Sights and Landmarks in Paris near Hôtel Plaza Athénée
For all of its 21st century dynamism, Paris is a city where the past is very much alive. Wander its streets and you’ll find yourself almost tripping over historic landmarks, they are so numerous and tightly packed. From famous museums and architectural icons to beautiful public parks, this two-day itinerary will help you discover some of the City of Light’s classic sights.
Get the day started with a visit to the Eiffel Tower, just 20 minutes’ walk or 10 minutes by taxi from the hotel.
The one truly unmissable landmark in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, in all its grandeur, remains undiminished when viewed up-close (despite its familiarity). Once the tallest manmade structure in the world, the 324-metre-high, wrought iron monument pierces the Parisian skyline.
Les Invalides is then a 25-minute walk or 10-minute taxi ride from the Eiffel Tower.
Built originally as a hospital for wounded soldiers in the 17th century, Les Invalides is today an expansive complex that’s frequented by history buffs. Perhaps best known as the final resting place for Napoléon, whose marble tomb draws great crowds, the landmark also houses the Musée de l’Armée, which examines French military history throughout the ages.
From Les Invalides, it’s a 20-minute walk or 10-minute taxi ride to the Musée d’Orsay.
Housed in the palatial confines of an enormous former railway station, the Musée d’Orsay is one of Europe’s finest art museums. With a collection spanning the years between 1848 and 1914, and focusing largely on Impressionism, the institution’s vast offerings include masterpieces by artists the likes of Manet, Seurat and Mondrian.
Then, the Île de la Cité is 10 minutes away by taxi, or 25 minutes’ walk.
Île de la Cité
Located in the very heart of Paris, the Île de la Cité is a miniscule island in the middle of the Seine. The site of Paris’s first settlement, its most famous resident is the spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral. An early evening amble along the Pont Neuf allows flâneurs to traverse the island’s northern tip as they cross between the Left and Right Banks.
Next, take a 15-minute taxi ride to the Opéra Bastille.
Behind a shimmering, tiered glass façade, the 2,745-seat auditorium of the Opéra Bastille awaits. Distinctively contemporary in design, the venue is a standout amidst the array of more traditional theatres across Paris. Designed by architect Carlos Ott and officially unveiled in 1989, the Opéra Bastille today serves as the home base for the Opéra National de Paris.
The hotel is then 25 minutes away by taxi.
Start the day with a five-minute drive or 25-minute walk along the Seine to the Musée de l’Orangerie.
Musée de l'Orangerie
While the Musée de l’Orangerie has a laudable collection of 20th century artworks, including pieces by Renoir, Matisse, and Picasso, the crowning glory of the collection remains Monet’s beautiful Water Lilies cycle. The eight massive paintings are laid out according to Monet’s own suggestions, making for a staggering visual experience.
From the Orangerie, the Grand Palais is a 15-minute walk along the Seine.
One of several key landmarks created for the World’s Fair in 1900, the Grand Palais is a striking blend of baroque and classical architecture using stone, steel and glass. Used as a hospital in WWI, today it houses a science museum, art gallery and space for major events.
Walk out of the Grand Palais onto the Champs-Élysées.
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Scenic, tree-lined and infinitely stylish, the Champs-Élysées is the most famous street in Paris. Lined with luxury boutiques, restaurants and theatres, and ending at the Arc de Triomphe, this revered boulevard features at the top of most visitors’ lists.
Walk to the western end of Avenue des Champs-Élysées to reach the Arc de Triomphe.
Arc de Triomphe
Built in the early 19th century to commemorate those who perished during the Napoleonic Wars, the imposing Arc de Triomphe marks the western end of the Champs-Élysées. Among the best-known and most recognisable landmarks in the city, it also hosts the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and an observation deck offering some of the best views in Paris.
To spend the afternoon at the Château de Versailles, take a 30-minute taxi directly to the palace.
Château de Versailles
Synonymous with royal splendour and excess, the Palace of Versailles – located just southwest of the city – is one of France’s most enduring architectural icons. The former domain of Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, and other members of the French royalty, its monumental dimensions, sprawling gardens and collection of artworks make for a fascinating afternoon of exploring.
The hotel is then 35 minutes from the palace by taxi.
All journey times are approximate and subject to variation.