris. Built by Gustave Eiffel for the Universal Exposition in 1889 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, the Parisian symbol is regarded as today's “universal Tower of Babel,” welcoming around 7 million visitors per year. Reach the top of the tower by trekking 180 meters up the stairs or taking the elevator where you will find an impeccable view of Paris during the day or night. Restaurants, gift shops, and a champagne bar also await you at the top of this historical monument. Discover the tower at Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France.
Walk along the stunning Pont Alexandre-III, one of the most famous bridges in Paris, and admire the bronze-winged horses each representing Arts, Commerce, Industry, and Sciences. While walking, you may notice it connecting the Invalides of the Left Bank to the Grand Palais and Petit Palais of the Right Bank — but it would be nearly impossible to avoid the Tour Eiffel over the Seine from here in Quai d’Orsay.
For another breathtaking view of Paris, visit the Arc de Triomphe situated in the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle on the west side. The Arc de Triomphe was consecrated to honor those who fought in Napoleon’s wars with the names of generals and wars inscribed on the inside and top of the arch. Standing 49.5 meters tall, this “historic axis” of Paris does not fail to deliver an incredible panoramic view.
Famous for its glamor and luxury, Champs-Élysées is the historic avenue to visit in the 8th arrondissement. Known as la plus belle avenue du monde, it stretches from the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle where the Arc de Triomphe stands, glistening with cafés, theaters, and upscale stores such as Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, and Lacoste. The avenue serves as the finishing point of the Tour de France and connects to the Jardin des Champs-Élysées, which includes the Petit Palais, the Grand Palais, and the Théâtre Marigny among many other attractions. People gather here to attend the Bastille Day military parade as it is a historic jewel of France.
The Île de la Cité and the Île Saint-Louis are two of the Seine’s last natural islands. The Île de la Cité is where the Notre Dame, the Prefecture de Police, the Palais de Justice, the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, the Tribunal de Commerce, and the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation are based. There has always been a palace in the west of the Île de la Cité, with the east full of religious commemoration. Four bridges connect the Île Saint-Louis to Paris and to its sister island Île de la Cité by the Pont Saint Louis. Pont Neuf stretching from the Île de la Cité stands as the oldest bridge in Paris.
At the Trocadéro, find the Palais de Chaillot where the old Palais du Trocadéro used to be. In the south wing of the Palais are the Musée national de la Marine and the Musée de l’Homme. The east wing holds the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine and the Musée national des Monuments Français where the Théâtre national de Chaillot is. The Jardins du Trocadéro, the gardens, were also part of the old Palais du Trocadéro and currently fills in the Palais de Chaillot, stretching down to Pont d’Lena on the Seine.
Visit the Best Museums in Paris
Once in the city, you will find in no time that Paris is teeming with museums — 130 of them. So if you are not yet sure of where to start, hold onto our favorite recommendations.
Home to the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo among 35,000 artworks, the Louvre Museum rests on the Right Bank of the Seine as the second most visited art museum in the world with more than 9 million visitors annually. The museum boasts a symbolic history as it was a former fortress, royal palace, and eventually the haven to house France’s masterpieces. Discover the extensive collection of Paintings, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Near Eastern Antiquities, Sculptures, Decorative Arts, Islamic Art, Prints, Drawings, and the Pavillon de l’Horloge. Enjoy lunch and drinks at their 15 cafés and restaurants. Step inside the glistening Louvre Pyramid located in the Louvre Palace, and see it all yourself.
The Musée de l’Orangerie hosts predominantly impressionist and post-impressionist paintings located in the Jardin des Tuileries at Place de la Concorde. It is the home of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies and the Jean Walter and the Paul Guillaume Collection, with other works by Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, and Picasso.
Originally a train station from 1898-1939, the Musée d’Orsay eventually transformed into a museum that would be something between the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art. Sitting on the Left Bank of the Seine, it is arguably the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art with mostly French paintings, sculptures, and photography from 1848-1914. You will find works of Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Gauguin and Van Gogh among other renowned artists.
The Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais was originally built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition and later classified as a historical monument. Attracting 2 million visitors annually, it now concentrates on four large exhibitions every year with collections of archaeology, architecture, and paintings. The Grand Palais is on 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower and easily reachable from Champs-Élysées.
