Paris has so many highlights it’s hard to know where to start. World-class museums, iconic monuments, hidden cocktail bars and third wave coffee shops. Here’s how to make the most out of 3 days in Paris.


The problem with Paris is there’s just too much to do.

Rambling cobbled lane ways meet grand boulevards where triumphant monuments to victories past, stand unscathed from the battles that followed. Stunning buildings appear to have swallowed the world’s finest art treasures, and towering basilicas showcase impressive stained glass windows.

Eating a pastry from a tiny boulangerie while strolling along the Seine will prove that Paris has a beauty that doesn’t fade no matter how many times you visit.

We’re under no illusion that Paris can be fully explored in 3 days. This itinerary puts all our favourite top sights in the right order – plus some lesser-known gems – to save time. You won’t see all of Paris, but you will have some great experiences with plenty of time to enjoy them.


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3 DAYS IN PARIS OVERVIEW

DAY 1 AM / Jardin du Palais Royal & Musée Louvre

DAY 1 PM / Latin Quarter, Notre Dame & Le Marais

DAY 2 AM / Musée Rodin, Third Wave Coffee and Eiffel Tower

DAY 2 PM / Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe

DAY 3 AM / Musée D’Orsay, Tuileries & Opéra

DAY 3 PM / Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre and Pigalle


WHY GO TO PARIS?

Perusing the best art galleries in the world

Strolling boulevards of architectural gems

More grand monuments than you can possibly imagine

Getting lost in laneways and cobbled streets

Dining at cute French cafes and bistros

To savour the most beautiful city in the world

3 Days in Paris: Quite simply the most beautiful city in the world

DAY 1 AM / JARDIN DU PALAIS ROYAL & MUSÉE LOUVRE

Begin your 3 days in Paris with a quick stroll through the box hedge framed symmetry of the Jardin du Palais Royal. It’s surrounded by the beautiful architecture of Paris and one end houses a polka dot art installation.

Walk the short distance to the Louvre to immerse yourself in possibly the world’s premier museum and a Paris icon. It’s impossible to see everything in one visit so pick what interests you. The French & Italian masterpieces are the most popular thanks to a truly world-class collection including the Mona Lisa. Napoleon’s lavish well-preserved apartments are another gem.

Grab a classic lunch at the reasonably priced Au Vieux Comptoir where the service is friendly and the atmosphere trés French.


Musée Louvre / 9:00 – 18:00 Mon, Thu, Sat & Sun; 09:00 – 21:45 Wed & Fri | Price: €17 online; €15 at museum | Location: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

DAY 1 PM / LATIN QUARTER, NOTRE DAME & LE MARAIS

After lunch take a 15-minute stroll down the Seine to the stunning Sainte Chappelle. Tucked away behind the Palais du Justice, the upstairs chapel – completely adorned with stained glassed windows – is simply breath-taking.

Next, head back onto the left bank of the Seine to the Latin Quarter stopping at Shakespeare & Company bookstore. It’s a small but rambling store with old books crammed into every nook.

Exiting the bookstore, the majestic cathedral of Notre Dame rises up in front of you. Head over and join the queue for the climb up the tower, which is well worth the wait. If you need re-energising, make your way behind Notre Dame and over the bridge for some delicious ice cream at the institution that is Berthillon. It’s rich creamy and perfect.

Next, head over the river past the impressive Hotel du Ville and explore the shopping, drinking and eating opportunities in the laneways of Le Marais. Mustering the last pieces of tourist energy, potter around the modern art collection at the Pompidou Centre, which stays open until 10 pm.

ROAM / CITIES

Sainte Chapelle / 9:00 – 17:00 (1 Oct-31 Mar); 09:00 – 19:00 (1 Apr-30 Sep) | Price: €10 | Location: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris

Shakespeare & Company Bookstore / 10:00 – 22:00 | Price: Free | Location: 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris

Notre Dame / 8:00 – 18:45 (Mon-Fri); 8:00 – 19:15 Sat & Sun | Price: Cathedral free; bell towers €8.50 | Location: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris

Pompidou Centre / 11:00 – 22:00 (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun); 11:00 – 23:00 (Thu); Closed: Tue & 1 May | Price: €14 | Location: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris

DAY 2 AM / MUSÉE RODIN, THIRD WAVE COFFEE & EIFFEL TOWER

Start the second of this 3 days in Paris at the Musée Rodin. One of the most unique galleries in Paris, it has an excellent collection of Rodin’s sculptures both inside the museum and in the formal gardens. Works by Van Gogh and Monet are an added bonus.

