Seeing as I have been in Paris for the last 4 months, I have done most of the tourist-y/sightseeing-y things in Paris. This is my GRAND GUIDE TO PARIS for all things tourist.
1. Musée D’Orsay
Honestly, this is the best museum in Paris. I think its worth it to go the the Louvre to take a “touching the top of the pyramid” picture and perhaps to go be underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa. The only thing at the Louvre that is worth it in my opinion is the Italian art wing, and even then, its not my favorite. The Musée D’Orsay, on the other hand is absolutely out of this world wonderful. It has all the art that I actually wanted to see (Monet, Van Gough, Degas, etc), the building is stunning (can’t go wrong with an old train station), the short term exhibits are amazing and it usually takes about 1.5-2 hours to get through the entire thing.
2. The Garnier Opera House
I have probably over-talked this place, but it is so worth it because it is by far the most amazing place in Paris. Just do yourself a favor and don’t miss it!
3. The Eiffel Tower
Well duh, right? Here is my two sense about the E.F: Not worth the money and the line to go up to the top. A lot of people do not realize that when you are on the E.F. it won’t actually be in your pictures (what a thought!). Thus, my suggestion is to take all the pretty pictures on the lawn in front of the E.F., walk under it to see the architecture and then cross the river to Trucodero to see it from the other side. You’re pictures will come out amazing and you won’t have to pay 14 euros!
4. Arc de Triomph
Climb it! If you are going to pay to go to the top of anything in Paris, pay for this. Literally the most killer view in all of Paris. From here you will see the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coer, Notre Dame, Place du Concorde, and the really cool hub and spoke city planning of Paris.
5. Galleries Lafayette
This is the most beautiful department store in all of the land. It is basically a temple to couture/ the consumer. Also, if you take the escalators to the top floor, you can actually go out onto the roof and there’s an amazing view… and it is free.
6. Jardin du Luxembourg
On a beautiful day, this is the place to be. The garden is amazing and there are tons of seats to park yourself in and people watch or soak up the rarity that is sun.
7. Ile de la Cite
I put this island in the middle of the Seine on the list because it houses so many things! On this island, there is Pont Neuf, Place Dauphin (so pretty), the Palais Justice (where during the French Revolution Louis XVI and Marie Antonette were put on trial for treason), Saint Chappelle (which has the most amazing stained glass windows), Notre Dame (duh) and the Memorial to the Departed from WWII. When going to Paris, there is no way you can miss this but just making sure!
8. Place Vosgage
This is a cute little square/ park surrounded by symmetrical and uniform apartments. Originally built by Louis XIV to house his artisan silk and textile makers, this gem in the Marais is perfect for picnics! It is really beautiful so do not miss it!
9. Sacre Coer
If you are in Paris for an extended period of time, you definitely should go to Sacre Coer. The church itself is beautiful and incredibly unique and different from normal Parisian architecture. Although many people rave about Montemartre, I didn’t love it. (It is one, very large tourist trap.) But I did find some of the best souvenir shopping next to Sacre Coer!
10. Pantheon/ Invalides
If you have time, go to both.. if not, then chose one! The Pantheon is an interesting building because it went back and forth from a church to a crypt for years and years. Now it is “where the great men (and a few women) are buried”. The building itself if confusing yet beautiful and the artwork is great. Invalides is where Napoleon is buried and is quite elaborate/ beautiful. It used to be a veterans hospital/church/facilities and now it is basically a Napoleon tribute.