Top 19 Historical Places in Paris, France

The Best 19 Paris Historical Places

The history of Paris is rife with drama, intrigue, and excitement, from passionate revolutionaries and pompous royals to the world of ancient Gaul. So, it should come as no surprise that this city is not only among the most stunning and romantic in the entire globe, but is also jam-packed with amazing historical landmarks.

In Paris, there are many noteworthy historic locations to visit. The Eiffel Tower, the Catacombs of Paris, and the Louvre Museum, all world-famous attractions, are among the best. Notre Dame, Les Invalides, and Crypte Archeologique are a few other well-known locations. Here are our top 10 must-see locations in the city. Time to start preparing.

Top 19 Historical Places in Paris

There’s a timeless attraction in the landmarks of Paris. Spots that repeatedly captivate the heart. The best monuments and tourist attractions in Paris are listed here:

  1. Musee du Louvre
  2. Les Invalides
  3. Notre-Dame Cathedral
  4. Hôtel de Soubise
  5. The Eiffel Tower
  6. Sainte Chapelle
  7. Arc de Triomphe
  8. Panthéon
  9. The Catacombs of Paris
  10. Hôtel de Ville (City Hall)
  11. Pere Lachaise Cemetery
  12. Opera Garnier
  13. Palace of Versailles
  14. La Conciergerie
  15. Place de la Concorde
  16. Crypte Archeologique
  17. Hôtel de Cluny and Roman Baths
  18. Palais Royal Gardens
  19. Théâtre des Champs Elysées

Musee du Louvre

There is something for every history fan in the Musee du Louvre, from Ancient Egyptian mummies and Ancient Roman monuments to the Mona Lisa, a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci. Our selection of the top 10 historical places in Paris starts with this legendary institution, whose abundance of artifacts and exhibits has solidified its position as the top spot.

More than 35,000 works of art from all over the world are housed in this enormous museum, which spans nearly all of human history. Since there is so much to see, it is worthwhile to plan your trip in advance and hire one of their audio tours, but beware, as these are scarce, they tend to sell out quickly.

Musee du Louvre
Musee du Louvre

Les Invalides

Louis XIV had Les Invalides constructed as a military hospital and residence at first. Several improvements were made to Les Invalides after it was first erected, including a chapel in 1679 and the eye-catching Dome Church, also known as the “Église du Dôme,” which includes the royal chapel built by Louis XIV and finished in 1706.

This famous structure is actually a collection of structures that together make up the greatest monument complex in Paris, which also houses the Musée de l’Armée, a comprehensive military museum. Numerous tours, including those expressly addressing historical, cultural, or artistic topics, are offered by Les Invalides. Napoleon is the subject of a complete tour. It’s also worthwhile to view the multimedia presentation about Charles de Gaulle’s life.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral, which dates to the 12th century, has for a very long time towered magnificently alongside the Seine River banks, enticing everyone to come and see. This iconic building, whose exquisite Gothic architectural elements required more than a century to finish, has come to represent Parisian architecture and religion.

Unfortunately, a fire that started on April 15, 2019, destroyed a significant amount of the cathedral, including the recognizable “la fléche” (arrow) spire and the “Forest” roof constructed of 800-year-old wood. The historic crypt of Notre Dame, the 8,000-pipe La Grande Orgue (The Great Organ), and the 13th-century South Rose Window, which was made and presented to the church by King St. Louis in 1260, all withstood the blaze.

While Notre Dame is undergoing substantial repair, visitors are not permitted near the structure. Architects estimate that it will take between 10 and 15 years to completely rebuild the structure, despite French President Emmanuel Macron hopes they will be finished before the 2024 Summer Olympics that Paris is scheduled to host.

Notre-Dame Cathedral
Notre-Dame Cathedral

Hôtel de Soubise

A city palace called the Hôtel de Soubise was constructed for the prince and princess de Soubise. François de Rohan purchased the Hôtel de Clisson in 1700, and in 1704 the architect Pierre-Alexis Delamair (1675-1745) was employed to restore the structure. Delamair created the enormous patio on the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois. A facade with twin colonnades and four Robert Le Lorrain statues depicting the four seasons may be seen on the opposite side of the courtyard.

The interiors are considered some of France’s best decorative Rococo interiors. The wood paneling in the prince’s salon is decorated with plaster reliefs and painted a light green. The princess’s salon is decorated in white, with delicately gilded moldings, and arched niches with panels, windows, and mirrors. There are eight Charles Natoire paintings representing the history of Psyche above the panels in shallow arches with cherubs. The beautifully disorganized impression is completed by plaster rocailles (shellwork) and a decorative ring of medallions and shields. The National Archives received the building during the French Revolution. The state was granted the dwelling through a Napoleonic edict from 1808.

