I hear you! Planning a trip to Paris can be tricky; full of attractions, cafes and sights around every corner, prioritising becomes an impossible mission. However, the key to a successful trip to Paris lies in organisation 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've put together a five-day itinerary to help you plan the perfect trip to Paris. Find out what to do and see during your stay in Paris.
Day 1: Cathedrals, Museums, Gardens and Cruises.
Visit L'île de la cité
In the middle of the river that divides the Parisian capital in two, 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 starting the first day of your trip here. The monuments you will see on the tours that take you around the Île de la Cité are:
Notre-Dame de ParisFamous the world over, Notre-Dame de Paris is a Parisian icon in its own right. This jewel of early 12th century Gothic architecture is one of the most loved monuments by Parisians and travellers from all over the world.
Sainte-Chapelle Built between 1238 and 1248, it is another masterpiece of French Gothic architecture, famous the world over for its collection of 13th century stained glass windows. The largest in the world.
La ConciergerieAncient Gothic building which served for a time as the king's home before being converted into a prison.
- Opening hours: From 9am to 5pm
- Admission fee: The ticket price starts at 11,50€.
- Duration of visit: The tour inside Sainte-Chapelle to appreciate the interiors will take about 30 minutes.
Tour of the Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is nowadays 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 halls. Original works of art such as: La Gioconda, La Venus de Milo and Artemis of Gabios can be found in its halls.
If you're wondering how much time to dedicate to the Louvre Museum, 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 entrance to the Louvre so you avoid queuing to get in.
- 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 will need to set aside at least two hours for the tour.
Jardin des Tuileries and afternoon of shopping
Leaving the Louvre behind you will come across the Tuileries Garden, one of the most beautiful and extensive gardens in 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 marshland. 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 via the Place de la Concorde to spend a few hours shopping in Paris.
- Opening hours: From 7.30am to 7.30pm.
- Entry fee: Free admission
- Duration of visit: Schedule a 30-40 minute walk through the gardens.
Night cruise along the Seine canals
End your first day in Paris on a high note by taking a cruise on the waters of the Se ine. This magical ride will take you past the most popular Parisian landmarks 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 colour and brilliance that you are sure to enjoy.
Day 2: Palaces, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe
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 long the official home of the royal family.
Tours to Versailles depart daily from Paris. Most of them include, in addition to transport to and from Paris, a fast-track entrance to the Palace and a guide who accompanies the group at all times.
- Opening hours: Open to the public from 9am to 5.30pm.
- Admission fee: For adults, the entrance ticket to the Palace of Versalle costs around €27.
- Duration of the visit: From Paris the trip will take at least 6 hours including return to the city and tour of the Palace.
The Eiffel Tower and Trocadero Square
After your visit to the Palace of Versailles, and a hearty Parisian lunch, take the rest of the afternoon to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and then stroll around the Place de Trocadero.
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 either going up to the first floor to enjoy the terrace or taking the full walk 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 sun to set over Paris and take spectacular photographs.
To avoid queues and to ensure quick access to the Eiffel Tower I recommend buying your tickets in advance.
Trocadero SquareMake your way back to the ground and head down to take beautiful photos ofthe Tower, the fountain and the Trocadero Gardens.
- Opening hours: The Eiffel Tower is open from 9.30am to 11.45pm.
- 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.
Paris Night Tour
Take an evening stroll along the **main avenues of Paris,**window-shopping in the most prestigious haute couture boutiques, admiring some of Paris' most elegant restaurants or establishments.
From Place du Trocadéro to the Arc de Triomphe you will find yourself on a 30-minute walk along the beautiful Avenue Kléber.
The Champs Elysées, 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-kilometre route usually takes about 30 minutes without stops.
Day 3: Le Latin Quarter and Le Musée d'Orsay
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 theatres.
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 main points of interest, 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 Jardin du Luxembourg
- Visit the Jardin des Plantes
- Tour of the Sorbonne in Paris
Visit the Musée d'Orsay
For a cultural afternoon you can take a trip to the Musée d'Orsay. Famous for housing one of the richest collections of contemporary and impressionist art in the world, the museum is usually very popular with tourists. 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 buy tickets in advance.
