Paris is a magnificent, gigantic city and one of the most visited destinations in Europe and the world, which is why the tourist and cultural offerings can be overwhelming. If you don't know where to start planning your trip to Paris, here is a detailed guide with an itinerary covering seven full days. It will serve as a starting point for finding out what to see and do in Paris and planning the perfect holiday in the French capital.
In a week's tour of Paris you will have the opportunity to visit the main tourist attractions of the city and the surrounding area; in addition you will discover the most charming neighbourhoods.
Day 1: Visit the most emblematic monuments of Paris
Morning walking and shopping on the Champs Elysees
Start your first day in Paris by walking along what is considered one of the most beautiful avenues in the world: Les Champs Elysees. At 1.9 kilometres long, it is considered one of the most important avenues in Paris and 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:
- Parisian restaurants and cafes: Café Di Roma, Fouquet's, Ladurée.
- 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 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€ and from this LAST point you get a magnificent view of Paris but mainly of the Champs Elysées.
If you don't want to go to 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.
- 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.
Lunch at the Eiffel Tower
Time to visit the Parisian icon par excellence. With this tour, you will arrive at the Eiffel Tower at lunchtime and if you book at the luxurious Eiffel Tower restaurant 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, so don't leave without taking some nice pictures of the city!
- 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 use the lifts.
- Duration of the visit: set aside approximately 1.5 hours to visit the first 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 Trocadero Square, where you can pay a visit to the Warsaw fountain, the main attraction is its gigantic fountain composed of a mirror of water and 12 sculptural fountains spouting jets up to 164 feet high.
I also recommend stopping at 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.
- Opening 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 lasts 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: See Quartier Latin, museums and cruises
Tour of 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 visits to major sights such as: the Pantheon of Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg, Shakespeare & Co, the Sorbonne de Paris and much more.
If you are an art and painting lover 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 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 9.30am to 6.00pm
- Admission fee: Approximately 16€.
- Duration of visit: You should book between 2 to 4 hours.
Seine River Sunset Cruise
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 tourist highlights offer a dramatic light show that can be enjoyed on a tour of the Seine waters; you'll see the lights of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral and more. Additionally, you can book a dinner reservation on the Seine River cruise and enjoy the spectacle while savouring a delicious Parisian meal.
Day 3: See the city of Versailles
Enjoy a trip to the Palace of Versailles
Versailles is a town just outside Paris, world famous for the Palace of Versailles and its fabulous Versailles Gardens. The trip from the French capital is a quick one-hour drive, so the rest of the day can be spent exploring the beauty of the interior of the Palace of Versailles and the surrounding area.
The Palace of Versailles was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and is one of Europe's most popular attractions. It was built in 1623 and transformed and enlarged by Louis XIV. Until the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution, the palace was the King's main home.
The richly decorated Rococo-style interiors, the perfectly preserved structure despite the years, and the majestic exterior gardens covering an area of 2,000 acres, are particularly impressive. A trip to Versailles from Paris is the best way to see the Palace.
Day 4: Spend the day in Quartier Le Marais
Day four of your seven-day itinerary in the French capital can be devoted to getting to know the Quartier Le Marais, located in the city's 3rd and 4th arrondissements.
See the Place de la Bastille
After having a coffee in one of the many establishments 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 symbolised the power of the French royalty, which is why it was taken over by an armed mob of Parisians during the early days of the Revolution.
See the Place des Vosges and the house of Victor Hugo
The Place des Vosges is another of the oldest squares in Paris, as well as one of the most beautiful and also a favourite of Parisians living in Le Marais.
Located just 5 minutes from the Place de la Bastille, visitors stroll under the arches and paths and sunbathe in the gardens on spring days. The shops, boutiques and cafés in red brick add 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 10am to 6pm.
- Admission fee: The museum's permanent collection 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 centre for research into the life and work of the Spanish artist. The tour through the museum usually takes about 2 hours in total.
- Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday the entrance hours are from 10 am to 6 pm.
