Julie France, Itinerary 80 Comments

So, you’re planning a trip to Paris? Welcome to one of our favorite cities. With 3 days in Paris, you have enough time to take in the view from the Eiffel Tower, say hi to Mona Lisa in the Louvre, eat street food crepes, climb the Arc de Triomphe, explore several Parisian neighborhoods, and visit the amazing Palace of Versailles. We put together this 3-day Paris itinerary to help you have the best experience.

About this Paris Itinerary

Paris is one of Europe’s most popular destinations and with that, lines can be long to visit the more popular sites. The last thing you want to do on vacation is to wait in line after line after line. What fun would that be?

I put a lot of research into how to skip the lines at these attractions. You will have to book some tickets in advance but it will save you hours once you are in Paris. All of the links to book your tickets are included in this post.

To avoid museum fatigue, I didn’t put too many museums in one day. Yes, the art museums in Paris are amazing, but most people can’t handle more than two museums per day. I know I can’t!

Finally, all of the times in the daily schedule are rough estimates, just to give you an idea about timing throughout the day. Your times may differ, based on queues and how much time you decide to spend at each place. I did my best to anticipate waiting times and visiting times, but on very busy days (or very quiet days) these times can differ.

Paris Itinerary Day 1

Pinch Me, I’m in Paris!!

Bonjour! Today you get to visit some of Paris’ biggest and most iconic sites: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe. Get ready to take lots of photos and make some wonderful memories.

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers. Clicking the icons on the map will give you more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

9 am: Eiffel Tower

Yes, the Eiffel Tower is super touristy but a visit to Paris would not be complete without a view from the tower, especially if this is your first time in Paris.

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). One of our readers recently wrote in that tickets were sold out over 6 weeks in advance (at the end of May they were attempting to purchase tickets for July and tickets were sold out for their dates of travel). 

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Online tickets go on sale 60 days in advance for the elevator, 10 days in advance for the stairs. 

Eiffel Tower View

View from the Eiffel Tower

Getting here by Metro: Line 9, stop Trocadero; Line 6, Bir-Hakeim; Line 8, stop Ecole-Militaire. For the prettiest walk to the Eiffel Tower, get off at the Trocadero metro station and enjoy the view as you approach the tower (allow 15 minutes for this walk).
Hours: June  13 to August 29: 9:00 am to midnight for the elevator and stairs; remainder of the year: 9:30 am to 11:45 pm for the elevator, 9:30 am to 6:30 pm for the stairs
Cost: Elevator to 2nd floor €16.70; Elevator to the top €26.10; Stairs to 2nd level €10.50; Stairs to 2nd level and elevator to the top €19.90
Tickets: 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.


11 am: Picnic in Champs de Mars

For the ultimate picnic experience, go shopping on a charming French street and enjoy your meal in Champs de Mars, the large park in front of the Eiffel Tower.

I have to give Rick Steves credit for this. On our first visit to Paris, Tim and I did this and it was one of many favorite memories from Paris. There’s something about sitting in the park, eating wine, cheese, and chocolate, and enjoying the view of the Eiffel Tower. It was such a great experience that we did it again several years later with Tyler, Kara, and our mothers.

From the Eiffel Tower, it’s another very pretty walk to Rue Cler. On this short shopping street, go shopping in the patisseries (pastry shops), boulangeries (bread shops), fromageries (cheese shops), and shops selling wine, fruit, and chocolate. 

Take your food and find a nice spot on Champs de Mars and enjoy the view.

Eiffel Tower Picnic

1 pm: The Louvre

The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum. 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 literally could spend days here. I find the Louvre to be crowded and overwhelming. My favorite part about visiting the Louvre is just taking in the grandeur of the building. The sheer size of this place is impressive. Several rooms, like the Apollo Gallery (where the crown jewels are kept), are gorgeous.

Louvre Paris itinerary

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.

How to Skip the Line at the Louvre:

There are several ways to avoid waiting in a long line to get into the Louvre.

  • 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.
  • 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. 

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.

Hours: daily 9 am to 6 pm; closed Tuesdays
Cost: €17 adults; under 18 years are free; included in the Museum Pass

3:30 pm: Indulge at Angelina’s

Hopefully you worked up a bit of an appetite because now it’s time for a little indulgence. From the Louvre, walk through the Tuileries Garden and cross Rue de Rivoli to Angelina. Angelina serves decadent hot chocolate and delicious French pastries. Enjoy!

