Are you looking for the only 3 days in Paris itinerary that you will ever need? 3 days is a generous amount of time to explore the City of Light.
I travel to Paris with my family every fall to celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday. My own visits are so special that I want to share with you how you can experience all that 3 days in Paris have to offer.
I am familiar with the best of Paris, both the extremely popular and the offbeat locations as well. If this is your first visit to Paris, read my things to know before you go.
Feel free to change up my following suggestions from day to day to make your Paris 3 day itinerary tailored to your specific needs during the time you are visiting Paris.
For the purpose of this article, your arrival day is not considered the “first” day of your Paris 3 day itinerary. My suggestion is to keep arrival day low key especially if your journey to Paris involved a long travel day or night.
Take arrival day to relax from the long travel. Get some rest, sleep and most importantly, hydrate. Take a leisurely stroll of the district where you will be staying and have a nourishing dinner!
Look here: Paris: 1, 2, or 3-Day Hop-on Hop-off Ticket
The Only 3 Days In Paris Itinerary You Will Need
Day One: The Eiffel Tower, Musee D’Orsay, Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle
Stop One: The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is probably the most popular attraction in Paris. I think almost anyone visiting Paris would be disappointed if they missed out on seeing this iconic landmark.
So let us begin your 3 days in Paris itinerary at the Eiffel Tower. It is located at the Champs de Mars, in Paris’ seventh arrondissement. The Eiffel Tower is over 1,000 feet tall, and one of the tallest edifices in the city. Built to serve as the gateway to the 1889 World’s Fair, today the Eiffel Tower is the worldwide symbol of Paris!
You will want to set aside a few hours of your first of 3 days in Paris to discover all that the Eiffel Tower has to offer. You will find restaurants within her wrought-iron beams and panoramic views of Paris that are breathtaking!
Did you know you can climb up into the Tower? You can climb up to the top using 1,665 steps! If you don’t want to walk up, you may ride up in the elevator which most people choose to do. Be aware, lines are extremely long from morning till night, most days. You will be far better off purchasing tickets before you arrive.
However, simply walking alongside the Eiffel Tower is a very memorable thing to do, to get a perspective of just how large the famous monument is.
To photograph lasting memories of the Eiffel Tower during 3 days in Paris stroll across the street to the merry-go-round, (there’s a souvenir stand there!). Or walk across the Seine River to the Trocadero Palace, built into the side of a hill, which affords EPIC shots of the Eiffel Tower.
Tickets here: Eiffel Tower Priority Access with Summit Access
Tickets here: Eiffel Tower 2nd Floor Priority Access Entry Ticket
Scooter Around Paris As An Alternative Way To Get Around
During one of our trips to Paris, we noticed clumps of e-scooters everywhere. It was as if they were left randomly. And they were. When you are finished using your e-scooter, you simply leave it at your destination.
During your 3 days in Paris itinerary, it scootering around town appeals to you, here is what you need to know:
You will need to download the phone application of one of the scooter companies and input your credit card information. Once you have established an account, you can see where available scooters are in your vicinity, due to the GPS capabilities of each individual scooter.
Read my 5 days in Paris itinerary if you are considering a longer visit to the City of Light!
You can rent a scooter for as long as you think you will need one. When you have arrived at your destination, you verify through the app on your phone that you are done. Then you simply leave the scooter and walk away. More likely than not, there will be someone who will scoop it up and be on their way very soon.
Look here: Paris E-Scooter Rental
Stop Two: Visit The Musee D’ Orsay Museum
The Musee d’ Orsay is a few minutes from the Eiffel Tower. It is also located in the seventh arrondissement on the River Seine’s left bank a few short miles away. It is inside Gare d’Orsay, an old yet extremely ornate railroad station.
Housing mainly French art between the years 1848 to 1914, this museum will surely have something to please you. there are large collections of paintings, sculpture, design, and architecture. The most popular exhibitions are its Impressionist and Post Impressionist collections.
There is an admission fee, and I recommend allotting two hours to tour this exciting art museum.
Tickets here: Musée d’Orsay Reserved Access 1-Day Admission Ticket
Tickets here: Orsay and Orangerie Museums Skip-the-Line Ticket
Stop Three: Visit Notre Dame Cathedral
One of the most well-recognized cathedrals in the world is Notre-Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris), a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris
She is acknowledged worldwide as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture anywhere. Her history is spectacular and it took hundreds of years to construct her.
UPDATE: Due to the fire, spring 2019, please research Notre Dame updates. At this time it is closed, but it is definitely worth it to visit the church to see it and walk around the exterior grounds.
This historic landmark is another of Paris’ jewels. Restoration construction has slowly begun. Even though the church is closed the area is crowded and worth a few moments of your time to see this Grand Dame in person, and snap a few pictures.
