See the best of Paris
Paris sparks the imagination like nowhere else can. It’s a city of light, luxury, art, and icons that delivers on all its promises. Walk the wide boulevards, see masterpieces up close, linger over a glass of wine, and leave wanting more.
To find your way around Paris, it's good to know that the city is made up of 20 numbered arrondissements (districts), starting in the center and spiraling outwards. Most top attractions can be found in the districts along the banks of the river Seine. To help you explore the city's highlights, we’ve listed the top sights per district and provided you with walking directions:
- Arrondissement 1 (Louvre)
Gaze into Mona Lisa’s eyes and explore endless halls of some of the world's finest artwork in the Musée du Louvre. For shopping, check out the Forum des Halles, or enjoy the fresh air and greenery of the Jardin des Tuileries. This is where you'll find the Musée de l'Orangerie, home to Claude Monet's famous Water Lilies paintings.
From the Tuileries Garden, head west onto the busy Place de la Concorde to the 8th arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 8 (Élysée)
Walk up the broad Avenue des Champs-Élysées, renowned for its luxury shops and theatres, towards the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, a monument to Napoleon's victories. On your way, make a little detour to see the Élysée Palace, where the President of France resides.
From the Arc de Triomphe, walk south and cross the Seine river towards the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 7 (Palais-Bourbon)
There it is! See the Eiffel Tower up close, then explore Hôtel des Invalides, a complex of military museums and monuments which houses the tomb of Napoleon. Art lovers can spend a few hours in the Musee d’Orsay and the Musée Rodin.
From the Hôtel des Invalides and the Musée Rodin, head east to the 6th arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 6 (Luxembourg)
Admire the Church of Saint-Sulpice and the 6th-century Abbey of Saint-Germain de Prés. Relax in the gardens of Luxembourg Palace, where the French Senate gathers, then visit famous cafés Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, once frequented by the likes of Picasso, Hemingway, and Sartre.
From either of the cafés, head east along the Boulevard Saint-Germain to reach the 5th arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 5 (Panthéon)
Enjoy the atmosphere in the Quartier Latin, the student district centered around the Sorbonne. If it's too early to grab a drink, take in the view over the river from the Panthéon on Sainte-Genevieve hill and browse the famous Shakespeare & Company bookstore.
From the bookstore, head directly north across the Seine towards Notre-Dame in the 4th arrondissement.
- Arondissement 4 (Hôtel de Ville)
Take in the impressive Notre-Dame Cathedral, located on the Île de la Cité in the Seine. Head over the river to city hall, Hôtel de Ville, then spot Victor Hugo’s house in the Place des Vosges. Don't miss the remarkable Centre Pompidou, which contains Europe’s largest modern art collection.
From the Centre Pompidou, walk north to reach the Musée des Arts and Métiers in the 3rd arrondissement.
- Arrondissement 3 (Temple)
Wander the streets of the historic district of Le Marais, known for its hip boutiques, cafés and bars. Explore the Musée Picasso, and visit the Musée des Arts et Métiers, a museum of industrial design housed in a medieval priory. The old Jewish quarter can be found here too, extending into the 4th arrondissement.
From here, follow the Boulevard de Magenta north to reach the 18th arrondissement.
- Arondissement 18 (Butte-Montmartre)
The hill of Montmartre has a very special atmosphere. Once the bohemian home to artists like Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Dalí, it's also where you'll find the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. At the top of the hill, take in the great view of the city from the white Sacré-Coeur Basilica.
- And so much more...
Still hungry for Paris? Check out the remarkable Sainte-Chapelle across from Notre-Dame with its impressive stained glass windows. Or pay a visit to the world-famous Père Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondissement – it's the final resting place of Oscar Wilde, Édith Piaf and Jim Morrison, to name just a few.
A different “tour” for your tour
We know you came to Paris to see the Tour Eiffel. After all, it’s the single most recognized travel icon in the world. But before you center your plans around it, ask yourself: where is the absolute worst place to see the Eiffel Tower?
Here’s a hint: it’s at the top of the Eiffel Tower. None of your photos from the top will do the tower any justice. Instead, head over to the Tour Montparnasse for awesome skyline views. You can also get a fantastic shot from the Arc de Triomphe.
Paris is packed with gourmet treats. It seems that there’s not a single street you can stroll down without being bombarded by boulangeries.
If your train arrives at the Gare de Lyon, treat yourself to an iconic dining experience at Le Train Bleu. This ornate restaurant overlooking the station hall is worth a visit for some classy French fare. You'll also eat well at any unassuming brasserie tucked away in romantic Montmartre or along the banks of Canal St. Martin.
You can’t go wrong with a walk through the romantic boulevards of Paris, but if you find yourself in the 12th arrondissement, take your stroll up a notch on the Coulée Verte René Dumont. This decommissioned railway line was the first of its kind to become an elevated city park. Situated on top of a viaduct, it’s a unique, green escape from the hustle and bustle below.
"I especially like the Belleville area for its mix of bars, cheap restaurants and multicultural crowd. Go to Le Food Market if you’re hungry for street food or to Le Cent Quatre in the 19th arrondissement if you’re looking for cultural exhibits and art expos."
Getting to Paris by train
You can reach Paris by train from anywhere in Europe. The city has 6 large railway stations, so always check where you'll be arriving or departing. For example, trains from the north (Netherlands, Belgium) usually arrive at Gare du Nord, while long-distance trains from the south terminate at Gare de Lyon.
You can find all trains to and from Paris in the Eurail Timetable.
From Amsterdam to Paris
From Barcelona to Paris
From Geneva to Paris
Flights and public transport
Most international flights to Paris arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), located in the north of the city. Take an RER train from here to reach the city center in 30 minutes. An important airport for domestic traffic is Paris Orly (ORY), located to the south. From here, take the OrlyVal Airport Shuttle to reach Paris within 40 minutes.
The easiest way to get around in Paris is by metro. Famous for its density, it will get you anywhere you want in the city. If you prefer to stay above ground you can also travel by bus. Both modes of transport accept the same tickets, which cost 1.90 euro for a one-way journey. You can also get a carnet, which is 10 tickets for 16 euros.