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20 Absolute Essentials For First Time Visitors To Paris

Like the famous quote by Audrey Hepburn says, Paris is always a good idea.

You can travel the world but one place you will keep coming back to is Paris. There's so much to do and so many things to see that you can make plenty of trips here and will still be uncovering something new.

Nothing can beat Paris, France. I mean, it's the city of love, and lights (and baguettes). There's nothing more romantic than strolling through the cobble-stone streets at midnight—or anytime, really.

If you've recently booked a trip to Paris, congratulations—you're in for a treat. If it's your first time visiting, you'll want to keep on reading to make sure you hit all the best spots and make the most of your trip. Tourists can sometimes get overwhelmed with how many things there are to do here so it's best to go with a plan of the top spots you want to cross off that bucket list.

Paris is brimming with all things art, fashion and culture. Explore these themes, along with many others when you arrive here.

Whether you want to have a picnic by the Eiffel Tower, sit in a quaint cafe, go on a shopping spree of epic proportions or take in the art scene—you will find it all.

Brush up on your French, pack a bag, bring your passport and jet off to see one of the most magical cities on the globe. Here are just 20 of our must-see items if it's your very first time in the city of love.

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20 Eiffel Tower - The Most Classic Landmark In Paris

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Obviously you have to see the Eiffel Tower up close and personal while you're in Paris. Built in 1887 for the Universal Exposition—the sculpture is easily one of their most well-known and sought after landmarks.

The wrought iron lattice tower is visible throughout Paris but you should take some photos right in front of it or have a picnic underneath it. You're also able to go up a lift to the top of the Eiffel Tower for unsurpassed panoramic views of the city that will take your breath away. The incredible tower stands at over 1,000-feet high, making it one of the world's tallest structures.

19 Arc de Triomphe - Sweeping Views Of The City

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You can visit this spot to witness one of the most famous monuments in all of Paris. The archway stands at an impressive 164-feet high and is located on the right bank of the Seine River. It was inaugurated back in 1836 by French king Louis Philippe.

It's full of history and is an incredible piece of architecture. Built by architect Jean-Francois Chalgrin, the monument was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus, but it has gone above and beyond with its massive size. You also will get a unique vantage point from the top of the panoramic terrace. Treat yourself to sweeping views of the city, you may not want to come back down.

18 Notre-Dame de Paris - A Cathedral Unlike Any Other

via: parisinfo.com

Gothic architecture at its finest. A trip to Paris just isn't complete without gazing at this masterpiece. It's by far the most visited monument in France and it's easy to see why. Built in the Middle Ages, this cathedral is filled with history and charm.

Admire the stained glass windows or the cool gargoyle sculptures. The medieval 13th century cathedral was also brought to life in the 1831 Victor Hugo's tragic romance novel 'Notre Dame de Paris,' which when translated to English was renamed 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.' Of course the book was then made into the film that many know today.

17  Palace of Versailles - Former Residence Of The Kings Of France

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This gorgeous 18th century palace features gilded apartments, a fountain show and much more. It was the former residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1789 when the French Revolution began.

Stepping inside it's easy to see that this place was intended for royalty. It has been listed as a World Heritage Site for over 30 years and it's the perfect place to soak up all the history. The massive building spans over 63,152 meters and has a whopping 2,300 rooms. One this is for sure—you don't want to miss out on exploring this important part of French history.

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16 Disneyland Paris - Be A Kid Again

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In case you didn't know, Disneyland isn't just in California. The iconic amusement park also has a location in Paris that you must check out if you're in the area. Enjoy all of the usual things you would at Disneyland, like costumed characters, themed rides, shows, games, hotels and lots of fun for the whole entire family.

It's situated in Marne-la-Vallee, which is just 32-kilometers east of the heart of Paris. Disneyland Paris is the most frequently visited amusement park in all of Europe so you don't want to miss out on all the fun. Be a part of the magic and check it out on your trip.

