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Things to Do in Paris in 3 Days

As one of the most visited cities on the European continent, Paris has a lot to offer travelers. 3 days are enough time to visit the highlights, from cathedrals, museums, gardens, historical monuments and cafes You'll take a little bit of every aspect of Paris with you!

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

10 min read

Things to Do in Paris in 3 Days

View of the Arc de Triomphe | ©Rodrigo Kugnharski

Paris is one of those cities to which you can return hundreds of times and you will always be amazed by the beauty of its landscapes, its amazing monuments and its rich culture. You can't go wrong choosing Paris as your vacation destination, no matter how long or short your stay in the French capital.

It is one of the most romantic and tourist-friendly cities on the planet; it is just as easy to get around the major tourist spots as it is to get to the more out-of-the-way neighborhoods and corners. Itspublic transportation system is excellent so moving from one point to another will be a simple task. I know!

There is a lot to see and do in Paris, so I share with you my itinerary for 3 days in Paris, hoping that my experience will inspire you and that you will be able to organize a lovely trip.

Day 1: Historical monuments and city tours.

Waiting to Climb| ©gckwolfe
Waiting to Climb| ©gckwolfe

Enjoy the sunrise at the Trocadero Square

Trocadero Square is, without a doubt, one of the best places in all of Paris to see the sunrise and also the perfect place to start a three-day adventure that will take you all over the city. Due to itsprivileged location as well as one of the most emblematic places in Paris, it is the best place to photograph the Eiffel Tower since almost all the perfect pictures of this iconic Parisian monument are taken from the Square.

Let the beauty of the sunrise absorb you as you contemplate how the light tinges the structure with gold and slowly awakens all of Paris. Take lots of pictures, recharge your energy and start the adventure.

Excursion to the top of the Eiffel Tower

From the Place du Trocadéro start your adventure to the top of the Eiffel Tower by walking through Les Jardins du Trocadéro. The main attraction of the Gardens is the Warsaw Fountain, a gigantic mirror-likewater fountain, surrounded by 12 huge fountains whose columns of water reach 33 feet high. You should not miss the mirror effect of the Warsaw Fountain in the early morning hours.

The tour of the Gardens can take about 30 minutes; when you're ready, set off on your adventure to the Eiffel Tower. The monument opens its doors to the public from 9:30 in the morning and if you buy your tickets to the Eiffel Tower in advance you will be saving time that you will not have to invest in queues.

You can stop at the second floor of the Tower for a coffee and then make your way up more than 300 steps to the top (a tip: don't count them). The final reward is a magnificent and perfect view of the whole city.

  • Hours: From 9:30 am to 11:45 pm.
  • Entrance fee: From 10,7 € the price increases if you want to go up to the top and if you want to use the elevators.
  • Duration of the visit: Set aside about 1.5 hours to visit the second floor and 2.5 hours if you want to climb to the top.

Book tickets for the Eiffel Tower

Enjoy a french style lunch on the Seine River

A lunchtime cruise on the Seine will allow you to enjoy the excellent French gastronomy while experiencing in the distance, jewels of French architecture such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and much more.

It is an ideal excursion to do on your first day, the food, the service and the scenery are totally worth it. This tour can take from 4 to 5 hours depending on the company you hire and its itinerary of monuments.

Book a Seine River Cruise

Paris Sightseeing Bus

Paris sightseeing bus| ©Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Paris sightseeing bus| ©Tilemahos Efthimiadis

When going to a new city for the first time, one way to quickly familiarize yourself is to take a tour on one of the Paris sightseeing buses. Taking into consideration all the activities and places that Paris has to offer, I highly recommend it!

Many of these tours usually start in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine to take tourists on a route around the city where they can take a quick look at the most emblematic monuments, such as: La Concorde, Paris Opera, Le Champs Elysée, Arc de Triomphe, L' Ecole Militarie, Eiffel Tower and more.

  • Schedule: This type of service is usually available from 9.30 am to 5 pm. A new bus leaves every 40 minutes on average.
  • Ticket price: From 36€ per person.
  • Duration of the visit: The complete tour lasts approximately 2 hours.

