Day 1: All Around the Eiffel Tower
Channel your inner ‘Emily in Paris’ and start your day with a delicious coffee and freshly baked croissant at a boulangerie near your accommodation. Practice your French, and enjoy the satisfaction of those perfect warm layers of pastry!
1. Arc de Triomphe
Start by taking the subway (1.90 EUR) to station ‘Charles de Gaulle – Etoile’. From here, walk to the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most iconic sights on any trip to Paris. The huge square arch sits at the western end of the famous road, ‘Champs-Elysees’, a wide avenue that’s been featured in many famous movies.
Completed in 1836, the monument honors the armies of the revolution and the empire, with beautiful carvings on the stone. There is a small museum inside the structure walls, which tells you a bit about the history of the Arc de Triomphe, plus interesting historical photos.
Best of all, you can climb to the top! Nearly 300 stairs later, you’ll find a viewing platform with spectacular views over the city. At sunset, you’ll get beautiful colors in the sky, and at night you can watch Paris live up to its name as ‘the city of lights’. You can even see the Eiffel Tower lights; it’s covered in 20,000 bulbs!
Hotels near the Arc de Triomphe
2. Laduree Macarons
Beautiful colored meringues, filled with a variety of flavorsome filling; macarons are synonymous with France! Laduree is one of the most beautiful and famous shops in Paris, with shops all around the city.
One of the most elegant is on the Champs Elysees, just a 10-minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe. Sit in and enjoy the neoclassical style interiors, as if you have gone back in time to dine on rainbow-colored macarons with Marie Antoinette.
Alternatively, you can choose your flavors and have them boxed up to take away. These make a delicious gift from your trip to Paris! See the location.
3. Pont Alexandre III
One of the most wonderful things about Paris is its two sides separated by the beautiful River Seine. And where there’s a river, you’ll always find some interesting bridges! Head towards the Seine (about 15 minutes from Laduree) to see one of the most beautiful bridges in all of Paris: Pont Alexandre III.
This is a very important bridge, known for its central location and amazing architecture. On the bridge, you’ll find numerous pillars topped with gold-winged horses. Plus, the bridge is lined with old-fashioned lamps, making it a particularly romantic place to walk at night as you cross the bridge looking onto the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais.
Tip: Want to explore more of the Seine? Spend a few hours walking along its banks or take a boat tour. Boat tours are a great way to learn about Paris and see it from a totally different perspective! If history tours aren’t really your thing, there are plenty of other options, such as food or wine cruises.
4. Musee d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay is 10 minutes from the Pont Alexandre III. Cross the bridge and follow the arty boulevard to discover the memorable art museum.
The long building, which was once a station, is impressive on the outside. However, the interior is truly breathtaking! Discover a vast open space with an arched glass roof covering incredible collections of artwork. Whether you like traditional art or modern, you’ll find something to enjoy in the Musee d’Orsay.
No trip to Paris is complete without visiting this spectacular monument. You can find your way to the Eiffel Tower from the museum by following the skyline. As you go, grab a delicious lunch nearby or buy a baguette from the bakery and make your own picnic to eat under the tower.
Simply marveling at the Eiffel Tower from below is an experience itself. Wander around the structure, gaining a view from all angles, or head to the stairs in front of the Jardins du Trocadero to get some fantastic photos and unobstructed view onto the Eiffel Tower.
Tip: If you want to take photos of the Eiffel Tower, we recommend arriving at sunrise to get the best shot. After 9 AM, the area becomes very crowded with people. This is the most touristy area in all of Paris!
Climbing to the Top of the Eiffel Tower
Visiting the top of the tower is a little more expensive, but a great idea if you want to have a unique experience and get some excellent views on your trip to Paris.
You’ll find the beginning of these fantastic Parisian views on the first floor with the added exhilaration of a transparent glass-bottomed floor to look down from.
On the second floor, as you get higher and higher, you’ll have access to Michelin star restaurants, shops, and even a macaron counter to eat your treats from this remarkable location.
The very top is the most sensational of all, as you stand 276 meters up above Paris with only the tip of the tower and the sky above you. Grab a glass of champagne to toast the moment!
The ticket price is dependent on what you want to see. Most tickets include the use of the glass-walled lift. For example, a lift ticket up to the second floor is 17.10 EUR, and a ticket to the top is 26.80 EUR. If you don’t mind taking the stairs, cheaper tickets are available.