15 Laduree - Macarons, Macarons, Macarons

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You cannot visit Paris without trying a Parisian macaron (or two, or three, or maybe even a dozen). While Laduree is a huge brand name now with locations around the world, you need to check out where it all began.

Macarons are a classic French pastry that come in a variety of flavours and in an abundance of colours. They should have a hard and crispy exterior while being oozy and 'melt in your mouth' on the inside. Leave this sweet treat to the French to master. Stop by a Laduree shop or any other bakeries to indulge in this one-of-a-kind dessert.

14 Moulin Rouge - An Icon Of Pigalle

via: Time Out

Bring on the awesome entertainment by planning to visit this iconic spot while on your trip to Paris. The famed 19th century cabaret venue features stunning Belle Epoque decor, as well as dinner options and many talented dancers in elaborate costumes.

The show is absolutely amazing and nothing beats eating dinner with live entertainment—especially when you know some of the songs. Find this gem in the Pigalle neighbourhood of Paris. You won't regret it, be sure to add this wicked event to the top of your list of fun things to do for a night out in the city.

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13 Place de la Concorde - Full Of Fascinating Fountains

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Another important part of history, this is a major public square decorated with a plethora of fountains, statues and an Egyptian obelisk. It was also the scene of many executions back in the day. At 8.64-hectares in size, it is the largest square in the French capital. It was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755.

It's a popular spot for tourists but also the filming industry. It was featured in The Devil Wears Prada and referenced in a number of novels and songs. The history, architecture and beauty are just a few of the reasons why you must visit this spot and take lots of photos to document your trip.

12 The Hemingway Hangout

via: Ritz Paris

Make your way to this bar if you want a truly unique experience to add to your trip. It's a small pub nestled in the Ritz-Carlton and was designed entirely based on Ernest Hemingway's style, hence its name. If that wasn't enough, it even features bartenders who are well-versed in Hemingway lore.

The bar is a must when visiting Paris and will leave you with a cool story and awesome photos to share of your adventure when you return. From the newspaper articles to the old black-and-white photos, this place is both charming and educational. Plus, it has an awesome selection of cocktails to choose from.

11 Pantheon - Houses The Notable French Citizens Of Old

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The 18th century mausoleum houses the remains of notable French citizens. It's located in the Latin Quarter of Paris and was originally supposed to be a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and house relics. Among those buried in the Pantheon include Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, Emile Zola and Jean Jaures—just to name a few.

The buildings architect Soufflot is also buried here. Being buried here is the nation's way of honouring their greatest citizens. It's also a great display of stunning architecture, along with being a haven for history buffs who wish to learn more about the nations most important figures.

10 Luxembourg Gardens - Immerse Yourself In Stunning Scenery

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Marvel at these beautiful gardens of Luxembourg that is one of the most relaxing destinations in Paris for nature lovers. The formal gardens used to only be open for royalty before the French Revolution.

Now, it's a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to go for a stroll and stop and smell the flowers. The lush green grass, the vibrant pops of colour of flowers throughout and the monuments situated there make it a magical place to check out. It's also just a good place to stop and take a breather in between all of the museum and art gallery visits.

9 Montmartre - Old Village Charm

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This elevated rural neighbourhood is situated on the outskirts of the city, in the 18th Arrondissement. Spend a day here and peruse the plethora of upscale stores to shop at.  Stop by one of the many little cafes in the area for a cup of coffee and a freshly baked croissant.

Montmartre is brimming with old village charm and is the perfect place to have a more relaxed day in Paris where you can just wander around and soak up all the incredible sights it has to offer. The neighbourhood is situated on a hill that is 430-feet high so it also offers awesome views of the city in a quieter environment.

8 Musee d'Orsay - Explore The French Art Scene

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Another amazing museum in Paris that has lots of history to learn about. It is situated on the left bank of the Seine River in the former Beaux-Arts railway station. Here you will discover an array of French art with dates ranging from 1848 to 1914.

Admire all works of art from paintings and photography to sculptures and furniture. It showcases the work of many famous artists including: Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Manet, Sisley and Gaugin. If you love art and history then this is a no brainer for you. You must add this museum to your bucket list when in Paris.

