3 Days in Paris: What to do in Paris

Before visiting Paris, I used to hear people saying that it was impossible not to fall in love with the city, after all, this is the city of love. In fact, I thought all of this was an exaggeration … until I finally got to know the city. No, this is definitely not an exaggerator, few cities in the world make me admit it, but here it goes: Everything they say about Paris is true.

Paris is an inspiring city that makes you sigh and miss it. I could go back there a million times and still, it wouldn’t be enough, and for sure, it won’t be any different. But for those who don’t have the chance to visit Paris a million times, here’s a 3-day tour in Paris, with tips on what to do in Paris for those who are going to the French capital for the first time.

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what to do in Paris in 3 days

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3 Days in Paris: What to do in Paris

Planning your Visit to Paris

The best way to save time and money on your 3 days in Paris is to buy the local city pass, called The Paris Pass, with it you get free entry to more than 60 Paris tourist spots and attractions, among them, the Louvre Museum, Musée d’Orsay, Arc de Triomphe and Palace of Versailles.

You can choose between 2, 3, 4, or 6 day passes. The Paris Pass also includes a day city sightseeing bus tour, metro tickets, and a Seine River cruise.

Another option to save time and money is the sightseeing bus ticket, also known as Hop-on Hop-off. With The Paris Pass you get a ticket for one day, but to enjoy your tour better, I suggest you buy a ticket for the other two days too.

The advantage of it is that this bus leaves you in front of the main tourist spots in Paris, so you don’t have to waste time getting from one to the other, nor run the risk of getting lost in the city on the way!

Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris

If you are arriving in Paris by plane, you will likely arrive at Paris-Charles de Gaulle International Airport, the main airport in the French capital and the hub of Air France.

The airport is located in a commune 30 km northeast of the city of Paris, called Roissy-en-France. From the airport to the center of Paris it takes an average of 45 minutes.

It is always important to put the travel time from the airport to your hotel in your itinerary, so you don’t end up being disappointed. Often, the arrival day, especially if it doesn’t happen early in the morning, is almost a day wasted because of the commuting time between places.

From the airport to the center of Paris, you have several options, including taking a taxi, these have a fixed price of 50 euros for regions on the right bank of the Seine, and 55 euros for regions on the left bank from the Seine river.

The Roissybus that connects Charles de Gaulle Airport to the Opera Garnier square costs €13.70, but the journey is limited and takes an hour. Other bus options are line 350 that connects the airport to Gare de l’Est and line 351 takes you from the airport to Place Nation, the ticket for either of them costs €6.

RER trains are also a good option, the ticket costs €11 and among the main stops are Gare du Nord, Châtelet-Les-Halles e Denfert-Rochereau. The ticket also includes the value of the metro pass in case you need to take one to get to your hotel.

Day One: Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame Cathedral

You can start the day by visiting the most famous gothic cathedral in the world, Notre Dame!

For those who chose not to buy a ticket for the Hop on Hop off the sightseeing bus, there is a subway station called St-Michel Notre Dame that drops you off right next to the cathedral, from there you are just a walk away. Notre Dame is located on the Île de la Cité, the largest island in the Seine.

The construction of the cathedral began in 1163 by Pope Alexander III, but was only completed in 1345. Its name means “Our Lady” and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

Entrance to visit the interior of Notre Dame Cathedral is free, however, you will probably have to face a queue to get inside, but don’t worry, it’s totally worth it!

The interior is beautiful, with some stained glass windows and statues decorating the cathedral, among the highlights is the statue of Joan d’Arc, who is considered a heroine of France and was beatified here at Notre Dame by Pope Pius X in 1909, and canonized 11 years later.

📝 Interesting Fact: Among other important events that took place here at Notre Dame are the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte and the coronation of Henry VI of England.

Probably the most famous piece inside the cathedral is the altar, which is definitely one of the most beautiful altars I have ever seen and features the iconic Pieta statue by Nicolas Coustou.

For a small fee, it is possible to climb to the top of Notre Dame, where you can admire the beautiful view of Paris, and the Eiffel Tower beside one of the famous gargoyles of the cathedral.

🔥 2019 Fire: Sadly on April 15, 2019, Notre Dame was partially damaged during a fire that took place in the cathedral. With that, the famous needle of the main tower was knocked down and completely destroyed. Fortunately, as the cathedral was undergoing renovations at the time, the main works of the interior had been removed and did not suffer any damage. Unfortunately, due to the fire and restoration work, it is not possible to visit the cathedral at the moment.

After leaving Notre Dame, you can explore the neighborhood a bit. Along the canal you will see traditional Bouquinistes, selling used and old books.

Sainte-Chapelle

Within walking distance of Notre Dame, is located what is probably the most beautiful chapel in the city of Paris, known as Sainte Chapelle.

Although it’s quite famous, it’s still a lesser-known tourist spot in Paris, but make no mistake, there’ll probably be a line to get in.

What is unique about this chapel is the fact that it is completely surrounded by large stained glass windows, the color of the glasses in contrast to the lighting of the place makes it a visually stunning experience. Despite its small size, those who visit will not regret it, you will hardly find places as rich in details as Sainte-Chapelle.

The chapel was built in 1248 to serve as the chapel of the royal palace, unfortunately, the rest of the palace has completely disappeared, and now around it, we have the Palace of Justice.

🧐 Did you know?: Sainte-Chapelle housed the relics of the Passion of Christ, composed of the crown of thorns, and a piece of the Vera Cruz (the real cross where Christ was crucified). The crown of thorns was purchased from the Latin emperor of Constantinople, Balduin II, for an exorbitant sum.

During the French Revolution, the chapel had been transformed into an administrative office, and its stained glass windows were covered by cabinets, which contributed to the artistic stained glass not being destroyed by vandalism in the period.

Fortunately, the main relics survived those turbulent times and are now deposited in the Treasury of Notre Dame Cathedral.

To visit the interior of Sainte Chapelle it is necessary to buy a ticket, you can buy it here.

Eiffel Tower visiting Paris in 3 days

Eiffel Tower

Time to visit the symbol of Paris. If you opt for the metro again, Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel Station takes you really close to it.

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and to demonstrate France’s industrial prowess to the world.

🧐 Did you know?: The Eiffel Tower was not meant to be permanent, it was built just for the 1889 Universal Exposition and was definitely not Parisian’s favorite landmark. They found it too modern for her time and didn’t fit the pattern of that period. However, it soon became a symbol of Paris.

A picnic in Champ de Mars, in front of the tower, is always a good idea during the summer, and also a common activity for Parisians, you will see many people doing this especially on the weekends, so prepare yourself and buy some sandwiches and why not some wine too, on your way there.

Don’t miss the chance to climb the Eiffel Tower, as you will have an incredible panoramic view of the city of Paris from there. To climb the tower, you have the option of going up to the second floor, which already provides a nice view, or going to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

To climb on any floor of the Eiffel Tower I recommend securing an online ticket, so you’ll avoid long waiting lines.

Best Eiffel Tower Tours

Why you Should Buy a Ticket Online?

To go up on any of the floors, you need to buy a ticket, for that, you’ll have to go to the ticket office, then you’ll have to decide whether you want to go up the stairs or the elevator, in both cases you’ll have to face another line, but I’ll let you know that the stair line is shorter.

Buying your advance ticket online to climb the Eiffel Tower is a good way to avoid all those lines. With it, you’ll be able to climb the Eiffel Tower without catching any queue.

It’s important to buy tickets soon, as soon as you’ve decided on your travel dates because they start going on sale two months before the date, but they often sell out a month before.

By buying the Ticket you guarantee your ride without wasting time waiting, and also guarantee that you won’t need to climb the stairs, since the ticket already includes going up in the elevator.

Seine Cruiser

A nice experience is to take advantage of the sunset time to take the Seine River cruise. Some tickets mentioned to the Eiffel Tower, mentioned above, already include this boat tour along France’s main river, but if you bought a simple ticket, just to climb the tower, don’t worry, you can guarantee the cruise here.

You can take the tour at any time of the day, however, in my opinion, the coolest experience is at dusk, as you can still admire the city in daylight on the way to and from the lights. the city ​​already accessed, they are two very different experiences, in a single tour.

With the boat, you will pass by the main sights of Paris, such as Notre Dame, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Eiffel Tower, and admire them all from a different angle.

If you opt for the night tour, you also get the chance to enjoy a three-course dinner during the Seine River tour, another unmissable experience, especially if you are traveling as a couple. Grant this experience here.

Day Two: Museums, Arc of Triomphe

 Louvre Museum

Today is the day to discover some of the most famous works of art, Paris is full of museums, but as we only have 3 days in Paris, it’s best to choose well. Let’s start our day with the most famous museum in the world, the Louvre Museum.

The Louvre Museum is the largest museum in the world, to visit it completely would take literally days. For this reason, many people prefer not to enter the museum, and visit it only from the outside. The building itself is a tourist attraction, in fact, the famous Louvre pyramid is also located outside, so many prefer to take some pictures and move on to another part of the city.

