What to see in Paris in 3 days? Are only three days enough? How to craft the perfect 3 days in Paris itinerary?
How many days to spend in Paris
Spare at least 2 days for the city and 1 for Versailles.
When you plan your dream trip to France, there is one big question to answer – how many days to spend in Paris? You’ll need at least 2 days to see the main landmarks in the city plus one whole day for Versailles. The gardens of Versailles are vast, it takes hours to explore them.
Add more days if you plan any day trips or wish to visit more museums (except the Louvre). To save time and explore more of the city take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
Please note that the working hours of the restaurants from the itinerary are different during the week and the weekends. You can check it on their website (links in the map at the end of the article).
Day 1 – Louvre Museum, Champs-Élysées and Montmartre
Morning – Louvre Museum
08:00 AM – 09:00 AM
Start the first day of the 3 days in Paris itinerary with a breakfast at Claus or Le Pain Quotidien.
09:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre)
Louvre Museum served as a royal palace of the French monarchs until the 17th century. It is also one of the largest museums not only in Paris but in the world.
The museum is vast and packed with exhibits. You’ll need days to see everything. Prepare for your visit ahead and check out which exhibits in Louvre will be interesting for you.
It is advisable to buy a ticket for Louvre Museum in advance, the waiting lines are hours long.
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries) and Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
Tuileries Garden once was a part of the Tuileries Palace. Unfortunately, the palace was destroyed in 1871 during the Paris Commune.
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris is one of the three arcs on the Triumphal Way. The latter is a historical axis of monuments that starts with the Grande Arche de la Défense to the west and ends with the Louvre Museum to the east. Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel was built by Emperor Napoleon I to remind of his military triumphs.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Have a lunch at Lescure or Ellsworth. For a quick bite, grab some sandwiches and have a lunch at the Tuileries Garden.
Afternoon – Champs-Élysées and Montmartre
02:00 PM – 02:15 PM
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde is one of the most beautiful squares in Paris. However in the past things looked quite differently. During the French Revolution, a guillotine was constructed and the square became an execution place. King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette lost their lives here in 1793.
Nowadays, in the centre of the square, you can see a giant 3,300-years-old Egyptian obelisk. It is also known as Cleopatra’s Needle (L’aiguille de Cléopâtre).
Two beautiful fountains decorate the north and the south ends of Place de la Concorde. Their construction was inspired by the fountains on Piazza San Pietro and the Piazza Navona in Rome.
02:30 PM – 02:45 PM
Bridge Alexandre III (Pont Alexandre III)
Bridge Alexandre III is constructed at the end of the 19th century. It is a stunning example of Art Nouveau style.
03:30 PM- 04:30 PM
Triumphal Arch (Arc de Triomphe)
Triumphal Arch is constructed in honour of those who died during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the arc honours the memory of the unknown soldiers who lost their lives during the world wars.
The 280 steps to the top of the arc are easy for climbing, as there is a museum on the way up. The views over Paris, the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees are unforgettable. If you have time climb the arc right before sunset time and spend an hour on the top watching the sunset over the city.
If you are visiting in the high season, better buy tickets for the Triumphal Arch in advance.
05:30 PM- 06:30 PM
Sacré-Cœur Basilica (Basilique du Sacré-Coeur)
Sacré-Cœur Basilica owes its shiny white colour to the travertine stone. Built in Romano-Byzantine style, it is the most beautiful church in Montmartre. Sacré-Cœur Basilica honours all soldiers who died during the Franco-Prussian War and the rule of the Paris Commune.
As the basilica is located on a hill, the views over Paris are really nice. Yet, to reach it you have to climb a lot of stairs or take the funicular. It costs one metro ticket each way.
For more stunning views over the city, climb the 300 steps to the top of the dome. There is a free audio guide of the basilica, but you have to download it in advance.
Try some delicious French cuisine at La Boîte aux Lettres or Chez Toinette.
Moulin Rouge with its iconic red windmill on the roof is the most famous cabaret in Paris. It is the birthplace of the can-can dance. Don’t miss to see one of the world’s most famous cabaret shows at the Moulin Rouge.
Find below some hand-picked shows that are not to be missed during your 3 nights in Paris.
I recommend these shows
Day 2 – Versailles
Morning – Visit the palace
08:00 AM – 08:30 AM
Start the second day of the 3 days in Paris itinerary with a breakfast at Bigot.
08:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles)
Versailles is one of the most famous palaces not only in France but in the world. Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, built the palace in 1682 and moved the court here from Paris. Versailles is a true masterpiece that represents the greatness of the Sun King.
You need to book tickets in advance to visit Versailles and get there as early in the morning as you can. By booking online you’ll skip the first line. Keep in mind, that you still have to wait on the security check line. That is the reason why you’d better be here before the opening times.
