So, you are planning a trip to Paris? With 3 days in Paris, you will have enough time to take in the view from the Eiffel Tower, explore several Parisian neighbourhoods, eat a decent amount of Crêpes and Croissants, and fall in love with one of our favorite cities in the world. We put together this 3-day Paris itinerary to help you have the best experience.
Paris is not a once and done type of city. It is not a city to just check off your travel bucket list. Instead, it is one you will return to again and again, slowly discovering more and more of the city.
To be honest, we visited Paris five times already and are still thrilled every time. When we first visited, we had the goal to see every Christmas market in Paris. We did it and still felt like we could’ve spent endless time in the city. That’s why we came back a few weeks later, and then again, and again. And honestly, whenever we see a pictures of Paris we immediately want to leave and explore the city of love.
Paris is one of our favorite cities to visit and we find it easy to add 3 days in Paris to other travel itineraries as it’s so easy to get to Paris from other cities in Europe. For example, it’s only a 4 hour drive from Cologne or a 2 hour train trip from Brussels.
3 Days in Paris Itinerary | Highlights
- Take in the view from the Eiffel Tower
- Climb the Arc de Triomphe
- Sunset picnic with Eiffel Tower views at the Seine
- Say „hi“ to the Mona Lisa
- Wander Montmartre and see the Sacre Coeur
Best time to visit Paris
Usually, most European cities tend to have their high season around the same time. Hence, you can expect most tourists during summer vacation and Christmas. However, since Paris is beautiful year round, you will never experience the city to be completely empty but definitely less crowded during shoulder seasons.
We’d highly recommend to visit Paris once every season to experience the differences of the city. Enjoy Paris in spring when magnolias and cherry blossoms grace the streets. Or visit Paris in the summer and watch wonderful sunsets, then spend long evenings on the Seine River. Experience Paris in autumn when the city slowly dresses in gold. Or you can enjoy Paris in winter when the Christmas markets lure with the smell of mulled wine.
How to get to Paris
This year we went to Paris by car, flew once last year and once took the Thalys train from Aachen. The car and the train are arguably the cheapest and most convenient ways to get to Paris.
However, if you don’t live in a city where this is possible, you can still fly into Paris. Luckily, Paris has four airports where international flights do land and depart. The two best known and most used are Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris Orly Airport. From nearby cities, you will usually land in Charles de Gaulle whereas Paris Orly is mostly served by flights further away. On both airports you should definitely plan a little more time and make sure you don’t arrive last-minute.
How to get around in Paris
We love to walk through cities, but sometimes they’re just a little too big. Can you relate? However, it’s definitely possible to walk Paris since we’ve done it as well during our first visit when the Metro did not operate. Of course, it’s much more convenient to just use the Metro every now and then.
Paris Itinerary Day 1
Bonjour! Today you get to visit some of Paris‘ most iconic sites: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe. We love all of those three and highly recommend them to anyone! Get ready to take lots of photos and make wonderful memories in Paris.
AM | Eiffel Tower
We know that the Eiffel Tower is a touristy place, but a visit to Paris would not be complete without a view from the tower. That is especially the case if it is your first time in Paris.
The line to visit the Eiffel Tower can be epic – and we’re talking two to three hours wait! That is why we’d recommend to get there before opening time, which is around 9am. Moreover, you should book your tickets in advance or take a skip-the-line tour.
From there, you have two options to get up the Eiffel Tower: You can take an elevator or you can walk up the stairs. We’d rather take the elevator, because it takes a lot of time to walk up the stairs. If you plan to take the elevator, we’d recommend that you book your tickets to the Eiffel Tower as soon as you know your travel dates. This way, you can make sure to get the 9 am slot.
TICKETS: Online tickets go on sale 60 days in advance for the elevator and 10 days in advance for the stairs.
HOW TO GET THERE: Depending on your hotel you can easily walk or take the metro. Stop at Trocadéro with line 9.
OPENING HOURS: 9 am to 12:45 am for the elevator and stairs from June to August. 9:30 am to 11:35 pm for the elevator and 9:30 am to 6:30 pm for the stairs the rest of the year.
COSTS: €25.90 for the elevator to the top.
SOLD OUT? If tickets are sold out for your travel dates, you still have the option to book a skip-the-line tour.
Pictures of the Eiffel Tower
After enjoying the view from the top, you may want to take some pictures of the Eiffel Tower itself! We listed some of our secret Eiffel Tower spots in this post, but our favorite would be the Place du Trocadéro.
Advantage is that the Trocadéro is directly opposite of the Eiffel Tower and you don’t have to walk a long distance. However, it’s a very popular spot and nothing special anymore. If you are looking for more special and secret photo spots with Eiffel Tower views, click here.
