3-Day Itinerary for Paris: A Complete Guide for First-Time Visitors

Paris is a city that has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in art, architecture, history, a romantic getaway or just great food and wine. With so much to see and do, planning a trip to Paris can be overwhelming. To help make things easier, I’ve put together ‘the ultimate 3 day itinerary for Paris‘ to help you make the most of your time in the city of lights.

Whether you are first time traveler to Paris or a seasoned aficionado, this itinerary will cover more than expected. Let 2023 be the year you conquer Paris.

About the itinerary: I have divided the 3 days into three clusters in Paris, which can be easily covered on foot. I covered the minimum time required to do each day tour without stopping for photographs or breaks, however we are only human. So the time will vary based on how many photo and wine stops you make 😉

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Best Things To Do With 3 Days in Paris

Here is a list of the places to visit if you have 3 days in Paris. All of these are included on this Paris itinerary.

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, France
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • The Louvre
  • The Champs-Élysées
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Île de la Cité
  • Seine River
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Montmartre
  • Sacre-Coeur Basilica
  • Versailles
  • The Catacombs
  • Rodin Museum
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery
  • Pont Alexandre III

Best Time to Visit Paris

“When is the Best Time to Visit Paris?”, you ask.

Paris is a city that attracts millions of tourists every year. However, the best time to visit Paris depends on what you’re looking for in your trip.

  1. Spring: April to June is the best time to visit Paris if you want to enjoy mild weather and fewer crowds. The city comes alive during this time, with blooming flowers, outdoor cafes, and numerous Paris events and festivals. In early April, the average high temperature is still on the cooler side (about 16°C or 60°F). The average high in May is 19°C (66°F) but it can be much warmer than this, on unusually warm days. 
  2. Summer: July and August are the peak tourist seasons in Paris, with warm weather and long days. However, this is also the busiest time of the year, and the city can get crowded and expensive. The average high is 24°C (76°F) but during a heat wave, it can get up to 38°C (100°F)
  3. Fall: September to November is another great time to visit Paris, with mild temperatures and fewer tourists. This is also the time when the city’s famous fashion week takes place, making it an excellent time to visit for fashion enthusiasts.
  4. Winter: December to February is the off-season in Paris, with fewer tourists and lower prices. However, it can get cold and rainy during this time, so make sure to pack accordingly. Average high’s ranging from 5 to 7°C (mid-40’s Fahrenheit) and the average low hovering just above freezing. The Christmas season is also a magical time to visit, with festive decorations and holiday markets.

Best Mode of Travel in Paris

Getting around during your 3 Day Paris Itinerary is surprisingly easy, despite Paris being a large city.

The City of Light is made up of 20 arrondissements, or districts, starting with the 1st in the center (this is where you’ll find the Louvre), and spiralling outward from there.

When deciding where to stay in Paris, try not to put too much stock in being near any particular attraction. I stayed in Montmartre during most of my visits , took the tube/metro and walked all around Paris landmarks.

Here’s how to get around during your itinerary for 3 days in Paris!

  • The Metro – Paris’ metro system is extremely developed. Other than walking, I recommend using it as your main method of transportation while in Paris. The easiest way to purchase tickets is as a carnet, or group of 10 tickets at a time, and replenish as you run out. However, if you happen to purchase the Paris Pass, access to the bus, metro, and RER systems are all included, so you won’t need to purchase separate tickets.
  • Taxis and Uber – are both prevalent in the city, though high prices and heavy traffic make them a less attractive option than the metro.
  • Walking – Walking is my favourite way to get around Paris landmarks and Paris museums. Not only do you save money and work off the copious amounts of pain au chocolat , croissant you’re probably consuming, but you also get to discover Paris neighbourhoods at its very best!

Pro tip: Do not rent a car in Paris.
Parking is an expensive nightmare, driving is difficult and traffic-laden, and the metro system is extensive and functional.
Renting a car in Paris is far more trouble than it is worth, and that’s without even including the cost of doing so as a factor.

The Perfect 3 Days in Paris Itinerary

  • Paris Itinerary Day 1

Oh la la! Today you get to visit some of Paris’ biggest and most iconic landmarks: the Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexander III, and the Arc de Triomphe. Get ready to take lots of photos and make some wonderful memories.

