The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre. These are just some of the most famous attractions in Paris. They're what millions of people visit the French capital for. And you won't find anyone in the city, be they local or tourists, who don't know about these places. These and more are what define Paris. They are the city's heritage, making them the perfect spots to visit on World Heritage Day. On this international holiday, held every April 18th, the world celebrates the monuments and sites that have made a mark in the heritage of a certain place. The best part is these places are free on that day!
You probably don't need anyone to explain to you why the Eiffel Tower
starts off this list. On the topic of world heritage sites that represent France, this monument takes the cake. It's practically the symbol of the country, one that immediately comes to mind whenever anyone mentions France. It's also one of the main reasons why so many tourists travel thousands or even millions of miles to go to Paris. And to think that the French used to hate it back when it was first built. Over time, however, it's become the most iconic landmark, not just in France, but in all of Europe as well.
Arc de Triomphe
If not for the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe would've topped this list. If there's one spot that you simply must see on World Heritage Day in Paris, it's this one! It's not just a beautiful site, but it also honors the soldiers who fought and fell in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It holds special meaning to the French, so much so that the arc remains the central point every Bastille Day
. The French president would lay down a tri-colored wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every year.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Although the Notre Dame Cathedral is not what it used to be, it remains an important site for Paris. For one thing, it's the perfect symbol of Gothic architecture in the city. You won't find any other church or place of worship that exemplifies this style in the same way. It's also one of the oldest churches, not just in Paris, but likely in all of Europe. It has literally stood the test of time and not even a fire is enough to bring it down. If you want to see the heritage of Paris first-hand, Notre Dame is one of the best places to do so.
More than just an important landmark itself, the Louvre Museum in the 1st arrondissement
of Paris houses the heritage of the city, the country, and even the entire continent of Europe. This place is home to many priceless artworks, most of which are pretty iconic. Of course, you already know about the “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo Da Vinci and the “Winged Victory of Samothrace” from the Hellenistic era. There's no doubt you'll learn more and more about France and the rest of Europe in this palace of artworks. And every World Heritage Day and European Heritage Day, you can go to the Louvre for free!
Palace of Versailles
While it's technically not in the city itself. the Palace of Versailles is still largely considered one of the main attractions in Paris. After all, before the French capital became the city that it is today, it was this palace that served as France's seat of power when it was still a monarchy. Many of the country's past kings have walked these halls. Not to mention other historical figures that remain ever-relevant to this day. And of course, Versailles is worth visiting for its gilded grandeur alone! It's a breathtaking site that you simply have to see in person.
Located in the 9th arrondissement
of Paris, Palais Garnier stands as a symbol of pride for French artistry. From literature to theater, the site has touched upon the many disciplines in art. Most famously, the Palais Garnier served as the setting for Gaston Leroux's novel, “The Phantom of The Opera.” It has even turned the opera house into somewhat of a legend. There are still many who walk its opulent halls and iconic grand staircase, imagining a phantom watching them from afar. But even without this famous classical French novel
, the Palais Garnier still served as the toast of the Paris elite back in the day.
Banks of The Seine
Technically speaking, there's only one UNESCO World Heritage Site in Paris: the banks of the Seine River. You're probably thinking of the river banks where people stroll in the afternoon, couples hang out, and kids play, aren't you? Well, those aren't the only banks of the Seine. In truth, many of the famous landmarks and attractions mentioned on this list are technically part of the river banks. The Seine flows near these areas, after all. But of course, the calm and chill banks that are actually near the river are far different from the imposing sites in the various neighborhoods in Paris
The Panthéon in the Latin Quarter of Paris
is another great site to visit on World Heritage Day. Why? Because it's inside this glorious monument where many French icons have been laid down to rest. They include literary legend Victor Hugo, revolutionary scientist Marie Curie, and most recently, French-American dancer Josephine Baker. You couldn't have found a better place to celebrate French and Parisian heritage than this. Those who are buried here helped make France the influential powerhouse country that it is today. Moreover, Panthéon's grand Romanesque facade is reason enough to visit the place!
Place de la Concorde
And finally, there's the Place de la Concorde. Located in the Champs-Élysées area
, it's one of the most important and historic public squares in the city. You can even spot its famous Luxor Obelisk from a mile away! But what about is so relevant to World Heritage Day in Paris? Well, this public square is often the location of many political protests and demonstrations. Even to this day, it remains the go-to place for those who want their voices heard by the people in power. Though it's been around for countless years now, its relevancy is probably the most contemporary of them all.
Celebrate World Heritage Day in Paris by going to these iconic sites. From the famous monuments to the historic landmarks, they represent the true heritage of the French capital and the entire country as well.