Victor Hugo and Quasimodo fans will want to visit Notre-Dame Cathedrale. A visit to the top is worth every cent (8 euros) as it offers a panoramic view of the city that is to die for. Notre-Dame opens its doors for climbers at 10am sharp, however, enthusiastic tourists start queuing at 9am. It is well worth getting there before 10am to be one of the first groups to climb. They allow a certain amount of people up at a time but give you ample opportunity to capture the perfect photo. Entry into the Church is free, but again subject to a hefty wait. I suggest having a quick look inside then queuing to get to the top.
It is no secret that I love free things when I travel and the view from Sacre-Cœur is not only breath-taking, but free. If you catch the Metro to the Anvers station then there is a short walk up a street lined with souvernier shops, cafe’s, and two of my favourite shops in Paris, La Cure Gourmande (biscuits) and Pierre Hermes (chocolate and pastries). Once you arrive at the base of the church you will notice that there are again a lot of stairs to climb to get to the top, as is always the case in Paris. Not to worry, there is a little elevator for those less able and those with little legs, or those just sick of stairs. I always over indugle in the local cuisine when I travel so I always take the stairs. Once you have reached the top you really do get a stunning view of Paris, you will have to look pretty hard for the Eiffel Tower though as it is hidden on the far right (when you are looking out) behind some trees. A visit inside the Church is also a worthwhile visit. Because I had just over a week in Paris it really allowed me to explore in detail, and I suggest spending a little extra time in Montmartre. This is the artistic centre or Paris and here you will find many artisits wanting to draw you in almost any form.
Travelling with a European citizen was handy as they receive free entry (and if not then a heavily reduced rate) in almost every place or touristic interest. The Musee du Louvre is also one such place, offering free entry to European Citizens under the age of 25 (conditions apply). For everyone else, buy your tickets in advance. The Louvre opens its doors at 10 and, as is usually the case, the line begins promptly at 9am. Pre purchasing your tickets allows you to queue in a seperate line and essentially allows you to enter first. Head straight to the Mona Lisa, as I am certain that is the main reason why you are there, because within an hour the room will be full. So full in fact you probably won’t be able to enter, or see her, as she is smaller than you think. Please note, that the Museum is not open on Tuesday’s, so plan accordingly, however, free for all visitors on the first Sunday of every month. Tickets are various prices depending on what you would like to see so please refer to the website
Last but not least for this series of posts is one of my favourite places to visit in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe. Again free for European citizens under the age of 26, otherwise costing 9.50 euro. The panoramic view is stunning, allowing for the view of Charles de Gaulle Etoile (encompassing the famous Champs Élysées), the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur. I cannot express my love for this monument and its view enough. Open varying times, depending no the season, but generally 10-7 in the warmer months. They don’t limit your time a top the monument so you can really take in your surroundings, they don’t allow consumption of food though so don’t stay long enough that you need a packed lunch.
A visit to the above link will take you to the webpage of all the national monuments in Paris, their opening hours and fees.