Angelina Hot Chocolate Paris itinerary

4:30 pm: Place de la Concorde

From Angelina, stroll through Tuileries Garden or along the Rue de Rivoli to Place de la Concorde. This famous square is full of French history. This was the spot during the French Revolution where King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and Robespierre were executed by guillotine.

From mid-November to early May a giant Ferris wheel sits in Place de la Concorde. If the line is short and you want a nice view of Paris, consider taking a ride.

5 pm: Champs-Elysees

The Champs-Elysees is one of the most recognizable 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-Elysees. It has a touristy feel but it’s still worth the stroll.

Champs Elysees Paris itinerary

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-Elysees or shorten the walk by taking line 1 on the metro from Concorde to Franklin D. Roosevelt or George V.

6:30 pm: Arc de Triomphe

It’s time to take in the view from the mighty Arc de Triomphe. This is my favorite view of Paris. There’s just something about looking down the Champs-Elysees 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.

Paris in April Paris itinerary

Arc de Triomphe at Night Paris itinerary

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Arc de Triomphe was almost a statue of a giant elephant? 45 years before the Arc was built, French architect Ribart proposed to build a 3-level elephant at the same site. The French government shot down this proposal. Could you imagine a giant elephant in the center of Paris?

Hours: April 1 to September 30: 10 am to 11 pm; October 1 to March 31: 10 am to 10:30 pm
Cost: Adults €13; 17 and under are free; included on the Museum Pass
Closest metro station: Charles de Gaulle Etoile lines 1, 2 and 6

Dinner and Drinks

End the day with dinner and drinks. If you are looking for a very cool dinner/drink spot, go to the Buddha Bar. We loved it here. The lower level is a restaurant and along the second level are lounge areas with views over the restaurant. It feels like you have left Paris and entered Asia.

There are two locations of the Buddha Bar. We visited both and by far the best location is 8-12 Rue Boissy d’Anglas. From the Arc de Triomphe, take the metro back to Concorde and then it is just a 5-minute walk to the Buddha Bar.

Buddha Bar

Paris Itinerary Day 2

The Historic Center of Paris, Musee d’Orsay & Montmartre

8:00 am: Ile de la Cite

Our day starts with a visit to Sainte-Chapelle. You can take the metro to Cité, the closest station, but I recommend a more scenic route with just a little more walking.

Ile de la Cite is the small island in the center of Paris that is home to Sainte-Chapelle and Notre Dame. It is the historic heart of Paris. Approaching it from the Right Bank and crossing Pont Neuf onto Ile de la Cite (the oldest bridge in Paris) is a very scenic way to start the day.

I recommend taking the metro to Palais Royal Musee de Louvre or Louvre-Rivoli, walking towards the Seine, and then walking along the river to Pont Neuf. Pont Neuf is the stone bridge that crosses the Seine on the western edge of the island. From Pont Neuf, enjoy the view along the Seine, to the next bridge, Pont des Arts, and to the Eiffel Tower off in the distance.

This walk, of course, is optional. It takes 20 minutes and is 1.4 km (1 mile) long from Palais Royal Musee de Louvre to Sainte-Chapelle.

9 am: Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle is home to one of the world’s best displays of stained glass. It is gorgeous inside, much prettier than the inside of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Sainte Chapelle

This is another location that is notorious for having long lines so getting here at opening time (or a little before) helps you avoid the wait. The Museum Pass will let you skip the queue for tickets but lines can still be long for security. If you really want to skip the line, plan on arriving 15 to 30 minutes before opening time.

Hours: April 1 to September 30: 9 am to 7 pm; October 1 to March 31: 9 am to 5 pm; closed January 1, May 1, December 25
Cost: €11.50; included with the Museum Pass
Combo Ticket with Conciergerie: 15€
Metro Station: Line 4, Cite
Website: Sainte-Chapelle can close on other days during the year. Check their website to confirm hours before your visit.

The Conciergerie

This is optional, but for those with an interest in French history, you can visit the Conciergerie. This is where people were imprisoned before taken to Place de la Concorde to be executed. Marie Antoinette is the most famous prisoner.

The Conciergerie is located next to Sainte-Chapelle.

Hours: Open every day 9:30 am to 6 pm
Cost: €9.50; Combination ticket with Sainte-Chapelle 15€; included with the Museum Pass

10:30 am: Notre Dame Cathedral

IMPORTANT NOTE:  On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame suffered a devastating fire. The cathedral and the towers will be closed until further notice. Restoration work is currently being done, with a goal of reopening the cathedral in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

From Sainte-Chapelle it’s a very short walk to Notre Dame Cathedral.