If you are looking for some more unusual things to do in Paris read here. There may be one or two you want to add to you 3 days in Paris itinerary!
Stop Four: Be Utterly Amazed At Sainte Chapelle
Within close walking distance from Notre-Dame de Paris is the dazzling Sainte-Chapelle, a MUST SEE during your 3days in Paris! It is one of the lesser-known chapels in Paris.
Since it is so near Notre Dame, many people just visit Notre Dame and skip this extremely exquisite chapel, because they are not aware of it.
Sainte-Chapelle’s upper level has over 1,000 striking and gleaming stained glass windows that tell the story of the Bible. Arranged across 15 main windows, the stained glass panes display over 1,000 scenes from the Old and New Bible.
There are pamphlets available in many languages explaining each of the 15 panels, and the panes of stained glass contained in them. There is also a sumptuous rose stained glass window at Sainte-Chapelle which describes the Book of Revelation through its stained glass panels.
Do not be disappointed when you first walk into the building, the Palais de la Cite. It is dark and rather dreary. This is where the servants lived. You will be guided upstairs to the king’s chapel where the stunning glass panels are.
I recommend NOT SKIPPING this historical jewel when planning your Paris 3 day itinerary. And suggest allotting for about an hour there.
Stop Five: Explore The River Seine
You have been spent the first of your 3 days in Paris itinerary exploring the City of Light’s attractions around the River Seine. Another unique and very popular way to discover Paris is to take a Seine River Cruise.
The options to select from are endless, depending on your budget, desires and time. A narrated cruise is like having your own personal tour guide without the high cost!
Great way to snap some memorable pictures of Paris as well.
Tickets here: Seine River Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Cruise
Tickets here: Paris: Dinner River Cruise Experience
Tickets here: Paris: 1-Hour Illuminations River Cruise
Day Two: The Louvre, The Champs de Elysees, The Arc de Triomphe
Stop 1: Take In Art At The Louvre Museum
In my opinion, no trip to Paris would be complete without visiting the famous Louvre Art Museum at least one time. Located on the right bank of the River Seine, in Paris’ elite first arrondissement, and within the Louvre Palace, the museum contains some of the world’s most precious paintings and artifacts. It is a great way to begin day two of your 3 days in Paris itinerary.
Did you know the Louvre Art Museum in Paris is the largest in the world? And that more people visit it every year than any other art museum? And rightly so. And there is so much to see!
The museum is divided into eight departments full of antiquities in the forms of paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. Some of the collections range from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Oriental. Most visitors, want to see the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci.
When you arrive, make sure you take a map of the museum to guide you to the specific collections and time periods that interest you. The Mona Lisa now is now in a prominent and permanent location in the Denon Wing.
A second highlight for a lot of tourists that draws large crowds is the classical sculpture, Venus de Milo. A classical sculpture from the fourth century B.C., Venus de Milo is the armless figure of the goddess Aphrodite. And she is indeed beautiful.
Operating hours vary, so check online before you plan your day. Lines for admission tickets can be extremely long, so purchasing online beforehand is prudent.
As additional assistance, there is a Louvre Art Museum app for your phone. It is a great way to familiarize yourself with the museum and its exhibits.
I suggest that you budget at least one-half of a day at the Lovre Art Museum, at minimum.
Look here: Paris: Louvre Museum Timed-Entrance Ticket
Stop 2: The Garden Of The Tuileries
Located in the 1st arrondissement between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concord, the Tuileries Gardens is one of the very popular gardens and parks in Paris. There are tree-lined walkways and famous fountains.
Tuileries Gardens are where Parisians eat, meet and stroll. At one end you will find the iconic Louvre Museum. Stroll through tree-lined and fountain-filled promenades and you will come to the beginning of the most well-known avenue in the world, the Champs-Elysees. It is a grand view!
If you are interested to learn more, read about the Pretty Parks in Paris here.
Stop 3: Visit The Champs-Elysees
Head out to the fashionable Avenue des Champs-Elysees to visit one of the most well-known avenues in the world. And some of the richest real estate on the planet! Upscale and not-so-upscale shops and cafes and restaurants dot the Champs Elysees on both sides of the street.
If you are looking for alternative options:
Stop 4: Go Inside The Arc de Triomphe To Your 3 Days In Paris Itinerary
The Avenue des Champs-Elysees ends at the Arc de Triomphe, another of the famous monuments of Paris.
The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France. And there is a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located there with an eternal flame that commemorates the war dead who were never identified.
Did you know you can walk and tour inside the Arc de Triomphe? And that there is an observation deck on the top of the Arc de Triomphe? I did not either.
