Planning 3 days in Paris, France to explore the romantic city? Wondering what to do? Well that depends on what you like... There is so much to see! So to help you narrow down your options, you can find, in this extensive guide, 10 suggestions for a 3 day Paris itinerary - highlights, art, off the beaten path, historic, romantic, with kids,... All to have the best time in Paris over your long weekend!
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General Tips for your 3 day trip to Paris France
- TIME - Be reasonable and don't plan too much to enjoy each place; even with skip the line tickets, you need to plan time to enter 🙂 and take your time to stroll the streets of Paris and soak up the atmosphere
- ACCOMMODATION - If you are staying only 3 days, better to stay in the city center to avoid losing time in the public transportation. You can check out my complete guide about where to stay in Paris
- TRANSPORTATION - If you are wondering how to get around, check out my Paris Public Transportation Guide or if it scares you, opt for the hop on hop off bus that will allow you to enjoy fantastic views along the complete route and stop very close to all places of interest
- BE READY - Before traveling, read the typical scams you can find in Paris (like in many other big cities) just to be ready. I have listed them at the end of this article. But don't worry, it is quite easy to spot and avoid them!
- CALCULATE - if you are planning an intense itinerary, visiting as many places as possible over those 3 days, consider the Paris city Pass that will give you a lot of flexibility with a public transport card, museum entrances, access to 60 attractions, hop on hop off bus, river cruise... Check prices for 2 and 3 day Paris Pass and what's included
- And don't forget to purchase Travel insurance! I wish you a very smooth trip, but my policy is: better be prepared. I personally use World Nomads. Get a quote online here.
I have been both a traveler and a local in Paris. I have lived there for more than 2 years.
This is not Paris in 3 days by Rick Steves or Lonely Planet... these are my suggestions as a travel planning addict 🙂 - As always, no restaurant recommendation since I don't know what you like and chefs change... This is my selection of the most scenic and interesting places to see in Paris when you are staying only for a long weekend. I like to keep busy and see as much as possible, so it is up to you alter based on your preferences.
I hope you will find the article useful should you spend your whole holidays in Paris or just a few days on a European Trip.
And now my suggested itineraries to spend 3 amazing days in Paris...
#1 CLASSIC Highlights - 3 days in Paris Itinerary
The is the perfect introduction for a first timer spending three days in Paris.
#1 CLASSIC Day 1 - Heart of Paris
Spend the morning around the Notre-Dame Cathedral
- Admire the magnificent façade, all the details in the sculptures and the famous gargoyles at the top (if you have binoculars, you should use them!)
- Start early, to avoid the big queue to enter. Admire the stained glass, sculptures and size of the building!
- Walk to the Seine River and admire the cathedral from the back!
- Note: the Notre Dame Towers offer splendid views of Paris but the queues are very long and there are no real skip the line tickets
*** Since the fire, the cathedral is under construction. You cannot get inside anymore but you can still walk around and it remains worth it!
Visit the Sainte Chapelle
It is not a classic but it so should be!!!!! This is such an incredible building (see my photos).
So if you started early, take the time to walk to Sainte Chapelle (Less than 10min walk) and admire the most impressive stained glass windows you will ever see.
It is especially worth it on the sunny day!
You can pre-purchase your ticket so that you can skip the line, show your document at the beginning of it and go straight in.
Take the Hop on Hop off Green Route (Paris grand tour route) at stop 6 Notre Dame - enjoy views along the Seine River, past la Conciergerie and Musee d'Orsay. Go up to Champs-Elysées - choose stop 10, 11 or 12 depending on how much you want to walk.
Walk the Champs Elysée
Personally I think this avenue is rather boring as only for the tourists, but it is a highlight so I included it. Walk North West towards the Arc de Triomphe
Visit Arc de Triomphe
Enjoy one of the most famous buildings in Paris with the crazy roundabout! Take the underground passage to reach it.
Get inside and up for magnificent views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower
Pre-purchase your ticket on GetYourGuide to skip the ticket booth line (or get it here if you prefer Viator)
#1 CLASSIC Day 2 - Magnificent Paris
Lots of walking involved today!
Morning at the Louvre
You first option is to simply enjoy the garden, the pyramids and the buildings from the outside. The park is big and will keep you occupied.
Or visit you could visit one of the most renowned museums in the world!
The museum could occupy you for 3 days alone. It is hard to decide where to go and what to see - So I recommend taking a 3h tour with a guide that will allow you to see and learn about the highlights of the Louvres - Check out programs and availabilities
(or book a similar one here if you prefer the Viator Platform)
Walk to Palais Garnier (20min walk)
Discover the Garnier Palace
Visit the beautiful Opera that is a little like a mini Versailles Castle with beautiful corridors and ornaments.
Pre-purchase your entrance ticket for a self tour of the Opera
or if your want to learn more, book a 90min guided visit on GetYourGuide (or book here if you prefer the Viator platform)
If you like shopping
You are very close to the big department stores on Boulevard Haussmann
Take the Hop on Hop Off Yellow Route (Montmartre - Grand Boulevard Route) from stop 58) and get to 52 stop Montmartre Sacré-Coeur.
Climb to the top of Montmartre or enjoy a funicular ride. Admire the magnificent view and visit the Basilica (no photos allowed inside). Explore the charming hill with its unique artsy atmosphere.
Evening at Moulin Rouge
If you are not too tired, finish your day with a representation at the famous cabaret Moulin Rouge
#1 CLASSIC Day 3 - Paris from Above and Under
Seine River Cruise
Enjoying a Seine River cruise is a must-do in Paris. Many of the most beautiful buildings are along the Seine River and it gives you great perspectives. And it should be quieter in the morning and better to move around to take pictures
If you purchased you Hop on Hop off bus ticket for 2 or 3 days, a River cruise is included.
Otherwise pre-purchase your Bateaux parisiens ticket for a 1h relaxing cruise (or get it here if you prefer the Viator platform)
Head to the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the iconic structure.
- Free Walk around on Champs de Mars - admire it from under, from the end of the park and from across the Seine River. You can also walk up to the Trocadero area for a view enjoyed by many tourists (the one where you can seem to hold it in your hand)
- Go up the Eiffel Tower either by the stairs or the lifts. Of course with the lifts, the queues are longer because they can transport only a limited number of passengers. The Eiffel Tower has different levels - each time with a lift and each time with a queue
You can pre-purchase a summit ticket - that means an appointment at a specific time but you skip the bottom queues (but not the ones to the summit)
Walk to stop 34 and take the Hop on Hop Off Orange Route (Montparnasse - Saint Germain Route) and get to 31 Denfert-Rochereau / Catacombs.
Explore the Catacombs
In the afternoon, head to the spooky Catacombs and explore the underground of Paris.
it is one of the most appreciated experiences in Paris but it can be disturbing for some considering the underground location and the huge quantities of bones.
But if you prefer nature to dead people, Stop at 36, go admire the Pantheon and explore the Luxembourg Gardens (a favorite for Parisians).
At stop 31 take the Hop on Hop Off Orange Route (Montparnasse - Saint Germain Route) and get to 33 Montparnasse PLace du 18 juin 1940.
Get up to the viewing platform of the Montparnasse Tower - appreciate the bird eye views of Paris. Stay there until sunset if you can! You will see the soft lights on the old architecture and then the Eiffel Tower lighting up.
You can pre-purchase your Montparnasse tower ticket to avoid the purchasing line but you still have to queue to take the lift.
#2 Completely FREE - Itinerary Paris in 3 days
Are you ready to walk a lot during your 3 days in Paris? You can already see so much for free by exploring on foot!
