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Let’s be honest…trying to figure out how to spend 3 days in Paris is overwhelming. There are SO many options. SO many museums. SO much….cheese. Champagne. Bread. You get the point. If you’re already overwhelmed, don’t be – because I’m going to give you the best recommendations in my 3 days in Paris itinerary.

If it’s your first time in Paris, you know you need to see the typical tourist things, like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. But in my opinion, the best part of spending 3 days in Paris is getting to know the culture, the food, and exploring the intricate “hidden gems” that make the city special.

Taking a trip somewhere – especially to another country – and especially when you’ve never been to that country – requires a lot of planning, research, and time…which is why I’m sharing my entire itinerary with you here!

This blog post is part of a series of 3 destination posts that encompasses my 2022 Eurotrip to Paris, London, and Madrid. I planned all 3 destinations for me and my friend Kelly, who accompanied me on this journey!
View the London Post
View the Madrid Post

This post was last updated in May 2024 to include information about seeing a show at Moulin Rouge

3 Days in Paris: The Itinerary
Table of Contents

Top Itinerary Tips – The Go City Pass
Day 1 – Welcome to Paris, Wine Tasting, The Eiffel Tower
Day 2 – The Louvre, Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées
Day 3 – Palace of Versailles, Le Marias, Montmartre
Free Time Suggestions
The Champagne Crawl

Website Disclaimer: I wrote this post when I visited Paris in July 2022. Although everything is accurate as of the publication of this post, it is important to keep in mind that prices, attractions, and other things may change with time.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris
The Eiffel Tower and the Seine River

But First – My Top Itinerary Tip for Sightseeing Around Paris

If you want to experience the best of Paris in the easiest way possible, getting The Paris Pass is the best way to do it!

Purchase the Paris Pass from the Go City

  • The Paris Pass is a great way to save money and will allow you to book attractions, tours, and more. You will see me refer to things I did using the Paris Pass multiple times throughout this post.
  • You can choose the number of days that you want your pass for, but it must be used in consecutive days.
  • The more things you do from the Paris Pass, the more money you will save.
  • For a more detailed Paris Pass description, check out my post about Why You Need The Paris Pass

Museum Lovers: Get the Paris Museum Pass

If you intend on seeing any of the museums through the Paris Pass, you MUST ALSO pick up a Paris Museum Pass. This is NOT something you can download from the Paris Pass or Go City.

3 Days in Paris: The Itinerary

Day 1: Travel Day – Welcome to Paris, Wine Tasting, and the Eiffel Tower

When I got to Paris, my flight landed at roughly 7:15am (most flights to Europe are overnight flights). If you can sleep on an airplane sitting up, the Lord has blessed you. I am not one of those people. After getting breakfast (a croissant and coffee, obviously), we took a much-needed nap and used the rest of the day to mostly explore.

My first breakfast in Paris: pain au chocolat & café au lait

We spent our first day familiarizing ourselves with the streets of Paris the best way I know how – by getting “lost!” When I have free time on my travel day, I love to leave my hotel, pick a direction, and just start walking. You’ll be amazed at how much you discover when you have no idea what’s there…in fact, we even stumbled upon the Louvre this way!

Wine tasting at Les Caves du Louvre

  • Booked through the Paris Pass; reservation required.
  • During the tasting, they let us taste 3 different kinds of wine (1 white, 2 red) while the sommelier educated us on the different wines in the regions of France.
  • At the end, you can buy wine and champagne from their shop next door.
Inside the Les Caves du Louvre wine shop
Inside the wine shop
The entrance to Les Caves du Louvre in Paris
The front of Les Caves du Louvre
A wine display inside Les Caves du Louvre wine shop
Who doesn’t love a decorative wine display?

The Eiffel Tower

  • We ended our first day by (what else?) seeing the Eiffel Tower! I will never forget seeing it for the first time…I really felt as though it had the “wow” factor that I always imagined it would.
  • You can see the Eiffel Tower up close – many people come sit on the grass in front of it for picnics, or even just to hang out. You can also go inside the Eiffel Tower via the Paris Pass, but in my opinion, seeing it from the outside is better!

The Eiffel Tower lights up at dusk and stays lit until 1:00 AM (of note, it stays light outside MUCH longer in Paris, so dusk usually isn’t until after 9pm!). Every hour on the hour is a glittering light show that lasts for 5 minutes and is 100% worth seeing.

  • Pro Tip: The Eiffel Tower’s lighting and sparkling lights are protected by copyright, so professional use of images of the Eiffel Tower at night require prior authorization and may be subject to a fee.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris
Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time!

You can sit on the grass right in front of the Eiffel Tower to get an up-close-and-personal view. If you want to see the Eiffel Tower from a distance, the best place is Plaza del Trocadéro.

The view from Plaza del Trocadéro

At the end of the plaza, there are steps you can go down to get an even better view (although, it will still be from a distance). If you go all the way to the bottom, you will be able to walk along the Seine River.

The Eiffel Tower & the Seine River

Day 2: Full Day – The Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saint Chapelle, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Élysées

I’m going to be honest with you: I am not a museum person.

The Louvre will likely be the only museum I write about, not only on this post but on this entire website. They just aren’t my thing. However, if you are a museum person, Paris has a multitude of amazing ones to choose from (and some are included in the Paris Pass)!

