The Perfect Parisian Itinerary: 3 Days in Paris

The Perfect Parisian Itinerary: 3 Days in Paris

The Perfect Parisian Itinerary: 3 Days in Paris

Overwhelmed by all that Paris has to offer? Only have 3 days to visit and eat your way through this incredible city? Here’s the perfect itinerary for you!

Ideally, you can spend a lifetime here but if you only have 3 days to enjoy this incredible city, 72 hours is ample time if you plan accordingly and you’ll be able to share with all your friends of the magical city of love that is, Paris.

DAY 1

Day one will be dedicated to visiting the main iconic landmarks you have been dreaming about for years. Get ready to go into full tourist mode as today will be a busy day!

9:00 AM: Saint-Chappelle

Statue of King Louis IX inside Saint-Chappelle

Located in Île de la Cité, start your morning off by visiting Saint-Chapelle, a gothic style royal chapel. The jewel of the Rayonnant Gothic Period, It is home to 1,113 stained glass windows with views that rival that of the interior of Notre Dame.

All visitors must now make a reservation online with a specific date and time. Tickets can be purchased here.

Hours: From June 23rd to September 30th
11 AM to 7 PM
Cost: €11.50
Under 18 and EU citizens 18-25: FREE

10:30 AM: Notre Dame

Exterior view of the Notre Dame (Pre-Accident)

Just a stones throw from Saint-Chappelle, the Notre Dame is one of the most breathtaking landmarks you’ll ever set your eyes on and is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Set in Île de la Cité, this area is regarded as the cradle of the city and home to some of the finest history that Paris has to offer. This cathedral has been around for almost a whole millennium and its hard not to appreciate the history of whats right in front of you.

Unfortunately, there was an accident at Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15th, 2019 when it caught fire late in the afternoon. The cathedral is closed for entry until 2024. Viewings are still possible from the exterior.

The fire that occured at Notre Dame was an incredibly sad sight as Notre Dame is considered one of the most important symbols of Paris but to see Parisians come together that night in solidarity over what happened was an incredible sight to behold. However, much of the cathedral remains intact and you can still view the cathedral from the outside and take in the beautiful rose windows and marvel at the sheer size and antiquity of the cathedral.

12:00 PM: Rue de la Huchette

East entrance of Rue de la Huchette (to the left is the iconic parisian jazz club, caveau de la huchette)

After you’re done marveling at the Notre Dame, take a short walk over to the Latin Quarter of Rue De La Huchette, one of the oldest streets that run along the Rive Gauche. A street made famous by Elliot Paul’s memoir “The Last Time I Saw Paris”, Rue De La Huchette is home to one of the highest concentration of restaurants in the city and you’ll find no shortage of places to eat here. Stop here and pick up a Crepe or sit down at one of the many cafes and have a coffee and crossaint before heading back out for the rest of the day.

1:30 PM: Louvre Museum

The Seine river spans 777 kilometers and flows right through the heart of Paris

Take a lovely 20 minute walk along the Seine river to the days next destination, the famous Louvre Museum. Home to nearly half a million objects and paintings, there are currently around 30,000 pieces on display today. It is one of the biggest museums in the world and you can easily spend a full day here. Some of the most famous pieces include the Venus de Milo, Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and of course Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

The daily crowd that gathers outside of the Louvre

Make sure you plan your visit accordingly to ensure you have time to see all of your favorite attractions. A map of the musuem can be found here so you can plan your visit accordingly.

Hours: 9 AM to 6 PM (Closed on Tuesdays)
Cost: €17 (online), €15 (at the door)
Under 18 and EU citizens 18-25: FREE
Tickets can be purchased here

7:30 PM: SacréCœur

View from the top of the stairs outside of the Sacré-Cœur

Once you’re done gallivanting around the Louvre, head over to the underground Metro and take Line 1 to Concorde, switching over to Line 12 and arriving at Abbesses, where it is a short 10 minute walk to the Sacré-Cœur in Montmarte, my favorite neighborhood in Paris. Along this walk you can walk past Le Consulat Restaurant and La Maison Rose, two of the most picturesque spots in Paris. Once you get to Sacré-Cœur, you can either climb the 270 stairs up to the top, or ride the funicular located on the left hand side of the bottom of the hill for the price equivalent of one metro ticket.

