Oui Oui, Paris: 10 Must-Sees for First-Timers

If you’ve been to Paris, you understand how easy it is to fall in love with this beautiful city. And even if you haven’t been, you probably understand the appeal as we’re constantly surrounded with Parisian themes in magazines, store shelves, books, and movies (Midnight in Paris, anyone?). If you’re traveling to the City of Lights for the first time, my suggestion is to wander aimlessly and take it all in (and take a baguette break when you can while taking solace in the fact that all the walking will burn off the carb calories!). I do understand, however, that people need an agenda. With that, here are ten places to put on your Parisian itinerary.

The Eiffel Tower

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An obvious choice! The Eiffel Tower is the first landmark many people think of when referring to Paris. If you get a chance, visit the top of the tower and enjoy the bird’s eye view of the city. For a more relaxed and romantic experience, pack a picnic to enjoy in the grassy area of the Champ de Mars (in front of the tower). What could be more Parisian than this?

Rue Cler

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But before you venture over to the Eiffel Tower, head to Rue Cler, a pedestrian street filled with restaurants and markets. Here, you’ll find shops that will help you create your impromptu picnic. Bread, cheese, wine, and a little something sweet–it’s all here! (And guys, don’t forget the flowers for your chérie.)

The Louvre

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Come to the Louvre and head straight for the Mona Lisa. Take her picture. Note her size (small). Now that you’ve done that, make sure the rest of your day is cleared. You’ll be spending a lot of time here exploring the Greek sculptures, Spanish art, and Egyptian artifacts. It’ll be a beautiful day. (Of course, don’t forget to admire the glass pyramid on your way in and out of the museum. It’s a piece art in itself!)

Champs-Élysées

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Walk down the famous Champs-Élysées and pretend you’re a trust fund baby who can afford all the high-end designer stores. (Or maybe you’re part of the elite who doesn’t have to pretend! Lucky you!) Experiencing the Champs-Élysées isn’t bad from the ground level, but the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe is much more spectacular. WARNING: There are many stairs to climb in then Arc de Triomphe, so start on your cardio training now.

Montmartre

In the early evening hours, head toward Sacre Coeur. Sit on the stairs outside the basilica and you may encounter an impromptu performance against the backdrop of the city. When you’re done here, find your bohemian alter ego and wander through Montmartre as literary greats like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald did before you. If you have a camera with a 1600 ISO setting (or higher), it’s a great opportunity to use it!

Jardin du Luxembourg

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Better Homes & Gardens has never featured landscaping as beautiful as you what you’ll find at the Jardin du Luxembourg. If you’ve been doing a lot of walking throughout the city, this is a good time to sit and relax in one of the chairs along the garden. Your feet will thank you.

Père Lechaise cemetery

A cemetery? It’s not as eerie as it sounds, and it’s also an important part of Paris’s history, as some of the most notable city residents have been laid to rest here. Maria Callas, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison are some of those who are buried at this famous cemetery.

Palace of Versailles

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Breathtaking. That’s the only way to describe the two-thousand-acre estate of Louis XIV. And walking through the rooms of this chateau, you can see why he was the European leader during his seventy-two-year reign. The real magic is outdoors, so make it a point to stroll through the gardens.

Ladurée

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Everything about Paris is sweet, and it might have something to do with the quintessential macaron. If you’re going to try this delightful little treat, this is the place.

Pont des Arts

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If you’re in the City of Love with a special someone, make a trip to this love bridge with a lock in tow. Write your name on the lock and place it together on the Pont des Arts. Perhaps this is a tourist trap, but the idea of finding your lock together again gives you a good reason to come back to Paris. C’est romantique!

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