I get it! How can you spend only three days in Paris and seem like you’ve seen an adequate amount of the city to visit home and inform your friends ‘I’ve visited Paris‘? The trouble is, the city of lights is just so vast there is so much to explore! However, if you plan it right, then 3 days in Paris can be the perfect amount of time. And besides, even the briefest trip to the town is magical…
Included within this Parisian itinerary, you’ll find three completely different Paris itineraries for each day, meaning that even though you have more or less time within the City of Light, you'll be able to follow each day individually and also at your own pace.
Day one is about classic Paris, the second day is more of the chic guide, and day three is all about getting to know the town on the more local level. If you’re staying in Paris for extended or less than 3 days, I’ve written helpful information on how to spend one perfect day in Paris, and how to spend five incredible days in Paris.
Day One in Paris: The Classic Paris Itinerary
For your first day within the City of Love, you’ll want to tick off because your French bucket list as you possibly can. As such, the very first 24 hours are all about seeing those iconic places which you’ve no doubt seen on countless postcards just before your city visit. So indulge your inner tourist and rest well the night time before- you’ve had a large amount of ground to cover!
Visit the Eiffel Tower for sunrise
What could possibly be more Parisian than catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower?! Start your day from the right way by partaking within an iconic photo walk along the Seine. Begin your stroll at Trocadero (metro line 9) and you’ll be greeted having a stunning water mirror shot from the Eiffel Tower.
From there, head east towards Notre-Dame and ^Ile en Cité. Along the way to the Louvre, observe that among the best places to snap photos from the Eiffel Tower is Passerelle Debilly, a little passenger footbridge that was first opened for that World’s fair in 1900.
Ever since then, The Eiffel accommodated millions of pedestrians, all wanting to obtain a better view over the Eiffel Tower and Seine river. If you’re no early riser, then the light from this bridge is also perfect around sunset and is pretty lovely during the day as well!
Unlike many other Paris itineraries, I don’t personally recommend ascending the Eiffel Tower! This is for a myriad of reasons, not least because you’ll want plenty of precious exploration time by queueing to increase. Instead, browsing the road for the Arc de Triomphe is much more rewarding and offers better views within the city.
Spend the morning checking out the Louvre
After walking across the Seine for around 40 minutes, passing iconic sites such as the Alexandre iii bridge and the Tuileries Garden, you’ll get to the world-famous Louvre Museum with that iconic glass pyramid. When you think of the Louvre, the first thoughts are probably of elbowing the right path through selfie sticks to trap a peek at the Mona Lisa.
However, the Louvre museum offers so much more than a maybe smiling muse. Home to medieval ruins and lots of priceless artefacts from around the world, the Louvre also is actually the biggest museum in the world. For those seeking to make their many of their time, you may well want to purchase a skip-the-line timed entrance ticket to the Louvre.
Highlights from the Louvre that aren’t the Hireling shepherd range from the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the rather sumptuous Napoleon III Apartments. If you want to skip the Louvre and fancy visiting a smaller, offbeat museum instead, then I recommend seeing the Musée Jacquemart André or going through the Musée National Gustave Moreau. For more practical information, take a look at my help guide to items to know before going to the Louvre
Spend the afternoon exploring ^Ile en Cité
After visiting the Louvre, directly further on the river toward ^Ile de la Cité and ^Ile Saint Louis. As one of the first places in Paris to become inhabited, ^Ile de la Cité is as full of history as the flavour of its world-famous Berthillon ice cream. If you’re seeking to explore more of this fantastic district of Paris, then my free and self-guided walking tour provides you with a complete Parisian itinerary for the area.
First things first, forget Italian gelato and pick up the Parisian speciality of lemon sorbet. Unfortunately, because of the terrible fire of Notre Dame, the church that dominates this district is closed for that foreseeable future. Luckily, there are many other great finds worth looking at, like the Gravestone Courtyard in Paris (26 Rue Chanoinesse).
In mid-spring, ^Ile en Cité (and specifically Square Jean XXIII) is definitely an incredible place to see the best cherry blossoms in Paris. Other popular features of ^Ile en Cité range from the chance to begin to see the oldest clock in Paris, as well as probably the most beautiful medieval stained glass windows on the planet in the form of Sainte Chapelle.