The climb to the top was difficult because there were so many stairs, but it wasn’t impossible. Unfortunately, there is not an elevator to the top, so anyone wheelchair-bound or the infirm, or those unable to climb steep steps, will not be able to participate. Please be aware of this fact when planning your trip to the Arc de Triomphe.
Tickets here: Skip-the-Line Arc de Triomphe Guided Visit
Day 3: Montmartre, Sacre-Couer, Paris Opera House, Galleries Lafayette
Stop 1: Montmartre and Sacre-Couer
Montmartre is the bohemian part of Paris and a great place to explore on foot. You will find artists peddling their wares and many interesting shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Because the church sits atop a hill, there are MANY steps to climb to the top. There is an incline railway to catch if climbing is too daunting or there are elderly in your group. Because of the height, the top of Montmartre affords exceptional views of Paris and her communities and her most famous monuments.
Back at the bottom of the hill in front of the basilica, you will find streets bustling with people, as well as tons of souvenir shops and restaurants. It is my experience that the souvenir prices in the neighborhood are the cheapest in Paris.
Look here: Montmartre 2-Hour Walking Tour
Stop 2: Make Time To See The Moulin Rouge
Located at the bottom of the hill in the eclectic Montmartre district, is the most famous cabaret in the world: the iconic Moulin Rouge. World-class international stars such as Frank Sinatra and Elton John loved this venue and it is the center of many movies throughout history.
You can have dinner and be entertained by the dazzling Broadway-style show. But be aware there is a proper dress code and keep that in mind when you visit. Of course, purchasing tickets online beforehand is always prudent.
Tickets here: Moulin Rouge Show with Champagne
Tickets here: Moulin Rouge Show with Dinner Options
Stop 3: Visit The Opulent Palais Garnier
The Paris Opera House, known as Opera Garnier, is so opulent is it often referred to as Palais Garnier. You will need to travel to the 9th arrondissement in Paris to see it. This spectacular theatre seats almost two thousand people.
These days, the theater is used mainly for ballet performances. It has been a French historical monument since the early 1900s.
The Palais Garnier is probably one of the most famous opera houses in the world. And one of the major symbols of Paris, right alongside Notre Dame Cathedral, The Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower.
For an admission fee, you can discover the treasures of 19th-century theatre art by taking a guided or self-tour of the facility. The Grand Staircase is a sumptuous sight in itself to behold.
Do not miss out on seeing the Gold Room. It displays baroque opulence that is stunningly beautiful! You will want to allow one hour here.
Tickets here: Self-Guided Visit to Opera Garnier
Tickets here: Opera Garnier Tour with Expert Guides in Paris
Stop 4: For A Real Parisian Experience Add Galleries Lafayette On Your 3 Days In Paris Itinerary
The Galleries Lafayette is literally within walking distance from the Paris Opera House. It is where the locals and international visitors both shop and eat.
A series of opulent buildings connected together by a series of bridges make up the Galleries Lafayette.
You do not have to shop to visit there. A visit to the Galleries Lafayette is worth your time during your Paris 3 day itinerary, just to see the sumptuous art nouveau architecture. During the holidays the Christmas ornaments and the spectacular themed Christmas tree in the main foyer are unbelievable.
You will want to take a stroll out onto the Glasswalk in the main foyer. It is 53 feet high and extends out an amazing 29 feet. On it, you have spectacular unrestricted views of the stained glass windows in the main dome.
Look here for something unusual: Paris: Entrance Ticket to the Chocolate Museum
Stop 5: Visit The Rooftop Terrace At Galleries Lafayette For Spectacular Parisian Views
Head up to the rooftop deck at the Galleries Lafayette for panoramic views of the city of Paris. Many tourists do not know about or take advantage of this unique opportunity.
It is the BEST location for spectacular views such as these, that is free and open to the public. When we visited it was not that crowded. The other visitors there when we were, were very cooperative and everyone took turns to get their perfect shots.
Viewing the rooftop views from Galleries Lafayette is definitely something to seriously consider when you are planning your 3 days in Paris itinerary!
If you are interested in sneaking in other views, check out my tips for finding 14 spectacular views in Paris.
Packing Tips For Your 5 Days In Paris
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring with you on your 3 days in Paris itinerary. This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can keep your most valuable documents safe and secure next to your body.
This configuration comes with enough passport and credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your current pouch or wallet. These are the kind my family and I use not only when traveling but at home as well.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast! I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about. And if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use. It is made of durable aluminum and is very lightweight and easy to carry. I love mine and I think you will enjoy it too!
I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am sold. These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now! And I never leave without them anymore.
These TSA-approved luggage locks will add another layer of protection as you travel. I lock my luggage when I leave my hotel room or Air B&B. This is important especially if there is no room lock.
