WHAT TO DO IN PARIS IN 3 DAYS?
Is it possible to visit Paris in 3 days?
The answer to this question depends on the type of visit you have in mind.
If you don’t mind walking long distances and you want a general overview of the city, then 3 days are absolutely fine.
So get some energy and follow my itinerary suggestion for your visit to Paris in 3 days!
Let’s start from your arrival at the airport.
HOW TO GET FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CITY.
HOW TO GET FROM CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT TO PARIS.
Getting to the city centre from Charles de Gaulle Airport is super easy.
You just need to get the RER line B (Blue) direction Paris, and you will get to metro stations like Gare du Nord, Châtelet Les Halles, Saint-Michel Notre Dame, Luxembourg.
The ticket will cost €10,30.
HOW TO GET FROM ORLY AIRPORT TO PARIS.
Getting to Paris from Orly is as simple as from Charles de Gaulle.
From Orly Sud and Orly Ouest you need to get the Orlyval (the airport shuttle) to Antony, which is a train station served by the RER line B (Blue).
Once in Antony get the RER line B direction Charles de Gaulle.
The combined ticket (Orlyval + RER) is €12,05.
THE METRO SYSTEM IN PARIS.
The Metro system in Paris is amazing. The metro stations are everywhere in the city!
Click on this link to download the Metro and RER map:
A useful app that you can download on your phone is “Paris Metro“.
A single ticket for zone 1 (which covers all the highlights of the city) costs €1.90.
The best option if you are visiting Paris in 3 days is to get a carnet of 10 single tickets which costs €14.90.
Anyway if you feel more comfortable with a daily pass, this would cost €7,50 and will allow you to use unlimited travels in one day.
Alternatively there is also a 1,2,3 ou 5 jours pass that would cost €12 for one day, €19,50 for 2 days, €26,65 for 3 days, €38,35 for 4 and 5 days. But honestly I would recommend just the carnet of 10 single tickets.
And now that you know how to use the metro you are ready to explore this beautiful city!
DAY 1. MONTMARTRE, MARAIS, LATIN QUARTER AND TOUR EIFFEL.
VISIT MONTMARTRE AND THE SACRE COEUR.
Metro Station: Abesses
Sacre Coeur Opening hours:
- Every day 6:00 – 22:30
- Free entrance
Montmartre is the perfect start for your visit to Paris. On top of the hill you have a stunning view of the city and the neighborhood itself is lovely.
To get to Montmartre take the subway and get off at the metro station “Abbesses” on the line 12.
Once you exit the station, just follow the sign to Montmartre.
You have two options to get to the top of the hill: you can walk up the staircase (300 steps) or you can take the funicular.
Once you are on top the view is amazing. Take some pictures and then head to the Sacre Coeur.
The church is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is represented in the beautiful mosaic in the apse.
After visiting the church, walk to the iconic Place du Tertre. This square is famous for its artists that every day draw portraits of tourists.
Take a walk around this beautiful arrondissement before you get back to the metro station.
You can take now the metro at “Lamarck Caulaincourt” station.
WALK IN THE MARAIS.
Metro Station: Bastille
The Marais is the Parisians favourite district. The architectonic style of this neighborhood is unique and it feels like you are in a little village inside of a big city.
You can start your walk from Place de la Bastille, the symbol of the French Revolution, where the French crowd destroyed the Bastille in July 1789. Nowadays there are no remains of the prison.
At the centre of the square there is the July Column, dedicated to the Second French Revolution (1830).
At Place de la Bastille you can also see the modern Bastille Opera house.
From here walk towards Place des Vosges, the heart of the Marais.
This square is gorgeous. There is a beautiful garden surrounded by the King Pavillion and the Queen Pavillion and red bricks houses. It’s a peaceful place where you can relax for a bit.
From Place des Vosges, keep walking on Rue des Francs Bourgeois, turn left to Rue Pavée and turn right to Rue des Rosiers. This street is the heart of the Jewish district. You will see people lining up to get the best falafel in the city at “l’As du Falafel”.
WALK THROUGH ILE SAINT-LOUIS.