While on the little island, you might equally well . wish to go to the cutest cafe in Paris, Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole for any quick coffee (or glass of vino with respect to the time). Nearby, Rue des Chantres is one of the narrowest streets within the city and it is mostly of the remaining places where you are able to glean a true sense of medieval Paris.
Spend the late afternoon/ evening wandering around Le Marais
One from the must-see Parisian arrondissements, Le Marais is one of the only areas of the city to possess escaped the complete and utter overhaul of Parisian architecture by Haussmann within the 19th-century. Instead, the region containing the 3e and 4e arrondissements of the city maintains its historic and medieval vibe.
Highlights of this area of the city include treading in the footsteps of Nicolas Flamel (yes, that guy from Harry Potter would be a real person and that he lived in Paris!), visiting a former medieval mansion that has since been transformed into a public library (H^otel de Sens), not to mention, enjoying a picnic within the oldest public planned square in Paris, Place des Vosges.
Enjoy the sunset by rising the Arc de Triomphe
If you time your visit right, then you’ll be rewarded using what has become the best sunset view the city provides. So, if you’re looking to splurge on one panoramic view during Paris (and don’t feel like waiting hours to go up the Eiffel Tower!) then make it a visit to the Arc de Triomphe.
For, after paying the fee and ascending the spiralling staircase, you’ll be rewarded with picture-perfect views of the city, including to the Eiffel Tower itself. If you wish to save time and make probably the most of the 3 days in Paris, then you may also want to purchase this skip the line pass for that Arc de Triomphe.
Day Two within the French Capital: Chic Paris Itinerary
Whereas the first day in Paris involved waking before the crack of dawn (literally) to be able to begin to see the sunrise over Paris, day two of the three-day itinerary will allow you a little rest before going out to look for your day. Day two is about wandering around the chicest areas of the city to see where all of the writers and artists would hang out in the 20th-century…
Spend the morning Exploring Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Paris’ Chicest neighbourhood is the place to go should you fancy going to the shops and splashing out on a wearable souvenir. Additionally, it happens to be probably the most picturesque neighbourhoods in the city for taking photos. And thus, if you’re seeking to capture several photos with no individuals them, the earlier you go out, the greater!
Saint Germain comprises of the 6th district of the city and concentrates on a church of the identical name, the former Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Popular features of this district include armloads of quaint coffee shops, many luxury hotels, countless antique stores and also the church of Saint Sulpice (which was featured in the Da Vinci Code).
Enjoy a light bite (or refreshments) at Café de Flore
While within the 6th arrondissement, be sure to visit a minumum of one historic coffee shop. My personal recommendation? Café de Flore. Company, while this bistro and restaurant is a little on the pricier aspect, wander in at a moment and you can be prepared to be greeted with exceptional service along with a mouth-watering wine list.
First opened in the 1880s during the Third Republic, Café de Flore is definitely one of the oldest coffeehouses in the French capital and it has since become an institution of the city in its own right. As such, through the years it has gained this type of reputation that it continues to be frequented by many a famous person, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus.
Spend early afternoon ascending the Panthéon
You can’t visit Paris and never browse the city from above at least one time (or twice!)… The Paris Panthéon has everything you want from a Parisian attraction: culture, history and an entire lotta beautiful architecture. It’s the ultimate resting place of great French patriots for example Marie Curie and Voltaire.
Most days, you will find guided tours up the dome of the Panthéon where one can spy 360-degree views from the city from above. Other highlights of the Paris Pantheon include the Fouque pendulum, as well as many murals and frescoes depicting Paris’ patron Saint, Saint Genevieve. After all, the mausoleum was once a church dedicated to the Saint.
Nearby, go to the small church tucked away behind the Panthéon (those of Saint 'Etienne du Mont) and you’ll soon uncover the last surviving rood screen in a Parisian church. Other treasures important to note are a few fantastic stained glass windows in the back rooms cheap a gilt gold and glass coffin within an often overlooked chapel actually houses the relics of Saint Genevieve herself.
