3 Days In Paris, The Best Itinerary + Tips

Planning to spend 3 days in Paris? That’s a great idea! The City of Light is the cultural capital of the Western world, and has been for centuries.

In Paris, you’ll find grand boulevards, cobbled lanes, chic boutiques, and powerhouse art museums. You can cruise the Seine, zip up the Eiffel Tower, and stroll down the Champs Elysees.

With 3 days in Paris, you can get lost in cobbled lanes and check off iconic landmarks, all the while filling up your camera’s memory card.

I’ve been to Paris many times in my life as a traveler, staying for more than a week on several occasions. Paris is my favorite big city in Europe and I’ve spilled a lot of ink on it.

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Overview Of 3 Days In Paris Itinerary

Here’s a quick snapshot of what you’ll see with this 3 days in Paris itinerary:

  • Saint Germain
  • Latin Quarter
  • Pantheon
  • Musee d’Orsay
  • Orangerie
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Louvre
  • Palais-Royal
  • Tuileries Gardens
  • Place Vendome
  • Rue Royal
  • Madeleine Church
  • Opera Garnier
  • Petit Palais
  • Champs Elysees
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Food Tour or Seine cruise
Ju Cafe on Rue de Rivoli
Ju Cafe on Rue de Rivoli
  • Ile de la Cite
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Ile Saint-Louis
  • Le Marais
  • Picasso Museum
  • Montmartre
  • Opera Garnier or Catacombs

This itinerary assumes you have arrived in Paris and are ready to start sightseeing first thing in the morning.

Saint-Germain des Pres neighborhood, which you will want to visit with 3 days in Paris
Saint-Germain des Pres neighborhood

3 Days In Paris Itinerary

This three day Paris itinerary covers all the major attractions in the city. Naturally, I suggest you use this itinerary as a guide. You can tailor it to suit your individual interests, needs, and pace of travel by adding or subtracting sites.

Day 1 Of 3 Days In Paris

Most people hit the five star attractions like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower first thing when arriving in Paris.

But I think it’s better to start in the somewhat more low key Left Bank. You may be exhausted from traveling. This way, you can do some strolling to shake off the jet lag and immerse yourself in Paris’ historic cobbled lanes.

Saint Germaine
Saint-Germaine-des-Prés

Left Bank

The two quintessential neighborhoods of the Left Bank are Saint-Germain-des-Pres and the Latin Quarter.

Most tourists are enchanted by the storied Left Bank. You might want to book a walking tour to get oriented. If you’re a literary fan, you can also book a writers of the Left Bank tour.

Saint Germain

Saint Germain is Paris’ artsy literary quarter. Born in the 9th century around a Benedictine abbey, it’s now a cobbled haven filled with bookstores, antique shops, and bistros. It boasts some of the best food (and nightlife) in Paris.

The best thing to do is just stroll around the district. But there is one must see sight — the magnificent St.-Germain-des-Pres Church.

Founded in 543, the Romanesque church you see today dates from around 1000. Its bell tower is the oldest in Paris.

colorful interior of St.-Germain-des-Pres Church
colorful interior of St.-Germain-des-Pres Church

The church has a blue vaulted ceiling with gold stars. Corinthian columns separate the side aisles. 19th century frescos above the arches tell bible stories. To the right of the choir, you’ll find the tomb of Rene Descartes.

St. Germain is right next to the beautiful Place de Furstemberg. If you’re a fan of Romantic era painting, you can visit the house museum of Eugene Delacroix, whose Liberty Leading the People is a star of the Louvre.

From there, you can take a walk down Rue Jacob, which is filled with design and antique shops. If you are interested in modernist sculpture, you can also visit the Maillot Museum on Rue de Grenelle.

Another church you’ll want to visit is Saint-Sulpice. On the outside, it’s an austere and grandiose building. On the inside, you’ll be delighted by the Chapelle des Sts.-Anges, which is decorated with Delacroix frescos.

the famous cafe Les Deux Magots located in Saint Germain
the famous cafe Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain

If you want to join the crowds for coffee, you can try to snatch a coveted seat at one of Saint-Germain’s famous literary cafes, Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore. The Parisians frequent them too. So, you’ll likely encounter lines.

End your visit to Saint-Germain with a stroll through Luxembourg Gardens. The gardens were created by Marie de Medici, the the widow of Henry IV, in the early 17th century.

