3 Days in Paris – The Perfect Paris 3 Day Itinerary

What to Do in Paris for 3 Days

What to do in Paris in 3 days? Paris is undoubtedly one of those cities that the rest of the world envies Europe for. It is romantic, elegant, and dotted with stunning architecture, a city where the past and present intermingle perfectly. With delicious cuisine and so many things to see and do, it is good to have a plan for your 3 days in Paris.

If you’re in the midst of planning your trip to Paris, this guide is a great starting point. I’ve put together the perfect Paris 3-day itinerary to help you make the most of your time in the French capital. This Paris itinerary 3 days is perfect for first-time visitors as it covers the key tourist attractions in Paris.

Are You Planning a Trip to Paris Last Minute?

If you are booking a last-minute trip to Paris, I’ve got you covered! Below are our must-guides, top tours, hotels, and more:

» Plan: Paris Travel Planner; Paris Arrondissements Guide; Check out the best Paris Metro tickets for tourists

» Book your flight tickets with Omio; book your train tickets with Omio

Book your transfer from the airport to the city with Welcome Pickups.

» Where to Stay: Best Districts to Stay in Paris

  1. Le Pavillon de la Reine (historical 5-star hotel in Le Marais)
  2. Hotel La Comtesse (mid-range hotel with Eiffel Tower view from all the rooms!)
  3. Hotel Ducs de Bourgogne (super central 4-star hotel near the Louvre)

» Top-Rated Paris Tours & Tickets:

  1. Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Ticket
  2. Eiffel Tower Summit Access Ticket
  3. Seine River Night Cruise
  4. Catacombs Skip-the-line tour with VIP access to restricted areas

Want skip-the-line access at museums & attractions in Paris? Get your hands on a Paris Museum Pass!

» Don’t leave without travel insurance! Safety Wing works well for long and short trips (starting with a minimum of 5 days). SafetyWing covers COVID-19 for new policies purchased, and unplanned quarantine is covered, too.

3 Days in Paris - Travel Itinerary

How to spend 3 days in Paris? Here’s an overview of the perfect Paris 3-day itinerary.

  • Day 1 in Paris – Ile de la Cité and Right Bank (Le Marais, and Montmartre)
  • Day 2 in Paris – Right Bank (Louvre to Grands Boulevards)
  • Day 3 in Paris – Left Bank

This 3 days Paris itinerary explores the most popular Arrondissements, leaving the lesser-known districts for longer itineraries. To understand the different areas of Paris, I recommend you read this Paris by Arrondissement guide, which covers the story and main highlights by Arrondissement. This will make your Paris itinerary planning much easier!

This 3 days in Paris itinerary includes three maps – one for each day in Paris – with the suggested points of interest.

How to spend 3 days in Paris for someone who is visiting for the first time. 3 Days in Paris Itinerary. What should you do on your first time in Paris? Follow this 3-day Paris Itinerary and Paris map for your perfect 3 days in Paris. #France #Paris #Travel

How to Get Around Paris

How to Get to/from the Airports of Paris

Train Paris CDG Airport
Gare du Nord or Châtelet
30-40 min
4:50 am – 11:50 pm
Your hotel
30-40 min
60€ approx
Taxi CDG Airport
Your hotel
30-40 min
Flat rate: 62€ to Left Bank /55€ to Right Bank (without pre-booking)
Roissy Bus (CDG Airport-Opéra)
11 Rue Scribe (Paris 9)
60-75 min
6:00 am – 0:30 am
Orly Bus Paris ORY Airport
Denfert- Rochereau
30-40 min
6:am – 0:30 am
Your hotel
30-40 min
50€ approx
Taxi ORY Airport
Your hotel
30-40 min
Flat rate: 35€ to Left Bank /41€ to Right Bank (without pre-booking)

My personal recommendation is to pre-book with Welcome Pickups, a reliable and top-rated private transfer service. Your driver will wait for you outside of the arrivals hall with a sign bearing your name, plus a bottle of water and a map of the city. Welcome Pickups has introduced strict safety protocols to protect drivers and guests.

