High culture is a quintessential part of Paris’ personality, and nowhere is that better expressed than in the city’s wealth of world-class museums. From art-world heavyweights to modernist stylings, here are six of the City of Light’s top museums.
Place Dauphine, Paris, Ile-de-France, 75001
Taking the shape of the pointy tip of Île de la Cité (the small island in the middle Seine), this pocket-sized plaza is wedged between Pont Neuf and the Palais de Justice. Have a coffee or glass of wine at a restaurant, or take a lesson in how to play pétanque—a favorite pastime at Place Dauphin.
If you have more time, set out on a half-day or full-day guided walking tour of Saint Germain des Prés and the Latin Quarter, stopping to enjoy charcuterie and cheese. Or, explore the city on a bike tour from Notre Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower or from the backseat of your chauffeured classic car.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Place Dauphine is an ideal spot to relax between sightseeing and to soak up the Paris lifestyle.
- Several eateries and cafés are on the plaza’s edges.
- Compare the architecture and ambiance of Place Dauphine to Henry IV’s other grand public square, the Place des Vosges in the Marais.
How to Get There
Place Dauphine is located just east of the Pont Neuf's midpoint on Île de la Cité in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. An entry point is between the two 17th-century buildings on the bridge. Take Métro line 4 or 7 to Pont Neuf or Cité, and walk a few minutes to the square.
When to Get There
Place Dauphine is open 24-hours and is especially popular in the evenings and weekends when locals gather for an aperitif at one of the restaurants or for a competitive game of pétanque.
Playing Pétanque Similar to British lawn bowling or Italian bocce, pétanque is a game played with heavy metallic balls on a level dirt or gravel surface—and ideally, as is in the case of Place Dauphin, under the pleasant shade of plane trees. The objective is to throw the balls so they land closer to the target ball (cochonnet) than your opponents’ balls. In France, the goal is to win, but also drink wine while doing so.
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- Pont Neuf
- Paris Mint Museum (Musée de la Monnaie de Paris)
- Île de la Cité
- Sainte Chapelle
- Palais de Justice
- Fontaine Saint-Michel
- Pont des Arts
- Archaeological Crypt of Notre Dame
- Caveau de la Huchette
- Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
- Musée National Eugène Delacroix (Musee Delacroix)
- River Seine
- Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin)
- Notre-Dame Cathedral Towers (Tours de la Cathédrale Notre-Dame)