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 is.

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 is a breeze.

There is so much to see and do in Paris, that's why I'm sharing 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

Enjoying the sunrise at the Place Trocadero

Trocadero Square is, without a doubt, one of the best places in all of Paris to watch 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.

Hike 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 9.30 am to 11.45 pm.
  • Entry fee: From €10.7 the price increases if you want to climb to the top and if you want to use the lifts.
  • Length 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

A lunchtime cruise on the Seine allows you to enjoy excellent French cuisine while experiencing French architectural gems such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and much more from a distance.

This 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 4 to 5 hours depending on the company you hire and their itinerary of sights.

Book a Seine River Cruise

Paris Sightseeing Bus

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

When you first go to a new city, one way to get acquainted quickly is to take a tour on one of the Paris sightseeing buses. Taking into consideration all the activities and sights 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.

  • Timetable: This type of service is usually available from 9.30am to 5pm. 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 of the Le Maries neighbourhood

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 on 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 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 was 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 paying 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 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
  • Ticket price: 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.

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 take you to the Louvre's most famous and culturally interesting works.

  • Opening hours: From 9am to 6pm.
  • 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 for the tour.

Book your ticket for the Louvre Museum

Tour 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 objective 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 admission
  • Duration of the visit: Schedule a 30-40 minute walk through the gardens.

Walk along the Champs Elysées Avenue

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

Take a stroll along the Avenue des Champs Elysées, spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the beautiful cafes 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 over 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 climb 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 visit: Approximately 45 to 1.30 minutes.

Visit the best bars in the 8th arrondissement

If you have any energy left, take advantage of your night out 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 many bistros, I recommend you don't leave Paris without first seeing the Latin Quarter, home to Paris' most prestigious centres of higher learning such as the University of Paris itself and the Sorbonne.

You can book 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 are buried
  • 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 is also an opportunity to stop for lunch at one of the many eateries overlooking the Seine 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 modern masters and impressionists 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 9.30 am to 6 pm
  • Ticket price: Approximately 16€.
  • Length of visit: You should book between 2 to 4 hours.

Walk across 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's about an 8-minute walk up the hill to Sacre-Coeur.

  • Opening hours: the basilica is open 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 Coeur

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 centre of questionable reputation, today it is home to some of Paris's most iconic nightly shows. The dancers at the Moulin Rou ge 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 tickets sell out quickly at peak times.

From your location in Sacre-Coeur you will be within walking distance of the Moulin Rouge, 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 times: If you are attending the dinner and 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