Her inspiration for the gardens was the Boboli Gardens in Florence. There are rotating flower species for a gorgeous palette in any season.

Quite a number of statues dot the gardens. The highlight is the elaborate Medici Fountain, a grotto fountain set on a long water basin and decorated with statuary.

cute bakery in the Latin Quarter
cute bakery in the Latin Quarter

Latin Quarter

Now you’re ready to explore the Latin Quarter. It’s one of Paris’ most historic areas.

From the Luxembourg Gardens, head to the Pantheon. Originally, this grand edifice served as a shrine to St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. But during the French Revolution it was transformed into a mausoleum for France’s most famous citizens and heroes.

You can admire frescos depicting Joan of Arc, inspect Foucault’s Pendulum, and climb to the rooftop for views. Click here to book a skip the line Pantheon ticket.

After the Pantheon, step inside the church of St.-Etienne-du-Mond. It’s a striking Gothic church with a three tiered facade that houses the shrine of St. Genevieve. It also has the last remaining rood screen in Paris, which was once used to separate the masses from the clergy.

Rue Mouffetard
Rue Mouffetard

Down the other side of the hill, you can stroll to the cafe-lined Place de la Contrescarpe. Rue Mouffetard, Paris’ oldest street, branches off from there. If you’re feeling peckish, this is the place to grab a crepe, sandwich, or falafel at a food stall or boulangerie.

From there, head back up Rue Monge toward the Cluny Museum, the Museum of the Middle Ages.

It’s housed in an illustrious medieval building that was recently renovated. What’s unique about the Cluny is that it was built right on ancient Roman baths and you can inspect them on a visit.

One of the best rooms to see is the King’s Gallery. You’ll find the busts of men who once adorned the facade of Notre Dame. They were cut down by revolutionaries who mistook them for kings and only re-discovered in 1977.

a concert I attended at St.-Severin
concert at St.-Severin

Room XIII is specially designed to hold the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. They depict a mythological world symbolizing the five senses.

Then, head to the Eglise St.-Severin, which is a beautiful Flamboyant Gothic church that needs a power wash. It has spiraling palm tree vaulting and both contemporary and original brilliant stained glass. There are often concerts here.

When you’re done in the Latin Quarter, walk along the quays of the Seine and shuffle through the goods of the open air booksellers until you get to your next destination, the Musee d’Orsay.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, La Danse, 1869
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, La Danse, 1869

Musee d’Orsay

In the late afternoon, head to Paris’ most beloved museum, the Musee d’Orsay. It’s dramatically housed in a former train station.

Most people visit to admire the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Manet, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, and Van Gogh. But the museum also houses Academic art, decorative arts, and photography.

There are also special exhibitions. I saw an excellent one on Edvard Munch when I was last there.

The museum’s collections are incredibly important in the history of modern art. The artists adopted a radical approach to painting, color, and form that revolutionized the art world.

For more information, you can check out my guide to the masterpieces of the Orsay. You’ll definitely need to book a skip the line ticket to visit and you may want to book a guided tour as well.

Orangerie

Right next door to the Orsay is its sister museum, the Musée de l’Orangerie. It’s often overlooked, though it shouldn’t be.

The marquis attraction is Monet’s luminous water lilies from his late period, installed in specially built rooms. These later works inspired the Abstract Expressionists, who rose to fame in 1940s New York City.

Click here to book a timed entry ticket to the museum.

Eiffel Tower, a must see with 3 days in Paris
Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

After the Orsay, head to the Eiffel Tower, a must visit monument with 3 days in Paris. Time your visit for sunset or at night when 20,000 lights burst from the Iron Lady.

Gustav Eiffel designed his cast iron monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition. Using technological wizardry, he created the most innovative and largest structure of his time.

The tower offers up magnificent views of Paris. Ticket prices vary depending on how high you want to go and whether you take the elevator.

view from the Eiffel Tower
view from the Eiffel Tower

If you are willing to take the stairs to the first and second levels, you won’t have to wait as long (even ticket holders wait for the elevator). But it’s 704 steps to the second level, a challenging climb.

You won’t be able to visit without a timed entry skip the line ticket in almost any season. The tower is popular — with 7 million annual visitors.