#2 FREE Day 1 - Central West Paris
Around the Eiffel Tower
- Start at the Eiffel Tower - Admire it from Champs de Mars, from all angles
- Cross the Seine River on Passerelle Debilly (pedestrian bridge)
- Visit the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (modern art museum) with free access to the Permanent exhibitions
- Walk the North shore of the Seine River back in the direction of the Eiffel Tower
- Cross the Trocadéro Garden up to the viewing platform with great views of the Tower
- Walk North to the Arc de Triomphe
- And then head East on Boulevard Haussmann while enjoying the classic architecture of the renovation during Napoleon's reign
- Stop at Printemps Haussmann Maison and go all the way to the top for a free view of the Paris rooftops
- Tour Palais Garnier from the outside
- Go North towards the area of Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur - Enjoy walking the neighborhood with its unique atmosphere and visit the basilica (free entrance)
#2 FREE Day 2 - Central North Paris
Around the Louvre
- Start the day at Place de la Concorde with the obelisk and all the power it seems to represent
- Walk through the Tuileries garden towards the Louvre Palace. Enjoy the green, the sculpture and the small arch at the end
- Reach the Carousel roundabout and admire the Louvre Palace with is famous Pyramids
- Walk to the other side of the Palace (East end) and visit the small church of St Germain l'Auxerrois, often overlooked but with a long noble history
- Go a little west on Rue de Rivoli and walk North through the Garden of the Royal Palace. This is where canons used to be shot to indicate noon
- Keep going North to discover the "Passages Couverts" - Covered passages - the ancesters of our malls: 18th and 19th century corridors are lined up with shops. This is quite intriguing, stuck between buildings so that people good go shopping and socialize even if it was raining. The most famous are Passage de Panoramas and Passage Jouffroy
- Walk down rue Montmartre towards Châtelet
- Visit the church of St Eustache - this church has a very unique shape that is quite intriguing. Enjoy a break in the garden to admire its façade a bit more
- Discover center Pompidou from the outside. The famous museum does have a strange architecture contrasting with everything you would have seen so far
- Walk South towards the Seine - Enjoy the building of the Town Hall
- Walk East along the Seine River
- If you are not tired, head East towards Place the la Bastille for a very unusual walk along the Coulee verte - an elevated walk to get another perspective on Paris (learn more)
#2 FREE Day 3 - Quartier Latin and Beyond
Around Notre Dame
- Start at Notre Dame - Visit the Cathedral for free - enjoy the stained glass windows and many sculptures
- Tour the building to admire it from many angles
- *** Since the fire, the cathedral is under construction. You cannot get inside anymore but you can still walk around and it remains worth it!
- Walk down Boulevard Saint Michel
- Explore all the side streets of this old neighborhood
- To the East is the old University of La Sorbonne and the Pantheon building
- Explore the Luxembourg Gardens - it is a favorite amongst locals - chairs are spreads throughout the park to just seat, relax and read. Many statues can be found, including one of the smaller version of the statue of liberty. In summer, you can have fun navigating miniature boats in the pond in front of the palace
- Exit the parc at the East end and walk North to visit the Saint Sulpice Church - not many people take the time to visit that church and yet it is a beautiful one (the fans of the Da Vinci code might recognize it - see my photos)
- Continue North towards Boulevard Saint-Germain
- Visit the Saint Germain des prés church which is the oldest in Paris
- Explore the famous neighborhood of St Germain des prés which has long been a cultural center - a lot of famous writers, philosophers and brillant minds have enjoyed theses streets and cafés
- Head North to the Seine river and enjoy a long walk on the South shore towards the west
- Admire the Louvre Palace from the distance
- Walk by Musée d'Orsay, Palais Bourbon and reach the Pont Alexandre III bridge
- Admire the central location with the Invalides on one side and the Grand Palace on the other
Want to stay connected while in Paris?
If you don't have a European phone plan, be careful with your usage!
But changing SIM card can be a pain.
So companies are renting pocket wifi hotspots on which you can connect several devices to keep chatting with friends or use Google maps.
#3 - ROMANTIC - Three Days in Paris
This is a lighter itinerary so that you can just sit, relax, and schmootz 🙂
#3 ROMANTIC Day 1 - Eiffel & Montmartre
Around the Eiffel Tower
- Start at the top of the Trocadero where many ads and kissing scenes have been filmed with the Eiffel Tower in the background
- Make your way down through the gardens and enjoy the old carousel. Maybe enjoy a ride 🙂
- Cross the bridge and visit the Eiffel Tower - You can pre-purchase a summit ticket - that means an appointment at a specific time but you can then skip the bottom queues (but not the one to the summit)
Horse Carriage Ride
Travel back in time? Book a Tour of Paris on a horse carriage to visit Paris like it used to be appreciated. Take the time to enjoy the monuments around you. (or book here if you prefer the Viator platform)
It departs near the Eiffel Tower.
