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Top things to do in Paris during your visit

View of paris city hall in 4th arrondissementWhether it’s your first visit to Paris or you already know the city, It’s always a good idea to plan your activities in advance. So many things to see and do but days are flying by so quickly once you are there. Like most European cities, Paris has a lot of monuments and museums to visit. I have put together the 10 most visited below. This alone will keep you busy for several days.

If you are traveling with kids or teenagers, it is best to do fewer monument visits and more parks and other fun activities like the one listed here. There is something for everyone whether on a romantic escapade or on a weekend shopping spree, even if you are on a budget. You will find lots of free and cheap things to do and museum visit passes will lower your holiday expenses. If you would like to get off the beaten tracks, there are lots of unusual and unique ways to discover the city day and night, here is what you can do.

10 most famous monuments and historical buildings to visit:

If it’s your first time in Paris and want to see the essentials on a short stay. Here is the list of the 10 most visited and famous monuments, buildings and museums. To be honest, doing all ten in less than 3 days is going to be complicated. Le Louvre museum alone will take you a full day if you want to see it all unless you just go for the masterpieces like the Joconde and other famous paintings. So here they are:

1- Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Notre dame de Paris cathedral)

 

front parvis of notre dame cathedralLocated on Ile de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement right in the center of Paris surrounded by the Seine river. The exact address is: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Place Jean-Paul II 75004 Paris. View on Google map. Metro lines to get there are: Line 4 Station: Cité or Saint-Michel – Line 1 & 11 Station: Hôtel de Ville – Line 10 Station: Maubert-Mutualité or Cluny – La Sorbonne – Lines 7, 11 & 14 Station: Chatelet.
It is amazing to think that this was build back in the days(12th century) when human and animal power was the only way to put all this together. There are four main visits you can do at Notre-Dame de Paris:

– Entry to the Cathedral is free of charge to everyone. The main entrance are the western portals in front of the building surrounded by the towers. From there you can walk around the central aisle (nave) and admire the architectural elements, the stained-glass windows, the paintings, sculptures and the great organ. You can rent a 35 mn audio guide for €5 at the information desk near the entrance. The Cathedral also offers free guided tours in English at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Free tours start below the great organ.
Opening hours are: Every day of the year from 8:00 am to 6:45 pm (7:15 pm on Saturdays and Sundays).

– Visit of the treasury: The treasury is located at the back of the cathedral on the right-hand side. It is the part of the cathedral where the sacred objects are kept. Most of them are made of gold from the 17th and 18th century. More importantly this is the place where the sacred relics are stored. They are the Nail of the Passion, the Crown of Thorn and a piece of Jesus original cross.
Visits of the treasury are open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Saturday from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm and Sunday from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm Full price : €3. Get tickets at the information desk at the entrance of the cathedral.

– Notre-Dame tower visit: 367 steps will take you to the top of the south tower of Notre-Dame located on the gargoyle overlooking paris from the top of the south tower of notre dameright-hand side of the cathedral facade. The entry of the visit is on the left side of the facade outside of the building. This is also where you buy tickets for the visit. On your way to a breathtaking view of Paris, you will cross the high room to reach the gargoyles gallery, then take a close look at the cathedral bells and finally reach the rooftop.

Opening hours: Open every day – 1st of April to 30th of September : 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM – 1st of October to 31st of March : 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM – Late open in July and August, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 11 pm – Closed on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th. Tower visit website

– The archaeological crypt: This is an underground space located below the Notre-Dame Cathedral front parvis. It shelters ancient medieval and Gallo-roman ruins discovered there. It gives you an overview of the architectural development of Paris over 2000 years. The stairs down to the entrance of the crypt are located in front of Notre-Dame cathedral across Jean-Paul II square. Opening hours: Daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, except Mondays and public holidays. Access fees: €7 – Audio Guides: €3 – Notre-Dame crypt website

2- Basilique du Sacré Coeur (sacred heart basilica)

 

view of montmartre sacre coeur from a distanceThe basilica is located in the 18th arrondissement on top of Montmartre hill, 1300 ft high (400 m), the highest point in Paris. The exact location is 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre 75018 Paris.View on Google map.

