Planning to travel to the French capital and you’re looking for the most famous landmarks in Paris to visit? From iconic structures to historical buildings, you’ll find them all here!
The city of love has so many things to offer. Beautiful, historical streets to stroll through, quaint, charming cafés to eat French delicacies at, and of course its plethora of French landmarks, each distinctly different from the other.
Significant symbols of French history, the monuments of Paris are an integral part of the city and they add to its charm.
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Whether you’re a history buff and love monuments from the time of the world wars or wish to explore sites with scenic views of the magnificent city, Paris has it all!
So continue reading to find out more about the 18 most famous landmarks in Paris and where you can marvel at them!
Psst... I’ve included an interactive map at the end of this post to help you locate these Parisian monuments easily.
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
- Don’t forget to take Travel Insurance. Request a free quote from my favorite insurance, World Nomads. (More on this at the end of the article.)
- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Consider getting either the museum pass or the Paris city pass if you plan to visit a lot of attractions. The city pass comes with free transportation and access to the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can read my Paris museum pass review to see if it’s right for you.
- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
Psst… Before traveling to Paris or France in general, make sure that you have Travel Insurance! I always use World Nomads on all my trips and I am happy to recommend it to you. You can easily request a quote from World Nomads from here for FREE!
Famous Landmarks in Paris
1. The Louvre Museum
When one thinks of Paris, one thinks of art. The Louvre is the biggest and most frequented art museum in the world!
Situated in the heart of the city, on the right bank of the beautiful river Seine, The Louvre is a palace turned art museum that’ll amaze you!
You’ll get a chance to have a look at the most extensive art collection in the world, with eminent art pieces such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Alexandros of Antioch’s Venus de Milo sculpture.
You can choose from the museum’s options of visitor’s trails, including one called ‘Jay Z & Beyoncé’s Louvre Highlights,’ relax in the expansive gardens, and be awe-struck by the global talent of artists and craftspeople that The Louvre celebrates.
Of course, remember to take a photo in front of the glass pyramids in the courtyard of the museum; they’re beautiful!
But since the Louvre gets crowded, I’d advise you to buy this skip-the-line ticket to avoid long queues.
And if you want to make your visit more enjoyable and learn all the history of this great museum while knowing exactly where to go, I recommend booking this Louvre guided tour and I promise you’ll have a great time and you’ll learn more facts about the Louvre and its objects.
Related post: Best Hotels to stay in near the Louvre
2. Arc de Triomphe
One of the most famous landmarks of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe, is a symbol of French identity.
Situated on the west end of the bustling Champs-Élyées, the marvelous monument was commissioned by Napolean I and then inaugurated by King Louis Phillipe in 1836 in honor of the battles fought during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.
It has the names of French victories and generals engraved on it to pay homage to the sacrifice made during the wars.
There is also an eternal frame beneath the Arc of an unknown soldier to give respect to those who died but were non-identified.
On top of that, the annual Bastille day parade commences from here. Besides history, you can climb to the top of its observation deck to get scenic views of the gorgeous city of Paris.
Visiting the Arc is free but you’ll need to buy this skip-the-line ticket to have access to its observation deck.
You can learn more about this historical monument by reading these fun facts about the Arc de Triomphe.
3. Palais Garnier
Situated in the 9th Arrondissement is a Haussmanian phenomenon and a prime part of the Opera world, the Palais Garnier!
Since its construction at the request of Emperor Napolean III, it has witnessed some of the most fabulous ballet and opera performances of the past two centuries.
The beautiful Opera house has been featured in several global media pieces, the most popular being the Phantom of the Opera.
The design of both the interior and exterior of the magnificent structure signify opulence and extreme luxury.
A symbol of French art and music, Palais Garnier can seat over 2000 people, so if you get the chance and enjoy the Opera, make sure you book your seat in advance for any upcoming interests, and you’ll not be disappointed!
But if you don’t get a chance to watch the Opera show or if you’re just not a fan, you can still visit it independently and admire all its beauty and luxuries.
4. Eiffel Tower
Named after Gustave Eiffel, whose company ideated and constructed this beautiful structure, the Eiffel Tower is not only the shining jewel of the city but also the most famous landmark in Paris.
Made of lattice wrought iron, this iconic landmark was once considered ugly but now it’s the most visited paid attraction in the world. There’s no way you can go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower.
You can take a tour of this architectural marvel and later climb it to take in the stunning views of the entire city.
