view of Paris and Seine

Is Paris Worth Visiting in 2024? Top Reasons to Visit Paris

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Is Paris worth visiting?

Paris is consistently ranked as one of the most visited cities in the world, with over 30 million international tourists every year.

So it seems as though, yes, many people consider the French capital, the city of both love and light, worth visiting. But, is it right for you? Read on to learn more!

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Paris

As a city that consistently attracts tourists from around the world, of course there are many reasons to visit Paris. Here are the top 10:

1. See the Eiffel Tower in Person

The number one reason why I personally visit Paris is to visit the Eiffel Tower. Without question, it is my favorite part of the city. The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. It stands in the centre of Paris and pulls us all in, as it has been doing since it was first erected in 1889 for the World’s Fair. 

The 330-metre (1083-feet) tower rises high above the rest of the city, where most buildings average only 37 metres (121 feet) in height, and the views from the upper platform are incredible.

Capture your memories with a unique photo shoot with the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop.

Eiffel Tower

It’s worth spending at least a couple hours at the iconic landmark to take it all in, and there are shops and restaurants on each level to extend the experience further.

You can even make reservations for a nice lunch in the Eiffel Tower, a unique bucket list experience!

2. Explore the Fashion Scene

Paris is one of the major fashion capitals of the world, along with New York, London and Milan. It hosts Fashion Week, both ready-to-wear and haute couture shows, twice a year in venues throughout the city.

But perhaps more importantly for tourists, the city itself is often considered to be a runway. During the year I lived in France, I noticed a strong preference for jeans over yoga pants; though, the clichéd look of a silk scarf, trench coat and red lips was uncommon.

Whether or not the stereotypes about trendy French women are true, you’ll probably want to dress more fashionably in Paris and step your game up. 

In Paris, there are so many places to shop. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is popular with tourists who want to shop—or at least window shop—at the big names like Louis Vuitton, Cartier or the grand Galeries Lafayettes.

Alternatively, you could shop around the neighborhoods of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Marais. 

3. Experience the Romance

Romance, in this case, doesn’t mean the relationship kind. In Paris, the romance is more about architecture and history.

The city’s legacy as the place where many American expatriate writers like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald created some of their most famous works attracts many visitors.

They imagine the city during the années folles, the crazy years, when the city was exploding with creativity and culture. 

Many people visit the Latin Quarter to follow in the footsteps of the “Lost Generation” writers, lost in the nostalgia for this carefree, lighthearted and joyous period. It’s a romantic notion, but as the character Gil Pender learns in the film Midnight in Paris, that city doesn’t exist anymore. 

4. To Be Immersed in Art

Paris has long been an important centre of the art world. The development of sculpting and fine art in Paris started in the 16th and 17th centuries, and by the 19th century, many art schools were established.

The city was drawing in artists from the rest of the country and elsewhere in Europe. Important movements like Impressionism, Symbolism and Cubism flourished in Paris. 

art in Paris

Montmartre was an important neighbourhood to many of these artists, including Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Édouard Manet. Located near the Sacré-Coeur, the Musée de Montmartre has reconstructed artists’ studios in addition to its collections of art. 

The Louvre is the biggest art museum—in fact, the biggest of any museum—in the world, and it has several masterpieces worth seeing in person. There’s also the Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie with Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.

The Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art Moderne, and Palais de Tokyo each house collections of modern art. The most efficient and cost-effective way to visit as many museums as possible in Paris is by purchasing a Paris museum pass.

5. To Visit Some of Its Many Museums 

In fact, there are museums in Paris for just about any topic or interest. Fascinated by unusual medical history? The Museum of Mouldings in the 10th arrondissement has a collection of wax models of disease-affected body parts ready for you.

Want to learn more about the history of smoking? There’s a museum in the 11th arrondissement on the very topic. And, for those interested in geography and maps, there’s the Museum of Relief Maps in the 7th arrondissement, a short walk from the Seine.

If you’re interested in Paris’ museum scene, look into if the 6. To Walk Along or Across the Seine

The Seine, France’s third longest river, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its architecture and town planning as the city developed along its banks.

Major historical landmarks, like the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Louvre Palace and Eiffel Tower were built along the Seine.

Once an important shipping route, it was made famous in many paintings, like Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

river siene paris

The Seine has 37 bridges or footbridges connecting its Right and Left Banks, which, in typical French fashion, are both beautiful and functional.

My personal favorites are the Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir (a pedestrian bridge), Viaduc d’Austerlitz (a rail bridge) and Pont de Bir-Hakeim (a pedestrian, motor, and rail bridge). 

A favorite activity for both locals and tourists is to stroll along the Seine, crossing at whichever bridges strike your fancy. Take a break with a Parisian-style picnic (think baguettes, cheeses, and wines) on one of the banks, and enjoy the view.

Or, take to the waters on a river cruise along the Seine.

7. To Eat the Food 

Another reason to visit Paris is for its gastronomy. France is known for its fresh breads and pastries, and rightly so. Each year, Paris hosts a “Best Baguette” competition where the winner supplies the President with daily baguettes for a year.

boulangerie croissants, Paris is worth visiting to try the food

For the foodies, France has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. And where are most of those restaurants located? Of course it’s Paris.

While it would be amazing to eat at any of those restaurants if it’s in your budget, the city also has plenty of affordable options tucked away in small side streets. It’s possible to have a great lunch for 10-15€, for example, at a local establishment.