You can check out the different ticket and tour options here. Most tours last between 90-120 minutes. And you should budget 2-3 hours. Even with a skip the line ticket, you’ll end up waiting.

enjoying the Louvre in winter
enjoying the Louvre in winter

Day 2 Of 3 Days In Paris

On day 2, you’ll cross the Seine and explore the posh attractions of Paris’ Right Bank.

Louvre

Start with the world’s most famous museum, the Louvre. The Louvre began life as a fortress, was transformed into a royal palace, and modernized in the 1980s by Francois Mitterrand. He commissioned the I.M. Pei pyramids and made the collections more accessible.

The Louvre’s permanent collection is divided into 7 departments, displayed in the Sully Wing, the Denon Wing, and the Richelieu Wing.

The Louvre is so massive that it can be intimidating to visit. You may want to decide in advance what you want to see or pick up one of the thematic trail maps when you arrive.

Apollo Gallery in the Louvre
Apollo Gallery in the Louvre

If you’re coming just to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the world’s most famous painting, you may be disappointed. The painting is tiny, behind glass, and there’s typically a long line to catch a peak.

There are 3 ways to skip the line at the Louvre: the Paris Museum Pass, a timed entry skip the line ticket, or a guided tour. Without a ticket, the best time to visit is first thing in the morning at 9:00 am or on Wednesday and Friday evenings when the Louvre is open until 9:45 pm. 

To help you plan your visit, you can check out my articles on the Louvre:

Colonnes du Buren in the Palais-Royal courtyard
Colonnes du Buren in the Palais-Royal courtyard

Palais-Royal

After you’ve conquered the Louvre, head across the street to the Palais-Royal. The palace was built in 1633-39 by French architect Jacques Lemercier.

Initially, it was the personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu, the evil trickster from Alexandre DumasThe Three Musketeers. Since then, it’s been a royal residence and is now a seat of government.

The palace’s tranquil and discreet gardens are the perfect spot to linger or picnic. There are plenty of trees, roses, and even some grass. When you’re feeling sufficiently peaceful from the garden, poke into the palace courtyard for some artistic stimulation.

the art installation La Fontaine des Spheres at Palais Royal
the art installation La Fontaine des Spheres at Palais Royal

The courtyard contains Les Deux Plateau, a controversial candy-striped art installation by Conceptual artist Daniel Buren. There are also two beautiful fountains called the Fontaine des Spheres.

Just around the corner is one of Paris’ beautiful covered passages, Galerie Vero-Dodat. Peak in for a quick look.

Tuileries

If you need more greenery, continue on to the Tuileries Gardens. Designed by Le Notre, the gardens are framed by two wings of the Louvre and end at the Place de la Concorde. Among the chestnut-lined paths, you’ll also find 20 bronze sculptures by French artist Aristide Maillol.

In the winter, the Tuileries are home to one of Paris’ biggest Christmas markets. You’ll find rides for kids, food stalls, champagne bars, hot chocolate, and vin chaud.

Rue Royal & Madeleine Church

After the Tuileries, walk through the Place de la Concorde and take a stroll down the glamorous Rue Royale. Pop into the charming Village Royal with its luxury shops and brasserie.

Then, pop into the Madeleine Church, which is free to visit. The Madeleine isn’t your typical Parisian church at all. It’s imposing and looks more like a Roman temple, with 65 feet Corinthian columns and a monumental pedestal.

Originally designed as a temple to the glory of Napoleon’s army, today it’s a working church dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

Inside, there are a trio of domes, some beautiful frescos and mosaics in the apse, and intricate marble floors. The temple theme continues with 3 mini temples on each side aisle, framed by Doric columns and housing statues.

La Madeleine Church
La Madeleine Church

Opera Garnier

From the Madeleine, head the over-the-top Opera Garnier. Not many people take the time to go inside, but you should if time permits.

The opera is gaudy jewel box, just as sumptuous as Versailles but without the long lines and crowds. If you’re in the mood for gold, this might be the most beautiful building in Paris.

The opera was built in a Beaux-Arts style with eclectic Neo-Baroque elements. It’s adorned with sculptures.

The most famous one is The Dance by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (original in the Orsay). Inside, the highlights are the Grand Staircase, the Grand Foyer, and the Chagall frescos on the ceiling.

You can book a skip the line ticket for the opera. You can also take a 2 hour behind the scenes tour and learn about its history as the home of the Phantom of the Opera.

Rue St. Honore Street
Rue St. Honore Street

Rue St. Honore or Rue des Petite Champs

From the opera, head east down either Rue St. Honore or Rue des Petit Champs.