How to get there?:
The easiest way is to get there is by metro to the Anvers station (metro line 2), then walk up Steinkerque street to cable railway (funiculaire in French) for the final climb to the parvis of the basilica which is pretty steep. You can also take the stairs. The cable railway cost a metro ticket and is operating 24/7, it is free if you have a Paris metro pass.

Other metro stations to get there: Metro station: Jules Joffrin (line 12) + Montmartrobus (stop at Place du Tertre) – Metro station Pigalle (line 12, line 2) + Montmartrobus (stop at Norvins) – Metro station Abbesses (line 12) + cable railway or stairs. Opening hours: Open all year every day from 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM free entry. Sacré-Coeur Basilica Sacré-Coeur official website.

Basilica facts
Sacré-Coeur was built after Napoleon III defeats in 1870 against the Germans. These were very troubled time and the Basilica was built to give hope to the Parisians. The monument was built on the highest point of Paris and can be seen from all areas of the city. The Basilica has been dedicated to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Prayers days and night have been uninterrupted since 1885 to this day.

Things to see and visit
First thing to see is the incredible view you have from the basilica parvis over the city. You will be able to point all major Paris monuments. It is recommended to get there early (Basilica opens at 6:00 AM) if you want to skip waiting lines and crowd especially on weekends.

Inside the Basilica
interior view of sacré coeur basilica in parisYou will see one of the largest mosaic in the world (475 m²) representing Jesus Christ in glory. You won’t find any guided visits inside Sacré-Coeur to keep the atmosphere quiet for prayers. An audio guide is available free on your smartphone by scanning the QR code at the main entrance. A leaflet guide in English is on sale at Basilica’s library for the price of €5.

The crypt and dome visit
The crypt and dome are accessible from the outside of the building on the left when you face the main entrance. The crypt itself host the graves of the five cardinals of France buried there. It was also a place to hide sacred artifacts during WWII. You will see a beheaded statue of Saint Denis. He was the bishop of Paris in the 3rd century and became the patron saint of the city. He died as a martyr and got beheaded atop Montmartre hill. legend says that he picked up his head and walked six miles, preaching all the way. As you climb the 300 steps to the top of Basilica you will get access to the dome with a 360° view of Paris.

View over Paris from top of sacre coeur basilicaEntry price for the dome and Crypt visit : 8€ – Visit of the dome only : 6€ – Visit of the crypt only : 3€ – You will find automatic ticketing machines and ticket booth on your way to the entrance. Opening hours: The dome : 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM, every day – The crypt : Open every day from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (except Tuesday and Wednesday).

 

 

 

3- Musée du Louvre (Le Louvre museum)

 

rooftop view of le louvre museum main entranceLe Louvre museum is the largest collection of art, artifacts and antiques in the world. The museum is located in the former palace of the kings of France in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. The place itself is impressive, built in a glorious Second Empire style. Every aspect of it is overwhelming, the size of the museum over 60 000 m², 35 000 works of art put together over 200 years, presented in 8 different departments spread over 5 floors. Address of the museum: Louvre Museum 75001 Paris – View on Google map. Official website in English.

How to get there?
Metro line 1 and 7. Stop at station: Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre. First timers to Le Louvre will enter the museum through main entrance at the Pyramid but there is an easier way in. Le Louvre has four different entry and the faster way to get in is at the Carroussel du Louvre on Rivoli street. This is the entry of Le Louvre shopping mall, it also gives you access to the museum with less queue.

What to do?
The museum is organized in 8 themed collections: The main attraction are the paintings, sculptures and decorative arts nested in the Richelieu wing. If this is your first visit you probably want to focus on this area to start with. You can then move on to the civilization art and artifacts areas with the Roman and Etruscan antiquities, greek and egyptian antiquities, and finally near eastern antiquities and islamic art. Two collections is probably the most you can do in one day at a reasonable pace.

Audio guides
Audio guides are available for rent at the ticket desk of the museum. The device tracks your progression in the museum and informs you about the artworks nearby as you move. Rental fees are €5 and €3 for under 18s. The other solution for audio guided visit, is to buy the museum mobile device app online before your visit. It is available on the App Store and Google Play for €1.79.