In front of Notre Dame Cathedral a small plaque marks Point Zero (Point Zero des Routes de France), the historic center of Paris.

Since Notre Dame is currently closed, you will only be able to see the cathedral from the outside. 

Walk through Ile de la Cite and from Notre Dame, it is a quick walk to one of the prettiest storefronts in Paris, Au Vieux d’Arcole. This is a small cafe so you can eat an early lunch here.

Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole

11:30 am: Ile Saint-Louis

From Ile de la Cite, cross Pont Saint-Louis to Ile Saint-Louis. This island gets fewer visitors than Ile de la Cite and it is a good place to go shopping and have lunch. A good lunch spot is Pom’ Canelle, a restaurant that serves French and European food at reasonable prices (location: 27 Rue des 2 Ponts).

For an amazing ice cream shop, it is just a one minute walk to Bertillon Glacier. This place is world famous for its ice cream and sorbet. In fact, you could skip lunch and just eat here instead (we did!).

Berthillon Glacier Paris itinerary

Note: There are several ice cream shops with name Berthillon in the area. You want to visit the one in this photo with the address 29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile.

1 pm: Walk along the Seine

Cross Pont de la Tournelle to the Left Bank. Walk along the Seine. As you approach Pont de l’Archeveche you get a beautiful view of Notre Dame. Pont de l’Archeveche makes a great photo spot of Notre Dame.

Pont lArcheveche Paris itinerary


As you continue your walk along the river you will notice stands set up selling books. These booksellers, or “bouquinistes” sell used books, magazines, and posters.


You will also pass Shakespeare & Company. This bookstore opened in 1919 and was a gathering place for Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound.

Continue the stroll along the Seine until you reach Musee d’Orsay.

2 pm: Musee d’Orsay

I will admit it, I am not an art museum lover. But I do love Musee d’Orsay. This museum is simply fabulous. If you arrive here at 2 pm, you have 4 hours to tour the museum, more than enough time to really enjoy the main exhibits.

Musee d’Orsay houses the largest collection of Impressionist art in the world. 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.

But this museum is more than just Impressionist art. The building is also a work of art. Musee d’Orsay was once Gare d’Orsay, an old train station, that was renovated and became this art museum. It is beautiful inside.

Musee dOrsay Paris itinerary

On the top floor, look for the giant clock windows that give you a very unique view of Paris and make a creative photographic spot.

Musee DOrsay View

Hours: Daily 9:30 am to 6 pm; open until 9:45 on Thursday; closed Mondays, May 1, and December 25
Cost: €16, included with the Museum Pass. A combination ticket with Musee de l’Orangerie costs €20.

Optional: Musee de l’Orangerie

This is a small museum that features Impressionist artwork. The highlights of this museum are the eight Water Lilies murals painted by Claude Monet. You can also see art by Picasso, Sisley, Cezanne, Matisse, and more.

Orangerie Museum

If you are doing good on time and like the idea of visiting another Impressionist art museum, it’s easy to add Musee de l’Orangerie onto today. This museum is much smaller than Musee d’Orsay, so it doesn’t take up much of your time. You could simply see the Water Lilies Murals or tour the entire museum. 

Getting Here: From Musee d’Orsay, cross the Seine River to the Tuileries Garden. Musee de l’Orangerie is located on the southwest corner of Tuileries Garden, just a 10 minute walk from Musee d’Orsay.

Hours: 9 am to 6 pm, Wednesday through Monday; closed on Tuesday.
Cost:  €12.50, included with the Museum Pass. A combination ticket with Musee d’Orsay costs €20.

6 pm: Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre

Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring Montmartre. This maze of hilly streets is one of Paris’ prettiest neighborhoods to visit.

I recommend getting off at the Lamarck metro station and walking towards the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. This is a very nice walk that takes you past photogenic spots such as La Maison Rose and Le Consulat Restaurant.

Montmartre View

Maison Rose

Le Consulat

Before arriving at the basilica you will walk through Place du Tertre. This small square is filled with artists. Go shopping, grab a drink at a café, or have your portrait drawn.

Place du Tertre

The Sacre-Coeur Basilica sits atop the highest hill in Paris. The steps in front of the Basilica are a popular spot to watch the sunset. You also have the option to climb the 300 steps to the top of the Dome for an even better view.

Sacre Coeur

Hours: 8:30 am to 8 pm May to September; 9 am to 5 pm October to April
For more information, visit the official website.

For dinner, take your pick from restaurants in the area. We ate at Le Relais Gascon, a wonderful little place that prepares French food.

