Paris is a magnificent and gigantic city! One of the most visited destinations in Europe and the world, which is why the tourist and cultural offer can be overwhelming. If you do not know where to start planning your trip to Paris, I present a detailed guide with an itinerary covering seven full days. It will be like a starting point to know what to see and do in Paris and plan the perfect vacation.
In a week's excursion in Paris you will have the opportunity to visit the main tourist attractions of the city and the surrounding area; additionally you will be able to discover the most charming neighborhoods.
Day 1: Visit the most emblematic monuments of Paris
Morning walking and shopping on the Champs Elysees
Start your first day in Paris walking on what is considered one of the most beautiful avenues in the world: Les Champs Elysees. With its 1.9 kilometers long, it is considered one of the most important avenues in Paris; it is home to some of the most prestigious establishments in all of France.
It is the perfect place for a morning stroll, window shopping and a delicious snack. Some points of interest include:
Boutiques and fashion brands: Boutique Lancôme, Sephora Paris, L'Occitane, Petit Bateau, Zara, DIOR Paris, Louis Vuitton and BOSS Store.
Art and entertainment: Cinéma Pathé, L'Atelier Renault and Galeries Lafayette on the Champs-Elysées.
Visit the Arc de Triomphe
The Champs Elysées Avenue is also the connecting element between two important Parisian monuments: The Arc de Triomphe de Paris and the Place de la Concorde; so, at some point along the way, you will have to reach this destination.
The Arc de Triomphe is itself a small museum, access to the interior and the opportunity to climb to the top of the arch have an entrance fee of about 13 €; from this point you get a magnificent view of Paris but mainly of the Champs Elysees.
If you do not want to access the top of the Arch, take a moment to appreciate the outer walls containing four large sculptures. At the foot of the monument you will find The Tomb of the Anonymous Soldier.
- Hours: From 10:00 am to 11:00 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.
Lunch at the Eiffel Tower
Time to visit the Parisian icon par excellence. Arrive at the Eiffel Tower at lunchtime, if you book at the :::link|text=luxurious Eiffel Tower restaurant|element=sc-125-2314::: you will not only be able to enjoy an authentic Parisian gourmet meal, but you will also be able to access the Eiffel Tower avoiding the long lines. Needless to say, the view from this point is absolutely spectacular, don't leave without taking some nice pictures of the 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.
Visit the Trocadero Square and Gardens
Just in front of the Eiffel Tower, crossing the Seine by the Pont d'léna you will be at the entrance of the Trocadero Gardens and the Trocadero Square.
Visit the Warsaw Fountain, the main attraction is its gigantic fountain composed of a mirror of water and 12 sculptural fountains that shoot jets of water up to 164 feet high.
Stop at the Trocadero Square Considered the best spot in Paris to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower because of its strategic location. The effect with the sunset at the end of the day is really dramatic giving really beautiful pictures.
- Hours: Open 24 hours
- Admission fee: Free of charge
- Duration of visit: 20 to 30 minutes will be enough to walk around the garden and take pictures.
Tango night on the Seine
If you visit Paris during the summer, Fridays every week are for tango nights on the Seine. The impromptu dance party starts from 7pm and goes on until dusk. Experienced dancers show off their talent to anyone who wants to watch, while promoting dance classes in Parisian schools all over the city.
Day 2: Get to know Quartier Latin, museums and cruises.
Excursion to the Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter is known for its student life, lively atmosphere and fabulous bistros. It is home to a number of higher education establishments, such as the University of Paris and the Sorbonne University.
You can book a half-day guided tour of the Quartier Latin. These usually include visiting important sights such as: the Pantheon of Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg, Shakespeare & Co, La Sorbonne de Paris and much more.
If you are a lover of art and painting or are interested in expanding your knowledge, a visit to the Musée d' Orsay is a must on your week-long trip to Paris. You can spend the afternoon of your second day admiring a luxurious station converted into an art gallery that houses some of the most important works of impressionism and early modern art. At the Orsay you will find original frescoes by Matisse, Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Edgar Degas.