Guided visits
Guided visits in English are available every day about 3 times a day, end of morning, beginning of afternoon and end of day. You book them at the museum ticket desk on the day of your visit, you can’t book them in advance. Ask for a guided tour of “The Louvre’s Masterpieces”. Certified national museum guides will take you for a 90 mn visit of the museum masterpieces. Guided tours start below the pyramid. Guided tour price is €53 on top of the entry ticket.

Where to get tickets
You can buy entry tickets at the reception desk of the museum on the day of your entry, but you will have to go through a waiting line on most days. The best thing to do if you want to cut lines, is to buy your tickets in advance online here. You also will have priority access if you hold a Paris Museum Pass (worth buying if you plan to visit several museums during your stay) www.parismuseumpass.com.

Admission fees
Access ticket only to Permanent Collections: €12 – Access ticket to Exhibitions in the Napoleon Hall: €13 – Combined access ticket including permanent and temporary exhibitions in Le Louvre and Delacroix museum: €16.

Opening hours and days
Le Louvre is open every day (except Tuesday) from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Night visit is possible until 9:45 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays. The museum is closed on: January 1st, May 1st, December 25th. Free visit days: Access to permanent collections is free from October to March to all visitors on the first Sunday of each month. Access is free if you are under 18 (ID card required) or under 25 if you are a citizen of the European Union.

4- Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower)

 

eiffel tower and trees in springThe Eiffel tower is Paris landmark and one of the most visited monument in Paris. It wasn’t so popular when it was first built in 1889 for the universal exhibition in Paris. It was actually meant to be disassembled after the show. Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer behind its design wanted to demonstrate the construction capabilities of steel structures. Parisian trend setters and intellectuals didn’t like its look and design, it was considered too modern back then. The need for an elevated point for radio transmission experiment is what saved it from destruction.

Eiffel tower facts
7000 tons of steel, held together by 2.5 millions of rivets, to reach 324 m high (1063 ft) requires 50 tons of paint every 7 years for its maintenance.

How to get there
Eiffel tower is located in the center-west part of Paris near the Seine river in the 7th arrondissement. The exact address is: Champ de Mars 5 Avenue Anatole France 75007 – View on Google map By metro: Line 6, stop at station Bir-Hakeim – Line 9, stop at station Trocadéro. By RER: Line C, Stop at station Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel. By bus: Bus 87, Stop at station Champ de Mars – Bus 69, stop at station Champ de Mars – Bus 82, stop at station Tour Eiffel or Champ de Mars – Bus 42, station Tour Eiffel. By boat: Check nearby Batobus station : www.batobus.com

Opening days and time
Open every day all year – Mid-June to early September,from 9:00 AM to midnight – Rest of the year, from 9:30 AM to 11:00 PM – Easter weekend and Spring holidays : extended opening hours to midnight.

What to do at Eiffel tower?
eiffel tower last floor scenic view over Seine river and the cityThe main appeal of the monument is its view over the city. There are 3 levels to the top that will give you different perspectives over the capital. If you are fit enough you can take the stairs to the 2nd floor. Stairs from the 2nd floor to the top are not open to public. You will have to catch the lift to complete the 300 m high climb. A museum, restaurant and souvenir shop are located on the first floor (57 m high).

The second floor (115 m high) host a buffet restaurant and a more classy French gastronomy restaurant called the Jules Verne, created by famous French chef Alain Ducas. The third floor (276 m high) is the top floor of the tower. There are two areas there, one covered with panoramic tables and a great spot to take photos. The second area is an open space with telescopes and a reproduction of Gustave Eiffel office. You even have a champagne bar if you are in the mood to celebrate. Eiffel tower official website.

Access to the tower
south pillar entrance to the eiffel towerYou need to purchase your ticket to access the tower. The ticket booths are located at the base of 3 of the 4 pillars (pillars south, east and north). To orientate yourself, face the Eiffel tower with the Seine river to your right, the pillar on your right is the north pillar, on your left the east pillar and opposite on the left is the south pillar. Elevators are located in the north and east pillars. You can climb to the first and second floors using stairs in the south pillar. You can also buy your tickets online here to cut the waiting line the day of your visit.

