Paris is full of historical buildings, amazing feats of architecture and one-of-a-kind landmarks. Aside from the much-visited cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe, there are also some famous landmarks that invite visitors to explore the outdoors, enjoy the Parisian sun and learn about the cultural background of a city that is over 1,500 years old.
Nothing says Paris like the Eiffel Tower. This monumental 1,063-foot tall tower was built as the entrance to the Exposition Universelle, a 1889 World's Fair, and quickly become the identifying icon of the French capital. The tower weighs over 10,000 tons and receives over six million visitors every year.
While most people take the elevator to the tower's lookout point on the third level, the first two levels can be accessed by either elevators or stairs. If you feel like braving the stairs, take a deep breath. There's a total of 600 steps between the ground and the second floor stop. There are two restaurants in the tower, at the first and second level, although don't expect waist-friendly dishes here. Shopping opportunities, exhibits about the tower and a 12-step treasure hunting course for kids can be found on the first level. The second level offers panoramic views, a glass window placed on the floor (with spectacular views of the ground below), souvenir shops and animated window scenes, which recount the history of Paris. The top floor allows you to peak into a reproduction of Gustave Eiffel's office and the engineer's office, as well as offering panoramic indicators and a 360 degree view of Paris.
Alexander III Bridge
Alexander's bridge crosses over the Seine, allowing those who walk through it some of the best views of Paris. Opened in the year 1900, the bridge was meant to serve as a marker of the 1900s Exposition Universelle. The bridge contains a number of impressive sculptures, including the Fames, Pegasus and masonry counterweights.
The bridge connects the most famous quarters in Paris: one, which is home to the Eiffel tower and the other that houses the Champs-Élysées. Those who want a walking tour of Paris would do well starting on the bridge and making their way across and to the parks. You can also walk the bridge to either side and walk the length of the Seine before turning around to get back to your original point of departure, or you can go to the parks for a stroll among the trees, followed by a quick break and a snack at one of the benches lining the park's roads.
The most famous street in all of France, the 1.25-mile long Avenue des Champs-Élysées leads directly to the Arc de Triomphe. If you're window shopping, this is the street to take, as some of the most famous brands in the world have shops here. Just take a stroll down the length of the avenue, step into the Arc and then turn back and get ready to explore some of the buildings surrounding the avenue. Marigny Square, on one side, is an open-market selling only collectible postage stamps and it's well worth a visit even if you're not a serious philatelist.
Right next to the avenue you can also find the Grand Palais, an exhibition hall that features glass ceiling panels, sculptures, a science museum and changing photo exhibits. Nearby is also the Élysée Palace, which serves as a home to France's president and is surrounded by public gardens that invite you to stroll.