Once you reach the top, marvel at the views of Paris. Depending on what day of the year it is during your visit, wait for the sun to set upon the city before you head down and walk around the neighborhood of Montmarte.

8:30 PM: Montmarte

Outside of Le Vrai Paris on Rue des Abbesses

After a whole day of exploring, it’s time to have yourself a nice evening meal. Due to the immense fame of the area, there are many venues in Montmarte that have been deemed “tourist traps”. Although that much is true, there are a variety of local spots in the area that are worthy of your time.

If I had to pick one restaurant in this area to try, it would be La Boîte aux Lettres located on 108 Rue Lepic. Headed by Chef Frederic Paul Chartier, his weekly handwritten menu changes weekly incorporating seasonal ingredients and local delights. The most famous aspect of this restaurant is the choice of “Indécis”. This literally means undecided and consists of a starter, main and a dessert handpicked by the chef.

11:00 PM: Moulin Rouge Cabaret Show

Moulin Rouge from the outside on a normal evening

If you fancy going out; an evening out in Paris won’t be complete without going to the Moulin Rouge, the most iconic cabaret in Paris. You will need to book your tickets in advance as shows are usually very full. Even if you decide it’s not your style or out of your budget, it’s still a visually appealing venue from the outside and a great place to take a picture to show your family and friends.

If you’re instead looking for a nice venue to relax and have a drink, head over to the 7 story Terrass Hotel for rooftop drinks which include a whole view of the city, with the Eiffel tower shining brightly in the background and the SacréCœur directly behind you. Certainly not the cheapest place in town, but well worth it for a cocktail (or five).

Hours: 2 Shows Daily (9 PM, 11 PM)
Cost: Starting from €97. Ticket prices vary, click here for more details

All performances have been suspended since Friday 13th March due to Covid-19 until further announcement.

Day 2

9:00 AM: Le Marais

One of the four fountains found in Place des Vosges

In the morning, head on over the the area of Le Marais and grab some breakfast. Get lost in the streets of Le Marais as you do some window shopping and people watching. Le Marais is one of the few areas in Paris relatively untouched by Georges-Eugène Haussmanns transformation of Paris in the 19th century and retains its historical nature.

The most famous landmark, and the oldest public square in Paris, Place des Vosges is located within Le Marais. Walk around the gardens taking in the lush greenery and beautiful french Architecture before moving on.

10:30 PM: FREE P’STAR

Free’P’Star in all its glory

This is a bit random, and completely optional but between Rue du Renard and Rue de la Verrerie there are multiple thrift stores, most notable FREE P’STAR. The thrift stores located in the area all have a large box of items listed at 1 euro and I can’t count the amount of times I’ve come out of that store not believing what I just got. If you enjoy thirfting, this street is truly a thrifters paradise.

(OPTIONAL) L’As du Fallafel or Mi-Va-Mi

L’As Du Fallafel and the daily line you’ll find outside the shop
Bitter rivals Mi-Va-Mi. (Fun fact, the owners of L’As Du Fallafal were so threatened by Mi-Va-Mi they purchased the building where Mi-Va-Mi is located, but this location is still thriving as of today.)

If you aren’t to pressed for time or would like to grab a bite instead of thrift, walk on over to what is arguably the 2 best Falaffel restaurants in the world. Touted as the best Fallafel joint in the world by Lenny Kravitz (which they proudly have stamped on their storefront), L’As du Fallafel is a Kosher Middle Eastern restaurant that usually has a line out the door (although it won’t take more than 20 minutes to get your food for take-away). It is considered to be one of the most famous restaurants in all of Paris, and with good reason. The two times I showed up to grab a Fallafel from L’As du Fallafel, they were coincidentally closed. Both times I “settled” for the Fallafel across the street at bitter rival Mi-Va-Mi and to this day, I haven’t found a Fallafel better. The chili sauce they give you out of the squeeze bottle at Mi-Va-Mi was hands down the best chili sauce I’ve ever had. I’ve been chasing the dragon of the taste ever since…

It’s in Le Marais so you won’t have to venture far for this. Let me know in the comments below which joint you prefer as I never got to try L’As du Fallafel.

