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3 Days in Paris (What You Must See)

3 Days in Paris (What You Must See)

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Oh, Paris!  The city of love and romance.  

The bucket list city where you sit in the grass by the Eiffel Tower and eat croissants all day without a care in the world.  

I hear you asking yourself, how can you possibly see everything with only 3 days in Paris?  

Well, you can’t see everything, but if you follow our Paris itinerary, we will have you visiting most of the touristy sights as well as taking some day tours from Paris.

Paris is a big, bustling city that can easily sweep you off your feet.  I mean, it’s an iconic city like LondonMunichVenice, and Rome.

Three days in Paris really isn’t a lot of time, but with some careful planning, you can visit most of the “must-see” sights and still have some time to relax.

Just be sure and do your research before going.

Take notes of the items that you want to see the most so you aren’t spending precious time in Paris planning. 

If you’re a foodie, you definitely want to eat like a local in Paris.  Eating in Paris is guaranteed to be an amazing experience because France’s food culture is so fabulous.

Creating Paris itineraries that are specific to you are your needs is so important to make the most of your time in Paris.

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    When Is The Best Time to Visit Paris?

    We included Paris as part of a three-week summer trip to Europe.  The particular summer that we visited Paris was the hottest on record in the city, so it was not the most pleasant weather.

    Normally that is not the case in Paris as June to August are typically some of the best weather in Paris with average highs in the 70s.  This, of course, draws big crowds and higher prices.

    Fall and winter are the best time to visit if you’re looking for a deal as crowds deplete because of the colder temperatures

    It’s a fabulous time to get out the sweaters and figure out exactly what to wear in Paris during this time.

    Do take note that Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, so you can always expect some tourists and crowds.  

    So much of when you decide to go will depend on personal preference, budget, and tolerance for crowds.

    If you’re looking for a more secluded area in France, Limoges might be just for you.

    All of the things to do in Limoges will keep you entertained while still allowing you to relax and enjoy France.

    Where to Stay in Paris

    Figuring out where to stay in Paris can be difficult.

    Of course, everyone has different tastes, but I think we all dream of staying in the picturesque Paris neighborhood.  

    You know, the neighborhood where you can wake up in the morning and go buy croissants from the local bakery and awe at the beautiful wrought-iron balconies draped with flowers.

    Also, getting from Charles de Gaulle can be a long journey depending on where you stay.

    Paris is broken into 20 neighborhoods, that Parisians refer to by their numbers.  

    My top pick would be the Marais (3rd/4th).  The le Marais is centrally located and loaded with great architecture, bakeries, cafes, and amazing shopping and easy access to the train station.

    Another interesting area is the Saint Germain, or the 6th. What was once a thriving literary community is today a hot spot for food, museums, metro stations, and shopping.

    We booked our Paris hotel using Hotels.com.  

    Not only did we get a great rate, and excellent customer service, but we were also earning free nights. You can’t beat that. 

    For those of you traveling solo, or on a budget, why not consider staying in a hostel in Paris.

    Click here to find your perfect Paris accommodations and start earning free nights as well. 

    Of course, always check the hotel review on TripAdvisor first to ensure you are getting the perfect place for you!

    For more detailed information, why not check out the 10 Best Places to Stay in Paris.

    Day 1 of Your 3 Days In Paris Itinerary:

    Try a Hop on Hop Off Tour of Paris

    When we visit a large city and only have a limited amount of time, Marty and I always get a one-day pass for one of the hop-on-hop-off bus tours.  

    These tours always make stops at the major tourist attractions, and they are a great way to get a feel for the layout of the city. 

    Even those of you visiting Paris with kids should consider doing a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.  Kids will love riding on the upper deck seeing all of the sites.

    Now I will tell you, we only did this tour for one day of our 3 days in Paris.

    For our hop-on-hop-off tour, we chose the Gray Line L’Open Tour.  This tour waited too long at each of the stops.  We would see two buses from the competitor’s company, The Big Bus, pull up and leave while we were still sitting at the stop waiting.

    Based on this experience, we will book our tour with The Big Bus from now on!

    If you purchase a Paris Pass, then you have access to the hop-on-hop-off bus tours.

    Cruise the Seine River in Paris

    A Seine River cruise is perfect for seeing the city through a different lens. Marty and I loved passing all of the little houseboats on the river, and picking out “ours”.

    From the river, the landmarks you pass look so grand and beautiful.  I just couldn’t believe that we were passing the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musee d’Orsay (home of great impressionist art), and even Notre Dame Cathedral as we floated down the river.

