Our 3-day Paris itinerary collects world-class museums, iconic monuments, plus hidden cocktail bars and the best of Parisian culture. Here’s how to make the most of 3 days in Paris.

By: Paul | Last Updated: 18 Dec 2023 | Jump to Comments & Questions

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Paris is a city that – like the French – puts its best foot forward.

Rambling cobbled laneways meet grand boulevards, stunning buildings contain the world’s finest art treasures, quaint bistros encapsulate all the Parisian charm.

There’s a host of wonderful experiences to collect on our Paris itinerary.

Although you can’t see everything in 3 days, we think this itinerary is the best combination of top attractions combined with ambling local areas. You’ll have the opportunity to visit incredible galleries or skip them if you’d prefer some more low-key experiences.

For our full list, read our guide to the ultimate things to do in Paris.

stained glassed windows in Sainte-Chapelle
SAINTE-CHAPPELLE

IN THIS GUIDE

3 DAYS IN PARIS


DAY 1

Trocadéro, Eiffel Tower, Musée Rodin, Le Petit Palais, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Saint-Germain-des-Prés

DAY 2

Tuileries, l’Orangerie, Louvre, Palais Royal, Richelieu, Palais Garnier, Galeries Lafayette, Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur, Pigalle

DAY 3

Catacombs, Panthéon, Latin Quarter, d’Orsay, Sainte-Chapelle, Notre-Dame, Le Marais,

MAP | PARIS 3 DAY ITINERARY

Our Paris itinerary has been designed so you can walk between most sights, without needing to catch public transport too often. We’ve listed all the attractions and walking routes on the below map.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


3-DAY PARIS ITINERARY | DAY 1

PLACE DU TROCADÉRO

This elevated, open space, opposite the Seine, is a great place to start your Paris itinerary. Get that iconic image of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro.

Leading from the square, the English-style Trocadéro Gardens contain the Fountain of Warsaw, a 22-cannon water feature. There are also sculptures in the gardens that are well worth checking out.

place du trocadero view of the eiffel tower
VIEW FROM TROCADÉRO

EIFFEL TOWER

Walk through the Trocadéro Gardens to climb the Eiffel Tower. There are three viewpoints: the 1st floor, the 2nd floor, and the summit.

The best view is from the 2nd floor. You can either walk up the stairs (674 steps) or take the elevator. Book Eiffel Tower tickets in advance as the queues can be very long, especially in peak summer periods.

Our Tip – If you only have time for one viewpoint in Paris, make it the Arc de Triomphe. The views are better than from the Eiffel Tower.

BRUNCH

After climbing the Eiffel Tower, walk through Champ de Mars and past the Grand Palais Éphémère to Kozy Busquet for a well-deserved brunch.

MUSÉE RODIN

Dedicated to the works of sculptor Auguste Rodin, the museum displays two of his most famous works: The Thinker and The Kiss. His sculptures are laid out in the Hôtel Biron, the beautiful rococo mansion on site, and outside in the French-style Garden.

Book: skip-the-line tickets for the Rodin Museum.

LES INVALIDES (OPTIONAL)

Les Invalides was commissioned in 1670 by Louis XIV to provide care facilities for wounded soldiers. Consisting of 15 large courtyards, the complex is capped by a magnificent gold dome.

It houses Musée de l’Armée, a collection of war memorabilia and the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. We’d only suggest going in if you are particularly interested in guns and armour but it’s a good photo opportunity from the outside as you stroll past.

Book: skip-the-line Les Invalides tickets.

les invalides paris
LES INVALIDES

PONTE ALEXANDRE III

Walk along Esplanade des Invalides to Pont Alexandre III, an ornate bridge spanning the Seine River adorned with sculptures. It connects Les Invalides with both Le Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais, and it’s considered one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris. Stop for a photo on your way to the Petit Palais.

LE PETIT PALAIS

The Petit Palais was built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Today, it houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts, which contains a diverse collection of art and sculpture. It’s free to look around the permanent collection or just admire the elegant Beaux-Arts building.

CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES

The Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world. It’s lined with luxury boutiques, theaters, and cafes culminating in the avenue’s most famous landmark, the Arc de Triomphe.

From Le Petit Palais, stroll up the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc de Triomphe, stopping for macaroons at Ladurée.

ARC DE TRIOMPHE

Continue up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, built to commemorate French military victories. You can visit the base of the arch for free to see the eternal flame and the grave of the unknown soldier. 

In our opinion, the climb to the top offers the best view of Paris with boulevards stretching out in all directions.

Bookskip-the-line Arc de Triomphe tickets to climb the 284 steps to the summit, which includes the museum on the way up.

SUNSET CRUISE ON THE SEINE (OPTIONAL)

If you have the time, head back down to the river to take a sunset cruise on the Seine. There are plenty of different cruises on offer from basic 1-hour trips through to all-inclusive dinner cruises.

Checkgetyourguide.com for the best available cruises.

SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS

After the cruise or the Arc de Triomphe, catch the metro to Saint-Germain-Des-Prés. This arty district on the left bank has cobbled streets lined with luxury boutiques, antique stores, classy galleries, and stylish cafes. The area around Rue de Buci is full of bars and restaurants. It’s a great way to experience local nightlight.

3-DAY PARIS ITINERARY | DAY 2

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

Start day 2 at Place de la Concorde, the largest public square in Paris. It’s notorious for being the site where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed. The Luxor Obelisk, in the square, was offered by the Khedive of Egypt.

You don’t need long, but it’s worth a quick stop on your way through to Jardin des Tuileries.

Luxor Obelisk place de la concorde
PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

JARDIN DES TUILERIES

The French formal garden has picturesque landscaping, sculptures, and two formal ponds perfect for a relaxing break.

The gardens were designed by the architect responsible for the gardens of Versailles and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a great place for a morning stroll, particularly in spring.

jardin des tuileries
JARDIN DES TUILERIES

MUSÉE DE L’ORANGERIE (OPTIONAL)

Musée de l’Orangerie is in the south-west corner of the Jardin Des Tuileries.

The main reason to visit is to see Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. The museum houses 8 of the vast panels which were donated by Monet to the French state. He specified exactly how they should be displayed in the two egg-shaped rooms.

Our Tip — It’s an excellent gallery, but we would suggest doing either l’Orangerie or the Louvre, not both.

Book: skip-the-line tickets to the Musée de l’Orangerie.

LOUVRE

The Louvre is enormous, and it would take several days to see everything. We recommend either joining a guided tour or using the suggested visitor trails from the official website.

If you’re looking for ideas, we recommend the Italian Masters, the Apollo Gallery, and the Greek Sculptures. Along the way, you’ll see the Venus di Milo, Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Caravaggio masterpieces, and much more.

Booktimed entry Louvre tickets in advance.

JARDIN DU PALAIS ROYAL & GALERIES

Next, head up to the Palais Royal. It’s closed to the public, but the box hedge symmetry of the manicured gardens make it worth a quick stroll. The black and white striped columns at the southern end are a popular photo spot.

Some of the most beautiful shopping arcades surround the garden including Galerie de Montpensier, Galerie Beaujolais, and Galerie de Valois.

OVAL ROOM AT RICHELIEU

Walk up to the Richelieu Site of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France Library to see the stunning Oval Room (Salle Ovale). It only opened to the public in 2023, and it’s a wonderful addition to your Paris itinerary.

It’s a beautiful space with ceiling-height bookshelves and ornamental arches under a 44-meter-long glass roof. The oval room is free to enter.

Oval Room (Salle Ovale) Richelieu site France National Library
OVAL ROOM

PASSAGE DE CHOISEUL

Continue up to Passage de Choiseul, a covered passageway with a wide selection of Asian street food for lunch. Nearby Kodawari Ramen is excellent but there are usually long queues.

