No Europe tour is complete if it doesn’t include the French capital, Paris. Known by several names including, the City of love, the City of Lights, there’s so much to cover, that even a month may not be really sufficient to cover the city. Many travel agencies include a one day tour to Paris in their 10-day European itinerary. This usually covers the top ten landmarks of the city in roughly two hours and its impossible to even get a flavour of this city. The least no of days you need, to get to see Paris is 2-3 full days, covering a mix of museums/palaces/visiting cafes and of course seeing the city at night. This 3 days Paris itinerary post gives you a detailed guide of the best things to do in Paris, France and makes your visit quite enjoyable.
Top 5 things to know about Paris
- Airport Name : Charles De Gaulle.
- Railway station name :
- Gare Du Nord (For Thalys / Eurostar trains) : Trains to London/Amsterdam/Germany/Belgium depart here.
- Gare Du Lyon (For Loco 2 and other trains) : Trains from Switzerland depart/arrive here
- Currency used : Euro (1 Euro ~ 70 INR).
- Language Spoken : Strictly French (you don’t find a lot of English speakers here)
- Time taken from Airport to City / Railway station : 1 hour ( via Metro or Car).
Transport Option in Paris
Train/Metro/Bus Pass : It’s highly recommended to buy a 1 day(7Eur) or 2 day pass (13 Eur) which helps to save you a lot of money. This pass can be used in Zones 1-2 and this covers almost all places in Paris except Versailles and Charles Degaulle Airport. The pass can be used across Trams, metro and buses.
Day 1 Paris Itinerary
- 9 AM Louvre Museum : The first thing to do in Paris is visit the Italian lady sitting inside a bulletproof case with a mysterious smile. Yes, I’m talking about the world famous Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, located inside the massive Louvre museum. No trip to Paris is complete without visiting the beautiful Louvre museum. Not just for art lovers, this is a beautiful historical venue, which you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
- Time Required : 3~4 Hours, which involves a brief walk across most exhibits in different floors.
- Tickets : Highly recommended to buy it online. Else you might end up spending a min 1 hour in the queue itself. You can buy it here : https://www.ticketlouvre.fr/louvre/b2c/index.cfm/home
- 12.30 PM -2.30 PM Pantheon: From the louvre underground meto station, take a train to visit the beautiful Pantheon crypt. One of the most famous museums/crypts in museums, you get to see the world famous French people buried here. This includes Marie Curie, Voltaire, Alexander Dumas, Louise Braille among other people. Definitely a fantastic experience to see this enormous structure and walk inside the underground crypts. Tickets are available at venue. Costs around 10 Euros/person
- Lunch : There are quite a few Indian restaurants and of course several French cafes, that serves you a nice meal. Or you can simply walk up to one of the several Boulangerie and feast on the delicious cakes and desserts.
- 3PM Luxembourg : If you are in the mood to see some beautiful gardens, you can hop on to a bus and get down at the next stop at Luxembourg. This is a famous French gardens and definitely a great tourist spot , that lets you relax and enjoy the beauty of the place.
- 4-6PM Montmarte – Sacre Cour Basilica : Take a bus from here to reach the Montmarte stop. This is a famous area to do some souvenier shopping, visit the famous Sacre Cour Basilica up the hill . You can of course stroll further to see the world famous Moulin Rouge theatre. Head back to your hotel from here for some rest.
- 7.30PM Illumination Tour : Around 7-8 PM, you should definitely go for the famous Illumination tour. This is nothing but a “Paris by the Night” tour . They take you around the city’s popular landmarks , esp the Eiffel tower(from outside( as it sparkles at night, quite beautifully). The city’s true beauty comes alive at this wonderful time of the day and it’s a lifetime memorable experience. Very highly recommended as one of the best things to do in Paris !
Day 2 Itinerary
- 9AM : Tour De Eiffel: Buy your tickets online (either to the second or third floor) and visit this iconic landmark of Paris and one of the most visited places in the world. A place, where any no of pictures is not enough to be taken. Experience the elevator ride or even feast at the mini restaurant in the first floor. The Eiffel tower will be the most significant part of your Paris tour. This wouldn’t be something you want to be late for and miss the experience of a lifetime. Again highly recommended to prebook a time slot and save easily 2 hours in waiting line. You can buy the tickets here.
BE extra cautious at the people who come and try to sell you Eiffel Tower souvenirs . Before you realize it, your purse and cell phone would be long gone. So be extremely careful !
- 1PM Notre Dame Cathedral : Take a metro or a bus from the Eiffel Tower station and head to the famous Notre Dame Cathredal. This is also the place where Napoleon was crowned by the Pope. The entrance to the church is free(So mind the long queues). However the top of the tower costs you 10 Euros and experience a panoramic view of Paris.
- 3 PM Latin Quarters : Notre Dame is situated quite close to the Seine river and Latin Quarters , home to many colleges and student communities. So take a stroll around here, have lunch , visit the famous Lock bridge and even buy some souveniers around here. The artists around the corner would even paint a beautiful picture of yours around here,for a small fee of course.
- 4PM Opera Garnier : Take a bus and head straight to the famous Opera Garnier. This is the building where the French operas take place and they also allow a mini tour around here. Again, this is something that’s so typical to European countries and you may not see this elsewhere.
- 5PM Champs Elysees : Paris is synonymous with two words. Love and Shopping. The most famous shopping street in the world is located right outside the Eiffel tower, called Champs Elysees. Almost every major outlet is present here including MAC, GAP, Chanel, Sephora etc is present here and you can spend anywhere between an hour to even three.
- 7PM Seine River Cruise : Now that you might have explored a large portion of Paris, you can also get to see from the other side of it. The River Seine, that flows along the city is a great way to experience and explore as well. You can take this cruise from any of the three spots ( most preferable is the one close to the Eiffel) and costs approx 12-15 Euros.
Day 3 Paris Itinerary
- 8 AM Palace of Versailles : Palace of Versailles, along with Marie Antoinette Estate is one among the most famous destinations in Paris. A sprawling estate with the enormous palace of King Louis XIV, this is a beautiful place that you shouldn’t miss. Incidentally, this is also a World Heritage site for 30 years. This is a half day trip and would take a min 5 hours altogether.
- 2PM : Lunch Can be an expensive affair in Versailles. So its good to carry a nice packed lunch with you and have it like a picnic near the gardens.
- 2.30 PM : If you are still interested in museums and explore some wonderful art history, head to the following places:
- Musee D Orsay
- Trocadero ( for a more stunning Eiffel Tower view)
- CatacombsArc De Triomphe (to the top floor)
- Centre Georges Pompidou
- Les Invalides (Army Musuem and Tomb of Napoleon)
- Montparnasse Tower ( Tallest tower in Paris. Yes, you read it right. Eiffel tower is no longer the tallest tower in Paris)
- Arc De Triomphe
Alternate Plan for Day 3 :
If you are in Paris with kids, you might want to skip the above, head to DisneyLand (either Disney world or Disney Studios depending on your luck). Enjoy the rides from morning till about 6PM and back to Paris by 7PM. From here you can do some shopping and any other short tour of your area.
I been a few times and still find a different experience each time I go – wonderful city!
Wonderfully informative post Karthik … you have included small details which may come in very handy for travelers to Paris !
I will be in Paris ( alongwith my wife ) in August 2018 for 3 days and details provided by you are surely going to help me in planning my 3 days programme.
Thanks a lot
That is wonderful. Please mail me at [email protected] if you need any further info on Paris