Iconic sights, secret spots, and all the locations you may have heard of, but never thought to visit. If you’re looking for picturesque Paris, then you should stop your search now… Because here are 25 breathtakingly beautiful places to visit in Paris that you won’t want to miss on any trip to the City of Lights!
Trocadéro at sunrise
If there’s one first time tip I’d give any newcomer to Paris, it would be to get up early and head to Trocadéro to watch the sunrise over the Eiffel Tower. And I promise you that once there, the early wake-up alarm will be worth it! Early in the morning, the light is beautiful and there are few people around, meaning that you can capture the Tour Eiffel at its very best.
Read more: The one thing you must do in Paris!
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Magical and off-the-beaten-tourist-track, Parc des Buttes Chaumont is located in the 19e arrondissement of the city. Filled with follies, secret spots, plenty of cherry blossoms in the springtime, and even its own hidden waterfall complete with grotto, the park is the perfect place to hang out on a sunny day.
Colonnes de Buren
The once controversial columns of Colonnes de Buren are also known as ‘Les Deux Plateaux’. Created by a French artist in the 1980s, the artistic installation comprises of dozens of candy-striped cylindrical blocks, all of varying heights. Though this spot is less of a secret since the arrival of Instagram, it still remains one of the most beautiful places to visit in Paris!
Read more: A quick history of the Colonnes de Buren.
Musée de l’Orangerie
Home to Monet’s waterlilies, the fabulous pavilion of the Orangerie Museum is located in the heart of Jardin des Tuileries, not far from the Louvre. Best visited earlier in the day and midweek (so that you get the place to yourself!) there’s also plenty of other modern artwork aside from the lilies.
Of course, Rome has a pantheon… But so does Paris! Once a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of the city, the 18th-century building is now a mausoleum for French citizens of note (Voltaire and Marie Curie are both interred there). The interior of the domed structure is stunning and at its very heart, you’ll find Foucault’s Pendulum, a 19th-century, 67 metre high, swinging pendulum clock.
Read more: Paris Pantheon, feminism & Voltaire.
Pastel shades and candy hues: Rue Cremieux was once one of the most secret spots in the city. Since the arrival of social media, this is less so- though the road is still incredibly beautiful! Best seen earlier in the day and midweek (so as to avoid the crowds), this road is well worth a wander along, if only to experience Parisian architecture that’s not Haussmanian!
Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet
Instead of sticking to the beaten tourist track when it comes to the 18e arrondissement of Paris, head to the charming Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet for one of the best views of the Sacré-Coeur to be found anywhere in the city. Filled with wisteria during late spring and fall foliage in the autumn, this secret spot is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic with friends!
Secluded and out the way, Butte Bergeyre is one of the most secret micro-arrondissements to be found anywhere in the city. Accessible via only one winding road and two sets of steep pedestrian steps, climb to the top and you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the Sacré-Coeur, as well as a little vineyard!
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole
For the quaintest café in Paris, then you simply must head to the coffee shop of Au Vieux Paris’ d’Arcole. Situated just a short walk away from the iconic towers of Notre Dame Cathedral, the cute coffee shop is covered in wisteria in the springtime, populated with pumpkins in the autumn, and is decked out in decorations for Christmas.
Rue Chanoinesse, where Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole lies has changed little since medieval times thanks to the existence of a nearby now defunct monastery and is a great glimpse into what much of Paris must have once looked like. Next to the coffee shop, a small courtyard is paved with many repurposed gravestones.
Read more: A quick guide to Île de la Cité.
Jardin du Luxembourg
If you’re looking for a little calm away from the hustle and bustle of everyday Parisian life, then the Jardin du Luxembourg is just steps away from the Paris Pantheon and nearby Sorbonne University. Also known as the Luxembourg Gardens, the green oasis was created by order of Catherine de Medici in the 17th-century. Today, it’s free to visit, open to the public, and where all the locals hang out in the summer months…
Pont Alexandre III
Often said to be the most beautiful bridge in the world, Pont Alexandre III crosses at the point of the Seine where the end of the Champs Élysées is just a short walk away and the glistening dome of the final resting place of Napoleon, Les Invalides, is visible from the river. The bridge is best visited at sunset and is a must-see on any trip to Paris!
Read more: Instagram guide to Paris.
The Louvre Museum
Best seen at sunset or sunrise when candy colours dance across the sky, even if you’re ‘not so much of a museum person,’ the magnificent architecture of the Louvre merits a visit whether it’s your first or five-hundredth time in Paris.
The Juxtaposition of old and new can be found in the largest museum in the world’s inner courtyard. Enter inside, and once you’ve seen iconic treasures such as the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Mona Lisa, the Louvre has plenty of other secrets to uncover…
Notre Dame in Cherry Blossom Season
Paris is one of the best European cities to head to in the spring; fewer crowds, warmer weather, and longer days are just a few great reasons to visit the city in the springtime! This becomes especially apparent when you head to the little garden next to Notre Dame during the period of spring blooms. Filled with cherry blossom trees, this quiet little square is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Paris and is the perfect place to sit down with a good book!
