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Things to See & Do in Paris


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Tourist Information

Office de Tourisme de Paris is located at 127 Champs-Elysées and is open daily 9am – 8pm.  Smaller offices are located at train station Gare de Lyon and at the Tour Eiffel (May – Sept.).  Pick up a copy of the Paris Free Voice for local happenings in English.

Left Bank/Right Bank
The Paris city center is split by the River Seine into the Left Bank and Right Bank. Below is a list of attractions by bank location. Further information about most of these attractions follows.

Left Bank - Îl de la Cité, Notre Dame, Ste Chapel, Conciergerie, Île St Louis, Latin Quarter, Panthéon, Sorbonne, Jardin du Luxembourg, Catacombes, Musée d’Orsay, Musée Rodin, Tombeau de Napolean, Eiffel Tower.

Right Bank Jardin du Trocadéro, Louvre, Place Vendôme, Musée de l’Orangerie, Place de la Concorde, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Centre Georges Pompidou (Musée National d’Arte Moderne), Les Halles, The Marais, Place des Vosges, Musée Picasso, Bastille, Opéra Garnier, Montmartre, Place du Tertre, Pigalle, Cimetière du Père Lachaise.

Tours

Balabus
The Balabus bus route from Gare de Lyon to Granse Arche de la Defense takes in many of Paris’ major sights. Running daily, every 20 minutes, from 12pm to 9pm, April to Sept. It costs a single bus fare or you can use one of the many visitor passes. 

Museums

Musée Picasso (Right Bank)
This museum contains over 3000 works of art by Pablo Picasso, including drawings, ceramics and paintings. This is complemented by Picasso’s own personal art collection including works by Cézanne and Matisse. Admission: 8.50 (6.50 ages 18-25, and each Sunday). Open Wed-Mon, 9:30am-5:30 pm (6pm summer). 5, rue de Thorigny. M: Saint Paul.

Museum/Monument Pass
Get unlimited access to 70 museums and monuments for 2 (30), 4 (45) and 6 (60) days. Available at all Métro stations and tourist offices.

Musée du Louvre (Left Bank)
One of the world’s largest and most exceptional museums, it houses the Mona Lisa among many other magnificent works of art.  Located at the bottom of the Champs-Elysées, the Louvre is open daily (except Tuesday) from 9am to 6pm (10pm on Wed/Fri). Admission is 9 (6 after 6pm) and is free on the first Sunday of each month.  M: to Palais-Royal - Musée du Louvre. (01-40-20-50-50)

Musée Rodin (Left Bank)
The talented French sculptor’s masterpieces are housed in this charming museum and garden on 79 rue Verenne.  Admission is 6 (reduced rate 4). Garden only costs 1. Closed Mondays. M: Varenne.

Musée d’Orsay (Left Bank)
Splendid collection of artwork by greats such as Cezanne, Gaugin, Monet and Manet (1848 – 1914) displayed in a beautifully renovated train station. Open daily except Monday.  Admission is 9.50 or 7 after 4:15pm (6pm Thurs) and for ages 18-30. Free first Sunday of each month). 1 rue de Bellechasse. M: Solferinl

Centre Georges Pompidou (Right Bank)
One of the most popular museums in Paris, this impressive centre houses works of art of the twentieth century, from late Impressionists to modern artists such as Kandinsky and Warhol (4th floor - Musée National d’Arte Moderne).  Be sure to check out the high-tech Bibliotèque Publique d’Information on the 2nd floor. The ultra modern building is open daily except Tuesday, 11am  to 9pm, costs from 12, 8 for ages 18-25 . Free first Sunday of month. M: Rambuteau or Châlet-Les Halles.

Neighborhoods

Montmartre (Right Bank)
Once home to Picasso and Salvador Dali, this heavily touristed, yet still romantic neighborhood, is full of quaint little streets and shops. Whether you go there to visit the nearby Sacré-Coeur or just to sit in one of the many cafés and people watch, it’s worth a look. M: Lamarck Caul/Abbesses

Pigaille (Right Bank)
Known for its sleazy cabarets (Moulin Rouge), Pigaille is full of activity and energy that draws tourists to its many night clubs, bars and cafés.

The Marais (Right Bank)
More sophisticated than the Pigaille or Montmarte, this charming neighborhood attracts visitors to its stylish boutiques, art galleries, cafés and the beautifully carved doors on its many historical buildings. East of Roman rue St-Martin and rue du Renard. M: Châtelet.

Latin Quarter (Left Bank)
Artsy and academic, the Latin Quarter is filled with Paris’s young, liberal students. The beautiful medieval streets lined with cafés and stylish shops are increasingly touristy, yet still charming and inviting. M: St. Michele.

Avenue des Champs-Elysées (Right Bank)
One of Paris’s most famous avenues, this thoroughfare sits amidst the Place de la Concorde and l’Arc de Triomphe.  It’s not exactly relaxing or even charming, but it certainly speaks of Paris’s grand historic past and thriving contemporary culture.

Attractions

Arc de Triomphe (Right Bank)
Anchored in the middle of Place Charles de Gaulle and at the end of the 12 avenues, this historical monument was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to honor himself.  It is also the site of the tomb of the unknown soldier where a flame is lit each night at 6:30pm. You may climb to the top daily for 9 (5.50 ages 18-25) and for free on the first Sunday of the month - Oct-Mar only. M: Place Charles de Gaulle - Etoile.

Cimetière du Père Lachaise
One of the most visited cemeteries in the world. The tombs of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde, among other notables, are here. M: Père Lachaise.

Les Catacombes
Back in 1785, the Parisian government solved the overflowing cemetery problem by removing buried bones of over 6 million people and placing them in underground quarries. Today you can walk 20 meters under the ground and view these remains. Open Tues-Sun from 10pm -5pm. Costs about 7. 1 Place Denfert-Rochereau. M: Denfert-Rochereau.

Sacré-Coeur (Right Bank)
Visit this beautiful white-domed structure to take in one of the most breathtaking views of the city. Open daily, 9am to 6pm. The Bascilica is free. Located at 35 rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre. M: Abbesses or Anvers.

La Samaritaine Rooftop
Excellent and free views of Paris are had from the rooftop of this department store at 142, rue de Rivoli. M: Pont Neuf.

Jardin Du Trocadéro (Right Bank)
Stroll through these beautiful gardens while taking in renowned sculptures and visiting one of two museums, Musée de l’Homme and Musée de la Maritime.  M: Trocadéro.

Food & Nightlife

Explore local food markets and stalls for a delicious, cheap meal. Note that many cafés and bistros are closed in August.