Traveling to Paris? I’ve got the perfect 3 day, 5 day, or 7 day Paris itinerary to fit your needs!
Paris is, hands down, an incredible city. And despite the fact that Paris sees millions of tourists every year, and is on practically everyone’s bucket list -the hype is deserved. It really is an amazing city! I’ve traveled to Paris 6 times now (and one of those times was for 3 months), and I can never get enough.
There is so much to do in Paris, you truly could spend a full week (or even more!) exploring all the city has to offer. And while the sites are amazing, just wandering the streets, strolling along the Seine, exploring the parks and gardens, lingering over your lunch at a cafe… that’s what Parisian life is all about!
After extensive *ahem* research, I bring you the best 3 day, 5 day, and 7 day Paris itinerary for the perfect trip to Paris. Only have three days? I’ve got the perfect blend of can’t-miss sites and off-the-beaten-tourist track spots. Have an entire 7 days? We’re going to get a full Parisian experience.
To help you plan your trip quickly, here’s a snapshot of some of the top rated excursions, tours, and hotels in Paris!
Top Excursions and Activities in Paris:
- Louvre Skip the Line Guided Tour (top-rated!)
- Versailles Skip the Line Guided Tour (a must-do daytrip in Paris)
- Montmartre Guided Walking Tour (through a trendy and bohemian neighborhood)
- Special Access Catacombs Guided Tour (unique and super cool)
- Dinner and Cruise on a Seine Riverboat (top romantic activity)
Top Hotel Options in Paris
- Hotel Elysees Union (incredible Eiffel Tower views)
- Hotel Monsieur Aristide (cozy boutique hotel in artsy Montmartre neighborhood)
- Hotel Lancaster Champs Elysées (gorgeous hotel off Paris’ biggest boulevard)
- Don’t forget travel insurance! I always purchase insurance from Insure My Trip – get a free quote here
Paris Museum Pass
Before we start, I want to mention this pass. If you visit the landmarks I highlight on this itinerary, I think it is worth getting the Paris Museum Pass because 1) it saves you money and 2) it saves you time waiting in line at the ticket offices.
Most, but not all, of the attractions on this itinerary are covered by the Paris Museum Pass. You can buy it online ahead of time or buy it at the Paris Tourism office, or at any of the attractions where the pass is accepted.
A 2 day (48 hour) pass costs 52 euro, a 4 day (96 hour) pass costs 66 euro, and a 6 day (144 hour) pass costs 78 euro.
In the itinerary, I’ll note which attractions accept the pass, and if a reservation is required.
NOTE: The Paris Museum Pass is NOT THE SAME as the Paris Pass. The Paris Pass is more expensive and is not worthy it, in my opinion.
Are you planning a trip to France but want some help with the planning process? I offer custom itinerary planning for travel all throughout France! Don’t need a full itinerary but would like some feedback on your plans and questions answered? I also do 1-hour consult calls!
Use the contact form below to discuss how we can create the ultimate France itinerary to suit your travel style and preferences.
Paris Itinerary Day 1: Eiffel Tower Area
Check into your hotel and then head straight to….
I think a great Paris itinerary starts with the Eiffel Tower – it’s iconic, it’s massive, and everyone’s excited to see it.
In recent years, the Eiffel Tower has implemented new security measures. The base of the tower is now surrounded by clear plexiglass walls, and you have to go through a security checkpoint to get in and underneath.
Climbing the Tower
There are three ways to go up the Eiffel Tower.
- The first is to climb stairs up to the second level and then from there, take an elevator to the top.
- The second is to take an elevator to the second level, and then take a second elevator to the top.
- The third is to just take an elevator straight to the top.
Unless you have a disability or issue with climbing stairs, I strongly recommend climbing the stairs to the first and second levels, and then taking the elevator to the top!
Even if you have a low level of fitness, I really think just about anyone can do this! (Note: Obviously, if you have concerns, do what you feel best with and/or consult your doctor)
Here’s why the climb isn’t that bad:
- The staircase is wide and does a traditional switchback, instead of being a tight circular staircase.
- There are regular landings where you can take a quick break. In fact, there are some posters with interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower’s history and architecture on the stairs as you climb, so you naturally will want to stop and read those as you go up.
- Because the stairs are so wide and there are landing platforms regularly, it is easy to take a break without feeling like you are in the way. There’s plenty of space for everyone going up and down.
Plus, it’s just very, very cool to be INSIDE the Eiffel Tower! And it’s fun to see the views from the different levels.
At the second level, you’ll get in line for the elevator. Sometimes this line can be pretty long, so be prepared! But, it is worth the wait. You ascend through the middle of the tower, and the top is just breathtaking. The view is spectacular, insanely high, and being on top of the Eiffel Tower is just such an incredible feeling!
- Cost: 19.70 euro to take the stairs and the elevator, 25 euro to take the elevator directly to the top
- Hours: 9am-11:30pm every day
You can buy tickets ahead of time online – 60 days in advance for the elevators and 7 days in advance for the stairs, or you can just just get them when you arrive. If you’re taking the elevators, I would highly recommend you book beforehand!
There are some crepe and sandwich stands by the river near the Eiffel Tower. You simply must eat a crepe when you’re in France, so why not eat one here?
Seine River Cruise
On the river right at the base of the Eiffel Tower, you can jump on a Seine river cruise with the company Bateaux Parisiens. This approximately 1 hour ride takes you past Notre Dame and back. It’s a very nice introduction to Paris, as many famous landmarks are right on the Seine!
This museum displays the works of the sculptor, Rodin, and also some from his mistress and talented artist, Camille Claudel. The art is displayed in both the manor and on the grounds. And there are just so many good ones!
You know The Thinker? That’s on display on the grounds. The Kiss, another famous work, is in the house. There are many beautiful sculptures to discover, and the grounds are calming and peaceful – I love spending an hour or two here!
This is definitely more of a hidden gem thing to do on this Paris itinerary, but it’s one of my favorite spots in the city
- Hours: 10am-6:30pm, every day but Monday
- Cost: 13 euro, or the Paris Museum Pass
After Rodin, walk from the museum to Rue Cler, a market street by the Eiffel Tower.
Pick up baguettes from the boulangerie, cheese from the fromagerie, and fruit from the fruit stands, and make your way back to the Champs de Mars, the green space in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Linger over your picnic on the grounds, and then as it gets dark, make your way past the Eiffel Tower, across the Seine, and to Trocadero, the platform that frames the Eiffel Tower perfectly.
Alternatively, if you want a hot meal, stop in at Le Petit Cler restaurant on Rue Cler, and then head to Trocadero!
Eiffel Tower at Night
As dusk approaches, the lights on the tower turn on. For five minutes at the top of the hour, every hour, the Eiffel Tower sparkles. I’ve seen the sparkles many, many times, but every time it is still magical. Whether you’re visiting for 1 day or 7 days, this is definitely a must do for any Paris itinerary.
And what better way to cap off your first day in Paris? You absolutely cannot miss it!
Paris Day 1 Map:
Paris Itinerary Day 2: Louvre to Arc de Triomphe
I recommend starting your day 2 Paris itinerary by heading to Palais Royal, just north of the Louvre, to see Les Colonnes de Buren: a courtyard with beautiful black and white striped columns. It’s become a bit of a well-known spot, and the courtyard is a unique place for a photo-op.
It’s a nice quick place to see that you can do while still hitting the Louvre at opening.
- Hours: 8am-8:30pm
- Price: Free
The Louvre opens at 9, and I would recommend you be there right at opening. From the courtyard you actually enter through the iconic glass pyramid, where you descend down into the lobby.
If you chose to skip the Palais Royal and are arriving by the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre metro station, you can go straight to the lobby via the Carrousel du Louvre metro exit. During high season, entering through the Carrousel du Louvre is a good choice, as the security line to enter the Louvre through the pyramid can get long.
The fun thing about the Louvre is that the building itself is just as grand and impressive as the works of art displayed inside. This makes a lot of sense when you consider that the Louvre was actually the palace for the French kings, up until Louis 14th. I love the architecture and design of the Louvre itself.
How long should you stay at the Louvre? Well, as someone who likes but doesn’t LOVE art, I find that 2-3 hours in the Louvre is the right amount of time for me.
- Hours: 9am-6pm, 9am-9:45pm Friday, closed Tuesday
- Cost: 17 euro, or the Paris Museum Pass. If you use the pass, you will also need to make a timed reservation online on the Louvre website. If you don’t use the pass, it’s recommended to book your time ticket and time slot ahead of time, anyway.
My Favorite Spots in the Louvre
The Louvre is divided into three wings: Richelieu, Sully, and Denon. Now, everyone has their own preferences, but my favorite spots in the Louvre are:
- Denon Wing: 1st floor for the Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa, Napoleon’s Coronation, the Apollo Gallery, and the Venus de Milo
- Richelieu Wing: 0 floor: Cour Marly and Cour Puget, which are sculpture galleries, and the Code of Hammarabi in the antiquities section. 2nd floor for French and Northern Europe paintings
- Sully: 2nd floor for French and Northern Europe paintings
(Note: In France, the ground floor is 0, and what would be the 2nd floor in the USA is the 1st floor, etc)
Should You Do a Guided Tour or Just Explore the Louvre Yourself?
I’ve visited the Louvre several times just wandering around by myself, and I’ve also gone several times as part of a guided tour. Both are good options, but here are some things to consider.
Self-Guided: In this option, you can wander where you want, spending as much time as you want in different areas. However, usually the placards by the art are only in French.
Guided Tour: On a guided tour, you do get a lot of interesting history and background to the artists, the time periods, and the particular works of art – MUCH more than you’ll get reading the placards. Additionally, the guides know where to go and generally take you to all the high points in the Louvre.
My Recommendation: I recommend this excellent Louvre guided tour – the guide is super knowledgeable and charismatic, takes you to see the best art, and gives you a great introduction to the Louvre. Plus, this tour has almost 4000 5-star reviews!
Tip: As you are leaving, stop by Maxim’s de Paris, a chocolaterie in the Carrousel du Louvre (an underground shopping area under the main atrium) that has excellent macarons.
Jardin de Tuileries + Lunch
The Jardin de Tuileries has beautiful pathways, trees and flowers, sculptures, and several ponds that are encircled with lots of chairs. Be sure to admire the great view from the main path to the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe! Find some chairs, sit down, relax, enjoy the view, and eat some lunch!
Just around the corner on Rue St Honoré is a Franprix grocery store. Take a 5 minute walk north and grab some picnic supplies and head back to the Tuileries. I absolutely adore a good Parisian picnic!
When you’re done, exit to Rue de Rivoli here….
and stop by Angelina Café for some hot chocolate. This café has the cutest dining room and the most decadent, rich hot chocolate. It’s served in a really cute pitcher and teacups and the whole experience is delightful.
If you haven’t eaten lunch, the food here is also really high quality – although it is also fairly expensive.
Place de la Concorde
This was the most famous guillotine site during the French revolution. Today, this obelisk, a gift from Egypt, marks the spot. It’s a quick stop on your 3 day Paris itinerary, but for sure worth stopping by.
The Champs Elysées is a long, grand, wide, tree-lined boulevard leading from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. It is generally considered one of the grandest and most famous boulevards in the world.
From Place de la Concorde, I would jump on the metro (Line 1, Concorde station) and take it up to the Georges V stop. It’s just three stops on the line, but it’ll save you a mile, and walking the entire way up the Champs Elysees is actually a pretty long walk! (Although, if you want to walk the whole way, go for it!).
Alternatively, you could split the difference and get off at the Franklin D. Roosevelt stop.
On the Champs Elysees there are a lot of luxury and trendy shops, movie theaters, and cafes and restaurants. It has a very distinct feel and is a pretty area – definitely worth experiencing as part of your 3 day Paris itinerary.
Arc de Triomphe
The Champs Elysées ends at the Arc de Triomphe.
This triumphal arch was commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz. Parades regularly pass by the arch and down the Champs Elysees. During WW2, when Germany took Paris, Hitler and his Nazis rode through the arch.
The Allies paraded around the Arc during the liberation of Paris in 1944, and the Tour de France always ends near the Arc.
Today, it continues to be a focal point in French national celebrations. It’s an important monument that has a TON of history behind it!
Don’t stress about trying to cross the crazy traffic circle; use the underground tunnel to cross the roundabout around the Arc de Triomphe and you’ll come out underneath the arc. There you’ll find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
To ascend, you’ll climb inside the Arc de Triomphe itself up a fairly narrow spiral staircase, and there are a LOT of steps. At the top, you get a great view of the 12 streets that expand from the arch – making it look like a star. There’s also a great view of the Eiffel Tower and La Grande Arch de la Defense. I love the feeling of being in the middle of it all.
- Hours: 10am-10:30pm, daily
- Cost: 13 euro, or the Paris Museum Pass. You do not need to make a reservation ahead of time. If you’re not using the Paris Museum Pass, you can buy a skip the line ticket here
Paris Day 2 Map:
Paris Itinerary Day 3: Notre Dame, Garnier, and Montmartre
Start your morning at Notre Dame. This magnificent building was built in the 1100’s! I am always in awe of the immenseness and beauty of this building that was built with Middle Ages technology.
Notre Dame is a great example of Gothic architecture: gargoyles, flying buttresses outside, pointed arches, and stained glass windows. Spend some time looking at the 3 main arches at the base of the cathedral – as they show different Biblical scenes.
Inside, with the high ceiling and the vast rooms and the ornate decorations, I can really see how worshipping in Notre Dame felt like a transcendent experience. The stained glass rosary is absolutely enormous and intricate. It is truly the heart of Paris.
Currently, Notre Dame is closed for reconstruction due to the big fire that broke out on its roof in 2019. I still think it’s worth stopping by though! While you can’t go in, you can still see the outside of the cathedral.
To cordon off the construction area, there is an approximately 15 foot high barrier around the cathedral. On the wall of the barrier are pictures and descriptions which tells the story of the fire, what happened, and the aftermath. We found this “exhibit” really interesting!
Walk the Seine
As Notre Dame is on one of Paris’s two islands, Ile de la Cité, now is a great chance to walk along the Seine. The section of the river by Notre Dame has stairs leading down to the banks, and there are pathways right along the water you can stroll on.
When considering what to do in Paris, don’t overlook this beautiful and peaceful area.
This opera house is opulent to the max and was used as the inspiration for the book “The Phantom of the Opera.” If you have seen the 2004 Phantom of the Opera movie, you’ll notice that they based a lot of the set off the actual opera house!
The opera has a grand staircase, made of white marble and lined with stone sculptures. At the top of the staircase there is a large balcony atrium, with intricate, large light features, and little alcoves overlooking the stairs.
From here, you can continue towards the back of the building to the opera hall. Note that sometimes the hall is closed for rehearsals or maintenance.
If it is open, you can pop in to take a look at a classic Romantic period opera hall, complete with velvet chairs, overlooking boxes, and thick curtains.
Towards the front of the building is my favorite part of the whole opera: The Grand Foyer. It is lined with mirrors and sculptures, has murals on the ceiling, glitzy chandeliers, and seemingly everything is plated in gold. It is reminiscent of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, and truly rivals anything you will find at the palace.
I love the Opera Garnier – it’s one of my favorite things to do in Paris from this 3 day itinerary!
- Hours: 10am-5pm (except summer, when it’s 10am-6pm, and days with afternoon performances)
- Cost: 14 euro
From the Anvers metro station, you’ll head north to the Sacré Coeur basilica.
Thanks to the particular travertine stone used in construction, the basilica stays an impressive white year after year. And thanks to being set on a hill (Montmartre means “Mountain of the Martyrs”), it towers over the surrounding neighborhoods, creating one of the more dramatic views you’ll find in Paris.
Be prepared to experience Sacré Coeur with hundreds of other people, but there are a lot of places to sit on the stairs and spread out. If experiencing Sacré Coeur without hordes of people is important to you, I would come here first thing in the morning and do Notre Dame and the Opera in the afternoon.
You can walk through the inside of the basilica (entry is free) or go up in the domes (8 euros) and then make your way into the heart of Montmartre, an artsy, charming, little village within Paris.
From here, I suggest walking around and experiencing this cute “village” neighborhood. You can do so by following my self-guided route, or doing a guided tour of the area. Here’s information for both options!
Self-Guided Walking Tour of Montmartre
- Walk around to the back of Sacré Coeur, the view from the back is just as good as the front!
- Staircases of Montmartre. There are staircases scattered around the hill and are a well-known feature of the neighborhood.
- Place du Tertre, a square where artists are out drawing, painting, and selling their pieces.
- Le Consulat restaurant, a well-known and cute restaurant
- La Maison Rose, another famous and adorable restaurant, located on the super cute street of Rue de l’Abreuvoir
- Rue de L’Abreuvoir, one of the prettiest, quaintest little streets in Paris. In the fall time, the leaves on the vines turn vibrant colors – gorgeous!
- The Bust of Dalida. Tradition holds that it is good luck to rub her breasts, and as you can see, a lot of people have tried their hand at good luck.
- Another picturesque Montmartre staircase
- Le Moulin Radet, one of four windmills in Paris’ Montmartre area. “Moulin” means windmill in French, and there actually used to be over 300 windmills in Paris!
- Rue Lepic, a charming street with some really pretty doors. There’s also a fantastic chocolaterie (A La Mere de Famille) on this street.
- Moulin Rouge. Admire the iconic Red Windmill!
- Mur des Je t’Aime, a wall with ‘I love you’ written in 250 languages. This wall is found in a little garden area tucked behind Place des Abbesses.
- Creperie Brocéliande – a fantastic restaurant serving galettes, buckwheat crepes from the Normandy region. You can order both sweet and savory galettes, and the flavor combinations are really interesting and delightful. I recommend ordering a savory galette for yourself and a sweet galette to share!
At this point, you are just around the corner from where you started, at the base of Sacré Coeur. From here you can make your way back to the Anvers metro station or explore further at your leisure.
Guided Walking Tour of Montmartre
Alternatively, a guided tour with a local will take you to a lot of these same spots (plus more!), regaling you with interesting historical facts about the area, and fun stories about the famous artists who lived here. The guides are really fun and engaging and make the time fly by!
Book this Montmartre walking tour here
Paris Itinerary Day 3 Map:
Paris Itinerary Day 4: Versailles
Head out to the famously ornate and over-the-top palace of Versailles – you’ll spend essentially your entire day 4 in Paris here! Technically, it’s not actually in Paris (it’s in the city of Versailles), but it is still absolutely one of the top things to do in Paris!
Getting to Versailles
To get here, you’ll need to hop on the RER C and buy the special ticket for Versailles – a standard Paris metro ticket will not work, as Versailles is farther outside the city.
When you get to Chateau Rive Gauche station, exit the train station and head towards the chateau- it’s about a 10 minute walk away. You can check directions on your phone, or just follow everyone else, there will be lots of people heading to the palace.
Without Paris Museum Pass: If you don’t have the Paris Museum Pass, then it costs 28 euro for the “Passport” and 19.50 euro for the “Palace” ticket. As the “Passport” includes entry to the Grand and Petit Trianon, I would highly recommend purchasing this option. You need to book a timed entry slot for your ticket in advance.
With Paris Museum Pass: Entrance to Versailles is included in the Paris Museum Pass. However! You still must reserve a timed entry slot online to get into the palace. This is not an extra ticket, it is just a reservation time. When you go online to reserve a timed slot, you will see that you cannot book a “Passport” ticket with the pass, you must reserve a time for the “Palace Ticket” and the “Estate of Trianon Ticket” separately.
With either ticket option, there is the possibility to purchase an audio guide for the Palace of Versailles that you download and listen to on your phone.
The grounds of Versailles are free to visit.
Hours: 9am-6:30pm, closed Monday. The trianons open at noon.
Guided Tour Options for Versailles
Of course, if you want more a more in-depth experience with Versailles, consider this great guided tour:
Skip-the-Line Classic Guided Tour: This guided tour is a great deal – it includes a guided tour and a skip the line ticket for entrance to the palace. After the tour of the palace you can explore the gardens at your leisure. This tour is excellent option if you want to hear lots of interesting stories and tidbits to make the palace and the reign of Louis 14th come alive.
Book this guided palace tour here
Inside the chateau, you will follow a path through the parts of the castle. They regularly change up the route of the visit, so you may get to see different rooms on different visits. What is always impressive is just how ornate and vast the castle is – while you only tour a small part of Versailles, that small part is still massive!
A visit always includes a stop in the Hall of Mirrors. The Hall of Mirrors is beautiful, but it is always super crowded!
A visit to the chateau takes usually 1-2 hours, depending on how long you linger in each room. If you rent an audio tour headset, the tour could be longer.
While I love going inside the chateau, and it absolutely can’t be missed, I ADORE the gardens. The Versailles park is huge, so even though there can be a lot of people around, it doesn’t feel crowded at all, unlike the chateau tour, which can sometimes feel pretty crowded.
I love walking down the path to the Latona Fountain. From here, you can continue walking down the long pathway towards the Apollo Fountain and the Grand Canal, or you can peel off and explore the different groves.
I recommend you do both!
The walk down to the canal is calming and beautiful, with trees and sculptures lining the path. But the groves are absolutely incredible – with intricate paths cut through the trees, leading to different focal points in the middle – sometimes statues, sometimes fountains or ponds.
At some point during your afternoon, you’ll want to head over to the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet.
These were all designated “getaways” for the king and queen when they wanted to escape the stifling royal life at the palace.
The Grand Trianon is more understated but also more elevated than some of the architecture you’ll see at the main palace. I particularly love the pink marble columns outside!
For me, the Petit Trianon itself was less exciting, but the Queen’s Hamlet is on the grounds of the Petit Trianon, and the hamlet is an absolute must-see.
This part of the estate (the Petit Trianon and Hamlet) was given to Marie Antoinette as a refuge from court politics. She had the area renovated, and specifically developed the most charming little provincial village scene in the Queen’s Hamlet.
In addition to being absolutely adorable, it actually was a real working farm during Marie Antoinette’s time at the palace. This is one of my very favorite stops in this Paris itinerary!
My three biggest tips for Versailles are:
- Get here early (with your timed ticket!) and plan to spend most of the day here. There is so much to see and do!
- Don’t skip the groves, the trianons, or the Queen’s Hamlet! These are my favorite parts of Versailles.
- Get yourself a map (even just download a map of the grounds on your phone). It’s way easier to navigate through the enormous grounds if you can see where everything is.
Note: You can’t bring food in if you’re going through the palace, but there are restaurants in the palace and places to buy food on the grounds.
I’m often asked if I think Versailles is worth visiting on a trip to Paris, and I think it absolutely is!
Paris Itinerary Day 5: Latin Quarter
Day 5 in Paris is all about exploring the Latin Quarter of Paris! The Latin Quarter is found in the 5th and 6th arrondissements of Paris, on the left bank of the Seine. The Sorbonne university is located here, and back in the middle ages students spoke Latin – thus the name.
It’s one of the oldest areas of Paris and over the years has attracted philosophers and intellectuals. There’s lots to see during day 5 of your Paris itinerary!
Start your day 5 itinerary at the Pantheon, a monument dedicated to distinguished politicians, military leaders, writers, philosophers, and scientists. Today, the crypt houses the remains of many of these famous French men and women, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, Marie and Pierre Curie, Alexandre Dumas, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
It’s a fascinating place to visit!
- Hours: 10am-6pm, every day
- Price: 11.50 euro. The Pantheon accepts the Paris Museum Pass.