7 Sainte-Chapelle - Mesmerizing Architecture

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A royal gothic-style chapel that will stop you right in your tracks when you see it. Its breathtaking architecture and stained glass windows are truly mesmerizing. You can find this beautiful place within the medieval Palais de la Cite. It took seven years to build with an impressive 1,113 stained glass windows. Each glass pane depicts a scene from both the Old and New Testaments that tell the history of the world.

Sainte Chapelle was originally intended to house Christian relics, like Christ's crown of thorns. As amazing as pictures look, nothing beats seeing this chapel in the flesh. Make sure to check it out while you're in Paris.

6 The Louvre - See The Mona Lisa

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This former historic palace is home to classic Roman sculptures and Leonardo Da Vinci's iconic Mona Lisa. It's the largest art museum in the world and yet another historic landmark for Paris.

You can find this gem on the right bank of the Seine River. Like many other places in Paris, The Louvre is yet another stunning architectural masterpiece. It's so massive that you will want to spend the better part of a day here, and even if you have maps you will still likely get lost. But the art museum is a good place to get lost at in Paris—there's a lot to discover.

5 Pont Alexandre III - Connecting The Invalides To The Champs-Elysees

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Walk across this deck arch bridge that spans the Seine River. It's easily one of the most stunning bridges in the city and it's all in the details with its creative sculptures and special touches. The bridge connects the Invalides to the Champs-Elysees. What makes it so unique is its exuberant lamps, nymphs, cherubs and winged horses on each end.

There are four 17-meter high pylons crowned with gilt bronze horse sculptures, which are meant to represent illustrious Arts, Commerce, Science and Industry. It's a great place to go for a casual stroll and enjoy incredible views of the Eiffel Tower and other prominent buildings that make up the beautiful city.

4 Seine River - Serene Beauty At Its Finest

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The serene 777-kilometer-long river is the second largest river in all of France and it is a stunning sight to see in the city. You can even go for a cruise down the river which gives you a whole new perspective of Paris.

The Seine River is also an imperative commercial waterway in the Paris Basin in the north of France. If you've gone to all the above places, you definitely can't miss the river. It's conveniently nestled right in the heart of the city and flows from the east to the west, dividing the city's left and right banks.

3 Cafe de la Paix - Eat Your Heart Out

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While you're living it up in Paris, you're going to have your fair share of delicious eats. But this is one place you definitely have to check out. This is one of the city's most famous upscale cafes conveniently located near the Place de l'Opera in the 9th arrondissement of Paris.

It has even been declared as a historic site in 1975 by the French government. The cafe features an ever-changing seasonal menu, a wide selection of wines, an oyster bar and even some awesome brunch offerings. Stop by here for a well deserved meal after a long day of sight-seeing.

2 Catacombs Of Paris - A Unique experience, no doubt

via: thetimes.co.uk

If you're looking for something unique and slightly creepy then this is definitely the place for you. Head on over to the Catacombs of Paris. The tunnel complex is a limestone mine with millions upon millions of skeletons located throughout. The underground ossuaries holds the remains of a whopping six million people in total.

The catacombs were created in 1810 in an effort to eliminate the need to create more cemeteries, as they were already overflowing at that time. While it's not the first thing that would probably come to your mind when you think about visiting Paris, it is a cool spot to check out if you're brave enough.

1 Palais Garnier - A Magnificent Opera House

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If you're a fan of the opera, then you can't pass up this spot. It was built from 1861 to 1875 and features 1,979 seats. The opera house can be found on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. It's named after its architect, Charles Garnier. Palais Garnier just may be one of the most famous opera houses in the world and is a major symbol of Paris, just like the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral. The opera house was also used as the setting for the 1910 Andrew Lloyd Webber novel 'The Phantom of the Opera,' which is now also a famous musical.

Now you're finally ready to take on Paris! The city is truly a hub for art, architecture, history and food—savour every moment and enjoy all it has to offer.

References: parisinfo.com, Trip Advisor

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