12 Best Things To Do in Paris: The Ultimate 3-day Trip 12 Best Things To Do in Paris: The Ultimate 3-day Trip

12 Best Things To Do in Paris: The Ultimate 3-day Trip

Paris: named ‘the city of love’ by the greatest poets, writers, actors, and musicians who found inspiration in the beauty of this mesmerizing city. Whitestone townhouses ooze luxury, the smell of freshly baked croissants drifts through the air, and flowers hang at the sides of cobbled streets. Take a trip to Paris, France, for 2-4 days, spending your days visiting attractions, trendy neighborhoods, and delicious restaurants. Use this Paris guide to plan your trip to one of Europe’s best cities.

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!

paris best view eiffel tower

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.

best things to do paris Arc de Triomphe

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. 

Arc de Triomphe paris

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.

paris Macarons

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.

paris city trip River Seine

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.

paris River Seine

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 a dinner cruise

things to do paris seine

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.

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12 Best Things To Do in Paris: The Ultimate 3-day Trip

5. Eiffel Tower – A must-do in Paris

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic monuments globally, up there with the likes of the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is an icon of Paris (and France!), towering above the city by day and lighting it up at night. 

paris city trip eiffel tower

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. 

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paris best things to do

Simply marveling at the Eiffel Tower from below is an experience in 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 an unobstructed view of 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!

eiffel tower sunset

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.

paris city trip guide eiffel tower view

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.

Opening Times

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)

Montmartre 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.

paris montmartre best photo spots

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.

paris things to do

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!

paris montmartre sacre coeur

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.

things to do in paris most beautiful street

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. 

paris montmartre le maison rose cafe

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!

paris most beautiful street

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 that 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.

things to do paris moulin rouge

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.

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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.

paris things to do notre dame

This breathtaking religious building is another icon of Paris and a must-see on your Paris trip, mainly because it’s one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in the world (built between 1163 and 1245)! Admire the fascinating gargoyles and 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 at 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. 

paris city trip beautiful cafe

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 reach the Louvre within 15 minutes of 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.

paris things to do louvre museum

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. 

paris best things to do Rue Cremieux

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.

paris travel guide pigalle basketball court
Update 2023: Unfortunately, this field has been redesigned, and it lost its beautiful design.

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.

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.

best things to do paris france

Alternatively, find a hotel in Montmartre just outside the city center 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.

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. 

Find flights to Paris ✈️

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.

paris city trip guide transportation

With the Navigo Easy pass, you can easily travel by metro. You purchase this at the station once and you can then always recharge it. For example, if you buy a package of 10 rides, you pay 14.90.

You can also purchase a 1-day, 2-day, 3-day or 5-day pass. If you follow this guide, you will need a 3-day pass for zones 1-3. The price for this exact pass is 33.90 euros per person (2023).

paris street aesthetic

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 of 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:

Costs of Traveling in Paris

Travel on a budget in Paris, from $430 − $530 USD weekly per person, mid-range $1080 − $1950 USD, and high-end from $1860 − $2650 USD. However, costs depend on factors like accommodation, transportation, and activities. We did not include flights. Check flight prices here

* Average daily costs
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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.

07/05/2024 https://www.saltinourhair.com/france/paris-travel-guide/
Blog comments (16)

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  • Michael McCarthy

    A quick Paris trip for us started with a hotel near the Eiffel Tower, we discovered that everything starts at the tower. Even the Bus from Charles de Gaulle airport goes to the Eiffel Tower.

    • Salt in our Hair

      The Eiffel tower is definitely the heart and soul of Paris!

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