Few cities have the opulence and elegance of Paris, from the sparkling of the Eiffel Tower to the avant-garde appeal of the Louvre Pyramid. If you're travelling to Paris for the first time, or if you've previously missed out on some of the top attractions, here are the most famous buildings in Paris and how to see them.
The Eiffel Tower stands as an iconic monument and practical a symbol of the city itself. Originally constructed for the 1889 World's Fair, its unique design made it a standout landmark on the city's skyline. The impressive structure is a popular attraction that brings crowds of people, but you can also see it from afar at one of the city's vantage points. You can access the top of the tower by the stairs or by the elevator, which takes you to the observation point for views of the city.
The Eiffel Tower can be reached via metro line 9 at Trocadero station and line 6 at Bir-Hakeim station. It's free for kids under the age of 4 to visit, and the stairs entrance ticket is 7€ for the full rate, 5€ for ages 12-24 years and 3€ for children between the ages of 4 and 11 and disabled people. A lift entrance ticket to the second floor is 11€ for the full rate, 8.50€ for ages 12-24 years and 4€ for children between the ages of 4 and 11 and disabled people. To the top, the lift entrance ticket rates increase to 17€ for the full rate, 14.50€ for ages 12 to 24 years and 8€ for children between the ages of 4 and 11 and disabled people.
The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur is a stunning monument in Paris. It's perched on a towering hill and offers beautiful views of the city. The basilica is a sight in itself, however, with its Roman-Byzantine architectural details and massive domes. The highlights of the basilica include the giant bell, which is one of the world's largest, and the crypt.
The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur can be reached via metro line 2 at Anvers station and line 12 at Abbesses station. It's free to enter the basilica itself, but you need to pay to see the dome and crypt. For just the dome, it's 6€ for the full price and 4€ for children between 4 and 16 years old. The crypt is 3€ for full-price and 2€ for children between 4 and 16 years old. Both the dome and the crypt are 8€ for full-price and 5€ for children between 4 and 16 years old. Children under the age of 4 can enter for free.
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most notable structures in all of Paris. Located in Place de l'Etoile at the end of Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe is a triumphant archway that was built to celebrate Napoleon Bonaparte's victory in Austerlitz. Beneath the arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial to the fallen.
The Arc de Triomphe can be reached via metro lines 1, 2 and 6 in Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile station. You need to pay to visit, and the full rate is 12€.
The Louvre is not only one of the most famous buildings in Paris, but it's also one of the most famous buildings in the world. Once a palace for the kings of France, the museum is home to a huge collection of artwork spanning from the Middle Ages through 1848, in addition to selected works from ancient cultures. In addition to paintings, the Louvre holds sculptural masterpieces, such as Venus de Milo. The museum hosts special exhibitions and rotating exhibits as well, so there's always something happening. One of the highlights of a visit to the museum is the Louvre Pyramid, a large glass and metal pyramid designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, which rests in the courtyard.
The Louvre can be reached via metro line 1 at the Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre station. You need tickets to access the museum, which is free for children under the age of 18 and EU citizens under 26, and 15€ for everyone else. The museum is quite big, so check the website to decide what exhibits you want to visit and check the map to avoid getting lost inside. You won't be able to experience the whole museum in one day, so plan a few hours and highlight the most important pieces you want to see.
Located on the left bank, the Musée d'Orsay is a spectacular art museum that houses an extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist artwork from prominent painters. The museum is located in a former railway station that was built for the World's Fair in 1900, giving it ample space for art exhibitions. On occasion, the museum holds temporary exhibitions that feature important movements or artists from history.
The Musée d'Orsay can be reached at RER C, Musée d'Orsay station from metro line 12, the Assemblee Nationale Station. You need tickets to access the museum, which is free for children under 18 years old and EU citizens under 26, 9€ for non-EU citizens under 26 and 12€ for everyone else. With so much to see in the museum, it's best to give yourself a few hours and check out the exhibitions in advance to ensure you see everything that you want to.
Paris is filled with must-see monuments and buildings that will be the highlight of your trip. If you're planning a trip to Paris, take a look at deals on Paris holidays at Expedia and plan your itinerary for your city break!