Paris – Tourist Attractions, Things to do & Photo spots (France)

Categories: Travel reports, Europe, France

The last stop of our river cruise with A-ROSA VIVA on the Seine was also the beginning of our journey 7 days ago: the metropolis PARIS. On the first day, however, we didn’t have much time to drive into the city. For this we were all the more pleased that today, in the best weather, we had the opportunity to explore Paris on our own all day 🙂

Paris header photo spots

Things to know about Paris – 15 interesting facts

Paris is considered the city of love and with its many sights is one of the most famous metropolises in the world. The population of Paris is about 2.2 million. Greater Paris is the second largest metropolitan area in the European Union after London (14 million inhabitants) with more than 12.5 million inhabitants.

Here we have put together some interesting facts about Paris:

– In antiquity Paris was originally called “Lutetia” after its Celtic origin – today 30 towns and villages around the world bear the name Paris
– The Seine winds for 13 kilometres through the city and divides it into a northern (Rive Droite) and a southern (Rive Gauche) part
– Paris is divided into 20 boroughs: the districts are spiralling from the centre to the outskirts
– There are 37 bridges, 160 museums, 200 art galleries, 100 theatres, 200 churches and more than 10,000 restaurants in the city
– The island of “Ile de la Cité” in the heart of the city was settled in antiquity and is thus the oldest part of the capital
– The highest natural elevation in the city is the montmartre hill with a height of 129 meters
– The height of the Eiffel Tower varies depending on the temperature and season: On hot summer days the tower is up to 30 centimetres higher than on cold winter days
– Paris is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe: more than 20,000 inhabitants live on a square kilometre
– The oldest bridge in the city is the “Pont Neuf” from 1578: it is called “New Bridge” because it was very modern at the time
– There is also a Statue of Liberty in Paris: at 11.5 metres high, it is the little sister of the famous New York landmark
– The collection of the Louvre Art Museum counts over 380,000 works and it takes several days to see everything
– Place de la Concorde is the largest sundial in the world with the “Obelisk of Luxor”
– The station chételet is the largest underground railway station in the world
– The city is the seat of UNESCO and also of institutions such as the OECD and the ICC
– The waterfront of the Seine in Paris was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991

Would you have known? 🙂

The A-ROSA port guide of Paris

The A-ROSA harbour guide for the respective pier can be picked up free of charge at the reception the night before. It gives a very nice overview of the place and inspires with tips for exploring the region. You can also download the port guide of Rouen here as a .pdf version.

Unfortunately our ship A-ROSA VIVA was located outside Paris in the neighboring city of Saint Denis. The reason for this is that the ship is too big to pass all the bridges in the city centre of Paris. We have described here how best to get to the city from the pier of the A-ROSA.

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The A-ROSA port guide of Paris

Explore Paris on your own

We find it most beautiful when we can explore cities on our own and on foot. And since Paris welcomed us today with bright sunshine, we went from the pier of the A-ROSA in Saint Denis by metro first to the Basilica Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre and walked from there through half the city. But since Paris is simply too big to create all the sights in one day, we have added some pictures of our 2012 visit. This provides a relatively comprehensive overview of the most famous sights of Paris 🙂

The Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre Basilica

Before 9 a.m., we reached the dazzling white Sacré-Coeur Basilica on Montmartre Hill, one of the most visited sights in Paris. Due to the elevated position of the church, the church forecourt but also the stairs in front of the building are very popular, from which you can enjoy a perfect view over the city. Luckily, there weren’t quite as many tourists there, so we could take pictures where there are no crowds. This was completely different on our last visit 7 years ago.

After a pocket check by a security guard, we were also able to go inside the church. The huge golden mosaic modelled on the ceiling is striking. The construction of the church began in 1875 and was completed in 1914. Sacré-Coeur itself has an area of 85 x 35 meters and a height of 83 meters. The large dome is 55 meters high, from it can be seen in good weather conditions up to 40 kilometers far.

After it got so slowly fuller around Sacré-Coeur, we strolled a bit through the district of Montmartre and enjoyed the tranquility of the side streets 🙂

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The stairs to the Basilica Sacré-Coeur

The Eiffel Tower in Paris

THE landmark of Paris is the Eiffel Tower, one of the most famous sights in the world. The 324-metre-high landmark was designed by Gustave Eiffel as a monumental entrance portal and observation tower for the 1889 World’s Fair and in memory of the 100th century. anniversary of the French Revolution. As the tallest building in Paris, the Eiffel Tower still shapes the cityscape and is one of the most visited landmarks in the world with around seven million paying visitors per year.

We have to admit that we have never been to the Eiffel Tower, as we always found it much more beautiful to look at it from close range but also from the distance. There are so many beautiful photo spots to perfectly stage the Eiffel Tower. We have described some of them in a separate post. But: In the end, we couldn’t decide which place is the most beautiful – because of all of them you have a unique view of the Eiffel Tower ❤

The Louvre

The Louvre is home to one of the largest and most famous art collections in the world and is one of the most visited museums in the worldwith around 9 million visitors per year. It is located in the former residence of the French kings, the Palais du Louvre. The Louvre’s collection includes about 380,000 works, of which about 35,000 exhibits are presented on an area of more than 60,000 m2. This makes the museum one of the largest museums in the world. The Louvre includes the famous painting “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci. The painting was provided in 1804 by Napoleon, who had it hanging in his bedroom until that time. The Louvre also contains the statue “The Venus” of Milo and the sculpture “The Slave” by Michelangelo.