Start in Champ de Mars, the beautiful large park in front of Eiffel tower.

Champ de mars

Make your way slowly towards the iconic Eiffel tower,the most iconic landmark in Paris, to take the 360 view of the city. The line to visit the Eiffel Tower can be epic (I’m talking 2 to 3 hours wait on the busiest days). You can avoid this nightmare by arriving at or before opening time, booking your tickets in advance, or taking a skip-the-line tour.

There are two ways up the Eiffel Tower. You can take an elevator or you can walk up the stairs. The queues for the elevators are very long and the queue for the stairs is much shorter. The choice is yours. If you take the stairs, you get to eat more chocolate and crepes later!

If you plan to take the elevator, I highly recommend that you book your tickets in advance. Do this as soon as you know your dates of travel so you get the 9 am time slot (9:30 am between September and July). The tickets were sold out over 6 weeks in advance. 

Pro tip: Online tickets go on sale 60 days in advance for the elevator, 10 days in advance for the stairs. 

Opening Hours: For updated hours and pricing, visit the official website.
Ticket Prices: Elevator to 2nd floor €18.10; Elevator to the top €28.30; Stairs to 2nd level €11.30; Stairs to 2nd level and elevator to the top €21.50. Book your ticket in advance on the official website.
If tickets are sold out for your dates of travel, you can book a tour for skip the line access to the Eiffel Tower. Here are several highly rated tours that allow you to skip the line at the Eiffel Tower.

Some PhotoOps spots near Eiffel tower:

  • walk to Trocadero early in the morning to get gorgeous sunrise views with the background of the iron lady
  • walk on right side of Eiffel Tower for Rue de’lUniversite for one of the most famous IG spot ( Address: 285 Rue de’lUniversite)
  • pass by the most IG hot spot l’howea, with eiffel tower flanked by a gorgeous floral boutique
  • Avenue de Camoens for beautiful pics of Eiffel Tower without the touristy crowd
  • Avenue de New York to enjoy the Iron Lady peeking through the trees

Take a break with hot chocolate in Carette with Eiffel Tower view , you will not regret it. The one thing that is a must in Paris is to try the Parisian cafes, while people watching be it any weather.

Walk along River Seine on Avenue de New York to enjoy the Iron Lady peeking through the trees, and you will reach Pont Alexander III , while walking on the embankment.

Stroll through Champs-Élysées, one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. It is famous as being the finish of the Tour de France and the location of the Bastille Day military parade. Restaurants, shops, the theaters line the Champs-Élysées. It has a touristy feel but it’s still worth the stroll.

Along the way, if you want another French treat, consider stopping into Laduree for macarons.

From Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, it is a 2.3 km (1.4 mile) walk. You can walk the entire length of the Champs-Élysées or shorten the walk by taking line 1 on the metro from Concorde to Franklin D. Roosevelt or George V.

End your walk at Arc de Triomphe ( perfect for dinner at some of the loveliest hidden French restaurants). Time to take in the view from the mighty Arc de Triomphe. There’s just something about looking down the Champs-Élysées to the Louvre, out to La Defense, and of course, having the wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower.

While on top of the Arc, look straight down. You are standing at one of the world’s largest round-abouts, where twelve avenues come together. Watching the cars navigate this circle is very entertaining.

Opening Hours: April 1 to September 30: 10 am to 11 pm; October 1 to March 31: 10 am to 10:30 pm; get updated hours here.
Ticket Prices: Adults €13; 17 and under are free; included on the Museum Pass. Click here to purchase a skip the line ticket.
Closest metro station: Charles de Gaulle Etoile lines 1, 2 and 6

  • Total time of the tour by walk: 40 mins (without any stop)

Dinner options: Le Marceau, very touristy french restaurant yet the food is really delicious. If you are looking for a very cool dinner/drink spot, go to the Buddha Bar. You can choose to go for Seine evening dinner cruise, however the cruise is good for the views but not food.

  • Paris Itinerary Day 2

Today we explore one of the most elegant Parisian neighbourhoods, the historic Montmartre district, famous for its artistic heritage and stunning views of the city. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Moulin Rouge, and the famous Place du Tertre, where artists still gather to create and sell their work.