Take a cab to Montmartre (15 euros)
or Take Metro 6 to Cherles de Gaule Etoile and then Metro 2 towards Nation and stop at Anvers
- Head to Montmartre and climb to the Sacré Coeur - visit the Basilica
- Walk around and discover all the artists who can draw your portraits
- Make your way down through the charming street with the windmills
- Enjoy you diner in front of a Cabaret show at the famous Moulin Rouge - Book now for a night to remember
#3 ROMANTIC Day 2 - Around Ile de la cité
Notre Dame Cathedral
- If you and your other half are not afraid of queueing, go for a tour of the Notre Dame Towers (there is no real skip the line ticket) - Replay some scenes with Esmeralda, Gargoyles and Quasimodo 🙂 (see my photos)
- Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral (the line move fast for this one, don't worry) - Enjoy the sculptures and size of the cathedral
- Stroll by the scene river to admire this magnificent romantic building from all angles
- *** Since the fire, the cathedral is under construction. You cannot get inside anymore but you can still walk around and it remains worth it!
Afternoon in Sainte Chapelle & Seine River
- Being in the Sainte Chapelle in a sunny day is such a unique experience. Don't miss this lesser known attraction and its huge stained glass windows. Hidden from the main streets, it is like begin surrounded by jewels (see my photos)
- Pre-purchase your ticket to skip the line - Show your ticket at the beginning of the line to go through directly
- Stroll around the Seine river and île de la cité and cross the famous Ponts de Arts where lovers used to attach their locks (but Paris is removing them for safety purpose)
Enjoy a diner cruise along the Seine River. The magnificent buildings are lit up for people to enjoy. This is one of the most romantic experiences to have in the City of Light
#3 ROMANTIC Day 3
Explore the magnificent Place which houses the Opera. This is like a Mini Versailles in the heart of Paris with a corridor full of glass, gold and marble.
The next trip is complicated by public transport so take a cab (around 11€) or walk to Luxembourg garden (40min)
Go for a stroll is the very romantic Luxembourg Gardens where local couples like hanging out in the weekend. Discover the numerous statues, spot the Eiffel tower in the distance...
End the day with a ride on the big wheel at Place de la Concorde
#4 - WITH KIDS - Paris itinerary 3 days
# WITH KIDS Day 1 - Culture and architecture with fun
Morning at Pompidou
Visit the Pompidou museum in the heart of Paris. Kids will love the fun architecture and all the activities planned for them inside
Where? In the center of Paris, near Chatelet metro station
Get an overall view of Paris
Enjoy the main streets and building of Paris from the top of the double decker open bus. This is a great way for the whole family to enjoy the city without anyone getting bored (prefer the green route a.k.a. Paris Grand Tour Route) - Get now your hop on hop off tickets
Stop at the Louvre
Let the kids play with the pyramids, stand on the poles and take pictures where they seem to be holding them
Boat + Eiffel Tower
Take the Batobus to the Eiffel Tower and discover the iconic Iron Lady.
Kids love the short cruise on the Seine Reiver
If you like this mode of transportation, you can get a day pass to use them as much as you want 🙂
# WITH KIDS Day 2 - DisneyLand Paris
Enjoy a full day at Disneyland Paris with your children
- Purchase your Disneyland entrance tickets in advance to avoid queues - getting there by taxi will cost you 70 to 80 euros or you can take the suburban train (and stop at Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station on RER A - train ticket 7.60€ one way per adult)
- or Purchase a entrance ticket + express shuttle tour to make the ride easy and worry-free
- or check options here if you prefer the Viator platform
# WITH KIDS Day 3 - Wildlife
Natural History Museum
Paris has a fantastic Natural History museum at the end of Jardin des Plantes.
Kids can see giant animals, skeletons and learn more about their eating habits and all.
When? 10 am to 6pm
Where? at the Jardin des Plantes (RER C or metro 10 or 5 stop Austerlitz / Metro 7 stop place Monge)
In the afternoon you can take them see live ones at the Vincennes Zoo with its fake mountain and large enclosures.
Where? (East of Paris (Take metro 8 direction Creteil, stop at Porte dorée and walk or Take bus 46 towards Château de Vincennes and stop at zoo - or take taxi)
or La ménagerie
Alternatively for something more historical, you can visit the small zoo La ménagerie in Jardin des plantes (next to the museum). It is the oldest zoo in the world as it opened in 1793 - small animals but in old settings. Another type of zoo experience.
