Are you looking for the ultimate 5 days in Paris itinerary? This is a generous amount of time to explore the City of Light.
Planning a trip to Paris does not have to be hard, and I am here to walk you through the process!
Planning your trip to Paris France last minute?
Make sure to book ahead! Hotels and tours usually sell out the closer you get to your trip. Here are our top selections for Paris!
Top Experiences and Tours in Paris France:
- Louvre Museum Timed Entrance Ticket (Skip the line!)
- Eiffel Tower Summit/2nd Floor Direct Access (Likely to sell out!)
- One-Hour Seine River Cruise (Starts at the foot of the Eiffel Tower)
- Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour (24 and 48-hour tours available)
Top Hotels In Paris France:
Keep in mind that your arrival day is not a part of this itinerary for 5 days in Paris.
Take the remainder of the day you arrive to recoup from the long travel, rest, and hydrate. Possibly explore the neighborhood where you are staying a bit, and have a nourishing dinner.
Feel free to change up my suggestions from day to day to make your 5 days in Paris tailored to your interests.
Let’s start Paris vacation planning!
5 Days in Paris: The Ultimate Itinerary You Should Steal
Table of Contents
Day 1: Begin Your 5 Days in Paris With the Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Orsay, and Seine River
Stop 1: Visit The Eiffel Tower
No trip to Paris would not be complete without visiting the iconic Eiffel Tower! One of the most popular attractions in Paris, it is often the first place many people visit, including me.
The tower is 1,063 feet tall and one of the tallest structures in Paris. It was constructed by civil engineer Gustave Eiffel as the gateway to the 1889 World’s Fair. Today it is the symbol of Paris.
If panoramic vistas of the Seine River and the city of Paris interest you, then visiting the Eiffel Tower is for you.
You may climb up to her elevation levels, or even to the top, but that is 1,665 steps. Up for the challenge?
You may ride up in the elevator which most people choose to do. Be aware that lines are extremely long. I suggest buying skip-the-line tickets online in advance. This is one of my top travel tips for Paris!
Walking alongside and under the Eiffel Tower is a very memorable thing to do. You’ll get a great perspective of just how large the monument is.
One year when in Paris celebrating my daughter’s birthday, we had dinner inside the Eiffel Tower! One of the best rooftop bars in Paris is also located on the top level!
There are a few places to get a bite to eat or a drink at the Eiffel Tower.
The Michelin-starred Jules Verne Restaurant on the second floor is probably the most famous. Enjoy delicious food with jaw-dropping views.
The Champagne Bar is located at the top of the Eiffel Tower! If you want to experience one of the most romantic things to do in Paris, make a reservation.
To photograph lasting memories of the Eiffel Tower during 5 days in Paris, stroll across the street to the merry-go-round.
You can also walk across the Seine River to the Trocadero Palace. This is one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower. Go early in the morning to avoid crowds.
Where To Stay Near The Eiffel Tower:
Stop 2: Musee d’Orsay
Located just a few miles away from the Eiffel Tower is the Musee d’Orsay. It opened in 1986 in the Gare d’Orsay, an old railroad station.
Whatever your artistic preferences, the Musee d’Orsay cannot fail to impress. There are extensive collections of paintings, sculptures, architecture, and design from the years 1848 to 1914 to admire.
The major draw of the museum is its Impressionist and Postimpressionist collections.
You will see work by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, and more.
Stop 3: Explore the Seine River
Since the Musee d’Orsay is on the banks of the river, the next thing to do is to walk along the Seine River.
There are long and lovely promenades to walk and people-watching is a fun activity. During my visit, I ran along the Seine and admired the architecture of the buildings and bridges of Paris.
Another way to explore the river and learn more about the lovely city of Paris is to take a Seine River Cruise. A narrated cruise is like having your personal tour guide for Paris, for a fraction of the cost.
My cruise lasted an hour and covered a lot of Parisian history and architecture. It was enjoyable and I learned so much.
You can sit inside the boat or out on the top deck, depending on the weather and your preference.
Many Paris itineraries include a Seine cruise and it is easy to see why.
Book Here: Paris: 2-Hour River Seine Lunch Cruise
Stop 4: End Your Day At The Rue Cler Market
End your first day in Paris by exploring Rue Cler, Paris’ most well-known street market. Located in the 7th arrondissement, it truly is a paradise to explore.
The best part about the Rue Cler Market is that it isn’t overrun by tourists. You will get a glimpse into Parisian local life. It is open every day but Monday.
You will find many restaurants to choose from along with food markets, bars, pastry shops, and more.
I admit I visited the gelato shop on the Rue Cler many an evening!
When you plan a trip to Paris, you must check out some of the markets for a relaxing stroll.