Rue St. Honore is Paris’ main shopping drag. You can splurge in the luxe boutiques or just do some window shopping. The shops include Celine, Paco Rabanne, Fendi, Chanel, Dior, Burberry, and Chloe.

Rue des Petits Champs leads you to two of Paris’ famous covered passages, Galerie Vivienne and Passage Choiseul.

Galerie Vivienne is the most ornate and most beautiful. You will find bistros, bookstores, and chic boutiques. Passage Choiseul is the longest covered passage in Paris with art galleries and vintage stores. Both are beautifully lit up with fairy lights during the holiday season.

Cafe Musset on Rue St. Honore
Cafe Musset on Rue St. Honore

Place Vendome

Either street will take you past the stunning Place Vendome. Louis XIV created the square to rival the Place des Vosges in the Marais. It’s serene pocket of harmonious architecture in the middle of the hectic city.

Originally, it had a statue of Louis XIV in the center, but it was destroyed by revolutionaries. Now, you’ll see the bronze Colonna d’Austerlitz glorifying Napoleon’s military victories, which was inspired by Trajan’s Column in Rome.

In the square, you’ll find some of Pairs’ most exclusive haute couture shops — Dior, Chanel, Lanvin, Boucheron, etc.

If you’re prone to nostalgia (who isn’t?), you can lounge in a leather armchair and have a cocktail at Bar Hemingway in the Ritz Paris. This was the mythical hangout of James Joyce, Coco Chanel and Hemingway himself.

exhibit at the Petit Palais
exhibit at the Petit Palais

Petit Palais

From the Place Vendome, head to the Petit Palais on the Champs Elysees. The Neo-Classical palace was built for Paris’ 1900 World Fair and became a museum in 1902. 

Designed in the Beaux Arts style by famous architect Charles Girault, it’s a charming small museum that’s easy to cover in an hour or so. Plus, it’s perfectly free to visit the permanent collection.

The museum houses French art work from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including pieces by Fragonard, Delacroix, Cezanne, Courbet, Monet, Rodin, Sisley, and Pissarro.

Champs Elysees

Now, it’s time to take a stroll on the mythical Champs Elysees. Created by Napoleon III, the street symbolizes the French sense of grandeur and class.

It’s the international heart of haute couture. Beginning at the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysees starts as a garden-lined avenue.

At Rond-Point, it transforms into a commercial district with luxe shops (shown above). You’ll find the very photogenic Laduree store/cafe and one of the world’s largest Louis Vuitton stores.

Arc de Triomphe

Continue walking to the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, perched on a square dubbed “Etoile” with 12 avenues radiating from the center. Napoleon commissioned the monument in 1806.

He went big. At 64 feet, it’s the largest triumphal arch ever built. Bas relief sculptures depict the departure and return of the French Army from Austerlitz.

You access the monument via an underground pedestrian way. (You can’t cross the street!)

I recommend booking a timed entry skip the line ticket. Be sure to get in the right line for ticket holders.

A long spiral staircase with 284 steps takes you to the top viewing terrace. You’ll have killer views of the Eiffel Tower. But know that it can be quite chilly at the top, especially in winter.

Arc de Triomphe, a must visit with 3 days in Paris
Arc de Triomphe

The best time to visit is either at sunset/twilight or at night when the lights of the Eiffel Tower are glimmering. During the holiday season, you can also see the Champs Elysees lit up.

Evening

In the evening, to get a real taste of Paris, you may want to book a guided food tour. They’re led by expert local Parisians who are passionate about French cuisine. 

Here are some tours to choose from:

boat cruising on the Seine River

You might also consider booking a Seine River cruise. There are plenty of options: sunset cruisechampagne cruisedinner cruise, or nighttime illuminations cruise.

Day 3 of 3 Days In Paris

Ile de la Cité

The Ile de Cite is the center and historical heart of Paris.

The things not to be missed are Notre Dame Cathedral (still under restoration), Sainte-Chapelle, the Conciergerie, the Marche Aux Fleurs, and Place Dauphine.

Due to the devastating 2019 fire, Notre Dame is currently closed. Restoration work is ongoing, with hopes that it will reopen in 2024 in time for the Summer Olympics. You can still view the exterior facade and take photos. 

stained glass windows in Sainte-Chapelle, a must visit with 3 days in Paris
stained glass windows in Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle is Paris’ finest example of Flamboyant Gothic architecture. The royal chapel is universally recognized as a masterpiece of stained glass.