PALAIS GARNIER (PARIS OPERA)

After lunch, visit the Paris National Opera (Palais Garnier). It’s a breathtaking building renowned for its opulent architecture. It holds operas and ballets showcasing the grandeur of 19th-century Parisian cultural life.

Even if you’re not going to a performance, it’s worth visiting on a guided or self-guided tour. Advanced bookings are required as it can often be closed for events.

Book: Guided or self-guided tour of the Palais Garnier

GALERIES LAFAYETTE HAUSSMANN

Next to the Palais Garnier, the flagship location of the upmarket department store, Galeries Lafayette, is an iconic shopping experience. We love it for the good views of Paris.

Head up to the roof for a fantastic, free view of the city. Don’t miss the glass dome on the way up.

galaries lafayette haussmann rooftop
GALERIES LAFAYETTE HAUSSMANN ROOFTOP

PLACE DES ABBESSE, MONTMARTRE

Walk up to Trinité Metro Station and catch the train to Abbesses Station to stroll around Place des Abbesses. This charming square has a village-like atmosphere with cool boutiques, cafes and bistros.

Don’t miss the Wall of Love just off Jehan Rictus Square featuring 612 tiles with the phrase “I love you” in 250 languages.

PLACE DU TERTRE, MONTMARTRE

Walk up the stairs to Place du Tertre, also known as Artists Square. Artists are allocated 3 feet of space which must be shared between two artists on alternating days. Have your portrait taken or peruse the landscapes, caricatures, and silhouettes for sale.

SACRÉ-CŒUR

The Romano-Byzantine Basilica of Sacré-Cœur offers a picture-postcard Paris experience with excellent views across the city.

The queues to climb the dome can be very long and unfortunately, there is no way to book skip-the-line tickets. But, by the time you’ve done everything else in on day 2 of this itinerary, the timing should be about right for the queues to be shorter.

sacre coeur montmartre
SACRÉ-CŒUR

PIGALLE

As the evening rolls in, stroll down to Pigalle to explore the area around Moulin Rouge. You could try a show at the famous cabaret venue, however, the reviews are not great. A better option is Au Lapin Agile, on the backstreets of Montmartre.

If you stay in Pigalle, there are plenty of great restaurants and the nightlife is excellent. Don’t miss No Entry, a hidden speakeasy under Pink Mamma restaurant.

PARIS ITINERARY | DAY 3

CATACOMBS

To start day 3 of this Paris itinerary, head to the Catacombs, a 1.5-kilometre underground tunnel containing the remains of 18th century Parisians.

In what has become a true temple of equality, bones are piled head-high on either side of the tunnel in careful constructions and none of the remains are named.

It’s a small space so places are limited. Tickets must be booked in advance on the Catacombs website but they are only available up to 7 days in advance. A visit takes around 1 hour.

PANTHÉON

Next, get the metro to Luxembourg and walk to the Panthéon. It was originally designed to be a church, but it is currently a mausoleum to honour French revolutionaries.

Inside, Foucault’s Pendulum which was used to measure the rotation of the earth, hangs from the dome. The crypt contains the tombs of famous French philosophers.

Book: skip-the-line Panthéon tickets.

pantheon paris
PANTHÉON

LATIN QUARTER

Leave the Panthéon and stroll around the Latin Quarter. Jozi Café is a great Paris coffee spot, and there are plenty of grand buildings to admire including Sorbonne University.  

MUSEE D’ORSAY (OPTIONAL)

If you are interested in seeing more art, catch the metro from Saint-Michel Notre-Dame Station to Musée d’Orsay, the world’s largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces.

You’ll find works by Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Renoir. The building itself is stunning. It’s one of our favorite galleries in Paris.

The museum is free on the first Sunday of the month, one of the many great free attractions in Paris to take advantage of.

