Three Days in Paris
Paris is a spectacular, sprawling city where you could spend weeks and still have plenty of neighbourhoods beckoning you back. On the other hand, even with only three days in Paris you can still see a lot of what makes the City of Love such a beloved destination.
This itinerary for three days in Paris focuses on revealing both the historic and modern Paris with a variety of different attractions and activities.
Day One in Paris
The best way to spend your first day in Paris is to follow the beautiful River Seine, from the iconic Eiffel Tower to the Notre Dame, with a detour to wander down the world’s most famous shopping street, the Champs Élysées.
Morning: Eiffel Tower and Champs de Mars
What better way to start your three days in Paris than with a visit to its most iconic landmark, the beautiful Eiffel Tower? Nothing says ‘I’ve arrived in Paris!’ like a journey to the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, and you’ll also get a beautiful view out over the city, which is helpful for getting your bearings.
Of course, the downside to Paris’ most popular attraction is that it is very, very busy. With only three days in Paris, the last thing you want to do is spend it in queues – so book the tickets ahead of time Check Eiffel Tower Prices and Times and arrive fifteen to thirty minutes before it opens.
Not only should you miss the worst of the lines, but the light is beautiful for your first views out over Paris.
After you’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower, head back down and make your way to the market laneway of Rue Cler. Here you will find a great selection of traditional patisseries. Choose your favourite sweet (or savoury) delight and head back to the small park in front of the tower, the Champs de Mars, to enjoy it in the shadows of France’s most famous landmark.
Midday: Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe
After enjoying brunch, cross over the Seine towards the Trocadero and past the Palais de Chaillot. After stopping at the Trocadero for some more photos of the Eiffel Tower, continue north down Avenue Kuebler, with its many grand old buildings.
After about twenty minutes, you’ll arrive at the beautiful Arc de Triomphe, with the Eternal Flame burning underneath. Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, it is dedicated to France’s military victories and honours those lost in these battles.
The Arc de Triomphe stands at the western end of the Champs Elysees, perhaps the world’s most famous shopping strip. As you wander down the street, keep your eyes out for stylish Parisians and the stores of many luxurious brands such as Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton.
If you are feeling peckish, there are plenty of cafes to stop in and order an espresso and light meal. Towards the end of the Champs Elysees you will pass the beautiful Grand Palais, another stunning building that was built in 1897 and houses several museums and art exhibitions.
Afternoon: Place de la Concorde and Notre Dame
Continue past the Palais, and onto the Place de la Concorde, a large public square surrounded by beautiful buildings. It also has a dark side, however – this is where Marie Antoinette and Robespierre were guillotined during the French Revolution.
Across from the Place de la Concorde, hop aboard the underground metro from the Invalides stop, and get off at Notre Dame, just metres from the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral, which has stood gracefully on the banks of the Seine since approximately 1163.
If you arrive in time, there is a free English tour of the cathedral at 2:30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays; and 2.00pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Nearby, you will also find the Shakespeare Book Company – one of the most historic bookstores in Europe. It’s well worth a visit.
Dinner: Saint Germain de Pres
After all that walking and exploring, you’ve probably worked up an appetite! Luckily, the trendy neighbourhood of Saint Germain de Pres is just a fifteen-minute stroll away.
If you arrive too early for dinner, simply wander around the beautiful neighbourhood enjoying the bohemian atmosphere. There is a beautiful abbey as well as the famous café Les Deux Magots, a favourite haunt of writers such as Ernest Hemingway and painter Pablo Picasso.
There’s no shortage of great restaurants in the area, including youthful Semilla, casual Clover or traditional Josephine Chez Dumonet. Once you’ve enjoyed a delectable Parisian dinner, you can either retire back to the hotel or make the most of your first night in Paris – there’s a great selection of wine and cocktail bars in St Germain des Pres, including Arbane and Bar Etna.