Once in Paris, the easiest way to get around is by metro. Check out this Metro of Paris guide with all the information and the best metro tickets for tourists.

Notre Dame Cathedral | Ile de la Cité | Le Marais | Montmartre | Moulin Rouge

3 Days in Paris - Itinerary Day 1
3 Days in Paris Itinerary Day 1 Made with Google My Maps

Click here to view this 3 days in Paris map, day 1 on Google

Paris is bisected by the Seine River (La Seine, in French), which flows westwards to the English Channel, cutting the city into two.

In Paris, we often talk about Paris Rive Gauche (Paris’ Left Bank) and Paris Rive Droite (Paris’ Right Bank): when facing downstream, the northern bank is to the right, the southern bank is to the left, and the isle in the middle of the Seine is Ile de la Cité.


Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

This 3-day itinerary Paris starts in Ile de la Cité, in the heart of Paris. During the Middle Ages, Ile de la Cité was home to the Royal Palace, which was surrounded by civil and religious institutions. It is in Ile-de-la-Cité where we find the most beautiful buildings of Medieval Paris.

Grab a coffee and head to one of the most iconic monuments in Paris: Notre Dame de Paris. On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral was severely damaged by a terrible fire, and it is currently closed to the public for reconstruction works. However, I still find it a good idea to start this Paris itinerary from the Cathedral because Notre Dame is (and will always be) the heart and soul of Paris.

Admire Notre Dame‘s main facade; this Cathedral is a jewel of Gothic architecture and one of the main landmarks in ParisNotre Dame de Paris is dedicated to Our Lady of Paris, and you can see Her represented on the rose window.

Because of the restoration works, this spot in the picture below is not visible right now, but just in front of the Cathedral’s main façade, there is a plaque indicating France’s km 0. All the French roads are measured from this point.

France's Km 0


Sainte Chapelle Paris

On Ile-de-la-Cité, you may consider visiting one or two more historical sights. The most famous sights near Notre Dame are the Archaeological Crypt, the Sainte Chapelle, and the Conciergerie.

» The Sainte Chapelle (13th century) was King Saint Louis’ private Chapel, where the relics of the Cross of Thorns were kept. The Sainte Chapelle is famous for its incredible stained glass windows, 15 meters high, depicting 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

» The Conciergerie was the medieval Royal Palace until the 14th century when it was transformed into a Palace of Justice and Prison. The Conciergerie is famous for its awesome Medieval Salle des Gens d’Armes (Hall of the Soldiers) and for hosting Queen Marie-Antoinette before the guillotine. 

» The Archaeological Crypt, located just in front of Notre Dame, is an underground museum focused on the earliest days of Paris. It has some interesting ruins of Roman Lutetia, including streets, parts of Lutetia’s walls, public Roman baths, and a part of the first river port of the Seine. 

Save time! This combo ticket Sainte Chapelle + Conciergerie gives you skip-the-line access to these unique sites.

» The Sainte Chapelle is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer. To get the full effect of its windows, try to visit on a sunny day.

» The Conciergerie opens every day, from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

» The Crypte Archéologique opens daily from 10 a.m. until 6 pm. (closed on Mondays).


Village Saint Paul - Le Marais

Leave the Parvis de Notre Dame, and then cross Rue d’Arcole and the bridge (Pont d’Arcole) to reach Paris’ Right Bank. On the way to Le Marais, you will cross the Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville, where the city’s town hall is located.

Le Marais is neither an Arrondissement of Paris nor a neighborhood; Le Marais is Le Marais! Le Marais – part in Paris 3 and part in Paris 4 – is well-known for its beautiful private mansions, art galleries, and cute cafés.

In Le Marais, you cannot miss Place des Vosges, the oldest public square in Paris, surrounded by beautiful architecture. Once you have ticked Place des Vosges off your Paris bucket list, you can follow this self-guided walking tour of Le Marais or get lost and explore the area without a particular direction: it is fun, plus I am sure you will find beautiful surprises on your way.