Ticket rates
Lift ticket to 2nd floor: Adults €9 – kids 4-11 yo: €4.5 – Young 12-24: €7.5 – Stairs ticket to 2nd floor:Adults €5 – kids 4-11 yo: €3 – Youg 12- 24 yo: €4 – Lift ticket to top floor: Adults €15 – kids 4-11 yo: €10.5 – Youg 12-24: €13.5

Guided tours
You might want to see the Eiffel tower from a different angle by taking a behind the scene guided tour. Get access to restricted areas like the Eiffel tower engine and hydraulic control room with a guide giving you anecdotes and historical facts about this amazing place. €22.9 per person including entry ticket to the 2nd floor. Booking website
Audio guides: An audio guide is available for Apple devices or Androids for €2.69.

5- Centre Pompidou (Pompidou modern art center)

 

rooftop view of pompidou center modern art museumThe Pompidou Center is a large modern art museum in the Marais area in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. Since its opening in 1977 it has always been a love and hate relationship between the Parisian and the center. First of all, its architecture is not like the average Paris museum, most of them are located in old historical buildings. The look of the Pompidou museum is very futuristics and non-conventional.

The architects have pushed outside the building all the structural elements and painted them in bright colors. This actually creates larges spaces inside over 6 floors, each dedicated to a certain period of the modern art history. The ground floor exposes the most recent artists and as you move up, you find exhibitions of art pieces taking you back to the beginning of the modern art movement. If you are novice with modern art it is recommended to start with the top floor first, it gathers more accessible and understandable masterpieces by most famous figures in modern art like Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Dali and Klein.

The top floor of the building gives sweeping views over the city. You can rest, eat and enjoy that view at George’s restaurant on the 6th floor. The Museum offers something to everyone, even kids have access to interactive art areas, which they enjoy very much to the contrary to traditional Paris museums where they are not allowed to touch anything.

Getting there
Location: Place Georges-Pompidou 75004 Paris – Metro : line 11 sotp at Rambuteau station, lines 1 and 11 stop at Hôtel de Ville station, lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14 stop at Châtelet–Les Halles station – RER: lines A, B and D stop at Châtelet–Les Halles station – Bus: 29, 38, 47 and 75. Opening hours and days :The Pompidou Center is open every day from 11.00 AM to 10.00 PM except Tuesdays and May 1st.

Access tickets
Access to the museum is free every first Sunday of every month. Regular access price is €14 and free for under 18 yo. It is possible to get access only to the top floor for the view, without visiting the museum in which case you only pay €3. You can buy your tickets the day of your visit at one of the ticket desks of the museum or in advance online here.

Guided visits
Guided tours are available for €4.50 on top of the regular entry ticket. Audio guides are also available for €5. More info on the Pompidou Center museum website.

6- Musée d’Orsay (Orsay museum)

 

View of orsay museum in the 7th arrondissement of ParisOrsay museum is not as famous as Le Louvre but is nonetheless one of the landmark museum in Paris. It is in fact more specialized and curated than Le Louvre. It is also easier to navigate and not as overwhelming. Orsay museum features the world biggest collection of impressionist and post impressionist painters. Scattered among those are same period sculptures with a large sample of Rodin and Degas work.

This museum can get very crowded. You can avoid the rush by getting in early or late. They have late opening on Thursdays until 9:45 PM so if get there at 7:00 PM it will give you ample time to visit without the crowd of the peak hours. A Paris Museum Pass will also let you in a lot faster than if you had to buy a ticket at the entry. The other time saver would be to buy your ticket online here. Keep in mind that Orsay is closed on Mondays but open on Tuesdays when Le Louvre is closed. This means Orsay gets very crowded on Tuesdays. The other visiting tip about this museum is to start with the areas that everyone wants to see the exhibition of the impressionists painters located on the top floor on the opposite end of the building from the entrance.

What to see and do?
interior view of 19th century glass and steel roof of orsay museumThere are 5 floors to visit in Orsay museum. You could easily spend 3 hours and not even see half of it. The most sought after is the 5th floor where the impressionist gallery is located ( Manet, Degas, Renoir, Monet…) I recommend that you start with this collection. Most people follow the numerical order of the floors to visit the museum so it gives you extra time to enjoy the area before it gets too crowded.