Head to Coutume Café for brunch and one of the best coffees in Paris. They roast their own beans and work them into a dense velvety coffee, which goes perfectly with their small selection of seasonal brunch items.

Recharged, walk to Champ de Mars for a magnificent vista over the iconic Eiffel Tower – a view that rivals some of the best hotels in Paris with a view.

Personally, we think the views from other monuments are easier and better, but if you want to take the lift to the summit, make sure you buy tickets in advance to skip the queue.


Musée Rodin / 10:00 – 17:45 Tue-Sun; Closed Mon | Price: €12 | Location: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris

Eiffel Tower / 9:00 – 22:30 for the top; until 23:00 late Jun to early Sep | Price: Multiple prices, book online here | Location: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue, 75007 Paris

DAY 2 PM / CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES & ARC DE TRIOMPHE

Cross the river to the Jardins de Trocadero and collect some photos from one of the best vantage points of the Eifel Tower. Then, stroll along the river to the glorious Pont Alexander III and the nearby stunning Petit & Grand Palais.

Walk along the Champs-Élysées and stop at Ladurée for a delicious macaroon. Avoid the take away line by queueing up for the restaurant. Efficient servers whisk macaroon-only patrons past the gorgeous restaurant and up to the eccentric bar where it’s perfectly acceptable to lunch on macaroons and a cup of tea.

As the afternoon wanes, head to the Arc de Triomphe; a monumental arch built by Napoleon to honour his army. Today the tomb of the unknown soldier sits at its base and the eternal flame commemorating those that died in war is re-lit every day at 18:30. After admiring the decorative pylons from below, climb up to the viewing platform to enjoy one of the best views in town as the sun sets over the second of your 3 days in Paris.


Arc de Triomphe / 10:00 – 22:30 | Price: €8 | Location: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris

DAY 3 AM / MUSÉE D’ORSAY, TUILERIES & OPÉRA

Start today at the Musée d’Orsay. Housed in a magnificent railway station, it has the world’s largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world.

Cross over the Seine and explore the Tuileries. For a unique art experience, pop into Musée de l’Orangerie which houses Monet’s Water Lillies in a purpose built modern room. The only place in the world you can see this creation.

Stroll past the Place de la Concorde, l’Eglise de Madeleine and the rather impressive Palais Garnier, before grabbing lunch in the covered shopping arcades. Passage des Panoramas is full of enticing food shops and quirky merchandise. Passage Jouffroy is packed full of quaint boutiques and cute bookshops.


Musée d’Orsay / 9:30 – 18:00 (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun); 9:30 – 21:45 Thur; Closed Mon | Price: €14 | Location: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris

Musée de l’Orangerie / 9:00 – 18:00 Wed – Mon; Closed Tue | Price: €9 | Location: Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris

DAY 3 PM / SACRÉ-CŒUR, MONTMARTRE & PIGALLE

In the afternoon hop on metro 12 at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette to Abbesses. Stroll up the hill and around the delightful squares of Montmartre, before popping into Espace Dalí. It’s a fantastic collection of Dalí’s work and one of the many cool things to do in Paris. The gallery has insightful information to help interpret his more inaccessible pieces.

As the light wanes head to Sacré Cœur. This dome basilica offers a picture postcard Paris moment. Climb the 300 stairs to the top of the basilica for unrivalled views of the city in the fading light.

For dinner, head to Le Grand 8 for a modern casual good value French bistro with a short menu that changes every day – one of the great food experiences in Paris. As the evening rolls in stroll down to Pigalle to explore the area around Moulin Rouge and enjoy a proper Parisian cocktail in one of the many places packed into Rue Frochot.

Dirty Dick gets our pick for the weird cocktails and friendly staff. But if you’re more sophisticated than us, you might enjoy Glass. Either way, it’s a great way to end your 3 days in Paris.


