If you know us then you know that Paris is one of our favorite cities in Europe, and 3 days in Paris gives you ample time to sample all the highlights of the city. From visiting the famous sights like the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre to exploring great Paris neighborhoods and sampling some great food, Paris is a city that has it all.
To help you in your planning we put together this 3 Day Paris itinerary to help you have the best experience possible.
Our 3 Day Paris Itinerary
Table of Contents
About This Paris Itinerary
Paris itself can be an overwhelming city. There are so many things to do and you need to make sure you take advantage of all the time-saving ideas you can. We have spent considerable time in Paris, so we took our knowledge and used it to make sure that you visit the most attractions without feeling like you are run off your feet.
By taking advantage of Skip the Line tickets and easily accessible transit you can have the Paris dream in 3 short days.
Paris Itinerary Day 1
Welcome to Paris! Today we will start off by visiting some truly iconic landmarks of the city. These are all the places that you associate with Paris.
So get your camera ready as this is the “Classics” of Paris! If you don’t want to walk this you can jump on a Seine River Cruise to see most of it from the water.
1. Eiffel Tower
No trip to Paris would be complete without seeing its most famous landmark. There is nothing like gazing up the center of the tower or catching the view from Trocadéro Gardens or the Champs de Mars. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Now, if you want to go up the Eiffel Tower (which I recommend if this is your first time in Paris) make sure you book your tickets in advance.
How to Go up the Eiffel Tower
Take the Elevator
There are 2 different ways to go up the Eiffel Tower. One is by stairs and the other is by the elevator. Most people choose the latter. But, the line up here can get extremely long (2 to 3 hours long), so buying them beforehand is recommended and it allows you to skip that line. If you can, try and book them for the first time slot at 9:30 am.
You can book them at the official website or if they are sold out for your day check out the Skip the Line options here. **Note** Tickets for the elevator go on sale 60 days in advance for the elevator so book early.
Take the Stairs
There is another way you can get up if you don’t mind climbing a few stairs, 700 to be exact. If you are feeling spry you can opt for access to the second level by stairs. It is cheaper and is almost always shorter than the one for the elevator. A good option if the summit access is sold out. **Note** Tickets for the stairs go on sale 10 days in advance.
- Hours: Lift access: Every day 9.30 am-11.45 pm (9 am-12.15 am July-August); last entry 1 hour 45 minutes before closing.
- Stair access: Every day 9.30 am-6.30 pm (9 am-12.45 am July-August); last entry 45 minutes before closing.
- Cost: Lift to the second-floor €16.60; Stairs to the Second Floor €10.40; Elevator to the top €25.90; Stairs to the second level + Elevator to the top: €19.70
- Location: 7th Arrondissement 5 avenue Anatole France – Champ de Mars – 75007 Paris
- Metro Stop: Bir-Hakeim stop Line Green 6
2. The Louvre Museum
After a great morning at the Eiffel Tower make your way to Paris’s second most popular landmark, The Louvre. We originally left this off of the 3 Day Paris Itinerary because it is so huge and crowded. But after our last visit, we decided to add it in because you can enjoy the highlights of the museum in just a couple of hours.
We are definitely not frequent museum visitors but the Louvre is another exception. It is much more than a museum, it is a journey through history via art.
Here you will find famous works from The Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa to the Psyche Revived by Cupids Kiss, there is something here for all kinds of art lovers. Truthfully you could spend days here if you are an art lover.
How to Skip the Line at the Louvre
Being the largest art museum in the world it is busy, especially in the high season. But, there are a few ways you can get ahead of the crowds to save some time.
- Book your tickets online in advance: The official Louvre Website says that if you buy your tickets in advance the wait is never more than 30 minutes. Cost: 17 Euros
- Get a The Paris City Pass or The Paris Museum Pass: Both of these allow you to skip the line at the Louvre. But note that you will still have to wait in the security line but this is often much shorter.
- Book a Tour: If you don’t want to spend the additional money on one of the above passes you can always jump on a tour. We recommend this Fast Track Highlights Tour or the Timed entrance ticket if you want to explore on your own.