Day 2: Be Wowed At The Louvre, Palais Royal, Gallerie Vivienne
Stop 1: Take In Art At The Louvre Museum
No trip to Paris would be complete without visiting the famous Louvre Museum at least once. Located within the Louvre Palace, it contains some of the world’s most precious paintings and artifacts.
The Louvre in Paris is the largest art museum in the world and a great place to start the second day.
The museum is divided into eight departments full of paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. Some of the collections range from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Oriental.
When you arrive, make sure you take a map of the museum to guide you to the specific collections and periods that interest you.
Most visitors, make it a priority to see the iconic Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci.
The second is the classical sculpture from the fourth century B.C., Venus de Milo. It is the armless figure of the goddess Aphrodite. She is indeed beautiful.
It is recommended to budget at least half a day at the Louvre. Probably more. I am always there much more. There is so much to see.
Lines for admission tickets can be extremely long, so purchasing online beforehand is prudent.
Book Here: Paris: Louvre Museum Timed-Entrance Ticket
Best Hotels Near The Louvre:
Stop 2: Visit A Controversial Art Installation: Le Deux Plateaux
Within walking distance from the Louvre Museum is an outdoor art installation that caused a bit of controversy when it was installed.
Its official name is Le Deux Plateaux, but it is more commonly referred to as the Colonnes de Buren after the French artist who created it, Daniel Burren.
It is located in the inner courtyard of the neoclassical Palais Royal, a former 17th-century royal palace, which sits adjacent to the Louvre Museum. It is not open to the public.
Rows of columns of various sizes extending up out of the former parking lot were deemed too unsuitable for a historical landmark.
Today it is a very popular place to wander through and tourists love to have pictures taken with the black and white striped columns.
Stop 3: For A Quick Rest Head To Jardin du Palais Royal
Located just a few minutes walk north of the art installation you will find the palace gardens, Jardin du Palais Royal.
This is a wonderful place to sit for a few moments to enjoy the landscaped grounds and the large fountain.
Then meander the tree-lined walkways. Flowers brilliantly bloom depending on the season you visit. This is one of the more underrated parks in Paris!
Taking time to relax is one of the best travel tips in Paris!
Stop 4: Take Some Time To Shop As The Parisians Do
In the 2nd arrondissement, take some time to visit an iconic covered passage called Galerie Vivienne. It was designed in the neo-classical style.
The mosaic floors and elegant canopy make this a must-see destination, even for a short time.
True, it fell out of favor a bit with the arrival of the Champs-Élysées. However, it is making a comeback, due to its historical and cultural significance.
Stop here for a visit to experience an opulent landmark of the Paris of days gone past. Shop for artwork, books, clothes, and small souvenirs. You will not regret it.
There are actually a ton of pretty covered passages in Paris. Try to visit as many as you can because they have their own vibe.
Day 3 In Paris: Discover Gothic Cathedrals Around The City
Stop 1: Start The Day At Notre Dame
The third day of Paris in 5 days is all about religious architecture! Three cultural, political, and religious Parisian icons stand out.
The most well-recognized cathedral in the world is Notre Dame de Paris! The name means Our Lady of Paris and it is truly an icon of the city.
She is recognized 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 in 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.
Stop 2: Marvel At The Stained Glass At Sainte-Chapelle
Within walking distance of Notre Dame is the dazzling Sainte-Chapelle. This is a must-see for any itinerary for Paris, France! It is one of the lesser-known chapels in the city.
Many people just visit Notre Dame and skip this extremely exquisite church 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.
The bottom level of the structure is very plain because back in its day it was for staff and servants of the resident French king.
Only the king and his advisors were permitted into the royal chapel on the second level.
There are pamphlets available in many languages explaining each of the 15 panels, and the panes of stained glass contained in them.
Upstairs there is also a sumptuous rose-stained glass window at Sainte-Chapelle which describes the Book of Revelation through its stained glass panels.
Stop 3: Have A Choux Pastry At Odette Tea Room
Located not far from the iconic Notre Dame, in Paris’ Latin Quarter, is a sweet (no pun intended!) cafe called Odette.
You will not find the famous French macarons here, because the owner does not like them and wanted to do something a bit different with his establishment.
What you will find is a charming, albeit small, quaint cafe filled with tempting pastries, most notably choux pastry, which translates to “cream puff.”
They are light, airy, and filled with flavorful creams of different flavors for you to choose from.
Taking a moment out of a busy day in Paris to sit and sip coffee while eating a choux pastry at Odette is one of the more delicious things to do in Paris!
Stop 4: Visit Shakespeare & Company Bookstore And Cafe
Located simply steps from Notre Dame Cathedral, Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is understandably a very busy place!
