Long weekend in Paris :: Interesting places, attractions, food

How to spend long weekend in Paris

This city can take too many lifetimes to see - when you think you've seen it all, you find new attractions, new markets, new cafes. For hundreds of years, Paris was known as the world's undisputed capital of culture, literature, and cuisine. Continuous growth of the city through all that time created a place, where we can find something interesting everywhere.

For the start you must know one thing: there is absolutely no way you can see whole Paris in just a few days, but you can try to see as much as you can. In this Paris travel guide, I will try to tell you about the most interesting tourist attractions in Paris, the city of art.

Eiffel Tower in Paris
Eiffel Tower in Paris

Eiffel Tower

The panoramic view of the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower is well worth the hike, but not always worth the waiting. Don't get me wrong, Eiffel Tower is an amazing tourist attraction, but there are so many people who want to get there and usually the queue is so long that you probably spend the half of the day waiting. You can try to get there right as it opens, and you'll be able to avoid most of the lines. 

If you already near the Eiffel Tower, it's a good idea to have a picnic on the grass. There are always many people sitting, talking, dancing and much more.

Notre Dame cathedral: View from the top
Notre Dame cathedral: View from the top

Notre Dame

The Notre Dame is a French Catholic gothic cathedral. It has amazing architectural details (like cathedral's facade that shows the Portal of the Last Judgment) and if you want to take a closer look to all of that, you will need some time.

When I last was here (end of 2014) entrance to the Notre Dame cathedral was free and the queue was not too long, about 20 minutes of waiting. And you probably don't want to miss an awesome view from the top - you can see almost whole Paris.

Pantheon

Pantheon was built in 1790 by architects Jean-Baptiste Rondelet and  Jacques-Germain Soufflot as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve. After many changes, it's now a Paris mausoleum, where distinguished French citizens lie, like Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès or Marie Curie.

When I was in Pantheon in 2014, the entrance fee was 7 euro and I had to wait about 15minutes to get inside. The nearest train station is Cardinal Lemoine.

Pantheon, Paris :: Inside
Pantheon, Paris - inside panorama.

Luxembourg Palace and Gardens

Called also Jardin du Luxembourg. Since 1958 Luxembourg Palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic of France. It was originally built in 1645 by architect Salomon de Brosse to be the royal residence of the regent Marie de' Medici, mother of Louis XIII of France.

Luxembourg Palace and Gardens
Luxembourg Palace and Gardens

Luxembourg Palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens, that are the biggest within the Paris city itself. There are so many flowers, palms and other plants with almost every color possible. Statues, monuments, fountains are aplenty around here, just walk, watch and take photos. The Luxembourg Gardens has a very relaxing atmosphere - locals use it to hang out around and read.

Louvre Museum

Called also Musée du Louvre. Contrary to conventional beliefs, this museum is more than the glass pyramidal shaped architecture that you probably see on the most of the pictures. This is one of the biggest museums in the world. With more than 35,000 works of art displayed over 60,000 square meters, you probably might spend in Louvre a week and still not see everything.

Louvre Museum, Paris: Inside
Louvre Museum inside, under the glass pyramid.

It was originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century under Philip II. Due to the expansion of the Paris, it lost its defensive function and was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings in 1546. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces - it opened in 1793.

The entrance fee to Louvre in 2014 was 12 euros for Permanent Collections, 13 euros for Exhibitions in the Hall Napoleon and 16 euros for both. The tip: you can access free on the first Sunday of each month from October to March.

Arc de Triomphe

One of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle. It was built to honor soldiers who fought and died for France during Napoleonic Wars and French Revolution and has inscribed the names of all French generals and victories on its surface. Beneath the Arc de Triomphe lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Paris
Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Paris

Sacré-Cœur Basilica

In English: The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. It's a Roman Catholic church and the minor basilica of Paris, located at the butte Montmartre, which is the highest point in the city. It was designed by Paul Abadie, built in 1914.