Montmartre Paris

Leave Le Marais 2-3 hours (depending on the season) before sunset and take the metro to the iconic neighborhood of Montmartre. I suggest arriving at Anvers metro station (line 12) and following this Stories of Old Montmartre Walking Tour, which explores the top sights of Montmartre, such as the Sacré Coeur, the Moulin de la GalettePlace du Tertre, and the Wall of Love.

Take your time to read the stories behind the main sights of this self-guided walking tour, perhaps with a break somewhere to soak up the particular atmosphere of this bohemian neighborhood.

MAKE IT SPECIAL: climb up to Sacré Coeur’s Dome for amazing panoramic views of Paris! The access to the Dome is from outside the basilica, on the left side.

» The Sacré Coeur is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. The entrance is free.

» The Dome is open every day from 9.30 a.m. /10.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m., depending on the season. To climb up the Dome, there are 300 stairs without a lift.


Rooftop bars in Paris
Photo courtesy: Terrass Hotel Montmartre ©

Montmartre is a good neighborhood to have dinner; click here for the best restaurants in Montmartre (#5).

During late spring or in the summer, when the weather is good, you can finish your first day in the city at Terrass Rooftop Bar (12 Rue Joseph de Maistre). One of my favorite rooftop bars in Paris, it is the perfect place to admire the Paris skyline cocktail in hand.

Moulin Rouge

You can also decide to finish the first day of this Paris in 3 days itinerary in the iconic Moulin Rouge (#6) for a night of music, can-can, and bubbles. The Moulin Rouge is one of the best cabarets in Paris, and it is always full, so you may want to buy your tickets well in advance! – Click here to buy your tickets for the Moulin Rouge

Louvre Museum | Tuileries Garden | Place Vendôme | Opéra Garnier | Canal Saint-Martin

The second day of this Paris 3-day itinerary goes on exploring the Right Bank of the River Seine. The first part of the day is dedicated to some historical sights, from Paris 1 to Paris 9, while the last hours of the day are more relaxing and off the beaten path.

3 Days in Paris - Itinerary Day 2
3 Days in Paris Itinerary Day 2 Made with Google My Maps

Click here to view this 3 days in Paris map, day 2 on Google


Best Way to Visit the Louvre in 2 hours

During your 3-day trip to Paris, you might have time for only one of the two most important museums in the city. Pick either the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay, depending on what you want to see. I recommend the Louvre Museum.

First-timers in Paris find it difficult to resist the temptation of visiting the Louvre Museum, even if they are visiting Paris in three days!

Originally built as a royal palace, the Louvre Palace is today one of the most visited museums in the world. Admire the Louvre Pyramid, the museum’s main entrance, and the Louvre’s main artworks, such as the Mona Lisa, the Venus of Milo, or the vast collection of Egyptian Art.  

» The Louvre Museum opens from Wednesday to Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Fridays, the Louvre opens until 10 p.m. Click here to buy your Louvre tickets

» Have a look at this Louvre Museum guide, with my best tips

» The Louvre Museum sees long lines all year round. Check out how to skip the longest lines in the Louvre

» Learn how to get the most out of the Louvre in 2 hours or less.


Tuileries Garden in Paris

This Paris itinerary 3 days also has some moments of relaxation. After your visit to the Louvre Museum, take some fresh air in the Tuileries Garden. You can either walk around this French-style garden or have a rest by one of the ponds.

The Tuileries Palace and Garden, commissioned by Queen Cathérine de Médicis, were built on the site of ancient tileries in the 16th century. The current layout still keeps the spirit of André Le Notre’s design, the same landscape designer of the Versailles Gardens and the gardens of Château de Chantilly.

MAKE IT SPECIAL: looking for a special place to take a rest? Climb the stairs up to the Jeu de Paume and look for the green chairs just in front of this building. Enjoy an awesome view over the Eiffel Tower without the crowds!


Place Vendôme Paris

Exit the Tuileries Garden through Rue de Rivoli in the north and take Rue Castiglione. At the end of this street, there is the magnificent Place Vendôme, one of the Royal Squares in Paris and also one of the most luxurious squares in the world.