From your starting point in the Latin Quarter take the Seine Riviera in a north-westerly direction; it will take you approximately 30 minutes to walk along the river. Alternatively, take Metro line 87 from Notre-Dame -Quai de Montebello terminus to Henry de Montherlant station.
- Opening hours: From 9.30am to 11.45pm.
- Entry fee: From 10,7 € the price increases if you want to go up 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 climb to the top.
Have an aperitif French style
End your day of culture and art with an aperitif in true French style; translated as aperitif, it is a French ritual that often combines wine with homemade charcuterie. Many Parisian wine bars offer this type of dining experience, so you can sit down to enjoy a good bottle of wine, cheese and other snacks.
Day 4: Historic cemeteries, catacombs and markets
Start at Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey
You can start your day by visiting what, in its heyday, was a famous centre for 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.
- 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.
Have lunch and mingle with Parisians on 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 will find all kinds of restaurants, cafés, bakeries and speciality shops.
From your location in Saint-Germain-des-Prés embark on a tour to get to know 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: 9am-7pm Tuesday to Sunday with a break on Mondays.
- Entry fee: It is a free street market and open to the public.
- Length of visit: Depends on what you want to do and whether you stop for lunch or coffee. Estimate 30 minutes to see the stalls and walk around the market.
Pay a visit to Montparnasse Cemetery
From 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 the beautiful tombs adorned with fantastic sculptures.
Montparnasse is home to the remains of important figures in history, music, literature and art, such as Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Samuel Beckett and Maria Montez.
- Opening hours: From 8 am to 5.30 pm or 6 pm depending on the season.
- Entry fee: Free admission.
- Duration of the visit: If you have a map of Montparnasse with you 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 Paris. According to records, the cavernous tunnels in the Parisian soil contain the bones of over 6 million people; part of these tunnels have been converted and opened to the public for a tour that looks at the bloodthirsty side of the city's history.
- Opening hours: Tours start at 10am, the Catacombs close at 8.30pm.
- Entry fee: The entrance fee to the Catacombs starts at €29 for an adult ticket.
- Duration of visit: The two-kilometre route will take about an hour to complete.
Day 5: Le Marais, Picasso and Dali.
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 renowned 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 neighbourhood.
You can then wander around some of the prestigious museums in the area. My personal favourites include.George Pompidou Museum Exhibitions of contemporary art, it's worth going to see at least the exterior of the building and its quirky architecture.Picasso Museum - Paris Housed in a beautiful private mansion it has a collection of 5,000 works of art by Picasso and many elements of the artist's life.Carnavalet Museum Housed in another private mansion, this museum exhibits the history of Paris from the 16th and 17th century approach.
Visit the Dali Museum
After spending the morning exploring Le Marais, I recommend taking a trip to the 18th arrondissement to explore Montmartre. You can make the journey by metro but I personally recommend taking a taxi to enjoy the luxury of the northern streets of Paris.
Also known as the Espace Dalí, this is a very peculiar space that I recommend to lovers of surrealism or those who are curious about Dalí and his work. In its installations 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".
- Opening hours: From 10 am to 6 pm.
- Admission fee: The entrance ticket costs from €13 for adults.
- Duration of the visit: It is a small museum, you can do the whole tour in about an hour or less.
Tour of the Place de Montmartre
In the vicinity of the Dali Museum in Paris is the Place du Tertre; the most important meeting point in all of Montmartre where locals gather to dine, shop and stroll.
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 Monet and 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.
- Opening hours: From 10am to 8pm.
- Entry fee: Free, the square is open to the public.
- Length of visit: You can spend as long as you like, you'll find plenty of activities to do and cafes to grab a bite to eat.
Watch the sunset at Sacre Coeur
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.
Roman-Byzantine in 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 metres from the ground and visitors can climb 300 steps to access it.
I recommend getting to the Sacre-Coeur in plenty of time to climb up and watch the sunset over Paris. With a breathtaking view, it's one of the most beautiful experiences you'll have in Montmartre and the perfect way to end your five-day adventure in the City of Light.
- Opening hours: 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.
- Length of visit: Allow 45 minutes to visit both the dome and the crypt of Sacré Coeur.