Jardin de Luxembourg
This garden is very expansive, but is most noted for its large pond, its sculptures and flower beds. There are many chairs you can find throughout to sit and relax. The main building in the garden – the Palais de Luxembourg – is where the French Senate meets.
This park is popular with runners, especially in the morning, with picnickers, and, with a playground on the grounds, it is also popular with families.
- Hours: Generally dawn-dusk
- Price: Free
Saint Sulpice church
The Latin quarter is full of impressive churches, and the Saint Sulpice is no exception. Its most unique feature is its absolutely massive columns adorning the front. It’s a nice stop on your way to lunch at…
Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore
These two cafés sit right across the street from each other and are the most famous cafes in Paris. In the early 1900’s, they attracted the sort of clientele like Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, Julia Child.
For many intellectuals and writers, it was a meeting place to discuss ideas. If you’ve seen the 2011 film Midnight in Paris, those cafe meetups were based on these cafes!
It’s a fun place to experience a piece of history during your visit to Paris – and bonus, you get lunch!
After lunch, head to the Musée d’Orsay to get your fill of impressionist and post-impressionist art. The building housing the d’Orsay is interesting in its own right, as it used to be a train station. You can actually go up and stand right in front of the two large clocks on the top floor!
If you want to admire some of the best works of Degas, Renoir, and Monet, the Musée d’Orsay is your museum!
- Hours: 9:30am-6pm, 9:30am-9:45pm Thursdays, closed Monday
- Cost: 16 euro, or the Paris Museum Pass
Recommended Tour: If Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art is your jam, then you will really enjoy this guided tour of the Musée d’Orsay, where an expert guide will take you to some of the top pieces and explain their significance and backstory. Entrance to the musem is included, and you’ll have time to continue exploring after the tour.
Shakespeare and Company bookstore
This charming little English language bookstore is right on the banks of the Seine, across from Notre Dame. You can walk along the Seine to get here, or you can take the RER C here (get on at d’Orsay and get off at Saint Michel – a standard metro ticket will work for this).
This is one of the most unique and kind of crazy things to do during your 5 days in Paris, but I think it’s really fun and interesting!
Descend under the streets of Paris to the literal past as you walk through part of a vast network of catacombs (honestly, between the extensive metro network and the vast catacombs, is there any solid ground underneath Paris??)
Started in the 1700’s to contain the remains of Paris’ population and relieve overcrowded cemeteries, today the catacombs hold the remains of over 6 million people! The bones are artfully arranged and the visit is a little bit creepy, a little bit mind blowing, and very cool.
It’s an off the beaten track place to visit in Paris for sure, and I think you’ll agree it’ll be a memorable experience in your 5 day Paris itinerary! They check your bags on the way out – so don’t pick up any “souvenirs”’ to take home with you.
- Hours: 9:45am-8:30pm, closed on Monday
- Price: 29 euro, includes audioset, and you must book your tickets online in advance
Guided Tour of the Catacombs
This is another spot in Paris where a guided tour can really enhance the experience. On this highly rated Catacombs tour, you get historical context and interesting stories from a fun and engaging guide, as well as access to secret spots in the Catacombs not available to the self-guided tour.
Book this special access Catacombs tour here
Paris Day 5 Map:
If You Have 7 Days in Paris:
During your first 5 days in Paris, you’ve visited the main attractions, experienced the extravagance of Versailles, explored some of the local haunts, and seen some lesser known spots.
For your 7 day Paris itinerary, it’s time to see last points of interest in Paris, get off the beaten path, and possibly even take a day trip to another cool place outside the city.
Paris Itinerary Day 6: The Marais (and surroundings)
Your day 6 Paris itinerary centers mostly in the Marais, the 3rd arrondissement of Paris.
This beautiful stained glass church is situated on Ile de la Cité. This is one of the few churches you have to pay to enter in Paris, but the floor to ceiling stained glass is worth it!
The stained glass tells Bible stories as you move through the room, so grab an info card and look for any well-known stories you may know! (Admittedly, even as someone who feels very well-acquainted with the Bible, about halfway through the room, I stopped being able to recognize most of the scenes. But they’re still beautiful!)
To help you appreciate the different rooms and stained glass in Sainte Chapelle, you can download this audioguide on your phone to listen to during your visit.
- Hours: 9am-7pm daily (9am-5pm fall and winter)
- Price: 11.50 euro, or the Paris Museum Pass. Whether you pay individually or with the pass, you need to make a timed reservation online in advance.
As you walk to the Pompidou, you’ll pass Hotel de Ville, the city hall, an impressive ornate building.
In contrast, the Pompidou Center is maybe the wackiest building you will see during your 7 days in Paris!
The building is built “inside out,” with the colorful pipes, massive steel struts, and the distinctive, plexiglass elevator on the outside of the building. The Pompidou is a modern art museum (makes sense!), with the second largest collection of modern art in the world. It also has a public library inside.
