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Top Rated Attractions in Paris

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Musée d'Orsay

Nearly 2.5 million visitors each year come to see Musée d'Orsay's mammoth collection of French art. The building itself, called the Gare d'Orsay, was built as a railway station in 1900; the principal gallery of the ground floor, 138 meters long (453 feet) and 32 meters tall (105 feet), is a reminder of the building's history. Among the masterpieces in this gallery are the scandalous Enterrement à Ornans by Gustave Courbet and the Glaneuses by Jean-François Millet. Fans of impressionism should head directly up to the fifth floor, where works by the greatest masters of this genre can be found.

Parc de la Villette

Parc de la Villette is spread over three kilometers (one-and-a-half miles), is first and foremost a park where both children and parents can play and relax. With its wooded glens, a canal winding through the lawns, staircases climbing up the hillsides to lovely views, and flat lots for roller blading, this place is very popular on sunny Sundays. Children of all ages are invited to unleash their imaginations here: dragon gardens, astounding acrobatics, gentle dunes, and rolling fog set the stage. Linger for awhile in the Bamboo Garden to hear the wind blowing through these enormous grasses and imagine you are surrounded by jungle!

Paris Catacombs

Hidden beneath "The City of Light" is a dark underworld, the final resting place of more than six million Parisians. The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries formed of a network of tunnels, caves, and quarries filled with mortal remains, where the former citizens of Paris now form a part of its foundation. As Paris went on its way to becoming an important hub, thousands flocked to the city. This spurred justified concerns about the limited cemetery space, leading to the creation of the catacombs in 1810 at the site of the old Montrouge stone quarries. Although in use as an ossuary as early as the 1780s, it was not until this time that the catacombs were organized. The bones were arranged as per the cemeteries they were taken from, creating a subterranean skeletal world, where the last of the lot were brought down in 1860. During World War II, this network of galleries was used as a hideaway for the Résistance movement; its vastness and the discretion of its entrances were great assets indeed. These ossuaries, illustrated by texts, create a chilling atmosphere and describe some of the defining events in the history of Paris, giving visitors substance for meditation. It is also occasionally used as a macabre venue for concerts, parties and other events.

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Parc de la Villette is the setting for this huge science museum best known for its Géode dome and impressive 180-degree cinema. Natural and scientific phenomena are explained with the help of exhibitions in an area specially designed with kids in mind. Children aged three and over can visit a real submarine, the Argonaute, and find out how it works; temporary exhibitions are organized in Espace Explora.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Opened in 1867, this park was built by Jean-Charles Alphand who designed a number of parks during the reign of Napoleon III. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is spread over 24.7 hectares (61.03 acres) and features an artificial lake, a rocky island, exotic trees, bridges, waterfalls and a grotto. The most significant part of the park is the Temple de la Sibylle which is a scaled-down replica of the iconic Roman Temple of Vesta. The public park also has restaurants, puppet theaters and other facilities making it very popular among locals and tourists alike. A stroll through the historic Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is definitely worthwhile.

Jardin du Luxembourg

The ground on which the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Palais du Luxembourg stand was originally the site of a Roman camp. In 1257, the Chartreux religious order bought the land and built a monastery here, while the princess regent Marie de Médicis had the palace built in 1615. This is one of Paris' favorite gardens. With a truly beautiful layout, the park is popular with students and residents in the city's Latin Quarter. Children can go on pony rides, play on swings and sail their toy boats on the octagonal pond. This park is a much-loved and popular meeting place.

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