The perfect 3 days in Paris itinerary for an unforgettable getaway
Are you planning a short getaway to Paris? Welcome to one of the best cities to visit in Europe! With so many incredible things to see and do in the City of Lights, here is the perfect 3 days in Paris itinerary that ensures you see all of the highlights this charming city has to offer.
Paris, France is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire world. As a matter of fact, over 30 million people visit this iconic city every year – and for good reason!
There’s so much to do during your time in Paris. You could easily spend a couple of weeks exploring everything Paris’ 20 arrondissements have to offer. But if you only have three days, this Paris itinerary covers the highlights.
You can check out the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, take a stroll along the Seine River, and so much more!
If you’re looking to maximize your few days in Paris, this 3 days in Paris itinerary has you covered!
About This 3 Days in Paris Itinerary
I visited Paris (and a few other European cities) for the first time almost six years ago on my honeymoon. It was so surreal to honeymoon in one of the most romantic cities in Europe. In our few short days there, we were able to pack in so many fun things to do.
I’ve carefully crafted this 3 days in Paris itinerary so you don’t miss any of the main highlights. My goal for you is to fall in love with Paris just like I did.
At the bottom of this post, I’ve also included some helpful tips including where to stay, how to get around Paris, and much more. After all, la vie est belle a Paris.
An important thing to note is that I didn’t mention starting your day with a pastry and a cup of coffee. You can’t miss out on this morning routine. Try a new pastry shop every morning. Trust me — you won’t be disappointed!
The Ultimate 3 Days in Paris Itinerary
Day 1 of the Ultimate 3 Days in Paris Itinerary
Day 1 of this 3 days in Paris itinerary is all about the must-see Parisian stops.
Take a Stroll (or a Boat Ride) Along the Seine River
You’ll start your 3 days in Paris itinerary at the infamous Seine River. The Seine is the lovely river that winds its way through the heart of Paris.
You can start your day with a lovely stroll on the riverbank. And along the way, you can grab a pastry from a French bakery, watch street artists create their magic, and watch the boats sail along the river.
Or if you prefer, you can hop aboard a boat yourself! Either way, a trip along the Seine is a great way to start your Parisian getaway.
Peruse the Pieces at the Louvre Museum
As you stroll along the Seine, you’ll eventually come across the Louvre. The Lourve is one of the most iconic places to explore on this 3 days in Paris itinerary.
The Louvre Museum is one of the most well-known museums in the entire world. But with a whopping 380,000 pieces and 652,000 square feet of space, it’s impossible to see all of the Louvre Museum, especially in one day. So instead of rushing through all of the exhibits, you should instead make a list of things that you must see during your time at the Louvre.
If there’s just one thing that you need to see at the Louvre, it’s Leonardo da Vinci’s, Mona Lisa. Created in the early 16th century, the Mona Lisa is believed to be a painting of a woman named Lisa Gherardini – although historians still aren’t sure if this woman is really the one depicted in the piece. This mysterious identity – and the woman in the painting’s lack of eyebrows – has made the Mona Lisa the most recognized painting in the entire world.
A few other noteworthy pieces found in the Louvre include The Raft of the Medusa by Theodore Gericault, The Wedding at Cana by Veronese, The Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch, Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix, and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
At the end of your visit, don’t forget to stop to see the sparkling glass pyramid (also known as the Pyramide du’ Louvre)!
Pro Tip: Snag a map as you enter the Louvre! You’ll need it both to find what you’re looking for and to find your way out of the museum at the end of your visit.
Wander through the Tuileries Garden
On your way from the Louvre to your next stop, the famous Champs-Elysees, you can cross through the Tuileries Garden, also known as Jardin des Tuileries.
The Jardin des Tuileries is perfect for a short stroll or a quick lunch on your 3 days in Paris itinerary. You can grab some crepes at a nearby café and devour them on a park bench.
