Top 6 things to See in Paris.
Top things to see in Paris
1) Things to See in Paris: La Tour Eiffel
You can’t go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower and it is open every day so it will be easy to squeeze in! You can see if from underneath or go up to one of the floors!
Nothing says Vive La France than one of the most famous places in all the world. Built in 1889 for a Paris version of the World’s Fair it took only 2 years and 2 months to build and over 250 MILLION people have seen it since then.
Visit the NEW 1st floor. It is clear and so you walk out on it – like walking on air 57 m above the ground. In the winter, it is transformed into an ice skating rink and once a few times a year it is just like a roller skating rink.
BEWARE pickpockets. They ARE present. They ARE sneaky. They CAN get into your bag, too. Turn bags around to the front and keep your eyes open.
2) Things to See in Paris: The Louvre
The Louvre is an amazing, wonderful, fantastic art museum – you could spend a month there and still not see it all! So, choose carefully the things you want to see and just do the top choices – otherwise you’ll wear everyone out. My travel guide to the Louvre for kids will guide you!
Miss Mona Lisa, herself, lives here! The Mona Lisa, called La Jaconde in French, is the most famous painting of all time. It is also the most made fun of! Teach the kids about a parody. Once they see the real one, they’ll enjoy finding references to this famous work in every day life!
Winged Victory of Samothrace (also called Nike of Samothrace) is one of my favorite art pieces. She just feels powerful. Once mounted to a ship, she was created to honor a sea battle and the goddess, Nike. (If your kids think Nike is just a tennis shoe with a swoosh, this is your opportunity to enlighten them!)
3) Things to See in Paris: Centre Pompidou
Even if modern art is not your ‘thing’ I encourage you to visit this museum with your kids. Modern art is a wonder to behold and leads to some really fun and creative conversations. Go with an open mind and don’t be afraid of the giggles. Art really is in the eye of the beholder. When I visited the first time, I was stunned when we stepped off the elevator to see a smashed car on display. So surprised and stunned was I at this piece of ‘art’ that in many, maybe even most, parts of where I come from this would be considered a very large piece of trash not art, that I walked right up and posed for a photo. That turned out to be the ONLY photo I have from there because it was just after it was taken that I learned photos were not allowed.
4) Things to See in Paris: Notre Dame de Paris (Our lady of Paris)
This medieval Catholic cathedral on the Ile de la Cite is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and one of the most recognized church buildings in the world. Open every day from 8 am -6:45 (open till 7:15 on Saturdays and Sundays) entrance to the cathedral is free of charge.
No matter your reason for visiting, enjoy the beautiful interiors…
and point out the gargoyles to the kids. Some are for decorations and some are built at the end of rain gutters to funnel the water off of the roof.
Have them watch the movie “The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ before you visit and they’ll have an even better idea of what they will see.
The main bell is named Emmanuel and weighs more than three Indian elephants. What would you name the bell?
Bone up on your saints….Be sure to see St. Dennis carrying his head.
A closer look at St. Dennis
5) Things to See in Paris: Point Zero
Just outside the door of Notre Dame on the ground…harder to find than you might expect is this spot on the ground called Point Zero. Traditionally, all places in France were measured from this spot.
6) Things to See in Paris: Saint Chapelle
St. Chapelle, a gorgeous Gothic church. is thought to be the most beautiful in Paris and it is my personal favorite spot in the city. After reading about it in my high school French class,(thank you Madame Pesez!) it was on my list of ‘must sees’ in my lifetime. It was built with the intention of holding precious relics like Christ’s crown of thorns and the beauty would certainly be worthy to hold such a wonderful treasure.
Do not be shocked, as I was, when you enter the very, very plain lower level. I thought perhaps I was in the wrong place! Just take the narrow, plain stairway up one level to be amazed!!
The stained glass…
the incredible trompe l’oeil paintings (which means things that appear to be raised on the walls are really flat – just paint!)
An ancient Greek word about trompe l’oeil painting….
Once upon a time there was a contest between to decide who was the best painter in the land. Zeuxis, contestant #1, produced a still life painting so convincing that birds flew down to peck at the painted grapes. Contestant #2, Parrhasius, asked Zeuxis to judge one of his paintings that was behind a pair of tattered curtains in his study. When Zeuxis tried to pull back the curtains to see the paintings, he could not, as the curtains were the painting—making Parrhasius the winner. Touche!
Get all the information on tickets and hours here. If you buy the Paris Pass (and you should!) you can use it here.
Before you to go Paris with the Kids – Prepare them! Check out the Adventure Travel Guides for Kids written by teacher and mom, The Educational Tourist.
If you are headed to the glorious city of Paris you’ll need to read these related posts. Plan the trip of your dreams!
France offers so much! Thinking about the Loire Valley? Enjoy Top 7 Sites in the Loire Valley.
More thoughts on the the Things you should See in Paris!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist