The Ultimate 3 Day Paris Itinerary!
Ah, Paris! A city filled with romantic streets, amazing architecture and breathtaking works of art. People all over the world come to Paris to experience its beautiful culture, explore the rich history, try its delicious cuisine and to take a few selfies by the Eiffel Tower… After having gone to Paris a few times I can honestly say Paris is my favorite metropolitan city I have ever travel to. Every part of this city has captivated my heart. While I recommend staying in Paris as long as you possibly can to get to experience this city the best, I believe I have figured out the best way to explore Paris in only 3 days! You may not be able to see every little corner of Paris, however, this guide will help you experience the best this beautiful city has to offer! So here is our ultimate 3-day itinerary on what you should see, what you should eat and where should you stay while in Paris!
What to Do? A 3-Day Itinerary!
First things first, before going to Paris we highly recommend purchasing your tickets for attractions ahead of time. This will save you time and the headache of having to wait in line to buy your tickets for popular attractions such as The Louvre or the Eiffel Tower. There are so many beautiful sites to see in Paris why waste your time in line? You can either buy tickets for individual attractions or buy the Paris Pass to by-pass the line. If you decide to buy the Paris Pass like we did, it will give you express entry to nearly all attractions listed below (attractions included with be marked with *) and it will save you money than if you buy each ticket alone. For more information about what is all included with the Paris Pass click here! I know you will be grateful you have planned your trip ahead of time when you arrive at The Louvre and you can skip the 3-hour long line up for tickets and security like we did! Even if you choose to buy your tickets individually for each attraction it will still save you so much time! So please keep this in mind while planning your perfect Paris itinerary!
Eiffel Tower, Palais Garnier, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Arc De Triomphe, Shopping on Champ Elysees, and Buy Macarons at Ladurée!
Morning: Eiffel Tower & Palais Garnier*
Welcome to your first full day in Paris! Your first day in Paris has to be the quintessential Paris experience. This means you have to experience all the iconic places this city has to offer. So start off your day by grabbing a freshly made pain au chocolat (chocolate filled croissant) at a local bakery along the way to The Eiffel Tower. What can be a better way to start your trip than at one of its most iconic attractions in Paris? Remember you must book your tickets in advance online here so you don’t have to wait in the ticket line! Make sure you arrive early to give yourself time to go through security.
Before you wait in line to take the elevator to get to the second floor, take a selfie with the Eiffel Tower in the background so you don’t forget this incredible moment. Also when you take the elevator up to the Eiffel Tower as beautiful the view is, you will not be getting the iconic landscape you may be looking for with the Eiffel Tower in the background as you are currently on top of it right now. Be sure to pay the extra money and take the lift to the top floor as the view of the city is incredible from there. We recommend planning to spend about 2 hours here so you can get all pictures you need. There are a million photo opportunities all around the Eiffel Tower so take endless amounts of pictures before you head to Palais Garnier.
Afternoon: Palais Garnier*, Arc de Triomphe*, Champ Elysees
From the Eiffel Tower, you should make your way to Palais Garnier Opera House. Although this attraction is rather far it is well worth the ride to see Paris’s most famous Opera House. If you have the Paris Pass this is the perfect opportunity to ride the hop-on-hop-off bus. If not head to the closest metro and you will be right the Opera House in no time. Palais Garnier is one of my favorite places in Paris. Most famously known for being the backdrop in The Phantom of the Opera, this opera house is hands down the most stunning attraction in all of Paris. The theatre is filled with the most exquisite 19th-century architecture that will sure to take your breath away. I know you will fall in love with this place as much as I did! After your tour, it’s time for lunch so head to Champ Elysees for some Parisian treats at Laduree.
