The major Paris tourist attractions, the ones you’ll regret not having seen are:
- The Eiffel Tower – which you can’t really miss wherever you stand in Paris! But its well worth a trip to the top of it on a clear day to see the rest of Paris and take in it’s towering grandeur at the center of the city. There are several vantage points from which you can best admire the tower, probably the best from Place du Trocadéro. You should also definitely see the tower by night which is beautifully lit up and quite romantic.
- Arc de Triomphe – is one of those iconic land marks that has historical significance but isn’t that impressive unless you approach it from the right direction. Best to start at the bottom of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and walk up past all of the luxury shops towards the Arc. For a real treat start your walk at Angelina’s café on Rue de Rivoli sampling the thick luxurious drinking chocolate (so thick they give you a glass of water to wash it down).
- The Louvre – is the famous home of the Mona Lisa, but houses several major art and museum collections. Around 30,000 exhibits are spread over four floors on three wings, making this the largest museum in the World. Therefore some planning is required to decide on what to visit and which floors and wings to leave until later.
- Sacre Coeur – sits above the city and offers stunning views in many directions. Access to this hill in Montmartre is via terraced steps up its terraced gardens or by cable car, best to take the latter up and former down. Those visiting the basilica will have the second highest view in Paris (after the Eiffel tower) from the terrace around the dome, with dawn and dusk usually having the most spectacular panoramas. Montmartre itself is a real tourist trap with artists drawing portraits and caricatures, street artists, plenty of tacky gifts and expensive restaurants and cafes.
- Jardin du Luxembourg – is an idyllic park in the center of Paris containing the Palais du Luxembourg, a large pond, tree-lined paths, terraced gardens, and an observatory. Much like the large parks of most cities its a focal point for joggers at all times of day, dog-walkers, sun-bathers in summer months, chess players, book readers, and children playing and riding donkeys. It also contains several sculptures, fountains, band stand, a bee-keeping school, and an Orangery.
- Place de la Concorde – is a buzzing hub of traffic, pedestrians, fountains and statues at the Eastern end of Champs Elysees. At the center of the square is a 3000 year old Egyptian obelisk overlooking eight statues symbolising eight French cities. Either side of the obelisk are two ornate water fountains. This is a good starting point for your stroll up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe at the far end, a distance of around 1.5 miles which can be taken very leisurely to soak in the sights along the way.