Louis IX built his luminous chapel in just 6 years to house the Crown of Thorns, a relic that disappeared during the French Revolution.

The lower chapel is dark and decorated in vibrant red and blues. The upper chapel (accessed via a staircase) is breathtaking.

The walls are a mosaic of light, covered in 15 tall narrow stained glass windows. Primarily dating from the 13th century, they depict over 1,000 bible stories.

flowers in the Marche aux Fleurs
flowers in the Marche aux Fleurs

You’ll definitely have to book a skip the line ticket to visit Sainte-Chapelle and you may want to book a guided tour because there’s very little signage. This 2.5 hour tour also includes a look inside the Conciergerie, the one time prison of Marie Antoinette.

When you’re done at Sainte-Chapelle, visit the lovely Marche Aux Fleurs flower market and take a stroll through the picturesque Place Dauphine at the tip of the island.

Ile Saint-Louis

Then, cross over the bridge and head to Ile St.-Louis. The views from the island are fabulous.

pretty cafe on the Ile Saint-Louis
pretty cafe on the Ile Saint-Louis

This is where you can have an ice cream at the famous Berthillon. You can also grab a bite to eat at Cafe Saint-Regis, a sweet cafe with a great breakfast menu.

Marais

Your next destination is the chic Marais neighborhood. The Marais is a cultural powerhouse. It’s filled with renovated hotel particuliers, wonderful museums, medieval lanes, and great eateries.

Start at the Place des Vosges. It’s the showcase of the Marais, an eternally elegant open air square built by Henry IV in 1605. There are 36 pavilions, 9 on each side, each with an arcade.

Victor Hugo lived in #6 (you can identify it by the balcony). You can visit his house museum and see how eccentrically he lived.

Rue de Rosiers
Rue de Rosiers

From the Place des Vosges, head down Rue Francs-Bourgeoise and take a left on the beautiful Rue Sevigne.

There are some good places to break for lunch in the Marais: Les Gamins on Place du Marche Sainte-Catherine, Les Philosophes on Rue de Tresor, and Grand Coeur on the Rue du Temple.

You can also line up with the locals to get a falafel on Rue de Rosiers at L’As du Fallafel.

Museums in the Marais

The Marais is chock full of great museums and you should pick at least one to visit. The most popular is the Picasso Museum, for which you’ll need a skip the line ticket.

The excellent museum is housed in the stunning Hotel Sale. It boasts the world’s largest collection of Picasso’s works. You can see all his inventiveness and ever-changing styles in chronological order.

The Musee Carnavalet is a Renaissance-style museum devoted to French history. It reopened in 2021 after a $65 million renovation and it’s a delight.

Exhibits range from the Roman origins of Paris through the Renaissance, French Revolution, Second Empire, and Belle Epoque. You’ll find paintings, curiosities, the stunning Demarteau Salon decorated by Boucher and Fragonard, and the Fouquet jewelry shop designed by Alfonse Mucha.

The National Archives is state museum of French history housed in the 14th century Hotel de Soubise. You’ll find historical maps, letters, and artifacts, including the original key to the Bastille and Marie Antoinette’s last, anguished letter before being guillotined. You’ll need an audio guide, as the exhibits are mostly in French.

Even if you don’t visit, it’s worth a stroll through the majestic courtyard and it’s free to visit. Plus, the museum hosts special exhibitions.

The other must see site in the Marais is the Hotel de Sens. It’s a rare turreted monument from medieval Paris. You can visit the beautiful Bibliothèque Forney, a public library specialising in the decorative arts.

cobblestone street in Montmartre
cobblestone street in Montmartre

Montmartre

No 3 days in Paris itinerary would be complete without a visit to the quaint neighborhood of Montmartre. To get there, hop on the metro to the Abbesses station.

There is no other place in Paris quite like Montmartre. The neighborhood is like a small village with romantic facades and cobbled lanes.

When you step out from underneath the Art Nouveau canopy of Abbesses, turn around. You’ll see the famous Wall of Love in the Jehan Rictus garden.

It’s a 40 square meter art installation, made of enameled lava, with hundreds of ways to say “I love you.” The red bits are strategically broken hearts.

The lower and western parts of Montmartre are the most quaint areas. So, it’s really best to start your walking tour at Rue des Abbesses instead of the calamitous Rue de Steinkerque.

Sacre Coeur, a must see with 3 days in Paris
Sacre Coeur

The ice-white Sacre-Coeur is one of Paris’ most iconic attractions. It sits atop Montmartre Hill, the highest point in Paris, overlooking the city.

But the Sacre-Coeur isn’t ancient Paris. It’s surprisingly new.

The church was only completed in the early 1900s, as an act of contrition after the events of the Paris Commune (the 1871 insurrection against the government).

I wasn’t terribly impressed with the lackluster interior or the crowds. But one must do is climbing the dome of the basilica.

If you take the 300 steps, you’ll have an incredible view of Paris. If you tilt your camera, you can glimpse the “sinking house” of Montmartre.

Rue de l'Abreuvoir
Rue de l’Abreuvoir

From Sacre Coeur, pass through the Place du Tertre where you can can have your portrait drawn by an artist. Behind the square is the wonderful little Musee Montmartre, housed in the oldest building in Montmartre.

In the 17th century, famous artists like Renoir, Valadon, and Dufy lived there. The museum recreates Montmartre’s past during the raucous Belle Époque, a time when cabarets like the Chat Noir and Lapin Agile dominated the scene.

Click here to book a ticket.

From the museum, you can walk down one of the most beautiful streets in Paris, Rue de l’Abreuvoir, and admire the Moulin de la Galette.

It’s the last windmill in Paris and was immortalized by artists like Renoir, who depicted it in Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette (in the Orsay). Today, it’s a restaurant serving up French classics.

Marc Chagall frescos in the auditorium of the Palais Garnier
Marc Chagall frescos in the auditorium of the Palais Garnier

Evening

In the evening on your last day in Paris, consider attending a performance at the Opera Garnier.

Another good way polish off your 3 days in Paris is to take a guided Paris lights by nights tour. Paris looks different, and even more beautiful in the evening. 

Wine lovers can take a wine tour of Paris. Foodies can check out this evening cooking class + dinner.

Lovers of dark tourism should check out the Catacombs. They are Paris’ “city of the dead” on the Left Bank.

The Catacombs are one of Paris’ most popular attractions and part of the city’s network of underground quarries. On a visit, you’ll discover an ossuary with the bones of 6 million people.

Except in winter, you’ll definitely need to book a skip the line ticket to visit. Only 200 people are allowed inside at once and, without a ticket, the line moves slowly.

Alternatively, you can go to another Paris hotspot, the Palais de Tokyo. The museum is open until midnight.

Exhibition halls brim with contemporary art exhibitions. There’s an excellent bookstore for bibliophiles.

You can have drinks or dinner at Monsieur Bleu, the onsite chic restaurant. Plus, you have a killer view of the Eiffel Tower from the outdoor spaces.

cafe in Montmartre  on Place du Tertre
cafe in Montmartre on Place du Tertre

Tips For Visiting Paris

Here are some must know tips for spending 3 perfect days in Paris:

1. How To Plan A Trip To Paris

If you’re in the early stages of organizing a Paris itinerary, you should check out my tips for planning a trip to Paris. It gives you a step by step guide for organizing your visit, with everything you need to know to visit Paris.

2. How to Get To Paris:

You will arrive in Paris at either Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly airports. Most North American airlines generally arrive at and depart from terminal 2A of Charles de Gaulle.

To get into central Paris, you can either take a taxi, the RER Line B commuter train, or book a private transfer.

In high season, there may be long lines for taxis and the fare will vary from 55-85 euros depending on traffic and your destination. If you’re concerned about hailing a cab, you can book a taxi in advance online.

cafe on Rue des Abbesses in Montmartre
cafe on Rue des Abbesses in Montmartre

3. How To Get Around Paris

The best way to explore, and fall in love with Paris, is on foot. By walking, you get to experience the liveliness of the streets and discover secret hidden gems down alley ways or in courtyards.

That said, Paris is very large and you’ll inevitably need to take a taxi or use the metro. You can hail taxis in the streets.

If they’re free, the green light will be on. If they’re in use, you’ll see a red light.

Official taxis are metered. Most take credit cards, but some insist on cash.

The Paris subway system is known as the metro. Tickets are available from vending machines in the stations. You can also buy a multi-day pass online before arriving.

