Besides the famous Eiffel Tower, there is much more to this iconic fashion capital. Paris is praised for its world-recognized museums, culinary creations and is a shopaholic’s delight.
To really get a feel for Paris, you’d have to live there enough time to figure out the cobblestoned streets of Montmartre or the artistic ancestry of Belleville, but a short city break is enough to experience Parisian architecture and culture, and plenty of time to eat your way through macaroons, puff pastries, and eclairs.
Paris is often dubbed the “City of Lights” for good reason. After all, have you ever seen a tower so sparkly in your life or the beautiful shimmering view of urban romance from up above? The famous name, “La Ville-Lumière”, actually originates from older times. Before the days of electricity, LEDs, and before the Eiffel Tower was built to sparkle for the rest of its nocturnal life, Paris was known as the birthplace of new ideas and education. This time period is often referred to as the Age of Enlightenment. Philosophers, poets, artists and more were inspired during their time in Paris and many new wonders were discovered.
Perhaps the City of Lights is more identifiable nowadays with the gleaming lights that swarm the city but in reality, it was named after the intellectual and cultural vibrancy on the 17th and 18th-century life in Paris.
Check out our list of top museums to visit in Paris and other useful travel information to help plan or inspire your trip!
Museums in Paris
Read through our list of Paris’ most famous and best museums to decide which ones to visit on your trip. Although, we do recommend that if you can fit it all in you visit them all!
The most visited and world’s biggest museum, the Louvre contains approximately 35,000 artifacts and works of art in what can only be described as a city within the city. Three different wings and eight departments are home to some of the world’s most famous art, such as the Mona Lisa. Make sure you check the website for opening times of galleries you want to see to avoid disappointment.
Although Picasso was Spanish, he lived in France for the majority of his life and up to 5,000 of his works can be viewed in the Musée Picasso that range from sculptures, ceramics and engravings to painting and drawings. It’s not just an art gallery, as there are many archived pieces from Picasso’s personal repository, as well. The museum is located in Rue de Thorigny in Hótel Salé.
Fondation Louis Vuitton
Opened in October 2014, this cultural center and art museum is run as a separate nonprofit entity and cost almost eight times the sum of the original project cost (€100 million!).
Visiting the Fondation Louis Vuitton is really a complete day out and for all ages, too. Whether you want to discover something new, absorb yourself in some culture or simply have a look around, there’s plenty to see! It’s also right next to Bois de Boulogne for those who want to take a boat ride or a walk in the park afterward.
Housed in the former railway station, Gare d’Orsay, the Musée d’Orsay holds the biggest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, including the works of famous artists such as Van Gogh, Monet and more. The museum displays mainly French art in the form of sculptures, paintings, photography, and furniture.
An architectural wonder, the Pompidou Center house several cultural and educational entities. Visit Europe’s largest modern art museum, explore the vast public library or discover the IRCAM, a music and acoustic research center. The center was named after the president of France, Georges Pompidou who commissioned the building, although it was opened in 1977 by President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.
Shopping in Paris
You need only take a stroll down the Champs-Élysées to discover the numerous department stores and boutiques that Paris has to offer. Encounter theatres, classic bistros and patisseries on Paris’ most famous street.
Paris is the fashion capital of the world, which means that you can shop til you drop with no end. Find bespoke gowns and enchanting accessories or get lost in the many shopping centers and shop-lined high streets.
Palace of Versailles
Despite being located in Versailles just outside of Paris, many visiting Paris choose to take a detour for a day and take a day trip to Versailles.
The Palace of Versailles was the residence of the French Royal Family up until the start of the French revolution in 1789. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Palace of Versailles attracts millions of visitors every year. In fact, more visit the palace than the Eiffel Tower!
When to Visit Paris
You can visit Paris all year round, although many choose to visit Paris in the summer. Outdoor concerts and cool evenings make Paris a gorgeous summer destination. However, you can also visit in spring and autumn when there are fewer crowds but the weather isn’t too cold.
The weather in Paris is unpredictable and grey clouds can be known to engulf the City of Lights at random times of the year. July is the hottest month of the year typically and January is the coldest. It’s often potluck as to what kind of weather you get which is why many tend to visit on a safer bet in spring and summer.
How to Get Around in Paris
There are many areas of Paris where you can walk to different activities or sights and spend the afternoon in one area.
If you do need to yus public transport, the metro and train connections are easy-to-use in Paris. You can get a single ticket for as little as €1.90 or if you know you’ll use the metro approx. 10 times, you can save some money and buy a carnet of 10 singles for €14.90
Paris Travel Advice
Like any large European city, Paris is welcoming and offers a wealth of possibilities to visitors. That said, impressing locals with basic French knowledge goes a long way with Parisians!