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Things to Do in Paris in 5 Days

Paris is a beautifully diverse city that I could tour for eternity without tiring of it. However, a five-day trip to Paris is enough to visit the most touristic spots and also a secret gem or two.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

12 min read

Things to Do in Paris in 5 Days

View of Paris at Night | ©Paul Gaudriault

Gotcha! Planning a trip to Paris can be tricky; filled with attractions, cafes and sights around every corner, prioritizing becomes mission impossible. However, the key to a successful trip to Paris lies in organization and understanding that while five days is enough time to visit many places, you won't be able to see every little nook and cranny.

In this guide I have prepared a five-day itinerary to help you plan the perfect trip to Paris. Find out what to do and what to see during your stay in Paris.

Day 1: Cathedrals, Museums, Gardens and Cruises.

Notre Dame| ©Adrienn
Notre Dame| ©Adrienn

Visit L'île de la cité

In the middle of the river that divides in two the Parisian capital you will find two small islands of land. One of them, l'île de la cité, is home to some of the most emblematic monuments in all of Paris, which is why I recommend you start the first day of your trip in this place. These monuments are:

Notre-Dame de ParisFamous all over the world, Notre-Dame is a Parisian icon in itself. This jewel of Gothic architecture from the early 12th century is one of the most beloved monuments for both Parisians and travelers from around the world.

Sainte-Chapelle
Built between 1238 and 1248, it is another masterpiece of French Gothic architecture famous throughout the world for its collection of stained glass windows of the thirteenth century. The largest in the world.

The Conciergerie
Ancient Gothic style building which served for a time as the home of the king, and then became a prison.

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

Book a tour of L'île de la Cité and La Conciergerie

Louvre Museum Tour

The Louvre Museum is today one of the most visited museums not only in Paris but in the whole world. This is due to the wonderful collection of history and art that fills its rooms. Original works such as: La Gioconda, La Venus de Milo and Artemis of Gabios are found in its halls.

If you are wondering how much time to dedicate to the Louvre Museum I will tell you that the most important museum in Paris can take a full day, so I recommend opting for a guided tour that takes you through the most emblematic works. These types of tours usually include the entrance to the Louvre so you avoid waiting in line to enter.

  • 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 a guided tour of the Louvre Museum

Jardin des Tuileries and afternoon of shopping

Tuileries Garden| ©Roland Turner
Tuileries Garden| ©Roland Turner

Leaving the Louvre behind you will find the Tuileries Garden, one of the most beautiful and extensive in all of Paris. Ordered to be built in 1564 for the enjoyment of the nobility and the royal family, the area was nothing more than a very unattractive marshy ground. Years later, in 1667, the gardens became public gardens for the enjoyment of all French citizens.

Explore the nooks and crannies of the Garden aimlessly; take a snack to go as you walk. When you're done, leave the Garden through the Place de la Concorde to spend a few hours shopping in Paris.

  • 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.

Book a private tour of Paris

Night tour along the Seine canals

This magical ride will take you through the most popular Parisian monuments surrounding its famous river such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Musée d'Orsay and others.

During the night the best monuments of Paris are filled with light in a spectacle of color and brightness that you will surely enjoy.

Book a bus tour and cruise on the Seine River

Day 2: Palaces, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe

View from the entrance| ©Philip Daly
View from the entrance| ©Philip Daly

Half day tour to Versailles

Versailles is a city located about an hour from Paris, known for its iconic palace. Spend the entire morning of your second day exploring the interiors of this baroque-style chateau; walking through its picture-perfect Versailles gardens and soaking your senses in the elegant lifestyle of the former French monarchy. The Palace of Versailles was for a long time the official home of the royal family.

Tours to Versailles depart daily from Paris. Most of them include, in addition to transportation to and from Paris, a fast-track entrance to the Palace and a guide who accompanies the group at all times.

  • Hours: Open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
  • Admission fee: For adults, the entrance ticket to the Palace of Versalle is around 27€.
  • Duration of the visit: From Paris the trip will take at least 6 hours including round trip to the city and tour of the Palace.

Book your excursion to the Palace of Versailles

Eiffel Tower and Trocadero Square

After your visit to the Palace of Versalle, and a tasty Parisian lunch, take the rest of the afternoon to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and then stroll around the Trocadero Square.

Eiffel Tower
Considered one of the most important monuments in the city, a visit to the Eiffel Tower is a must on any tour of Paris. You have the option of going up to the second floor to enjoy the terrace or take the full path to the top which includes a staircase with over 300 steps. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is a perfect view of the city of light.