AM | The Louvre
You might know that the Louvre is the world’s largest art museum. Back in the days, the Palais du Louvre was home to the French Kings, including Lous XIV. However, the Louvre was converted into a museum during the French Revolution in the 18th century. Nowadays, it’s particularly famous for housing the Mona Lisa and simply couldn’t miss in this 3 days in Paris itinerary for good reasons.
The Louvre is always extremely crowded. So, here are a few tips on how to skip the line at the Louvre:
- MUSEUM PASS: By purchasing the museum pass, you are allowed to skip the ticket line, but you may still have to wait in the security line. With this pass, you must book a time slot in order to guarantee access into the museum.
- ONLINE: If you book your tickets online in advance, it is guaranteed that you will wait less than 30 minutes.
- TOUR: There are numerous skip-the-line tours for the Louvre.
- GO FIRST: Be there before the Louvre opens or go in the evening before the Louvre closes.
HOW TO GET THERE: From the Eiffel Tower, you can simply walk to the Louvre or take line 8 of the metro.
OPENING HOURS: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays open until 9:45 pm and closed on Tuesdays.
COSTS: €17 for adults; people under 18 years are free.
Pictures of the Louvre
The Louvre is included in our favorite photo spots in Paris. As mentioned there, most people tend to take the touristy picture of the Louvre below their hand. We get that it’s supposed to be funny, but better options are if you go close by and take pictures without anybody in it by simply staying close to the pyramid or if you go during sunset or even after sunset.
PM | Place de la Concorde
If you want to, grab some lunch first. You can simply go to any café nearby that looks good for you! Just one tip: If the café is completely empty and next to a very full café, there might be a reason why this one isn’t full.
Then, stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries to Place de la Concorde. The place is a very famous square full of French history. Did you know that it was the spot where King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and Robespierre were executed by guillotine during the French Revolution?
You might have seen the ferry wheel at Jardin des Tuileries. So, if the line is short and you want some nice views of Paris, give it a go.
PM | Champs-Élysées
Honestly, the Champs-Élysées used to evoke thoughts of glamour and style, but it has become very touristy now. Nevertheless, it’s worth to walk through quickly, but we wouldn’t spend too much time here.
Tip: You can find two of the most popular patisseries on the Champs-Élysées. Paul Hermé and Ladurée are famous for their macarons.
PM | Arc de Triomphe
Now, it’s time to take in the view from the beautiful Arc de Triomphe. Besides Tour Montparnasse, this is one of our favorite views of Paris.
Tip: Tour Montparnasse is a building in Paris with a roof terrace overlooking Paris. It’s much cheaper than the Arc de Triomphe and the views are just as breathtaking.
If you want to have the best views of Paris, time your visit around sunset! While on the top of the Arc de Triomphe, try to look straight down! You are standing at one of the world’s largest roundabouts where twelve avenues come together.
Evening | Sunset Picnic with Eiffel Tower views
We love sunset picnics in Paris, especially if they come with Eiffel Tower views – so they had to be in this 3 days in Paris itinerary! In order to have picnic at the Seine, go shopping on a charming French street and pack all the goods: fruits, baguette, cheese, wine or whatever you like.
Then, go to Pont Alexandre III and walk down the stairs to the Seine. Voilà, enjoy your picnic watching the sunset and the Eiffel Tower flash at 10 pm (in summer).
Paris Itinerary Day 2
Bonjour, as-tu bien dormi? – French for good morning, did you sleep well?
Today, we are going to explore the Latin Quarter, the historic center of Paris, see the Notre Dame and have typical French dinner.
AM | Breakfast
Don’t stress yourself too much! At least you’re in Paris. So, take your time and enjoy a typical French breakfast with croissants, pain au chocolat, crêpes, fresh fruits, juice, cheese, jam and coffee.
Tip: Make sure your coffee is made in a French Press. This is a typical French method of coffee making.
AM | Notre Dame
Important Note: The Notre Dame suffered a devastating fire on April 15, 2019. Currently, the cathedral and the towers are closed until further notice due to restoration work. The goal is to reopen the cathedral in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
So normally you would start your day 2 of your 3 days in Paris itinerary at the Notre Dame. You can absolutely get an early start here as the Notre Dame opens at 8am, a little earlier than other spots in the city. As you might know, the Notre Dame is one of the most visited spots in Paris and something we’d highly recommend visiting.
AM | Île de la Cité
Île de la Cité is actually the small island in the center of Paris that is home to the Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle. It’s known as the historic heart of Paris and attached to the oldest bridge in Paris, the Pont Neuf.
We highly recommend to stroll around Île de la Cité and enjoy the view along the Seine River. The walk, of course, is optional but the 20 minutes are well spend.
Optional: The Conciergerie
If you are interested in French history, you should absolutely visit the Conciergerie. This is where people were imprisoned before taken to Place de la Concorde to be executed. The most famous prisoner is Marie Antoinette.