Don’t forget to admire the outside from all angles as the Glass Pyramid (which is also the entrance) was built by I.M. Pei and is a great compliment to the original architecture of the Louvre. For a photo with almost no people, return later at night. The scene takes on a different feel and it is nearly devoid of people.
- Hours: Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5.45 pm. Wednesday and Friday 9:00 am to 9:45 pm.
- Cost: €17
- Location: 1st Arrondissement Pyramide du Louvre – 75001 Paris
- Metro Stop: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre, Yellow Line 1, Pink line 7.
3. Place de La Concorde
After a couple of hours of experiencing the Louvre head northwest towards the Champs Elysees. Starting at the Tuileries Garden and ending at the Place de la Concorde this walk takes you through some of the most beautiful gardens in Paris and ends in a place steeped in French history.
The Place de la Concorde was created in 1772 and has the macabre designation of being the execution site during the French Revolution. Some famous people who lost their heads to the guillotine here were Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. But today it is most recognized by the Luxor Obelisk which is 3300 years old and was erected in 1836.
4. Champs D’Elysees
Continue northwest along the Jardins Des Champs D’Elysees and cross a busy roundabout (Exercise caution here, the traffic is crazy) to arrive at the Champs D’Elysees.
This is a relatively long walk so if you want to save time jump on the Metro at Place de la Concorde and get off at George V. This will put you right in the middle of the Champs Elysees. The most famous street in Paris.
Boutiques and bistros line the wide lanes and street performers shine on the sidewalks of the boulevard. It is a walk you won’t forget. Take your time to explore the shops and splurge on a café au lait at a sidewalk restaurant.
- Location: 8th Arrondissement Place de la Concorde – 75008 Paris
- Metro Stop: Concorde stop Yellow Line 1, Purple Line 8, Green Line 12. Champs D’Elysees: George V stop Yellow Line 1
5. Arc de Triomphe
At the end of the Champs Elysees is the famous Arc de Triomphe. I see this every year on television as it marks the finish line of the Tour de France. As you walk towards the Arc De Triomphe you can witness the world’s largest roundabout from the inside.
Pay your respects to the unknown soldier and marvel and the grandness of this impressive monument. I highly recommend you go up to the top of the Arc for another great view of the city.
The streets span out from one of the world’s largest roundabouts and you have an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower. If you have the Paris Pass you get free entry and you can skip the line.
Note: Make sure to use one of the underpasses to cross the street. The traffic is crazy. Also, If you are looking for a cool view of the Arc de Triomphe head to the crosswalk on the Northwest side of the Arc on Avenue de la Grande Armee. You can stop in the middle and grab a great shot!
- Hours: From 1 April to 30 September: 10am-11pm. From 1 October to 31 March: 10am-10:30pm.
- Cost: €13; Children under 17 are free. Skip the line and Free entry with the Paris Pass.
- Location: 8th Arrondissement Place Charles de Gaulle – 75008 Paris
- Metro Stop: Charles de Gaulle – Étoile stop Lines 1, 2 and 6
Paris Itinerary Day 2
Paris History, Musee D’Orsay and The Catacombs
6. Ile de la Cite
What better way to start your second day in Paris than the Ile De La Cite. This is the historical heart of Paris and home to Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle.
Start at the Pont Neuf Bridge, which is one of the oldest bridges in Paris, and stroll along the Seine until you reach Notre Dame. This is one of my favorite stretches of the river.
7. Sainte Chapelle
Nore Dame is beautiful on the outside but it does not really compare to Sainte Chapelle on the inside. Sainte Chapelle has one of the best displays of stained glass in the world. It is definitely worth spending a little time here in the morning when the light is beautiful.
Like most attractions in Paris, you will want to get here early in order avoid the lines. We suggest arriving 20 to 30 minutes before opening time if you want to take in the beauty of this church. Skip the Line to Sainte Chapelle Here
- Hours: April 1 to September 30: 9 am to 7 pm; October 1 to March 31: 9 am to 5 pm; closed January 1, May 1, December 25.