Alternative Paris Museums for kids to Consider
- Musee de la Poupée i.e. Museum of Dolls
- Musee de la magie i.e. Museum fo magic
- Musée de l'air et de l'espace i.e. Museum of flight and space
And if you want another perspective, check out the 10 exciting things to do for kids in Paris by The London Mother.
#5 - IMPRESSIONIST ART - Paris 3 days Itinerary
Consider purchasing the Museum pass so that you can easily change museums when you want something new - GET A 2 DAY PARIS MUSEUM PASS
#5 IMPRESSIONISTS Day 1 - Impressionnist
Spend your first day at 2 of the most appreciated museums in Paris:
Start with Musée d'Orsay
It is famous for its view through the clock and the world's finest collection of impressionist paintings with Monet, Degas, Renoir, Delacroix and many others.
If you did not purchase the museum pass, pre-purchase your Orsay ticket to avoid the lines, it is worth it.
Where? Along the Seine River - closest metro stop: Line 12 Solferino
When? at least 10am to 6pm - Closed Mondays
Between both museum, walk along the Sine River and cross at one of the bridges (under 20min walk)
Le Petit Palais
This museum is often overlooked, maybe because entrance is free, but it is home to a small permanent collection with paintings from Delacroix, Cézanne, Monet, Pissaro and more. And it is in a great building!
Where? North shore of Seine River - Metro line 1 & 13 stop Champs-Elysées -Clémenceau
When? 10am to 6pm - Closed on Mondays and some public holidays
#5 IMPRESSIONISTS Day 2 - Smaller museums
Morning at Marmonet-Mottan museum
If you love Claude Monet, go to this smaller Museum in an old Parisian mansion to see a wide variety of his work.
Where? 16th arrondissement, Metro Line 9 stop at La Muette or RER C stop at Boulainvilliers
When? 10am to 6pm - Closed on Mondays and some French holidays
Between both museum take Metro line 9 towards Montreuil, switch at Roosevelt to take line 1 towards Vincennes and stop at Tuileries
Musée de l'Orangerie
Check some of the most renowned paintings of Monet including the 8 water Lilies Murals.
Where? Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre, in the old Orangerie building - Metro Line 1 Stop Tuileries
When? 9am to 6pm - closed on Tuesdays
Skip the ticket booth by pre-purchasing your entrance ticket
#5 IMPRESSIONISTS Day 3 - Giverny and Monet
Get out of Paris on a day Trip to Giverny
Head to Giverny, North of Paris, to visit the home of Monet and its famous gardens that inspired him so much. This is where he created some of its most iconic paintings.
Giverny also has a museum about Impressionism in general.
It is possible to get there by train and waling, but if you don't want to worry about transportation and finding your way, join an organized tour from Paris by minibus - check program and book your seat (or here on Viator)
#6 - ART THROUGH THE AGES - Paris in 3 days Itinerary
There are so many art museums in Paris, it is difficult to choose from... So here is an itinerary that will include a little bit from all periods!
Consider purchasing the Museum pass so that you can easily change museums when you want something new - GET 3 DAY PARIS MUSEUM PASS
#6 ART Day 1 - Ancient Art
Musée de Cluny
Start the day with Medieval Art - This is quite a unique museum where you can enjoy beautiful medieval art such as sculptures, tapestries and jewelry.
When? 9.15am to 5.45pm - closed Tuesdays and some public holidays (it can also close when outside temperature goes over 33°C)
Where? In the 5th arrondissement
Walk to the Louvre across île de la Cité (and Notre Dame) and along the Seine River (20min walk)
Enjoy a huge choice or art throughout the ages at the Louvre Museum. So much to see! Just pick the period that interests you most (egypt, roman, modern...). And of course it is home to the famous painting of Mona Lisa.
If you don't want to choose book a 3h guided tour to avoid getting lost and get a good overview of the museum. Book your spot
#6 ART Day 2 - Impressionists
Orsay and Petit Palais - as per Day 1 or the Impressionist Art itinerary above
#6 ART Day 3 -Modern Art
Morning Street Art Tour
Change style with a Street Art tour taking you to the upcoming Belleville area. This is quite a change from the Impressionists! Great to see some of the pieces that take advantage of the environment.