Louvre Museum visiting Paris in 3 days
Mona Lisa, the most famous artwork on display in the Louvre Museum and a must see in the Louvre

But even for those who aren’t a fan of art, nor do they have much patience for museums, I recommend a visit at least to the best artworks in the Louvre. A tour focused on the main works takes around one to two hours, and is very worthwhile. Among the highlights not to be missed are the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory.

🧐 Did you know? Paris has more than 130 museums around the city, there is something for all tastes, but among these, some stand out more, see here the list of best museums to visit in Paris.

Best Louvre Museum Tours

  • 1 – Skip the line at the Louvre and visit directly to the Mona Lisa – If you want to get straight to the point, this is the best choice. With this guided tour, you enter the Louvre museum without having to face any queue, your guide will take you to the Mona Lisa, the icing on the Louvre museum cake, after that, you can go to another tourist spot. The tour takes around 30 minutes.
  • 2 –Private Guided Tour of the Louvre – This one and a half-hour private guided tour ensure you see the best of the Louvre in no time with the company of a professional guide to answer any questions. With it, you also avoid any queue at the entrance and save time.
  • 3 – Visit the Louvre your way with an audio guide – With this ticket you avoid the queues and visit the Louvre museum at your own pace, the ticket is valid for the whole day, you also get an audio guide, with it, you will be able to learn more about the main works of art at the Louvre.

Why you Should Take a Guided Tour?

As I mentioned before, the Louvre Museum is huge, and it would take you a few days to visit it fully. It’s easy to get lost in the middle of so many rooms, corridors, wings, and floors, so the visit is much easier in the company of a professional guide, who, in addition to teaching you about the museum’s pieces and history, will be able to show you the easier and faster path from one piece of art to another.

Especially if you have a few days in Paris, the idea is to be very objective when visiting the Louvre. Alone and without knowing the way, it is difficult to guarantee that you will visit the museum and see all the main works at the right time. With a tour, the tour time is guaranteed.

With the company of a guide, you can enjoy your tour without worrying about getting lost on the way or ending up late leaving the museum and not having seen everything you wanted.

Musée d’Orsay

We leave the Louvre behind now and head across the Seine to another one of the must-see museums in Paris, the Musée d’Orsay.

Your building, located on the banks of the Seine, was once one of Paris’ train stations, which explains the large clock you’ll see as soon as you enter the museum’s hall. The clock is original from the old season.

The Musée d’Orsay is famous for its large collection of Impressionist art, the Musée d’Orsay houses one of Van Gogh’s most extraordinary collections.

Among the pieces, you can’t miss during your visit are Renoir’s Ball at the Moulin de la Galette, Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait, and Van Gogh’s Starry Night. In addition to these works mentioned, of course, there are several other famous works that are worth mentioning, check here the artworks you shouldn’t miss in the Musée d’Orsay.

The museum is not as big as the Louvre and can easily be visited in an hour or two, so take this time out of the day to enjoy and admire the works before heading to the next attraction.

Jardin des Tuileries visiting Paris in 3 days

Jardin des Tuileries

Going back towards the Louvre museum again, we will now go through the garden located in front of the museum building, known as the Tuileries Gardens. This is the first public park open in Paris.

The garden was created by order of Catherine de Medici, queen consort of France between 1547 and 1559, to decorate the Tuileries Palace, which was also built at the request of Catherine, in a place previously occupied by a tile factory (in French tuiles).

👉 For anyone wondering what the Tuileries Palace was like, in its later years it was the facade of the Louvre. Passing by the Louvre’s Arc de Triomphe, right in the middle of the park, you will notice a walkway with a tunnel for cars passing underneath, this walkway now occupies the space occupied before by the Tuileries Palace.

The palace was a royal residence for many years but was eventually destroyed in a fire in 1871. Today, the Tuileries Garden is the only remnant of the palace.

Inside the garden itself, you can still find two museums, the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Jeu de Paume, both located in pavilions at the end of the park, one on each side.

Place le la Concorde

Right at the end of the Tuileries Gardens, you find one of the most iconic squares in Paris, the Place de la Concorde.

Nowadays known for its large water fountains and the Obelisk, Place de la Concorde was once famous for a much more violent attraction: the Guillotine.

During the French Revolution, Revolution Square, as it became known during that bloody period, was an obligatory stop for processions, events, and meetings, especially after the installation of one of the many guillotines in Paris.

Public executions took place in different areas of the city, but this was undoubtedly the most popular one, and the stage for the execution of famous figures such as King Louis XVI himself and his wife Marie Antoinette, Robespierre, and Danton, two leaders of the Revolution.

🧐 Did you know? Altogether around 2,498 people were guillotined in Paris during the revolution, of which at least 1,119 were executed in the Place de la Concorde.

