It’s known as the City of Lights, a place synonymous with lovers and romance—and it’s full off amazing museums, galleries and historic attractions. Here are the places that will make you fall in love with the French capital during your visit.

Champs-Élysées

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. —ST

Places des Vosges

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 redbrick 17th- and 18th-century mansions. —ST

Château de Versailles

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. —ST

Musée du Louvre

The Louvre’s massive collection includes work from Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations, and is famous for masterpieces you’ll recall from textbooks, like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. A former royal palace, the Louvre has been through many modifications in its 800-year history. —ST

Centre Pompidou

Designed by a trio of architects, this contemporary art museum has a distinctive façade covered in colourful pipes and external escalators. The permanent collection focuses on 20th- and 21st-century art, including works by Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol and Wassily Kandinsky. The Pompidou has a massive public library and a chic restaurant, Georges, with terrific views over the nearby rooftops. —ST

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris’ two neighbouring theme parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park) are a 35-minute train ride away from the city centre and on most weekdays, a one-day, one-park ticket costs only €48. At Disneyland Park, take a ride on the Indiana Jones coaster then wander through an Alice in Wonderland-themed labyrinth. Or, at Walt Disney Studios Park, try the immersive 4-D Ratatouille ride before mingling with Marvel superheroes such as Black Widow and Thor. —MS

Musée d’Orsay

This collection of French Impressionist and post-Impressionist works is housed in one of Paris’ grandest beaux art buildings—a former train station built at the turn of the 20th century. Explore this renowned collection of paintings, photographs and sculptures before heading outside to stroll along the Seine or check out the neighbourhood’s antique stores. —ST

Musée Picasso-Paris

Housed in the magnificent 17th-century Hôtel Salé, this museum is dedicated to the works of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The museum reopened in 2014 following a renovation which doubled the size of the exhibition space. View sketches, studies, engravings, photos and sculptures—as well as works Picasso collected by artists such as Paul Cézanne and Joan Miró. —ST

Eiffel Tower

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. —ST

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

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. —ST

Panthéon

This former church—constructed in the late 18th century and dedicated to Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris—serves as a tomb for some of the most iconic figures in French history, including scientist Marie Curie, writer Victor Hugo and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, massive stone pillars and large frescos inspire a hushed gravitas. —ST

Free attractions

Explore the apartment where French writer Victor Hugo lived and wrote works like Les Misérables at the Maison de Victor Hugo. Afterwards, check out the gargoyles and stained-glass windows at the iconic cathedral where Hugo set The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Art lovers can cut through the green Jardin des Tuileries, which features sculptures by Rodin, on the way to the Petit Palais, an art museum with works by French masters like Cézanne and Monet. —MS
 
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