A Cultural Guide to Paris

Written by Leanna Serras

Paris is one of the most important cultural centers in Europe. As such, you will find numerous cultural sites in the city that are worth visiting. Here is a list of the top ten cultural attractions that define the cultural heritage of Paris.


1. The Louvre

The Louvre is one of the most famous art museums in the world, and it is where you will find some of the world’s greatest pre-20 th century paintings. The palace that houses the museum was commissioned by Philip II in the 12 th century. Some of the most famous artworks that you can see in the Louvre are Venus de Milo, Nike of Samothrace, and The Mona Lisa. You will also find the works of old masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Caravaggio. There are also some priceless historical artifacts, tapestries, sculptures, and furniture in the museum.


2. Notre Dame Cathedral

This cathedral is a spectacular example of Gothic architecture, replete with stained glass windows, beautiful towers, and spires. The Notre Dame Cathedral was constructed over a period of more than 100 years, from the 12 th to the 13 th century. It was the cultural hub of medieval Paris. The cathedral tours allow you to take a closer look at the splendid features of the cathedral, which include the gargoyles and the bell towers.


3. Musée d'Orsay

This museum is another cultural landmark of Paris. It was opened in the year 1986, but the building that houses it dates back to the end of the 19 th century. It was originally a railway station by the name of Gare d'Orsay. The museum showcases some of the best Impressionist and modern paintings in the world. Here, you can feast your eyes on the water lilies of Monet, the foliage of Gauguin and the moving dancers of Degas. Some of the major works of Delacroix and Vincent Van Gogh are also displayed here.


4. Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is by far the most popular cultural attraction in Paris. Built in the 19 th century by Gustave Eiffel, it attracts millions of visitors each year. Elevators will take you up to the observation deck of the tower, where you can have a breathtaking view of the city of Paris. The illuminated Eiffel Tower at night is a most wonderful sight to behold.


5. L'Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is a grand piece of architecture that was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806. It has some of the most exquisite bas-reliefs , and it overlooks the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysées.Visitors will also find a small museum at the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which contains a number of artifacts that belonged to Napoleon. Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. As well, an eternal flame burns in memory of all of the unidentified soldiers killed in both World War I and World War II.


6. Centre Georges Pompidou

Also called Beaubourg by the Parisians, the Centre Georges Pompidou is the most popular modern art museum in the city. It was built in 1977 in honor of former French President Georges Pompidou. The museum features some of the notable works of modern masters such as Matisse and Modigliani. 


7. Givaudan Perfumery School

Givaudan is the largest producer of fragrances in the world, and it was established in 1895 by Leon and Xavier Givaudan . It is said that the Givaudan Perfumery School has trained 30% of all the major creative perfumers in the industry today. Here, you will find some of the world‘s most sought-after perfume brands, including Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, Bijan, Marc Jacobs, and Ralph Lauren.


8. Sacre Coeur

The Sacre Coeur is a magnificent basilica that is located near the idyllic streets of Montmartre. It has some of the most expensive gold mosaic interiors in the world. The basilica was built in 1909, and it features a majestic white dome and an amazing terrace that offers visitors a panoramic view of the city.


9. Père Lachaise Cemetery

Père Lachaise is considered one of the most gorgeous cemeteries in the world. Napoleon I commissioned the building of the cemetery in the year 1804. It is the place where many world famous people were buried. Some of them include Molière, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Richard Wright, and Jim Morrison.


10. Fragonard Musee du Parfum

The Fragonard Musee du Parfum is a private perfume museum that was established in 1983. It is housed in a Napoleon III townhouse that was built in 1860. Here, you can find out about the history of perfumes from the 17 th century to the present. Moreover, you will get to experience the ethereal fragrance of rare perfume oils.