Metro Station: Pont Marie
In the Seine River there are two natural islands: Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint-Louis, connected to each other by the Pont Saint-Louis.
To go from the Rive Droite (the right bank of the Seine) to the Rive Gauche (the left bank) walk through Ile Saint-Louis.
In Ile Saint-Louis there are no big and famous attractions like its sister island, but it’s worth to walk through the little markets and cafés.
EXPLORE THE LATIN QUARTER.
Once you are at the left bank of the river, start exploring the lively Latin Quarter.
You can literally just get lost around the streets, but make sure not to miss the highlights of the district.
One of them is the Pantheon.
This beautiful building was originally built as a church, but now it’s a burial place for important French citizens like Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie and other “grands hommes”.
Pantheon Opening hours (Admission 45 min before closing time):
- January 2 – March 31: Every day 10:00 – 18:00
- April 1 – September 30: Every day 10:00 – 18:30
- October 1 – December 31: Every day 10:00 – 18:30
- Closing days: January 1, May 1, December 25
- Full price: €9
Just a few metres away you can see the Sorbonne, the University of Paris.
It’s the presence of the students that makes this area so animated.
Walk on Rue Soufflot and before you head to Saint Michel turn around and take a picture of the Pantheon from the distance.
Once you are at the Boulevard Saint Michel, walk to Place Saint Michel and see its fountain.
Metro Station: Saint-Michel Notre Dame
If you are hungry pick one of the many restaurants that you find in Rue de la Huchette. And if you’re craving for some Greek gyros, you are in the perfect place!
CLIMB THE TOUR EIFFEL.
Metro Station: Bir-Hakeim
Tour Eiffel Opening hours:
- Lift: Every day 9:30 – 23:45 (Last Entry 23:00; 22:30 for the top). Stairs: 9:30 – 18:30 (Last Entry 18:00)
- June 15 – September 1. Lift: Every day 9:30 – 00:45 (Last Entry 00:00; 23:00 for the top). Stairs: 9:00 – 00:45 (Last Entry 00:00)
- December 23 – December 30: Lift: Every day 9:30 – 00:30. Stairs: 8:30 – 17:30.
Tour Eiffel Prices:
- Lift to the Second Floor: €16 for adults, €8 for young people (12-24), €4 for children (4-11), free for children under 4
- Lift to the Top: €25 for adults, €12,50 for young people (12-24), €6,30 for children (4-11), free for children under 4
- Stairs to the Second Floor: €10 for adults, €5 for young people (12-24), €2,50 for children (4-11), free for children under 4
- Stairs to the Top: €19 for adults, €9,50 for young people (12-24), €4,80 for children (4-11), free for children under 4
Ok got it. You’re in Paris, you want to see the Tour Eiffel now. It makes sense.
I left it for the end because I think that the best first impression that the Tour Eiffel can offer is at night, when it’s all lit up.
So take the metro and get off at “Bir-Hakeim” station. You can’t get lost: you will find million signs that will point to the Tour Eiffel.
Take your time, enjoy being in front of one of the most famous icons in the world and if you want climb to the top.
Don’t worry if you can’t take the perfect picture of the tower here. We are going now to the spot where you can take the best one.
Cross the Pont d’Iéna and go up to the Trocadero.
And turn around!
Yes! Now we are talking!
From Trocadero you have the best view over the Tour Eiffel! Have fun in taking the most original picture you can think of!
DAY 2 – LUXEMBOURG GARDENS, NOTRE DAME AND LOUVRE
STROLL IN THE LUXEMBOURG GARDENS (JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG).
Metro Station: Notre-Dame des Champs
Luxembourg Gardens Opening hours:
- Summer: 7 am – 1 hour before sunset
- Winter: 8 am – 1 hour before sunset
- Free entrance
The Luxembourg Gardens, or Jardin du Luxembourg, is a gorgeous park in the Latin Quarter.
It was created by Marie de Medici in 1612 to surround the Luxembourg Palace, her residence. Nowadays the palace hosts the Senate meetings.
It’s a perfect place for a stroll in a sunny day.
VISIT NOTRE DAME.
