Six Places You Can’t Leave Paris Without Seeing

Check the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and Notre-Dame off your bucket list.
 

1. Champs-Élysées

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This wide, tree-lined avenue between Place de la Concorde and the magnificent Arc de Triomphe is the perfect place for a stroll, whether rain or shine. Window shop at stores such as Louis Vuitton and Cartier, enjoy a perfect pastel-coloured macaron at the famous Ladurée tearoom, or just grab a seat at a café patio along the avenue and simply watch the fashionable crowds.

District: 8e arrondissement

How to get there on Métro: Georges V

 

2. Places des Vosges

Photo by Nikada/iStock

Paris’ oldest planned square—originally named Place Royale—is one of the city’s best contemporary gathering spaces. During pleasant weather, locals stretch out across the soft grass around a magnificent stone fountain, reading books or splitting a bottle of wine while surrounded by truly remarkable redbrick 17th- and 18th-century mansions.

District: 4e arrondissement

How to get there on Métro: Saint-Paul

 

3. Château de Versailles

Photo by VitalyEdush/Getty Images

For visitors who think “let them eat cake” is a tribute to Paris’ superb bakeries, Versailles is the place to learn about a particularly gilded age in France’s history. Take a stroll back to the 17th and 18th centuries with marvellous sculpted gardens, unbelievably ornate interiors (chandeliers galore!), and all the trappings of privilege enjoyed by kings and queens—including extravagant Queen Marie-Antoinette, who allegedly uttered that famous quote about eating cake.

How to get there on Métro: RER Gare de Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche

 

4. Notre-Dame de Paris

Photo by Gehringj/iStock

This hallowed 850-year-old Gothic cathedral on the picturesque Île de la Cité is one of the world’s most iconic Catholic churches. Stop to celebrate mass, take in the magnificent stained glass and intricate stone gargoyles, or simply spend a contemplative moment listening to the bells ring.

District: 4e arrondissement

How to get there on Métro: Cité

Local treat nearby: Stop at the Berthillon Glacier near for ice cream in dreamy flavours—such as raspberry-rose and caramel-ginger.

 

5. Eiffel Tower

Photo by Ian Pilbeam/Alamy

An iconic symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is often visible as you explore the city. Designed and built by Gustave Eiffel for the Exposition Universelle of 1889 (World’s Fair), it is one of the most-visited monuments in the world. By day, the tower (hand-painted every seven years by a team of 25) draws crowds to its lawns and three levels; by night, more than 20,000 lights create a truly magical sight—especially viewed from the Arc de Triomphe.

District: 7e arrondissement

How to get there on Métro: École Militaire

 

6. Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Photo by Michael Wiejowski/500px

This 44-hectare cemetery often tops to-do lists for a very specific reason—among the 70,000 burial plots are the graves of famous men and women, including writer Colette, The Doors frontman Jim Morrison, singer Édith Piaf and playwright Oscar Wilde. Visitors can wander in the park-like environment and leave a small bouquet of tulips at the shrine of a beloved hero of yesteryear.

District: 20e arrondissement

How to get there on Métro: Père-Lachaise

 

[This story appears in the June 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]