Paris Landmarks – Exploring the Best of the City of Light

Paris, France is a city that needs no introduction. The City of Light consists of countless iconic landmarks, each a testament to its rich cultural heritage and artistic legacy. Paris landmarks offer a unique window into the past, present, and future, telling stories that span centuries.

From magnificent museums to ornate churches, there is a never-ending list of impressive sites to explore in this historic city. Every street corner in Paris is bursting with history, and each landmark is more fascinating than the last, making it a place where there’s always something new to discover.

1. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre Dame in Paris France
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral, is a striking Paris landmark of French Gothic architecture. The cathedral, which means “Our Lady of Paris,” was constructed over 800 years ago and has withstood the test of time, including the French Revolution and two World Wars. 

It is famous for its beautiful stained glass windows, intricate stone carvings, and iconic gargoyles perched on the roof. This Paris landmark attracts millions of visitors annually to admire its grandeur and historical significance. 

Sadly, in 2019, a devastating fire broke out in the cathedral, causing significant damage to its roof and spire. However, the rebuilding process is currently underway, and the cathedral is expected to reopen to the public in the coming years.

2. Louvre Museum

Lourve Museum in Paris France
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

The Louvre Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world. This Paris landmark houses an extensive collection of artwork and artifacts spanning over 9,000 years, including some of the most renowned pieces such as the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. 

The museum was originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century and later transformed into a royal palace, before finally becoming a public museum in 1793. The Louvre’s vast collection comprises nearly 500,000 works of art, from ancient Egyptian antiquities to European paintings from the 13th to 19th centuries. Its stunning architecture, which includes the iconic glass pyramid at its entrance, adds to the allure of the museum. 

You can easily spend an entire day exploring the Louvre’s collections, and even then, they may not be able to see everything the museum has to offer.

3. Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre

Paris Landmarks - Exploring the Best of the City of Light
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

The Basilica of Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre is a stunning Roman Catholic church that is known for its beautiful architecture and panoramic views of the city. This Paris landmark was built in the late 19th century and dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as a symbol of faith and hope for the people of France. 

The church’s unique design, which includes a striking white dome, intricate carvings, and beautiful stained-glass windows, draws visitors from around the world. You can climb the dome to enjoy breathtaking views of the city, or explore the basilica’s interior and admire its magnificent mosaics and paintings. 

4. Effiel Tower

Things to Do in Paris, France
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable Paris landmarks in the world. Standing at 1,063 feet tall, it is the tallest structure in Paris and an iconic symbol of the city. The tower was built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel as a temporary installation for the World’s Fair, but it soon became a permanent fixture of the Parisian skyline. 

The tower is made of wrought iron and has three levels that you can access by stairs or elevators. Each level offers a unique view of the city, with the top level offering a panoramic view of Paris. The tower is also beautifully lit up at night, and you can enjoy a light show that occurs every hour on the hour.

5. The Panthéon

Paris Landmarks - Exploring the Best of the City of Light
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

The Panthéon is a historic Paris landmark located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, France. Originally built as a church, it was later converted into a secular mausoleum for France’s most distinguished citizens. The building’s neoclassical architecture, with its impressive dome and grand entrance, makes it an iconic part of the Parisian skyline. 

Inside, you can view the grand crypt that houses the tombs of famous figures such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie. The Panthéon also serves as a memorial to the French Revolution, with several inscriptions that pay tribute to the country’s revolutionary ideals. You can take a guided tour of the Panthéon to learn more about the building’s history and its significance to France.

6. Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most iconic Paris landmarks in France. Located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, it was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 to commemorate his military victories. 

The arc is an impressive 164 feet tall, and its intricate sculptures and carvings depict scenes from the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. You can climb to the top of the arc to enjoy breathtaking city views, including a direct view of the Eiffel Tower. 

The Arc de Triomphe is also the site of the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb, a tribute to the soldiers who died in World War I. Every evening, a ceremony occurs here to rekindle the flame that burns in honor of these fallen soldiers.