Start the tour at the metro station Abbesses, and go to the Carrousel de Saint Pierre. Beautiful location with the background of the Bascilica. On the way you will see one of the fun photoOp spots, famous Montmarte photoautomat.

Some PhotoOps spots in Montmarte:

  • Carrousel de Saint Pierre
  • La Maison Rose
  • Le Consulat Restaurant
  • Lamarck Caulincourt
  • Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Go up the steps of Sacre Coeur to see the Basilica, this maze of hilly streets is one of Paris’ prettiest neighbourhoods to visit. Montmartre, a bohemian neighborhood known for its winding streets and charming cafes. Climb to the top of the hill to see the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Opening Hours: 6:30 am to 10:30 pm
For more information, visit the official website.

If you want to take a guided tour of Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur, this one hour tour gets excellent reviews.

Afterwards take a nice stroll behind the Basilica, walk that takes you past photogenic spots such as La Maison Rose and Le Consulat Restaurant. Left of Basilica within 2 mins is Le Consulat. Turn right and within 1 min you will face the IG hot spot, La Maison Rose. Behind La Maison Rose is Rue Saint Vincent. And further from Saint Vincent is Lamarck Caulincourt with its beautiful metro sign board. Don’t miss the beautiful patisseries and boulangerie in Montmarte.

Visit the Montmartre Vineyard, one of the few remaining vineyards in Paris. Take a wine tasting tour and learn about the history of wine in the city.

Head to Pink mama for a good spread out lunch, you will love their take on Italian cuisine.

If time permits a visit to the Moulin Rouge, the famous cabaret that has been entertaining audiences for over a century is a must. Tickets for the Moulin Rouge book up months in advance and if tickets are sold out for your visit, you can also check GetYourGuide.

Walk towards Palais Royal or take the metro and end tour strolling through Tuileries garden.
Make sure you end the evening with hot chocolate in Cafe Angelina. Make a booking in advance as it is really hard to book, else wait till the end of the day to turn up and ask for a walk-in.

  • Total time of the tour by walk : 30 mins (without any stop)

Dinner Options: Le Poulbot, an amazing lil French restaurant in Montmartre. Try the lava cake. Thai street, has the best cheap and authentic Thai food and bubble tea again located in Montmartre. And the portion size is rather for two people. La Maison Rose, The photogenic café also makes a great spot for dinner. It is located in Montmartre too.

  • Paris Itinerary Day 3

Have an early breakfast at the entrance of Louvre, in Cafe Marly. Beautiful breakfast setting with the view of Louvre. Although the food and service is not up to the mark. Getting here: From Champs de Mars, walk to the Ecole-Militaire metro station. Take Line 8, direction Creteil, transferring at Concorde to line 1, direction Chateau de Vincennes, to Palais Royal Musee du Louvre.

Make way to the Louvre, the world’s largest art museum, home to the world-famous Mona Lisa, and many other famous works of art. This building was once the home to French Kings, including Louis XIV. During the French Revolution in the 18th century, the Louvre was converted to a museum.

This place is massive and you could spend days here. I find the Louvre to be crowded and overwhelming. The sheer size of this place is impressive. Several rooms, like the Apollo Gallery (where the crown jewels are kept), are gorgeous. If you are an art lover, take several hours and enjoy this spectacular place. However, if you just want to visit the highlights, you can do so in about an hour. The main sites to visit in the Louvre are the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory.

Skip the Louvre queue by any of the following:

  • Purchase the Museum Pass This allows you to skip the ticket line but you may still have to wait in a much shorter security line. With the Museum Pass, you must book a time slot in order to guarantee access into the museum. You must provide the serial number of your Museum Pass, so you cannot do this until you are in possession of the Museum Pass. Learn more here.
  • Book your tickets online in advance On the official Louvre website, you can purchase your tickets in advance. These cost €17 and the website advertises less than a 30 minute wait if you purchase your tickets in advance. You can also get a timed entry ticket here.
  • Take a Tour There are numerous skip-the-line tours and guided tours that you can take. Click here to learn more.
  • Go first thing in the morning or on Wednesday and Friday evenings when the Louvre is open until 9:45 pm. 