Since the Conciergerie is located right next to Sainte-Chapelle, you can easily walk there.
TICKETS: Tickets cost €9.50 and a combination ticket with Sainte-Chapelle will set you back €15.
OPENING HOURS: The Conciergerie is open every day from 9:30 am to 6 pm.
PM | Latin Quarter
Paris‘ Latin Quarter was named that because students at the Sorbonne University spoke exclusively Latin in the Middle Ages! Today, the Latin Quarter is an area that truly captures the iconic spirit of Paris. With small authentic cafés and kiosks, the Latin Quarter has an incomparable charm.
There are several hot spots and photography locations you can check out, but our favorite thing is just to wander and walk the charming cobbled streets.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
- The Pantheon – a former church and now a mausoleum. We’ve only seen it from the outside, but you can also go in and learn more about the history.
- Rue Mouffetard – one of the most picturesque and also oldest streets in Paris. Did you know that Rue Mouffetard was an inspiration for Victor Hugo when he wrote Les Miserables?
- Jardin des Plantes – one of the largest gardens in the city!
- Odette – a famous photography location in the Latin Quarter.
PM | Saint Germain des Pres
Saint Germain des Pres is known to be the chicest arrondissement in Paris and apparently a lot of people cite Saint Germain as their favorite neighborhood in Paris. If you love chic stores, great cafés and tons of picture-perfect places, then Saint Germain is the perfect arrondissement for you!
Our favorite point in the Saint Germain arrondissement is the Jardin des Tuileries. It’s right next to the Louvre and known for its beautiful Christmas market and ferris wheel that also operates year-round.
Evening | French Dinner
You haven’t been to France unless you had a typical French dinner! Here are some French dinner inspirations that you can order:
- Soupe à l’oignon – traditional French soup made of onions and beef stock, usually served with croutons and melted cheese on top.
- Coq au vin – chicken braised with wine, mushrooms, salty pork, onions and garlic.
- Cassoulet – white beans that are slowly stewed with meat.
- Boeuf bourguignon – stew made from beef braised in red wine, beef broth and vegetables.
- Chocolate soufflé – The perfect dessert if you are craving something chocolatey.
Paris Itinerary Day 3
How fast has the time passed? It’s already your last day of your 3 days in Paris itinerary! Let’s enjoy the last day to the fullest and explore one of the most popular arrondissements in all of Paris: Montmartre!
AM | Breakfast
Grab a quick breakfast at your hotel or at one of the nearby boulangeries and you’re good to go for the day! Make sure to enjoy your last day in Paris and grab an extra piece of pastry.
AM | Montmartre
Your first stop of your third day in Paris will be Montmartre. Famous for „La Maison Rose„, the rose colored house where everyone at least takes one or two pictures, Montmartre has to offer so much more!
Wandering the cobbled streets of Montmartre feels like you’ve stepped back in time to the days when Renoir and other artists roamed the streets of this charming arrondissement. Montmartre is a quirky area full of life, color and art. On top, you can discover some adorable cafés like the Café Montmartre if you like it more traditional or Café Le Consulat if you prefer an artsy café.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
- Sacre Coeur – the most beautiful church at the highest point of Paris.
- Rue l’Abreuvoir – one of the prettiest streets in Montmartre.
- Place du Terte – the liveliest part of Montmartre.
- Musée de Montmartre – a whimsical bohemian museum that is not too crowded and still a hidden gem.
- Picasso’s studio – Montmartre was home to many famous artists like Picasso. You can see Picasso’s Paris studio from the outside.
AM | Sacre Coeur
The Sacre Coeur should be on everyone’s bucket list! At least you should visit the famous basilica once. The Sacre Coeur sits atop the highest hill in Paris and the steps are a popular spot to watch the sunset. In addition, you can climb the 300 steeps to the top of the Dome for an even better view.
OPENING HOURS: 6 am to 10:30 pm for sightseeing and prayer. For more information, visit the official website.
PM | Le Marais
Le Marais is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Paris! When we first explored Paris, we found Le Marais by accident because nobody ever features Le Marais on their Paris itinerary or travel tips. However, you should definitely take some time to wander in Le Marais. There are so many cute little streets and alleyways that wait for you to discover them.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
- Place des Vosges – the oldest planned square in all of Paris and the place where Victor Hugo lived for many years.
- Librairie des Archives – a charming little bookstore and a true book lovers dream!
- Musee Picasso – a museum dedicated to Picasso’s work.
- Bastille Market – a farmers market on Thursdays and Sundays.
We really hope you enjoyed this 3 days in Paris itinerary! Here are some other posts you might want to read:
- Paris photo spots
- Secret Eiffel Tower viewpoints in Paris
- 2 days in Prague itinerary
- What it’s like to travel Paris after the pandemic
- How to take amazing couple pictures by yourself
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