I was planning to save this post for a later date, but in the interest of a friend who is heading to Paris soon, I’ve decided to share “My top 5 places to visit in Paris” a bit earlier.
Now, even though the city of love didn’t make me fall quite as in love as I had expected. Paris left no room for disappointment when it came to architecture, bakeries, and its people! Every person I encountered in Paris was beyond nice to this American girl 🙋🏻♀️ and were so understanding with my barely existent French vocabulary. (Which consisted of: Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, and Yes, all those Patisseries are for me!)
Anyway, if you’re here, it’s because you’re probably planning a trip to Paris soon, and you want to see the best of the best in your time there. And honestly, there are just too many beautiful things to see there, to fit all in one post.
So out of everything I saw, I’ll share with you the ones I found to be most memorable. The ones that if I only had 48 hours in Paris, I would have to visit!
Here’s 5 undeniably beautiful structures in Paris. With number 1 being my absolute favorite. ☺️
5) The Eiffel Tower
I think many would agree that when it comes to iconic structures, The Eiffel Tower stands among a select few, as an icon of icons; it’s just that amazing. No matter how many times you visit it, or see it in passing, it never fails to make you look on in complete and utter excitement. It always felt like I was seeing it for the very first time, every time.
I chose not to climb up the tower though, because I didn’t relish the idea of standing in a long line for hours. Especially since you can get better panoramic views of the city from other buildings. (Of course, if you have the time and patience, go for it.)
My favorite thing to do near the Eiffel Tower, was to pick up some pastries from Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel, and just sit and enjoy the view from the west side of the tower in a little empty park, book in tow. (Can you guess what novel I took?)
The North and South side of the tower were usually pretty busy. So I would only go to those sides when I wanted to capture stunning sunrise/sunset views from the Pont d’lena (North) or Champ de Mars. (South)
Another stunning place to view the tower (especially at night) is in between Palais de Chaillot and the Trocadero Gardens.
I’m not sure if it has a specific name, but in between there, you’ll get a direct, unobstructed view of the tower.
I’m a landscape, kind-of-girl. I love mountains, oceans, and all that good scenic stuff. But my second favorite thing to see when traveling are church/cathedral buildings. There’s just something about all those tiny details etched into walls, usually depicting stories, and ceilings that just leave you with your mouth hanging, and eyes wide open trying to just absorb every bit of it. I seriously love them, and Saint-Paul in the Marais quarter was every bit a feast for my eyes.
Even though it is not a huge church, and its outside is nothing grand. I feel it was definitely worth the visit. Especially after having visited other lovely, albeit slightly overrated churches like, Saint-Chapelle and the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. They just couldn’t compare to the lovely Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis. Which I felt offered so much more visually, without the added crowds.
Its entrance is free, and its doors are open to anyone, between 8 am – 8 pm.
Despite being a Roman church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, I think anyone, from any religion, can appreciate the incredible design of this Basilica.
I suggest going as early as possible, as it gets quite full, fast. The entrance to the church is free, and the climb to the top of the dome will cost you less than €15.
The ticket booth to climb to the top, can be found towards the left of the entrance to the church. Here, you’ll go down some steps, to then climb up the narrow and seemingly never-ending passage (300 steps to be exact!). But it is beyond worth it for the amazing views you’ll get from above!
Side note: You should definitely be extra cautious on the main steps of Sacré-Cœur, especially when it’s very crowded. As it is riddled with pickpockets and harassment abounds freely there. Alas, the guards stationed there seemed to just be for show. As I personally saw them let two female pickpockets go, without even taking away the items they’d stolen. 😳
2) Notre-Dame de Paris
Nestled in the 4th arrondissement, floating in the Seine, is the dreamiest Gothic cathedral that I’ve ever seen. I didn’t just visit Notre Dame, check it off my list, and move on. No, it kept me coming back over and over. Enchanting me more and more with every visit. Truly, it’s a beautiful place that will stay with you always.
Like Sacré-Cœur, climbing to the top of Notre Dame is a must. And with a ticket price of €8.50, there’s no worthy excuse not to climb the towers.
Mornings is when you’ll find this beauty less crowded. However, capturing it in the evening, as the setting sun gives off its last golden embers to the sky, will give you a completely different appreciation for it.
To enter the tower, you will find an automated ticket booth on the east side of the church (when facing the front of Notre Dame). Here you will select the next available time to enter the towers, or you may select the time you prefer. After paying with cash/card you can leave and come back 5-10 minutes before your scheduled time. Please note, that you don’t have to make the line again, you just go straight to the person checking tickets and show them yours.
I saw so many people confused as to what all the times on the screen meant, or if they had to wait there, when to come back, etc.
What I did my first time, was to purchase my ticket, which luckily had an available slot for an hour later, and then spent that time exploring the inside of the church. Which is free and has no queue.
1) Palais Garnier*
Yes! An opera house is my number one pick. I know, many will think I’m crazy to name this the #1 place to visit. But I honestly fell so in love with Palais Garnier, that I left Paris convinced that it is the most beautiful thing there. Although to be fair, I’m completely biased, as I’m utterly obsessed with the Phantom of the Opera book/movie, which of course makes me hold a deeper appreciation for this place.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a dreamy, underrated place to enjoy one of Paris’s greatest masterpieces, look no further. Palais Garnier will keep you entertained for as much time as you can spare, and will reward you at every turn with beautiful paintings and statues. Every inch of that place, from its floors to the ceilings and walls are seamlessly woven with breathtaking art.
Upon entering the building you’ll go through a quick security check, and then you’ll be able to purchase your €11 ticket with the automated machine or with a clerk. After that, you can just go straight into exploring the opera house at your own leisure, for however long your heart desires, until closing that is. 😉
You won’t regret visiting it, I promise!
*I didn’t go into too much detail, since I’ve already written a whole post dedicated to my visit to Palais Garnier. (I’ll be publishing it next week)
I hope this guide will be of some use to you as you plan or dream of your trip to the City of Lights.
As always, merci for reading-along! I hope you enjoyed. 💛