Opening Hours: daily 9 am to 6 pm; closed Tuesdays; on Fridays, it is open from 9 am to 9:45 pm, get updated hours on the official website.
Ticket Price: €17 purchased online; under 18 years are free; included in the Museum Pass

Pro tip: Reserve a time-slot, even if you have a free pass.

Have a lavish lunch in beautiful Le train bleu, a beautiful guilded restaurant with stunning interior over a train station.

Visit the Musée d’Orsay, one of the world’s greatest art museums, with an impressive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It is here that you can see Monet, Manet, Degas, Cezanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, Gaugin and more. It’s literally a collection of the who’s who in the Impressionist art world.

Opening Hours: Daily 9:30 am to 6 pm; open until 9:45 on Thursday; closed Mondays, May 1, and December 25
Ticket Prices: €16, included with the Museum Pass. A combination ticket with Musée de l’Orangerie costs €20. You can purchase an advanced ticket on the official website or through GetYourGuide for the same price.
Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website.

Afterward, take a stroll along the Seine River and visit the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Although it is not yet fully renovated and open to visit, yet looks splendid over Seine River.

Visit the catacombs – Descend under the streets of Paris and tour the labyrinth of tunnels lined with human bones. In the 18th century, cemeteries around Paris were cleared and the bones were moved to these underground tunnels. Now, this is the final resting place of six million Parisians.

The Catacombs can have one of the longest lines in all of Paris. Waiting times can be as long as 3 hours. Only 200 people are permitted in the Catacombs at one time, so the line moves very slowly. Booking a ticket in advance is now mandatory and you can do so on the official Catacombs website (€29) or join a skip-the-line tour

Opening Hours: The Catacombs are open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:45 am to 8:30 pm, last admission at 7:30 pm. The least crowded time of day to visit the Catacombs is the last two hours of the day.

Visit Jardin de Luxembourg and have a relaxing evening while admiring french gardens and people watching.

End the day checking the latin quarters, having some french wine and having dinner with the giant teddy bears in Le Choupinet Paris.

  • Total time of the tour by walk: 1 hr 30 mins

Have more time in Paris, France?

Explore the historic Marais district, known for its narrow streets, fashionable boutiques, and delicious food. Visit the Place des Vosges, one of the oldest and most beautiful squares in Paris, and the nearby Picasso Museum.

Visit the Marché d’Aligre, one of the best food markets in Paris, and enjoy some of the city’s best produce, meats, and cheeses. Afterward, visit the nearby Bastille district and enjoy some of its lively bars and restaurants.

Take a wine tour of the famous Champagne region, just a short train ride from Paris. Visit some of the region’s best wineries, and enjoy tastings of some of the world’s finest champagne.

Visit the Rue Cler market, known for its gourmet food shops and open-air markets. Enjoy some of the city’s best cheeses, wines, and chocolates, and end your trip with a visit to one of Paris’s famous brasseries for a traditional French meal.

Some more ideas: Visit Palace of Versailles and Disneyland Paris

The Paris Pass & Paris Museum Pass: Worth the Money?

You may also hear about something called the Paris Pass. The 4-day pass includes the Museum Pass but this costs €199. It includes many attractions and tours, most of which are not listed on our itinerary. Unless you also plan on taking the hop-on hop-off bus tour, a walking tour, a Seine River cruise, and visiting places like the Paris Aquarium, you will not get your money’s worth.

If you follow this 3 days in Paris itinerary, a full Paris Pass likely won’t be worth the money unless you are going to be using a lot of transportation.

If you want access to benefits like a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour, you may want to consider it.

The Paris Museum Pass, though a better fit for this 3 day Paris itinerary than the Paris Pass is, still isn’t likely to be worth the money as compared to buying tickets individually. he Museum Pass is only offered for 2 days (€55), 4 days (€70), and 6 days (€85). They do not have a 3-day option.

Please note that if you do purchase a Paris Museum Pass, you’ll still need to sign up for a timed entry reservation for the Louvre.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, Paris is a city full of rich history, culture, art, food, and wine. Regardless of your interests, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city. With this itinerary, you can experience the best of Paris and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

I would love to hear your opinion on this itinerary in the comments. If you would like to know all the top IG spots in Paris then read this blog.

You will also like to read this blog. Has the Best time to go to the spot and the best angles for photo.

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