7. Champs-Élysées

Paris Landmarks - Exploring the Best of the City of Light

Champs-Élysées is a famous avenue in Paris, France that stretches over a mile from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. The avenue is lined with luxury shops, theaters, and cafes, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists. 

The avenue is also known for its stunning views of Paris, as it offers a direct view of the Eiffel Tower from one end and the Arc de Triomphe from the other. Throughout the year, Champs-Élysées hosts several events, such as the Bastille Day parade, the Tour de France finish line, and the Christmas market, which adds to the avenue’s charm and attraction.

8. Palais and Jardin du Luxembourg

Paris Landmarks - Exploring the Best of the City of Light
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

The Palais and Jardin du Luxembourg is a gorgeous palace and gardens that offer a peaceful retreat from the city’s busy streets. The palace was built in the early 17th century and has served as the home of the French Senate since 1958. 

The gardens were designed in the French style and are filled with beautifully manicured lawns, flowerbeds, and fountains. You can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens or relax on the many benches.

The Palais and Jardin du Luxembourg are also home to several notable statues, including the famous Medici Fountain and a statue of Sainte-Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris.

9. The River Seine

Top of the Eiffel Tower Paris, France
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

The River Seine is one of the most iconic and picturesque Paris landmarks, flowing through the heart of the city and providing a beautiful backdrop to some of its most famous attractions. 

From the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame Cathedral, the river winds its way through the city, passing under numerous beautiful bridges and providing a scenic route for sightseeing cruises. The river also plays a significant role in the history and culture of Paris, with many famous artists and writers having been inspired by its beauty over the years. 

You can take a romantic stroll along the riverbanks, or enjoy a sunset cruise to take in the stunning views of the city’s landmarks from the water.

10. Sainte-Chapelle

Saint Chapelle in Paris France
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

Sainte-Chapelle, an important religious Paris landmark, is a Gothic-style chapel located in the heart of Paris. Built in the 13th century by King Louis IX, the chapel is renowned for its breathtaking stained glass windows covering nearly all upper-level walls.

These vibrant and intricate stained glass pieces depict biblical scenes and historical events and are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the world. The chapel’s lower level is also adorned with intricate stone carvings and features a collection of religious relics.

11. Hotel de Ville

Paris Landmarks - Exploring the Best of the City of Light
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

Hotel de Ville, meaning City Hall in French, is a beautiful and historic Paris landmark located in the heart of the city. Originally built in the 16th century, the building has undergone numerous renovations and is now a beautiful example of French Renaissance architecture. The building is adorned with ornate sculptures and features an impressive clock tower that symbolizes the city.

Inside, the grand halls are decorated with frescoes and beautiful artwork, and the building is often used as a venue for important political and cultural events. Hotel de Ville is an important landmark in Paris, and a testament to the city’s rich history and culture. Guided tours are available by reservation only.

12. Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge in Paris France
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

Moulin Rouge is a world-famous cabaret located in the Montmartre district of Paris. Established in 1889, the Moulin Rouge has become synonymous with Parisian nightlife and the Belle Époque era. 

This Paris landmark is known for its extravagant shows featuring dancers, singers, and acrobats, as well as the iconic red windmill that adorns its roof. You can enjoy a night of entertainment, dining, and drinking while experiencing the glamour and excitement of old-world Paris. 

Moulin Rouge has been featured in numerous films and has hosted many famous performers over the years, cementing its status as a cultural icon

Visiting Paris Landmarks

Tuileries Garden in Paris, France
Photo Credit: [Alexandrea Sumuel / Wander With Alex]

Visiting landmarks in Paris is a journey through time and a chance to immerse yourself in one of the most culturally rich and enchanting cities in the world. With world-renowned art, architecture, and history at every turn, exploring Paris landmarks is an experience offering a unique glimpse into the soul of Paris.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandrea Sumuel - Groves is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. Her work has appeared on MSN, YAHOO!, Euronews, and FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates across the United States. 

Alex travels to experience, eat, explore, and occasionally escape! She collaborates with destinations, vacation property management companies, and hospitality technology firms to provide her readers with exclusive insights and information.