Sacré Cœur / 6:30 – 22:30 (Basilica); 8:30 – 20:00 (Dome) May – Sep; 9:00 – 17:00 Oct – Apr | Price: Basilica free; Dome: €5 | Location: 1 Parvis du Sacré-Cœur, 75018 Paris

Espace Dalí / 10:00 – 18:00 | Price: €9 – €12 | Location: 11 Rue Poulbot, 75018 Paris

ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO HELP PLAN YOUR OWN 3 DAYS IN PARIS

We believe that a little pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination, will help make your travels far more successful. Here’s some further information we think you might need to plan your own 3 days in Paris.

GETTING AROUND PARIS

Most international flights land at Charles de Gaulle airport. It’s a 40-minute taxi ride to the centre of Paris, but it’s much cheaper to hop on the métro and take RER line B.

The Paris Métro is extensive and quick making it a good option for zipping around the city. A ‘carnet’ of 10 tickets costs €14.90 and is excellent value.

But by far the best way to get about the city is to walk. Paris is simply a stunning place to amble around. Our 3 days in Paris itinerary attempts to stroll the best parts of the city without doing too much walking on any one day. You can find all the places we visited on the map below, colour coded by day 1, day 2 and day 3.

Looking to use Paris as a base, here’s some inspiration for fantastic day trips from Paris.

BEST TIME TO GO TO PARIS

The best time to visit Paris is during the shoulder seasons of April to June and September to November. The crowds are fewer than in summer and the temperature milder than winter. Our personal favourite is May to June when the gardens are green and packed with flowers and the days are long.

But to be honest, any time is a good time to visit Paris.

COSTS OF OUR 3 DAYS IN PARIS

The total cost of our 3 days in Paris for two people, excluding international flights, was €1,250. With Dec 2018 exchange rates of 0.9 British pound to the EUR and US dollar 1.14 to the EUR this equates to

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
US $1,425
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
GBP £1,125
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
EUR €1,250

Costs could easily be cut by staying in cheaper accommodation or eating more cheaply in the evenings. But Paris is not a cheap destination.

BOOKING TIPS FOR YOUR 3 DAYS IN PARIS

We recommend staying in Le Marais 4th arrondissement. It has a cool vibe and a wide range of cafes, bars and restaurants that span the spectrum from cheap eats to fine dining. Tables line the laneways and independent boutiques give it that much-loved Paris feel.

Le Marais is very central with many of the best sights nearby. Close proximity to a number of metro stations gives you access to easy transport links to other parts of the city.


ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS

Paris is not cheap. But, it is possible to find good prices online if you keep your eyes peeled for special promotions on sites like booking.com or hotels.com. Start planning well in advance so you’ve got a bit of time to wait for good deals to pop up.

We were a group of 4, so we went for Airbnb, which can be a great option in cities like Paris. With so many great cafes to road test, you don’t want to be locked into hotel breakfasts and paying for service you don’t need when a whole city is on your doorstep.

This article has some great suggestions on where to stay in Paris.

BOOK YOUR STAY

ATTRACTIONS IN PARIS

Book online for as many of the big attractions as you can so you can spend more time exploring Paris and less time waiting in a queue. In particular, the queues to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower can be oppressive and if you hit a large group, the Louvre wait can be very long. Before you go, read this list of what not to do in Paris.

Lourve Museum / Timed entrance ticket

Arc de Triomphe / Rooftop tickets

Sainte Chapelle / Skip the queue access

Notre Dame / Audio guide tour

Eiffel Tower / Summit tour


GUIDEBOOKS & READING

We used the Lonely Planet pocket guidebook for Paris which contains helpful information about opening times, attractions and is generally good for restaurant recommendations across the whole city.

Another great source for restaurants is Foursquare. Certainly much more reliable than Trip Advisor in searching out good food. Download the app before leaving.

For our pick of the best cafes, read our article on the best coffee in Paris.

Fifi and Hop

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From world-class museums to iconic monuments; hidden cocktail bars to third wave coffee shops. Here’s how to make the most out of 3 days in Paris. #parisitinerary #parisguide

From world-class museums to iconic monuments; hidden cocktail bars to third wave coffee shops. Here’s how to make the most out of 3 days in Paris. #parisitinerary #parisguide

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