What to Do in Paris for 3 Days
Three days in Paris, what to do? We can help! Check out our 3 days in Paris itinerary for the best places to visit in Paris in 3 days.
Paris is undoubtedly one of those cities that the rest of the world envies Europe for. Romantic, elegant, dotted with stunning architecture, a city where the past and present intermingle in a perfect way.
With delicious cuisine and so many things to see and do, it is good to have a plan for your trip to Paris. That’s why we’ve put together the perfect Paris 3-day itinerary to help you make the most of your time in the French capital.
This 3-day Paris itinerary is perfect for first-time visitors as it covers the key tourist attractions in Paris. If you are looking to spend 3 days in Paris like a local, then check out this list, which is ideal for those who want to go beyond Paris’ main sights.
Paris 3-day Itinerary – Our Proposal for Paris in 3 Days
What to see in Paris in 3 days? Here’s our proposal for three days in Paris. This Paris itinerary 3 days will be detailed in the next chapters:
- 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
For this 3 days Paris itinerary, we will cover the most popular Arrondissements of Paris, leaving the lesser-known districts for longer itineraries. To understand the different areas of Paris, it’s recommended that you read our Paris by Arrondissement guide, with the story and main highlights by arrondissement. This will make your Paris itinerary planning much easier.
This 3 days in Paris itinerary comes with three different maps – one for each day in Paris – and with our suggested points of interest.
How to Get Around Paris
How to Get to/from the Airports of Paris
Train Paris CDG Airport
Gare du Nord or Châtelet
4:50 am – 11:50 pm
Taxi CDG Airport
Flat rate: 62€ to Left Bank /55€ to Right Bank (without pre-booking)
Roissy Bus (CDG Airport-Opéra)
11 Rue Scribe (Paris 9)
6:00 am – 0:30 am
Orly Bus Paris ORY Airport
6:am – 0:30 am
Taxi ORY Airport
Flat rate: 35€ to Left Bank /41€ to Right Bank (without pre-booking)
Our 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 have 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, different types of metro tickets and passes, and our best tips.
Our Budget Tip for 3 Days in Paris
The Paris Museum Pass is one of the best deals you can find out there! If you want to visit Paris’ main attractions on a budget, look no further. Once purchased, the pass allows you to explore Paris freely without worrying about the costs of individual attractions! You can buy this pass for 2, 4, or 6 consecutive days – Click here to buy your Paris Museum Pass
3 Days in Paris Itinerary, Day 1 – Ile de la Cité and Right Bank (Le Marais, and Montmartre)
On day 1 of this 3 days in Paris itinerary, you will visit:
- Notre Dame Cathedral (from outside)
- Sainte Chapelle
- Conciergerie (optional)
- Archaeological Crypt (optional)
- Le Marais
- Moulin Rouge (optional)
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.
1. CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE DAME DE PARIS (FROM OUTSIDE)
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, we still find 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 Paris. Notre 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.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS:
- Notre Dame opening hours: closed to the public until further notice
- Notre Dame Towers opening hours: closed to the public until further notice
2. EXPLORE OTHER SIGHTS ON ILE DE LA CITÉ
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.
Save time and money! This combo ticket Sainte Chapelle + Conciergerie gives you skip-the-line access to these two unique sites at a discounted price.
» 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.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS:
- The Sainte Chapelle opens daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer.
- The Conciergerie opens every day, from 9.30 a.m. to 6 pm
- The Archaeological Crypt opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 pm
3. GET LOST AT 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, get lost and explore the area without a particular direction: it is fun, plus we are sure you will find beautiful surprises on your way.
To visit this area, you can check our Paris 3rd Arrondissement and Paris 4th Arrondissement guides, where we describe Le Marais in detail and provide a list of things to see and do and some suggestions for restaurants in the area.
4. UP TO MONTMARTRE
Leave Le Marais 2-3 hours (depending on the season) before sunset and take the metro to the iconic neighborhood of Montmartre. We 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 Galette, Place du Tertre, or 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.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
- The Sacré Coeur is open every day from 6 am to 10.30 pm. 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.
- Beware of pickpockets in Montmartre, especially around the Sacré Coeur
5-6. EVENING AT THE MOULIN ROUGE (OR MONTMARTRE)
5. MONTMARTRE AT NIGHT
Montmartre is a good neighborhood to have dinner; click here for the best restaurants in Montmartre.
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 our favorite rooftop bars in Paris, admiring the Paris skyline cocktail in hand.
6. MOULIN ROUGE CABARET SHOW
You can also decide to finish the first day of this Paris in 3 days itinerary in the iconic Moulin Rouge 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
3-Day Paris Itinerary, Day 2 – Right Bank (Louvre to Grands Boulevards)
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.