Located in a refurbished building, there are loads of books written in English to be found.
There are events and speakers scheduled at the bookstore so be sure to speak with an attendant to inquire what is going on when you visit.
If you are looking for refreshments or a meal, you are in luck. Next to the bookstore, you will find Shakespeare & Company Cafe serving all things fresh and delicious, mostly organic and vegetarian.
They have a great selection of muffins, donuts, and desserts if you are interested in only a quick fix as you go on about your day.
It is easy to quickly walk by this establishment during your busy day in Paris, but worth a stop to slow down a bit and wander amid all the lovely books. Perhaps have some coffee and refreshments.
Visiting the Shakespeare & Company Bookstore and Cafe is one of the intellectual and unusual things to do when visiting Paris for 5 days.
Stop 5: Visit The Catacombs For An Underground View Of Parisienne History
Are you aware six to seven million souls are buried under the streets of Paris? You can view a portion of the underground ossuaries in Paris, France.
There is a network of tunnels underground built in the 1700s to help eliminate the problem of Paris’ overflowing cemeteries.
The Paris Catacombs, respectfully holding the bones of the dead, has been counted as one of 14 City of Paris Museums since 2013.
The ossuary (a location holding the bones of the dead) makes up only a small section of the underground tunnel system. The entire network of tunnels is known as the catacombs.
When planning a Paris vacation, this is a great attraction for anyone interested in the macabre.
Day 4: Champs Elysees, Arch de Triomphe, And More
Stop 1: Visit The Champs-Elysees By Bicycle
Bike riding is very popular in European cities, and Paris is no exception. During your 5 days in Paris begin your fourth day by renting a bike at one of the numerous Velib bike stations.
They are everywhere so you do not have to return your bike to the exact location where you rented it.
Head out to the fashionable Avenue des Champs-Elysees to visit one of the most well-known avenues in the world.
It also has some of the richest real estate on the planet! Upscale and not-so-upscale shops, cafes, and restaurants dot the Champs Elysees on both sides of the street.
Book Here: Best of Paris Bike Tour
Stop 2: Scooter Around Paris As An Alternative Way To Get Around
There is another way to explore Paris other than using a bicycle, and that is by electric scooter. If you want something more unique, this is a fun option.
There are a few different e-scooter rental companies in Paris including Lime and DOTT. They are all easy to use.
Download the phone application of the scooter company you want and input your credit card information. The apps show available scooters in your vicinity with GPS.
You can rent a scooter for as long as you want. 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. The only caveat is: do not leave your scooter in the pedestrian walkway or in the street.
Stop 3: Go Up The Arc de Triomphe
The Avenue des Champs-Elysees ends at the Arc de Triomphe, another of the famous monuments of Paris, a very short bike or scooter ride away.
The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located here 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? There is even an observation deck on the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
The climb to the top is relatively difficult because there are so many stairs, but it isn’t impossible!
There is not an elevator to the top so unfortunately anyone wheelchair-bound or unable to climb steep steps will not be able to participate.
Please be aware of this fact when making your Paris plans.
Book Here: Paris: Arc de Triomphe Rooftop Tickets
Stop 4: Visit Palais Garnier And Be Prepared To Be Wowed
The Paris Opera House, known as Opera Garnier, is so opulent it is often referred to as Palais Garnier.
Located in the 9th arrondissement in Paris this spectacular theatre for opera seats almost two thousand people.
The Palais Garnier is probably one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It is 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 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 on your Paris travel itinerary. It displays Baroque opulence as I do not see that often. It is beautiful!
A tour of this opera house is what to do in Paris if you love architecture.
Book Here: Opera Garnier Entry Ticket
Stop 5: For A Real Parisian Experience Visit Galleries Lafayette
Within walking distance of the Paris Opera House, you will find the Galleries Lafayette. A series of opulent buildings connected by a series of bridges make up the Galleries Lafayette.
Even if you are not interested in shopping, a stop at this mall is still worth it to see the amazing Art Nouveau architecture and decorations.
At Christmastime, the Christmas ornaments were like none I have ever seen, especially the Christmas tree in the main foyer.
Do not miss out on taking a walk on the Glasswalk. It is 53 feet high and juts out an amazing 29 feet.
You will find it on the third floor. It brings you unparalleled views of the stunning stained-glass windows in the dome!
Overall, this mall is something to do in Paris for visitors wanting to shop in an elegant setting.
This is One of the best Paris Instagram spots!
Stop 6: Visit The Rooftop Terrace At Galleries Lafayette For Spectacular Parisian Views
One of the unusual things to do in Paris is viewing the jaw-dropping panoramic heart of Paris from the rooftop deck at Galleries Lafayette!