The best part about it is that it sparkles every night at the top of the hour for five minutes, so plan your visit accordingly because there’s no sight as magical as this.
You can even dine inside the tower at any of its three restaurants – Le 58 Tour Eiffel, Le Jules Verne, and Champagne Bar.
Pro tip* The queues at the Eiffel Tower can be extremely long and it would be a big Parisian mistake not to buy the entry ticket in advance.
You can buy your Eiffel Tower skip the line ticket from here but if you prefer having a guide show you around while giving you all the history about the Tower and the city, then I recommend booking this guided tour.
Related post: A sneak peek of the views from the Eiffel Tower
Visible from Rue Saint-Rustique, the Basilica of the sacred heart of Paris, or Sacré-Coeur as commonly known is a political and cultural symbol of the city.
It is located on top of Butte Montmartre, making it the highest point in the city. The complex of the building includes a gorgeous fountain and a vast garden for meditation.
Made from the same stone used to construct the Arc de Triomphe and the Alexandre III Bridge, the structure stays pristine white all year round with an impressive architectural design.
One of the most visited Paris landmarks, this Basilica is an architectural marvel that you’re sure to have a great time at!
And besides admiring its beauty, you can climb it to enjoy stunning views of the entire Montmartre village and Paris at large.
It’s free to visit the Basilica itself but you’ll need to buy a ticket to climb its dome for the views. It’s also a great place to watch a sunset in Paris.
Pro tip* While in Montmartre, be sure to check out its pretty streets, hidden gems, arty neighborhood, and other attractions by going on this Montmartre guided walking tour.
6. Centre Pompidou
Located in the 4th Arrondissement, Pompidou Centre is a modern and eccentric building amidst the classic Parisian buildings.
Home to Musée National d’Art Moderne, the most prominent contemporary art museum in Europe, an extensive public library and centers for research in music and art, it has attracted over 150 million visitors since it opened its doors to the public in 1977.
With its unconventional design of having pipes and other utilities on the exterior of the building, this design spectacle will leave you awe-struck.
World-famous for its exhibitions, films, dance performances, and other such events, at Centre Pompidou, you’re sure to have a great time marveling at the quirky architecture of the building while enjoying sweeping views of the city from its viewpoint!
Just remember to buy this online ticket to skip the long lines and get access to various exhibitions and the rooftop viewpoint to admire other Parisian landmarks.
7. The Catacombs
Underneath the spectacular city lies one of the most famous landmarks in Paris, the Catacombs.
The Catacombs are 320 kilometers (200 miles) of tunnels full of underground ossuaries that preserve the remnants of over six million people.
It is a memorial for the thousands of unnamed Parisians whose bodies couldn’t be buried in the overflowing cemeteries of the 17th century.
While there, you’ll also be able to catch a sight of the beautiful sculptures in the Port-Mahon corridor that were created by a member of Louis XV’s army years before the remains had to be moved in.
A landmark that’ll leave you feeling eerie, something not commonly felt in the otherwise magnificent and lively city of lights, visiting the Catacombs is one of the unusual things to do in Paris.
You can visit on your own if you buy this skip-the-line entry ticket that comes with an audio guide or book this guided tour to learn more about the history of the Catacombs from a knowledgeable guide and get access to some private sections.
Pro Tip* Carry a jumper or jacket because the Catacombs are usually pretty chilly.
8. The Panthéon
Situated in the 5th Arrondissement is one of the most prominent Paris monuments that has lasted for times immemorial.
The Panthéon was constructed on the demand of Louis the XV, who wished to immortalize Saint Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, and through the years has evolved into a patriotic and spiritual motif of the city.
Since 1885, the monument became a haven for resting the bodies of prominent scientists, writers, politicians like Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Jean – Jacques Rousseau, and more.
With classical architectural elements, a giant dome, and a row of Corinthian pillars, the structure shares a significant resemblance with the original Roman Pantheon.
If you’re a lover of neoclassical design or simply appreciate landmarks that have rich histories, you’ll genuinely enjoy your time at The Panthéon!
And if you visit between April and October, you’ll be able to climb to the top of the dome to enjoy epic views of the Eiffel Tower and other Parisian monuments. You can buy your ticket from here to get fast entry.
9. Palais du Luxembourg
In the 6th Arrondissement of the city of lights is the royal Palais du Luxembourg!