The second most popular area is the second floor where are gathered the post-impressionist masterpieces ( Gauguin, Van Gogh, Rodin…). Orsay Museum has the best Museum restaurants in Paris. You have 3 different places located on different floors of the museum: Level 5, Café Campana – Level 2, Restaurant and Tearoom of the Museum – Level 0, Café de l’Ours. Tip: Save your purchased visit tickets, they grant you free access to Opéra Garnier and the Gustave Moreau National Museum if you visit within the same week of purchase.

Guided visits
Guided tours are available in English for €6 on top of your entry ticket. Kids under 13 are not allowed in these tours. You have two options, the first one is a general discovery of Orsay Museum and its major masterpieces, the second one is more specific and is about nineteenth century art. Both tours last 90 mn – Audio guides: Comprehensive audio guides in English are available for rent at the reception desk of the museum for €5. You can also download Audio guides app for Iphones and Ipads.

Location
Musée d’Orsay is located on the left bank of Seine river near the St Germain des Pres area. The exact address is 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur 75007 ParisHow to get there?: Metro: line 12 stop at station Solférino – RER: line C stop at station Musée d’Orsay – Bus: 24, 63, 68, 69, 73, 83, 84, 94.

Opening hours and days
Open Every day except Mondays from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM – Late open on Thursdays until 9:45 PM. Tickets can be purchased at the entry desk the day of you visit or online in advance here to save you queuing time the day of your visit (if you buy your ticket online you need to print it before your visit). Regular ticket price is €11. Access to the museum is free every first Sunday of the month and to anyone under 18 yo. Access is also free to all European citizens under 25 yo. Visit Orsay Museum official website for more info.

7- Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

 

la villette canal in front of paris city science of industryLa Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie ( City of Science and industry) is an interactive science museum. It is located in the 19th arrondissement on the outskirts of the city and is not as central as the other Paris museums but is well served by public transports. The exhibitions and shows are spread over 3 floors in a modern design building. The ground floor is dedicated to kid activities , the 1st and 2nd floors have permanent exhibitions shows and video games themed around earth, water and light. The address of the Cite des Sciences is 30 Avenue Corentin Cariou 75019 Paris – View on Google map. Public transports to get there: Metro Line 7 stop at Porte de la Villette station – Bus Lines 139, 150, 152, stop at Porte de la Villette bus stop.

Who is it for?
geode sphere theater in cite des sciences in parisAnyone curious about science in general, the museum is particularly appreciated by kids of age between 6 years old and 12. There is an entire space dedicated to children called La Cite des Enfants. Going through the experimental exhibitions with kids, will take about 90 minutes. There are also attractions for adults and teenagers, the most popular is the visit of a war submarine from the 50’s. If you are interested, try to tour the submarine first before crowds arrive.

Among other attractions are a planetarium and a geodesic dome theater, where movies are shown all day on a surround screen about nine times larger than a regular theater screen. One might say it is not the best science museum in the world, but on a nice day, it is a pleasant visit with children especially if you combine it with play time in the surrounding parks. The other criticism is that not all parts off all exhibition experiments are properly translated in English, but that is not really a problem since most are pretty self explanatory and accessible.

There is nothing special about the food available at the museum, which is a bit of pity for a place like Paris. You are better off organizing your own picnic with French baguette, cheese and wine in the surrounding Parc de la Villette, which is the largest urban park in Paris. The best place for a picnic with kids is nearby canal de l’Ourcq with playgrounds, activity areas and ponds.

Opening days and time
Open from Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. It is closed on Mondays and the following public holidays: January 1st, May 1st and December 25th. Ticket prices: Adults: €12, kids €6 – Tickets are available at the entry desk the day of your visit. Get more info about la Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie on their website.

8- Chapelle de la médaille miraculeuse (Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal)

 

notre dame de la medaille miraculeuse chapelThere are over 100 Christian monuments to visit in Paris so why are there so many people visiting the Chapelle de la Médaille Miraculeuse? It is not for its architectural uniqueness, there are many other more remarquable Christian historical buildings around the city like Saint-Eustache church or Sainte-Clotilde basilica. This is for the story behind it that over 2 millions pilgrims visit this chapel every year.