It gets very busy, so we recommend buying tickets online.
Every day from 9.30 AM – 10.45 PM.
Note: Maintenance work is carried out every year on the top from Jan 3 to Feb 4 (during this time, you can only access the first and second floors with stairs).
Hotels near the Eiffel Tower
Day 2: Montmartre (Best to do in Paris)
Montmarte is the prettiest area in all of Paris. What was once a tiny village on the hill, separated from the city, now forms the 18th district of Paris.
It used to be popular with artists, musicians, and poets who came here to paint and write, inspired by the beautiful Parisian scenery. It also went through a famous period of cabarets, brothels, and underground nightlife, known mainly for the Moulin Rouge.
These days, it keeps its beautiful village atmosphere and is a great place to stay when you visit Paris.
6. Basilica Sacre-Coeur
The Basilica Sacre-Coeur is the icon of Montmartre, a stunning white church that sits on the very top of the hill looking over Paris. Climb up the steep cobbled streets and zig-zagged blocks of stairs to reach the gardens below the church, where you’ll be met with views of the impressive three-domed church, which looks more like a palace!
You can access the central dome by climbing 300 steps to the top, where you’ll find even greater panoramic views of Paris.
Tip: Make sure to be here at 8 AM or earlier to avoid the massive groups of tourists.
7. Paris’ Prettiest Street (Rue de l’Abreuvoir)
Rue de l’Abreuvoir is known as ‘the prettiest street in Paris’, located on the charming hills of Montmartre. You could easily spend a morning walking around the area, getting lost down the streets, and taking photos of the beautiful houses and doorways.
However, visiting Rue de l‘Abreuvoir is an absolute must on your trip to Paris! This street is also one of the oldest, first mentioned in 1325, and home to ancient houses which date back to the 1930s.
The most famous house on Rue de l’Abreuvoir is ‘La Maison Rose’ (the pink house). This gorgeous pink house, with green shutters, and a blanket of ivy behind it, is a famous cafe that used to be visited by many renowned writers, poets, and artists. Picasso even used to hang out at this very spot!
Hotels in Montmartre
8. See the Moulin Rouge
Wander down the hill towards the Pigalle neighborhood, where you’ll find lots of picturesque spots and, of course, the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Montmartre was once known for its many windmills sat on the hill here, one of which was home to the Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill) during the neighborhood’s time of underground nightlife and debauchery.
It was a famous time between the two world wars when people from all walks of life would gather to watch dancing, singing, and acrobatics.
These days you can still watch the Moulin Rouge show here, but you’ll need to book months in advance as it’s one of the most popular things to do in Paris.
Day 3: Notre Dame, Louvre and more
Get up and prepare yourself for a busy day of sightseeing on your trip to Paris! Day 3 is all about soaking up the unique Parisian culture, whether art, literature, or music.
9. Notre Dame Cathedral
Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral as early as possible to really observe the beauty without the crowds. If you can arrive before 8 AM, the sun is still behind the cathedral, and the square in front is almost empty.
This breathtaking religious building is another icon of Paris and a must-see on your Paris trip, mainly as it’s one of the oldest gothic cathedrals in the world (built between 1163 and 1245)! Admire the fascinating gargoyles, the gothic features, and climb the 422 steps to the top of the cathedral tower for magical views over the center of Paris.
Note: Since the 2019 fire that consumed Notre Dame Cathedral, the majority of the cathedral is still closed for repairs. You can, however, still visit the cathedral square and look onto the Notre Dame (be aware there is a lot of scaffolding covering the facade), and you can visit the crypt.
It’s still worth wandering around the parameters of Notre Dame, if not just to be close to this incredible icon of history in Paris. Hidden in a side street nearby is a beautiful little cafe called Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole. Stop here for a photo and a morning coffee before continuing your day.
10. Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
Shakespeare and Company Bookstore might not look like much from the outside, but enter, and you’ll find a world of hidden treasures! Books are piled up from floor to ceiling, and great literature covers almost every surface. If you’re a book lover, this is a must-do on your trip to Paris. You can even enjoy a coffee and a cake here while you peruse the pages of ancient novels!
How to get there: Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie. To get there, cross the bridge on the side of Notre Dame.
11. Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is one of the most famous in the entire world! It’s known for housing the Mona Lisa and its unique triangular shape. Watch people of all ages outside trying to get the typical ‘Louvre’ photo and positioning the triangle in their hands (think Leaning Tower of Pisa style!).
From Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, you can each the Louvre within 15 minutes walking. Because of the museum’s popularity, buying tickets online in advance is recommended. If you don’t feel like going into the museum, you can relax or take photos at the square or nearby park.
Opening times and entry fee: 9 AM – 6 PM every day (closed on Tuesdays). 17 EUR for tickets purchased online.
Hotels near the Louvre Museum
Paris Guide: Things to do near the Louvre Museum
Alternatively, start your walk through the oldest park in Paris: Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden). It extends from the Louvre all the way to Place de la Concorde. The Jardin Tuileries is a large public park with fountains, chairs, and grass to relax. Throughout the garden, you will find various art like statues and a smaller version of the Arc de Triomphe.
From the Louvre, hop on the metro towards Gare de Lyon. From here, it’s a 5-minute walk to Rue Cremieux, one of the most fantastic, colorful streets in Paris! This sweet cobbled street is bordered by rainbow-colored Parisian houses, flowers, and bikes and is a lovely place to grab some photos on your trip to Paris.
12. Le Marais
Spend the rest of your day in the trendy neighborhood: Le Marais. You can find everything you could possibly need in this beautiful little medieval neighborhood, whether it’s trendy vintage shops and restaurants, luxurious squares, or ancient, narrow medieval streets that could be straight from a novel.
On your walk, take a look inside the concept stores ‘Merci’ and ‘Papier Tigre’, or get a delicious dinner at restaurants like ‘Ober Mamma’ (Italian) or ‘PNY’ (burgers).
Please Note: This Paris guide excludes the arrival day. Due to all the possible arrival options and travel times, it’s best to add this yourself.
Hotels in Le Marais
Best Cafes and Restaurants in Paris
France has one of the most internationally famous cuisines, and Paris is a hub for the most renowned restaurants and chefs worldwide. That being said, there is a way to eat for all kinds of budgets. Whether it’s Michelin-star restaurants, quirky hidden cafes, or great takeout food, there’s something for everyone! Some of our favorites were:
- Mastino (Italian)
- Scandle (Eco cafe)
- Holybelly 5 (Brunch)
- La Cantine de Sam (Delicious vegetarian food)
- Zia (Brunch)
- Pink Mamma (Italian)
Where to Stay in Paris
The best area to stay in Paris is Le Marais if you want access to everything right on your doorstep. You’ll be in the middle of trendy restaurants and shops and can walk or take the metro to most sights. However, most accommodations won’t go below €80 a night, so it might be worth searching in other areas nearby too.
Alternatively, find a hotel in Montmartre just outside the city centre but full of character and charming streets and cheaper accommodation in general. Finally, stay in Saint Germain if you prefer to stay close to many restaurants and the main attractions.
Hotels in Le Marais
Hotels in Montmartre
How to visit Paris
Paris has an international airport with flights arriving from all over the world. From the airport, it’s easy to take the metro directly into the center.
Getting around Paris
The Paris metro has over 300 stations and is one of the oldest in the world. Getting around Paris is super easy if you use Google Maps or ‘City Mapper’. City Mapper is ideal as it will tell you exactly which line you should take and in what direction. It also offers you combinations of bus, tram, and metro depending on what’s easiest.
A single ride with the subway costs 1.90 EUR, which takes you to hundreds of metro steps throughout Paris. Buying a pack of 10 or 20 subway tickets gets even cheaper per ride.
You can also buy a 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, or 5-day pass. If you follow this guide, you will need a 3-day pass for zone 1-3. The price for this exact pass is 29,40 EUR per person (2022).
How much does Paris cost?
Paris can be visited on a budget if you’re happy to stay in cheaper accommodation, for example, apartments a little further out the center or hostels. Consider renting an apartment on Booking.com with a kitchen so you can do a supermarket shop on your first day and prepare some meals at home to save on eating out in Paris. The following prices are at cafes and restaurants per person per day:
- Hotel: 60 – 200 USD / night
- Hostel: 8 – 50 USD / night
- Food: 40 – 80 USD / day
- Transport: 12 USD / day
- Coffee: 2 – 5 USD
Best Time to visit Paris
Paris is beautiful all year round! The summer months are the warmest and, therefore, the busiest. Christmas is also the peak season when people enjoy the cold temperatures and festive Christmas lights. For that reason, visiting in the spring or September is a perfect time. During these months, enjoy mild weather, days of sunshine, and slightly quieter streets.