On day 2 of this 3-day Paris itinerary, you will visit:
1. THE LOUVRE MUSEUM
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. We 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.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: inside the Louvre, not far from the apartments of Napoleon iii, the famous tea house Angelina is waiting for you for a sweet break. Enjoy their famous hot chocolate or taste the incredible Ispahan dessert without the crowds!
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
- 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 our Louvre Museum guide, with our best tips
- The Louvre Museum sees long lines all year round. Check out how to skip the longest lines in the Louvre
- If you don’t have much time to spend at the Louvre, click here to learn how to get the most out of the Louvre in 2 hours or less.
2. THE TUILERIES GARDEN
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!
3. PLACE VENDÔME
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. This Column was commissioned by Napoleon I 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 the prices!
4. OPÉRA GARNIER
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. We strongly recommend visiting the Opéra Garnier, one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. You can read our 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.
5. EVENING AT 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 is an area with a much more local feeling to hang around. Have a 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.
3-Day Itinerary Paris, Day 3 – Left Bank
On day 3 of this 3-day itinerary Paris, you will visit:
- Latin Quarter Neighborhood
- The Panthéon
- The Luxembourg Gardens
- Saint-Germain-des-Prés Neighborhood
- The Eiffel Tower
- Seine River Cruise
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.
1. THE LATIN QUARTER
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.
2. THE PANTHÉON
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-known for being the place where Léon Foucault demonstrated in 1851 the rotation of the Earth 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, perhaps you may want to wander around the Quartier Latin (check out our article on Paris 5 for some 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, you can have a look at this list of best restaurants in Paris 5.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
- The Panthéon of Paris is open daily from 10 a.m to 6 p.m /6.30 p.m, depending on the season.
- The access to the Panthéon’s Dome is open from April to October. There’s a supplement to visit the Dome.
3. THE LUXEMBOURG GARDENS
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!
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 the intellectuals, being Café Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore the most popular ones. 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.
5. THE EIFFEL TOWER
We 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!
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!
6. SEINE RIVER BOAT TOUR
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, … we can’t imagine a better way to finish your 3-day trip to Paris!
Other Things to Do in Paris in 3 Days
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 our 2 days in Paris itinerary and have a look at the most popular day trips from Paris for the third day.
» 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 our favorite things to do in Paris during rainy days.
Where to Stay in Paris
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 our suggestions on the best districts to stay in Paris, or browse the map below.
We 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.
SLEEP WITH EIFFEL TOWER VIEWS
If you have the budget, why not treat yourself to the pleasure of waking up with an amazing Eiffel Tower balcony view?
Some of the best hotels in Paris also come with awesome views of the Eiffel Tower, especially beautiful during its night show!
The good news is that a cozy room with Eiffel Tower views is not exclusive to the best hotels in Paris. If you are looking for a more local experience, there are also beautiful, fully equipped apartments to rent with amazing Eiffel Tower views
HOTELS AT LE MARAIS IN PARIS 4
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.
HOTEL DE JOSEPHINE DE BONAPARTE, Paris 4, $$$$
Located in a former convent, this charming hotel is inspired by Napoleon’s wife, Joséphine de Bonaparte. Its uniquely decorated rooms are elegant and romantic, and its cozy saloons are the perfect place for a last glass of wine.
HOTEL FRANCE LOUVRE, Paris 4, $$$
Hotel France Louvre is a typical Haussmanian-style hotel located in Le Marais. The rooms are small but cozy, all elegantly furnished in Louis XIV style. Some of them have lovely views over Hôtel de Ville and Tour Saint Jacques.
HOTELS AT SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS
The neighborhood of Saint-Germain, 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 entertainments, beautiful cafes, and restaurant options.
XRELAIS CHRISTINE; Paris 6, $$$$
This hotel is set in a 16th-century private mansion in the heart of Saint Germain-des-Prés. Its rooms are unique and designed in different styles. Guests can enjoy elegant common spaces, a garden, a spa, and a fitness center.
HOTEL CHAPLAIN PARIS RIVE GAUCHE: Paris 6, $$$
This chic and modern hotel is located only a few meters from Luxembourg Gardens and is one of the best mid-range hotels in Saint-Germain. The rooms are fancy and colorful. We especially like its chic dining area and floral courtyard, where you can have breakfast or a drink.
And there you have it, what to do in Paris for 3 days with our best tips. After reading this post, you are ready for a fabulous 3-day trip in Paris!
Have a look at our other Paris Itineraries
- 1 day in Paris Itinerary
- 2 days in Paris Itinerary
- 4 days in Paris Itinerary
- 5 days in Paris Itinerary
- 6 days in Paris Itinerary
- 7 days in Paris Itinerary
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