In the 1830’s the Blessed Virgin Mary made two appearances in this chapel to a young seminar sister in the Daughter of Charity, Catherine Labouré. She was ordered to get a medal made and distributed to people to wear it around their neck for protection.

The medal wasn’t named Miraculous right away but at the time of distribution a bad cholera outbreak was taking place in Paris. Many stories of Parisian saved by wearing the medal were reported and the medal came to be called miraculous according to the people saved from the disease. The troubling story in all this is that the body of Catherine was exhumed in 1933 (she died in 1876) at the occasion of her canonization to be declared a saint by the catholic church. Her body was found intact and preserved as of the day of her death. It now lies in the chapel on a glass case under one of the altars for everyone to see.

How to get there
saint catherine laboure in the chapel of our lady of the miraculous medalChapel of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal is located at 140 Rue du Bac 75007 Paris – View in Google map – Lots of people have trouble finding the entrance of the chapel because it is hidden behind a doorway. It is recognizable because of the Virgin Mary and child in a niche above the large porch entry doors.

The closest metro stations are Sevres-Babylone or Saint-Placide – Bus lines to reach the area are 39, 63, 70 84, 87, 94 – Opening hours and days: Open Every day from 7:45 AM to 1 PM and 2:30 PM to 7PM except Tuesday open all day from 7:45 AM to 7:00 PM and Sunday from 7:45 AM to 1:00 PM and from 2:30 PM to 7:00 PM. Public Holidays opening hours from 8:15 AM to 12:30 PM and from 2:30 PM to 7:00 PM.

There is an information desk at the entrance where a sister of charity will be pleased to answer your questions. they speak several languages. There is also a souvenir shop where you can buy the original miraculous medal at a reasonable price. Keep in mind that this is not a touristic place but a sacred one. Everybody is welcome but dress and behave accordingly. For more info check out the chapel official website.

9- Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle ( Natural history Museum)

 

Inside view of evolution hall of Paris natural history museum in jardin des plantesThe Natural History Museum in Paris is your number one source of family activities in the heart of the city. It is located on the left bank of Seine river in the 5th arrondissement close to Latin quarter. Exact address is 57 Rue Cuvier 75005 Paris. This museum is part of the Jardin des Plantes area which is a large garden with four different museums in different buildings surrounding the garden.

Add to this a zoo, greenhouses, picnic areas and playgrounds and you’ve got a place where you can spend a full day and not have time to explore it all. Each museum have a separate entry charge so it is really “a la carte” visit depending on what you are interested in. Visiting one museum will give you a discount to the other ones.

Entry fees for kids are very reasonable or free and gardens are also free. The museum is showing what most big natural history museums around the world are showing but what makes it special are the 1800’s buildings with large metal and glass art nouveau style, creating a Jules-Verne adventure novel atmosphere.

What to do there?

PDF map of Jardin des Plantes museums and zoo location

Click for PDF map

Main points of interest are La Grande Galerie de l’Evolution (the evolution gallery) and the exhibition designed for children (la Galerie des Enfants) in the same building. The evolution gallery displays 7000 stuffed animals from all continents from the elephant to the dolphin in a very lively display with light effects. The goal here is to give you a sense of the bio diversity of life and how fragile the balance is. The kids area (Galerie des Enfants) has a separate entry fee. It is great for kids from 6-12 years old, lots of interactive displays they can play with.

The other main attraction is la Galerie de Paléontologie ( Gallery of Paleontology), it is located in a separate building on the other side of the garden about 8 minutes walk from the evolution gallery. It also has a separate entry fee. This is a giant display of 650 skeletons over two floors in a 1900 building. The exhibition includes present species to instinct specimens including the popular fossilized dinosaurs. Other things to do is the visit of the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes, the original zoo of Paris opened in 1794 with 1500 animals which a third are endangered species. Not as modern as the newly renovated Vincennes zoo in the 12th arrondissement.

The zoo focuses on preservation and reproduction of small to medium size mammals. If you have time for more visits, the botanical garden also has greenhouses with tropical, sub-tropical and desert landscapes and plants, a botanical gallery, the museum of the botanical garden and a showcase garden where botanists come to learn and exchange about horticulture.

