First off, what an amazing city! Partially because of the iconic sites that we have dreamed of seeing our entire lives, but also because of an authentic culture that is very different from our own. As a general rule, Kailah and I don't spend significant time in cities in Europe, but there are some exceptions and Paris is one of them.
If you are a first time visitor, grab yourself a bottle of wine from a grocery store and head for the Eiffel Tower. Find a bench. Sit down and take it all in. You are in Paris my friend and I can't think of a better way to appreciate where you are. In 2015, we followed these exact steps and then waited for it to get dark. There are two Eiffel Towers in Paris. One in the daylight and one at night. The day time tower is beautiful and represents the pictures we've seen throughout our lives. BUT the night time Eiffel tower is the more beautiful of the two. We admired it from the ground and then took an elevator up to appreciate Paris from one of the towers viewing decks. It is an all around stunning experience. Beyond the tower, we enjoyed the remainder of the touristy sites as well. We visited the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Coronation and many other masterpieces within the Louvre. We also waited in line for a self guided tour through Notre Dame cathedral and lit a few candles for our loved ones. We even took the train over to the sprawling campus of the Palace of Versailles - highly recommended.
Aside from the attractions, Paris offers much, much more. We stayed on a lively little street close to the Eiffel Tower called Rue Cler. It had cobble stone streets, restaurants, bakeries and fresh food markets. You could literally walk out of the hotel and meander into a small shop for a fresh baguette, which was baked that morning. Or sit down for an espresso and croissant at a traditional Parisian cafe. This is the part of this city that leaves a lasting impression - food, people, culture. Plus, where else can you find a crepe stand around every corner.