GET TO KNOW MORE PLACES RELATED TO THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IN PARIS.

Champs Élysees

The Place de la Concorde marks the beginning of the most famous avenue in Paris, the Champs Élysees. If you bought a ticket for the panoramic bus, you’ll probably prefer to ride it by bus and save energy for the rest of the tour, now if you’re on foot, get ready, because this avenue is quite long.

In the first half of it there’s not much to see, apart from the avenue itself and the surrounding park. Arriving at the first intersection, you will notice an interesting building on your left, there is the Petit Palais, the Paris fine arts museum, one of the top 10 museums to visit in the city.

👉 Tip: For those visiting Paris at Christmas time, between November and January, the Champs Élysees hosts a Christmas fair, so the avenue is full of stalls and Christmas attractions, including amusement park rides.

Following the Champs de Élysees, passing the first roundabout, the commercial heart of the city of Paris begins, here you will find shops of the best and most famous brands in the world.

Arc de Triomphe

Standing at the Charles de Gaulle Place, at the end of Champs Elysée, we have that classic view of the Arc de Triomphe. The famous arch was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 to commemorate France’s victory at the Battle of de Austerlitz. The monument was only completed in 1836, 15 years after Napoleon’s death.

🧐Did you know? The Arc de Triomphe in Paris was inspired by the Arc de Titus in Rome, located next to the Coliseum. The Arch of Titus was the first Arc de Triomphe built-in history. In addition to these two, several other Arcs de Triomphe were erected in the world.

If you’ve covered the entire Avenue Champs Elysée on foot, you must be tired of walking, so take a moment to rest here, admiring the incredible view of the Arc de Triomphe.

If you want to get closer, you can cross the roundabout, but beware of the somewhat chaotic traffic here! Arriving at Charles Gaulle Square, pay attention to the details, inscribed on the four pillars of the arch, there is the name of all the battles won by the Napoleonic army, as well as the name of the 558 generals.

In the center of the arch, you will find the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”, placed there after World War I, the body that was never recognized, symbolizes all the French soldiers killed during the First War battles.

💶 Visiting the Arc de Triomphe is free, but for those who want a privileged view of Paris, it’s worth climbing to the top of the monument, for a panoramic view of the city, you’ll be able to see the entire Avenue Champs Elysée as well as the Eiffel Tower. To go up it is necessary to buy a ticket.

Day Three: Montmartre

This is our last day in Paris, and assuming you might be tired, we will pick a simple routine, which will let us enjoy the Parisian nightlife a little bit.

Take the metro to the Montmartre area, head to the Sacre Coeur, and climb its stairs. If you are smart, you can take the cable car to the church, something that I didn’t notice at first,  I only found out about the cable cars when I got up there.

Sacre Coeur visiting Paris in 3 days

From there, you have an amazing view of Paris, and it is free.

The Sacre Coeur will probably be crowded, especially if you go during the summer, but the entrance is free, so no reason to give up. Bear in mind, unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures inside the church.

After visiting Sacre Coeur, you can take the cable car again, (or the stairs, your choice) and have some fun around the neighborhood. Montmartre is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Paris, and definitely the one with the best nightlife.

You will probably recognize many streets and scenes from paintings you saw elsewhere, as this is a very famous spot for artists, besides romantic, it is considered the Bohemian neighborhood of Paris, so everything an artist likes.

Explore around, you will find stores selling all kinds of stuff, it is a good place if you are looking for souvenirs to bring back home. There are many cafes where you can have a good meal.

The night approaches, go to the Moulin Rouge, the most famous cabaret and a must-see in Paris. It was built in 1889 and is one of the few traditional cabarets that are still working. The Moulin Rouge offers amazing performances that can be watched while you enjoy your dinner inside the cabaret.

Moulin Rouge visiting Paris in 3 days

During the night, the lights are on, which gives an absolutely new charm to the place.

If you are not tired yet, you can find a good bar in Montmartre, to enjoy the rest of the night in the best Parisian style. Or you can just run straight to your hotel to hit the bed.

How to get around

Paris has a great, well-connected metro system, all the must-see places to visit in Paris are very easy to get to, and they normally have a metro station nearby. If you are thinking about using the metro, you can download the metro map here.

In my opinion, though, the best way to see a city is by taking the bus, as you can admire the views from the window while getting to your final destination, this is also a cheap option if you are traveling on a budget.

Now, if you want a cheap option where you will have all the comfort of being left exactly in front of every tourist point you want to visit, the best option of all, and my favorite option, is to buy the Hop on Hop off bus ticket.