If you want to visit the museum, you should bring a lot of time. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that much time, so we only had the opportunity to admire the building from the outside. But even this one is quite impressive with the large and some small glass pyramids in the courtyard of the palais.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Probably the most famous church in Paris is the Roman Catholic church of Notre-Dame, which was built between 1163 and 1345, making it one of the earliest Gothic church buildings in France. Notre-Dame is located on the Seine island of Ile de la Cité in the historic centre of Paris. When we were in Paris in 2012, we were able to visit the church up close and from the inside. Unfortunately, this was no longer possible this year, as a large fire broke out in the church in April 2019, in which large parts of the oak roof truss burned, the wooden quadruple tower collapsed and the vault of the main naves was broken in at least two places. The area around the church is now largely cordoned off, so that only from the bridge “Pont des coeurs” you have a beautiful view of the striking west facade of the cathedral.

The Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris is one of the most important landmarks of the metropolis. The monument was built between 1806 and 1836 and rises 50 metres above Place Charles-de-Gaulle at the western foothills of avenue champs-Elysées. The Arc de Triomphe is part of the “historical axis”, a variety of monuments and large streets leading out of Paris. Beneath the Arc de Triomphe is the tomb of the unknown soldier from the First World War – in memory of the dead who have never been identified. As a pedestrian, the arch can only be reached by an underpass. If you would like to enjoy the view from above, you have the opportunity to visit the observation deck of the Arc de Triomphe.

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The Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile

The Centre Georges-Pompidou & the Stravinsky Fountain

The Centre Georges-Pompidou is a state art and cultural centre in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, which opened in January 1977 after a five-year construction period. The centre is home to the Musée National d’Art Moderne, which provides a comprehensive overview of 20th century art. There is also an industrial design centre, a library with over 400,000 media and 2,000 reading places, a music research centre, a children’s workshop, cinema, theatre and lecture halls, a bookshop and a restaurant and café. But not only the interior of the center, but also the outer facade is special: a futuristic tube building.

Right next to the Centre Georges-Pompidou is the beautiful, colourful Stravinsky Fountain with figures by the Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely and his partner, the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The perfect place for us to rest from the city walk for a short time and take a little break.

The Palais Royal

The Paris City Palace is located in the 1st arrondissement, about 150 meters north of the Louvre. Built between 1627 and 1629, the palace now houses the Council of State in its main wing, the Comédie Francoise in the West Wing, the Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture in the East Wing.

In addition to the building itself, the court of honour of the palace is also a very beautiful photo motif. Since 1986, this is where the walk-in artwork “Les Deux Plateaux” by the French installation artist Daniel Buren has been located, which consists of black-and-white-striped columns of different heights.

More beautiful photo spots in Paris

Paris has far too much to offer to write it all down in detail in just one post. In addition to the already mentioned sights, there are other highlights in the city:

Moulin Rouge, the world-famous vaudeville in the Montmartre district of Paris
Rue Crémieux, a pedestrian street with colourful fronts of houses
Viaduc des Arts, a former railway viaduct or railway line that has been converted into a planted promenade
Invalides Cathedral, an original church that was converted into the tomb of Emperor Napoleon I in 1840
Hotel de Ville, the City Hall of Paris
Panthéon, the National Hall of Fame of France and the tomb of famous French personalities
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, a triumphal arch in Paris that is not to be confused with the more famous and twice the size of the Arc de Triomphe at Place Charles de Gaulle
Palais Bourbon, the seat of the French National Assembly

Map with sights and Instagram spots of Paris

On the following Google Maps map we have drawn all the sights and Instagram spots described above.

Our Starbucks cup from Paris

We are collecting the Starbucks Mugs from the cities and islands we visit on our travels. Unfortunately, not every city that has a Starbucks store with an own mug. But if the city has an own mug we like to collect them as a souvenir. We only collect city mugs from the "Global Icon Series", which was released in 2008. You can see our complete collection here: Starbucks - Our collection of Mugs from the Global Icon Series

Paris, of course, has a lot of Starbucks stores and also has its own beautiful cup 🙂

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The Starbucks City Cup of Paris

All travelogues from our Seine River Cruise

Our river cruise with A-ROSA VIVA (offers at A-ROSA) led us for 7 days from the metropolis Paris along the Seine to the highlights of Normandy. Start of the journey is the city of love Paris, further to charming provincial towns like Les Andelys, an impressive cathedral in Caudebec-en-Caux and a trip to Honfleur and Deauville, the port city Rouen with countless half-timbered houses and an impressive light show in the evening, an excursion to Le Havre and Étretat, on the traces of Claude Monet in Vernon until it goes back again to the multicultural metropolis Paris. In between, the Seine winds its way between wide meadows and forests, apple orchards and castles.

Seine Cruise with A-ROSA

1. Day Seine River Cruise with A-ROSA VIVA (France)
1. Day Paris – Photo spots for the Eiffel Tower & the Louvre (France)
2. Day Les Andelys, Chateau Gaillard & Castle of Vascoeuil (France)
3. Day Caudebec-en-Caux – Tourist Attractions & Photo spots (France)
3. Day Honfleur & Deauville – A day trip to Calvados (France)
4. Day Rouen – Medieval alleys & half-timbered houses (France)
5. Day Le Havre & Etretat – A day trip to the Atlantic coast (France)
6. Day Vernon & the Gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny (France)
7. Day Paris – Tourist Attractions, Things to do & Photo spots (France)