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Things to see in Paris

Tourist Offices

Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

Address: 1st, 25 rue des Pyramides, Paris, 75001
Telephone: +33 1 4952 4263.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1900 (May-Oct); daily 1000-1900 (Nov-Apr). Closed on 01 May.

Website: http://www.parisinfo.com

Helpful receptionists can reserve restaurants and hotel rooms, distribute advice about major attractions and sort out city tours. Further tourist offices can be found throughout Paris, including: Gare de Lyon, 20 boulevard Diderot, 12th; Gare du Nord, 18 rue de Dunkerque, 10th; Gare de L’Est, Place du 11 Novembre 1918, 10th.

Tourist passes

The Paris Museum Pass (www.parisinfo.com) allows free unlimited access to more 60 museums and monuments in the Paris region, including the Arc de Triomphe, Musée National du Louvre, Musée d'Orsay and Musée Rodin. The two-, four- or six-day pass is available from tourist offices, participating museums and monuments, the main métro stations and FNAC stores. It allows visitors to bypass queues but does not provide free admission to special or temporary exhibitions.

Alternatively, The Paris City Pass (www.parisinfo.com) encompasses The Paris Museum Pass, the Paris Visite travel card (free unlimited travel on the metro, buses and RER within central Paris covering zones 1-3), the Paris Bus Tour, Bateaux River Cruise, a Wine Tasting at O Chateau and a tour of the Paris Opera House, plus other attractions.

Attractions

Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower)

The emblematic Eiffel Tower towers over the Champ de Mars in the smart 7th arrondissement and its third floor offers a sweeping panorama of Paris. Directly underneath is a fascinating view of the delicate ironwork constructed by Gustave Eiffel, who was commissioned to build the tower for the Exposition Universelle in 1889. It’s a long slog up the stairs, but it takes less time than queuing for the lifts.

Address: 7th, Champ de Mars, Paris, 75007
Telephone: +33 892 701 239.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-0000 (Jun-Sep); daily 0930-2300 (Sep-Jun).

Website: http://www.toureiffel.paris
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur (Sacred-Heart Basilica)

A series of steps lead to the white domed Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, which dominates Montmartre. This church was built between 1875 and 1914 to fulfil a vow made during the Franco-Prussian war. The interior is splendid with neo-Byzantine mosaics and the domed tower offers a spectacular view over Paris. The crypt contains an interesting collection of religious relics and a slide show on the construction of the Basilica.

Address: 18th, 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, Paris, 75018
Telephone: +33 1 5341 8900.
Opening times:

Daily 0600-2230 (Basilica); Crypt and dome times vary.

Website: http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum)

Constructed as a fortress in the Middle Ages, and rebuilt in the 16th century as a royal palace, it wasn't until 1793 that the Louvre became a museum. Today, it is the home of some of the world's most famous artworks, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. The permanent collection also includes Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Egyptian and oriental antiquities, as well as sculptures, objets d'art, prints and drawings.

Address: 1st, Rue de Rivoli , Paris, 75001
Telephone: +33 1 4020 5050.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1800.

Website: http://www.louvre.fr
Admission Fees:

Yes (free first Sun of the month and 14 July)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Musée Picasso (Picasso Museum)

This collection of Pablo Picasso’s work is housed in a stunning 17th-century mansion in the Marais. All phases of his art are represented, with preparatory sketches and paintings covering the Blue Period, Rose Period, cubism, classicism and surrealism, and sculptures ranging from a huge plaster head to a small cat. Memorable works include the self-portrait Paolo as Harlequin, the surreal Large Nude in a Red Armchair and poignant paintings of Marie-Thérèse, his lover and muse. Book in advance.

Address: 3rd, 5 rue de Thorigny, Paris, 75003
Telephone: +33 1 8556 0036.
Opening times:

Tue-Fri 0930-1800, Sat-Sun 0930-1800.

Website: http://www.museepicassoparis.fr
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Arc de Triomphe

Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate a French victory at Austerlitz, the Arc de Triomphe has been a defining symbol of Paris since its completion in 1836. Engraved on the arch are numerous victories, while beneath it is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The top affords stunning views of Paris and its museum charts the history and construction of the arch, including chilling photographs of Nazi occupation.

Address: 8th, Place Charles-de-Gaulle, Paris, 75008
Telephone: +33 1 5537 7377.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-2300 (Apr-Sep); daily 1000-2230 (Oct-Mar).

Website: http://www.arcdetriompheparis.com
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Musée Rodin (Rodin Museum)

Auguste Rodin lived and worked in this 18th-century mansion, and his sculptures populate the grounds today. The Kiss portrays eternal passion frozen in white marble, while The Hand of God gives life to creamy white, half-formed figures. Works of Rodin's mistress and pupil, Camille Claudel, and paintings by Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir are also on display. Outside, is the godly physique of The Thinker, which contrasts sharply with the decrepitude of the writhing figures of The Gates of Hell.

Address: 7th, 79 rue de Varenne, Paris, 75007
Telephone: +33 1 4418 6110.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1715.

Website: http://www.musee-rodin.fr
Admission Fees:

Yes (free first Sun of the month)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Centre Georges Pompidou (Georges Pompidou Centre)

Considered outrageous in 1977, the Pompidou Centre, designed by Piano and Rogers, now forms part of the established Parisian landscape. Designed to look like a building turned inside out, tubes, pipes, stairs and fittings race around the outside of the building in an unapologetic display of primary colours. The art on the inside makes the exterior look tame. The centre was extended to cope with the huge numbers of people visiting its expanding collection of contemporary art and multimedia library.

Address: 4th, Place Georges Pompidou, Paris, 75004
Telephone: +33 1 4478 1233.
Opening times:

Wed-Mon 1100-2200.

Website: http://www.centrepompidou.fr
Admission Fees:

Yes (free first Sun of the month)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Musée d'Orsay (Orsay Museum)

The Musée d’Orsay is a magnificently restored railway station that houses France’s national collection of art from 1848 to 1914. Since opening in 1986, the museum has attracted pilgrims from far and wide to see Manet's Déjeuner sur l'Herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), five Monet canvases of Rouen Cathedral, ballet scenes by Dégas, and works by Cézanne, Van Gogh, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Address: 7th, 1 Rue de la Legion d'Honneur, Paris, 75007
Telephone: +33 1 4049 4814.
Opening times:

Tues-Wed, Fri-Sun 0930-1800; Thurs 0930-2145.

Website: http://www.musee-orsay.fr
Admission Fees:

Yes (free first Sun of the month)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Cimetière du Père Lachaise (Père Lachaise Cemetery)

There’s something eerily fascinating about visiting the burial site of celebrities like Molière, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Chopin and Pissarro. Jim Morrison’s grave lives on in the Cimetière du Père Lachaise as well, a graveyard that occupies 45 hectares (111 acres) on the eastern edge of Paris and takes its name from the Jesuit priest Père François de la Chaise, confessor to Louis XIV.

Address: 20th, 16 rue du Repos, Paris, 75020
Telephone: +33 1 5525 8210.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0800-1730, Sun 0900-1730 (Nov-Mar); Mon-Fri 0800-1800, Sat: 0830-1800, Sun 0900-1800 (Mar-Nov).

Website: http://www.pere-lachaise.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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