- Admission fee: from €40 for an adult ticket.
- Duration of the visit: Approximately one hour for the interior tour.
Visit the Pompidou arts centre
Finish your tour of Le Marais with a visit to the Pompidou Centre. It is open to the public every working day of the week from 11am to 11pm. The building itself is a work of art and one of the most important architectural landmarks of our era.
The centre offers its visitors 6 different collections: a modern art collection, a contemporary art collection, an art photography collection, the design collection, and the New media collection.
- Opening hours: from 11 am to 9 pm. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
- Admission fee: adult general admission tickets cost approximately €18.
- Duration of visit: Allow approximately two hours to tour the museum, appreciate the architecture and view the exhibitions.
Day 5: The Maison Monet and Quartier Montmartre
Half day trip to Giverny and Monet 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 20th century set up their residences and art studios. Claude Monet's residence displays a love of the beauty of nature and features a lush garden covered with purple lilies under large shady trees.
- Opening hours: from 9.30 am to 6 pm.
- Admission fee: Admission for adults starts at €9,50.
- Duration of the visit: a tour from Paris will take at least 5 hours including the return trip.
This jewel of French architecture exhibits a Roman-Byzantine style. Perched imposingly on a hill in the Montmartre district of the 18th arrondissement, the basilica overlooks the whole of Paris from a privileged location.
Sacre Coeur is considered one of 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 explore Montmartre at your leisure. Its dome stands 83 metres high and can be reached by climbing a 300-step staircase.
- Opening hours: the basilica is open for visits from 6am. Access to the dome is from 9 am to 8.30 pm, with variations in certain months.
- Admission fee: free of charge.
- Duration of the visit: allow 45 minutes to visit both the dome and the crypt of Sacré Coeur.
Dali Museum in Paris
Just 5 minutes from Montmartre is the Dali Museum or Espace Dali in Paris, a must for anyone who admires the work of this eccentric artist or is 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.
- 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, so you can do the whole tour in about an hour or less.
Place de Montmartre
Close to the Dalí museum is the Place du Tertre, one of the most important meeting points in the 18th arrondissement. This is where Parisians go to shop, hang out and have a coffee with friends. If you want to see a bit of the real Parisian day with a much less touristy approach, you'll love this place!
This space once 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.
- Opening hours: from 10am to 8pm.
- Entry fee: free, the square is open to the public.
- Length of visit: you can spend as much time as you like, you'll find plenty of activities to do and cafes to grab a bite to eat.
Day 6: Enjoy the French Gothic 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 in the middle of the Seine where you will find some of the most important buildings of Paris's Gothic architecture:
- Notre Dame Cathedral: closed to the public since the fire of 2019 it can only be seen from the square.
- La Sainte Chapelle: has the largest collection of 13th century stained glass windows on the planet.
- La Conciergerie: a 14th century palace that was later converted into a prison and was the place where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned until her death by guillotine.
The tour to appreciate the interiors will take you about 30 minutes. Entry costs from €11.50 and the Saint Chapelle is open to the public from 9am to 5pm. Touring 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 queues 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 works including: 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.
- Opening 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 of art you should allow at least two hours for your visit.
Day 7: Explore beyond Paris
Full day tour of the Loire Châteaux
Award-winning vineyards, fairy-tale castles, stunning landscapes and UNESCO World Heritage Sites... The Loire Valley is one of the most enchanting regions in all of France and a destination not to be missed if you're in the French capital for a few days.
Tours depart daily from Paris to take tourists and locals to the Valley for a day of exploring and return to the capital in the evening. Although the itinerary can vary greatly depending on which tour you choose. The most popular castles to visit on a trip to the Loire Valley are:
- Chenonceau (Château de Chenonceau)
- Castle of Cheverny (Château de Cheverny)
- Château de Chambord (Château de Chambord)
Don't forget to wear comfortable walking shoes, dress for the weather and charge your camera batteries, but above all, enjoy yourself!