Top attraction ... Notre Dame Cathedral.

Top attraction ... Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo: AFP

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

The Gothic cathedral on a little islet on the River Seine drew 13.6 million tourists, followed by Sacre Coeur -- a basilica perched on a hill in Montmartre overlooking the city -- which 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 per cent 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 Musee 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 per cent)," 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 per cent" 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.

AFP