You can explore the palace with an audio guide or book a guided tour of Versailles. The latter also includes a fast track entry to the palace. The entrance to Versailles is free on the first Sunday of every month from November to March.
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Take a rest and have a lunch at Brasserie de la Girandole.
Afternoon – Explore the gardens
12:30 PM – 06:00 PM
Gardens of Versailles, Trianon and Queen’s Hamlet
Gardens of Versailles are not only marvellous, but they are huge. You’ll need hours to see them, so be prepared for a long walk and wear comfortable shoes.
There are musical fountains shows during the weekends from April to October. In May and June, there are shows every Tuesday, too. There is a musical fountains night show in gardens of Versailles every Saturday from June to September.
The famous Apollo Fountain, the Trianon Palace and Queen’s Hamlet are located in the gardens. Louis XIV commissioned the building of the Trianon in 1670. The king used the palace when he wanted to get away and rest from the court life in Versailles.
Marie Antoinette commissioned the construction of the Queen’s Hamlet (Hameau de la Reine) in 1783. This rustic retreat served as her country house and a private meeting place.
Finish the day with a dinner at Chez Lazare or Le Bistrot du Boucher.
Day 3 – Île de la Cité and Eiffel Tower
Morning – Île de la Cité
08:00 AM – 09:00 AM
Start the third day of the itinerary 3 days in Paris with some delicious croissants. Choose from Eric Kayser, Strada Café or Boulangerie La Parisienne.
09:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris), Kilometre Zero (Point Zero des Routes de France)
Notre Dame Cathedral is built over a site of an old Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter. It took a long time (almost 200 years) for this masterpiece to be completely finished in 1345.
Right in front of the cathedral is the Kilometre Zero. This is the starting point from which all major distances in France are calculated.
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Holy Chapel (Sainte-Chapelle)
Sainte-Chapelle is one of the masterpieces of the Rayonnant period of the Gothic architecture. It was built in 1248 to house relics of Christ during the reign of King Louis IX. Saint-Chapelle consists of two chapels. The Lower Chapel was used by the residents of the palace. The Upper was reserved only for the king and his family. The Upper Chapel is absolutely stunning on a sunny day.
Buy a ticket in advance for Sainte-Chapelle, too. It is one of the sites with huge waiting lines.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Have a lunch at Le Petit Châtelet or Comme chai Toi.
Afternoon – Eiffel Tower
02:00 PM – 03:00 PM
Luxembourg Garden (Jardin du Luxembourg), Luxembourg Palace (Palais du Luxembourg) and Statue of Liberty (Statue de la Liberté)
Marie de’ Medici commissioned the building of the Luxembourg Palace after the death of her husband, Henry IV. The Luxembourg Garden is a perfect place for a stroll or picnic. Don’t miss to see the replica of the statue of Liberty (see the map for the exact location).
04:00 PM – 07:00 PM
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Eiffel Tower is the most iconic monument in Paris. The tower is named after its creator, engineer Gustave Eiffel.
The 360-degree panoramic view over Paris is fascinating. There are three visiting levels. You can reach the first and the second by lift or stairs. The third one – only by lift.
Don’t miss the sparkling show every hour on the hour after sunset. The best view of the tower is from Place du Trocadéro.
You need to buy tickets for the tower in advance, the waiting lines are hours long. If there aren’t any tickets left, you can book a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower or have a dinner at the chic 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant.
Finish the third day of the itinerary 3 days in Paris with a dinner at Les Cocottes or Le Petit Cler. For an Eiffel Tower view during your dinner, check out Monsieur Bleu or Les Ombres.
How to save money?
Paris Museum Pass the best way to save money. I’ve been two times to Paris and used it both times.
Paris Museum Pass includes:
- free admission to over 60 museums and monuments in and around Paris
- skip-the-line access
- avoid buying separate tickets for the major sites
Even if you are only for three days in Paris, buy the 4 day Pass (62 EUR + 5 EUR booking fee). You’ll pay the same price if you buy a separate ticket for each of the sites listed below. Plus using Paris Museum Pass you’ll save hours of waiting using the skip-the-line access.
- Louvre Museum – 15 EUR
- Triumphal Arch – 12 EUR
- Palaces of Versailles and Trianon – 20 EUR
- Notre-Dame Cathedral Towers – 10 EUR
- Sainte-Chapelle – 10 EUR
By visiting any of the must-see museums listed below you’ll save not only time but money as well.