- Cost: €11.50
- Location: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
- Metro Stop: Line 4, Cite
8. Notre Dame Cathedral
Please Note: Due to the tragic fire on April 16, 2019, Notre Dame is no longer open. They are doing restorations but do not expect to open until 2024.
Notre Dame may be inaccessible at the moment but it is still worth taking in the beauty of this building. As you walk through its courtyard you will also come across a plaque that marks the “Point Zero” or the official center of old Paris.
Continue along the Seine to the rear of the cathedral and cross Pont de l’Archeveche which will give you the most beautiful view of Notre Dame.
9. Left Bank of the Seine River
As you leave Notre Dame you can then begin your 30-minute stroll to the Musée d’Orsay, where you are transported into a book lover’s paradise. The famous left bank of the Seine is lined with booksellers that have plied their trade since the early 1900’s. It is very “Paris”.
Make sure to take notice of Shakespeare & Company. If you are a fan of classic literature you will remember that this was a famous gathering place for Hemingway, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound back in the early 1900’s.
10. Musée d’Orsay
Now, we are self-proclaimed non-museum fans. Usually, we find them a little boring and not very interesting. Enter the Musée d’Orsay. This is by far one of the best museums I have ever been to. It houses the largest collection of Impressionist art in the world and is housed in an old train station so the design is just beautiful.
If you are a lover of Manet, Monet, Degas, or any other Impressionist you will find some of their best works here. We absolutely loved how this museum was set up and it may just have made us museum fans. There is an entry fee to get into the Museum but if you have The Paris City Pass or The Paris Museum Pass it is included.
**Tip** The Museum is FREE on the first Sunday of every month and it is closed on Mondays.
- Hours: Closed on Mondays. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30am to 6pm. Open to 9:45pm on Thursdays.
- Cost: Museum ticket + exhibition: €14
- Location: 7th Arondissment 1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur – 75007 Paris
- Metro Stop: Solferino, Green Line 12
11. Les Jardins du Luxembourg
After you leave the Musée d’Orsay you can make your way towards the Catacombs and Montparnasse. For those who love to walk and maybe are a little peckish, we suggest grabbing a baguette and some cheese and head to the south lawn of Jardins du Luxembourg for an afternoon picnic.
The gardens themselves are beautiful. They were created by Queen Marie de Medici in 1612 and span 25 hectares! That is a lot of land.
If you prefer to get there faster we suggest either hop on the Metro at Musee D’Orsay and get off at Montparnasse (A metro Pass is included in your Paris Pass)
If you have purchased tickets for the Hop on Hop Off Bus that day you can get off at the Catacombs stop (Summer Route) or the Port Royal stop (Winter Route). That will get you close to the Catacombs, which is the next stop on today’s agenda.
- Hours: Opens 7.30am and 8.15am, and closes between 4.30pm and 9.30pm according to the season.
- Cost: Free
- Location: 6th Arrondissement Rue de Médicis – Rue de Vaugirard – 75006 Paris
- Metro Stop: Odean on the Yellow line 10 and on the Purple line 4.
12. The Catacombs
If you like a little adventure and don’t mind being a little spooked than the Catacombs of Paris are for you. Built back in the last 18th Century to house the bones of Paris’s overrun cemeteries.
Now that may seem gross to you but the way they are stacked neatly and presented it is almost as if they are artwork rather than human bones. Like they say “Everything looks like art in Paris”.
We suggest taking a Catacombs Tour so you can get all the information that will allow you to appreciate this part of Paris.
- Hours: 10 am to 8:30 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays.
- Cost: 13 Euro
- Location: 14th Arrondissement1 avenue du colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy – 75014 Paris
- Metro Stop: Denfert Rochereau stop, Green Line 6 and Purple line 4
If you want to read a detailed account of our time in the Catacombs make sure to check out Catacombs of Paris – Touring the Underground Labyrinth of Death
To finish off your evening sightseeing we recommend heading to Montparnasse. This is definitely one of the best views of Paris and at sunset, it is even more impressive. Head up the tower to the observation deck on the 56th floor. It is divided into 2 levels.
