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Things to do in France

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The top 20.330 attractions in France

Historical Monuments in Paris
Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris. It was built during the 1889 Universal Exposition and at 320 meters tall, was the largest structure in the world at the time. Due to its popularity, the Tower was left standing after the Expo and has since become the defining icon of the Paris skyline. The elevators on the north and west legs connect the three viewing platforms. You can visit the second platform by elevator or stairs, but be warned that there are no less than 1665 steps. As an anecdote, it’s a rather common occurrence to see couples proposing on the tower. Also, every night the twin lamps on the Eiffel Tower shine out for 80 kilometers. The queues to go up the tower are much shorter at night, surprising since the view of all the monuments lit up is about as romantic as you can imagine. Also, for the first ten minutes of every hour, the tower is illuminated by 20,000 gold lights, an amazing spectacle to behold from within. I must also say that the wind was strong at night and you should dress appropriately.
Museums in Paris
Louvre Museum
This museum is a must, plain and simple. You don’t need to be an art expert by any means but you should decide what you want to see because the museum is huge and you could spend days on end there. I recommend starting at the sculpture before moving on to the Egyptian section and finishing with the paintings you wish to see. If you get there early, there shouldn't be any issues with the lines and remember that accredited disabled persons get in free of charge. There is a free wheelchair service at the Louvre and the whole museum is well-prepared. The staff is very nice and while their English isn't perfect, you can usually understand the important points.
Cathedrals in Paris
Notre Dame Cathedral
What can I say about Notre Dame that dozens of other reviewers haven’t already said? It’s the most famous cathedral in the world and, after having visited, definitely one of the most beautiful. One of the most common things I had heard about Notre Dame were the intolerable crowds, especially during summertime. I went in September and visited the cathedral right at 8:30 in the morning on a Thursday and it was practically empty. If you have the chance to visit in the off-season, do so, and make sure to visit first thing in the morning before all the tour buses get there. The interior of the cathedral is incredibly beautiful, and you’ll need an hour (at least) to really savor all of the little details which set this cathedral apart from so many others: the intricate carvings, the majestically-decorated chapels, the exquisite rose windows, and the countless Gothic arches dramatically lit by candles and chandeliers. If you can enjoy it without crowds and incessant camera flashes, the atmosphere is truly magical. And, if you’re a photographer, it’s one of the best subjects on Earth. It’s a grandiose work of architecture, a deeply spiritual place, and one of the few free attractions left in Paris. What are you waiting for? Go!
Historical Monuments in Paris
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is huge. You can reach it from the Champs Élysées at the intersection with the Grand Palais. If you think it's just a short walk, think again. It probably takes a solid hour to get there. The walk up the Champs Élysées is indeed pleasant but I'd recommend doing it first thing in the morning, especially in summer. You access Arc de Triomphe via a tunnel that goes under the road and leaves you in the square. This is the only way in. Admission is €7. For accredited disabled persons, the admission is free. Be sure to keep your eye out for pickpockets as there are many in the area.
Churches in Paris
Basilica of the Sacré Coeur
This church is located in the artsy Montmartre neighborhood, where any student of "les Beaux Arts" will paint your portrait or caricature in 5 minutes time. Its streets carry the aroma of crêpes and ice cream. You can sit for tea in one of the "famous" cafes, but I recommend the caramel ice cream with salted butter...mmmm...delicious! The Sacre Cœur Basilica,with its gardens and views,is simply stunning. Not only for the eyes, but for the ears: there are all kinds of people and groups playing every instrument imaginable. I recommend visiting the church in mandatory silence then sprawling out on the grass for a while and enjoying the magical atmosphere. When we went, we were lucky to have wonderful weather.