    Seeing Paris from the river is so gorgeous, it is no wonder the the banks of the Seine River in Paris were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.

    In addition to seeing all of the sights, we were also able to learn so much about the city thanks to the narrated tour we chose.

    I highly recommend taking some time and doing the Seine River Cruise during your 3 days in Paris.

    For the ultimate experience, go on a Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Dinner Cruise.  This cruise will have you sipping champagne and enjoying a 3-course dinner while cruising past some of the most beautiful sights in Paris.

    During the high season, I would definitely recommend purchasing your boat tour tickets in advance online as many of the Seine River Cruises fill up.

    I mean, I want you to have a great trip, so don’t miss out.

    This sightseeing cruise is a great way to discover Paris, so be sure to add it to your Paris itinerary. Click here to purchase a Paris Pass which includes a Seine River Cruise.

    Include a Visit the Eiffel Tower On Your Paris Itinerary

    I mean, the Eiffel Tower IS Paris, right?  Why not make the Eiffel Tower one of the first stops on your Paris itinerary?

    Take your camera and your selfie stick, because you are definitely going to want a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Just make sure you are at one of the places with the best views of the Eiffel Tower!

    If you are wanting to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, I suggest making reservations in advance.  The lines for the Eiffel Tower can get very long, and they often sell out during peak season.

    If you’re like me and HATE lines, then skip the lines by booking your Eiffel Tower tour in advance here.

    I mean, you don’t want to spend precious time from your 3 days in Paris in line!

    For a great picture of the Eiffel Tower, head to the Champs de Mars! The Champs de Mars is the perfect place to have an afternoon picnic as well!

    For an amazing addition to your 3 days in Paris itinerary, consider taking this tour that includes dinner at the Eifel Tower or a river dinner cruise and a Moulin Rouge show!

    If you purchase the Paris Pass, then a guided climb of the Eiffel Tower is included with your ticket. You can purchase a Paris Pass here.

    Heck, you might want to visit the Eiffel Tower every day during your 3 days in Paris!

    Go to The Louvre Museum During Your Time in Paris

    Another undeniably Parisian structure, the Louvre is beautiful.  The gorgeous glass pyramid beckons you to come inside.

    As one of the top art museums in the world, the Louvre is so much more than just the Mona Lisa.  

    The Louvre is the largest museum in the world and is home to many priceless artifacts, including the Mona Lisa, from around the globe.   Don’t go into the Louvre without a plan, it’s a bit overwhelming.

    Before you go do your research and know the top tips for visiting the Louvre as this will save you valuable time on your 3 days in Paris itinerary.

    Try to make it to see the famous Venus de Milo statue during your time at the Louvre Museum.

    The lines at The Louvre can be LONG!  Your time in Paris is precious, so don’t spend it waiting in line when you could be seeing more of this amazing city.  Avoid the long lines by booking a Skip the Line Guided Tour.

    The Louvre should be on every 3 days in Paris itinerary!

    Pro Tip: If you purchase the Paris Pass, then your entry to the Louvre art museum is included! Click here to get your Paris Museum Pass now!

    Visit the Beautiful and Historic Sainte Chapelle

    The Sainte Chapelle is a gorgeous Gothic style royal chapel that was intended to house precious Christian relics.

    Commissioned by King Louis IX to house his holy relics, including the famous Holy Crown, Sainte Chapelle is an incredible feast for the eyes.

    Completed in 1248, the Sainte Chapelle is arguably one of Paris’ most incredible Gothic monuments.

    Over 70% of the building of Sainte Chapelle is beautiful stained glass windows depicting stories from the Bible.

    During your visit to Paris, you can join a daily guided tour to learn all about the history of this beautiful monument.

    Drink Amazing Hot Chocolate From Angelina

    A visit to the world-famous restaurant, Angelian must be added to your 3 days in Paris itinerary.

    Angelina has been serving up delicious hot chocolate since 1902, and you absolutely have to have some while in Paris.

    After trying the traditional dark chocolate hot chocolate, then you must try the white chocolate version as well.

    This alone will make you miss Paris tremendously!

    Day 2 of Your 3 Days in Paris Itinerary:

    See The Arc de Triomphe

    The Arc de Triomphe was a quick photo stop for us.  You can choose to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe if you would like, but we decided our money would be better spent in other places.

    The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, so it is worth adding to your 3 days in Paris itinerary.

    Standing at the end of the Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe was wanted by Napoleon, and was actually inaugurated by King Louis-Philippe in 1836.

    Modeled after the famous Arch of Titus in Rome, the artist exceeded the expectations when he created a much bigger arch.

