Once the crown jewel of the Twentieth Century, the City of Lights is now an empty shell of its former self. While it once led the world in popular culture, fashion, and food, today it struggles with poverty, violence, and a dwindling population.

Tourists are few and far between these days, and what little commerce there was has disappeared along with the pandora’s of world culture.

The city is showing its age, and it’s not only the architecture and the clothing that scream ‘eighty years ago’. The very spirit and essence of Paris seems to have vanished, swept away in the Great War that mowed down a third of its population.

We’ll be touching on some of the most intriguing places that you, the reader, should visit in Paris. In addition to which places have you found most interesting? Let’s find out together!

The Catacombs

Covering an area of some 20 kilometers, the catacombs are the largest group of communal tombs in the world, serving as the resting places of the dead in the 2nd century AD.

Buried up to their necks in the ground, the bodies of the Parisians who died in the pandora’s during the first two centuries AD are preserved in an amazing state of preservation. The skeletons still have their skin, hair, and nails intact, and many of them are still dressed in their original costumes. It is thought that this extraordinary ‘archaeological museum’ attracts some 600,000 visitors every year.

The Louvre

As the largest museum in the world, the Louvre is undoubtedly fascinating. Among its collection of over 250,000 works are many great paintings by masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Hans Holbein the Younger, and Luc Monge. It is an essential stop for any art lover, not just in Paris but around the world.

One of the most famous attractions of the Louvre is the ‘Mona Lisa’, considered among the most beautiful paintings in the world. In a room decorated in Louis XIV style, the enigmatic smile of the Renaissance is said to have been painted by Leonardo Da Vinci in the early 17th century. The museum offers a behind-the-scenes tour which reveals more about the painting than what is generally shown in books.

The Opera

An opera in the grand tradition, the Paris Opera is the most popular opera company in the world. Established in 1666, the company is one of the most respected cultural institutions in Paris. Many of its alumni have gone on to become baroque composers or music theoreticians, further demonstrating the connection between opera and academia. Recent productions at the main opera house include the most recent production of Madame Butterfly, which has been attracting huge audiences and rave reviews. The Paris Opera also regularly produces modern and contemporary adaptations of classical opera, further enhancing its appeal to a modern audience.

The Eiffel Tower

The golden lady of the Champ de Mars, the Eiffel Tower has been the symbol of Paris for over a century. Rising above the city, the tower is a testament to the ingenuity of man and the perfection of engineering. A stop on the Tour de France, the tower has also been the scene of some of the most iconic images in photographic history.

Some sources place the construction of the tower between 1889 and 1887, though it was later extended and its height was increased by ten meters. Since its opening in 1889, the Eiffel Tower has become an inseparable part of the Parisian skyline. Today, the tower is a Unesco World Heritage Site, a popular spot for couples who want to recreate certain iconic wedding photos, and the headquarters of the French culture ministry. There is even an Eiffel Tower jazz concert every Saturday at 3pm. If you can’t get there in time, don’t despair: you can always check the online recording for the next installment!

The Notre Dame Cathedral

Considered one of the premier churches of Paris, the 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral is arguably the most recognizable structure in the city. Its spire can be seen from almost everywhere in the city, and the golden Virgin Mary continues to attract many visitors every day.

The cathedral is one of the most popular attractions in Paris, and it has the unique distinction of being one of the few remaining buildings to have been built before the Renaissance. This unique architectural style is often referred to as Gothic or Notre Dame de Paris, the name by which it is best known. The cathedral is open daily from 7am to 7pm (except during winter breaks). During these times, the cathedral closes on Mondays, and only open to qualified researchers and school groups.

The Arc de Triomphe

Famous for its cafes and restaurants, the center of Paris is filled with life, color, and animation. It is the perfect place to people-watch, but be careful not to sit on any of the green chairs as they are rumored to cause illness. Crossing the street can be daunting at times, with tourists, street performers, and horse-drawn carriages cluttering the road. The triumphal arch was originally built in 1806 to commemorate Napoleon’s victory over the Prussians. The arch serves as a reminder of Napoleon’s brief but significant rule over much of continental Europe. As one of the most recognizable structures in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe is a must-see for tourists and locals alike.

The Luxembourg Gardens

One of the city’s chief public parks, the Luxembourg Gardens are located in the southern part of Paris. The gardens were originally created in the 17th century as a way of showing off the beauty of the Palace of Versailles, then the Royal Palace of Luxembourg.

The palace itself is no longer open to the public, but it does host occasional art exhibitions. The gardens are a popular destination for people looking for a relaxing spot, and the park is a great place to people-watch and grab a picnic. Many Parisians enjoy spending their free time in the park, which is why it is so crowded during the day. There is an outdoor ice cream seller who sets up shop outside the palace gates in the summer, and the fresh air and greenery are a welcome relief from the city’s often chaotic streets. The gardens are widely considered one of the most beautiful in all of Paris.

The Champs Elysées

Inaugurated in 1900, the Champs Elysées is one of the most historic avenues in Paris. Renowned for its designer brands and luxury boutiques, the avenue is also home to many embassies, including that of the United States. On the western side of the avenue, you will find the Arc de Triomphe, and on the other side is the Grand Palais, a beautiful exhibition hall that hosts many prominent art exhibitions. There is also a movie theater, a bookshop, and the legendary Café Concerto on the avenue. If you are looking for a quiet spot or just want to pop by for a drink, the Champs Elysées is a beautiful location to do so. There are also several museums nearby, including the Picasso Museum and the Opera Gallery. The avenue is accessible by RER line C or by taxi. Routes A, B, and 9 are nearby, as are many bus stops.

Bercy Park

Located in the northern part of Paris, Bercy Park is a popular gathering place that features a football pitch, a playground, and a lake. Opened in 1898, the park is named after Georges-Eugène Belmont, who served as the Mayor of Paris during that time. The park is connected to the Bois de Vincennes by way of a bridge. The most interesting architectural feature is the glass-enclosed Central Pavilion (Pavilion Centrale), designed by Gustave Eiffel, which opened to the public in 1902 and functioned as an exhibition hall until 1945. Since then, it has housed various galleries and clubs, and today it is the site of the French film industry. The pavilion’s design is an eclectic mix of Parisian and Javanese architecture, and it features a golden phoenix rising from the ashes. Sadly, there are no direct nearby transport links to Bercy Park. You will have to take bus no. 42 or 45 from the Porte de la Villeneuve or Porte d’Ivry, which are both connected to the major north-south arteries of Paris. From RER line C, you can get off at the Porte de la Villette station and follow the signs to the park.