It is the best option especially if you are spending a few days in Paris, as it will bring you to all the important spots, which will save you time from moving around and figuring out your way, plus it is a cheap option to get to all the tourist points in Paris.

Where to stay in Paris

Looking for a perfect stay in Paris? If you dream about waking up to a view of the Iron Lady, Paris’ iconic landmark, check these hotels with Eiffel Tower views.

For more options you can check the map of the hotels in Paris:



Booking.com

Read more

Things to know before going to Paris

Room with a view of the Eiffel Tower

 


 

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Sobre Isadora

Writting and sharing travel experiences

(31) Comments

  1. Love this post, and the photos.

    1. thank you! 🙂

  2. Kyle Studstill says:

    Great shot of Jardin desTuileries 🔮🙏

    http://www.patientexplorers.com

  3. Quite a complete programme for 3 days.
    What about 3 months?
    Até logo
    Brian

    1. That would be quite an opportunity! Paris has so many hidden pearls that even if you spend a long time, you will never get tired of this city.
      Besides, there are many interesting one day trips that one can take from the capital!
      Are you going by any chance?
      Isadora

  4. HI Isadora,
    Thanks for following my blog. Paris is our favourite place. We are actually moving to France soon and looking forward to weekends in Paris and not just in Springtime. Last year we visited the northern area for buttons and bows, linens and leather and especially loved Reines. A seamstresses delight.

    1. Lucky you, France is beautiful I hope you enjoy it fully! Paris is full of charm and hidden pearls, there is so much to be seen! I would suggest for you to explore Marais, there are amazing bars and shops there, during springs and summers take a walk around the Bastille area, it is beautiful! For more eccentric views, visit Belleville! I wish you all the best!

  5. Caitlin Stewart says:

    These are some great tips! Lots of iconic places! My parents are actually headed to Paris in April! I’m going to have to pass this post along to my mom!!!

    1. I really hope they like it!! At least to give them an idea!! 😀

  6. I love Paris! Cannot stop enjoying it whether being there or reading about it!

  7. This is what I would need for a city trip to Paris! A beginners guide to a beautiful city.

  8. Michelle says:

    These are great suggestions for a short visit to Paris thanks, saving it to my Pinterest Paris travel inspiration board for sure! Especially love the idea of having a picnic close to the tower – that would be so romantic!

    1. Thank you so much! 😀

  9. Great tips for first timers to Paris. My favorite city.

  10. Andrea says:

    Thank for you this! Very informative and learned a couple of new things that I’ll will now consider for my future trip to Paris.

  11. Great post. I think there are not many more specially places left to see. hence I think 3 days are great to spend in Paris. Thanks for sharing this piece. Cheers.

  12. Viviane says:

    Really well thought itinerary for a short stay in Paris! Hitting up the highlights in the limited time available. When I was in Paris for the day we ate sandwiches before the Eiffel Tower, ate my first macaron, went into Notre Dame (no crowds in June/Julyl; how?) met someone new at a cafe and more. Oh and climbed arc de triomphe at the start. It was one of the most magical days of my life and roughly like your itinerary but in just one day!
    https://dreamtraveleat.blogspot.com.au/

    1. wooow that amazing that you managed to do so many things in only one day!! Paris is really a magic city!!

  13. In only a month I will be in Paris for the first time. You have given some great tips – I am considering bypassing the Louvre now since we don’t have a lot of time ti go inside. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Josie!! I hope you enjoy Paris as much as I did!

  14. I’m saving this post for a future travel date to Paris TBD. Good tip about the views from inside the Arch de Triomphe.

    1. Thank you Jamie! 🙂

  15. I’ve been to Paris a few times now and can vouch for your itinerary. Great guide for first timers looking to catch the highlights of the city.

  16. Nice Post Dora and great photos. You must’ve started touring early in order to get pics with so few people in them (especially around the Louvre!), good job!!

    1. Hey Mike! Thank you so much! 🙂 I really did!! I heard of how crowded it could be, so I got there pretty early, just to make sure hahaha

  17. I’ll be in Paris soon, so this is super helpful!

  18. Just reading the post makes me want to pack my bags and leave! What a charming writer you are!

  19. So many helpful tips here! Will definitely be looking to the city pass.

  20. I love Paris. I’ve been several times, so have done the main sights. But I just love wandering the streets and soaking in the atmosphere.
    Beautiful photographs.

  21. Paris is on my bucket list for so long. Would love to refer to this post for tips 😍

  22. Nicole says:

    This is a perfect list for a first time visit to Paris! Love your photos and it reminds me me of my first time in Paris. I would’ve loved a list like this before my first visit.

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