Planning a trip to Paris? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
Your stay in Paris begins at the Champ-de-Mars, where you can gaze upon the capital’s most famous monument: the Eiffel Tower. From the second story–or for more intrepid adventurers, the top floor–you can take in the entire city in a glance, thanks to the impressive panoramic view of the city’s rooftops offered by the Iron Lady. Among those rooftops, that of Les Invalides naturally catches your eye, with its shining dome covered in 10 kilograms of gold leaf. At the foot of the Tower is a large lawn, perfect for a picnic.
Once you’ve finished your meal, you can continue your stay in Paris with a visit to the Musée d’Orsay. This museum housed in an old train station contains nearly 3500, 19th and 20th century paintings, and almost as many sculptures. Among them are world-famous masterpieces such as L’origine du monde by Gustave Courbet, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by Edouard Manet, and La petite danseuse by Edgar Degas.
Continue along the banks of the Seine, strolling by the iconic book stalls of the bouquinistes until you reach the impressive facade of the cathedral known as Notre-Dame de Paris. This Gothic splendour was a great source of inspiration for Victor Hugo, and it’s not difficult to see why. The details on the facade, along with the majestic interior dominated by a 60-metre long nave, are astounding to see.
After your visit to Notre Dame, take advantage of your stay in Paris to do like the French and have a seat on a cafe terrace near the Fontaine Saint-Michel. From this small square, you’ll have front row seats when the cathedral’s famous towers light up after dark. It’s a spectacle not to be missed!
The second day of your stay in Paris begins at the foot of the Pyramid of the Louvre. Don’t be fooled by the understated appearance of the glass pyramid which was installed in 1989 at the centre of the Cour Napoléon: beneath it lies the world’s greatest art museum, home to hundreds of thousands of works. Paintings (the iconic Mona Lisa), sculptures (the Venus de Milo) and archaeological relics are all displayed to the visitors’ delight. You’ll need at least a full morning to even begin to appreciate the wealth of this museum.
Once you’ve had your fill of culture, take a break in the Jardin des Tuileries. This elegant park in the midst of a touristic neighbourhood extends along the stylish rue de Rivoli with its many hotels, restaurants and luxury boutiques. It’s just what you need for a taste of Parisian elegance during your stay in Paris.
On the other side of the park, you will find the Place de la Concorde. This is the starting point for “the most beautiful street in the world”, which unfurls ahead of you like a red carpet. You’re on the Champs-Elysées, the sparkling street that crosses beneath the Arc de Triomphe in a scene that is represented on so many postcards. Continue in the same direction, walking down the pedestrian pathways in the middle of the road. From here, you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of your stay in Paris.
If your afternoon doesn’t feel quite Parisian enough yet, why not treat yourself to a break at the Ladurée Tea Room? Its lime green storefront stands out from the bustle of the avenue and is a sign of the sweetness hidden inside. Enjoy a cup of tea or a hot chocolate, but whatever you do, you must sample the macarons. This iconic little biscuit, which comes in all the colours of the rainbow, is one of the most famous symbols of this global gastronomic capital. Culture, shopping and delicious food: this second day of your stay gives you a true taste of the Parisian lifestyle.
Is Paris the capital of love? It’s time to find out for yourself by pursuing your stay in Paris with some of its greatest music in mind. Head to the top of the butte Montmartre: this is the soul of Paris as Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour sang about it. The narrow, winding cobblestone roads and bohemian shops evoke a strong sense of nostalgia. On the many squares in this neighbourhood, artists display their paintings and invite you to pose for them.
A few more steps will take you to the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. Once you’ve taken a few pictures of the church’s stunning Romano-Byzantine architecture, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the exceptional view of the city from the top of Montmartre. From the Eiffel Tower to the Pantheon and the Tour Montparnasse, all the city’s biggest monuments are visible from this lookout point, which is also undoubtedly the capital’s most romantic.
Walking back down the hill, you’ll leave the romantic atmosphere behind and enter into the bawdier side of Paris. What would a stay in Paris be without a stop in Pigalle, the cheeky neighbourhood where fine lingerie shops vie with snack stands for the attention of passersby? There’s one place everyone can agree is worth visiting: Moulin Rouge. It is the heart of this neighbourhood and a testimony to a golden age. And cancan dancers still kick their legs up here every night. The well-kept secret Bar à Bulles de La Machine is the perfect spot to have lunch or a drink with a unique view of the windmill’s blades.
To conclude your stay in Paris, head a bit farther west to the Cimetière du Père Lachaise. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a final resting place that’s more bucolic, poetic or frequented by tourists. Indeed, visitors from around the world come to honour the many famous people resting here. Let yourself get lost among the trees, where in a short walk you can pass by the graves of Jim Morrison, Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, Marx Erst, La Fontaine and Molière. The cemetery is proof of the French capital’s love of artists.
And there you are: you have made the acquaintance of the elegant, cultivated, bohemian and terribly romantic city that is Paris. But be warned, you might find it difficult to resist the siren call of the city for a return visit. Paris is truly a love affair for the ages.