Book your Paris Sightseeing Bus

Night tour in Le Maries neighborhood

Located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, Le Marais is famous for its excellent and varied nightlife: clubs, bars and entertainment centers of all kinds. It is also a great area to explore during the night; even if you are looking for a much quieter nightlife you will find in its streets multiple restaurants and cafes to enjoy. You can take a tour of the neighborhood with wine and cheese tasting.

Book a private tour of Le Marais

Day 2: Cathedrals, Museums and Shopping in Paris.

External view of the Museum| ©Pedro Szekely
External view of the Museum| ©Pedro Szekely

Start the day at the Île de la Cité.

The Seine River divides the city of Paris in two. Île de la Cité is one of two small islands of land that you will find in the Parisian river. I recommend starting your second day of adventures at this point both for the beauty of the landscape and for being home to two jewels of Gothic architecture in Europe: the famousNotre Dame de Paris Cathedral and the famous Sainte-Chapelle.

Following a fire in 2019 Notre Dame is closed to the public; however the square outside the monument was reopened for sightseeing, so a quick stop will give you a good look at the exterior of the Cathedral.

Sainte Chapelle on the other hand if it is open to the public for tours, I recommend you pay close attention to its beautiful stained glass windows, famous throughout the world for their splendor and beauty. The sanctuary of this chapel housed for many years the most important relics of King Louis IX.

  • Hours: From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Admission fee: The entrance fee is from 11,50€.
  • Duration of the visit: The tour inside Sainte-Chapelle to appreciate the interiors will take about 30 minutes.

Take a guided tour of the Louvre Museum

Leaving the Île de la Cité behind, a short 15-minute walk along the Boulevard Georges Pompidou will bring you face to face with the Louvre.

A visit to the Louvre Museum is a must on any tour of Paris. The city's most emblematic museum, and one of the most famous in the world, is known for housing works such as The Venus de Milo and The Mona Lisa. The best way to make a quick visit to the Louvre is to hire a guided tour, which will include among its services a direct pass without queues and will take you to the most famous works of the Louvre and of greater cultural interest.

  • Hours: From 9 am to 6 pm.
  • Ticket price: The entrance fee is around 15€ for adults.
  • Duration of the visit: To see the main works you must set aside at least two hours of itinerary.

Book your ticket for the Louvre Museum

Stroll through the Tuileries Garden and the Place de la Concorde

On your way out of the Louvre you will be confronted by two historic Parisian landmarks: Le Jardin des Tuileries and Le Place de la Concorde. The former, the largest public garden in Paris, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. Built on marshy land during the 17th century, the initial objective was to create a green recreational area for the royal family and the nobility.

For its part, Le Place de la Concorde, stars one of the most important historical milestones for France and the world: the abolition of the monarchy during the French Revolution. In this place were executed the French nobles of the time and of course King Louis XVI and later Queen Marie Antoinette.

  • Hours: From 7.30 am to 7.30 pm.
  • Admission fee: Free access
  • Duration of the visit: Schedule a 30 to 40 minute walk through the gardens.

Stroll along the Champs Elysées avenue

Avenue Champs Elysées.| ©Josh Hallett
Avenue Champs Elysées.| ©Josh Hallett

Take a stroll along the Champs-Elysées Avenue, spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying its beautiful cafes and spectacular stores. Le Place de la Concorde is the Parisian square that frames the end of the most beautiful and famous avenue in Paris: Le Champs-Élysées; so it will be perfect to start your tour from this location.

Some points of interest along the avenue are:

Watch the sunset at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

At the end of your tour along the Champs Elysées you will come across one of the most famous icons of the city: the Arc de Triomphe de Paris, commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte himself.

In addition to a monument, the Arc de Triomphe is itself a museum, you can visit the interior and go up to the terrace to watch the sunset over the Champs Elysees and the beautiful city of Paris. Undoubtedly one of the most perfect views you will ever have the opportunity to admire. Access to the interior costs approximately 9€. Do not forget to admire the giant statues that make up the outer walls of the arch, or visit the Tomb of the Anonymous Soldier located at its base.

  • Hours: From 10 am to 11 pm.
  • Admission fee: Free access to the square. The entrance to the museum costs approximately 13€.
  • Duration of the visit: From 45 to 1,30 minutes approximately.

Visit the best bars of the 8th arrondissement

If you have energy left, take advantage of your evening in the 8th arrondissement of Paris to visit some of the best rated bars in the area. Here are a few ideas.

Day 3: Gardens, catacombs and night show in Paris

Touring the Latin Quarter| ©Harald Groven
Touring the Latin Quarter| ©Harald Groven

Start the day with a tour of the Latin Quarter

Famous throughout Paris and the world for its student life, lively atmosphere and its many bistros; I recommend you not to leave Paris without first visiting the Latin Quarter, this is home to Paris' most prestigious centers of higher learning such as the University of Paris itself and the Sorbonne.

You can hire a guided tour of the Latin Quarter where they usually handle small groups and take their members through the most emblematic areas and historical points of interest. Although the route may vary from one tour to another, your itinerary may include one or more of the following destinations:

  • The Sorbonne University
  • The Pantheon of Paris where the remains of Victor Hugo and Voltaire are buried
  • The Luxembourg Gardens
  • Shakespeare & Co and many others.

Book a private tour of the Latin Quarter

Visit the Musée d'Orsay

Keeping your location on the south side of the Seine I recommend taking a few hours to visit the fantastic collection that is part of the permanent exhibition of the Musée d'Orsay.

Taking the Latin Quarter as a starting point to the Musée d'Orsay, you can take a 25-minute walk along the banks of the Seine with all the beautiful scenery that goes with it. It is also an opportunity to stop for lunch at some of the eating establishments overlooking the Seine that you will find along the way.

The Musée d'Orsay is one of the richest fine arts museums in the world, where you can find original works by masters of modern art and impressionists such as: Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Auguste Rodin. I recommend buying your tickets in advance because the queues to enter can be quite long.

  • Hours: From 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Ticket price: 16€ approximately
  • Duration of the visit: You should book between 2 to 4 hours.

Cross Paris to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica

Sacre-Coeur Basilica| ©Superchilum
Sacre-Coeur Basilica| ©Superchilum

Paris is home to many beautiful churches including the Sacre-Coeur Basilica located on an imposing hill in the Montmartre neighborhood of the 18th arrondissement. Arrange your itinerary to arrive at Sacre-Coeur at sunset and watch the sun set from the far side of Paris in another spectacular sight you will remember forever.

The best way to get to Sacre-Coeur from the Musée d'Orsay is to use the Metro. You will have to walk from the museum to the Assemblée Nationale terminal, here you will take line 12 and get off at the Abbesses terminal. From this point you will have to walk up the hill to Sacre-Coeur in a journey of approximately 8 minutes on foot.

  • Opening hours: the basilica is available for visits from 6 am. Access to the dome is from 9 am to 8.30 pm, with variations in certain months.
  • Admission fee: Free of charge.
  • Duration of the visit: Allow about 45 minutes to visit both the dome and the crypt of Sacré Coeur.

Book a tour of Montmartre and the Sacre Couer

Dinner and night show at Moulin Rouge

To end your last day in Paris I recommend a night of show, fun, and good food at the Moulin Rouge. Known in its early days as a center of questionable reputation, today it is home to some of the most iconic nighttime shows in Paris. The dancers at the Moulin Rouge are world-class, trained in the arts of classical jazz and contemporary dance.

I suggest purchasing your tickets to the Moulin Rouge in advance as in times of high demand tickets sell out quickly.

From your location at Sacre-Coeur you will be very close to this establishment, a 15 minute or less walk. You must go down the hill to the boulevard Marguerite de Rochechouart, turn left and go straight until you find the unmistakable establishment.

  • Hours: If you attend the dinner with show, the service is available from 5 p.m. and you will get privileged seats with great visibility of the stage.
  • Ticket price: It will depend on many criteria, but you can estimate an average cost of 90€ for the show and 185€ for dinner and show.
  • Duration of the visit: A show on average will take 1.5 hours or more.

Book tickets for the Moulin Rouge