Place Vendôme is dominated by the Vendôme Column. Napoleon I commissioned this column to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz. And yep, the sculpture on the top is Napoleon I himself dressed like a Roman Emperor! Admire the architecture of the Hotel Ritz and the other beautiful buildings around, and be amazed by the shop windows and prices!


The Palais Garnier Opera House, also known as Opéra Garnier or Opéra de Paris, was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III as part of his reconstruction of Paris (the Haussmann Works). The project is considered a masterpiece of Neo-Baroque Architecture, with awesome, richly decorated interiors. I strongly recommend visiting the Opéra Garnier, one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. You can read my feedback about this tour here.

If you prefer to stay outdoors, take a stroll along Boulevard Haussmann for beautiful architecture and fancy shopping. Don’t forget to visit the historic Galeries Lafayette, with its spectacular Art Déco main hall, covered by a beautiful cupola.


Paris 10 - Canal Saint-Martin

For the last hours of this second day in Paris, head to the picturesque Canal Saint-Martin. Try to arrive at Canal Saint-Martin at least one hour before sunset to enjoy this area also with daylight.

Canal Saint-Martin became famous thanks to the French film Amélie Poulain. Compared to other popular neighborhoods like Montmartre, Canal Saint-Martin has a much more local feel. You can stroll along the canal or just sit on one of the canal banks, dangling your feet over the water while watching the boats sail by.

Canal Saint-Martin gets especially lively at the “apéritif time.” Do like the locals and choose one of the trendy bars by the Canal for a drink or two. Some bars also propose “planches” with different kinds of cheese and cold cuts, which can do the job for a casual dinner. Alternatively, the Canal banks are a very popular area for a night picnic with friends, especially during the weekend.

Latin Quarter | Panthéon | Luxembourg Gardens | Saint-Germain-des-Prés | Eiffel Tower

The last day of this 3 days in Paris itinerary is dedicated to exploring the Seine’s Left Bank. Historically, la Rive Gauche was the Bohemian side of Paris and the focus of the intellectual and religious life in the city, with all the universities and big monasteries.

3 Days in Paris - Itinerary Day 3
3 Days in Paris Itinerary Day 3 Made with Google My Maps

Click here to view this 3 days in Paris map, day 3 on Google


Paris 5 - Place Contrescarpe

Start with a coffee at the Latin Quarter (Paris 5), the heart of university life in Paris. This is also the origin of Lutetia, the former Roman City (IC AD). It is believed that the former Roman Cardo Maximus was the present Rue Saint Jacques, which would be the oldest street in Paris.

During your 3 days in Paris, you will have time to visit the Roman amphitheater for different kinds of shows, the Arènes de Lutèce, or the ruins of the Roman baths, inside the Cluny Museum but visible for free from Boulevard Saint-Michel.


Panthéon Square - Paris

The Panthéon is one of the most famous buildings in Paris. Originally built as a church, the Panthéon is today a mausoleum with the tombs of the most illustrious citizens in France (Aux Grands Hommes).

The Panthéon is also world-renowned for being the place where Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth in 1851 by hanging a 67-meter-long pendulum from the central dome. Today, a copy of this famous pendulum is still displayed at the Panthéon, so you can check the Earth’s rotation.

MAKE IT SPECIAL: don’t miss the incredible views from the Panthéon’s Dome! The Dome is often referred to as the “Balcony of Paris” because of this fabulous 360-degree view of Paris.

The Panthéon is connected to the Luxembourg Gardens by Rue Soufflot. Can you imagine a street with better views?

Before heading to the Luxembourg Gardens, you may want to wander around the Quartier Latin (check out this article for inspiration), with the first universities of Paris, like La Sorbonne and the Collège de France, and beautiful bookshops, cafés, and independent cinemas. 

Then, you can have a picnic lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens, but if you are hungry already, check out this list of best restaurants in Paris 5.

» The Panthéon of Paris is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.

» The access to the Panthéon’s dome is open from April to October. The ticket to the dome is the Panthéon ticket + 3.5€.


Luxembourg Gardens Paris

Explore the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens built for Queen Marie de Médicis to surround her Palace (today used by the French Sénat). This is one of the most popular gardens in Paris, with beautiful sights like the octagonal pond, the romantic Médicis Fountain, and the octagonal music kiosk. If the weather is good, the Luxembourg Gardens make an excellent place for a picnic on the grass. 

