Have you ever imagined that you are standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, probably eating some macarons and practicing your French with some locals? Paris is a dream for many and it’s a possible dream. Even if you have just a few days to see this magical city, you are not going to be dissapointed of what it has to offer you for the limited time you have.
If you are finally on your way to Paris for a long weekend and want to know what to do for the few days you have there, check out our sample 3-days Paris itinerary that is going to show you the main sites in the city. Planning a trip to Paris is hard, trust me, but you just have to be prepared and this article might help you realise what you actually can see for the 3 days you have. I’ve included a trip to Versailles because in my opinion, the palace and the gardens deserve your attention.
Day #1: Walking tour around the city
(See Paris Photo Itinerary Day 1)
1. Starting point: Place du Trocedaro, the Eiffel Tower, The Champ de Mars
Nearest metro station: Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel
This is the place where you will realize that your dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower is finally happening. From Place de Trocadero you can take the pictures you saw in the magazines and on your Facebook wall. You also can’t miss the chance to climb the Eiffel Tower. Don’t forget to book your tickets online and save 3 hours long queue. The next thing you”ll see is a large green area called Champ de Mars and at the end there is the Military School of Paris.
2. Army Museum, Musée d’Orsay
The Army Museum contain collections that span the period from antiquity through the 20th century. For art lovers Musée d’Orsay offers variety of French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. Note: UNESCO World Heritage Center is located right behind the Military School.
3. Place de la Concorde and Tuileries gardens
Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris. The center of the Place is occupied by a giant Egyptian obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics exalting the reign of the pharaohRamesses II. It is one of two the Egyptian government gave to the French in the 19th century. The other one actually stayed in Egypt, too difficult and heavy to move to France. Tuileries gardens connect Place de la Concorde with the Louvre Museum. It is a perfect spot for a little rest before you head to see Mona Lisa.
4. (Optional) Place Vendome, Paris Opera
Before you head to the Louvre you can stop by Place de Vendome and see the historic building of the Paris Opera. The impressive architecture will leave you breathless and you won’t be disappointed for the little detour. The Opéra presents about 380 performances of opera, ballet and other concerts each year and most of the audience come from abroad.
5. Louvre Museum
You can’t miss the famous Louvre Museum, one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. Note that the Louvre is free for EU citizens under 26 so take advantage of that. In order to skip the lines enter from one of the “secret” entrances – Porte de Lions is just a few minutes away from the main glass pyramids entrance and is usually not crowded at all; or simply enter from the metro at Rue de Rivoli a.k.a. the mall entrance, you enter at the door which has a red and while vertical banner which says “Carrousel.”
6. Pont des Arts and Notre Dame de Paris
On your way to Notre Dame stop by Pont des Arts which is the bridge with love locks on it. Try not ot leave a lock because they actually cause great damage to the bridge from the weight. In June 2014, part of the parapet on the bridge collapsed under the weight of all of the padlocks. Instead, take a selfie or just a regular picture.
Notre-Dame Catholic Cathedral is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It’s free for everyone to visit but there is a fee for the Towers.
7. La Sorbonne, Pantheon and Latin Quarter
On your way to the final spot you will pass by some notable buildings in the Latin Quarter such as the Sorbonne – the former University of Paris. Nowadays, it houses part or all of several higher education and research institutions. Another building you should look for is the Pantheon which functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. The Latin Quarter itself is a very vibrant and interesting area. It is known for its student life, lively atmosphere and many bistros.
8. End point: Luxembourg Gardens and Luxembourg Palace
The Luxembourg Gardens are the perfect spot for the final rest. You can spend a nice 1-2 hours roaming around the gardens and glazing the Palace. The garden contains just over a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains, scattered throughout the grounds. Have a dinner at the Latin Quarter or from the supermarket and prepare for the second day of exploring Paris.
Day #2: Monmartre and Arc de Triomphe
(See Paris Photo Itinerary Day 2)
1 Starting point: Monmartre
Nearest metro stations: Anvers or Abesses
Monmartre is the artistic quarter of Paris. Many notable artists lived and worked, including Salvador Dalí, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro and many others. It’s a privilege to walk around the streets where Picasso walked. You can even have your portrait done by the many artists waiting for curious tourists. Don’t miss to see the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret located on Boulevard de Clichy.
2. Sacré-Cœur Basilica
Walk around Monmartre and head to Sacré-Cœur Basilica, located on the highest point in the city. You can enter the basillica for free but to climb the tower and enter the tombs, there is a fee. There are many street performers and artists there often, so you can even enjoy a free concert while glazing the skyline of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After you spend a few hours in Monmartre, head to the nearest metro station (Abesses) and get off on Charles de Gaulle – Étoile metro stop for Arc de Triomphe.
3. Arc de Triomphe
Nearest metro station: Charles de Gaulle – Étoile
You can’t miss the chance to climb Arc de Triomphe and see the most spectacular view of Paris. You will spot the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysee, the Louvre and many other famous sights. The Arc is free for EU citizend under 26, the adult rate is 9,50€.
4. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a 1.9 kilometres long and 70 metres wide boulevard in Paris famous for its theatres, cafés and luxury shops. The lower part of the Champs-Élysées, from the Place de la Concorde to the Rond-Point, runs through the Jardin des Champs-Élysées, a park which contains the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais. When you spend a nice few hours walking on the boulevard and the park, go to the nearest supermarket and prepare for a picninc in front of the Eiffel Tower.
5. Night picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower
Every evening, the Eiffel Tower is adorned with its golden covering and sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour. The show is spectacular and you can’t miss the opportunity to see it. The perfect thing to do is take a blanket and have a picnic in one of the green areas on Champ de Mars to have a better view of the Tower.
Day #3: Gardens and Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is a royal château in Versailles, located 20 kilometres southwest of Paris. The palace still serves political functions. The Palace holds an area of 62 000 m2 , and consists of many appartments, galeries, chapels, and even an Opera. The Gardens of Versailles cover some 800 hectares of land with specacular fountains, green areas and many statues. The gardens along with the château are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Just a few minutes away from the gardens you will find the Grand Trianon, occupied by Louis XIV at some point, and Marie-Antoinette’s estate (Petit Trianon) which reveals Louis XVI’s wife life.
The Palace: €15 (€13: reduced admission)
The Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate: €10 (€6 : reduced admission)
The Gardens: 8-9€
Guided tours: 7€ with the entrance ticket
Free admission for: under-18s, young people under 26 years old who are residents of the European Union, schoolchildren, teachers assigned to a French establishment bearing their “Pass Education”, disabled persons and their accompanying adult, and French job-seekers on presentation of documentary proof dating from less than 6 months before. More info, click here.
The first Sunday of months from November to March, admission is free for some tours. Check out the website for more info.
Reduced admission for: Subscribers or holders of a ticket to the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Arras; Members of friends of national museums associations; Visitors with a large family discount card; Visitors paying admission fees with Holiday-Cheques.
Musical Fountains Show
On Saturdays and Sundays from March 28 to November 1st 2015, onTuesdays from May 26 to June 30 2015 as well as on some additional dates(Friday April 3d, Friday May 8, Thursday May 14 and Tuesday July 14 2015). The fountains are activated at weekends and on public holidays (Friday May 8, Thursday May 14 and Tuesday July 14 2015) from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 3:30 to 5:00 pm (Neptune Fountain from 5:20 to 5:30 pm). Also on Tuesdays and Friday April 3d from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:30 to 4:00 pm (without the Neptune Fountain).
Musical Garden Show
Tuesdays from March 31st to May 19 as well as Tuesdays from July 7 to October 27 2014. Music plays from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm (17:30 on March 31st, July 7 and October 27 2015)
Are you planning a trip to Paris? What are you most excited for?
Andrea | March 14, 2015
Love this itinerary: you get to see the best Paris has to offer in just three days! My only regret while visiting was that I didn’t have enough time. It’s cliche to say, but it truly is one of those destinations you can fall in love with instantly. I need to go back though, and will take your tips and suggestions with me (I missed Versailles and am still a little grumpy about it) 😉
Maria | Author | March 14, 2015
The thing is that even if you have all the time in the world, you can get enough of Paris. But I tried to show that it is possible to see the best places in just 3 days! I would love to go back there again, too!
Valeria | March 15, 2015
Perfect timing! I’ll be in Paris this weekend and I’ll put your guide to good use 🙂 Thank you Maria!
Katrina Elisabet | March 16, 2015
We’ll be in Paris for a short weekend this spring, and I’m forwarding this link to our friends so we can figure out our itinerary! This is so helpful, thanks!
Maria | Author | March 16, 2015
I’m so glad it helps!
Vania | October 3, 2016
Thank you so much for your advice!
I will be there in 1 week 😉
Olga | March 22, 2015
This is amazing!!
I’m going to steal this plan when I’m going to Paris next time! Last, and first, time I was there, I had no plan whatsoever (I wasn’t a very inexperienced traveler then), so I didn’t really see much… I was just strolling the streets of Paris, marveling at everything beautiful! A nice thing to do too, though 🙂
Maria | Author | March 23, 2015
I’m happy it can be helpfull! Paris is a beautiful city with a lot of things to see and you have to have a plan in order to see as much as possible for limited time 🙂
Valeria | April 1, 2015
Just wanted to let you know I quoted you on my latest post on Montmartre 🙂 Here’s the link http://romenewyorklondonworld.com/montmartre-paris/ Thanks for your tips!
Maria | Author | April 1, 2015
Tara | April 8, 2016
I am going to Paris this summer and was wondering if you could give me a time frame for each activity…I wanted to plan a rough itinerary hour to hour…obviously it can change but not sure how long each activity I should expect.
Maria | Author | April 8, 2016
Hey, Tara! That’s great news! You’re going to love Paris. It’s hard to tell you how much time to spend for each activity, it all depends on your interest and desired pace. The above day by day itinerary was enough for me for the whole trip. Keep in mind that walking between sites usually takes half an hour or so. I hope you have a great time in Paris!
Geisa | June 1, 2016
I’m going to Paris on July. I like your itinerary and I will take it in count .I will be there for 5 days and I will try to see the most of it.Thank for your advise. I cant wait to be there.
Maria | Author | June 1, 2016
I’m happy my experience can help you! Have fun in Paris!
Sheilla | June 17, 2016
Thank you for this amazing plan!!! Traveling on July to Paris. Any suggestions for a good hotel. I’ve read that is better to stay near Notre Dame. Can you suggest me any good hotel in the zone?
Thank’s in advance
Maria | Author | June 17, 2016
I’m happy this plan helps you! We were stayin at Hotel Moncey near Montmartre, on a walking distance from Moulin Rouge. It was a nice place. I can’t say about other neighbourhoods, but all places are very well conected with the metro. I wish you amazing time in Paris!
Terry | March 1, 2017
Maria, I found your Paris itinerary very useful. I relied on it along with this art-themed plan: http://www.identifythisart.com/itineraries-art-lovers/paris-suggested-itinerary/
You helped make my trip very enjoyable. Thank you.
Maria | Author | March 1, 2017
That’s great! Thank you!