Spend a special afternoon going for a excursion to Versailles
Of course, no 72 hours in Paris itinerary could be complete without at least a fast mention of the Royal Palace of Versailles and maybe even an excursion to the Royal City! Best seen every day apart from Monday (when the Palace, Grand Trianon, and Petit Trianon are actually closed), the Palace of Versailles may well be the most famous ch^ateau in the world. Purchase your Versailles tickets within advance.
Versailles began as a small hunting lodge in the centre Ages (similar to the Palace of Fontainebleau). However, all this changed when Louis XIV decided he needed to own the most extravagant palace in Europe. No surprise he’s often referred to as the Sun King!
Elsewhere in the city of Versailles, there’s the ‘Hameau en Reine‘ to explore (i.e. where Marie Antoinette would play dress-up), several museums, and lots of interesting architecture to see. If you wish to visit the Versailles Domain, but aren’t sure which entrance fee to purchase, here’s an ultimate help guide to the very best Versailles tickets.
Day Three: Offbeat Paris Itinerary
Having explored the more ‘touristy’ areas of the city, your third day in Paris is going to be more about getting to know the town at a local level. Today is about exploring those areas which are often missed during a ‘classic’ Paris itinerary towards more iconic attractions such as the Louvre, Notre Dame, or even the Eiffel Tower. Of all the Paris itineraries included in this particular list, day three is most likely the best!
Spend the morning wandering around Montmartre
Of everything to fill your time and effort on your long weekend in Paris, I recommend walking around Montmartre and taking in the 18th arrondissement’s ambience. I promise you that you certainly won’t be sorry! Because the haunt of actors, writers and artists alike for decades, Montmartre has become a breeding ground of creativity as well as in places like Place du Tertre, you may still see artists painting en plein air to this very day.
From the quirky vintage and antique shops that dot the area towards the numerous cobblestoned roads, Montmartre includes a completely unique vibe that’s not replicated anywhere else within the city. Plus, of course, it’s also home to the world-famous Sacré-Coeur as well as plenty of secret spots within the 18th which few ever get to visit.
Think: La Maison Rose (an espresso shop Picasso once frequented), Place Dalida (a square along the end of the prettiest street in Paris) and Square Marcel-Bleustein-Blanchet (where you’ll discover the look at the Sacré-Coeur and a great green space to savor a picnic).
Explore the Hidden Villages of Paris
The words ‘Wine’ and ‘France’ are a very good pairing. That’s why I was so excited when I learned that you will find hidden vineyards throughout the city, in addition to plenty of secret villages. The thing is, Paris was once much smaller of computer now is and the surrounding hills were populated by villages which were communities themselves.
Today, many of these little pockets of calm remain peaceful and retain their ‘French village vibe’ even today. Some of the best places to go to in Paris where you’ll look for a life outside of Paris ambience include Butte Bergeyre, Cité Florale, and Square de Montsouris.
For lunch: pick up a pastry (or two!)
What activity is possibly more Parisian than sitting in a café and eating a pastry? If you’re spending 72 hours in Paris then this is an activity that you have to try! Before you leave the city of affection tomorrow (or later today), make sure that you’ve at least tried one of the numerous tempting pastries that the city has to offer. Otherwise, take a look at my guide regarding how to order coffee in Paris so as to get your order as being a local!
Spend a special afternoon going to the Grand Department Stores & Pigalle
If you’ve chosen to spend the morning in Montmartre rather than heading to one of Paris’ secret villages, then it’s a quick walk down the hill to see another side of Paris all over again. From Montmartre, head down towards Opera.
Along the way, you’ll pass by the world-famous ‘Moulin Rouge’ and through the ‘red-light’ district of Paris. Once in the Grand Department stores, you’ll soon discover that there’s something happening all year long. Sales are state-regulated in France and thus only take place during the summer and in the winter.
The two grand shopping complexes along Boulevard Haussmann are that of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. During Christmastime within the city, both stores are dolled up with stunning window displays and also the main art-deco cupola has a larger than life-sized Christmas tree with a different theme each year. Galeries Lafayette is also the place to find one of the best free panoramic views in the city by means of Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace.
