The Institut d’Aménagement et d’Urbanisme of France says that Paris is the hottest tourist destination in the world. According to estimates, an average of 45 million tourists visit the city every year. Yes you read that correctly, 45 million. That’s more than the entire population of Spain! Tourists come from all over – from other parts of France and Europe, from Asia, Australia, America and even Africa. And, of course, many come for the magnificent array of cultural wonders this city bestows on the visitor. Breathtaking architecture, cultural richness and a rich history perhaps make Paris the cultural capital of the world.
The Culture of Paris
There are literally hundreds of museums and monuments all over the city of lights (just takes a look on our main site, paris-museums.org). And so, let’s be honest, a whirlwind trip through this city will never, ever, give you a true taste for what the city has to offer. Unless, of course, you are planning to stay here for months. There’s something for everyone in Paris, from the vibrant nightlife for the younger set, to nearby Euro Disney for family outings. Plus, there are some wonderful cities around Paris as well. But, of course, most visitors aren’t here for just these offerings. They are here for the arts, museums, music, fashion and the festivals of Paris.
Museums and Art Galleries in Paris
Paris has some of the most renowned museums in the world. There’s the Louvre, which could arguably take a month to visit entirely if you want to go through all the galleries and their displays carefully. The Louvre houses the famous Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. You will also find works by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Titan and Fragonard. It also exhibits architecture, history and archeology. Some other well-known museums in Paris are Musée Rodin, Musée Picasso (closed until 2012), Musée National d’Art Moderne, Musée Cluny and the Centre Pompidou (almost 5.5 million people visit this modern art mecca per year). Plus, there’s also the Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée Marmottan, Musée Jacquemart-André and hundreds of others.
Architecture and Historic Sites of Paris
Of course, Paris is not just a city to be seen from within the walls of a museum. It’s a city for pedestrians, where monuments dot the entire city landscape and majestic Haussmannian buildings line the streets. Take a free walk down the boulevards and avenues, sit in a cafe along the Champs Elysees or nestled somewhere in the intellectual hub of the left bank; Paris is the place to get lost in if there ever was one. It also boasts some of the most iconic structures in the world such as the Eiffel Tower; the Notre Dame, with its stained glass windows and dramatic towers; Opéra Garnier and the Saint-Chapelle. Also on your list should be the Arc de Triomphe, the Conciergerie (to see the prison cell of Marie Antoinette), and Les Invalides where Napoleon was finally laid to rest.
This is just a small sample of all that Paris has to offer, and of course there are many hidden gems throughout the city, not to be ignored. All we can say is by all means plan your trip to Paris, but also allow for serendipity. Who knows what you might discover.