Laduree is known for creating the world-famous French pastry the macaron! This delicious dessert will sure make your taste buds melt. So grab lunch at this iconic café or at least a box of macarons. If you are worried about the calories, don’t be! The next stop is to climb 84 flights of stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Yes, you read that correctly, you must climb to the top of this famous landmark. After finishing at Laduree head down to the western end of Champ-Elysees at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle. Not only will this monument provide you with the perfect background for your pictures, if you climb all the way to the top it will leave you with a panoramic view of the entire city! Trust me the pain will be worth it when you see the view!
After snapping several insta-worthy shots it’s time to continue down Champ Elysees. This boulevard is filled with some of the most famous stores in the world. So shop until you drop! If shopping is not really your thing, head down to Petit and Grande Palais* down the road. Once you have finished its time to grab dinner!
Evening: Seine River Cruise*
Now that you have seen some of the most iconic spots in Paris you can now get off your feet and take a nice relaxing cruise down the Seine River. After dinner head back to the Eiffel Tower and head across the street to where the river lies to get a ticket to board one of the river cruises (this is included in your Paris Pass). Getting to relax as you see the city come to life as the sun sets in such a delight. As you float down the seine you will see Parisian gather along the riverbanks for some wine and good times. This cruise is about an hour long and you should expect to see the beautiful side views of attractions such as The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and the Notre-Dame Cathedral, to just name a few of them. Since you will finish your cruise when it is dark you will have the opportunity to see the all impressive Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle at night. After your cruise head back to your bed you will need to rest for another eventful day exploring Paris!
Jardin du Palais Royal, The Louvre Museum, Sainte-Chappelle, Notre-Dame Cathedral and Montmartre
Morning: Jardin du Palais Royal and The Louvre Museum*
As previously indicated on another post of the “Picturesque Places in Paris” the Jardin du Palais Royal is an excellent way to start your day. This garden is our absolute favorite place to take pictures and take in the scenery. So start your second day in Paris in this beautiful garden, bring your croissant and coffee to the garden and eat your breakfast with the locals.
After you have finished take a quick stroll to The Louvre Museum. Again if you have the Paris Pass you will be able to use the express entrance so it should only take you a few minutes to get through security. Once you enter the museum you will be able to find amazing pieces of artwork such as Venus De Milo, The wedding at Cana, and the Mona Lisa just to name a few of them. This museum is massive and you can definitely spend a whole week in it just to see everything it has to offer. Since you do not have a whole week to spend we suggest spending just the morning at The Louvre.
Now that you have finished some of the world’s most famous painting, you will want to make your way to Île de la Cité a small Island east of The Louvre. While on your way there make sure you stop for a bite to eat. This filled with authentic Parisian restaurants so you will have no trouble finding somewhere to eat!
Afternoon: Sainte-Chappelle* and Notre-Dame Cathedral
Once you have finished lunch and you are on this island, you will find the next two attractions. First, visit Sainte-Chappelle a beautiful church that is also included in your Paris Pass. This “Holy Chapel” will provide you with one of the most exquisite 13th-century stained glass the world has to offer.
After spending a few minutes in awe head down the streets to Notre-Dame Cathedral. The Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the most well-known cathedrals France has to offer. This cathedral will provide the perfect backdrop if you were looking to take pictures on the Ile de la Cité. Once you have witnessed the beautiful inside of this cathedral I would make my way to one of the prettiest places in Paris!
Evening: Explore Montmartre and Sacre Coeur
Upon the hilltop of the 18th arrondissement is where you will find the charming area of Montmartre. This entire area is packed with colorful artist stalls, picturesque cobblestone streets and is also where the Sacre Coeur lies. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is an awe-inspiring church that also holds the best views of Paris. Many tourists spend the afternoon snapping pictures on the hilltop. While exploring Montmare make sure you stroll through one of the prettiest street in Paris, Rue de l’Abreuvoir. It home to the cutest pink restaurant called La Maison Rose. This picture perfect street will fill your camera with the prettiest pictures! I recommend spending the rest of your day roaming around this adorable area before settling in.
