Paris Must-Dos

Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Paris—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.

Centre Pompidou
Paris's high-tech shrine to contemporary art. "Take the escalators up for a free view; the cafés in the square below are expensive but worth it for the best people-watching in Paris."—Photographer Michele Ch'i. Fee. Place Georges Pompidou; Métro: Châtelet-Les Halles; tel. 33 (0) 1 44 78 12 33. www.centrepompidou.fr

Eiffel Tower
"Daring and sublime; iron reborn as lace."—Mosaic artist Sharon Tompkins. Tip: Go at night to avoid the crowds (open until 11:45 p.m., 12:45 a.m. in summer), see 20,000 flashing lights switched on the first ten minutes of every hour at night. Fee for the stairs and elevators. Champ de Mars; Métro: Bir-Hakeim; tel. 33 (0) 1 44 11 23 23. www.tour-eiffel.fr

Louvre
One of the world's greatest art collections; old master paintings; renowned collections of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Etruscans, Greeks; tapestries and jewels. Tip: Avoid the long lines around the I.M. Pei Pyramid; there are three other entrances; buy tickets in advance at FNAC or Virgin Megastore. Fee. Rue de Rivoli; Métro: Palais Royal; tel. 33 (0) 1 40 20 50 50. www.louvre.fr

Musée Carnavalet
Fascinating museum in the Marais, dedicated to Paris itself. 23 Rue de Sévigné; Métro: St-Paul; tel. 33 (0) 1 44 59 58 58. www.paris.fr

Musée National du Moyen Age
The best preserved Roman ruins in Paris; first-, second-, and third-century baths and adjacent 15th-century abbey of Cluny housing Middle Ages art, including the celebrated "Lady of the Unicorn" tapestries. "Rooms filled with intricate beauty: a solid gold rose, jeweled Visigothic crowns, chess players in stained glass."—Anne Block, tour guide, www.takemymotherplease.com. Fee. 6 Place Paul Painlevé; Métro: Cluny-La Sorbonne; tel. 33 (0) 1 53 73 78 00. www.musee-moyenage.fr

Musée d'Orsay
"Dozens of the 19th-century's most influential images, all in the original and all under one great roof."—Anthony Peregrine, travel writer, the Sunday Times. Housed in a graceful belle epoque train station; masterpieces by Delacroix, Manet, Rodin, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Fee. 62 Rue de Lille; Métro: Assemblée Nationale; tel. 33 (0) 1 40 49 48 14. www.musee-orsay.fr

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

Musée du Quai Branly
Stunning collection of indigenous artifacts, a veritable Louvre of non-Western art; opened in June 2006 in a new garden-wrapped building designed by Jean Nouvel. "Remarkable details in the exhibits and architecture; don't miss the beautiful Siberian skirt made of fish skins, or the ceilings in the bookshop building decorated by Aboriginal artists."—Anne Block. Fee. 37 Quai Branly; Métro: Bir Hakeim; tel. 33 (0) 1 56 61 70 00. www.quaibranly.fr

Notre Dame
Paris's splendid Gothic cathedral begun in 1163 (and finished 87 years later); sculpted doors; huge 13th-century southern rose window; flying buttresses; grand organ that plays every Sunday afternoon at 4:30 except during Lent. Fee for 255-step climb up bell tower for city view. Place du Parvis Notre Dame; Métro: St-Michel; tel. 33 (0) 1 42 34 56 10. www.cathedraledeparis.com

Sainte-Chapelle
"Soaring stained glass held in place by the most fragile of stone frameworks; 13th-century artisans knew a thing or two about the sublime."—Anthony Peregrine, travel writer, the Sunday Times. Gothic at its most inspiring. Fee. 4 Boulevard du Palais; Métro: Cité; tel. 33 (0) 1 53 40 60 97. http://sainte-chapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

Read This Next

The most ancient galaxies in the universe are coming into view
‘Microclots’ could help solve the long COVID puzzle
How Spain’s lust for gold doomed the Inca Empire

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet