Traveling to a much hyped-about destination such as Paris can be overwhelming.
Expectations are often high when traveling to a destination so many people rave about and trying to figure out what exactly to do in a city with so many sites (besides visit the Eiffel Tower, of course), can be stressful.
Luckily, it doesn’t need to be!
We’ve compiled five must-have cultural experiences, from the lively entertainment at Moulin Rouge to a relaxing afternoon at the Louxemburg Garden.
This guide is perfect for both those traveling solo in Paris or in a group!
1. Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge is one of the best-known cabarets in Paris, France.
Historically, Moulin Rouge is said to be the birthplace of the can-can dance, which began as a seductive dance by courtesans but is now a form of entertainment throughout cabarets in all of Europe.
Today, Moulin Rouge provides musical entertainment to travelers from around the world.
Though the original Moulin Rouge burned down in 1915, much of the decor inside is still fashioned as it was back then, so that travelers can experience the traditional Moulin Rouge experience while watching a variety of dance performances and enjoying champagne or dinner.
2. Louvre Museum
The Louvre is the most visited museum globally, seeing some 8-9 million visitors annually, and rightfully so.
The museum itself is full of history, housed in the Louvre Palace that was originally built in the 12th century.
Today, the Louvre is home to more than 70,000 pieces of art.
The most famous is, of course, the Mona Lisa but with departments ranging from Egyptian Antiquities and Islamic Art to Sculptures and Decorative Arts, you’ll only do yourself a disservice by snapping a photo of the Mona Lisa and leaving.
Note that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.
3. Cathedral de Notre Dame
One of the most famous buildings in Paris, Notre-Dame is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic Architecture.
Notre-Dame is home to the official chair of the archbishop of Paris as well as some of Catholicism’s most important relics, including one of the Holy Nails, a piece of the True Cross, and the Crown of Thorns. Entrance to the cathedral and all services are free during operating hours though there is a small fee to visit the treasury which holds the historical relics.
Tours are available, which are a great way to learn more about Catholicism in Paris, and climbing to the top of the bell towers is a must — it’s from there you’ll be able to take the famous image of the gargoyles looking over Paris.
4. Luxembourg Garden
Created by Marie de Medici in 1612, the Luxembourg Garden is not only a peaceful place to enjoy a picnic or relax with a book but also host to many cultural activities, such as a puppet theater and occasional musical performances.
One can spend an afternoon exploring the 25 hectares of land, including an apiary, English and French gardens, and some 100 statues, including the famous Medici Fountain.
5. Les Invalides
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings related to French military history. Wandering through Musée de l’Armée, visitors can learn of the French history by viewing artifacts from early wars, and also L’Hôtel des Invalides, the first veteran hospital, and the surrounding “town” of veteran’s barracks, convent, and more.
The most famous part of Les Invalides, however, is the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
What’s your favorite cultural experience in Paris? Please share in the comments below.
By Sky Fisher
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