SAINTE-CHAPELLE

If you went to Musée d’Orsay, get the metro back to Saint-Michel Notre-Dame Station. Head to Sainte-Chapelle, a breathtaking Gothic chapel, renowned for its stunning stained-glass windows depicting biblical scenes. The upper chapel contains 15 extraordinary panels filling the entire wall space with stained-glass windows.

Book: skip-the-line Sainte-Chapelle tickets.

4 days in Paris, Sainte Chapelle
SAINTE-CHAPPELLE

NOTRE-DAME

Walk over to Notre Dame, stopping off at Le Marché aux Fleurs, a flower market dating back to the 1900s, and Ponte Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine.

Following the fire in 2019, Notre-Dame remains closed to the public, but you can still admire the magnificent French Gothic architecture and visit the archaeological crypt. Notre-Dame is due to reopen in December 2024.

SHAKESPEARE & CO

Cross the river again to stop off at Shakespeare & Co, a popular English language bookstore just opposite Notre-Dame. Stroll along the banks of the river to inspect Les Bouquinistes, the iconic book stalls selling vintage books, prints and historic illustrations.

BERTHILLON ICE CREAM

Continue along the river, then cross at Pont de la Tournelle to have an ice cream at Berthillon, one of the best ice cream shops in Paris.

shakespear bookstore latin quarter paris
SHAKESPEARE & CO

LE MARAIS

Ice cream in hand, continue over the river and into Le Marais.

Le Marais is a fashionable district known for its narrow streets, historic architecture, trendy boutiques, and art galleries. The area was favored by France’s nobility in the 17th and 18th centuries which has given Le Marais the elegant architecture you see today.

Roughly follow the walking tour on the map above. Here are some great places to see in Le Marais:

  • Visit Place des Vosges, one of the most beautiful squares in Paris.
  • Take the elevator to the 6th floor of the Pompidou Centre for free views over Paris.
  • See the whimsical Stravinsky Fountains.
  • Have dinner along Rue du Temple or Rue des Archives.
  • Hit the bars. Le Marais is the heart of gay Paris.

DAY TRIPS FROM PARIS

If you have time to extend your Paris itinerary to 4 days, spend it on one of the many interesting day trips from Paris.  

VERSAILLES

Soak up the lavish surroundings of Versailles and learn about the chequered history of the palace since the time of Marie Antoinette. Book your Paris to Versailles day trip.

CHAMPAGNE

Reims is the heart of the Champagne region. A champagne-tasting tour is a great way to explore this beautiful area. Book a full-day tour from Paris to Reims with tastings.

SOMME BATTLEFIELDS DAY TRIP

Visit the Somme Battlefields to see where the horrors of the First World War took place. There are memorials from each country involved in the battle and the trench system where the conflict took place is still intact. Book a day trip to the Somme Battlefields.

GIVERNY

At just 50 minutes from Paris, a day trip to Giverny is a stunning way to submerge yourself in the inspiration of one of France’s most celebrated artists. Book a day trip to Giverny to see the former home of Claude Monet.

WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS

We recommend staying in Le Marais for your 3 days in Paris. It’s centrally located, there’s plenty to do and it’s a beautiful place to hang out.

However, there are many other options which we have covered extensively in our guide to the best neighbourhoods in Paris.

OUR PICK

ULTRA-MODERN BUDGET

MAMA SHELTER

Mama Shelter is a stylish and modern hotel, nestled among artists studios and cobbled streets in East Paris. They do simple French cooking in the kitchen and great cocktails in the trendy bar.


HIP & ELEGANT

THE HOXTON PARIS

Set in an 18th-century mansion, the Hoxton is designed to be relaxed and comfortable without the unnecessary frills. It’s buzzy, it’s cool and the aesthetic is designed for maximum satisfaction.


PERUVIAN BLING

1K PARIS

Set in the bustling Le Marais district, 1K Paris delivers high-tech Peruvian style in an excellent location. The rooms and bright and spacious with excellent amenities.


where to stay in paris hotels

BEST TIME TO VISIT PARIS

SPRING (APRIL – JUNE)

  • Weather: The weather is mild in Spring with temperatures ranging from cool to pleasantly warm.
  • Crowds: It’s generally less crowded over Spring making it an excellent time to visit.
  • Events: There are several cultural events and festivals including the Paris Opera Festival and the Saint-Germain-des-Pres jazz festival.