Be aware that most areas in the Jardin des Plantes museums are not air conditioned which might be hard to endure during the hottest days in summer. The other negative point is that not all exhibitions have English translations which lower the enjoyment of the visit.

Entry ticket prices and opening hours
La Grande Galerie de l’Evolution: open every day from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM closed on Tuesdays and galerie de paleontologie et d'anatomie comparée in jardin des plantes in parisMay 1st – Full price: €7 – Free access to anyone under 26 years old. La Galerie des Enfants: open every day from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM closed on Tuesdays and May 1st. Full price: €9 – Reduced price: €7 to anyone under 26 years old. La Galerie de Paléontologie: Open every day from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM closed on Tuesdays and May 1st.Full price: €7 – Free access to anyone under 26 years old.

Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes: open every day from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM – Full price: €13 – Reduced price: €7 to anyone under 26 years old – Free for children under 4 years old. Official Natural History Museum website in French only. Public transports: Métro: line 5 stop at station Gare d’Austerlitz, line 7 stop at station Censier Daubenton, line 10 stop at station Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz – RER : RER C, Stop at station Gare d’Austerlitz – Bus : lines 24, 57, 61, 63, 67, 89, 91

10- Arc de Triomphe

 

triumphal arch built by napoleon in 8th arrondissement of parisThe Arc de Triomphe stands at the end of Champs Elysées in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. It is in the middle of large roundabout (Place de l’étoile) standing in the hustle and bustle of Paris streets. Its address is Place Charles de Gaulle 75008 Paris. It is the biggest arch in the world and was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to celebrate Austerlitz victory. It is one of Paris major monuments and people visit it for its rooftop view over Paris. You can get up there at night as well until 11:00 PM.

The climb is by stairs only (284 steps) but is fairly easy. There is also a museum inside the Arch about the history of the Arc the Triomphe and beautiful and detailed sculptures and stone carving on the pillars from the 1830’s involving about 20 different artists. Below the arch lies the tomb of the unknown soldier and a flame is lit every evening to commemorate its sacrifice.

The overall visit takes about an hour. Remember that to reach it from across the roundabout you have to take the underground walkway, it is forbidden to cross the street to get there and also very dangerous because of traffic. Check the official Arc de triomphe website for more information.

Ticket prices and opening hours
Open every day From 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM between April 1st and September 30th – From 10:00 AM to 10:30 PM between October 1st to March 31st – Last admission 45 minutes before closing – Full rate :€9.50 – Free admission for under 18 and European citizens below 26. Public transports: Metro lines 1, 2 and 6, stop at station Charles de Gaulle Etoile – RER line A, stop at station Charles de Gaulle Etoile – Bus lines 22, 30, 31, 52, 73, 92.

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Going out for a drink Paris is known worldwide for its nights out whether you are looking for a VIP club on the Champs Elysées or just a cosy bar to enjoy with friends on the left bank. Each area tend to have its own style and attract a different type of customers. Jet setters […] Read More

Fun things to do in Paris with kids

Kids having snow fun in front of Eiffel tower in Paris

Paris is a family friendly city and offers a lot to keep the little guys busy and entertained. The best area to stay in Paris with children would be the 6th district near the Luxembourg garden. The 7th district near the Invalides garden would also be a smart choice.       // Parks in […] Read More

Unforgettable romantic things to do in Paris

Romantic places in Paris

// Paris is known for its romantic appeal and you will find plenty of places and activities to light up the flame. The city of lights sparkles year long but fall is a quieter touristic season with less crowd which is great to experience a little romance.             Most romantic […] Read More

Unusual and unique visits of Paris

View Paris from the sky

So you’ve been there and done that. Good, you are ready to go off the tourist beaten paths. In the mood for doing something a little different and unique during your visit? Here are some unusual and interesting activities: // Le manoir de Paris (the haunted manor house of Paris) Discover the city of lights […] Read More

Cheap and free things to do in Paris if you are on a budget

Free museum visits

  It is possible to limit your expenses while visiting the French capital without sacrificing on the fun. There are plenty of free and cheap things you can do. Many monuments and museums offer free visits. Museum and transportation passes also are a smart way to lower your holiday costs and sightsee the city on […] Read More