Metro Station: Saint-Michel Notre-Dame
Notre-Dame Opening hours:
- Monday – Friday: 7:45 – 18:45
- Saturday and Sunday: 7:45 – 19:15
- Free entrance
Notre Dame de Paris is the second most famous icon of Paris, after the Tour Eiffel.
It’s the perfect example of the French Gothic Style.
Its stunning location in Ile de la Cité makes it one of the most photographed churches in the world.
The visit is free but the fun part is outside, where you try to spot the ugliest gargoyles that you can find!
VISIT THE LOUVRE.
Metro Station: Palais Royal Louvre
Louvre Opening hours:
- Every day: 9:00 – 18:00 (rooms closing at 17:30)
- Wednesday and Friday: 9:00 – 21:45 (rooms closing at 21:15)
- December 24 and December 31: 9:00 – 17:00 (rooms closing at 16:30)
- Closing days: Every Tuesday; January 1; May 1; December 25
Louvre Tickets Fare:
- Full price: €15 (ticket bought at the museum); Visitors under the age of 18: free
- Free: First Sunday of each month from October to March and July 14 (Bastille Day)
Entrances to the Louvre:
- Pyramid and Galerie du Carrousel entrances: Open every day (except Tuesday) 9:00 – 19:30 on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays; 9:00 – 22:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Passage Richelieu entrance: open every day (except Tuesday) 9:00 – 17:30 on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays; 9:00 – 18:30 on Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Porte des Lions entrance: only for groups with their booking confirmation.
For further information visit the Louvre Official Website.
This is the question that struggles most of the people that visit Paris in 3 days: do I have time to visit the Louvre?
And honestly I wasn’t sure either. I have been told that there is always a big line to get inside, that the museum is so large that you need more than one day to see it all.
This is all true but if you really want to visit the Louvre (and it’s absolutely worth it) you need either to plan in advance your visit and prebook the tickets or… just to be lucky!
I was walking around the Louvre, ready to take a picture of the glass pyramids, when I realized that there was absolutely no one lining up at the entrance! And that day I was freezing! It was cold, the wind was super strong, and it was raining! Perfect timing!
So in a few minutes I passed the security check, bought my ticket at the vending machine and got in!
But this was just a fortunate case! If you really don’t want to miss the visit to the Louvre, then don’t leave everything to fate! Book the ticket in advance to skip the line and have a list of the art pieces that you want to see.
Make sure you are not missing:
MAIN PIECES OF ART IN LOUVRE:
- MONA LISA (or GIOCONDA) – Leonardo Da Vinci. Location: Denon. First floor. Mona Lisa Room. Room 6. Paintings: Italian painting.
- WINGED VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE (or NIKE OF SAMOTHRACE). Location: Denon. Ground floor. Victory of Samothrace staircase. Escalier Daru. Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities: Hellenistic Art (3rd – 1st century BC).
- VENUS DE MILO (or APHRODITE OF MILO). Location: Sully. Ground floor. Parthenon room. Room 7. Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities: Hellenistic Art (3rd – 1st century BC).
- REBELLIOUS SLAVE and DYING SLAVE – Michelangelo. Location: Denon. Ground floor. Michelangelo gallery. Room 4. Sculptures: Italy.
- PSYCHE REVIVED BY CUPID’S KISS – Canova. Location: Denon. Ground floor. Michelangelo gallery. Room 4. Sculpures: Italy.
- LIBERTY LEADING THE PEOPLE – Delacroix. Location: Denon. First floor. Mollien. Room 77. Paintings: French painting.
- THE RAFT OF MEDUSA – Géricault. Location: Denon. First floor. Mollien. Room 77. Paintings: French painting.
- THE CORONATION OF THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON – Jacques-Louis David. Location: Denon. First floor. Daru. Room 75. Paintings: French painting.
- THE WEDDING FEAST AT CANA – Caliari (Veronese). Location: Denon. First floor. Mona Lisa Room. Room 6. Paintings: Italian painting.
- THE VIRGIN OF THE ROCKS – Leonardo Da Vinci. Location: Denon. Ground floor. Grande Galerie. Room 5. Paintings: Italian painting.