You can stay and wait for the sunset over Paris and take spectacular pictures.

To avoid queues and ensure quick access to the Eiffel Tower I recommend you purchase your tickets in advance.

Trocadero Square
Make your way back to the ground and head down to take beautiful picturesof the Tower, the fountain and the Trocadero gardens.

  • Opening hours: The Eiffel Tower is open from 9:30 am to 11:45 pm.
  • Admission 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.

Buy tickets for the Eiffel Tower

Paris Night Tour

Take an evening stroll along the main avenues of Paris, taking the opportunityto see the windows of the most prestigious haute couture stores, to admire some of the most elegant restaurants or establishments in Paris.

From the Place du Trocadéro to the Arc de Triomphe you will find yourself on a 30-minute walk along the beautiful Avenue Kléber.

The Champs Elysees, considered the most beautiful avenue in the world, starts at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and ends right at the Place de la Concorde. The 1.9-kilometer walk usually takes about 30 minutes without stops.

Book a night bike tour in Paris

Day 3: Le Latin Quarter and Le Musée d'Orsay

Pantheon of Paris,| ©Moonik
Pantheon of Paris,| ©Moonik

Half day tour of the Latin Quarter

Start the morning of your 3rd day exploring the Latin Quarter in the 5th arrondissement. This popular area of Paris is famous for its university life. It is an area full of casual restaurants, cinemas, museums, art galleries and theaters.

Hiring a half-day guided tour to see and explore the Latin Quarter is often a good idea. On this type of tour, an expert guide takes the group through the highlights, which may include one or more of the following destinations:

  • Visit the Pantheon in Paris where the remains of historical figures such as Victor Hugo or Voltaire lie.
  • Visit the Luxembourg Garden
  • Visit the Jardin des Plantes
  • Tour of the Sorbonne in Paris

Book your excursion to the Latin Quarter

Visit the Orsay Museum

For a cultural afternoon you can take a trip to the Musée d'Orsay. Famous for housing one of the richest collections of contemporary art and impressionist art in the world, so the tourist flow is usually high. If you like or are interested in the work of artists such as Matisse or Vang Gogh; a stop at the Orsay is an opportunity to admire the best of their work. To avoid queuing at the Musée d'Orsay it is best to purchase tickets in advance.

From your starting point in the Latin Quarter take the Seine Riviera heading northwest; it will take you approximately 30 minutes to walk along the river. Another option is to take Metro line 87 from the Notre-Dame -Quai de Montebello terminal to the Henry de Montherlant station.

  • Hours: From 9:30 am to 11:45 pm.
  • Ticket price: 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.

Have an aperitif French style

End your day of culture and art with an apero in the purest French style; translated as aperitif, it is a French ritual that usually combines wine with homemade sausages. Many Parisian wine bars offer this type of gastronomic experience, so you can sit down to enjoy a nice bottle of wine, cheese and other snacks.

Day 4: Historic cemeteries, catacombs and markets

Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey| ©DXR
Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey| ©DXR

Start at the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

You can start your day by visiting what, in its heyday, was a famous center of scholars and one of the richest abbeys in all of France. Commissioned in the 6th century, it is world famous for having functioned for a long period as the final resting place of the philosopher Rene Descartes after his strange death.

However, during the Industrial Revolution, part of the complex that made up the Abbey was destroyed by rebellion. Descartes' tomb was later moved to the Pantheon in Paris inthe Latin Quartier, where he rests alongside other great minds of humanity.
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  • Opening hours: From 8 am to 7.45 pm.
  • Admission fee: The abbey is open to the public free of charge.
  • Duration of the visit: Estimate 30 minutes to visit the church and its surroundings.

Book a tour of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district

Have lunch and share with Parisians at Rue Cler

Stop to hang out and eat a tasty Parisian lunch on Rue Cler. One of the most famous shopping streets in Paris, where Parisians hang out and do their everyday shopping. You can find all kinds of restaurants, cafes, bakeries and specialty stores.

From your location in Saint-Germain-des-Prés embark on a tour to learn more about the 6th and 7th arrondissements of Paris. Take Rue de Varenne northwest to the famous Hotel des Invalides, where you can visit the Musée d'Armes and Napoleon's tomb.

  • Opening hours: From 9 am to 7 pm from Tuesday to Sunday with a break on Mondays.
  • Admission fee: It is a free street market and open to the public.
  • Duration of the visit: It depends on what you want to do and if you stop for lunch or a coffee. Estimate about 30 minutes to see the stalls and walk around the market.

