The Sights of Paris You Don’t Want to MissDecember 1, 2016 10:00 am
Break out your tourist maps and get scribbling, here are the most beautiful sights of Paris!
It goes without saying that the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Cœur will be on everyone’s Parisian wish lists, but what do you go see once they’ve been ticked off the list? There a million things to see and do in Paris, and the many architectural landmarks scattered across the city are a photographer’s dream. So get your camera ready and check out our favourite sights of Paris that you won’t want to miss!
As one of the most iconic Parisian landmarks, the Arc de Triomphe is worth its weight in photographic gold. Erected in between 1806 and 1836, the lavishly detailed triumphal arch is a memorial to those lost in the Napoleonic wars and later also became home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, an unnamed soldier killed in combat in World War 1. Every day at 6:30pm, the eternal flame is lit in a moving ceremony to honour those like the Unknown Soldier who passed away in the first world war.
This gorgeous structure is the epitome of French Gothic architecture and is Paris’ foremost Catholic church, as the location of the seat of the Archbishop of Paris. Notre Dame – which means ‘our lady of Paris’ in French – is impossible not to fall in love and well worth a tour if you’re particularly interested in architecture, as its 300 year long construction bestowed the building with some charming yet anachronistic design quirks. If you have enough time, mass is open to all and the church runs regular tours of the church and its beautiful art.
Take in the sights of Paris from above at the Montparnasse Tower, one of the tallest buildings in not just Paris but all of Europe at 200m tall. Designed by architects Urbain Cassan, Eugéne Beaudouin, Louis de Höym de Marien and Jean Saubot, it was constructed in 1970. While it might seem at odds with the low rise urban streets, the view from the glass observation platform is unbeatable and spans across some of Paris’ most beautiful landmarks. Make it a truly romantic night with dinner at Le Ciel de Paris against a backdrop of city lights.
A UNESCO world heritage site, the site of the Treaty of Versailles, home of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette – these are just a drops in the bucket of the Palace of Versailles’ complex history. The extravagant palace is a rare look inside French’s past and is perhaps best known for its breathtaking Hall of Mirrors, a long indoor stretch that encompasses stunning art and artfully designed mirror arches. Spanning over a number of buildings and an intricate garden, guided tours are available to get the most out of your day and there are various ticket options.
Easily discernable by the glass pyramid by its entrance, the Louvre is the biggest museum in the world and a must-visit on every Paris traveller’s to do list. Curated in the Louvre Palace, a former fortress, some of the world’s most famous works of art grace its walls, including the Mona Lisa, Raphaelite master works and the Venus de Milo. Not a day goes by that the Louvre isn’t bustling with fellow culture vultures and with over 35,000 works of art, it’s easy to spend days exploring its halls.
The Paris Panthéon is neoclassicalism at its finest and has taken on a life of its own, following its original intention as a church to honour St. Genevieve. Now, it serves as the final resting place for some of France’s most influential citizens including Alexandre Dumas, Voltaire, Marie Curie and more. Modelled after the Roman Pantheon under the architect Soufflot, its tall white columns and high ceilings are unlike anything else you’ll come across in Paris.
As the original inspiration for the book and smash hit musical Phantom of the Opera, the Palais Garnier Opera House has captured imaginations through its rich architecture and the many performances that grace its stages. Its grandiose design combines seven ton bronze and crystal chandeliers with rolling white marble staircases and its balconied theatres are works of art in themselves. It’s worth booking tickets to see an opera or ballet to take in the full experience – there’s always something on.