Paris Itinerary Day 3


The Palace of Versailles

Versailles is a royal chateau located on the outskirts of Paris. In 1682, King Louis XIV moved the Royal Court from the Louvre to the Palace of Versailles. For a little more than 100 years, this was the seat of government for France. That ended in 1789 with the French Revolution. The monarchy moved back to Paris and since then, the city of Paris has remained the seat of government for France.

During your visit to Versailles you will tour the palace and get to stroll through the gorgeous gardens. We visited on a rainy day, not the best weather for photography, but on a sunny day this place looks stunning.



Versailles in the rain

The Versailles Gardens in the rain.

How long does a visit last? If you’re fast, it takes 3 to 4 hours to zip through the palace and walk a part of the gardens. Some people spend all day here, touring the entire gardens as well as the estate of Trianon.

Stay as long as you like today. We have some more cool spots to visit in Paris, just in case you get back to Paris in the afternoon.

Learn more about everything you can see and do in Versailles on the official website.

Hours: The palace is closed Mondays; open at 9 am; The gardens and the park are open every day and are free to visit.
Cost: 18€ to tour the palace; 20€ for the palace and gardens and the Trianon; €27 adds the Musical Gardens and Musical Fountain Shows
Museum Pass: The Museum Pass covers your entry into the palace, the Trianon, and the estate of Marie-Antoinette. It does not cover the Musical Gardens. You will have to purchase this ticket separately (and you should do so in advance) for 8.50€.

Getting here: Take RER C from Paris to Versailles. This journey takes approximately 45 minutes. Since Versailles is outside of the city your travel card (if you have one) will not be valid for this trip. In the metro station you will have to purchase a separate round trip ticket to get to and from Versailles. It costs 7.10€. This detailed post explains how to get from Paris to Versailles.


Options for your Afternoon in Paris

If you do not spend all day in Versailles and get back to Paris during the afternoon, here are several spots to visit.

Take in the View from Montparnasse

For one of the best views of Paris, visit the observation deck of Montparnasse Tower. There are two levels to visit, the 56th floor, which is completely enclosed by windows, and the observation terrace on the roof. This is also completely enclosed by glass panels but there are a few strategic openings in the glass for your camera.

Montparnasse View

Hours: April 1 to September 30: 9:30 am to 11:30 daily; October 1 to March 31:  Sunday through Thursday 9:30 am to 10:30 pm, Friday and  Saturday 9:30 am to 11 pm; open 365 days a year
Cost: Adults 18€; student 15€; children 4 – 11 years 9.50€
Metro Station: Montparnasse – Bienvenue lines 4, 6, 12, 13
Website: www.tourmontparnasse56.com

Note: If you want to eat some of the best crepes in Paris, walk 5 minutes to La Creperie de Josselin (11 am -11:30 pm, closed Monday and Tuesday).

Take Your Pick from 2 Museums

Rodin Museum

This small museum features sculptures by Rodin. It’s quick and fun to visit. If you are traveling with kids, this is a museum they may actually like. Just ask them to pose like the statues.

Paris with Kids

Hours: 10 am to 6:30 pm, last tickets sold at 5:30 pm; closed Mondays
Cost: 12€, included with the Museum Pass
RER: Invalides (line C) – perfect for taking the RER back to Paris from Versailles
Metro: Varenne (line 13) and Invalides (line 8 and 13)

Centre Pompidou

This is the largest modern art museum in Europe. It has an interesting design, with all of its plumbing and pipes located on the exterior of the museum, color-coded in vibrant colors. It’s definitely a unique sight to see. This is large museum and you could wander here for hours. From the top level of the museum you are treated to another wonderful view of Paris.

Pompidou Centre

Hours: 11 am to 10 pm; until 11 pm on Thursdays; closed Tuesdays
Cost: 14€; 5€ for the view of Paris only; included on the Museum Pass
Metro: Rambuteau (line 11), Hotel de Ville (line 1 and 11), Chatelet (line 1, 4, 7, 11, and 14)

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. 

To avoid spending your valuable time in line, I recommend either purchasing your ticket online in advance on the official Catacombs website (€29) or joining a skip-the-line tour.  If you purchase your tickets at the Catacombs, you will pay €14 but most likely you risk waiting in a very long, slow moving line.

The Catacombs are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 8:30 pm. The least crowded time of day to visit the Catacombs is the last two hours of the day. However, there is a small risk of not getting into the Catacombs, if you arrive late and there is still a queue. 