Hydration is so important. You want to remain hydrated to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your 5 days in Paris. You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it will fit nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse. Also when filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the Bobble carbon filter ensures fresh clean water whenever and wherever you fill the Bobble. You can find filter replacements here.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space in your suitcase at all. And you will be receiving a set of two.
You will want to bring a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.
Perhaps you need a more substantial backpack for your international travel. This antitheft backpack has a charging port, is water-resistant and can comfortably carry up to a 15.6″ laptop. It comes in a range of colors to choose from and it is inexpensive as well.
You will be walking more than usual during your 5 days in Paris. A sturdy and comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must-have. These waterproof all-season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable.
Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable.
You may be visiting Paris warmer weather and you may want a pair of sandals to wear exploring. I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals.
I have several pairs of these exact Vionic sandals in several colors that I bring with me *everywhere* I travel. They are very comfortable. I also sometimes bring along my Vionic Tides flip flops. The toe post is so comfortable which makes wearing these super comfortable.
Here I have suggestions on how to survive your next long international flight.
Bring a lightweight scarf or shawl. Scarves and shawls are very popular in Europe and Paris is no different. Both men and women wear scarves, decoratively and as a layering piece to keep warm.
And here’s another option to consider: this lightweight sunscreen shawl scarf would do double duty to protect you from the sun in the warmer seasons as well as being a fashion accessory layering piece. This Coolibar sunscreen scarf has USB 50+ protection from the sun’s rays & comes in great colors.
We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you. I like polarized sunglasses because they remove the glare off the water and help you to see things more clearly. This will be very helpful in Paris.
f you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you. I like polarized sunglasses because they remove the glare off the water and help you to see things more clearly. This will be very helpful in Paris.
Don’t forget to bring along a universal power adapter on your 3 days in Paris. This worldwide power plug is a great example and will charge your phone at the end of your busy days.
And this world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time. This is what you will need when there are several people traveling in your group, or if you bring several electronic devices on your trip that require charging at the same time.
If you are in need of new luggage, this expandable soft side spinner luggage is affordable and comes in lots of colors. If you like hard-sided better, then you may favor this hard-sided luggage set better.
Both sets come with TSA approved zippers locks and 8 wheels per piece. Either will be great for the plane or train or even your car depending on how you plan to travel to France.
How To Get Around During Your 5 Days In Paris
Paris is so very easy to navigate around. If you are able and up to it, I’d suggest walking. Paris is a visually beautiful city, and there’s much to see and absorb, which you could/would miss if you were not walking. Make sure you leave ample time to arrive at your destination and wear sturdy comfortable walking shoes.
The metro train system is very extensive in Paris, and probably the best transportation option you have. It’s fast, it’s cheap. And it arrives and departs frequently. You can purchase tickets at every station and a bundle of ten tickets costs less than a single ticket.
As I mentioned above, the metro is not an option for the wheelchair-bound. Nor for those unable to walk long distances or climb up and down stairs frequently and frequently.
There are also city buses and trains to consider when doing your 5 days in Paris. And you always have the option to get a taxi or hire an Uber driver.
Of course, if you drove to Paris using your own personal automobile, that is always an option for you, but beware, the streets of Paris are very crowded.
Quick Tips For Your 5 Days In Paris
Here are some quick tips and tricks, combined with the ones above, which will make your 5 Days in Paris more enjoyable.
Remember, always stay hydrated! Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it often. You will be taking care of your health, and saving numerous disposable water bottles from being sent to the landfill.
Do not worry about the language barrier. I know only a very few basic French words and had absolutely NO difficulties when I visited Paris. The Frenchpeople in Paris know a few English words and you will be able to communicate enough to make your wishes known.
You can even use a translator app on your phone to assist with your communications. My family and I use Google Translate.
Call your credit card company and verify if your credit card does or does not have foreign transaction fees attached to it. If it does, inquire about applying for a credit card that does not charge you a small fee every time you use it when out of your home country.
When you visit an ATM in Paris, make sure it is in the same network with your bank so you are not charged transaction fees every time you withdraw cash. Also, consider withdrawing larger amounts of cash, in order to limit the transaction fees.
Buy advanced tickets to attractions whenever possible. First off, usually tickets purchased in advance online are often less expensive.
Secondly, when you purchase tickets for the monuments and art museums suggested in the 3days in Paris itinerary, you will have a schedule planned out and more able to pace yourself when you know the plans for every day of your trip.
3 days in Paris is an ample amount of time to get to know the City of Light and marvel at all she has to offer. Rich history, monuments and museums, street markets and cafes, and pastry shops. I have recommended for you many of the highlights Paris has to offer for your consideration as you plan your 3 days in Paris!
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Have you ever been to Paris? What was your favorite thing to do? What would be your #1 recommendation for a first-time visitor? Please comment below.