SUMMER (JULY – AUGUST)

  • Weather: Expect sunny days and warm to hot temperatures.
  • Crowds: Summer is the peak tourist season in Paris so expect large crowds and longer queues.
  • Events: There are several outdoor events including Bastille Day, the Fireman’s Ball and the Fnac Live Music Festival.

FALL/AUTUMN (SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER)

  • Weather: The temperatures in Paris start to cool down over autumn making it very comfortable for sightseeing.
  • Crowds: Similar to Spring, it’s generally much quieter in Paris over Fall.
  • Events: Fall/Autumn is a great time to visit Paris for food events including the Montmartre Wine Harvest and Salon du Chocolat, the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate.

WINTER (DECEMBER – FEBRUARY)

  • Weather: Winter in Paris can be cold with occasional snow, but it rarely goes below zero.
  • Crowds: Winter is generally the quietest time to visit Paris. We walked straight up the Eiffel Tower without a queue in early December.
  • Events: Paris hits the festive spirit with decorations, ice skating and Christmas markets. Paris Carnival and Paris Fashion week are both held in February.

HOW MANY DAYS IN PARIS

You can see the main highlights in 2 days, but 3 days in Paris is about the right amount of time. This will allow you to see all the main attractions, plus experience some local Parisian culture.

  • 1-2 Days in Paris: See the iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. Read our guide for spending 2 days in Paris.
  • 3-4 Days in Paris: Soak up Paris at a more leisurely pace. See the main attractions, plus take a day trip out to Versailles or Givenchy.
  • 5-7 Days in Paris: You could easily spend a week in Paris and not run out of things to do. Read our full list of the best things to do in Paris for ideas.
eiffel tower views from pont alexandre iii

GETTING TO PARIS

International flights arrive 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 Metro. Take RER line B.

The Eurostar arrives at Paris Gare du Nord station and it’s the easiest way to get to Paris from London. Catch the metro into central Paris. Look for cheap Eurostar tickets well in advance.  

GETTING AROUND PARIS

We have designed this 3-day Paris itinerary so you can walk most places. It’s a beautiful city to stroll around and walking is by far the best way to see it. We have indicated where you need to get the metro in the above daily breakdowns.

USING THE PARIS METRO

It’s no longer possible for tourists to purchase multi-day passes on the Paris metro for a discounted rate. The only option is a 5-day travel pass which we don’t think is worth the cost, given how easy it is to walk around Paris.

The Carnet offer of 10 single tickets has now been phased out. You can purchase a pack of 10 tickets via the Navigo Easy pass at a slightly discounted rate, however you need to purchase the card (€2) which can be topped up at metro stations or online.

In our opinion, the easiest way to use the metro on a short trip to Paris is simply to buy single tickets from the station. For longer stays, purchase the Navigo Easy pass card and buy a discounted carnet of ten singles.  

Please note, the Paris Pass no longer includes free public transport.

VISITING THE MUSEUMS IN PARIS

We recommend booking skip the line tickets in advance as much as possible.

Each of the museums have very different opening times so it’s important to check the times before you go.

Additionally, most museums are closed on either Monday or Tuesday.

Depending on how many museums you plan on visiting, it may be worth getting the Paris Museum Pass which includes entry to over 60 museums.

MUSEUMCLOSEDTICKETS
Musée d’OrsayMondayskip-the-line + river cruise
Musée Rodin Mondayskip-the-line
CatacombsMondayguided tour + vip access
Salle OvaleMondayfree entry
VersaillesMondayday trip tour
LouvreTuesdaytimed entrance
Musée de l’OrangerieTuesdaydedicated entrance
montparnasse tower paris

MORE FRANCE GUIDES


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