- Opening hours: From 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
- Admission fee: Approximately 16€.
- Duration of the visit: You should book between 2 to 4 hours.
Seine river cruise at sunset
End the evening of your second day in Paris with a cruise on the Seine aboard a splendid boat. During the evening the city's most important sights offer a dramatic light show that can be enjoyed on a tour of the Seine waters; you will see the lights of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral and more. Additionally, you can book dinner reservations on the Seine River cruise; enjoy the show while savoring a delicious Parisian meal.
Day 3: See the city of Versailles
Enjoy an excursion to the Palace of Versailles
Versailles is a city located just outside of Paris, world famous for being home to the Palace of Versailles and its fabulous Versailles Gardens. The trip from the French capital can be made in a quick drive of just one hour, so the rest of the day can be spent exploring the beauty of the interior of the Palace of Versailles and its surroundings.
The Palace of Versailles was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and is one of the most popular attractions in Europe. It was built in 1623 and was transformed and enlarged by Louis XIV; until the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution, the palace served as the King's main home.
Its richly decorated interiors in the purest Rococo style, the perfectly preserved structure in spite of the years and the majesty of its exterior gardens covering an area of 2,000 acres, are truly astonishing. An excursion to Versailles from Paris is the best way to see the Palace.
Day 4: Spend the day in Quartier Le Marais
Back in Paris, day four of your seven-day itinerary in the French capital can be spent exploring the Marais district, located in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of the city.
See the Place de la Bastille
After having a coffee in one of the many establishments that you will find on your tour of Le Marais, I recommend you take a moment to visit one of the oldest squares in the city: The Place de la Bastille.
For centuries this place symbolized the power of French royalty; The Bastille was taken by an armed mob of Parisians during the early days of the Revolution, it was considered a representation of the despotism of the monarchy so its occupation marked a milestone in the ideology of the Revolution.
Visit the Place des Vosges and Victor Hugo's house.
The Place des Vosges is another of the oldest squares in Paris, one of the most beautiful and also one of the favorites of Parisians living in Le Marais. Located just 5 minutes from the Place de la Bastille, visitors stroll under the arches and walkways and sunbathe in the gardens on spring days. The stores, stores and cafes in red brick contribute to the vitality of the place with their beautiful facades. Le Maison de Victor Hugo, located just off the square, was converted into a museum after the writer's death in 1885.
- Opening hours: The Victor Hugo museum is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
- Admission fee: The permanent collection of the museum is free to the public. There is a charge for access to the temporary collections.
- Duration of the visit: One hour or less will be enough to visit the different areas of the house.
Visit the Picasso Museum in Paris
The National Picasso Museum in Paris presents the work of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and houses his personal collection of sculptures. Today it is also an important center for research on the life and work of the Spanish artist. The tour through the museum usually takes about 2 hours in total.
- Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday the entrance hours are from 10 am to 6 pm.
- Admission fee: From 40 € the entrance ticket for adults.
- Duration of the visit: Approximately one hour inside.
Visit the Pompidou Arts Center in Paris
Finish your tour of Le Marais with a visit to the Pompidou Center, it is open to the public every working day of the week from 11 am to 11 pm. The building itself is a work of art and one of the most important architectural landmarks of our era.
The center offers its visitors 6 different collections: a modern art collection, a contemporary art collection, an artistic photography collection, the design collection, and the New media collection.
- Hours: From 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
- Admission fee: Adult general admission tickets cost approximately €18.
- Duration of visit: Book approximately two hours to tour the facilities, appreciate the architecture and see the exhibitions.
Day 5: The Monet House and Quartier Montmartre
Half day excursion to Giverny and Monet's House
Giverny is a small French town located 1.5 hours from Paris in picturesque Normandy; it was the place where Monet and other impressionist artists of the twentieth century installed their residences and art studios. In Claude Monet's residence, a love for the beauty of nature is evident, the lush garden covered with purple lilies under large shade trees.
- Hours: From 9:30 am to 6 pm.
- Admission fee: The entrance ticket for adults is from 9,50€.