Or you could simply walk through the bright green trees, say hello to the street artists, and continue on to your next stop.
If you’d like to make a little detour, the famous patisserie known as Angelina Paris is right around the corner! Known for its decadent hot chocolate and flaky French pastries, Angelina Paris is an amazing experience. If this is a must-do on your 3 days in Paris itinerary, you should consider making a reservation far in advance.
Stop into the Shops Along the Champs-Elysees
This 3 days in Paris itinerary would be incomplete without recommending Champs-Elysees. Even if you loathe shopping like me, you’ll still have fun strolling along this street.
With luxury shops like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Christian Dior, Valentino, and Swarovski, this is undoubtedly one of the most lavish streets in the world. But these stores are out of most people’s budgets, so window shopping is also an acceptable option.
If you’re not much of a shopper, you can enjoy the Champs-Elysees’ food scene. As a matter of fact, this bustling street is home to Laduree, the most famous macaron bakery in the entire world! Snag a few of your favorite flavors, such as caramel, coffee, raspberry, and orange blossom, to enjoy!
Admire the Architecture of the Arc de Triomphe
At the end of the Champs-Elysees, you’ll find the amazing Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated in 1836 and honors those who fought in the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars.
While at the Arc de Triomphe, you can pay your respects to the fallen war heroes, admire the arch’s architecture, and then head to the top of the structure.
Although my favorite view of the city is from the top of Notre Dame Cathedral, the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe is a good second (especially considering the Notre Dame Cathedral fire of April 2019). You’ll be able to see many of Paris’ most famous sites, including the Champs-Elysees and the Eiffel Tower.
Watch the Eiffel Tower Sparkle
You’ll end the first day of your 3 days in Paris itinerary with the most famous Parisian attraction of all: the Eiffel Tower.
I encourage you to climb your way to the top of this iconic structure for some amazing views. If you don’t want to climb the 674 steps to the second floor and then take an elevator to the top, I recommend just enjoying the view of this iconic tower from the ground.
To make things extra special, the Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour on the hour after the sun has set. What a perfect end to your 3 days in Paris itinerary!
Day 2 of the Ultimate 3 Days in Paris Itinerary
Day 2 of your 3 days in Paris itinerary is a combination of iconic Paris attractions and the lovely Montmartre area.
Stop and Smell the Flowers of the Luxembourg Gardens
You’ll start the second day of your 3 days in Paris itinerary slow and sweet with a visit to the gorgeous Luxembourg Gardens, also known as Jardin du Luxembourg.
The best time to visit the Luxembourg Garden is in the spring when the flowers are in full bloom. But, this lovely attraction is still worth a visit at any time of year!
There are a few different things you can do in the Luxembourg Gardens. First, you can enjoy a little breakfast picnic in the park. Buy some French pastries from one of the nearby bakeries, layout on a blanket, or sit on a bench, and enjoy your morning treat!
If you’re not a breakfast person, you can spend your time in the Luxembourg Gardens looking for the many hidden gems. You can get a glimpse of the Luxembourg Palace, find the little Statue of Liberty, admire the Medici Fountain, and search for the Luxembourg Gardens beehives.
And last but not least, you can stop and smell the flowers. With roses, geraniums, peonies, and more, there are so many lovely blooms for you to admire in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Gape in Awe at the Views from Notre Dame
It is important to note that at the time of writing this 3 days in Paris itinerary, Notre Dame is still under construction after the April 2019 fire. Consequently, you may not be able to do all of the recommended activities during your trip to Notre Dame.
After your stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, you’ll make the fifteen-minute walk (or eight-minute drive or ten-minute RER ride) to Notre Dame.
Officially known as Notre-Dame de Paris, this cathedral originally started construction in 1163. However, it didn’t become a popular attraction until 1831, when Victor Hugo published the novel called Notre-Dame de Paris (also known as The Hunchback of Notre Dame).