Palace of Versailles
If you are fortunate enough to be in Paris for 3 days, we highly recommend spending a day visiting the Palace of Versailles*. This royal chateau has a rich history and is one of the most visually stunning attractions in Paris. Since the Palace of Versailles is just outside of Paris we recommend first thing in the morning (at around 7:30am – 8:00am) to catch your train, since it takes around an hour to get to Versailles. To get to Versailles from Paris you will need to a RER C train. For further information about how to get to Versailles please visit this webpage as this site will clearly articulate the best ways to get there.
After arriving in at the train stop follow the crowds to the entrance of the grounds. If you are traveling in peak tourist seasons there will for sure be a long line to get into Palace. However, the wait to get in will be worth it when you witness the beautiful gardens and impressive French architecture that is inside. The Palace of Versailles is a massive fortress that includes the state apartments of King Louis XVI, the world famous Hall of Mirrors, miles of lavish gardens, and even Marie Antoinette’s cottage. This Palace has so much to offer. You could easily spend the whole day there enjoying the sites and learning all about the French Revolution. However, you could also head back to the center of Paris in the afternoon to explore more of the city. Nonetheless, every moment in Paris will be a good one!
If you have any more time in Paris here is a few additional things you could do…
Explore the Catacombs*
Take a Parisian cooking class
Learn how to make macarons in a Pastry Class
Take a day trip to Disneyland Paris*
Witness the art in Musee D-Orsay*
Visit The Pantheon*
Relax inLuxembourgg Gardens
Shop til you drop in Galleries Lafayette
Place a lock on the Love Lock Bridge
Where to Stay?
There are a million and one romantic places you could stay in Paris. However, I do have a couple of recommendations as to where you should and should not stay. Make sure if you are booking a hotel or Airbnb it is within the 20 Arrondissements that makes up the center of Paris. If you stay outside of this area it will take forever to get to all the main attractions.
I know many tourists love the idea of staying by the Eiffel Tower, however, it is actually quite far from all the other sites in Paris. I recommend staying in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th or 6th Arrondissement since all of these areas are within walking distance to the top attractions in Paris and offer many dining options. During my last trip to Paris, I stayed in the heart of St Germain which is a charming neighborhood located in the 6th arrondissement. This chic establishment by the riverbank is filled with boutique shops, authentic Parisian restaurants, and the colorful Luxembourg Gardens. If you are looking for a local hotel to stay in I recommend Odeon Hotel this quaint residence is the perfect place to stay for under 100 euros a night.
Where to Eat?
On top of all the beautiful architecture and rich culture, this city also has some amazing gastronomy. Around every corner in Paris is a restaurant filled with some delicious Parisian cuisine! If you are looking for some restaurant recommendation check out these delicious destinations!
Address: 28 Place Saint-Ferdinand, 75017 Paris, France
One restaurant we fell in love with while in Paris was La Maison, located in the Ternes area of Paris. This restaurant has is the perfect place to try local cuisines, while having an authentic Parisian experience. Two of our favorite dishes that we had was their Veal stew served with rice, and their duck fillet served with potato gratin. Both these dishes are to die for and highly recommend them if you are in the area.
Address: 1 Rue Saint-Sulpice, 75006 Paris, France
This Saint Germain French bistro offers some of the most savory pasta dishes. Have a glass of wine while you people watch from the sidewalk.
Adress: 1 Rue de l’Odéon, 75006 Paris, France
This unique café offers a unique spin on the quintessential Parisian food, the crepe. So spend a lunch indulging in some sweet or savory crepes!
Address: 75 Av. des Champs-Élysées
As mentioned previously Laduree is known for creating the world-famous French pastry the macaron! This delicious dessert is seriously to die for! You cannot go to Paris without trying every little pastry in this bakery has to offer!
Paris is one of my favorite places in the world! Every time I visit I fall more and more in love with this city! We really hope this travel guide helped you plan your perfect Parisian vacation! I know you will just adore this city like I do!
I hope this post inspires you to collect coordinates in Paris!
48.8566° N, 2.3522° E