- Duration of the visit: A tour from Paris will take at least 5 hours including the round trip.
This jewel of French architecture exhibits a Roman-Byzantine style. Perched imposingly on a hill in the Montmartre district in the 18th arrondissement, the basilica overlooks all of Paris from a privileged location.
Sacre Coeur is considered among the most beautiful and iconic churches in the city, so I recommend taking the afternoon of your sixth day, after your return from Giverny, to leisurely explore Montmartre. It highlights its dome placed at 83 meters high and which you can access by climbing a staircase of 300 steps.
- Hours: The basilica is available for visits from 6 am. Access to the dome is from 9:00 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.
Dali Museum in Paris
Just 5 minutes away from Montmartre is the Dali Museum or the Dali Space in Paris; a necessary stop for all those who admire the work of this eccentric artist or are curious about his work. Some of his best pieces can be found in this small museum, which can be visited in just 1.5 hours.
- 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 complete tour.
Near the Dali museum is the Place du Tertre, one of the most important meeting points in the 18th arrondissement. Here Parisians head to shop, hang out and have a coffee with friends. If you want to see a bit of the authentic Parisian day with a much less touristy approach you will love this place!
In former times this space functioned as a public area where artists and aspiring artists held exhibitions of their work; so don't be surprised if you find some real talent with a lot of potential on your walk.
- Hours: From 10 am to 8 pm.
- Admission fee: Free, the square is open to the public.
- Duration of visit: You can spend as much time as you want, you will find many activities to do and cafes to eat something.
Day 6: Enjoy the French gothic style and the Louvre.
Visit the ile de la cité
The morning of your sixth day is to move to the 4th arrondissement of Paris and visit the Ile de la Cité. A small island located in the middle of the Seine, where you will find some of the most important buildings of the gothic architecture of Paris:
Notre Dame Cathedral. Closed to the public since the fire of 2019 it can only be seen from the square.
The Sainte Chapelle.It has the largest collection of 13th century stained glass windows on the planet.
La Conciergerie. The 14th century palace, later converted into a prison, was the place where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned until her death by guillotine.
- Opening hours: Saint Chapelle is open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm.
- Admission fee: The ticket price is from 11,50€.
- Duration of the visit: The tour to appreciate the interiors will take about 30 minutes.
Spend the day at the Louvre
Getting to the Louvre from the Ile de la Cité will take you a short 10-minute walk along the boulevard George Pompidou on the banks of the Seine. Considered one of the most famous museums in the world, it was once a palace and home to the royal family until Louis XIV moved his home to the palace of Versailles.
One of the best ways to avoid the long lines at the Louvre is to buy your ticket in advance. This way you will have more time to enjoy the Louvre's spectacular collection of worksincluding: incredible sculptures such as the Venus de Milo or the sculpture of Artemis; famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa; the French Crown Jewels; an average of 2000 textiles and almost 3000 pieces of furniture.
- Hours: From 9 am to 6 pm.
- Admission fee: The entrance fee is around 15€ for adults.
- Duration of the visit: To see the main works you should set aside at least two hours of itinerary.
Day 7: Explore beyond Paris
Full day tour to the Loire Castles
Award-winning vineyards, fairytale castles and breathtaking landscapes, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Loire Valley is one of the most enchanting regions of France and a destination not to be missed if you are in the French capital for several days.
Excursions depart from Paris every day to take tourists and locals to the Valley, spend the day exploring the area and return to the capital at nightfall. The Loire Valley is located 215 kilometers southwest of Paris, with an average 2.5 to 3 hours drive the fastest excursion would take about 12 hours in total.
Although the itinerary can vary a lot depending on the excursion you choose. The most visited castles on a trip to the Loire Valley are:
- Chenonceau (Château de Chenonceau),
- Castle of Cheverny (Château de Cheverny)
- Castle of Chambord (Château de Chambord)
Tips for visiting the Loire Valley: Wear comfortable shoes that allow you to walk, dress according to the weather conditions and charge your camera batteries, enjoy!