Visit the Montparnasse cemetery

Montparnasse Cemetery| ©Jérôme Blum
Montparnasse Cemetery| ©Jérôme Blum

From the Bosquet - Grenelle station take the bus line 92 to Cimetière Montparnasse, the nearest station is Losserand - Maine. Considered one of the most luxurious and attractive cemeteries in Paris, you can spend some time touring its beautiful tombs adorned with fantastic sculptures.

In Montparnasse are the remains of important figures of history, music, literature and art; such as Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Samuel Beckett and Maria Montez.

  • Hours: From 8:00 am to 5:30 pm or 6:30 pm depending on the season.
  • Admission fee: Free admission.
  • Duration of the visit: If you bring with you a map of Montparnasse showing the location of the tombs you can do the whole tour in 1.5 hours.

Go down to the foundations on a tour of the Catacombs

Just off Montparnasse is the entrance to one of the most amazing tours in Paris: The Catacombs of the city. According to records, in the cavernous tunnels of the Parisian soil lie the bones of more than 6 million people; part of these tunnels have been conditioned and opened to the public for a tour that reviews the bloodiest side of the city's history.

  • Hours: Tours start at 10 am, the Catacombs close at 8:30 pm.
  • Admission fee: The entrance fee to the Catacombs starts at 29€ per adult ticket.
  • Duration of the visit: The two-kilometer route will take about an hour to complete.

Book your tour to the Catacombs of Paris

Day 5: Le Marais, Picasso and Dali.

Entrance to the Dali| ©Florian75018
Entrance to the Dali| ©Florian75018

Half day tour of Le Marais

Located in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, Le Marais is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Paris; it is locally known for housing some of the most elegant mansions in all of France but also for its luxurious hotels, art galleries and quaint little cafes. Start your last day in Paris with a coffee in this dreamy neighborhood.

Then you can tour some of the prestigious museums in the area. My personal favorites include.
George Pompidou Museum Exhibitions of contemporary art, it is worth going to see at least the exterior of the building and its peculiar architecture.
Picasso Museum - Paris Located in a beautiful private mansion it has a collection with 5,000 works of art by Picasso and many elements of the artist's life.
Carnavalet Museum Located in another private mansion, this museum exhibits the history of Paris from the 16th and 17th century approach.

Book a tour of Le Marais

Visit the Dali Museum

After spending the morning exploring Le Marais, I recommend a trip to the 18th arrondissement to explore Montmartre. You can make the trip by metro but I personally recommend taking a cab ride to enjoy the luxury of the northern streets of Paris.

Also known as the Dali Space is a very peculiar space that I recommend to lovers of surrealism or who are curious about Dali and his work. In its facilities you can find more than 300 works by Dalí, including famous paintings such as "The Persistence of Memory" and sculptures such as "The Space Elephant".

  • Hours: From 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • Admission fee: The entrance ticket costs from 13€ for adults.
  • Duration of the visit: It is a small museum, in about an hour or less you can make the full tour.

Tour of Montmartre Square

In the vicinity of the Dali Museum in Paris, is the Place du Tertre; the most important meeting point in Montmartre where locals gather for dining, shopping and strolling.

After the French Revolution, Montmartre was the suburb where aspiring artists in Paris decided to settle; the low cost of living and affordable rent made it possible for many aspiring artists to keep their lives afloat while their careers took off. Several important historical figures, including the likes of or Picasso, would call this vibrant locality home during some stages of their careers.

Don't be surprised to find all sorts of emerging talents on the Place du Tertre.

  • Hours: From 10 am to 8 pm.
  • Admission fee: Free, the square is completely open to the public.
  • Duration of the visit: You can spend as much time as you want, you will find many activities to do and cafes to eat something.

Book a tour of Montmartre

Watch the sunset at Sacre Coeur

Sunset at Sacre Coeur| ©Gwenael Blanck
Sunset at Sacre Coeur| ©Gwenael Blanck

Just a 3 minute walk from Place du Tertre, up Rue de Azais, you will find Sacre Coeur. Perched imposingly on the hill of Montmartre, Sacre-Coeur is another Parisian icon you shouldn't miss.

Of Roman-Byzantine architectural style, it was inspired by models such as the Basilica of St. Sophia in Constantinople. It has an imposing dome located at a height of 83 meters from the ground and visitors can climb 300 steps to access it.

I recommend getting to Sacre-Coeur with enough time to go up and watch the sunset over Paris. With a breathtaking view, it is one of the most beautiful experiences you can do in Montmartre and the perfect way to say goodbye to your five-day adventure in the city of light.

  • 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.