Around 42 million people visit Paris each year, ranking it closely with London and New York as the World’s Most Visited City. In practical terms, this means that any trip to Paris has more or less already been done. It’s hard to break ground when following the footsteps of so many millions of people that have come before. But far from being a deterrent, you should follow the advice of what makes so many so happy with their Parisian holidays, and embrace the tourist-factor. The City of Love is home to some incredible sites that have had profound impacts on Western culture, and they are all worth visiting. Here are three of the unmissables:
1. The Eiffel Tower
Predictable? Oui. Cliché? Oui, peut-être. Something that can be missed? Non! This is the ultimate landmark of all of France, and has been an icon since its construction for the 1889 World Exposition. Hundreds of millions of people have visited it, and it is a symbol of intense pride for the French (locals may neglect to inform you that when it was first built, just about everyone hated it, and it was almost destroyed). Whether standing out against clear blue skies or lit up at night, this is a site that just can’t be passed up. Get Eiffel Tower tickets in advance to beat the crowds.
2. Musée du Lourve
Some sites can’t be adequately explored in a day. Or a week. Or maybe even a year. The Lourve is one of these infamously extensively and convoluted museums that you are obligated to go to (and will benefit greatly by doing so), but can be frustratingly large in its scope. There are more than 35,000 objects on display, and it is the world’s most visited museum. The Lourve gets around 22,000 visitors a day, but pretty much all of them can be found crowding around the Mona Lisa at exactly the same time that you want to see it. Consider branching out and taking in equally impressive but far less famous works in the myriad other halls, such as the Egyptian Antiques, Decorative Arts, and Greek and Roman Sculpture.
3. Moulin Rouge
Brought firmly into the international limelight by the romantic and musical pairing of a Scottish actor and Australian actress, this piece of French history is another worthwhile spot to check out. The sophisticated and sensual can-can dance was invented here, and cabaret shows are still nightly occurrences that draw thousands of visitors. The artistic and cultural style of the turn of the century, expressed as a balance between the pessimism of societal decay and the optimism of a bright, unknown future, is a unique and vibrant thing. It is still very much on display here in the artwork, music, and mannerisms of Bohemian counterculture. Moulin Rouge tickets are cheap and convenient to obtain online.
These are only three of Paris’ most famous sites. In addition, you shouldn’t miss the Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the view from Sacré Coeur and Montmartre. In order to not stand out as a tourist, we recommend adopting the traditional French outfit of black and white striped shirts, black berets, and extravagant facial or underarm hair. Carrying baguettes and cigarette holders with you at all times can also help to further the illusion. Bonne chance!