Visit Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery is one of the best known and most visited cemeteries in the world. A visit here may sound like a macabre way to spend an afternoon, but a stroll among the tombstones and mausoleums can be fascinating.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Hours: Daily 8:00 am to 5:30 pm; on Saturday it opens at 8:30 am
Cost: Free
Metro: Pere Lachaise Line 2 and 3

Dinner and Drinks in Le Marais

End the day with a visit to Le Marais, one of Paris’ most interesting neighborhoods.

If you are looking for a budget meal, consider trying one of the falafel restaurants along Rue de Rosiers. The most famous spot is L’As du Falafel. We ate at Mi-Va-Mi, another popular spot, simply because it was the only one open during our visit.

Mi Va Mi

If you don’t feel like eating falafel on your last night in Paris, there are many great cafes and restaurants in the area.

Tips to Help You Have the Best Experience

Learn a Little French

Sure, you can get by with just speaking English, but being able to say a few things in French is polite and friendly. At a bare minimum, say bonjour when walking into a restaurant or shop. If it’s evening, say bonsoir.

In my experience, trying to speak the local language opens you up to much more meaningful interactions with people. Even if you are not perfect or you make a mistake, your effort is appreciated.

I am a big fan of Fluenz, a software program that teaches several different languages and is perfect if you want to learn a little bit of conversational French.

Beware of Pickpockets

Paris is very safe. Your chances of being a victim of violent crime are very low. However, pickpocketing is a problem in Paris. Our hotel staff warned us of pickpockets and the US Embassy even has an article about how to avoid pickpocketing in Paris that you can read here.

This article by Europe for Visitors has a lot of great tips that you should read, especially if this is your first time to Europe.

Museum Closings on Mondays and Tuesdays

Several museums close on either Monday or Tuesday. Take note of this when planning your trip. You may have to adjust the order of these three days if you will be in Paris on a Monday or Tuesday.

Closed on Monday:
  • Musee d’Orsay
  • Versailles
  • Musee Rodin
Closed on Tuesday:
  • Louvre
  • Musee de l’Orangerie
  • Pompidou Centre

Places that are closed on Monday will have larger than normal crowds on Sunday and Tuesday. Places that are closed on Tuesday will have larger crowds on Monday and Wednesday. This is just something to be aware of when planning your time.

How to Adjust this Paris Itinerary

If day one of your three days in Paris also happens to be the day that you are arriving in the city, you will need to adjust day 1 of this Paris itinerary. Even if you arrive in the morning, there’s a good chance that you will be exhausted, especially if you flew a red-eye flight from outside of Europe.

Out of the big sites on day 1 (Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe) you may just want to plan on visiting two of them and save the third site for the afternoon of day 3.

Should You Get the Museum Pass?

Absolutely! The Museum Pass covers your entrance fee into almost every site in this itinerary and it allows you to skip the ticket lines. Just be aware that it does not guarantee getting into every attraction without a line. During busy times, you still may have to queue for security.

The Museum Pass is only offered for 2 days (€52) and for 4 days (€66). They do not have a 3-day option.

I recommend getting the 4-day pass. If you visit everything I have listed (not including the optional museums on day 3), you will pay €95. Even though you don’t use the pass all four days, you still save €29. If you visit another museum on the afternoon of day 3, that’s an additional €9 to €12 savings.

Click here for full more information and instructions on how to obtain your pass.

What About the Paris Pass?

You may also hear about something called the Paris Pass. This pass includes the Museum Pass, the Paris Visite Pass for unlimited transportation in Paris (zones 1 through 3 so Versailles is not included), and some additional sites and activities in town.

The cost is 166€ for 3 days and only includes a 2-day Museum Pass. You have to pay 206€ in order to get the 4-day Museum Pass.

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.

Our Recommendation

Purchase the 4-day Museum Pass for €66 and a 3-day Paris Visite Pass for €29.40 for a grand total of €95.40. That’s a savings of €70.60 off of the Paris Pass.

You can purchase your Paris Visite Pass at the ticket booths in the metro stations (do this the first time you ride the metro). This will pay for your transportation on the metro, RER, bus, and the Montmartre funicular. Learn more here.

Where to Stay in Paris

We have visited Paris three times and here is where we stayed.

Hotel Brighton. This is the most expensive hotel on this list but it’s worth it if you want an awesome view over Paris. Located on Rue de Rivoli right across from Tuileries Garden, you will be able to see the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe from your room. Request a high floor, preferably one with a balcony, for the best experience.

Hotel de La Bourdonnais. This hotel is located near the Eiffel Tower. From our room, if we hung our head out of the window, we could see the top of the Eiffel Tower. This hotel is under new management since our visit and it looks like things have changed for the better. We liked it here, but not as much as the other two hotels in this list.

