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3 days in Paris, what to do? Paris is without a doubt 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 no wonder that Paris is on many people’s bucket list, from near and far.
Paris is always a good idea and we are sure that once you have spent 3 days in Paris, you will definitely want to come back again and again. So if you only have 3 days in Paris, what to do? We’ve put together the perfect 3 days in Paris itinerary to help you make the most of your time in the French capital.
‘There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris’ – Ernest Hemingway
Paris 3 day Itinerary – Our Proposal for Paris in 3 Days
What to see in Paris in 3 days? Here’s an overview of the best 3 days in Paris itinerary for three perfect days in Paris:
- Day 1 in Paris – Right Bank, visiting Ile de la Cité, and Montmartre
- Day 2 in Paris – Right Bank, walking along the banks of the River. Seine and visiting the Louvre Museum, the Tuileries Garden, Place Vendôme, and part of Grands Boulevards.
- Day 3 in Paris – Left Bank, with the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Près, Trocadéro, and the Eiffel Tower.
We decided to split this Paris 3-day itinerary into Paris Right Bank (2 full days) and Paris Left Bank (1 day). This has an obvious logistics advantage: all our proposals for the day are concentrated on the same side of Paris so the walking and metro distances are optimized.
For this Paris in 3 days Paris itinerary, we are going to 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 3 different maps, one for each day spent in Paris and with our suggested points of interest.
With three days in Paris, it might be interesting to buy a 3-day Paris City Pass. The Paris City Pass allows visitors to save lots of money and time thanks to its skip-the-line tickets and many discounts (you can check the full list here). In addition, the pass covers most of your transportation needs in Paris and beyond. The Paris City Pass 3 days comes with the following tickets and discounts:
3 Days in Paris, Day 1: Cité & Paris Right Bank
Notre Dame | Ile de la Cité | Le Marais |Montmartre | Moulin Rouge
Paris is crossed by the River Seine (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 days in Paris itinerary starts in Ile-de-la-Cité, in the heart of Paris. Grab a coffee and head to one of the most iconic monuments in Paris: Notre Dame de Paris.
Ile-de-la-Cité was during the Middle Ages home to the Royal Palace, which was surrounded by the civil and religious institutions. It is in Ile-de-la-Cité where we find the most beautiful medieval buildings.
On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral was badly 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 in 3 days 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 Paris’ main sights. Notre Dame de Paris is dedicated to Our Lady of Paris. You can see Her represented on the rose-window.
With the restoration works, this spot is not visible right now but just in front of the cathedral’s main façade there is a plaque indicating France’s km 0 so you are in the center of France! 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
On Ile-de-la-Cité, you may consider visiting 1 or 2 other historical sights. The most popular 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 2 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 awesome 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 every day, from 9 am to 5 pm in the winter and from 9 am to 7 pm during the summer.
» The Conciergerie opens every day, from 9.30 am to 6 pm
» The Archaeological Crypt is closed until further notice.
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 are going to 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 cafes.
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 quick guides, where we describe Le Marais more in detail and provide a list of things to see and do and some suggestions of restaurants in the area.
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 follow 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 am to 8.30 pm depending on the season. To climb up the dome there are 300 stairs without lift.
» Beware of pickpockets in Montmartre, especially around the Sacré Coeur
Evening at 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.
You can also decide to finish the first day of this 3 days in Paris itinerary in the iconic Moulin Rouge for a night of music, can-can, and lots of bubbles. The Moulin Rouge is one of the best cabarets in Paris, and i is always full, so you may want to buy your tickets well in advance!
3 Days in Paris, Day 2: Paris Right Bank
Louvre Museum | Tuileries Garden | Place Vendôme | Opéra Garnier | Canal Saint-Martin
The second day of this Paris in 3 days 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.
When spending 3 days in 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 3 days!
Originally built as a royal palace, the Louvre Palace is today one of the most visited museums in the world. Admire Pei’s glass pyramid, the Louvre’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 am to 6 am. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the Louvre opens until 10 pm.
» The Louvre Museum sees long lines all year round. You can buy your Louvre skip the line ticket now
» Have a look at our Louvre Museum guide, with our best tips
» 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 in 3 days itinerary has also 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 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 than 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, like if he was 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!
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 the Opéra Garnier guided tour, 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.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
» The Opéra Garnier day tours do not cover the seat box of the Phantom of the Opera. If you want to see the Phantom’s seat box, you need to book the Mysteries of the Opéra Garnier night tour.