11:30 AM: Musee D’Orsay

View overlooking the main foyer of Musee D’Orsay

Another day another museum. You either walk to 10 minutes to Saint-Michel Notre-Dame and take the RER C train one stop to Musee D’Orsay or walk on over to the Seine, download the app Lime and rent yourself an electronic scooter. These Lime scooters can be found everywhere and will surely be on the way to the Seine. People of all ages use these scooters daily and can be a very common mode of transportation for many. Take your electric scooter along the Seine to the Musee D’Orsay, home to the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionistic masterpieces in the world. Works by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Gauguin and many more are housed here at the Musee D’Orsay. Although not as large as the Louvre, it is arguably the best museum in Paris and well worth spending your afternoon in.

Hours: 9 AM – 6 PM, Thursdays 9 AM – 9:45 PM (Closed on Mondays)
Cost: €14
Under 18 and EU citizens 18-25: FREE
Purchase your tickets here

4:00 PM: Place de la Concorde

One of two fountains located in the Place de la Concorde

Cut through and take a stroll through the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries to get to yet another public square, this one, the largest in all of Paris. Occupying an area of about 18.8 acres, this square is steeped in history with many executions that would occur here in the past. Various royals were executed here during the French Revolution, most notably: Louis XVI.

5:00 PM: Champs-Elysées

Apartment view overlooking the Champs-Elysées with the Arc de Triomphe looming in the backround

Aux Champs-Elysées! No trip to Paris is complete without a stroll down the Champs-Elysées. The most iconic and famous avenue in Paris, there are no shortage of designer shops and restaurants that line the streets of the Champs-Elysées. This would be the perfect time to do some shopping or stop to grab a bite to eat. Macarons, a french delight can be found everywhere you go in Paris but none more famous than the ones they make at La Maison Ladurée. Stop in and grab a few and you can be the judge on their world famous Macarons.

6:30 PM: Arc De Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe, the emblematic symbol of Paris

Boasting some of the best views of the city, the Arc De Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris and honors those who fought and perished in the wars of the Napoleonic and the French Revolution. The inner and outer surfaces also have the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on the surface.

Depending on what time you get here, you may be able to go to the top of the Arc. Totally optional but well worth it, enjoy the view as the sun sets over the Champs-Elysées and watch the hustle and bustle of the city 50 meters above one of the worlds largest roundabouts.

The Arc closes to all visitors half an hour before closing so make sure you get here on time.

Hours: 11 AM – 7 PM (From June 15th to September 30th)
Cost: €13
Under 18 and EU citizens 18-25: FREE
Purchase your tickets here

8:00 PM: Canal Saint-Martin

Watch the world go by sitting along the Canal Saint-Martin

From the Arc de Triomphe, take line 2 to Colonel Fabien and walk over to Canal Saint-Martin. On your way there pick up a baguette, some meat and cheese and a bottle of wine and have a relaxing evening eating and drinking along one of the Canals many spots to post up.

As it gets later into the evening, bars along the Canal Saint-Martin come alive. Head into any one of these bars for an evening of entertainment. My favorite bar along this Canal would probably be Point Éphémère. The atmosphere is cool, the people are friendly and the venue feels a bit edgy. A strong supporter of the arts, this venue hosts concerts, exhibitions and even workshops as well as having a full functioning bar which makes it quite a unique place. Stop in here for a few drinks and rub shoulders with local Parisians as you drink the night away and get ready for your last day in the city of love!

Day 3

9:00 AM: Royal Palace of Versailles

Daily crowds gather outside the Palace for a glimpse of its magnificence

A visit to Paris wouldn’t be complete without at least a mention of the Palace of Versailles. Located 20 Kilometers (12 miles) southwest of the city center of Paris, Versailles takes about an hour to get to, depending where in Paris you are located. During my only to Versailles, I made the mistake of going in the afternoon, where lines reached up to 3 hours. Avoid my mistake and go first thing in the morning, where lines are sure to be modest.

Often referred to as the Sun King, Louis XIV transformed his small hunting lodge in Versailles to what it is we see today. From 1682-1789, The Palace of Versailles was the location of the Royal residence of France. A beautiful and opulent complex, this is your chance to follow in the footsteps of Royalty and transform yourself back to a time of the French Monarchy, and its eventual demise.