While many people just take a peek at Notre Dame from the outside, I recommend going inside. You can admire the Gothic architecture, the thousands of carved sculptures, and the colorful stained glass windows.
But the best part of Notre Dame, in my opinion, is the view from the top. You can see all of Paris, including the Seine River and the Eiffel Tower! It’s an absolutely breathtaking sight and a total gem on your 3 days in Paris itinerary.
After your time at Notre Dame, you’ll make your way across the city to the amazing area of Montmartre. I think this will be one of your favorites on this 3 days in Paris itinerary.
Montmartre is known as one of the prettiest and artsiest districts in Paris. As a matter of fact, famous artists and writers like Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Salvador Dali are all known for spending time in Montmartre.
The best way to experience Montmartre is by simply strolling around and stopping at things that catch your eye. Pass a cute café? Go in for a bite to eat! See an adorable building? Snap a few pictures! Spot an eye-catching shop? Pop inside!
But if this “go with the flow” style of travel isn’t really your thing, you can check out the highlights, like the artist-filled Place du Tertre, Moulin Rouge, the Wall of Love, and the Dali Exhibition. And you certainly can’t miss the sunset, as Montmartre is known as one of the best spots to catch the sunset in all of Paris.
Pay a Visit to Sacre-Coeur
If there’s one must-see during your time in Montmartre, it’s Sacre-Coeur, also known as the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre. In other words, be sure to make time for it between purchasing a painting from a street artist and watching the beautiful sunset.
Construction on Sacre-Coeur started in 1875 and ended in 1914. And while Sacre-Coeur is most well-known for being a church, it is also a historical monument. It is seen as a sign of national atonement for France’s loss during the Franco-Prussian War as well as for the chaos that ensued during the socialist Paris Commune of 1871.
Then, of course, there’s the architecture. With its off-white walls and towering height, Sacre-Coeur is simultaneously impressive, yet not over-the-top. As an added bonus, this stunning cathedral is actually located at the top of butte Montmartre, making it the highest point in the city.
During your time at Sacre-Coeur, you can admire the architecture, take a tour, learn about the history, and even climb the 300 stairs to the top of the cathedral.
Day 3 of the Ultimate 3 Days in Paris Itinerary
For the third and final day of your 3 days in Paris itinerary, you’ll head out of the city to the stunning town of Versailles. To get from Paris to Versailles, you’ll simply take a ride on the RER.
Admire the Palace of Versailles
The most well-known attraction in Versailles is the Palace of Versailles. In 1862, Louis XIV moved the Royal Court to the Palace of Versailles. For over a century, the entire French government made its decisions at this eye-catching building. This came to an end in 1789 with the start of the French Revolution. Today, the Palace of Versailles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This opulent building boasts crystal chandeliers, intricate frescoes, and gold figurines. And while you can easily see the extravagance of the Palace of Versailles, I highly recommend taking a tour in order to understand the historical significance of the building as well.
Wander around the Gardens of Versailles
While the Palace of Versailles is what makes Versailles famous, the Gardens of Versailles are even more breathtaking.
With the perfectly manicured green hedges and hidden fountains around every corner, there’s always something magical to see!
And if you happen to show up at the right time, you can actually watch these fountains create a captivating water show!
Paris Tips to Make Your Experience Better
If you really want to make the most out of your 3 days in Paris itinerary, here are some helpful tips that make your experience smooth and stress-free.
1. Buy Attraction Tickets in Advance
Since this is only a 3 days in Paris itinerary, you’ll want to make the most of your time. Unfortunately, many Paris attractions have extremely long lines. But there’s a nice workaround!
Instead of waiting in these lengthy lines, you can simply buy tickets to your desired attractions online in advance. This option is available for pretty much any major Paris attraction, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Palace of Versailles.
2. Get a Taste of Real Parisian Life
One of the biggest mistakes that visitors to Paris make is just seeing the touristy sights. They rarely take the time to experience the city like a local. I know that a 3 days in Paris itinerary isn’t enough time for you to dive deeper into the Parisian culture. But, you can still get a good taste for it.
