Paris trip planning – Intro & 3 day itinerary

destination paris

Planning a trip to Paris? Don’t know where to go and what to see in the amount of time you have in the city?

To help you with your trip planning, I have created Paris itineraries based on my experiences living and visiting Paris.

My recommended itineraries are based on what I consider to be the “must see” or “must do” things in Paris – so depending on your personal preference (add more museums, more shopping, or add nearby cities to do day trips)

Also, please keep in mind that my itinerary does not take into consideration which days of the week you will be there – most of the museums are closed on certain days of the week, so you should check the museum hours. There is nothing worse than showing up at a museum when it’s closed!

For my post on museums in Paris, click here.


paris in 2

There is so much do and see in Paris that I personally think that 1 day or 2 days is too short.

I don’t think spending a day or two is enough to really experience Paris to the fullest.

If you’re thinking about spending a day or two in Paris, I recommend that you either extend your time in Paris or spend more time in another city this time around and go to Paris when you have more time to see the city.

paris in 3

3 days is not a long time either, because you will probably be spending half a day at the beginning and end of your trip for travel time to/from the previous/next destination.

So if you’re spending 3 days in Paris, then it is better to focus your sightseeing within Paris instead of going to out of the city sightseeing areas such as Giverny, Versailles, etc.

If you don’t go to one of the museums, then you may be able to fit Versailles in your itinerary.

However, my itinerary below is for sightseeing in Paris only.

Day 1.

  • Morning: Arrive in Paris & check-in at the hotel
  • Afternoon:  Eiffel Tower → Montmartre (Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Place du Tertre, Moulin Rouge) → Quartier Opera (Opera Garnier, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps)

[Tip: To get to the Eiffel Tower, get off at M-6 Bir-Hakeim or RER C – Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel.

To get to Montmartre from the Eiffel Tower, get on the metro at M-6 Bir-Hakeim, transfer at Charles de Gaulle Etoile on to M-2, and get off at Anvers station.

From Montmartre to Quartier Opera, you can either walk or take the metro. If you are not going to be spending time shopping in the Opera area, you can also walk down to Place Vendome. Even if you’re not shopping, it’s worth checking out Galeries Lafayette as the interior of this department store is beautiful!]

[Tip:   Pont des Arts is a pedestrian only bridge across the Seine river. In the Spring/Summer/Fall, I highly recommend having a little Parisian picnic on the bridge in the evening.

For Bateaux Mouches, I recommend taking the boat near sunset time. The boat ride if for about an hour and when you board the boat, you will be able to see Paris at sunset and near the end of the ride, you will be able to see the Eiffel Tower light show which takes place every hour after the sun sets down.]

Day 2.

  • Morning: Musee d’Orsay → Jardin des Tuileries→  Arc de Triumphe du Carrousel  → Louvre

[Tip: Musee d’Orsay to the Louvre is walking distance, so you can stroll along the Seine river past the Tuileries gardens and Arc de Triumphe du Carrousel and you will see the Louvre.

If the weather is nice out, you can grab a sandwich and have lunch in the Tuileries gardens :)

Also, since you’re in Paris for a short period of time, there won’t be time to see both Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre. It depends on your preference and the types of art you like. However, my personal recommendation is to see Musee d’Orsay and see the Louvre from the outside only. But if you can do it the other way around as well, it’s totally up to you!]

[Tip: Since you don’t have too much time in the afternoon, you will either have to: a) see Centre Pompidou from the outside only and go to Quartier Marais, or b) see Centre Pompidou (the museum) and then see Quartier Marais for a short period of time.

But also keep in mind that going to two museums in a day could be very tiring.  I have tried going to two museums in a day plus a few other sightseeing places in one day (in my case, I went to Musee du Louvre and Centre Pompidou on the same day) and I was exhausted by the end of the day. And I think I would have absorbed a lot more from what I saw in the museums if I did less during the day and wasn’t as tired. It’s a personal preference – if you want to squeeze in a lot during your trip or not.]

  • Evening: Champs-Élysées  → Arc de Triomphe → Palais de Chaillot (to see the Eiffel Tower by night)

[Tip: To go from Quartier Marais to Champs-Élysées, take M-1 St.Paul and get off at Champs-Élysées Clemenceau and walk along the Champs-Élysées towards Arc de Triomphe.

To get to Arc de Triomphe, you have to use the underground path (not above ground as there are too many intersections and cars crossing. Also, keep in mind that there are no elevators to go up and down Arc de Troiomphe, so you have to walk up and down 280 steps!

To get to Palais de Chaillot from Arc de Triomphe, take M-6 Charles de Gaulle Etoile and get off at Trocadero station. There will be exit signs indicating which direction to go to Palais de Chaillot to see the Eiffel Tower]

Day 3.

  • Morning: Île de la Cité→Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris → Quartier latin

[Tip: All of the three locations for the morning are within walking distance, so you won’t need to take the metro once you get off at M-4 Cité to go to Île de la Cité.]

  • Afternoon: Check-out from hotel & leave for the next destination

Paris in 3 days –  in photos:


[Eiffel Tower]


[Musee d’Orsay]


[In front of Hôtel de Ville]


[View of Paris from the top of Centre Pompidou]



To see the itinerary for Paris in 4 days,  click here.

To see the itinerary for Paris in 5 days, click here.

I will be posting itineraries for Paris in 6 days and Paris in 7 days in the next few weeks as well :


3 responses to “Paris trip planning – Intro & 3 day itinerary

  1. Pingback: Paris France Vacation Guide | Things To Do In Paris·

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