Bibliothèque Forney & Hôtel de Sens
For the chance to study or work in a former medieval mansion, then you simply must head to Le Marais! All you need to gain library membership is a passport style photo and some photo ID (i.e. your passport!). Then, you’ll be free to enter the Bibliothèque which is dedicated to the decorative arts and style. Though the desks and bookshelves inside the former Bishop’s Palace may be modern, the architectural details are not and some date all the way back to the middle ages!
The art nouveau architecture of Galeries Lafayette’s flagship store means that the shop is well worth a wander into, if only to admire the stunning stained glass and snap a quick few photos! During the festive season every Christmas, a giant tree is erected in the shop’s centre, while a free panoramic rooftop terrace is open year-round and offers views onto the Eiffel Tower and the rest of Paris!
Read more: Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace.
Throughout Paris, there are small pockets of calm which were once villages in their own right. One of the quirkiest of these is Butte-aux-Cailles, a micro-arrondissement in the 13e district. As its name suggests, the village is located atop a ‘butte’ (hill) and is home to lots of little bars, eateries, and specialist stores (even one which caters specifically to apiarists). The former village was also where the world’s first ever hot air balloon ride took off!
Rue des Rosiers
Located in Le Marais area of the city, Rue des Rosiers is literally translated as ‘road of the rosebushes’ is a picturesque street that’s easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Paris. Filled with small eateries, the area is also well-known for its independent fashion stores and small boutiques.
Read more: The prettiest streets in Paris!
College des Bernardins
Fans of ecclesiastical history will love the Latin Quater. After all, it’s home to firm favourites like the Paris Pantheon, and Église Saint-Severin, a church near Shakespeare and Co where the interior columns have been constructed in a way that’s reminiscent of a forest. The district is also where you’ll find the Collège des Bernardins, a former Cistercian College turned cultural hub where philosophical and ecclesiastical lectures are held on a regular basis.
Place Dalida & La Maison Rose
Yes, I realise that Montmartre has already been mentioned several times on this list! However, the truth is that the 18e arrondissement really is the most picturesque postcard-perfect area of Paris, if only you give it a chance away from the tourist-populated areas surrounding the Sacré-Coeur and artists hotspot of Place du Tertre. Head to Place Dalida to capture *that* photo and wander along Rue de l’Abreuvoir to catch a glimpse of La Maison Rose.
Pretty in purple (literally!) Sainte-Chapelle is one of the gems of the Ile de la Cité district of the city. Originally built to house the Crown of Thorns, a Christian relic which is alleged to be the Crown of Thorns placed on Jesus’ head and is now housed in nearby Notre Dame, the stained glass of Sainte-Chapelle is one of the best examples of medieval stained glass in the world.
The clock at Musée d’Orsay
If you’re a fan of impressionist art, then the Musée d’Orsay will likely need no introduction. Full of paintings by well-known names like Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh, the museum is housed in a former train station. The building itself was constructed between 1898 and 1900 and the top floor of the museum remains home to the station’s grand clock/ giant window which offers views onto the Seine and the Sacré-Coeur.
Read more: Iconic photo locations in Paris.
Hameau de la Reine (Versailles day trip)
Of course, everyone has heard of the Palace of Versailles and it’s a must-see for any first time visitor to the city. But did you know that the Palace is much more than the ornate gilding of the Hall of Mirrors or the André Le Notre designed gardens?
Instead, there are several smaller (‘small’ being a relative term here!) palaces a couple of kilometres from the former Royal Residence known as the Grand Trianon, and Petit Trianon, respectively. In the gardens of the Petit Trianon, there’s a farm and hamlet known as the ‘Hameau de la Reine’ which is where Marie Antoinette would go and play ‘dress-up’ with her ladies and waiting.
Le Clos Montmartre
It’s a little-known secret that Paris is still populated with several vineyards, all of which are dotted around the City of Lights. Today one of the most beautiful places to visit in Paris is Le Clos Montmartre. Sadly, it’s not possible for the public to wander among the vines, apart from during select dates in the autumn. However, the vineyard can still be admired from the roadside, or from the gardens of the nearby and picturesque Musée de Montmartre.
Read more: The hidden vineyard of the 18e.
Provins (Medieval Town Day Trip)
Once one of the most important medieval cities in France, if not all of Europe, today Provins is an off the beaten tourist path French town that’s just an hour or so from Paris. Filled with timber-framed houses and plenty of cobbled lanes, a wander through this French settlement is like stepping back in time.
Chantilly (Château day trip)
For the most magical French Château in the Île de France region, then you simply must hop on the half hour train from the Gare du Nord to Chantilly. Once there, you’ll find that the Domaine de Chantilly has all the trappings of a French fairytale (especially when seen at sunrise).
Elsewhere in the castle’s expansive grounds, there’s a hamlet which inspired that of Marie Antoinette’s at Versailles. The château itself dates back to the Middle Ages and now houses Musée Condé, a museum housing the second largest collection of artworks in France after the Louvre.
Read more: Day trip to Château de Chantilly.