Whether you like it or hate it, it is undeniably a landmark building and a fun destination.
- Hours: 11am-9pm daily, except 11am-11pm Thursday and closed Tuesday
- Cost: 14 euro, or the Paris Museum Pass. It is strongly recommended to Lunch
Pop over to Salon du Fromage Hisada for lunch. This cheese shop also has a small restaurant section, where you can order cheese plates with a variety of cheeses and accompaniments (like jams!). I love a good cheese-tasting restaurant – they are so fun, and you get to try a variety of different cheeses! (Closed Sunday and Monday)
Place des Vosges
This stop on your Paris itinerary brings you to this unique square – all the buildings lining the square are red brick, and a public park sits in the center. Victor Hugo’s house is in one of the corner buildings of Place des Vosges, and is now a museum about the famed author.
The park is laid out very symmetrically, with tree-lined paths, green spaces filled with locals, a giant central statue, and a matching fountain in each corner. This is the perfect little off the beaten path square /park to explore during your 6 day Paris itinerary.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
The Père Lachaise cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Paris, and is certainly the biggest. At 110 acres, it covers a vast area and, with its tree-lined, cobblestoned paths, is actually a really calming and beautiful place to walk through.
The graves in the cemetery are all old and have large, grand above ground tombs and sepulchers marking the deceased’s resting places.
Of course, any old and grand place like this in Paris will have ties to famous historical figures, and Père Lachaise is no exception. Artists, musicians, and writers, such as Moliere, Chopin, Edith Piaf, and Proust are buried here, for example (and many more – consult a map on arrival to find the location of your particular person of interest’s grave location).
The most famous gravesite in the entire cemetery is that of the musician Jim Morrison.
- Hours: 8am-6pm daily, except 8:30am-6pm Saturday and 9am-6pm Sunday
- Cost: Free
This is one of my favorite parks in Paris!
This park is set in the very upscale and very gorgeous 8th arrondissement. Check out the buildings around the park – they faaaaaancy.
It works though, because Parc Monceau is a perfect blend of upscale and chill.
There is a big rotunda at the main entrance, and intricate wrought iron, gold-tipped fence all around. There’s a pond with columns along the edge, and statues and a cute bridge just because, but there are also wide paths for running, lots and lots of lawn to sit on, and a playground for children.
I absolutely love coming here, walking around, and then settling in on a bench or on the grass to relax and enjoy a picnic and the afternoon. It’s the perfect way to finish out a day in Paris.
Paris Itinerary Day 6 Map:
Paris Itinerary Day 7 : Lots of options!
Your last day in Paris can go one of two ways. You can either use the day to wander the streets, hit up any sites you may have missed the previous six days, eat more delicious pastries, and go back to your favorite spots (Eiffel Tower at night for a different view of the city, anyone?).
Or, you can take a day trip outside the city! If you’re in the mood for more castles, Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte are two nearby, gorgeous chateaux. You could also take a day trip to the spa town of Vichy, France.
If you want to see the settings for a famous painting come to life, head to Giverny. This charming town is home to Monet’s house, water garden, and flower garden. You can tour the home and grounds, and visit the pond and bridge featured so prominently in Monet’s Water Lilies paintings.
You can take a train to Giverny from the Saint Lazare train station in Paris – the journey takes less than an hour!
A Summary of this 3, 5, or 7 Day Paris Itinerary
Paris Day 1:
- Eiffel Tower
- Seine River Cruise
- Rodin Museum
- Picnic on the Champ de Mars
- Watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at Trocadero
Day 2 in Paris:
- Palais Royal
- Tuileries Gardens + Angelina
- Place de la Concorde
- Champs Elysees
- Arc de Triomphe
Paris Itinerary Day 3:
- Notre Dame
- Walk the Seine
- Opera Garnier
- Sacré Coeur + Montmartre
Day 4 in Paris:
Paris Day 5:
- Jardin de Luxembourg
- Saint Sulpice Church
- Les Deux Magots or Cafe de Flore
- Musée d’Orsay
- Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
Day 6 in Paris:
- Sainte Chappelle
- Place des Vosges
- Père Lachaise Cemetery
- Parc Monceau
Day 7 in Paris:
- Option 1: Visit any places you missed or go back to favorites
- Option 2: Take a day trip to places like Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Vichy, or Giverny.
Other Practical Information
Where to Stay in Paris
Paris is divided in 20 neighborhoods, called arrondissements. Each of these neighborhoods has a different vibe and feel, and there are different pros to staying in each of the arrondissements – some are really central, or near big attractions, some are in quieter areas or historic areas, some areas are cheaper or more expensive, etc.
I actually have a whole post dedicated to the best arrondissements and hotels to stay in Paris. I pull out my top recommendations for areas to stay in Paris and what type of traveler that area is a good spot for!
How Many Days is Enough for Paris?