The Eiffel Tower

One of the most famous worldwide attractions, the Eiffel Tower, dominated the skyline of Paris and was built in 1889. The irreplaceable tower by Gustave Eiffel is a symbol of France and represents the romance of Paris to romantics all over the world. There are three levels of the tower that are accessible to guests, but if you have a head for heights, nothing compares to the views over Paris from the very top! Don’t forget to make reservations in advance to avoid lines.

The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower

Sainte Chapelle

Saint Louis constructed the Gothic Sainte Chapelle church on Ile de la Cité in the heart of Paris. Construction of the building began in 1246 to contain the artifacts of Christ’s Passion, including the Crown of Thorns and a portion of the genuine cross. Although the artifacts are currently kept in the Treasury at Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle still has much to offer. Sainte Chapelle is a popular tourist destination due to its two magnificent upper and lower chapels and towering gothic architecture.

Guided audio tours take people through the church and explain the meaning of the colorful stained-glass windows and statues. Particularly, the Sainte Chapelle windows feature more than a thousand pictures from the Old Testament and the Passion of Christ.

Arc de Triomphe

The Catacombs of Paris (seen in the picture) are the ideal destination for anyone who likes a bit of ghoulishness mixed in with their touring. These disused mines were converted into a labyrinth-like underground cemetery in the eighteenth century, which is now home to nearly six million human skeletons.

The countless tales of people interred here, including those who died in the French Revolutionary War riots, are told in these catacombs. This is definitely one not to miss, provided you don’t have claustrophobia and are reasonably fit (able to climb 83 steps).

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe


King Louis XV was determined to build a structure in honor of St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, and as a result, the Pantheon was constructed. Many French symbols are now interred in the Pantheon’s vault, which is inscribed, “To the great men, the thankful motherland,” or “To the great men, the grateful homeland.”

Rousseau, Émile Zola, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Jean Moulin, Marie Skodowska-Curie, and Jacques-Germain Soufflot, the builder of the Pantheon, are among those buried there. In actuality, Soufflot passed away before the Pantheon was finished; therefore, his idea of a semi-gothic structure with aspects of fundamental principles was somewhat compromised. There are offered, 45-minute-long guided tours of the Pantheon.

The Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs of Paris (seen in the picture) are the ideal destination for anyone who likes a bit of ghoulishness mixed in with their touring. These disused mines were converted into a labyrinth-like underground cemetery in the eighteenth century, which is now home to nearly six million human skeletons.

The countless tales of people interred here, including those who died in the French Revolutionary War riots, are told in these catacombs. This is definitely one not to miss, provided you don’t have claustrophobia and are reasonably fit (able to climb 83 steps).

The Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs of Paris

Hôtel de Ville (City Hall)

The City Hall of Paris is the Hôtel de Ville, which is prominently situated in the heart of the 4th arrondissement. This iconic piece of Parisian culture was built on the sizable square formerly known as “Place de Greve,” which was notorious for grisly public executions during the Middle Ages.

Although the Hôtel de Ville’s exterior was constructed in 1873, some of the structure’s components are considerably older. Today, the Neo-Renaissance Hôtel de Ville organizes events all year round, including free exhibits, summer concerts, and ice skating.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

This cemetery was founded in 1804 and is named for Louis XIV’s confessor, who had resided nearby. When officials wanted to enhance hygiene by relocating graves from the city’s heart to its outskirts, it was designed as a storage facility for human remains. Pére Lachaise is a popular location for burial because it has grown to resemble a park.

The graves of Molière, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Chopin, Edith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt, Marcel Proust, and other well-known people are located inside its boundaries. But the cemetery’s first interment was that of Adélade Paillard de Villeneuve, a young girl of five who was the bellboy’s daughter. Her grave was a temporary compromise; thus, it is no longer there.

Opera Garnier

The grand Opera Garnier in Paris, commonly known as the Palais Garnier or simply the Paris Opera, can accommodate up to 2,000 people and is a significant location for the city’s classical music and ballet scene.

The Paris ballet is housed in a neo-baroque structure that Charles Garnier designed and opened in 1875 as the Academie Nationale de Musique Theatre de l’Opera (National Academy of Music Opera Theater). In 1989, the city’s official opera company moved into the strikingly modern Opera Bastille.