The lower level is completely glassed in. Great if it is a windy or chilly day and still a great view of the city. But we suggest heading up to the terrace. This has glass panels but there are a few openings that you can get the lens of your camera through. Great for reflection-free shots. For all our photography friends this is good news. You can also bring a tripod up there as well which is a big bonus in Paris.
For dinner, we suggest heading to the Latin Quarter and grabbing a Prix Fixe Meal. This area is only a 20-minute walk and has a ton of charm and some amazing restaurants.
- Hours: Summer: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am-11.30pm. Winter: Sunday to Thursday, 9.30am-10.30pm, Friday, Saturday and on the eve of public holidays, 9.30am-11pm
- Cost: Adults: €18 ; students: €15 ; Children (4-11 years): €9.50. Day & Night Ticket (valid for 2 visits within 48 hours) : €23/adult ; €20/student ; €16/child.
- Location: 15th Arrondissement Rue de l’Arrivée – 75015 Paris
- Metro Stop: Montparnasse – Bienvenüe
Paris Itinerary Day 3
On the final day Paris Itinerary takes you to explore one of the world’s most famous cemeteries as well as the artist center of the city. These are located a little out of the main center but well worth visiting.
14. Père Lachaise Cemetery
Located in the 20th Arrondissement, the Père Lachaise Cemetery is home to 800,000 souls and some of the most famous plots in the world. Jim Morrison of the Doors, Chopin, Moliere, Edith Piaf, Rossini, and Oscar Wilde are all buried here. There is a reason this is the most visited cemetery in France!
Even if you are not interested in the famous residents of Cimetiere Pere la Chaise you can still visit and be in awe of the artwork on display at this museum of the dead. If you want to get more detailed information on the Cemetary we suggest you book a guided tour which gives you some great details of this area of Paris.
Tip: Make sure to get yourself a map. You can get one at the Cemetery by the main entrance at Avenue Principal or you can download one here.
- Hours: November to mid-March from 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 5.30pm on Saturday and from 9am to 5.30pm on Sundays and holidays.
- Mid-March to October: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm on Saturday and 9am to 6pm on Sundays and holidays.
- Cost: Free
- Location: 20th Arondissment 8 boulevard de Ménilmontant – 75020 Paris
- Metro Stop: Pere Lachaise Line 1 and 2
Jump on the Metro and head to the Montmartre area. This is located in the 18th Arrondissement and is one of our favorite areas in Paris. Not only to stay but to spend an afternoon.
Start your afternoon with a leisurely lunch at Place du Tertre and admire all the artists who display their works daily. After lunch stroll the streets of Montmartre and see where Dali, Picasso, and Renoir once lived and worked. You can visit the Montmartre or Dali Museum, both of which are very interesting. But before you leave this area you must make your way to Sacre Coeur.
16. Sacre Coeur
This Basilica, which is situated on the highest point in Paris, is a must-see. Standing on the steps you feel as if you can see all of Paris. If you are looking for an even higher view you can climb up the 300 steps to the top of the Dome (there is a small fee for this). The view is spectacular.
After viewing the sunset from the steps of the Basilica you can finish off your day by grabbing dinner in the Montmartre area or if you are looking for something a little more daring, take in a show at the Moulin Rouge.
Sacre Coeur Hours: The basilica is open everyday from 6am to 10.30pm (last entry at 10.15pm for visitors).
The dome (access from the left side of the basilica) : 8.30am-8pm from May to September; 9am-5pm from October to April.
- Cost: Free to go inside and Fee to access the Dome. See the official website for details.
- Location: 18th Arrondissement Parvis du Sacré-Coeur – 35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre – 75018 Paris
- Metro Stop: Anvers Stop on Line 2 then walk up the stairs or take the funicular which costs the same as Metro ticket and is free with your Paris Pass.
Optional Day 3 Activity
The Palace of Versailles
Many people when they visit Paris for the first time want to see the Palace of Versailles. It is on everyone’s bucket list. As it is technically not “in Paris” we didn’t include it on this itinerary but you may want to add it as an option on Day 3.