Buy your ticket online to avoid the queue to the box office. This will ensure you have as much time as possible to tour the Palace and gardens as the ticket control to gain entry inside should be relativity modest first thing in the morning.

If you wish to explore different parts of Versailles nearby, there is the Gallery of Coaches (which has free entry), an impressive equestrian show put on at the Versailles Academy of Equestrian Arts, several museums and the ‘Hameau de la Reine’, a private place of leisure also known as the Queen’s Hamlet where Marie Antoinette would gather privately with her closest friends.

Hours: 9 AM – 6:30 PM (Except on Mondays and 1st of May)
Cost: See website for summary of ticket options
Under 18 and EU citizens 18-25: FREE

5:00 PM: Le Bouillon Chartier (9th Arrondissement)

Le Bouillon Chartier, front of the line

Paris can be an expensive city and you will undoubtedly spend more money here than you would spend in say Eastern Europe or any places in Asia. Although Paris can be pricey, there are still many restaurants in the city that offer incredible cuisine, an amazing dining experience at a price point that will satisfy almost any budget.

Born in 1896, this legendary restaurant has been has been a Parisian staple for over a century. The concept of Bouillon type restaurants was to quickly serve excellent quality food at a modest price point. If you don’t mind waiting in line, the dining experience is worth the wait for a taste of history.

Interior view of Le Bouillon Chartier

For starters, among their best dishes would be the famous french delicacy of the escargot. They come in a dozen, or ½ dozen are are highly regarded as some of the best escargot in the city. Other delicious starters include, bloc de foie gras de canard, mayonnaise prawns and their rosette de lyon. During my visit, I had my favorite french dish, the duck confit w/ roasted baby potatoes as my main. Among their most popular signature mains include: the Alsatian Sauerkraut, Veal Saute Marengo and the grilled rump steak w/ french fries.

8:30 PM: Seine River Cruise (Vedettes de Paris)

Cruise going down the Seine as the sun sets upon the sky

There are a variety of Seine River cruises you can choose from but for our purposes, the Vedettes de Paris is the most well-known cruise, and most convenient logistically for the last destination on our list.

Starting at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, you will journey 1 hour passing by some of the most important landmarks, monuments and bridges you have seen for the past 3 days all in the comfort of your guided cruise.

Due to changes regarding the situation with Covid-19, this cruise has been sightly modified. Social distancing measures are in place for your safety as well as other sanitary measures to help keep you safe. Here is the link to book, and more information about the cruise.

Hours: 10:30 AM – 10:30 PM
Cost: €17 (Adults)
€11 (Child 4-11 years old)
FREE (Children under 3 years old)
Purchase your tickets here

9:30 PM: Visit the Eiffel Tower
View from the bottom of the tower

I left the best for last. There is nothing more iconic and Parisian than catching a glimpse of the famed Eiffel Tower. Book your ticket in advance to avoid having to queue up to buy a ticket at the box office.

There are two ways to the top, you can walk up the stairs, or take the elevator. If you plan to take the latter, book your tickets in advance. My advice is to take the stairs to the 2nd level, and then the elevator to the top. I didn’t find the stairs to the 2nd level too strenuous and you save some money by ascending it by foot.

Although very touristy, the view from the top is spectacular and if you’re doing the ascent w/ your significant other, it really is quite the experience and the perfect ending to your time in Paris.

After you make your way down and still can’t get enough of the tower,the best view of the Eiffel Tower will be at the Trocadero so make your way over and make sure you take plenty of pictures along the way. Once at the Trocadero, you will be greeted by the iconic open square with the incredible water mirror reflecting the vast beauty of the Eiffel tower. Since it will be late, there will be less of a crowd gathered at the square and you’ll have a better vantage point to view the tower in all its glory.

Trocadero square

Hours: 9:30 AM – 11:45 PM
Cost: Here is a link to all ticket options

And there you have it, the perfect 3 day itinerary to get the most out of your Paris experience as you can. You will have covered a significant part of what Paris has to offer and leave with the experience of seeing all these historical landmarks in person. Paris truly is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and its not hard to fall in love with this city once you’re here. If you love the city so much and can’t get enough of it, have a look at my working holiday visa guide on France and see how you can become a Parisian too with just a few easy steps!

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