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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 travellers. 3 days is enough time to visit the highlights, from cathedrals, museums, gardens, historic 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 holiday 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, making it just as easy to get around the major tourist attractions as it is to get to the more out-of-the-way neighbourhoods and corners of the city. Itspublic transport system is excellent, so getting from one place to another will be a breeze.

There is so much 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 organise a lovely trip.

Day 1: Historical monuments and city tours.

Waiting to go up| ©gckwolfe
Waiting to go up| ©gckwolfe

Enjoy the sunrise at the Place Trocadero

The Place du Trocadéro is, without a doubt, one of the best places in 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 itsprime location as well as being one of the most iconic places in Paris, it is the best place to photograph the Eiffel Tower as almost every perfect picture of this iconic Parisian monument is taken from the Square.

Let the beauty of the sunrise absorb you as you watch the light tinge the structure with gold and slowly awaken the whole of Paris. Take lots of photos, recharge your batteries and the adventure begins.

Excursion to the top of the Eiffel Tower

From the Place du Trocadéro, set off on 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-like water 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'll save time and avoid queuing.

You can stop at the first 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.

  • Opening hours: From 9.30am to 11.45pm.
  • Admission fee: From 10,7 € the price increases if you want to climb to the top and if you want to use the lifts.
  • Duration of visit: Allow approximately 1.5 hours to visit the first floor and 2.5 hours if you want to go 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 excellent French cuisine while experiencing in the distance, gems of French architecture such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and much more.

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

Book a Seine River Cruise

Paris Sightseeing Bus

Paris Sightseeing Bus| ©Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Paris Sightseeing Bus| ©Tilemahos Efthimiadis

When first going to a new city, one way to familiarise yourself quickly is to take a tour on one of the Paris sightseeing buses. Considering all the activities and sights 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.

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

Book your Paris Sightseeing Bus

Night tour of Le Maries district

Located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, Le Marais is famous for its excellent and varied nightlife: clubs, bars and entertainment venues of all kinds. It's also a great area to explore at night; even if you're looking for a quieter night out, you'll find plenty of restaurants and cafes to enjoy in the streets. You can take a tour of the neighbourhood with wine and cheese tasting.

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 le Île de la Cité

The Seine River divides the city of Paris in two. Île de la Cité is one of the two small islands of land you'll find in the Parisian river. I recommend starting your second day of adventures here both for the beauty of the scenery and for being home to two of Europe's Gothic architectural gems: 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 has been reopened for tours, 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 the world over for their splendour and beauty. The sanctuary of this chapel housed for many years the most important relics of King Louis IX.

  • Opening 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 you about 30 minutes.

Book tickets for Sainte Chapelle de Paris

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 iconic 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 a skip-the-line pass and will take you to the Louvre's most famous and culturally interesting works.

  • Opening hours: From 9am to 6pm.
  • Entry fee: The entry fee is around €15 for adults.
  • Duration of the visit: To see the main works, you should set aside at least two hours for the tour.

Book your ticket for the Louvre Museum

Stroll through the Tuileries Garden and the Place de la Concorde

As you leave the Louvre you will come face to face with 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 aim was to create a green leisure area for the royal family and the nobility.

Le Place de la Concorde, for its part, is the site of one of the most important historical milestones for France and the world: the abolition of the monarchy during the French Revolution. It was here that the French nobles of the time were executed, including King Louis XVI and later Queen Marie Antoinette.

  • Opening hours: From 7.30 am to 7.30 pm.
  • Admission fee: Free access
  • Duration of visit: 30-40 minute walk through the gardens.

Walk along the Champs Elysées Avenue

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

Take a stroll along the Avenue des Champs Elysées, spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the beautiful cafés and spectacular shops. 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 walk along the Champs-Elysées you will come across one of the city's most famous icons: the Arc de Triomphe de Paris, commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte himself.

As well as 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 Elysées and the beautiful city of Paris. Without a doubt one of the most perfect views you will ever have the opportunity to admire. Access to the interior costs approximately €9. Don't forget to admire the giant statues that make up the outer walls of the arch, and visit the Tomb of the Anonymous Soldier at its base.

  • Opening hours: From 10am to 11pm.
  • Entry fee: Free admission to the square. Admission to the museum costs approximately €13.
  • Duration of the visit: Approximately 45 to 1.30 minutes.

Visit the best bars in the 8th arrondissement

If you have any energy left, make the most of your evening in the 8th arrondissement of Paris by visiting 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 many bistros, I recommend you don't leave Paris without visiting the Latin Quarter, home to Paris' most prestigious centres of higher learning such as the University of Paris itself and the Sorbonne.

You can hire a guided tour of the Latin Quarter where small groups are usually managed and take you 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 in Paris where the remains of Victor Hugo and Voltaire lie
  • The Luxembourg Gardens
  • Shakespeare & Co and many more.

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 forms part of the Musée d'Orsay's permanent exhibition.

Starting from the Latin Quarter 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's also an opportunity to stop for lunch at some of the eateries overlooking the Seine that you'll find along the way.

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

  • Opening hours: From 9.30am to 6pm
  • 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 district 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, another spectacular sight to remember forever.

The best way to get to Sacre Coeur from the Musée d'Orsay is to use the Metro. You'll walk from the museum to the Assemblée Nationale terminal, where you'll take line 12 and get off at the Abbesses terminal. From there it is an approximately 8 minute walk up the hill to Sacre-Coeur.

  • Opening times: the basilica is available for visits from 6am. Access to the dome is from 9am until 8.30pm, with variations in certain months.
  • Entry fee: Free admission.
  • Duration of the visit: Allow 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 entertainment, fun and good food at the Moulin Rouge. Known in its early days as a centre of questionable reputation, today it is home to some of Paris' most iconic night-time entertainment. 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 in Sacre-Coeur you will be very close to this establishment, a 15-minute walk or less. Walk down the hill to boulevard Marguerite de Rochechouart, turn left and go straight ahead until you find the unmistakable establishment.

  • Opening hours: If you are attending the dinner with show, the service is available from 5pm and you will get privileged seats with a great view 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 visit: A show on average will take 1.5 hours or more.

Book tickets for the Moulin Rouge