8. To Stroll Its Gardens and Parks 

Paris is a green city with over 400 parks, so visitors are never far away from nature. When urban life gets too busy or crowded, these green spaces offer opportunities for rest, relaxation and leisure, which the French indulge in very well.

paris cafe

Some of my favorite flower gardens include the Jardin des Tuileries (a worthy break after visiting the nearby Musée de l’Orangerie or Musée Louvre!), Jardin du Luxembourg or Jardin des Plantes.

There are several excellent parks, as well. The Champ de Mars is a large park at the Eiffel Tower. Parc de Bercy has some nice ponds, and the Bois de Vincennes is a huge wooded area (about three times the size of New York City’s Central Park) with row boating, trails for walking and biking, and a zoological park. 

9. To Watch the World Go By

Even with all that green space, Paris is a very dense city. Not only that, it has a diverse population, with significant numbers of people from northern Africa, China and elsewhere in Europe. Add in tourists from all over the world, and it makes people-watching a pleasurable activity. 

Paris greenery

Its gardens and parks are great places to pass time, as are all those café terrasses. But one of my favorite places to people-watch in Paris is at train stations. 

10. To Get to Other Places in France

The capital of France acts as the hub to all other cities. To get anywhere in France, it’s likely that you will pass through Paris, whether it be by flying into Charles de Gualle (CDG) airport or by taking a train from one of its six main stations.

  • Gare du Nord has trains to northern destinations like Lille and Calais.
  • Gare Saint-Lazare also has trains to northern cities, including Caen, Rouen, and Dieppe. 
  • Gare de l’Est has trains to eastern cities, such as Reims (for the perfect Champagne day trip from Paris) and Strasbourg.
  • Gare d’Austerlitz has trains to central destinations, like Orléans and the Loire Valley.
  • Gare de Lyon has trains to southern destinations, including Avignon, Marseille, and Nice.
  • Gare Montparnasse has trains to southwest cities, such as Bordeaux and Biarritz.

Paris is a great base location for day trips. Strasbourg is a very charming city on the border with Germany, and it’s only two hours from Paris by train via Gare de l’Est.

Visitors hoping to see the Normandy D-Day beaches can take a direct train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Bayeaux (2 hours 20 minutes) and take a tour from there.

Fans of Joan of Arc could visit either Orléans, where she helped lead the city to victory against the British, or Rouen, where she died on the stake, as easy day trips from Paris. 

Is Paris Worth Visiting? FAQ

As you determine whether Paris is worth your time, consider these commonly asked questions:

Is Paris overrated?

Paris suffers from a lot of the same issues as other French cities including regular strikes and piles of merde on the sidewalks that never get cleaned up.

Also, perhaps because of its massive popularity—it’s perennially on the “best of” lists for tourism—it has additional issues like: overcrowding (too many tourists!), scammers and pickpockets, and locals who are generally uninterested in catering to outsiders. 

Montparnasse Paris views

What makes a place overrated is when visitors’ expectations are too high. After spending all that time on “best of” tourism lists, the expectations for Paris have been raised so high that for a lot of people, including myself, these expectations could not be met.

While I think that Paris has long been overhyped, I believe that is changing now as people take a more realistic approach to the city. 

How many days in Paris is enough?

For a first visit, give yourself a few days. It’s a big city! Three days is enough to check out a couple tourist attractions and wander around. But go slow and don’t try to cram in too much; and, if you plan on using Paris as a base to explore other cities, stay longer.

However, if you only have a short amount of time, check out these Paris layover tours to catch the highlights.

Which is better to visit, Paris or London?

Both capital cities have a variety of landmarks to visit. In terms of palaces, London has Buckingham Palace and Paris has the Louvre Palace, an art museum. For sightseeing from up high, London has the London Eye and Paris has the Eiffel Tower. St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is comparable to Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral. 

London is bigger, while Paris is more densely populated. London has the West End for theatre performances, but Paris has a lot more cinemas. Both have great subway systems. One city I loved right away, and the other took some time to appreciate. Why not visit both via Rail Europe and decide for yourself?

Is Paris expensive?

Yes, but it can be done on a smaller budget. Hostels can be reasonably priced and safe places to stay. The metro is a cheap way to get where you need to go, and simply wandering around various arrondissements is free and one of my favorite things to do in the city. 

There are other free things to do, too. There are about 20 free museums in Paris, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Carnavalet Museum and the Memorial of the Shoah. Plus the many gardens and parks are free to stroll through.

Parisian city streets in Montmartre

And, instead of paying to go up the Eiffel Tower, you could admire it from below at places like the Champs du Mars park or Pont de Bir-Hakeim. 

For food, opt for breakfast at a bakery. For lunch, choose sandwiches from boulangeries or restaurant formules, set menus, for the best deals. Ask for a carafe d’eau for free water.

What is so special about Paris?

It’s rare for a high-income country to have a capital city that is so dominant. Paris is the country’s transport hub, centre of politics and cultural heart. Whether or not that’s a good thing, it’s certainly unique.  

Final verdict: Is Paris Worth visiting?

When a city can evoke such strong love/hate reactions as Paris does, it’s definitely worth visiting to see where you sit on the spectrum. Keep your expectations realistic, give it time and see what unfolds for you in Paris.

And to help you plan your trip, read these guides next:

About the author: Melanie Ferguson of Postcards & Places is an urban explorer and outdoor adventurer. Passionate about the creative arts—painting and photography, in particular—she finds travel endlessly inspiring. Melanie has lived abroad in Ghana, South Korea, and France, and currently lives in Vancouver, Canada.