Many tourists do not know about or take advantage of this unique opportunity.
It is the BEST location for these spectacular views and it is free and open to the public! When we visited, it was not that crowded.
It is a superb location to take your Paris photographs. Visitors were very cooperative and everyone took turns.
Viewing the rooftop views from Galleries Lafayette is definitely something to seriously consider when you are planning your Paris itinerary for 5 days!
This is one of the most unusual things to do in Paris.
Day 5: Visit Some More Unusual Paris Locations
Stop 1: Montmartre And Sacre-Coeur
Montmartre is the bohemian and artistic part of Paris and a great place to explore on foot.
Located at the summit of Montmartre, the highest point of Paris is the Basicila of the Sacred Heart, or Sacre-Coeur.
Because the church sits atop a hill, there are MANY steps to climb to the top.
That said, there is an incline railway to ride if climbing is too daunting or there are elderly in your group.
The inside of the church is unique, but the views of Paris are easily the best part! You will be able to see all of Paris in one panoramic view.
Around the right side of the church as you exit it, is a lovely square. It is lined with local Parisian artists crafting and selling their wares. There is an abundance of cafes and charming restaurants.
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.
This is an excellent opportunity to pick up some special mementos to have or bring home to your loved ones. It is my experience that the souvenir prices in the neighborhood are the cheapest in Paris.
Stop 2: Visit The Only Working Vineyard In Paris
Yes, that’s correct! There is actually a working vineyard in the heart of Paris. It is Vignes du Clos Montmartre, located near Sacre-Couer.
Not many know that located on Rue des Saules, on a very steep slope heading back down Montmartre Hill is a working winery!
Many tourists are not even aware of Clos Montmartre so you will have an advantage over them.
You can take a tour of Clos Montmartre, and it is best to purchase your tickets online beforehand.
Where To Stay In Montmartre:
Stop 3: 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.
Stop 4: Check Out The Eye-Popping Pigalle Basketball Court
If you are a sports fan, especially basketball, or have one traveling to Paris with you, this unique destination must be considered.
If you are an artist who does not much care for any sports, this is still a must-see for you as well.
Located on Rue Duperre, in Paris’ 9th arrondissement, the Pigalle basketball court is sandwiched between historic residential buildings on nothing more than a sliver of property.
Painted in eclectic pinks, oranges, and blues, it is eye-popping for sure!
The idea behind this place was to make the basketball court and basketball hoops appealing to the local kids who live in the area. If you visit Paris with kids, this is a cool place to see!
Stop 5: View Symbolism At The Gustave Moreau Museum
Gustave Moreau lived in Paris in the 1800s. He was a “symbolist” painter. At the museum honoring him, you will see three stories full of his works.
Located in the 9th arrondissement, you will find that this museum is kind of off the beaten path, and a bit less crowded and touristy.
Along with all of his works prominently displayed, you will be able to explore the living quarters where he and his family lived.
The architecture is glorious, and there is a grand circular staircase that will lead you from the second to the third floor, which could be the backdrop for a wonderful and memorable picture of your Parisian visit.
Book Here: Paris Museum Pass: 2, 4, or 6 Days
My daughter Victoria from Follow Me Away.
Packing Tips For Your 5 Days In Paris
Read my tips and tricks here on how to pack lightly in only a carryon!
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors and helps protect your valuable information..
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
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.
These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now!
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.
This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from.
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 in warmer weather and you may want a pair of sandals to wear while exploring. I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals.
I also sometimes bring along my Vionic Tides flip-flops. The toe post is so comfortable which makes wearing these super comfortable.
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.
This world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices 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 zipper 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.
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How To Get Around During Your 5 Days In Paris
I’d suggest walking. Paris is a visually beautiful city, and there’s much to see and absorb, which you could miss if you are 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 and cheap, arriving and departing frequently. You can purchase tickets at every station.
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.
There are also city buses and trains to consider when doing your 5 days in Paris. You always have the option to get a taxi or hire an Uber driver.
Quick Tips For Your 5 Days In Paris
These are things to keep in mind if this is your first time in Paris.
Do not worry about the language barrier. I know only a few basic French words and had absolutely NO difficulties when I visited for 5 days in Paris.
The French people 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.
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 as your bank so you are not charged transaction fees every time you withdraw cash.
Also, consider withdrawing larger amounts of cash, to limit the transaction fees.
Buy advanced tickets to must-do Paris attractions whenever possible. Usually, tickets purchased in advance online are less expensive.
And ofgten come with the skip-the-line option.
If you travel to Paris, France, from far away check out my tips for surviving long international flights.