Where to stay on your 3 days in Paris
If you’re looking for tips about where to stay on your long weekend in Paris, only then do we perhaps you have covered! between budget finds and luxury stays, the French Capital city has no lack of fantastic accommodations to suit every price point. I personally recommend booking well ahead of time so as to secure the very best deals, and particularly love staying in Le Marais and the Latin Quarter.
Budget accommodation in Paris
Les Piaules: If you’re searching for somewhere that’s fun, affordable, as well as in a vibrant area of town, then Les Piaules is situated in a skill deco building within my old neighbourhood! This hostel was opened by three travel enthusiasts and is decorated within an oh-so Parisian way. Check prices and availability here.
Perfect Hotel: For those who are seeking to visit a quirkier side of Paris on a tight budget, an ideal Hotel within the 18e arrondissement is friendly, breakfast is free, and the offbeat district of Montmartre is simply steps away. Check prices and availability here.
Mid-range accommodation in Paris
Hotel Fabric: Nestled in the heart of the 11e arrondissement and located inside an old textile factory (hence the name), this chic hotel is perfect for a weekend getaway. Nearby attractions include the trendy bars of Rue Oberkampf, along with the place where all of the Parisians hang out in the summer months, Canal Saint-Martin. Check prices and availability here.
Hotel Petit Paris: Not far from the Luxembourg Gardens and close towards the Latin Quarter of the city (an area so-called because, during the Dark ages, students of the nearby Sorbonne university would converse with one another solely in Latin), this boutique hotel is in the perfect position for exploring Paris on foot. Check prices and availability here.
Luxury accommodation in Paris
Shangri-La: If you’re looking to seriously splurge on the romantic stay on your time in the city, then this hotel faces the Eiffel Tower, hosts a 2 Michelin star restaurant and spa facilities. Check prices and availability here.
Hotel Monge: Close to the metro and with its very own spa, Hotel Monge is really a four-star hotel that’s near the Natural History Museum. Only a stone’s discard from the Seine, this accommodation is a slice of luxury in the heart of Paris. Check prices and availability here.
Paris essentials for your French Capital itinerary
Whether you’re looking to spend 72 hours or 3 weeks in Paris, you’ll need to pack several Parisian essentials in your bag to ensure that you can make probably the most of your trip. Heading to Paris the very first time? Here are my top strategies for first-time people to Paris.
Paris guidebook: For when your phone runs out of battery or technology just fails (as it so frequently does), you’ll want an old-school manual for all of the very best maps, itineraries, and café suggestions the town has to offer.
French phrasebook: French is the official language of France also it can help to know a few simple French phrases prior to going. Make certain to state ‘Bonjour’ when entering a store as it’s polite and have a small french phrasebook and dictionary with you inside your bag
Books about Paris: Before you visit the City of sunshine, you might well want to read some fiction and historical works and memoirs about the city. Listed here are my top creme en creme picks for the best books about Paris!
Walking around Paris: Like many other European capital cities, Paris is a place best explored on foot. Just be sure to bring bottles of water and suitable footwear- those cobbled lanes sure are pretty but they’re not conducive to walking well in heels! If you’re searching for a free and self-guided tour of Paris, I’ve created guides for:
Le Marais Walking Tour: History & Medieval Architecture
Montmartre Walking Tour: The very best of offbeat Paris
Old Paris Walking Tour (Better of ^Ile en Cité, Latin Quarter & Le Marais)
Paris Museum Pass: If you wish to visit a number of museums and cultural sites while in the Town of Light, you may well want to consider purchasing an all-in-one pass. This 2,4, or 6-day pass provides you with access to over 60 museums, and in some cases, offers skip-the-line options at a number of these institutions.
Comfortable shoes: When visiting any European capital, comfortable shoes are a must. And Le Marais arrondissement of Paris isn't any exception. Be sure to leave your high heel shoes at home because there are lots of cobbled streets. I personally recommend these shoes as they match both jeans and dresses. I'd also add that any kind of tennis shoes, i.e. ones like these, are actually practical for wandering round the city.
A travel adaptor: Paris, like much of mainland Europe, uses type C and E. This means that if you’re travelling from the US, Canada, the united kingdom, and many other countries, then you’ll need to buy a travel adaptor. This all in one adaptor contains USB ports and works with several different plugs.