Le Relais Saint Honore. On our most recent visit to Paris we stayed at Hotel Le Relais Saint Honore. Our favorite thing about this small, boutique hotel is its excellent location. The Louvre, Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde, and Palais-Garnier are all within a 10-minute walk. The Tuileries and Pyramides metro stations are less than 5 minutes away. The rooms are small but tastefully decorated and the staff is friendly and speaks English. You don’t get the awesome view in this hotel but we loved the friendly staff and the location.

For more recommendations on where to stay, read our Best Hotels and Neighborhoods Guide for Paris. Learn where to stay for a great view of the Eiffel Tower and get recommendations whether you are looking for a budget hotel, luxury hotel, or if you are traveling as a family.

Tim and Julie in Paris

Happy travels! If you have any questions about this Paris itinerary, comment below!

Recommend Reading and Travel Guides:

Where Are You Going Next?

If you plan to continue your tour of France and Europe, you might find these useful:

More Information for Your Trip to Paris:

Are you planning a trip to France? Read all of our articles about France in our France Travel Guide.

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Comments 80

  1. This is so helpful! Thank you. Quick question – we’re bringing our 10-year old to Paris with us next week. Should I buy the museum pass for her? It sounds like a lot of places are free for kids anyway?

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      Yes, most museums in Paris are free for those under 18 years old. When we visit with Tyler and Kara, we do not buy them a Museum Pass and they enter in the same line with us. So, you do not need to buy a Museum Pass for your daughter. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

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      On Google Chrome, you can save and print a copy as a PDF. I do it every time after I publish a new article (as back up). It will be a lot of pages but it’s the only way that I know how to do it. Cheers, Julie

  2. This blog has been amazing and very helpful in planning our trip to Paris this summer. Do you recommend buying the Museum Pass when you get to Paris or online? Our hotel offers the 4 day for 70 euros (8 euro surcharge). Is there a surcharge if you purchase at a kiosk? What has been your experience? Thanks!

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      Hello Beth. When we go to Paris, we buy the Museum Pass in Paris at the first museum we visit. There should not be a surcharge if you buy it at a museum. The hotel may charge the surcharge just to get a few more euros out of you. However, if you are visiting at peak season and there is a chance that the first museum you will visit will have a long ticket line, getting it ahead of time at your hotel might be worth it. The 2 times that we bought the museum pass it was April and October, not super busy months in Paris. Cheers, Julie

  3. We followed this itinerary on our 3 day visit in Paris last week of March, I can’t thank you enough, it’s the best thing we did. We are truly grateful! By following this, I feel like we covered a lot in 3 days. I love Paris and hopefully we can go back. We also made a side trip to Venice and London.

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  4. Would you still recommend Versailles on the 3rd day if you are flying out that same day at 2pm? We are in Paris for 2 full days plus the half day, so your 3 day itinerary works great except perhaps for Versailles. What would you recommend? What adjustment would you make (or what would you leave out to add Versailles) on the other 2 days to make this work? Thank you!

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      Hello Brad. I would not visit Versailles that morning of your flight. It would be very rushed and maybe even a little bit stressful to make sure you get back to Paris and then to the airport on time. Instead, do one or two of the things that we recommend for the afternoon, but doing them the morning of your 3rd day. In my opinion, Versailles is nice, but I love all of the sights and activities I mention for days 1 and 2 a whole lot more (so I wouldn’t adjust the itinerary too much, unless you really, really want to see Versailles). Cheers, Julie

  5. Hi

    I love your article. This will be my first time in Paris I think three days will be good. Thank you very much for your expertise. Blessings

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  6. Love your post! We are flying into Frankfurt and staying with family for a few days and then heading towards Paris. I was planning on 3 days in Paris. I am open to other recommendations. I am thinking we leave Bamberg, Germany on the 14th or 15th head towards Paris and fly out of Paris on the 21st. Thats all I have for now 🙂 any suggestions to add to the 3 day itinirary would be greatly received. Other cities to stop in on the way? I am traveling with my young 70yr old Mother and my 19yr old daughter. My thought was that we stay at a hotel near CDG airport on the 20th since we have an early morning flight back to the US. So I am going to digest all your recommendations and like to know what reputable sites you used to book hotels or VRBO’s?