The 9th arrondissement’s Opera Garnier is accessible for visits on weekdays all year round (with varying hours). For the majority of ballet and other performances, tickets must be ordered in advance.

Opera Garnier
Opera Garnier

Palace of Versailles

Visitors must stop at this marvelously lavish palace, where royals frittered away a large portion of the treasure. The lavishly equipped palace that housed Louis XIV, XV, and XVI before the reign was overthrown by the revolution was complemented by an elaborate network of gardens, lakes, stables, and guest homes designed by the best architects of the day.

Beautifully restored rooms provide an indication of the court’s affluence through the use of hand-painted, crystal, and gilt-finish furniture and accents. Visit the storied Hall of Mirrors while you can. There are both guided and unguided tours offered. The gardens are just as appealing as the interior, particularly on summer weekends when the magnificent fountains are set off to music.

La Conciergerie

La Conciergerie, part of the renowned Palais de Justice, was erected on the site of a Roman stronghold and later used as a court and a jail. La Conciergerie played the sinister function of housing the cruel Revolutionary Tribunal, which executed thousands of people during the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette and other well-known individuals were detained here before their death sentences were carried out.

La Conciergerie is a fascinating historical monument that just barely makes it into our list of the top ten Paris historical sites due to its blend of medieval grandeur and terrible history.

La Conciergerie
La Conciergerie

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde in the city’s center has witnessed a staggering amount of history. It eventually housed the guillotine that killed Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Danton, and Robespierre. It was built by Louis XV and finished in 1763. The imposing Obelisk of Luxor, a gift from Egypt that rises 23 meters (75 feet) into the sky, is one of several fountains and statues that it now boasts. Nearly three years after it arrived in Paris from Egypt, King Louis-Philippe had it placed on the square in 1836. This 3,300-year-old obelisk is inscribed with heiroglyphics that praise Ramesses II’s rule during that time.

Crypte Archeologique

The Crypte Archeologique of Paris is a secret treasure that makes it into our top ten list. It is located beneath Notre Dame Cathedral and is reached by modest stairs in the square in front of it. Ancient Gallo-Roman Paris’s Lutetia ruins are housed in this amazing subterranean museum.

These relics, which primarily date to the third century BC, include everything from heating systems to walls, streets, and residences. With educational wall panels (some only in French) and practical guides, this is also an excellent location from which to better comprehend Roman and even medieval Paris. Despite being mostly disregarded by the crowds that flock to Notre Dame above it, it still offers a fascinating and rather neglected window into the city’s early past.

Crypte Archeologique
Crypte Archeologique

Hôtel de Cluny and Roman Baths

Musée Cluny is located in the historic Hôtel de Cluny. Here is an exhibition of the well-known tapestry “The Lady and the Unicorn.” A delightful place to promenade or read on a seat in the spring or summer, the Hôtel de Cluny is located in the old Latin Quarter, close to the Sorbonne. It has an aromatic garden in Medieval style.

On-site, you can also observe the remains of thermal baths from the Roman Empire. The “warm room” from the baths was once one of the museum’s rooms, the tepidarium. The Sorbonne University, Sainte-Chapelle, and Jardin du Luxembourg can all be reached on foot from the Cluny Museum, which is situated in the heart of the the 5th arrondissement of Paris, in the center of the Latin Quarter.

Palais Royal Gardens

Cardinal Richelieu previously resided in the Renaissance-style Palais Royal, which is located between the Louvre and the Opera Garnier. Today, the Palais Royal is home to upscale shops and eateries as well as a number of government buildings with a design that combines old-world elegance with contemporary ideas.

The elegant Palais, which is conveniently located in the first arrondissement, is a nice place to eat, shop, or simply stroll through the surrounding gardens. While there, be sure to visit the inner courtyard, known as Cour d’Honneur, to admire Daniel Buren’s “Les Deux Plateaux” whimsical modern sculptures.

Palais Royal Gardens
Palais Royal Gardens

Théâtre des Champs Elysées

Initially, Auguste Perret was not chosen as the theatre’s architect. Henry van de Velde, a Belgian master of Art Nouveau, was originally intended to serve as the architect, but Perret won the competition after his family’s construction company was enlisted to assist with the structural design.

The theatre is known for being the first public structure with a reinforced concrete frame. However, for the visitor, the tremendous elegance of this frame is mostly hidden under subtle decorative moldings, particularly the paired shallow arches across the auditorium.

The Rite of Spring premiere in 1913 was one of the earliest theatrical performances, and most of it is infamously overshadowed by brawls between supporters and detractors of the new sound.

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