Saint Paul Church on Rue de Rivoli
Saint Paul Church on Rue de Rivoli

Each metro line has a number and is identified by the names of the stations at each end. You should familiarize yourself with a map of the metro before arriving and decide when to use it during your daily activities.

You can also get around Paris by taking:

In Montmartre, you can the Le Petit Train de Montmartre. Every 30 minutes, it departs on a guided tour of the 18th arrondissement. 

4. When To Visit Paris

Proving that Paris is “always a good idea,” you can really visit in any season and each has its pros and cons. I generally recommend April or October as the nicest months, with the summer months being my least favorite.

Winter: During the holidays, Paris is lit up and can seem like a winter wonderland. It’s a bit gloomy in January and February and you may get rained on. But you’ll also have way fewer crowds and lower prices.

Spring: Spring is beautiful in Paris with the trees starting to bloom. The weather is generally mild, though you may encounter some rain.

Summer: Paris has a busy social calendar in the summer. But that is also when it’s most busy and crowded with tourists. It can also be very hot.

Fall: Fall may be the best time to go to Paris. You’ll have fewer crowds, fall colors, and crisp sunny days.

brasserie in the Marais
brasserie in the Marais

5. Paris Museum Pass

The Paris Museum Pass is offered for 2 days (€52), 4 days (€66), and 6 days (€78). There is no 3 day option.

Still, I recommend getting the 4 day pass. If you visit everything discussed above, you’ll save money and skip lines.

6. Book In Advance

My #1 tip for visiting Paris is to book skip the line tickets well in advance. Nothing will improve the quality of your trip more than doing this simple thing.

The last thing you want to do with your precious 3 days in Paris is to wait in line, especially when you could zip through most lines without breaking a sweat.

If you have your heart set on visiting particular restaurants, certain hotels, museums, or special events, start making those reservations as soon as possible.

Pink Mamma, a pretty cafe on the Right Bank
Pink Mamma, a pretty cafe on the Right Bank

7. Where To Stay In Paris

As you would expect, there is a plethora of luxe nests to lay your head down for 3 days in Paris. You should pick your hotel by personal preference, or convenience to the attractions. Home to many of the must see monuments in Paris, the Right Bank is good choice for sightseeing.

Here are some amazing picks by district:

Left Bank: Relais Christine, Hotel d’Aubusson, Le Bristol, Hotel de l’Abbaye

Marais: Pavillon de la Reine, Sinner Paris, Villa Beaumarchais, Hotel Les Bains, Cheval Blanc

Champs Elysees/Madeleine/Opera:  Hotel San RegisHotel le Crillon, Nolinski Paris, Kimpton – Saint Honoré Paris

Eiffel Tower: Four Seasons George V, Le Cinq Codet, Saint James Paris, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Shangri-La Hotel

Montmartre: Maison Souquet, Hotel Des Arts, Le Relais, Hotel Particulier Montmartre

Airbnb users are spoiled for choice in Paris, which run the gamut from budget to sprawling luxury apartments. Last time I visited Paris, I stayed here on Rue Tronchet (near the Madeleine) and adored it.

Rue Saint-Antoine in 4th arondissement
Rue Saint-Antoine in the 4th arondissement

8. Is Paris Expensive To Visit?

Paris is generally a very expensive city. And yet, you can spend 3 days in Paris without completely breaking the budget.

Paris has quite a few free small museums, most of the churches are free to visit, and there’s no charge for wandering through the neighborhoods and gardens to soak up the ambiance.

You can even look at iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe for free.

You don’t have to eat a fancy restaurant. You can get food to go at the groceries, boulangeries, and patisseries.

street art In Montmartre by Julien Malland alias Seth
street art in the Latin Quarter by Julien Malland alias Seth

8. More Than 3 Days In Paris?

If you have more time in Paris, there are scads more things you can do in the city. You can:

Chateau Chambord in the Loire Valley
Chateau Chambord in the Loire Valley

There are also many excellent day trip options from Paris. The most popular day trips are guided tours to VersaillesMonet’s House and Gardens in Giverny, the chateaux of the Loire Valley, or to vaunted Champagne region of France.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 3 days in Paris itinerary. You may enjoy these other Paris travel guides and resources:

If you’d like to spend 3 days in Paris, pin it for later.

Pinterest pin for 3 days in Paris itinerary
Pinterest pin for 3 days in Paris itinerary

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