    At the base of the arch, a torch is lit every night at 6:30 p.m. to remember the unknown soldier who gave his life during World War I.

    As this is a significant event in French history, you can understand why there are wreaths and other mementos always to be found at the base of the arch.

    The Arc de Triomphe is a must see when visiting Paris.

    Stroll Through the Place de la Concorde

    Also on the famous Champs-Elysees is one of the major public squares in France, the Place de la Concorde.

    In 1772, the site was originally an execution site during the French Revolution.

    Today, the Place de la Concorde is famous for the giant 3,000-year-old Egyptian obelisk from Luxor that sits proudly in the middle of the square.

    There are also two beautiful fountains here that are similar to many of the fountains we saw during our time in Rome.

    One of the oldest hotels in Paris, the Crillon Hotel, is also located here. This is a great luxury hotel choice for your stay in Paris!

    If you want, you can take in the beautiful views of the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre Museum from the obelisk.

    Shop On The Famous Avenue de Champs-Elysees

    You have to walk down the famous street and at least window shop.  

    The stores are so enticing that I couldn’t help but to pop into a few and just touch some of the items that I wouldn’t be buying (things are pricey on this piece of real estate).

    I can at least say “I went shopping in Paris on the Champs-Elysees”.  I know, but window shopping while visiting Paris counts!

    Walk the Galeries Lafayette

    You have to go into the Galeries Lafayette during your 3 days in Paris.

    This amazing centuries-old department store is truly breathtaking! I mean, where else can you shop for upscale fashion and eat gourmet food all while surrounded by incredible Art Nouveau architecture?

    Admire Impressionist Are At The Musee d’Orsay

    If you are in the mood to see more art while visiting Paris, then be sure to visit the Musee d’Orsay.

    Located in a former Beaux-Arts railway station, the Musee d’Orsay is home to amazing impressionist art.

    Here you will find works by Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Pissarro just to name a few.

    Stand In Awe Of The Notre Dame Cathedral

    Update-Tragically, the Notre Dame de Paris burned in 2019 and therefore is not accessible at this time.

    When we arrived in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, I was mesmerized.  My eyes did not know where to look first.  Notre Dame is an amazing architectural feat.  It was the first building in the world to use flying buttresses.

    There is beautiful stained glass and statues staring at you from every angle.  Although we didn’t climb to the top, I wish we would have.  I hear there is an incredible view of Paris from above.

    Making this part of your Paris itinerary when it is rebuilt should definitely happen.

    Notre Dame is free to enter (there is a small fee to climb to the bell tower) but is usually very crowded.  If you are visiting during high season, go early!

    Be aware that Notre Dame is still an actively operating Catholic Church, so unless you want to worship, you might avoid visiting during Catholic holidays.

    After leaving Notre Dame, be sure to walk over to the bridge of love locks and add your “lock of love”.

    Find a Quiet Place In The Luxembourg Gardens

    Situated on the border of Saint Germain des Pres and the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens is a beautiful and tranquil setting in the city center to add to your Paris itinerary.

    Created for Queen Marie de Medici in 1612, the gardens were inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence. This only seems fitting since the queen was a Medici.

    The gardens are split into two sides, the French Gardens and the English Gardens.

    In addition to beautiful flowers, the gardens are also home to orchards, a rose garden, a large forest, and a pond.

    In addition, the Canal Saint Martin is another tranquil spot in Paris that you can put on your 3 days in Paris itinerary!

    See The Gorgeous Architecture Of The Place des Vosges

    The Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris and well worth adding to your Paris itinerary.

    Located in the Marais district, it was originally called place Royale, but was renamed after the French Revolution.

    This unique example of 17th-century architecture is amazing. Many art galleries line Vosges as does the gardens to the fabulous Hotel de Sully.

    Adding this to your itinerary when you visit Paris is quite a treat!

    Admire the Building and the Art at the Centre Pompidou

    Art lovers will be in heaven in Paris thanks to all of the world-class museums that call this city home.

    If you are a lover of modern art, then you have to pay a visit to the Centre Pompidou. Not only is the Centre Pompidou an architectural beauty, but this incredible building is also home to the National Museum of Modern Art.

    Catch a Burlesque Performance at The Moulin Rouge

    Tonight is the perfect time to visit the Moulin Rouge, I mean voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

    In my opinion, the best time to snap pictures in front of the famous theatre is right at dusk.  Snap your photos, go get a bite to eat, and then come back once it gets dark.  

    Even if you can’t afford a show here, come and take some more pictures, and observe all of the action taking place in this lively area.