Neighborhoods in Paris
Who wouldn't love to explore the Paris of 50 or 60 years ago, or the Paris of the 19th century inhabited by writers and artists from around the world? Two places where artists like Picasso, Modigliani, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Matisse, Renoir, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec chose to live were Montparnasse, on the Rive Gauche, on Montmartre, on the Rive Droit. Set on a high hill crowned by the Sacré Cœur, today's Montmartre is far from being the engine of Parisian art that it was during its glory days of cabarets and theaters. However, it's still an amazing visit. It's impossible to visit the City of Light without exploring the Place du Tertre and checking out its street artists, or stopping by the historic Le Consulat and Moulin de la Galette.
Rivers in Paris
The River Seine
There are so many bridges that cross the Seine, as different from each other as they are beautiful. They make me think about the song “La Seine” by Mathieu Chedid and Vanessa Paradisa, a classic for lovers of French music. We decided to take a boat trip at night before having dinner and I must say that the sight of the Eiffel Tower from the Seine was unforgettable. The only criticism I can make was that it was very cold at the end of October so you need to make sure and dress warmly. A lot of boats (“péniches”) offer dinners or musical shows on the Seine but we only had a drink as many of the dinners seemed a bit overpriced. You can spend hours walking along the Seine, even at night (don’t be afraid, there are always lots of people around), or explore the riverbanks by bike.
Theme Parks in Marne-la-Vallée
Disneyland París
Spectacular, magical, fascinating, exciting, wonderful .... thousands of adjectives to describe this wonderful park. I had the opportunity to visit this year, in September and it was the best trip of my life. Since childhood I had always wanted to know the exciting world of my favorite characters as minnie, mickey mouse .... etc .... this year I was lucky enough to make that dream a reality, and I think this world is as magical now as when I admired it as a child on the television ... With tears in my eyes when I arrived at the gates of the wonderful princesses castle, fantastic attractions, the fantastic sets make it worth while...I mean... I will return with my children, to live the magic, and I have lived even late, but better late than never .... and especially with the 9pm show ... A 25 minute show that will leave you open mouthed, I have not seen such a beautiful in my life.
Historical Monuments in Le Mont-Saint-Michel
Mont Saint Michel Abbey
The spot where the abbey was built is really cool. I saw it in pictures for the first time, and I told myself I had to see it with my own eyes. When I actually visited the reality far exceeded any photo I had seen before. It was a magical place indeed. As you go through the door you enter the Middle Ages. Don't miss it for the world!
Palaces in Paris
Palais Garnier
The outside of the building is wonderful, but the most impressive part is inside. The grand staircase is impressive, so is the museum library, hallways, the pylon of the witch, the great hall, and the Rotundas of the Sun and Moon. You can access the balcony and have a complete view of the square.
Cabaret in Paris
Moulin Rouge
The Moulin Rouge is a legendary Paris cabaret immortalized in paintings and countless old movies. It was built in 1889 by Josep Oller, who was also the owner of Paris Olympia. The Moulin Rouge is an iconic symbol of Paris' Red Light District and home to the famous dance the Can-Can. Since its founding over a century ago, it has become a destination for tourists looking to attend an evening show. If you're walking around the area, it's worth visiting up close to get some great photos. Today, the Moulin Rouge still holds shows and is a pleasant reminder of the bohemian atmosphere of the Belle Epoque.
Shopping Malls in Paris
Galeries Lafayette
The Galeries Lafayette are a must for any foreign visitor in Paris, both for its architecture as well as its prestigious shops. Two cousins, Théophile Bader and Alphonse Kahn, built Les Galeries Lafayette in 1893 at the corner of Rue La Fayette and Rue de la Chaussee d' Antin. The construction of the impressive cupola was carried out by Ferdinand Chanut and the structure was completed in 1912. The neo-Byzantine dome, measuring over 33 meters in height, is an amazing work of colored glass held together by a metal skeleton. There is a terrace on the 7th floor which offers some of the best views of Paris; and, best of all, they're free (a rarity in Paris). I recommend visiting at sunset. It's also the only place I've ever seen a queue to enter the Chanel store.