Book your spot on a 90min tour highlighting the best of Street Art in Paris
Where? (Line 2 and 11 - stop Belleville)
Book your spot on a 90min tour highlighting the best of Street Art in Paris
Where? (Line 2 and 11 - stop Belleville)
If you prefer more "classic" art, you can go to the Garden of the Palais Royal where you will see the outside piece of the Buren Columns by French artist Daniel Buren (just North of the Louvre)
Take Metro 11 to Châtelet.
Finish with a great collection of modern art in a unique building. Centre Pompidou is a world renowned museum with visual arts, photography, new media... It covers many movements including Cubism, surrealism and geometric abstractions. You can keep busy all day at the European MOMA!
Pre-purchase your Pompidou entrance ticket to avoid the queues!
#7 - KINGS & QUEENS - Places to visit in Paris in 3 days
If some of you want to spend your 3 days in the footsteps of the Kings and Queens in Paris, here is my suggested itinerary to explore one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
#7 KINGS Day 1
One of the most impressive building along the Seine River is La Conciergerie even if it is lesser known than the Louvre. This Medieval palace was the residence of the rulers for 5 century until the 15th. During the French revolution it became a prison where Marie-Antoinette lived her last few days.
You can visit the huge hall of soldiers, the Guards room and much more.
When? 9.30am to 6pm
Get a combined ticket for the Conciergerie and the Sainte-Chapelle - skip the line and save money!
Walk to Notre Dame on Ile de la cité (5min)
Notre Dame Cathedral
Construction of Notre Dame started during the 12th century under Louis VII. Many Kings made alterations over the century creating the magnificent building it is today. *** Since the fire, the cathedral is under construction. You cannot get inside anymore but you can still walk around and it remains worth it!
Cross to the other side of the Seine river, to the Palais de Justice where your can find Sainte Chapelle (10min)
Discover one of the most surprising location in Paris. Hidden within another building, the masterpiece was built over 7 years. It is well worth a visit as you won't see anything like that anywhere else in the world. The walls are covered in stained glass windows for several meters! It was a place honored by many dynasties. (see my photos)
Use your combined ticket to enter - do not queue! show your ticket at entrance
Walk to the Louvre (15min)
Explore the area of the Louvre - don't visit the museum but explore the outside of the magnificent royal palace.
Find out all the details in the architecture, the sculptures and the touches of many rulers.
#7 KINGS Day 2
Château de Versailles
Head out of Paris to discover another grand palace - visit the Versailles Castle with its magnificent garden and incredible interior decor. Don't miss the long corridor full of mirrors and chandeliers!
It is easy to feel like you are traveling back in time and imagine the a big ball organized by the King and Queen.
How to best visit Versailles?
- Option 1 - on your own - take RER C Towards Versailles Rive Gauche and walk to the castle - you have to figure out the suburban train but with this option you can spend as much time as you want exploring. The park is huge! Pre-purchase your Versailles ticket with Audioguide to avoid queuing at the ticket booth
- Option 2 - Take a shuttle from Paris - pick one that does not do hotel pick-up so you don't waste time in the morning. meet at the pre-arranged location and just seat back and relax. The tour include a skip the line entrance to the Castle and a return shuttle. - Reserve your seat to Versailles
#7 KINGS Day 3
If you are really passionate about Royal History, you should get just ouside Paris once again today.
St Denis Basilica
First head North to the Basilica of Saint Denis. It is a large burial complex with 42 Kings, 36 queens and many princes and princesses buried in this historical building.
Where? (Metro line 13 - Stop Basilique Saint Denis)
A taxi would save you time between both locations (25 to 30 euros)
Easiest metro path (with less changes): 13 line towards Chatillon-Montrouge - switch at Champs Elysées for line 1 direction Château de Vincennes
East of Paris, you find the lesser known Château de Vincennes. Several dynasties had chosen this palace as their home. It was built in 1410 by Louis VII and later developed at a royal residence. It is quite recognizable with its tower.
Louis XIV was the one who moved to Versailles.