It's a big contrast to earlier Gothic churches like Notre Dame, as the Sacré-Cœur Basilica was inspired by churches such as San Marco of Venice and St Sofia in Constantinople and it looks totally different. The interior architecture is dressed in the Romano-Byzantine style.

Tip: if you don't want to spend your energy climbing to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, you can always use Train of Montmartre to help you with that. It costs 6 euros (in 2014).

Paris panorama
Panorama of Paris from the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is a cabaret co-founded in 1889 by Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller, known by the red windmill on its roof. The original building burned down in 1915. It's best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance, which is a seductive dance by the courtesans.

Today, the Moulin Rouge is a tourist attraction, but during my last trip to Paris, not many tourists were here. This place offers musical dance entertainment for visitors, which is very climatic as the club's decor still contains much of the French romance.

Palace of Versailles, Paris
Palace of Versailles with beautiful gardens.

Palace of Versailles

Built in 1682 by Louis XIV, who moved here the royal court from Paris. Palace of Versailles was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France nad it's famous as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime, which ends during the French Revolution.

Gardens of Versailles are situated to the west of the palace and covers about 800 hectares of land. It's mostly landscaped in the classic French Garden style.

Where to eat

There are so many restaurants in Paris. I was eating in many of them and I can recommend only the ones I've been and eat by myself.

Breakfast

There are many good breakfast restaurants (I actually didn't found a bad one), so instead of giving you addresses, I will write what French can you eat for breakfast that is not a croissant. If you want something less buttery you can try Pain au lait with chocolate - it's like a baguette, perfect for coffee.

You can also try Chausson aux pommes (like a croissant, but with apple sauce inside), Escargot (flaky pastries rolled up and filled with almost anything), Mouna (sweetened bread topped with pearl sugar) or Pain Suisse.

Dinner

I found a wonderful little restaurant called Le Pré Verre, where I ate 2 courses, wine, and coffee for 14 euros. It's situated near the Maubert-Mutualité or Cluny-La Sorbonne metro station, and the full address is 8 Rue Thénard, 75005 Paris. The chef here is praised for his work and ever-changing creative menu options.

Wine

Near the Notre Dame, there is a L'Écluse des Grands Augustins restaurant, which sells annually 600 000 glasses of wine. When I was in this restaurant last time, the wine was perfect, and I enjoyed every minute there.

Conclusion

Even having four or five days, you will only scratch the surface of Paris. This is a huge city with a lot of attractions, that can surprise you on every corner. If you plan to visit Paris and have some time, it's better to stay here longer and visit the city slower to fully enjoy its beauty.

Wojciech Kuźma

Hey there! My name is Wojtek and I am very happy that you came to my travel blog. I've been traveling the world for a few good years now and I still want more.

On my website I describe the adventures that have happened to me, you will also find here a collection of valuable tips for tourists and travelers. If you liked this article, be sure to leave a comment and read some more!


4.50 | 6 votes
Comments: 6
  •   31th March 2017, 10:34

    I still cannot believe I missed the Versailles Palace during m last travel to Paris. Next time it will be my number 1 direction.

    •   31th March 2017, 10:35

      Versailles Palace is one of my favourite spots, especially when you want to hang out surrounded by clear beauty.

  •   13th April 2017, 12:34

    Thank you for your relation, I will definitely visit all these places, as Im going to the Paris for 8 days. I cannot wait for this trip to happen.

  •   15th April 2017, 11:48

    Paris is most amazing and beautiful city. I stayed there three weeks and I still didnt have enough of it, really. Love all the cafes, french food, and tourist attractions. The only problem is that theres so many people everywhere.. especially in the city center.Anyway great photos and article.

  •   9th May 2018, 21:52

    I am not sure where youre getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this info for my mission.

  •   16th May 2018, 09:11

    Im gone too inform my little brother, that he should also visit this webpage on regular basis to take updated from most up-to-date reports.

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