When it comes to international tourism arrivals, France blows away the competition and takes the No. 1 spot. Of the 80-million-plus people who travel to the country, it’s a virtual certainty that a majority of them are there to spend some time in the legendary capital, Paris. The numbers shouldn’t be any detraction, however. You can still visit Paris on your own terms, but it helps to know which of the tourist sights are actually skippable, which ones are worth the wait and where the best alternative attractions are.
A little bit of research within your own specific areas of interest – whether it’s coin collecting, fashion, a certain historical period, etc. – can help you find lesser-visited sights. But to get started, here’s our honest guide to what’s essential and alternatives to sights that are bigger headaches than they should be.Skippable
ShutterstockChamps Elysees |
The boulevard that stretches from the Tuileries to the Arc de Triomphe does provide a famous view, but it’s become lined with stores you can find anywhere and tourist-trap restaurants that mostly want to charge you an arm and a leg for anything you want to order.
Francesco | ShutterstockThe Louvre |
It might sound like borderline heresy to direct anyone away from this massive institution of the arts, but the city has so many other worthwhile museum options – often without the huge lines and elbow-throwing crowds.
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