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Top 10 Attractions in Paris

10. Sainte-Chapelle

If you’ve ever wanted to sparkle like Team Edward of Twilight, bask in the twinkling light shining through 1,113 stained glass panes of this remarkable Top 10 Paris attraction. Alongside the Sainte-Chapelle is the Conciergerie, a Medieval palace-turned-prison where Marie Antionette was held during the French Revolution. Guided, self-guided, and tour-lectures available. Seasonal hours approximately 9 AM - 5 PM with occasional afternoon and holiday closings so check online before arranging a visit.

9. Sacré-Cœur

Built in 1914, this Roman Catholic Church is akin to a wedding dress: pure white on the outside, but a little more… colorful… on the inside. Teaming with glittering mosaics, the interior is the stunning opposite of its austere exterior. Climb to the top of the dome for a fantastic panoramic photo op of Paris below. Open 6 AM - 10:30 PM with several daily masses and confessions open to the public. Dome hours (9 AM - 7 PM during summer, and 9 AM - 6 PM in winter) and Crypt hours (vary) are more limited. Free entry, and night visits also available!

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8. Palais Garnier

One of the most recognized and opulent opera houses in the world, this Top 10 Paris attraction is a must-see even if the word ‘opera’ makes you groan. The 7-ton glass chandelier, marble rainbow staircase, and mosaic-infused foyer have inspired other impressive buildings around the world, and according to legend is linked to the dark storyline behind Phantom of the Opera. Check the site for information on reduced-price tickets and upcoming shows. Tours and museum open: Sept. 10 - July 15, 10 AM - 4:30 PM; July 15 - Sept. 10, 10 AM - 5:30 PM). 

7. Versailles

This Top Ten Paris attraction is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and 18th century masterpiece. With more fireplaces (1,252) than square feet in your studio, this magnificent castle (and gigantic fire hazard?) is lined with history: inside the Hall of Mirrors (357 total) is where the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end WWI. Once you’ve warmed up by walking all 67 staircases, cruise around the 250-acre garden and you’ll understand why everyone calls this place breathtaking. Open Tues-Sun 9 AM - 6:30 PM (April-Oct.) and Tues-Sun 9 AM - 5:30 PM (Nov.-March). 

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6. The Louvre

Housing famed pieces from the bullet-proof protected Mona Lisa to the Venus de Milo, it is no wonder that this Top 10 Paris attraction is the most-visited art gallery in the world. Come see your history book come to life among the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman collections from the BC to modern eras, plus the room of Napoleon and his gold-covered walls (he must be so pleased). Afterward, amble into the Tuileries Gardens for peaceful respite and contemplation. It is Louvre at first sight! Open Sat-Mon & Thurs 9 AM - 6 PM, Wed & Fri 9 AM - 10 PM. Closed Tuesdays.

5. Champs-Elysées

Translated as the “Elysian Fields,” this 1.2-mile stretch of Paris is known as the world’s most beautiful avenue. Lined with elegant foliage, luxury boutiques, iconic stores, raving nightclubs, world famous museums, and a variety of restaurants, this Top 10 Paris landmark also connects famous structures like the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde for a true blend of the modern and historical. Arrive at the right time and you may even witness the celebration of Bastille Day or the Tour de France rolling in! Hours vary by shop (Top 10 Tip: beware the European ’afternoon siesta’ where many shops close 1 - 4 PM).

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4. Arc de Triomphe

Next on our Top Ten Paris attractions is this iconic monument dedicated to all French soldiers lost in war and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This sacred ground is also where Napoleon’s body was carried en route to his final resting place, and a WWI pilot even flew his plane through the Arc to celebrate the end of the war. Amble up the 234 steps to access one of Paris’s most iconic panoramic views! Maximize the romance and experience this incredible view at sunset. Don’t play Frogger and attempt to cross the busy traffic circle; instead, access the Arc via an underpass. Open 10 AM - 11 PM (April 1 - Sept. 30) and 10 AM - 10:30 PM (Oct. 1 - Mar. 31). 

3. Musée d'Orsay

Less crowded than the Louvre, this railway station-turned-art gallery is sure to make quite an Impression on you! Three floors house the world’s largest impressionist and post-impressionist art collections. At this Top 10 Paris museum you can view classic works by Monet, van Gogh, Delacroix, and more, as well as bronze sculptures and groundbreaking photographs. Open Tues-Sun 9:30 AM - 6 PM, which Thursdays open later until 9:45 PM. Don’t forget your Student ID!

2. Notre Dame

Built in the 1300s, this world famous and splendid Top Ten Paris landmark pays homage to “Our Lady,” the Virgin Mary. Walk up the 387 steps of the south tower to see up close and personal the stone gargoyles, originally designed to drain water away from the cathedral, and the famous 13-ton Emmanuel bell, which rings on the hour. Lurking underneath are the archaeological crypts housing historical ruins, including Quasimodo (just kidding… maybe). Open daily 10 AM - 6:30 PM (April 1 - Sept. 30) with longer hours on Sat-Sun (10 AM - 11 PM) in July and August. Open daily 10 AM - 5 PM from Oct. 1 - Mar. 31. 

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1. Eiffel Tower

Like that electric-bill-disaster of a Christmas light extravaganza you never want to do again, the neighbors loved it so much you’re now stuck doing it forever (#lovethatchristmasspirit). Originally designed to be temporary, the Eiffel Tower has become one of the world’s most enduring and recognizable wonders. After sunset, this Top 10 Paris landmark is illuminated by thousands of lights: for five minutes every hour, the lights create a sparkling effect while the lighthouse-style beacon atop the tower projects a beam visible for 50 miles. No synchronization with Trans Siberian Orchestra, though. Open daily 9 AM - midnight.

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