ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

My List of Favorite Attractions in Paris When Your Visit is Short

Updated on December 17, 2014
Looking towards the Latin Quarter
Looking towards the Latin Quarter

What Paris attraction would be the first on your list to visit?

See results

So Little Time, Too Much to See!

There are so many things to do in Paris. In fact, there are over 150 museums alone, not to mention all of the other attractions like parks, architectural monuments, fountains, etc. I usually recommend choosing only three major attractions to see for each week you spend there.


  • You'll have jet lag when you get there,
  • you'll be disorriented and have some culture adjustment (if it's your first visit),
  • you need down time to relax and enjoy Paris,
  • and you need time to be spontaneous, to wander, and to sit and people watch in cafes.

So, what are my favorites? When I'm only there for a week, here are my top choices; and yes I broke my own rule and chose four!

Musée d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay | Source
Musée de l'Orangerie
Musée de l'Orangerie | Source

Musée d'Orsay

This museum is full of impressionists and art nouveau - my personal favorite kind of art.

Guide books often say to take 2-3 hours, but short of running through the museum and barely seeing the art, you should take longer. Plan on a full day (four hours or so,) with a break to enjoy lunch in the restaurant behind the huge train station clock.

Want to spend just a few hours to see impressionist art? Visit the Musée de l'Orangerie, located at the far end of the Jardins des Tuileries. It's just across the walking bridge, Passerelle Solférino, near the Musée d'Orsay. This has many of Monet's beautiful Water Lilies works and it easy to see in a couple of leisurely hours.

Musée Carnavalet - Through the old glass windows into the courtyard - Summer 2012
Musée Carnavalet - Through the old glass windows into the courtyard - Summer 2012
Beautiful Architecture of the Cluny/ Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris
Beautiful Architecture of the Cluny/ Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris | Source

Musée Carnavalet

This my favorite history museum because it's all about Paris.

The tableaux of the city, when the outer arrondisements were still countryside, allow you to step back into Parisian time. Imagine when there were large estates and countryside where there are now the apartments, boulangeries, and traffic inside Paris. You'll also see artifacts from the Parisi, the first tribe to inhabit the island of Île de la Cité back in prehistoric times. You can visit this museum in about a half-day. The gardens are a quiet sanctuary.

The Musée National du Moyen-Âge-Thermes de Cluny - This is my other favorite history museum. I love the Middle Ages and this is where you will see the famous "Lady with a Unicorn" tapestry. Which, by the way, you can't take a picture of as my daughter learned from one a very nice security person! You can also visit this museum in about a half-day. Go in the morning and have a lively lunch in the Latin Quarter afterwards.

From the top of la Tour Montparnasse
From the top of la Tour Montparnasse
On the top of la Tour Montparnasse  - see the Eiffel Tower down below?
On the top of la Tour Montparnasse - see the Eiffel Tower down below?

Tour Montparnass

This is one of my radical choices. For me, this is a welcome alternative to the crowds at the Eiffel Tower which is usually crowded and slow. The Montparnass Tower is the only skyscraper allowed within the Parisian city limits and is still the tallest one in Europe.

The line here always seems reasonable - like 15 mins! Then there is a super fast elevator to take you to the air conditioned observatory at the top where you get an amazing 360 degree view of the city and the suburbs beyond. You even get to look DOWN onto the Eiffel Tower. There are maps all around the observatory so you know what you're seeing and lots of seating so this is a wonderful place to take a breather. And did I mention, it's air conditioned!

My favorite part, after I've cooled off and caught my breath, is walking up the final flight of stairs to the roof. I have a great memory of my daughter and I watching lightning storms move across the far-off country side, ending a heat wave one July.

In the "back yard" at Versailles
In the "back yard" at Versailles

Le Chateau de Versailles

This is a whole day trip. Don't go through every room, or you'll be Louis XV and XVIth-ed out. There's just only so much lavish, glittering beauty you can absorb in one day.

Unless you are up for a marathon, I suggest you choose between the Chateau or the Grand and Petit Trianons with Marie Antoinette's petite hameau.

If you are looking for a low budget day, plan a wonderful "pique-nique" and walk around the grounds. Just as in the days of Louis XV, the gardens and vast grounds are open to the public. You won't feel like you missed a thing!

But What About Everything Else?

As I said above, there are just so many things to see in Paris, you can not possibly fit them all in. Many of the other Paris landmarks you will see on your way to other sites.

I haven't listed the Louvre as it's size and scope push it to my list for longer trips. If you MUST go, do your homework and choose only two or three sections to explore.

Since it can be very hard to choose, I suggest you do your research. Stick to three large museums, etc. per week, and let the city grasp you in it's warmth and beauty. Be flexible and go with the flow. Remember Paris is so much more than sites and museums to check off your list. There's street life, food, cafes, shopping and wandering aimlessly to discover what's around THAT corner!

It's better to get on the plane home and start planning your next trip to Paris, than to feel miserable because you felt rushed and frantic the whole time you were there.

For more information about planning a trip to Paris, visit me at:


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • mbwalz profile imageAUTHOR

      MaryBeth Walz 

      5 years ago from Maine

      There certainly is! I recently did an itinerary for a couple on their honeymoon. Unfortunately, they only had a few days so it was harder!

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      5 years ago from The High Seas

      So many wonderful and interesting things to see and do and eat in Paris. A wonderful city with wonderful people.

    • mbwalz profile imageAUTHOR

      MaryBeth Walz 

      5 years ago from Maine

      I admit that when I'm not going to Paris, I'm trying to figure out when I can go next! Thanks, glad you enjoyed the article!

    • SJLA profile image


      5 years ago from Indiana

      I love, love I mean love France. It is such an amazing country with such wonderful history and culture. Your article was informative and gave me a great view of your experience. Thank you for such a lovely read.

    • connorj profile image

      John Connor 

      5 years ago from Altamonte Springs

      Excellent hub; I wish I had perused this before I went to the City of Lights...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)