At the end of all that, what is my overall recommendation for how many days to spend in Paris? Paris is large and there is so much to see – my ideal amount of time is at least 5 days.
Now, if you only have 2 or 3 days, I would absolutely still go and it will still definitely be worth it. But I definitely think there is enough to see and do in Paris with a full 5+ day itinerary.
I highly, highly recommend doing a combination of walking and taking the metro to get around Paris. The metro is cheap, convenient, and safe, and walking is a great way to see more of the city (and walk off all those pastries!)
When I visit, I like to save an image of the metro map on my phone to consult as needed. You can view a metro map here!
A Note About Ticket Prices on this Paris Itinerary
When I note the price for attractions in this 3, 5, or 7 day Paris itinerary, I only note adult prices. Children and youth often have free or reduced rates, even up to the age of 26! If you’re traveling with a child under 18, you will very rarely need to buy tickets for them.
For places that require a timed entry ticket, even if they are free, you will still need to make a reservation for children. (e.g. Versailles is a noteworthy one, but this applies to other attractions as well).
The TL;DR is that if you’re traveling with kids, check the free/reduced price requirements carefully for the places you’re visiting!
When is the Best Time to Visit Paris?
There really is no wrong time to visit Paris! All the seasons have their pros (and cons).
For the best weather, late spring and early fall (April-May, September-October) is a beautiful time to visit. The spring and fall season can also have less tourists, although the fall is generally busier than the spring.
Summer is still a great time to visit, but it is definitely the high season and there will be more tourists. The weather in summer is generally not too bad in Paris – with highs in August averaging in the upper 70’s. Prices for hotels can be much higher in summer.
Winter is a great time to visit if you want to escape the crowds and enjoy the lowest prices. Winter can get quite chilly, and although Paris doesn’t get very much snow, it can be overcast, rainy, and slushy sometimes.
Is Paris a Walkable City?
Yes, extremely! You can easily get around Paris by walking and strolling the streets is one of my favorite things to do ino Paris.
However, note that Paris is quite large, and it will take time (and be pretty tiring) to walk everywhere. Thus, I definitely recommend also taking the metro to get around.
Do You Need Cash in Paris?
You can use a credit card almost everywhere in Paris, but if you’re visiting any markets, you’ll want cash. Additionally, I prefer to have some cash on hand for visiting bakeries (boulangeries) – it feels silly to use my card for a one euro baguette, and I think they tend to prefer cash for small purchases like that.
Do You Need to Tip in Paris?
No. Tips are not expected in Paris and any gratuity is already included in the bill.
A Few Travel Essentials for Your Visit to Paris
Power Adaptor: France uses type C plugs, so if you’re coming from the US (or another country that doesn’t use type C plugs), you’ll need a power adaptor. This set is affordable and comes in a 3-pack – perfect so everyone can charge their devices.
Purse: A good crossbody purse with a zipper is a must! I always bring this cognac crossbody purse with me on trips – always zipped and in front of my body to prevent pickpocketing.
Packing Cubes: These packing cubes are my new best friend. Gone are the days of a suitcase full of clothes getting all mixed up and disorganized after 2 days of travel, with me always rummaging around for 5 minutes trying to find things. You can pack like items in different cubes and keep everything in its place.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
Securing some travel insurance is an important part of prepping for any international trip – you never know when something might happen, and your regular insurance generally won’t cover you overseas. Costs for a medical emergency on vacation can add up extremely fast, so it’s just better to be safe than sorry (If covid has taught me anything, it’s that you never know what could happen!)
I like booking insurance at Insure My Trip, as they offer a variety of plans with different coverages to choose from, so you can find the right option for you. Plus, they have great customer support if you need help before, during, or after your trip.
Final Thoughts on Your Paris Itinerary
Aaaaaaand that’s a wrap! The perfect itinerary for what to do with 3 days, 5 days, or 7 days in Paris. I love that no matter how long your Paris itinerary is, you can experience some highlights and local spots, the main attractions and off-the-beaten-path locations!
Paris is truly a magical city, with must see, iconic views around every corner, cute streets, gorgeous architecture, well-dressed locals, and mouth-watering boulangeries dotting the city. I hope you have the best trip to Paris!
Check out my other Paris posts:
- 7 Best Arrondissements to Stay in Paris for First Time Visitors
- 13 Best Paris Parks and Gardens
- How to Have the Perfect Picnic in Paris
- Do People in France Speak English? Tips + Everything You Need to Know
Planning a trip from Paris to Provence or the French Riviera? Check out my Southern France posts!
- 20 Unique, Best Things to Do in Nice, France
- A Day Trip to Menton, France
- Our Mixed Review of Marseille
- Hiking the Sentier du Littoral of Antibes
- The Ultimate Guide to Hiking to Calanque d’En Vau
- Exploring Aix-en-Provence: The City of Fountains
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