- Panthéon – 9 EUR
- Rodin Museum – 10 EUR
- Orsay Museum – 12 EUR
- Orangerie Museum – 9 EUR
What else to do in Paris
Take a cruise on Seine River
See the most spectacular landmarks in Paris by taking a cruise on Seine river. Do you know that Paris is called the City of Lights? Take an illuminations cruise of Paris in the evening and find out why.
Montparnasse Tower (Tour Montparnasse)
Book a ticket for the Montparnasse Tower and visit one of the tallest skyscrapers in France. To get the best views over Paris take the lift to the open-air roof terrace.
Galeries Lafayette is a huge shopping complex with a marvellous glass ceiling. Even if you are not into shopping, go and visit the rooftop terrace for some amazing views of Paris.
Palais Garnier is the largest opera house in Europe. Learn more about its extravagant design by exploring the Palais Garnier on a guided tour.
Hôtel de Ville
Hôtel de Ville is not a luxury hotel, as one could think taking in mind the name and its splendid exterior. It is, in fact, the City Hall. The building is gorgeous and it is right in the heart of Paris. It totally deserves few minutes of your time!
Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges is one of the most charming squares in Paris. Built in the beginning of the 17the century, it is also the oldest planned square in the city.
Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across Seine river in Paris.
Père Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetière du Père Lachaise)
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris and one of the most romantic, too. This is the final resting place of iconic figures like Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. To learn more about the fascinating history of the cemetery, book a guided tour of Père Lachaise.
Catacombs of Paris (Catacombes de Paris)
The Paris Catacombs are underground ossuaries that house the remains of more than six million people. It is a lifetime experience, that can’t be forgotten. It is advisable to book a ticket of the Paris Catacombs in advance. The waiting lines are outrageous and visitors are restricted to 200 at any time.
Saint-Eustache Church (Église Saint-Eustache)
Saint-Eustache is a 16th-century church with a lot of history. This was the place, where young Louis XIV (The Sun King) received his communion. Also, Mozart chose the sanctuary for his mother’s funeral. Jean Baptiste Colbert, a French minister of Finance, is buried inside the church.
The church organ with its 8000 pipes is the largest pipe organ in France. Among the other treasures of the church, you can see paintings by Rubens, Vouet and Santi di Tito. Don’t miss the church concerts of the famous Saint-Eustache choir. The concerts are held every Sunday.
Madeleine Church (La Madeleine)
Madeleine Church is an outstanding church, near Place de la Concorde. It was designed to serve as a temple to commemorate and celebrate the glory of Napoleon’s army.
The Panthéon started its history as a church, but nowadays it is a mausoleum and a burial place of famous Frenchman. Some of the great men laid to rest in its crypt are Voltaire, Émile Zola, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Soufflot, its architect. Marie Curie is the only woman honoured to be buried there.
If you are visiting in the high season or during the weekends, better buy your tickets to Panthéon in advance.
Saint-Etienne-du-Mont Church (Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont)
Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church has a remarkable ornate rood screen that dates from the 16th century. The church also contains the oldest organ in Paris, built in 1631.
By the way, the stairs of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont may look familiar to you. This is the place from where the main character Gil (Owen Wilson) is picked up every night by a car from the past in the movie “Midnight in Paris”.
Rodin Museum (Musée Rodin)
If you like the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, this museum has to be on your list. It houses the famous Rodin’s sculptures “The Thinker” and “The Kiss”.
If you are an impressionism lover
Orsay Museum (Musée d’Orsay) is a must. The museum houses impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces dating from 1848-1914. The museum itself occupies the former railway station Gare d’Orsay. How cool is that!
It is better to buy a ticket for Orsay Museum in advance.
If you are a huge fan of Claude Monet
Visit Orangerie Museum (Musée de l’Orangerie). It is the home of eight Water Lilies murals by Monet. In any case, buy tickets for Orangerie Museum in advance. I waited more than 2 hours in the rain in the low season. At least the view of the Water Lilies was worth every single minute of waiting.
Marmottan Monet Museum (Musée Marmottan Monet)
Marmottan Monet Museum has the largest collection of Claude Monet’s works in the world. It also houses his notable work “Impression, Sunrise”, the painting that gave the name of Impressionism movement.
I recommend these tours
Where to stay in Paris for 3 days
Luxury option – Shangri-La Hotel – situated across the Seine and facing the Eiffel Tower, this hotel has one of the best locations in Paris.
See reviews and images of the hotel
Mid-range – Hôtel Regina Louvre – located in the heart of Paris, opposite the Louvre Museum, the hotel is the perfect base to explore Paris.
See reviews and images of the hotel
Apartments Du Louvre – modern apartments in a quiet street just steps away from the Louvre Museum.
See reviews and images of the apartments
What to see in Paris in 3 days itinerary – map
How would you spend your time if you have only 3 days in Paris?
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About the author
|I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.|
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