looking up at sacre coeur white church in paris from green hill

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

This triple-domed, snow-white Romano-Byzantine style church on a hilltop in Montmartre was commissioned as an act of contrition after the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). Construction began in 1875, and the basilica was completed in 1914, just in time for another dustup with the Germans. The rich mosaics inside are impressive, but the main reason to come here is for the views from the dome. Open daily. 

Editors' Picks
River in Paris with a bridge and an open boat

Bateaux les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf

Whether it’s your first or 40th visit to Paris, a cruise on the Seine is a delightful way to see the city with minimal effort. My favorite cruise line is the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf; it uses smaller boats and departs from a convenient mooring on the Île de la Cité.

Tip: Don’t bother with a dinner cruise; the food’s lousy and the service is rushed to squeeze the meal into the time allotted. If you really want a dinner cruise, contact our bookings team about a private boat to rent. 

Editors' Picks
The garden at the Bourdelle Museum in Paris

Bourdelle Museum

Any visitors who love the Musée Rodin should also be aware that one of the master’s students, the amazing Antoine Bourdelle, has an atelier museum on the Left Bank as well. The location is more afield (in the shadow of the horrid Tour Montparnasse) but Musée Bourdelle occupies the sculptor’s former home and workshop, and his large-scale works in the gardens are incredible. Plus, there’s a vegetable-forward restaurant named after Bourdelle’s daughter Rhodia, with a terrace. It’s a perfect little find.

looking up at gothic towers of notre dame on gray sky day in paris

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Commissioned in 1160 by Bishop Maurice de Sully, Notre-Dame is one of the world’s most profoundly moving Christian cathedrals. After the restoration that was completed in 2002, the soft biscuit-color of the stone of the facade is visible again (it had been blackened by centuries of pollution), providing a chance to see it as people in medieval times did. The cathedral was built on holy ground—the site of a Gallo-Roman temple to Jupiter—and has evolved through the centuries. Badly damaged during the French Revolution, it received a heavy-handed restoration in the 1800s, giving the interior the look it has today (nearly all the stained glass dates to this overhaul with the notable exception of two of the famous Rose windows, which date back to the 13th century).

The exterior better expresses the cathedral’s original vocation, since the delicate stone filigree of its twin towers and above its doors could only have been accomplished in a trance of Christian piety. You may wonder if climbing the 422 steps in the north tower for a view of Paris (not to mention the long lines) is worth it…it is for the views and coming face-to-face with the church’s enormous bells en route. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides, including historians who specialize in education and are specially trained to engage children. Open daily. 

Please note that, following the fire in April 2019, the interiors of Notre-Dame are temporarily closed for renovations.

Editors' Picks
red neon sign sticking out of parisian building saying caveau de la huchette

Caveau de la Huchette

This is the quintessential Latin Quarter jazz hole with reliably good acts.

Interior View - Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Centre Georges Pompidou

Europe’s largest repository of modern art may not have fulfilled former President Pompidou’s mission to make Paris a center of modern art that rivals New York, but nonetheless it’s become a highly popular and important museum. The form-follows-function haute industrial design, by architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, shook up Paris when it emerged on the edge of Les Halles in the late ’70s, but today it has an almost kitschy charm. Plan a full day to see the museum’s collection of contemporary works from 1905 to the present—from Primitivism, Fauvism, Cubism, Dada and Surrealism to the postwar period, when American artists came to dominate the international scene. There’s a first-rate photography collection, including works by Brassaï, Man Ray, Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau. Service at Georges, the top-floor restaurant has superlative views and it’s ideal for lunch. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides. Closed Tuesday. 

garden with a white manor at the end

Château de Bagatelle

The charming Château de Bagatelle in Paris is the last royal residence built before the French Revolution.

Chateau de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Less than fifteen miles outside of Paris is the great Chateau where Louis XIV was born. The building now houses the National Museum of Archaeology but it is also provides a wonderful overview of French history since it featured prominently during many reigns and the Revolution. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange half-day visits with one of our preferred guides.

Cinq Mondes

Located near the Opéra Garnier in the 9th arrondissment, the original Cinq Mondes, the showcase Paris branch of this highly professional French spa company, boasts treatments from all over the globe. A second location is found inside Paris Samaritaine in the 1st. Closed Sunday. 

stone museum entrance with square pillars

Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

This museum, which documents twelve centuries of France’s architecture, opened in 2007 when the 86,000 square-foot museum reopened after a ten-year renovation. An article written by Elaine Sciolino in the New York Times stated: “With three galleries and 86,000 square feet of space, the City of Architecture and Heritage bills itself as the largest architectural museum in the world. It is housed in the east wing of the Palais de Chaillot, at the Place du Trocadéro on a hill overlooking the curve of the Seine, with gorgeous views of Paris, including a straight-on view of the Eiffel Tower just across the river.”