Directly across the Grand Palais is the Petit Palais - Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris. Also built for the Universal Exposition, the Petit Palais now hosts 1,300 artworks of Flemish, Dutch, French and Italian Renaissance works alongside Ancient and Medieval collections. After drifting into the various works of Delacroix, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec and more, visitors relax in the small outdoor garden, Les Jardin du Petit Palais. Located on Avenue Winston Churchill, this museum will be hard to miss.
The Musée Rodin is a monographic museum and has been home to the largest collection of the sculptor Auguste Rodin’s works since 1916. The museum consists of the Hôtel Biron, the Chapel, the Musée Rodin Bookstore, and Sculpture Garden which includes the Marble Gallery. With the spectacular Parisian rocaille architecture and spacious park, it is no wonder the museum attracts more than 700,000 visitors annually. Make your way to 77 Rue de Varenne to explore this jewel of Paris.
The Musée de l’Armée Invalides is the army museum of Paris created in 1905 and located in the Hôtel National des Invalides on 129 Rue de Grenelle. Displaying two major heritage exhibitions every year in the spring and autumn, it hosts prestigious collections in the museum ranging from old weapons to the possessions of Napoleon I. The museum is home to 24 “treasures” each distinctly related to military history from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. It is famous for offering a culturally rich program with classical music concerts, film screenings, conferences, and symposia that focus on educating the public on French military history.
In 1977, the Centre Pompidou opened to the public and swiftly rose as one of the most famous cultural venues in the world for modern art and industrial design. With impressive high-tech architecture in Place Georges Pompidou, it is home to the Bibliothèque Publique Information (Public Information Library), the Musée National d’Art Moderne, and IRCAM (Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustic / Music). The exhibitions, museum, concerts, live shows, talks, debates, and cinema offer an oasis of cultural and artistic awakening.
Top Cultural Venues and Centers in Paris
Paris Cultural Venues and Centers
Publically opened in 1875, Palais Garnier is an internationally distinguished opera house seating 1,979 people and consisting of the Bassin de la Pythie, the Grand Stairway, and the Foyer de la Danse. Perhaps you have heard of its theater as the Opéra Garnier. The breathtaking opera house built by Charles Garnier garnered extravagant attention particularly during the Belle-Époque period in France, swiftly earning a distinguished reputation. Classical music performances, operas, and the Paris Ballet Company productions are some of the many events you can enjoy at this grand opera house on 8 Rue Scribe.
In the Marais, you will enter a historical and culturally rich neighborhood where alternative art galleries, hotels, and boutiques are unlimited. Previously a marsh farmland in the 12th century — marais meaning marsh — and of the Place Royale of Henri IV in the 17th century, the Marais is now a charming district also home to Paris’s Jewish quarter and gay community. The Musée Carnavalet, the Musée Picasso and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie are found in the 4th arrondissement part of the Marais. Here you will find the Place des Vosges, one of the most historic squares in Paris. Gorgeous facades and arches of the central park make the Place an ideal area to stroll around when visiting the Marais.
At the Trocadéro, find the Palais de Chaillot where the old Palais du Trocadéro used to be. In the south wing of the Palais are the Musée national de la Marine and the Musée de l’Homme. The east wing holds the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine and the Musée national des Monuments Français, where the Théâtre national de Chaillot is. The Jardins du Trocadéro, the gardens, were also part of the old Palais du Trocadéro and currently fills in the Palais de Chaillot, stretching down to Pont d’Lena on the Seine.
Resting by the Seine, the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is a classic English-language bookstore and haven for literature lovers. The bookstore, initially a monastery, opened in 1951 under George Whitman and is now run by his daughter Silvia Whitman. Those such as Allen Ginsburg, Anaïs Nin, and Henry Miller were among the first guests to explore the literary monastery, later including Ethan Hawke, Darren Aronofsky, and Geoffrey Rush. It is a symbolic place to be, regardless of whether books are your forte. Dive into a quieter world and explore what makes it so comforting. Then order a warm drink at the cozy café next door and sit outside to enjoy a spectacular view of the Notre Dame.