Where? At then end of the Metro Line 1 - Stop Château de Vincennes
#8 - ARCHITECTURE - Places to see in Paris in 3 days
Big fan of architecture in all its shape. You can see a lot in Paris from all period of times (well, not completely true since there are not menhirs... but still)
#8 ARCHITECTURE Day 1 - Ancient Buildings
Lutetia - Gallo-Roman Ruins
Start by finding the remnants of Paris when it was called Lutetia. Not much remains. Here is what you can spot in the city:
- The Arenes de Lutece - what remains of an amphitheater. It could seat 15000 persons and was used for gladiatoral combats. Learn more
Between 3 metro stations: Line 7 & 10 Jussieu - Line 10 Cardinal Lemoine - Line 7 Monge
- The Terms of Cluny are what remains of one third of the massive bath complex from the 3rd century
Metro Line 10 stop Cluny - La Sorbonne
- Near the therms you can visit the Medieval museum of Cluny
- Then enjoy the center of Paris around île de la Cité with the buildings from the medieval period. Especially the Orangerie and the Notre Dame Cathedral
If you have time, enjoy a walk along the Seine River or take a cruise to admire all the bridges.
#8 ARCHITECTURE Day 2 - Post Revolution
Paris by Haussmann
Spend the morning admiring the work of the architect Haussmann under Napoleon. He re-invented Paris with large boulevards and a certain type of buildings.
- Have a look at the Opera Garnier built from 1861 to 1875 in Second-Empire Beaux Arts Style - learn more
- Walk around in the Grand Boulevard, head to St Trinity church. From its small garden you have a great view of many typical Haussmannian buildings with shops on the ground floors, high ceilings, a second noble floor with large balcony and a 5th floor with a running balcony that is here only for aesthetics.
Head South to the Eiffel Tower, Architectural icon of Paris constructed between 1897 and 1889 under the design of Gustave Eiffel. The tower is 324m tall (1,063ft)
#8 ARCHITECTURE Day 3 - Modern Days
It is now time to discover modern Paris. Here are some buildings you should take the time to admire:
- Pompidou Center with its colors and 'tubes' on the side
- The large modern Arch at La Defense in alignment with the Arc de Triomphe
- The Philharmonie building in Paris with its elegant lines
- And one of the most recent additions: the Luis Vuitton Foundation
#9 - MILITARY - What to do in Paris in 3 days
#9 MILITARY Day 1 - Invalides
Today you can keep busy around the Invalides
The main military Museum in Paris is the Army Museum (Musée de l'Armée). It houses great collections such as:
- A temporal room with objects from all Ages
- Unusual weapons
- Ancien armors and weapons
- Military objects and stories from Louis XIV to Napoleon III
- The Honor Square with the artillery pieces
- Displays on both WWI and WWII
With more than 500,000 pieces you can keep busy all day!
Avoid queueing at the ticket booth, pre-purchase your Army museum entrance.
#9 MILITARY Day 2 - Normandy beaches
Today, head out of Paris on a day trip to the Normandy beaches. They are only 2 hours away from Paris. Tours will include several WWII landing beaches and the Caen memorial museum
#9 MILITARY Day 3
Musée du Service de Santé des Armées (Army Medicine Museum)
If you want something original off the beaten track, I recommend the Museum of Army medicine. It is quite a unique place to visit. I really had a great time and was almost alone!
Located in Val de Grace, you have to buzz at a small door to be allowed in, but don't worry it is open!
In the museum, you can find many instruments and tools used by doctors during the wars. The collection is quite impressive, plus it gives you access to a small magnificent church (Val de Grâce).
Where? In the 5th arrondissement (1, place Alphonse Laveran) near station Port Royal for RER B
When? Noon to 8pm - Closed Monday and Friday Closed in August
There is also a National Navy museum but it is closed for renovation until 2021.
#10 - OFF BEATEN PATH Paris
To best discover Paris off the beaten path I recommend to just go for a walk and see what you find.