MAKE IT SPECIAL: explore the hidden secrets of Luxembourg Gardens and have fun with this self-guided Treasure Hunt!


Les Deux Magots Paris

The next stop of this Paris 3 days itinerary is the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. You can go from Luxembourg Gardens to Saint Germain-des-Prés by taking Avenue Bonaparte, which limits the park on the west. It is a 13-minute walk starting from the octagonal pond.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés was in the 12th century, a small village developed around the Abbey of Saint-Germain, still outside the Philippe-Auguste walls. After the Second World War, Saint-Germain became a center of intellectual and cultural life in Paris, with many small printers, bookshops, and the presence of writers and artists.

Saint-Germain’s cafés were a common meeting place for intellectuals. Today, the neighborhood of Saint-Germain is deeply transformed by the tourism industry, but it is still a beautiful place to get lost or to stop at a lovely café for people-watching.


Eiffel Tower Paris

I have kept the visit to the Eiffel Tower for the last evening in Paris! Designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Iron Lady is especially beautiful at night when the golden floodlights come on. When the Tour Eiffel is lit up, it will sparkle for the first five minutes of every hour, so check your watch not to miss the next one!

Is it worth going up the Eiffel Tower? I say YES! If you decide to climb the most iconic sight of Paris, book your Eiffel Tower tickets well in advance.

MAKE IT SPECIAL: a gourmet dinner with amazing views of the Eiffel Tower at Restaurant Les Ombres (27 Quai Jacques Chirac) can be the perfect start for an unforgettable night!


Seine Cruise in Paris

End your day with a Seine night boat tour with a last glass of champagne and admire the historical monuments dotted along the route: the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, … I can’t imagine a better way to finish your 3-day trip to Paris!

With this itinerary, you can get a good idea of what the city has to offer. However, even the best Paris 3-day itinerary cannot include all the musts the city has to offer. Here’s a list of alternative things to do in Paris for 3 days:

» This 3 days Paris itinerary does not include other beautiful museums like the Orsay Museum. Perhaps you want to exchange the Louvre Museum for the Orsay Museum?

You can also decide to use one day to travel beyond Paris; there are many wonderful day trips near Paris easy to organize. In this case, you can use this 2 days in Paris itinerary and have a look at the most popular day trips from Paris for the third day.

» For some people, visiting Versailles is a must. But there are also many picturesque small towns near Paris that you can visit in Paris in 3 days.

» If it is raining during your 3 days in Paris, you can replace the Tuileries Gardens or the Luxembourg Gardens with the covered passages of Paris. You can also check out some favorite things to do in Paris during rainy days.

When it comes to where to stay in Paris, there is no one right answer; it very much depends on the sort of trip you are planning. Check out my suggestions on the best districts to stay in Paris, or browse the map below.

I recommend Booking.com for booking your hotel in Paris. They have a wide variety of accommodation of all kinds and good rates. In addition, they propose the option to cancel for free, most of the time up to 24 hours.


If you have the budget, why not treat yourself to the pleasure of waking up at an amazing hotel with an Eiffel Tower view? Some of the best hotels in Paris also have awesome views of the Eiffel Tower, which is especially beautiful during its night show! – Check out the best hotels with Eiffel Tower Views


Le Marais is a central neighborhood in the Seine’s Right Bank, perfect to set your base in Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris for the first time. It is beautiful, well connected by the metro, and with many beautiful cafes and restaurant options – Click here for the best hotels in Le Marais


The neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the Left Bank, is a great place to put your luggage down in Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris for the first time. It is picturesque and central, with many entertainment, beautiful cafes, and restaurant options – Click here for the best hotels in Saint-Germain

And there you have it, what to do in Paris for 3 days with my best tips. After reading this post, you are ready for a fabulous 3-day trip in Paris!

Do you have more time in Paris? Less time? Have a look at my other Paris Itineraries:

Click here to read more Paris Itineraries

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Quirky Parisian explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the City of Light! Read more about me.