- THE SARCOPHAGUS OF THE SPOUSES (Cerveteri). Location: Denon. Ground floor. Etruria I. Room 18. Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities: Etruscan Art (9th – 1st century BC).
- LAW CODE OF HAMMURABI. Location: Richelieu. Ground floor. Mesopotamia, 2nd and 1st millennia BC. Room 3. Near Eastern Antiquities: Mesopotamia.
- THE SEATED SCRIBE. Location: Sully. First floor. The old Kingdom, c. 2700 – 2200 BC. Room 22. Egyptian Antiquities: From the late prehistoric period to the late Middle Kingdom (circa 3800 – 1710 BC).
- THE STATUE OF EBIH-II. Location: Richelieu. Ground floor. Ancient Mesopotamia. Room 1b. Near Eastern Antiquities: Mesopotamia.
Download the Interactive Floor Plans.
These are just a few examples of magnificent pieces of art that you can find in Louvre. If you are looking for a specific one and you want to know its location you can use either one of the following sites:
Some rooms are closed on specific days, so make sure that you check that the room you are interested in is open on the day of your visit:
DAY 3 – FROM THE TOUR EIFFEL TO PLACE VENDÔME.
Metro Station: Trocadero
You have seen the beautiful Tour Eiffel lit up at night. And now it’s time to admire it in the daylight.
You can go back to the Trocadero and take some other pictures from there.
Go down the staircase and cross the river to go to the Rive Gauche. Give the last kiss to the Tour Eiffel and turn left to walk along the Seine until you reach “Les Invalides”.
VISIT LES INVALIDES.
Metro Station: La Tour – Maubourg
Les Invalides Opening hours:
- April 1 – October 31: Every day 10:00 – 18:00
- November 1 – March 31: Every day 10:00 – 17:00
- Closing days: January 1; May 1; December 25
Les Invalides Special Opening Hours:
- First Monday of the Month (except July, August, September): Open only the Dome, the Cathedral of Saint-Louis and Artillery Trail
- Christmas holidays and Springtime holidays: 10:00 – 17:30
- July and August: Dome 10:00 – 19:00
- Monday: Charles de Gaulle monument closed
Les Invalides Tickets Fare:
- Full price: €12
- Reduced price: €9 (from 16:00 in winter and from 17:00 in summer)
- Free: Visitors under the age of 18
Les Invalides, or Hotel des Invalides, is a complex of buildings that was created as a retirement place for military veterans.
In the same complex you can visit the Cathedral of Saint-Louis and the Dome des Invalides, that hosts the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte and other war heroes.
The impressive sarcophagus of Napoleon Bonaparte is located in the crypt.
After visiting Les Invalides, take the exit to Rue de Grenelle.
Go through the Esplanade des Invalides and cross the most beautiful brige in Paris: Pont Alexandre III.
Keep walking straight and you will end up at the notorious Champs-Élysées.
SHOPPING ON CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES.
Metro Station: Frankin D. Roosevelt or Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau
Welcome to the most famous avenue in the world: the Champs-Élysées!
The avenue stretches from the glorious “Arc de Triomphe” to “Place de la Concorde” where there used to be a guillotine to execute the royals during the French Revolution.
If you like shopping, the Champs-Élysées are a 2 kilometres paradise for you!
STROLL IN THE TUILERIES GARDEN.
Metro Station: Concorde or Tuileries
Between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre there is a beautiful garden called Jardin des Tuileries, where you can see stunning statues and vases.
It’s a lovely place for strolling and relaxing.
Metro Station: Concorde or Tuileries
From the Tuileries Garden go to the final stop of our itinerary: Place Vendôme.
At the centre of the square you can see the Vendôme Column that was built to celebrate the battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon’s greatest victory.
The column was modeled after the Trajan Column in Rome.
Nowadays the square is home to jewelry and high fashion brand stores.
So if you are a shopaholic (unlike me)… just close your eyes, don’t look at that super French Louis Vuitton staring at you, take a deep breathe, and try to get home with some money left on your account!