It’s hard to do and you’re going to miss so much, but if this is all the time you have, you should at least check out these few places.
The LouvreOriginally built as a fortress in the late 12th century, the Louvre is one of the world’s largest and most famous museums. Located on the right bank of the Seine near the center of town, the Louvre has nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century. With over 9.7 million visitors each year, you certainly won’t be alone in the world’s most visited museum. From the Venus de Milo to the Mona Lisa you will see pieces you’ve heard of and longed to see all your life.
The Eiffel TowerGo just about anywhere in Paris and you’ll see it, but up close it’s quite stunning. Take the elevator up, even if you don’t make it to the very top, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Paris. Located on the Champ de Mars it was erected in 1889 and has become just about the most recognizable structure in the world. You should be wary of the panhandlers and pickpockets in the surrounding area, especially don’t sign any petitions, that’s just a money grab as well. In the evenings the tower is lit up with multicolored lights and is gorgeous. The surrounding plaza is filled with entertainers, stylish Parisians, and of course, those pesky pickpockets.
Avenue des Champs-ElyseesTo say the Champs-Elysees is a street in Paris is to not do it justice. This is not only one of the most famous streets in the world, but one of the most expensive strips of real estate as well. At only 1.8 miles long it wouldn’t seem like much but it seems almost as wide where it ends at the Arc de Triomphe. This avenue is filled with cafes, restaurants and shops sporting some of the most famous and expensive luxury goods anywhere. You may not be able to afford the goods in the shops but the clerks don’t know that and will be rude to you whether you’re rich or not; affording you a true Parisian experience.
Arc de TriompheLocated on the west end of the Champs-Elysee, the Arc is a monument to those who fought and died for France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. With the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces and a vault beneath which contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I this is a grand edifice indeed. Located smack in the middle of what must be the world’s biggest roundabout, the monument is accessed through tunnels under the traffic so do not jaywalk here; you’ll never make it.
MontmartreMontmartre is actually a hill in the north of Paris but the surrounding district is known by Montmartre as well. Famous for the many artists known to live and work in the area from Picasso to Monet, Dali to Van Gogh this area still carries its Bohemian vibe well with shops, cafes and nightclubs. The famous Moulin Rouge nightclub sits on one end of the Boulevard de Clichy while unfortunately sex shops, video porn stores and strip clubs adorn the opposite end. Climb the hill to the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur to see a grand, old church along with a sweeping view of Paris. Then visit the surrounding area for a glass of wine and to soak in the artistic atmosphere.