Initially constructed to be a home for Queen Marie de Médicis (Mother of King Louis the XIII), it became a prison during the revolution and is now the seat of the French Senate.
It is open to the public on Monday, Friday, and Saturday, the days the Senate is not in session.
The Palace is an architectural wonder, with water basins, apple and pear orchards, and a museum of art within the compound itself!
With the largest public garden of all of Paris, impressive fountains, and so much history, a visit to Palais du Luxembourg is a must!
10. Musée d’Orsay
On the left bank of the Seine is Musée d’Orsay, the national museum of fine and applied arts in Paris.
Constructed for the universal exhibition back in 1900, the museum is located in the former Orsay railway station and houses some of the most delicate art.
If you’re an art enthusiast, especially of the impressionist and post-impressionist times, at the Orsay Museum, you’ll be in the company of some of the finest creations of the 19th century and observe how art represented the lives and struggles of the time it was created in.
If you visit, make sure you look at the Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, Poppy Field by Claude Monet, and Bazille’s Studio by Frederic Bazille. Head to Musée d’Orsay for an afternoon of history and the finest art there is!
But before you go, be sure sure to purchase this online ticket to skip the line as the queue can get pretty long. And if you prefer having a detailed guide by a professional, I suggest booking this guided tour instead.
Related post: Best Free Museums in Paris
11. Les Invalides
Another one of the most famous landmarks in Paris is Les Invalides which is an expansive complex in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris.
It consists of numerous museums and monuments that are military-related such as the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, and the Musée des Plans-Reliefs.
It also has a now out-of-use hospital, retirement home for war veterans, the tomb of Napolean I, and an extensive courtyard.
If you’re intrigued by France’s history and hope to learn more about the wars and military practices of the past, you’ll have a brilliant day of observing, learning, and being awe-struck at this impressive monument.
You can book yourself this guided tour to visit the Army museum and see the final resting place of the notorious Napoleon.
Located in the 8th Arrondissement, nearly two kilometers long (1.2 miles) and 70 meters (230 ft) wide, Champs-Élyées is one of the busiest and prettiest streets in Paris.
As one of the most famous Parisian landmarks, this street boasts a wide variety of designer and upscale stores, including the biggest Louis Vuitton store in the world.
It’s constantly crowded and houses many popular French restaurants that offer food that’s to die for!
With typical Haussmanian architecture, the street is the venue for the annual Bastille Day parade, and a number of the other Parisian landmarks on this list are located here.
If you’re looking for the quintessential Parisian experience, there’s no better place than the Champs-Élyées.
13. Place de la Concorde
With centuries of rich history, Place de la Concorde is one of the most impressive Parisian monuments.
Located at the Eastern end of the famous Champs-Élyées, the square is home to Fontaine des Mers and Fontaine des Fleuves, the Luxor Obelisk which was erected back in 1836, and several luxurious hotels.
Previously, Place de la Concorde was an execution site and has witnessed the killing of notable figures of French history such as Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, and others.
The largest public square in all of Paris, it is surrounded by landmarks that are icons of the city. If you want to feel connected to the French revolution or simply be in the heart of the city of lights, head to Place de la Concorde for a lovely evening!
And if you visit Paris in Spring or in summer, you’ll be able to witness the beautiful water fountains unlike in winter when they’re turned off.
14. Notre Dame Cathedral
Famous for its blend of French gothic and Haussmanian architecture, the Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most famous monuments in Paris.
Though it’s not yet re-opened to the public because of the fire that happened in 2019, you’ll still be able to admire the architectural beauty of the cathedral from outside.
Before 2019, it was the most visited monument in Paris as people from across the world were amazed by the stained glass windows of the cathedral that houses some of the most important Catholic symbols.
Completed in the 14th century, the Notre Dame Cathedral has lived through the French revolution, the two world wars and it’s still standing even up to date. It’s definitely a Parisian landmark you shouldn’t miss!
15. The Seine River
One of the most picturesque Paris France landmarks is the Seine River which is the jewel of the city.
The third longest river of France, the Seine, runs through the center of the city and has been an inspiration for several artworks created in Paris.
Its banks were accredited as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1991, and the river is responsible for providing a large part of Paris’ water supply and electricity through thermal and nuclear power plants that use its water for cooling.
It’s an icon of the city of Paris, and you must spend some time sitting by the banks or in a quaint café by it to soak in its beauty.