Evening at Canal Saint-Martin
For the last hours of this second day in Paris, we are going to head to the picturesque area around Canal Saint-Martin. Try to arrive at Canal Saint-Martin at least one hour before the sunset to enjoy this area also with daylight.
5. CANAL SAINT-MARTIN
This is a very beautiful and trendy area that 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 Days in Paris, Day 3: Paris Left Bank
The Latin Quarter | Panthéon | Luxembourg Gardens | Saint-Germain-des-Pres | Eiffel Tower | Seine Cruise
The third and last day of this 3 day trip to Paris is dedicated to exploring the Seine’s Left Bank. Historically, la Rive Gauche, especially Paris 5 and Paris 6, 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.
Start with a coffee at Quartier Latin (Paris 5), the heart of the 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 have time to visit the Roman amphitheater for different kinds of shows, Les Arènes de Lutèce, or the ruins of the Roman baths, inside the Cluny Museum but visible from boulevard Saint-Michel.
2. THE PANTHÉON
The Panthéon is one of the most famous landmarks 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 rotation by yourself.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: don’t miss the awesome views from the Panthéon’s dome! The dome is often referred to as the “Balcony of Paris” because of these amazing 360-degree views 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, or the Collège de France, and beautiful bookshops, cafes and independent cinemas. Then, we propose having a picnic lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens but if you are hungry already you can have a look at the best restaurants in Paris 5.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
» The Panthéon of Paris is open every day from 10 am to 6.30 pm. The entrance ticket costs 9€
» The access to the Panthéon’s dome is open from April to October. Apart from the Panthéon ticket, you need to purchase a second ticket that costs 2€.
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 parks in the city, with beautiful sights like the octagonal pond, the romantic Médicis Fountain, or 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 3 days in Paris itinerary is the neighborhood of Saint Germain-des-Prés. 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. Saint Germain became after the Second World War a center of intellectual and cultural life in Paris, with many small printers, bookshops, and with the presence of writers and artists.
Saint Germain’s cafes 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 nice cafe for people watching.
Evening at the Eiffel Tower and Seine River Boat Tour
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 can be the perfect start of an unforgettable night!
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 days in Paris!
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
» Boat tours usually run until 10.30 pm. If you want to do the night cruise during the summertime (sunset around 10 pm), you need to take the last boat tour.
» Restaurant Les Ombres is located at 27 Quai Branly (Paris 7). Book your table in advance directly on their website.
Other Things to Do in Paris in 3 Days
With this itinerary for 3 days in Paris, you can get a good idea of what the city has to offer. However, even the best Paris itineraries for 3 days cannot include all the musts the city has to offer. Are you missing other places to see in Paris in 3 days?
» This Paris in 3 days 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 by the covered passages of Paris. You can also check out our favorite things to do in Paris during rainy days.
How to Get from and to the Airports of Paris
Train Paris CDG Airport
Gare du Nord or Châtelet
4.50 am – 11.50 pm
Taxi CDG Airport
Orly Bus Paris ORY Airport
6 am – 0.30 am
Taxi ORY Airport
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.
Where to Sleep in Paris for 3 Days
Where to sleep during your 3 days in Paris? Check out our hotel suggestions perfect for exploring Paris in 3 days.
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 treating yourself with 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 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, $$$$
Located in a former convent, this charming hotel is inspired by Napoleon’s wife, Joséphine de Bonaparte. Its unique decorated rooms are elegant and romantic and its cozy saloons are the perfect place for a last glass of wine.
HOTEL FRANCE LOUVRE, Paris 4, $$$
Hotel France Louvre is a typical Haussmaniann-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, in 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, central, with many entertainments, beautiful cafes and restaurant options.
XRELAIS CHRISTINE; Paris 6, $$$$
This hotel is set in a 16th-century private mansion in the heart of Saint Germain-des-Prés. Its rooms are unique, designed in different styles. Guests can enjoy elegant common spaces, a garden, a spa, and a fitness center.
HOTEL CHAPLAIN PARIS RIVE GAUCHE: Paris 6, $$$
This chic and modern hotel is located only a few meters from Luxembourg Gardens 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 take your breakfast or a drink.
We hope that you enjoyed this 3 days in Paris guide. Ready to explore Paris in 3 days? Don’t forget to pin this post for later!
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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