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  7. I love this guide! I’ve been to Paris before, and I loved the way you structured this post. I haven’t tried all the things on your list, but fingers crossed, I’ll be back this winter. I want to try out some of your tips! Merci mille fois 🙂

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  8. I find it very useful Julie, i have to thank you for that in the first place!
    Can you please help me with the doubt i have
    Doubt: I calculated the Metro ticket prices and compared with the Paris Visit Pass(My itinerary includes most of the places what you mentioned, i just modified according to my schedule) and i found buying tickets is much lesser than the Pairs Visit Pass (3 days). My question is, can i get the multiple passes and use it in a day or consecutive days
    for example can i get 5 metro passes(ticket) and use 2 in a day and other 3 next day?

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      Hello Ashwini. You can buy individual metro tickets at the metro stations. You can buy them one by one or you can purchase a pack of 10, called a carnet, which saves you some money, and saves you waiting in line for a ticket each time you want to ride the metro. However, if you only need 5, you can buy 5 individual tickets all at once at the first metro station you visit. You will use one ticket per ride, and after the ride (once you exit the metro station) you can throw that ticket away. Your remaining tickets are valid for your entire trip, so you can use them on consecutive days. Just don’t mix up the used tickets with the unused tickets. Cheers, Julie

  9. Hello,

    Thank you so much for putting this together, this is a great for first time visitors like myself. I have a question regarding modifying the afternoon of Day-3 by adding Monet Garden in Giverny. Essentially, I am thinking of doing a day trip to Palace of Versailles and then to Monet’s Garden (or vice versa?) and I am wondering if you had any insights for me? I am planning to rent a car for this day but I am open to suggestions. I do want to do this myself rather than take an expensive guided tour. I appreciate your help.


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      Hello Adi. We have not been to Monet’s Garden yet, so I don’t have experience on how things work. I think you can do both in one very busy day. The key is to start early and get to Monet’s Garden or Versailles right at opening time so you can miss the crowds at your first stop. As far as which one to do first, maybe your favorite? By going to your favorite first, you might have a better experience without dealing with busloads of other visitors. You won’t be able to spend much time at either spot, but then again, I really don’t know how long it takes to see Monet’s Garden. Lunch in Giverny sounds nice! Hope this helps! Cheers, Julie

  10. Hi Julie,
    I’m so happy I found your blogs. To celebrate my daughters graduation, we (a family of four) are spending 2 weeks in Paris and Italy. We are in Paris for 2-days so I am slightly modifying your 3-Day Itinerary. I’m purchasing the Paris Museum Pass they list Evening Openings. What are your thoughts about seeing some of Museums and sites at night? Are they better to see in the day? Also in your June 6 reply above, you mentioned two additional entrances to the Louvre. Do you know if they are open at night or is it best to use Pyramid entrance at night?

    I’ve read 6 of your blogs tonight. They are fantastic!
    Thank you for the valuable information

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      Hello Dorie. I think the museums would be wonderful at night. From what I have heard (but I am not 100% positive), they can be less crowded than so it can be a much nicer experience. I do not know about the hours of the other entrances. However, later in the day, you may have less of a wait in line. I’m glad you found us, too! 🙂 If you do the museums at night, write back to us and let us know how it goes. We would love to hear about your experience. Cheers, Julie

  11. Hi Julie,
    First off, I’m a complete fan of your blog. Love the way you ave described your travel diaries and there is so much helpful information that i was able to plan my London, Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome part of the Europe trip using your blog!

    I do have a question for you. Let’s say i want to take the Museum Pass option. In that case, i don’t need to get an advance time slot for The Louvre Museum? Does this mean i get to skip the line for “Pyramid”. In other words, am i considered same as a person who booked their tickets in advance via the museum website with a time-slot?

    Also, does this priority access apply to other museums and view places such as “The Saint-Chapelle, Notre-Dame-Cathedral”?

    I look forward to hear from you!


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      The advance ticketing process for Paris museums is complicated and seems to change every few years to meet demands. The Museum Pass lets you bypass the ticket lines but you still have to wait in the security line. These are smaller lines but you still could end up waiting to get into the Louvre, and this varies by time of day and season. Honestly, I am not sure if the Museum Pass line is the same as the time slot line for the Louvre. I have read that lines are shorter to enter the Louvre at the Portes des Lions entrance and the Carrousel de Louvre entrance (different entrances than at the Pyramid). For the tower of Notre Dame, book your time slot in advance with the Jefile app (the link is in this post) and when you arrive you will use your Museum Pass or pay 10 euros to enter the tower. At Sainte-Chapelle, the security checkpoint creates long lines, so this is unavoidable, unless you arrive early. Like the Louvre, I believe that the Museum Pass lets you skip the ticket queue, similar to booking a ticket in advance. I hope this helps! Cheers, Julie

  12. Hi, there. We have 4 pax here and planning to go to London, Paris & Amsterdam in month of end of Oct about 11 days. This is our first time free & easy. Do you think it enough for us for these 3 cities? We are also keen to go to famous premium outlet as well as Disneyland Paris during this trip. We seek your traveling guidance & tips.