Located a 45-minute train ride from downtown Paris, Versailles, which was the seat of the French government fo 100 years, is a magnificent castle and grounds. From the impressive Hall of Mirrors to the gardens that have been used as a model in countless castles around the world, this place really does impress.
How long do you need at Versailles? Depending on how much of a history buff you are you could spend 3 hours or so (like we did) or take the whole day.
- Hours: Closed Mondays; open at 9 am Tuesday to Sunday; Gardens and the park are open every day and are free to visit.
- Cost: 20€ for the palace and gardens and the Trianon; 18€ to tour the just the palace (Included with The Paris City Pass or The Paris Museum Pass.
- Getting There: Because Versailles is outside Zone 3 on your travel card a ticket will cost 7.10€ return extra. Take the RER C from Paris to Versailles it is a 45-minute ride each way.
Tips to Make the Most of Your Visit to Paris
Get Yourself a Paris Pass
The best way that you can save money and see all of the sites is to get yourself a Paris Pass. You can get it for 2-6 days and it includes all of these and more:
- Free entry to more than 60 top attractions
- Free travel on the metro
- A 1-day hop-on, hop-off bus tour ticket
- A guidebook in 6 languages
- Skip-the-line entrance to many of the sights, like Centre Pompidou (Modern Art), Arc de Triomphe, Louvre Museum, and more.
- Bateaux Parisiens River Cruise
- Wine Tasting – O Chateau Day Trips
- Book your Paris Pass Here
With only having a short amount of time this will help you get around quickly and skip the line at a bunch of places. Definitely worth it. Book your Paris Pass Now!
Some Museums are closed Mondays or Tuesdays
There is nothing worse then showing up when the museum is closed. There is a lot to keep up on so check out Paris Museum and Attraction closures before you visit.
Getting Around Paris
The city is easy to get around so don’t stress too much about choosing a hotel near your favorite monument or museum. **Please Note** If you opt for the Paris Pass the Metro is included from zones 1-3!
The Paris Metro is affordable and easy to navigate. When you arrive in Paris, you can easily pick up a pass and travel is easy. A five-day pass in zones 1-3 is only €37,50.
The Hop on Hop off Bus
The Hop on Hop off Bus runs between 9:30 am and 7 pm. If you get the Paris Pass the Hop on Hop off bus is included for 1 day. If you feel you want to use it more than that or decide against the Paris Pass you can book your 1-3 day pass here. Just be aware that the Hop on Hop Off Bus has a Summer and Winter Route Map. Check to make sure you are using the correct one.
Getting to and from the Airport
We recommend taking either a private transfer or shuttle bus. Or you can opt to take an Uber. The shuttle bus will cost you about $21 USD per person, The Private Transfer will cost about $40 USD return and an Uber will run you a minimum of 50 Euros.
If you want to know the fastest and cheapest way to get to Paris from the airport then check out our guide on the Cheapest Ways to Get from CDG and Orly to Paris.
That should do it.! If you have any questions about this Paris itinerary, leave them in the comments below!
Additional Information for Your Trip to Paris
- WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS – A 2020 GUIDE TO THE BEST NEIGHBORHOODS
- HOW TO VISIT PARIS ON A BUDGET – 20 TIPS TO SAVE MONEY
- 27 FREE THINGS TO DO IN PARIS, FRANCE
- CHEAPEST WAYS TO GET FROM ORLY & CHARLES DE GAULLE (CDG) TO PARIS
- What to do in Paris at Night
- PARIS CLOSURES, WHEN TO AVOID MUSEUM AND ATTRACTIONS
- FAMOUS PEOPLE BURIED IN THE PERE LACHAISE CEMETERY OF PARIS
- CATACOMBS OF PARIS TOUR – THE UNDERGROUND LABYRINTH OF DEATH
If you are planning a trip to France, make sure to check out our France Travel Guide!
Many People add London to their Paris Itinerary, check out these London articles to help plan more of your Paris travels:
- Where To Stay In London – A Guide to The Best Areas and Places
- 3 Days in London – The Ultimate London Itinerary
- London Landmarks – 18 Famous Places in Photos
- 22 of the Top Things to do in London, England
- London’s Top 5 Alternative Attractions