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Three Days in Paris (What You Must See)

Three Days in Paris (What You Must See)

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Oh, Paris!  The city of love and romance.  That dreamy 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 three 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.

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Best Time to Visit Paris

We included Paris as part of a three-week summer trip to Europe.  This particular summer was the hottest on record in Paris, 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

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.

Paris is broken into 20 neighborhoods, that Parisians refer to by their numbers.  My top pick would be the Marais (3rd/4th).  The Marais is centrally located and loaded with great architecture, bakeries, cafes, and amazing 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:

Try a Hop on Hop Off Tour

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.

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!

Cruise the Seine River

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 highly recommend taking some time and doing the Seine River Cruise.

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.

Visit the Eiffel Tower

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

Take your camera and your selfie stick, because you are definitely going to want a picture in front of this iconic landmark.  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 tower, I suggest making reservations in advance.  The lines 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 in advance here.

For an amazing experience in Paris, consider taking this tour that includes dinner at the Eifel tower or Seine River dinner cruise and a Moulin Rouge show!

Go to The Louvre

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

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 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.

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.

Day 2:

Arc de Triomphe

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

Avenue de Champs-Elysees

You have to walk down the Champs-Elysees 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, window shopping, but still!

Notre Dame

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

When we arrived in front of Notre Dame, 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.

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”.

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 Moulin Rouge is right at dusk.  Snap your photos, go get a bite to eat, and then come back once it gets dark.  Now the Moulin Rouge is alive.

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 at the Moulin Rouge often sell out, so be sure and book in advance by clicking here.

Day 3-Versailles or Montmartre Walk

Today, you can choose to tour the Palace of Versailles or to walk around the beautiful neighborhood of Montmartre.  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.

Versailles

Get up early today because 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).  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.

Montmartre Walk

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.

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

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

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 That Texas Couple

About the Author

Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures.  While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time. 

Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple.  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.

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