But here are some ideas that can interest you during those 3 days. They can be starting points for your walks:
- Père Lachaise Cimetery - where many famous people are buried (Metro 3 Gambetta or Metro 2 Philippe Auguste)
- The Museum of Vampires and Legendary creatures (Metro line 11 Porte des Lilas + Walking
- St Sulpice Church - I don't understand why almost nobody visit this church. It is quite stunning! Near the Luxembourg Gardens
- Canal St Martin - You won't be alone but won't be surrounded by Paris. You will find mostly locals enjoying the shores of the Waterway (Metro 2 and 5 Jean Jaures)
- Walking on La Coulée Verte or La Petite Ceinture - where railways have been set up as a green walk
- The National Library - The 4 towers have an underground garden you can see from the esplanade - quite a unique place and very relaxing on a sunny day (Metro 14 Bibliothèque François Mittérand)
- Near the Eiffel tower the Musée des Egouts (Sewage museum)
Longer itineraries from Paris - 5 days, 7 days, ...
Staying longer in Paris ? Great for you 🙂
My suggestions are of course to mix the suggested itineraries above.
And you can also discover some of the most beautiful sites in France. Paris is quite centrally located and many day trips are available without much driving - castles, gastronomy, villages, war history...
FOOD - what to eat while in Paris
Food you should try while in Paris
Here is a little list of all the food I think you should try, apart from lunch and dinner:
- Enter a Boulangerie and buy a baguette. Dites: "Bonjour, une baguette s'il vous plait!" and then "Merci. Au revoir"
- Head to a boulangerie for breakfast and enjoy a freshly baked croissant
- Taste macarons - Head for example to one of the 3 famous Ladurée shops
- Find a Patisserie with colorful and delicate cakes and taste one - don't play it sage with eclair au chocolat or Paris-brest, be adventurous!
- Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!!! Cheese shops normally sell around 300 types of cheese when it is the right season for goat cheese... so you can choose! My personal favorites are Roquefort and very old Conté where the salt has aggregated.
Paris Food Tours
And if you want a bit more, then switch one of the half days in your itinerary with one of these best Food tours in Paris:
- Book a 3h Gourmet Tour - you will cover your basis with cheese and bread, and you might want to try the French delicacy of Foie Gras (if you are not vegetarian).
- CHOCOLATE - Book a Chocolate Tour - Some great chocolate artists in Paris!
- WINE - Book your wine tasting in Paris through the French wine regions...
- PASTRIES - Book a tour and tasting of Pastries in Le Marais
- MACARONS - Learn to cook those delicacies with a chef
- BREAD - Tour Some Bakeries and learn about Bread or Join a bread cooking class and learn to make your own bread
EXTRA IDEAS for your long weekend in Paris
If you are tired of old buildings, history, museums and architectures.... here are some extra activities you could enjoy during your 3 day in Paris:
- HELICOPTER - Enjoy an helicopter ride from Paris center to Versailles - and incredible experience to admire the beauty of this iconic city - Book your unforgettable 25min Helicopter Flight to Versailles
- SHOPPING - a lot of shopping can be done in Paris either luxury on the champs Elysées or Avenue Montaigne or unique finds at the flea markets - if you are looking for something special, you can book access to Concierge services to facilitate your shopping experience at Galeries Lafayette - Get privileged access
- MOVIES/TV - Many movies and TV shows have been filmed in Paris - you can spend the day retracing the steps of Carrie in Sex in the city or visiting all locations from the Da Vinci Code or just find some cool movie locations throughout the city
Still need to find your hotel?
Check out my article about the best areas to stay in Paris
Scams to be aware of
Like in all the big cities, some people are running scams on tourists. Nothing big or dangerous, just be aware to be able to easily avoid them:
- BRACELET/STRING - Mostly done by men - Especially at the bottom of Montmartre Hill garden, they try to attach a bracelet on your wrist and then request that you pay - don't leave your hand hanging while you walk this short section until your get higher on the stair
- PETITION - Mostly done by young women - they stop you to sign their petitions and want to do your pockets while you do so - When you see a clipboard, say no thanks and keep going
- RING - several variations exist. But you see a "gold" ring, you pick it up and someone comes in and start a crazy story. If you forgot about it, and picked one up. If someone start talking to you just drop it on the ground and keep going
- CUPS OR CARDS - It has been existing for a long time - 3 cups and a pea or 3 cards with one Queen and you have to find it. They are pros at distracting and diverting. Don't start playing!
- And check out these tips to help you avoid being pickpocketed
Enjoy your trip to Paris!