If you’re looking for some ideas of how to do so, you’re in luck! We have some for you. You can stay at a Parisian apartment instead of a hotel, explore the lesser-known neighborhoods, and wander around local markets.
3. Watch Out for Pickpockets
Like just about every major city around the world, Paris has its fair share of pickpockets. But there are simple things you can do to avoid them: don’t wear flashy jewelry, keep your camera and phone in your bag, and keep your bag in front of you when possible.
4. Visit Another Museum Besides the Louvre
Just about everyone knows about the Louvre Museum, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has visited a different Parisian museum. And that’s a shame because there are so many museums in Paris that are worth a visit. If you’re looking for more things to add to your 3 days in Paris itinerary, it should be museums.
You can stroll through the beautiful sculpture garden known as Musee Rodin, test your abilities at the Musee de la Magie (Museum of Magic), spruce up your medical knowledge at the Musee d’Histoire de la Medecine (Museum of the History of Medicine).
Where to Stay in Paris
I remember feeling so overwhelmed when we were trying to figure out which area of Paris to stay in. There are so many bustling and fun areas that it’s hard to choose. But, don’t worry — I’ve got you covered on where you should stay during your 3 days in Paris itinerary.
Paris is split up into 20 neighborhoods – or arrondissements. Any Parisian will tell you that each arrondissement has its own vibe, but it’s nearly impossible to visit all of them during your trip.
The most important thing is to pick accommodation in an arrondissement that suits your style.
1. 7th Arrondissement
If you’re a first-time visitor to Paris, you won’t regret staying in the 7th arrondissement – the arrondissement of the Eiffel Tower. We stayed here during our first 3 days in Paris itinerary and we loved it!
By staying in the 7th arrondissement, you’ll be close to many of Paris’ best attractions. In addition to the Eiffel Tower, this neighborhood also has the Musee d’Orsay, the Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Rodin Museum.
2. 8th Arrondissement
Right next to the 7th arrondissement is the 8th arrondissement, which is known for its shopping – specifically the Champs Elysée! With loads of luxury shops, this is undoubtedly one of the most lavish streets in the world.
To go along with these fancy shops, you’ll also find quite a few luxurious hotels and eateries through the 8th arrondissement.
3. La Marais: 3rd and 4th Arrondissement
La Marais is the embodiment of picture-perfect Paris, complete with charming cafes, adorable bookstores, cute streets, and elegant architecture. You can almost imagine your favorite movie set in Paris playing out right in front of your eyes!
To add to the appeal, La Marais is also the new nightlife hub of Paris.
4. Montmartre: 18th Arrondissement
Montmartre is a part of Paris that most people have heard about but may not take the time to visit – and that’s a shame because Montmartre is a cool spot. It’s one of the coolest areas to stay in during your 3 days in Paris itinerary. This artistic arrondissement is filled with cute cafes, quirky boutiques, and creative artists. It also provides one of the best sunsets in the entire city.
As an added bonus, this area is perfect for you if you’re on a budget during your 3 days in Paris itinerary. The accommodations in Montmartre are often cheaper than those in the previously recommended arrondissements. It’s important to note that this is because Montmartre is farther from the most famous Parisian attractions.
How to Get Around Paris
One of the most important things you should know for your 3 days in Paris itinerary is how to get around the city. Here are your options.
1. On Foot
If you’re staying near the city center, it’s pretty easy to get around Paris on foot. After all, all of the major sites, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre, are within walking distance of each other.
2. By Metro
If you want to cover a distance that’s too long to walk, the metro may be the best transportation option. With 16 extensive lines that run all throughout Paris, the metro can get you just about anywhere you want to go in the city – and for an affordable price!
