Paris landmarks attract tourist hoardes

Thirteen Paris landmarks attracted more than one million visitors last year but the Nôtre Dame Cathedral was top choice and far ahead of the emblematic Eiffel Tower, the city's tourism office said on Monday.

Paris landmarks attract tourist hoardes

The Gothic cathedral on a little islet on the River Seine drew 13.6 million tourists, followed by Sacré Coeur – a basilica perched on a hill in Montmartre overlooking the city – whic attracted 10.5 million.

Nearly nine million went to the Louvre and the numbers at one of the world’s largest museums increased 5.6 percent year-on-year, while the Eiffel Tower got 7.1 million visitors, also a 5.6 percent increase.

The Pompidou Centre, a museum designed in the style of high-tech architecture by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano, was visited by 3.6 million people.

The Musée d’Orsay, housing an impressive collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings in a converted railway station, attracted 3.1 million.

“Visiting museums and monuments constitutes the main motivation for visiting Paris (65 percent),” said the office in a statement.   

“With 72.6 million visitors, the numbers going to the 64 Parisian cultural sites surveyed increased by more than 2.5 percent” year-on-year, it said.

“Americans and Britons comprised the largest number of visitors” to museums, it said, stressing that the numbers of Brazilians, Russians and Chinese had risen substantially.