Aerial View -  Les Docks, Paris, France - Courtesy of Jakob MacFarlane

Cité de la Mode et du Design

Architects Dominique Jakob and Brenda MacFarlane transformed a warehouse dating from 1907 into the city’s Cité de la Mode et du Design. Think of it as Paris’ version of New York’s Meatpacking District in the nineties. There are several eating and drinking establishments including Wanderlust and Café Oz Rooftop, which boast great views out over the Seine. Pop-up galleries and boutiques round out the offerings.

Exterior View - Day Trip: Auvers-sur-Oise , Paris, France - Courtesy P. Poschadel

Day Trip: Auvers-sur-Oise

Vincent Van Gogh spent the last few months of his life in the small, scenic village of Auvers-sur-Oise, located 20 miles north of Paris. The sleepy town remains for the most part unchanged since the late 19th century, when the artist depicted its wheat fields and landmarks in the 70-odd works he painted while in residence. Stroll the town's streets, visit the church (Van Gogh’s painting of it hangs in Musée d’Orsay), and pay your respects at the cemetery where both Vincent and his brother Theodore Van Gogh were laid the rest. Visitors can enjoy a surprisingly tasty lunch at the charming Auberge Ravoux restaurant (www.maisondevangogh.fr) before touring the inn upstairs, home to the room where Van Gogh lived and ultimately met his end with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides.

Exterior View - Day Trip: Barbizon ,  Paris, France - Courtesy Remi Jouan

Day Trip: Barbizon

Located just an hour’s drive from Paris on the edge of the Fontainebleau forest, the village of Barbizon makes for a wonderful day trip into the French countryside (and a lovely paring with a visit to Chateau Fontainebleau). In the 1830s, the quaint town attracted many painters — they later became known as the Barbizon School — who captured its charm and surrounding forest landscape. Upon arrival, you will see how little has changed since the early 19th century. Walk the village’s narrow streets and stop into small boutiques and galleries before visiting the Ganne Inn — now the Museum of Barbizon (www.seine-et-marne.fr— where many notable artists took up residence. Have lunch at one the town’s charming restaurants, like Les Biches (5 Grande Rue; 33-01-64-71-08-80), a gastro-inn that serves artful and creative fare. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides.

Day Trip: Chartres

The cathedral of Chartres, the largest one in France and about an hour by train from the Gare Montparnasse, is a fine example of Gothic architecture, with magnificent 12th- and 13th-century stained glass. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides. Open daily.

Day Trip: Château de Chantilly

This lovely château north of Paris is the centerpiece of the town of Chantilly, home to the princes of Condé, cousins of the king, for centuries. The château contains the charming Musée Condé, which possesses the second largest collection in France (after the Louvre) of 16th- to 19th-century French and Italian painting, and the Musée Vivant du Cheval houses a dozen breeds of horses and is fun for kids. Bring a picnic and enjoy the castle’s park, which was designed by André Le Nôtre, the future landscape designer of Versailles. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides. Closed Tuesday.

Exterior View - Château de Fontainebleau , Paris, France - Courtesy Pier G.

Day Trip: Château de Fontainebleau

Located an hour southeast of Paris and surrounded by 130 acres of parks and gardens, the 1,500-room Chateau de Fontainebleau makes a wonderful day trip for return visitors to Paris. The enormous palace was continuously inhabited for seven centuries from the medieval era through the Second Empire, and every ruler left his or her own distinct mark. Many apartments, chapels and rooms are open to the public, and, compared to Versailles, the property is not overly touristed. (This château, too, features original furnishings through; the same cannot be said of Versailles). Don't miss the Gallery of Francois I (it inspired Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors), Marie Antoinette’s Turkish Boudoir or the Gallery of Diana. Spend some time strolling the impressive grounds before continuing on to lunch in Barbizon or a visit to Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, both of which are less than 30 minutes away and make a nice pairing with Fontainebleau for a historic day in the countryside. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides.

manicured gardens with a fountain in the middle

Day Trip: Château de Versailles

There’s no other palace in Europe as dazzling as Versailles, and this, of course, was the point of Sun King Louis XIV, who ordered the lavish remodeling of the château in order to project his wealth and power. Plan to spend a day at Versailles, as you don’t want to miss a tour of the royal apartments and the gardens. In addition to the well-known rooms, including the Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors), and others like the Grand Appartement, where the king held court, consider one of the tours that look at the royals’ private life, including the Salle de Bains (bathroom) of Louis XV, and the Belvedere Pavilion, Marie Antoinette’s music room. Its boiseries were considered avant-garde for their day, and they’re the work of Richard Mique, who drew inspiration from the discoveries at Pompeii and Herculaneum—when all of Europe was in the early throes of a fascination with the ancient world.

Take the mini-train to Marie Antoinette’s estate, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon, where you shouldn’t miss the exquisite Rococo theater where the queen often performed. If you have more time, don’t miss the Potager du Roi, a walled garden that supplied the palace with fruit and vegetables, and the Royal Stables, completed in 1682 to house the king’s six hundred horses. Today, the stables are home to Bartabas and his Académie du Spectacle Équestre, and the shows they perform are huge crowd pleasers. Closed Monday.

Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides, or picnic and biking tour of the grounds.

Editors' Picks
gothic cathedral

Day Trip: Reims

The Champagne capital is easily reached by train from the Gare de l’Est. You can tour the vineyards (most by appointment only) of the famous Champagne region, including Veuve Clicquot. The cathedral of Reims is a Gothic stunner with an impressive history (numerous French monarchs were officially crowned), height and art works (including stained glass windows by Marc Chagall). The restaurant Le Parc Les Crayères has two Michelin stars and lavish interiors. Surprisingly there are no wonderful country hotels in Reims, so it's best to make this a day trip. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides.

Day Trip: Troyes

A little-known but enchanting small city of half-timbered houses southeast of Paris, Troyes (pronounced like the number trois) also has a number of museums, notably the Musée d’Art Moderne, and a romantic hotel, Le Champs des Oiseaux. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides.

Day Trip: Vaux-le-Vicomte

Just an hour from Paris, this château is a wonderful, well-kept secret. Commissioned in the mid-17th-century by Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s finance minister, the castle was the work of architect Louis Le Vau, landscape designer André Le Nôtre and decorator Charles Le Brun. Unfortunately, the beauty of Vaux-le-Vicomte inspired Louis XIV not only to completely remodel Versailles but also to throw Fouquet in prison in a fit of jealous pique. Wear walking shoes: the gardens, a masterpiece of classical French design takes several hours to thoroughly explore (though you can also visit by golf cart). For something really special, visit on Saturdays nights from June to October, when the château is candlelit. There is a shuttle service between the castle and the train station in Melun, and trains for Melun depart from Paris’ Gare de Lyon. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange visits with one of our preferred guides.

Espace Bien-Être

From the subtle jade wallpaper and polished light wood floors of the sparkling-new treatment rooms to the blue tiling that makes the pool floor look like a glistening oriental carpet, the Espace Bien-Etre softly echoes the hotel’s overall Asian-infused décor. Treatments featuring CARITA’s haute beauté products range from hot stone massages to anti-wrinkle facials. For those who want to work up a sweat, there is a sunlit state-of-the-art fitness center. In warm weather the landscaped outdoor patio adjoining the indoor pool deck, makes a lovely spot for a post-cardio fruit juice or light snack.

modern museum exterior that is part glass with a crystal LV on it

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Opened in fall 2014 in a striking Frank Gehry-designed building set amidst the pastoral greenery of the Bois du Boulogne, the Fondation Louis Vuitton houses luxury conglomerate LVMH’s impressive art collection and hosts temporary art exhibitions, concerts and performances under its undulating glass canopy-style roof. Check the website for current programming.

Giacometti Institute, Paris, France

Giacometti Institute

The Giacometti Institute is a tiny but worthwhile museum in Montparnasse (a short 10-minute drive from central Paris) that is dedicated to Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti and features a recreation of his studio filled with some of the pieces he was working on just prior to his death.
classical building with a dome and columns

Grand Palais

Built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900 (alongside the Pont Alexandre III and the Gare d’Orsay), the Grand Palais is an architectural showstopper of ironwork and glass. Under renovation for twelve years, it reopened in 2005. The main nave rises a soaring 197 feet, making it light-soaked, gorgeous space for special exhibits, which are scheduled throughout the year and are the only times visitors can access the massive monument.

Hotel de la marine interior

Hôtel de la Marine

Hôtel de la Marine is an 18th-century palace located in the heart of Paris and anchors one side of the Place de la Concorde (opposite the Hôtel de Crillon). It served as the home of the French Navy Ministry from 1789–2015. Since June 2021, after being covered with scaffolding for four years during a massive restoration, it has become home to a new museum celebrating 18th-century splendor. More than 130 million euros were spent restoring the grand spaces, which were originally built to house the incredible royal collection of antique fabrics and furnishings. The curators have staged the apartments to show how a nobleman in pre-Revolutionary times would have lived.

Indagare can arrange special-access tours of Hôtel de la Marine. Contact your Trip Designer or email info@indagare.com to learn more and inquire.

Editors' Picks
Pompidou center corridor in Paris France

Indagare Tours: Art for Families

Gather the whole family for this contemporary art tour that is not just interactive and entertaining, but also educational. Begin at the Pompidou before heading to a number of smaller galleries with especially engaging exhibits from all different mediums. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange this tour with one of our preferred guides trained to work with families.

floral fabric in an ornate drawer

Indagare Tours: Artisan Paris

Enjoy off-the-beaten-path Paris during this morning walking tour of the city’s artisan workshops—hidden among winding alleys and ivy-laden courtyards. Uncover the workspaces of gilders, cabinetmakers, upholsterers and more before shopping Paris’ vibrant markets for such treats as spices, truffle oils, cheeses and flowers. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team to arrange this half-day tour with one of our preferred guides.


Indagare employees walking up stiars

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