3. By Train
The train, also known as the RER (Réseau Express Régional), is a great form of transportation if you’re trying to get outside of metropolitan Paris. For example, if you want to visit Versailles, Disneyland Paris, or one of the smaller towns around Paris, the RER is a fantastic way to get there.
4. By Bus
There are over 50 bus lines that wind their way all throughout Paris. Many of its stops overlap with the metro, so it can be difficult to determine the differences between the two. To put it simply, the bus is slower, but it’s also more scenic than the metro. So take your pick!
5. By Taxi
There are thousands of taxis that wind their way around Paris, so if you ever need a convenient ride home, you can just hail one (although it’s actually easier to wait in line at one of the taxi ranks).
If you’re confident enough in your taxi-hailing skills, Parisian taxis make it a little bit easier for you. On the roof of each taxi, there’s a little sign. When the sign is green, it’s available. When it’s red, it’s not. Simple enough!
Keep in mind that this will be the most expensive transportation method during your 3 days in Paris itinerary.
Best Time to Visit Paris
If you’re worried about when you’ll be doing this 3 days in Paris itinerary, don’t. There’s really no bad time to go to Paris – except perhaps August, when most Parisian locals go on vacations of their own, so many local businesses are closed.
But, the best times to visit France’s capital are from April to June and from September to October. This is when the weather is ideal and when the crowds aren’t too large.
What to Pack for Paris
What you need to pack for your 3 days in Paris itinerary all depends on when you’re visiting. But, this basic Paris packing list should give you a good place to start.
1. Passport (and Visa, If Necessary)
The most important thing you’ll need to bring on your trip to Paris is your passport (and, if necessary, your visa). Without these documents, you won’t be able to experience this amazing 3 days in Paris itinerary.
2. Neutral Fashionable Clothing
The French are known for fashion, and, let’s be real, you don’t want to stick out as a tourist. So, to fit in, you’ll want to pack fashionable clothing. I made the mistake of not packing neutral clothing on my 3 days in Paris itinerary and I don’t want you to do the same.
Little black dresses, elegant blouses, classy jeans, and striped shirts are all great ideas. Trench coats and scarves are great for colder months, as they look great and provide warmth.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to look like you’ve walked off a runway, but “casual” clothing in the U.S. is definitely different from “casual” clothing in France.
As an extra tip, you’ll want to pack your neutrally colored pieces. Parisians love their neutrals – especially black – so this is a great way to act even more like a local.
3. Comfortable Shoes
While you might be tempted to pack your most fashionable pair of high heels to match your fashionable clothing, that might not be the best option.
Between Paris’ cobblestone streets and the miles of walking you’re bound to do, that’s just not practical. Trust me — you don’t want to sprain your ankle during your 3 days in Paris itinerary.
Instead, opt for a pair of comfortable shoes. But the best option is if you can find a pair of shoes that’s both comfortable and practical. Perhaps a pair of trendy white sneakers?
4. A Pair of Fancy Sunglasses
What out-and-about Parisian outfit is complete without a pair of fancy sunglasses? It protects your eyes from the sun, adds a little accessory to your outfit, and provides a splash of color!
How to Save Money in Paris
Your 3 days in Paris itinerary can definitely add up in cost. Here are a few money-saving tips so you can have a few more Euros left for crepes and pastries.
1. Take Public Transportation
Public transportation in Paris is quite extensive. You can take metros, trains, and buses to make your way around the city. This is a great alternative to cars and taxis, and it can save you quite a bit of money. During our 3 days in Paris itinerary, we only used public transportation.
2. Exchange Money Away from the Airport and Major Tourist Attractions
The money exchange rate near the airport and Paris’ major tourist attractions is atrocious. If you do exchange your money in one of those areas, it’s safe to say you’re getting ripped off. Instead, you’ll want to find a place to exchange your money that’s a little more off the beaten path.
Even better, don’t exchange your money. Instead, just pull money out of an ATM (preferably one away from the airport and major tourist attractions) for a significantly reduced fee.
