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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

At first sight, Paris’s gorgeous golden stone gives the city an apparently uniform classical image. But beneath the illusion are numerous distinct periods of Parisian history – centuries of grandiose urban planning schemes, when kings and presidents left their mark on the city’s look and landscape.

Today Paris stands out for its elegant squares and broad boulevards, peppered with Gothic churches, Baroque palaces and mansions, strings of prim, balconied Hausmann-style apartment buildings and adventurous modern icons.

Recommendations

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Museum of the Middle Ages

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Exterior view of a decorative building in golden stone

A museum dedicated to life in the Middle Ages, set in one of Paris’ oldest and finest medieval buildings. Home to the world-famous 15th-century La Dame a la Licorne tapestry.

Adult price: £4

Best for ages 13+

Hotel de Sully

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Front view of Hotel de Sully with the structured garden square in the centre on a cloudy day

A fine example of a Marais mansion, built in the 1620s, with sculpted allegorical figures of the seasons and the elements. 

Best for ages 18+

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Eiffel Tower

Paris, Ile-de-France, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
Landscape view of the Eiffel Tower from across the river on a sunny blue day with large clouds

Gustave Eiffel’s eccentric, iron-clad tower built as a temporary exhibit for the World Fair in 1889, has views all over the city and has become iconic symbol of Paris.

Adult price: £23

Best for ages 4+

Louvre Museum

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

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Bucket List Experience
Landscape view of Louvre Museum outside building with the famous glass pyramid structure against a sunny blue day

The world’s most visited museum, a treasure trove of art from around the world. Admire the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and many, many more…

Adult price: £15

Best for ages 16+

Institut du Monde Arabe

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Outside view of Institut du Monde Arabe where the smooth white and grey square appearance, plays with the transparency of the structure.

Designed by Jean Nouvel in the 1980s, this eye-catching cultural centre pays homage to Arab architecture with a facade inspired by carved wooden screens.

Adult price: £4

Best for ages 18+

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Georges Pompidou Centre

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Outside view of Centre Pompidou, where it was designed in the style of high-tech architecture. The use of aluminium, steel and glass.

Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s iconic inside-out building has a glass- and steel-frame, colour-coded exposed pipes, ducts and escalators.

Best for ages 18+

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Vosges Square

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

A fountain in Vosges square (Place des Vosges) surrounded by trees and buildings. The square was created in Louis XIII style architecture.

The beautiful arcaded Place des Vosges was Paris’s first planned square, laid out by Henri IV in 1605.

Best for ages 18+

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Garnier Palace

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

The Grand Foyer in Palais Garnier, where there are large black and gold podiums lined across the perimeter of the hall.

Charles Garnier’s opera house oozes Second Empire style, with its green copper dome, florid marble, bronze sculptures, chandeliers and painted ceilings. A lavish blend of Baroque, Renaissance, and Classical styles.

Best for ages 18+

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National Library of France Francois-Mitterrand

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Unidentified people visiting the National Library of France. There are tall skinny podiums reaching the high ceilings, where there are round circular windows in the ceiling.

Four L-shaped glass towers symbolise open books, while two levels of reading rooms overlook a central courtyard beneath a stepped wooden deck.

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 1 hour

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Grand Palais

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Inside view of Grand Palais ceiling that has enormous conservatory style glass roof.

A brilliant example of glass and steel architecture, the Grand Palais mixes Classicism and Art Nouveau, colonnades and bravura sculptural groups.

Best for ages 18+

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Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: 3 hours

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Bastille's Architecture & Artisans Self-Guided Walking Tour

Paris

Bastille's Architecture & Artisans Self-Guided Walking Tour
Discover the mesmerising district of Bastille in Paris, renowned for its architecture, secret treasures and beautiful photo stops! On this immersive audio tour narrated by a local historian, you will walk through the intriguing street of Rue Fbg. Saint Antoine, explore Passage du Chantier and finish in front of the magnificent Square Trousseau.  Wander through the 12th arrondissement and unveil its history, artisanal roots, its role in the 1789 Revolution, and the architectural jewels that define this neighbourhood. Here, you'll learn how this neighbourhood inspired the French Revolution as you get a deeper insight into its architectural style. Venture off the tourist trail, and discover a mix of crazy stories, famous residents, hidden streets, and great food, as you get a more intimate and local feel for the area. Note: This is a self-guided audio walking tour and does not include entrance tickets

Price: £13

Min age: 0

Rating 4.75 / 5 [16 ratings]

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Private Art Nouveau and Art Deco tour near Opera

Paris

Private Art Nouveau and Art Deco tour near Opera
Gaze up at Paris' stunning Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture on this 2-hour walking tour of the 8th and 9th arrondissements. Admire some of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, including Gare St Lazare, the Palais Garnier opera house and the famous Galeries Lafayette department store. Stop en route for a drink at a traditional Parisian brasserie with an Art Nouveau interior, and learn from your guide about the architectural styles that have shaped modern Paris. This tour is held in private only.

Price: €130

Min age: 0

Rating 4.93 / 5 [15 ratings]

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Neoclassical Paris Architecture 2-Hour Private Walking Tour

Paris

Neoclassical Paris Architecture 2-Hour Private Walking Tour
Have you ever thought of Paris as of a copy of another, older place? While being the most beautiful city in the world it is modeled after another, much older city. This private guided walking tour of neoclassical Paris takes you through an area that changed dramatically in the years prior to the French Revolution and makes you understand how the city of Paris is a reflection of the city of Rome. Explore the strict and sober elegance of the neoclassical style at Palais Royal, the Tuileries,  the Cour Carré and other important sites.

Price: €300

Min age: 0

Rating 5 / 5 [7 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Paris

Ile-de-France, France

Aerial view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in frame against a beautiful golden sunset

Crammed with iconic buildings, world-class art and a culinary scene steeped in history, Paris is one of the world’s great capitals, overflowing with style, romance, and art de vivre.