Pro tip* If you enjoy the water, you can book this cruise along the Seine for the perfect experience of swimming into the sunset as you sip on signature champagne and dine on a 3-course meal while also watching other Parisian landmarks shimmer at night.
And if you’re traveling with your loved one, cruising on the Seine is one of the romantic things to do in Paris.
However, if the dinner cruise is beyond your budget, you can opt for this Seine cruise that doesn’t come with a meal.
16. La Conciergerie
A former prison and courthouse of Paris, La Conciergerie has decades of history behind it.
It used to be a majestic Gothic palace (the guard’s room and the hall of soldiers built under King Philip the Fair are still intact!), and after the King moved out to reside in the Louvre instead, the administration converted it into a courthouse.
During the famous French Revolution, a large part of the Palace became a holding cell, and its most popular prisoner was Marie Antoinette, whose holding cell has now been turned into a chapel, the current Sainte Chapelle! Doesn’t that send chills down your back?
Some parts of the buildings in the complex have remained since the Middle Ages, such as the Bonbec Tower, which was allegedly the torture chamber, the Silver Tower, which was supposedly the royal treasury, and more.
A national historical monument, visiting La Conciergerie will be an adventure like no other!
17. Musée du Quai Branly
The Musée du Quai Branly is one of the newer famous Paris landmarks. It is one of the best museums in Paris designed by Jean Nouvel to celebrate the indigenous cultures and crafts of Africa, Oceania, Asia, and America.
It is located in the 7th Arrondissement, on the left bank of the Seine, besides the marvelous Eiffel Tower.
It boasts a massive collection of worldwide art and offers specialized tours based on the exhibits and art you’re interested in.
Also, if you’re looking for a spot of green amidst the beautiful Parisian buildings, the museum has a footbridge with vast wild gardens!
If you’re intrigued by the art of the world and would like to learn more about it in the art district of the world, head to Musée du Quai Branly but be sure to buy this entry ticket beforehand.
Pro Tip* After you spend a couple of hours in awe of the exhibits, head over to the terrace of the museum, which is home to Les Ombres, an exquisite contemporary French restaurant with breathing views of the city!
18. Pont Alexandre III
Situated in the prime part of the city, the Pont Alexandre III is the most beautiful bridge in Paris that spans over the Seine river.
It bridges the Champs-Élyées area to the Eiffel Tower. The bridge’s design is a spectacle of engineering, consisting of a 6 meters (20 ft) tall single-span arch made of steel.
Famed for its intricate sculptures and impressive architecture that doesn’t obstruct the views of the Invalides or Champs-Élyées, it boasts panoramic views of the river, the Eiffel Tower, and other impressive Parisian monuments, making it one of the best places for a stroll at any time of day!
Map of Paris Landmarks
To help you locate these landmarks with ease, here is the landmark map of Paris. You can browse it below or click here to access it.
How to Use this Map: Just click on the Camera icon on the map above and the location will be displayed on the left side of the screen.
You can choose to either “view on google maps” and save the location for later or you can click on the itinerary arrow to get directions on how to get there.
Final Thoughts on the Famous Monuments in Paris
If you hope to visit a museum that celebrates global art, have a seat by the spectacular Seine, or be atop a monument from which you can have a breathtaking view of the entire city of love, these famous landmarks in Paris have something for every desire.
So what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Paris, Pack your bags, and wait to be blown away by the beauty, history, and charm that lies in the city of Paris.
NEVER TRAVEL TO PARIS WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE
One of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make when planning a trip to Paris is to forego Travel Insurance!
You might think that it’s expensive, but when you think of how much it will save you when you lose your valuables or even get sick, then you’ll know that it’s NOT that expensive!
There are many Travel Insurance companies out there, but I love World Nomads! They cover almost every single thing you might face/do while in Paris or even France in general, it is easy to request a quote, and if you ever need to claim, the claiming process is not a rat race!
I’ve used World Nomads on all my trips, and I am confident and happy to recommend it to you!
No worries if you’re not yet ready to book your trip, you can request a free quote from World Nomads here and see if it suits your personal needs!
Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris
- What to do in Paris at night
- Best things to do in Paris in Januray
- How to spend Christmas in Paris
- Fun facts about Paris
- Best things to do in Paris in Spring
- Where to find the best views of Paris
- Big mistakes to avoid in Paris
- What to Pack for Paris
- Skip the line tickets for Paris’ popular attractions
- Interesting jokes about Paris
- Paris captions for Instgram
- Famous quotes on Paris
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