3. Visit the Museums on the First Sunday of the Month
If you happen to be doing your 3 days in Paris itinerary on the first Sunday of the month, all of the museums in Paris are completely free! So you can visit the famous Louvre or one of the more under-the-radar ones, like Musee de la Magie (Museum of Magic) or Musee d’Histoire de la Medecine (Museum of the History of Medicine).
Where to Eat in Paris
I couldn’t complete this 3 days in Paris itinerary without recommending a few of the best places to eat in Paris. After all, the food scene in Paris is amazing!
French food is known as one of the best cuisines in the world. Not only does it boast delicious dishes like French onion soup, coq au vin, and chocolate souffle, it’s also known as the basis of the culinary world!
You’ll definitely want to add some of the best restaurants in the city to your 3 days in Paris itinerary. After all, these eateries are some of the best in the entire world.
L’Astrance is known as one of the world’s best restaurants. As a matter of fact, it boasts three Michelin stars!
Run by Chef Pascal Barbot, L’Astrance features some surprising flavors from all around the world, including Chinese dates and Japanese miso.
And while the menu is always changing, you’re sure to dine on something great! All you have to do is choose between the lunch menu, the dinner menu, and the seasonal menu.
I highly recommend going here on the last evening of your 3 days in Paris itinerary. What a treat!
2. Guy Savoy
Guy Savoy is one of the most renowned chefs in the world! And you can dine at his restaurant during your 3 days in Paris itinerary.
There are a few different menu options at Guy Savoy. If you really want to splurge, you can order the 13 (or more) course meal. This includes amazing dishes like artichoke soup with black truffle, oven-baked John Dory, and pure chocolate tart.
Or if you’d just like to try a course or two, you can do that as well. You can get the roasted duck with confit turnips, the brochette of seared veal sweetbread, or the seared lobster with armoricaine sabayon. And if you’d like a sweet treat to finish off, you can try the chestnut-quince, the “open” mille-feuille, or the textures of mango.
3. Breizh Café
Not all restaurants in Paris are absurdly fancy and expensive. As a matter of fact, you can simply grab a crepe from a little café, and you’ll be happy.
Remember how I said you should start your 3 days in Paris itinerary every morning with a pastry? You should also find a new creperie to indulge in every day too!
But if you’re looking for the best creperie around, you’ll want to head to Breizh Café. Obviously, with the reputation that it has, the crepes at Breizh Café are a little more expensive than the ones that you’ll find throughout the rest of Paris. That said, they are worth the few extra Euros.
Like at most French creperies, Breizh café serves up both savory and sweet options. I recommend getting one of each. You can try starting with a fabulous smoked duck breast crepe and finish off with a matcha and white chocolate mousse crepe. It’s definitely a delicious culinary experience.
While many Parisian restaurants are old and established, Clamato is one of the newest and hottest restaurants in the city. This modern seafood spot is another place that you’re definitely going to want to add to your three days in Paris itinerary.
Like many of the best restaurants in Paris, Clamato’s menu is constantly changing! Some of the highlights from the past include the black mullet ceviche with butternut squash, the Galacian sea urchin, and the bonito tataki with Buddha’s hand.
More Places to Add to Your 3 Days in Paris Itinerary
If you’re like me and you love to constantly be on the go, you’ll have room to add more things to your 3 days in Paris itinerary. If that’s the case, here are some more fun things you can do in Paris.
- Musée d’Orsay
- Catacombs of Paris
- Grand Palais
- Rodin Museum
- Domaine National du Palais-Royal
- Shakespeare and Company
- Jardin d’Acclimatation
- Le Consulat
3 Days in Paris Itinerary Final Thoughts
As you can see, there is so much that you can see and do during your 3 days in Paris itinerary. Should you find yourself in the overachiever club and you’ve explored everything on this list in just a day or two, you can go off the beaten path and try to find these secret spots in Paris. Either way, I hope you fall in love with Paris just like I did!
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