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      Yes, I think 11 days is enough time. You could spend 4 days in London, 2 days in Paris, 1 day at Disney, and 2 days in Amsterdam. The other 2 days you could use to travel from London to Paris and Paris to Amsterdam. This is very easy to do by train. I do have plans to write a 10 day London Paris Amsterdam itinerary in the near future, so keep a look out for that. In the meantime, we have itineraries for London and Amsterdam. Cheers, Julie

  13. Hi there. We will be in Paris arriving Sunday May 20 (early) from the US. We will be travelling with a 4 year old and I am not sure how the time change will affect her. I am very interested in doing a museum pass and wondering if you think I should buy online before we arrive in case we have the energy to do things when we get there or should I just find a spot to buy one on Sunday morning? We are staying in the 1st Arrondisement. Is there any easy place nearby to pick up?

    Thanks! I love your blog by the way! Congrats on the career change, you are my hero 🙂

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      Hello Amie. If you buy your pass online, you will have to pay a shipping fee which can be quite expensive (24 euros to mail it to the US!). You can buy it at the airport, which might save you from waiting in line at your first museum. Or, you can simply purchase it at the first museum you visit (this is what we have done). Check out this page on the Museum Pass website that lists all of the places you can buy the pass. Enjoy Paris! Cheers, Julie

  14. Julie,
    We just moved to Dublin a couple of months ago for my husbands job for 18 months. I’m finally getting to plan traveling, and Paris is one of our first stops. We have a 20 month old, three, and seven year old. We normally like to stay in Airbnb because we’re a bigger family. If we don’t stay right in the middle of Paris, will it be easy to take the train in everyday? Or should I just go ahead and book a more expensive hotel closer to the city center? Your blog is perfect for someone like me who has no idea what they are doing planning traveling!


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      Yes, it can be easy to take the train in everyday…just make sure you stay near the train or metro station so this is easy and convenient for you. We did this in other cities (Tokyo and Kyoto) and it adds a little extra travel time but can save a lot of money not being in the heart of the city. Just make sure you stay within walking distance of that train. Please let us know if you have more questions…and have a great time in Paris! It’s such a wonderful city. Cheers, Julie

  15. Thanks for the quick reply. We might need to take out Nice/Menton because I can’t part with any other city and it won’t be as enjoyable rushing through it. That way we can add an extra day to Paris and one to Tuscany or Cinque Terre. My husband works from home so we are often on the road traveling last minute, but doing that in a foreign country is intimidating. After Italy we are going to Ukraine for 3 weeks so we will have plenty of time to rest there. Thanks for recommending booking. There are so many different sites available that it’s overwhelming to book anything so I will research that one. Thanks so much for the information. It is so nice to have some advice! I appreciate it!

  16. Hi,
    Thank you for such great information! We are going to France and Italy in less than two weeks and I still can’t decide on our itinerary. Please help! This will be our first international trip with our kids (4 and 2 yrs). We have gone on many long road trips together, the kids do great when traveling, we love to explore, but I’m unsure of how many places we can realistically explore with our time. We have a small budget and will be mostly walking around outside and exploring. This is the plan: 2 days in Paris, overnight train to Nice one day and night in Nice, 1 day and night in Cinque terre, 2 days and nights in Venice, 2 days and nights Florence/Tuscany (possible day trip to San Marino), 3 days Almalfi coast, 2 days Rome. One extra day left. Is this doable? Would it be ok to book hotels as we go to give us more flexibility or should I book everything now? Thanks in advance for any advice!

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      Hello Kate. I would take your extra day and add it to one of your already planned cities. To me, adding it to Paris, the Cinque Terre, or Tuscany makes the most sense. You are moving quite rapidly but this is doable. Tim and I are planners…we like to have our hotels booked in advance, but that is just our traveling style. On a fast schedule like this, and with 2 young kids, I’d recommend booking your hotels in advance. Then each time you arrive in a city, you can check in and get settled without spending valuable travel time (or down time) looking for hotels. If you are trying to stick with a small budget, you may want to consider taking out one, or maybe 2, cities. We have hotel recommendations for most of the cities you mention (just check the posts). We use Booking.com to book our hotels in advance. Cheers, Julie

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