    Don’t miss your chance to see a show at the world-famous cabaret.  Awe at the magnificent costumes while enjoying all of the great music and dancing.

    Shows here often sell out, so be sure and book in advance by clicking here.

    Your Paris itinerary isn’t complete without a visit though!

    Paris Itinerary Day 3-Versailles or Montmartre Walk

    On your Paris itinerary day 3, you can choose to tour the Palace of Versailles or to walk around the beautiful neighborhood of Montmartre, visiting the sights and the Place du Tertre.  

    If you choose Versailles, please know that it will take up the majority of your day and you probably will not have time to fit in any other activities this evening.

    Take A Day Trip To The Incredible Palace of Versailles

    Get up early today because visiting the Palace of Versailles takes up an entire day, so be ready.  Take the RER suburban train by 8:00 am to arrive early at Versailles (it opens at 9:00).  

    Versailles is an incredible experience. Take time to see as much as possible. Don’t miss the apartments of Marie Antoinette or of King Louis.

    Tour the chateau and then stop and rest for lunch.  

    After touring the chateau, consider touring the Royal Stables before the gardens as the gardens stay open later.

    If you would rather someone else plan everything for you, then click here to take a guided trip to Versailles with skip-the-line priveledges.

    Learn About The Incredible Montmartre Neighborhood

    A great resource that Marty and I have found is the guidebooks written by Rick Steves.  Use his Paris book to guide you through the historic Montmartre neighborhood.  If Rick Steves isn’t really your style, then check out this post from Solo Sophie.

    Of course, you will definitely want to visit the Sacre-Couer during your time in Montmartre. The Sacre-Couer is a Roman Catholic church that is located at the highest point in the city.

    This post is the reason I wanted to visit Montmartre and experience this beautiful neighborhood for myself.

    Of course if neither of these appeals to you, then check out our other day trips from Paris by train.

    3 Days in Paris Itinerary: Final Thoughts

    I know this is a busy three-day Paris itinerary.  Feel free to scale it back or add to it when you visit Paris.

    Ultimately this is YOUR trip and you should enjoy it!  If you have extra time in Paris, I recommend taking a day trip to the Chateau de Fontainebleau (especially if you skipped Versailles), or how about a visit to Strasbourg from Paris?

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    Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

    Book Your Flight:

    We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.

    Book Your Vacation Package:

    If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.

    Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!

    For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.

    Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”

    Book Your Accommodations:

    We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!

    There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.

    Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!

    HotelsCombined is another cool site. They allow you to compare all of the top travel sites with one search to ensure you are finding the best deal out there. Kayak works in this way as well.

    If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.

    Tour Companies We Trust:

    We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!

    For a guided city tour, check out City Sightseeing and BigBus Tours. These bus tours are so much fun and easy to hop on and hop off at top attractions in cities around the world.

    CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.

    Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.

    Looking to Save Time and Money?

    Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!

    Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

    About The Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

    Please Share To Social Media

    Meg

    Sunday 24th of June 2018

    Love these quick European trips! Reminds me that there is no reason to wait until I have two weeks to go!

    Jennifer Storm

    Sunday 24th of June 2018

    Love, love, love Paris! These photos make me so excited for our next trip in August. <3

    Kathleen

    Saturday 23rd of June 2018

    That's a lot. I imagine you would be so tired at the end of those 3 days. Lots to see though, so no chance to get bored. If you eat in the restaurant on the top of the Eiffel Tower, do you have to pay to go up or is it included in your dinner?

    thattexascouple

    Saturday 23rd of June 2018

    It is a lot to pack in 3 days. LOL! If you eat at Jules Verne then they have a separate elevator entrance that is included. If you eat at Restaurant 58 then you have to also purchase an elevator ticket.

    Leah

    Saturday 23rd of June 2018

    I love seeing how everyone spends their time in Paris! I was there in March and am already ready to go back. You did a great job on including everything you can't miss in three days!

    thattexascouple

    Saturday 23rd of June 2018

    Thank you, Leah. There is so much to see and do I think everyone has to find their personal interests :)

    Sally

    Saturday 23rd of June 2018

    Lovely itinerary! And thanks for the hop-on-hop-off bus tip. We started using those kinds of tour buses years ago- great for seeing all the sites before you decide which to explore. Did you use the metro/metro-pass during your stay?

    thattexascouple

    Saturday 23rd of June 2018

    We did use the metro during our stay. We only did the hop-on-hop-off bus for a day. The rest of the time we used a metro pass. We found it pretty easy to navigate.