see + do
Paris see + do
With upward of 150 museums, scores of parks, lively café-lined boulevards—plus too many monuments and landmark buildings to count—this city and its must-sees of culture and entertainment are best savored over years. If you only have a few days, you can't go wrong with the obvious sights: the Louvre's extensive collection of art from antiquity onward; the Impressionist canvases of the grandiose Musée d'Orsay; and Notre-Dame de Paris, the Gothic cathedral midstream in the Seine. While the Eiffel Tower is another no-brainer, it's best enjoyed from a distance: Instead of queuing up with the massive crowd waiting to ascend to the pinnacle, head for the steps fronting Montmartre's Sacré-Coeur basilica, and you'll be rewarded with amazing views that include the Eiffel Tower's elegant fretwork frame. You'll do equally well relaxing on a park bench in the Luxembourg Gardens on a warm afternoon, strolling through the Right Bank's boutique-lined Marais neighborhood, or people-watching from a café in Saint Germain-des-Prés. But the key to finding the Paris everyone falls in love with is to get off the well-trodden tourist circuit and explore the city on foot or by bike, discovering hidden courtyards, pocket-size gardens, and unbelievably romantic streetscapes along the way.