Palaces in Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles, or Chateau de Versailles (a castle or mansion on the outskirts of Paris), is a building that served as a royal residence during past centuries. The Palace is located in the town of Versailles, Île-de-France. Its construction was ordered by Louis XIV.
Gardens in Paris
Tuileries Garden
This is the garden of the Louvre and the aristocrats which once inhabited the palace. It was designed by Le Notre, the same architect who designed the famous gardens at Versailles. It’s also the most central garden in Paris, located right next to the Seine in the “Grand Axe,” the triumphal axis that stretches from Place de la Concorde to the Grand Arche de la Défense passing by the Arc d’Triomphe. The garden is rather small and modest in comparison to some other French castle and palace gardens. It starts at the Louvre and stretches to the Place de la Concorde. The entire garden is flat with the exception of some smaller gardens and elevated walkways on the sides and is composed mainly of hedges and trees, but there are some blossoming flowers in spring. There is a circular fountain in the center with a fun statue that keeps the whole place a bit cooler in summertime. You can also rent small boats to float around the pond and chat. There is a rather nice collection of 20th-century statues scattered around the gardens as well. Visits are free although the opening hours are rather short. There is a souvenir shop at the corner with Place de la Concorde. The gardens have their own metro stop so you can’t miss it!
Museums in Paris
Musée d'Orsay
After my previous visits to Paris, I had always gone home with the pain of having missed the Musee d'Orsay for lack of time. I made do with admiring the beautiful building (designed by Victor Laloux for the Universal Exhibition of 1900) from the outside. During my most recent trip to Paris, I made a resolution to not to leave without visiting the museum. After waiting in a mile-long queue in the rain (it rains constantly in Paris, a secret the French rarely let out), I finally fulfilled my wish. Don't start at the bottom, but rather go straight to the top floor to begin your visit. That way, you won't miss amazing works like the Gates of Hell by Rodin. The truth is that the layout of the museum is a bit confusing, but I imagine that they had to adapt everything to the existing building. It's definitely worth the visit.
Squares in Paris
Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde was designed in 1753 by Jacques Ange Gabriel in honor of King Louis XV. It houses the very guillotine which ended the life of Marie Antoinette. The Luxor Obelisk donated to Louis-Philippe by Muhammad Ali Pasha in 1831 sits at the center of the square. Around the square, there are eight large statues symbolizing France’s most important cities. Here, Marie Antoinette was guillotined on October 13, 1793 at 38 years of age. The obelisk comes from Luxor, one ancient Egypt’s premier cities built in the 13th century BC, and was originally an homage to the Pharaoh Ramses II. At the corner with the Tuileries Gardens you’ll find one of Paris’ few remaining public restrooms. Paris, let me tell you, is not for the small-bladdered. They cost 50 cents and are clean.
Gardens in Paris
Luxembourg Garden
This large park is in the 6th arrondissement in the center of Paris, not far from the University of La Sorbonne and the Pantheon. It’s the largest park in the city (Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne are just beyond the edge of town). The garden is basically square shaped and there are maps at all the entrances. The largest and most visited entrances are at the northeast (coming from La Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter) and the south (next to Crous). This garden is a convenient place for several reasons: there is a playground for children, basketball and badminton courts, and a wooded area popular among athletes and young lovers. Near the north entrance, you ca see an orchestra come out and play on weekends and holidays. The Luxembourg Palace and its large fountain are the main draws of the park. It holds the French Senate, a somewhat odd contrast to the jovial atmosphere of children and fountains found just outside. There are a bunch of chairs around the fountain that are at the disposal of locals and tourists who come to read, rest, and take in the sunshine in summer.
Deserts in La Teste-de-Buch
Dune of Pilat
At first, you tremble at the dune's height, then you prepare yourself to ascend; third, you take three steps and debate if you should take the next ones; fourth, you laugh at yourself at not being able to climb up; fifth, you stand halfway up several times to look down; sixth, you look up to see what you have left to go; and seventh, you reach the top and tremble at the views; eighth, you realize how easy it is to climb down!