The Louvre museum in Paris, France
The Louvre from the outside

The Louvre

  • Booked through the Paris Pass; reservation required.
  • Go early in the morning; you could easily spend hours here if you wanted.
  • The Louvre is CLOSED on Tuesdays.
  • You MUST also get a Paris Museum Pass, which can be obtained from Big Bus Information Center. The Paris Museum Pass website is also great to browse if you want to see more museums than just the Louvre.
When Mona Lisa photobombs…

The highlight of the Louvre is, of course, The Mona Lisa

  • The most famous painting in the Louvre (and quite possibly the world); painted by Leonardo da Vinci
  • There are signs in the museum that help guide you to where this painting is, and there will be a line of people waiting to get a close-up photo.

Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle

The Notre Dame Cathedral is about a 20 minute walk from the Louvre

  • As of July 2022, you are still not able to go inside due to damage from the 2019 fire, but it is still magnificent to look at from the outside.
    • The Notre Dame Cathedral has an anticipated reopening date of 2024.

A short walk away from the cathedral is Sainte Chapelle, a gothic-style cathedral originally built to house relics of Christ. Although not as famous as Notre Dame, you CAN tour this one!

  • Paris Pass – reservation required
  • Known for it’s high ceilings and (equally high) gorgeous, stained-glass windows.


  • Paris’s most iconic shopping street.
  • This street has some affordable shops, but it was also very ritzy. You will find everything from Zara to Chanel.
  • A nearby landmark is the Pont Alexandre III bridge.You can walk across the bridge and admire its stunning, extravagant architecture, along with great views of the Seine River!

At the opposite end of Champs-Élysées from the bridge stands the Arc de Triomphe, a massive structure built to honor those who died in the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. You can make a reservation through the Paris Pass to go up to the top of the tower and get a great view of the city!

The Arc de Triomphe at night
The Arc de Triomphe at night

Day 3: Full Day – Palace of Versailles, Le Marais, Montmartre

The Palace of Versailles

The front of the Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a must-see day trip if you have enough time!

Booked through The Paris Pass

  • You MUST also get a Paris Museum Pass to be allowed to enter the Palace.
  • The Palace of Versailles is CLOSED on Mondays.
  • There is a link on the Go City app with the Paris Pass to book your reservation time.

The Palace of Versallies is an absolutely magnificent building adorned in bright gold, and the interior has a variety of different chambers and suites that are replicas of the royal era.

  • Originally built by King Louis XIII to be used as a hunting lodge, and then later turned into a chateau. The chateau was eventually expanded by King Louis XIV into a palace.
  • Today it is declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the top tourist attractions in the world.

We chose to only tour the palace since we had other things planned for today, but you could easily spend an entire day here if you wanted to.

There are ticket options that allow you to tour the Gardens, which are absolutely massive, and which also include the Estate of Trianon (Marie Antoinette’s estate).

To give you an idea of just how massive:

  • Walking from the Palace of Versailles to the Grand Canal of the gardens would take you 15 minutes (there are other sections of the gardens, such as Apollo’s Bath Grove, that are much closer).
  • Walking to the Estate of Trianon would take you 25 minutes.

When touring the inside of the palace, it is important to enter on the right wing side as opposed to the left. We entered on the wrong side and ended up accidentally going out the exit way before we were ready! (Thankfully, they let us back in, but we had to go through security again!)

  • Entering on the right will take you through the Gallery of the History of the Palace, and up the stairs to the Louis XIV rooms.
  • From here, you will enter the State Apartment rooms which eventually leads to the Hall of Mirrors.

The Hall of Mirrors was my favorite room in the entire palace. It is a massive space with huge windows, a painted ceiling, and multiple sparkling chandeliers.

The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles

Explore Le Marais

When we got back to Paris, we decided to explore Le Marais, a chic, trendy spot that is known for being LGBQT+ friendly. It is a vibrant community with shops and restaurants that’s located right on the Seine river. It’s not a must-do, but definitely worth walking around if you have some extra time.

We ate at this restaurant (Les Deux Colombes), which had views of the famous Hotel de Ville

The outside of Les Deux Colombes restaurant in Le Marais
Les Deux Colombes in Le Marais


  • Montmartre is known as the most romantic neighborhood of Paris and became my favorite area out of everything that we visited. It is what I always pictured when I envisioned the quintessential “French neighborhood.” It attracted a lot of artists back in the day, such as Ernest Hemingway and Picasso.
  • Montmartre is also where you will find Moulin Rouge, where you can buy tickets to see live dancers perform cabaret shows.

Update May 2024: I went back to Paris and finally checked Moulin Rouge off my bucket list! The show was absolutely incredible, and the theater is beautiful. However, I did not know that it was a topless cabaret show instead of a play! I was expecting something more like an NYC Broadway show. Overall, I would 100% recommend seeing it, but maaaybe leave your children at home…

The outside of Moulin Rouge in Montmartre; Paris, France
Moulin Rouge

Montmartre Walking Tour – booked through the Paris Pass.

  • A guide takes you up and down the streets of Montmartre and tells you about the history, landmarks, and other quintessential things you may not find on your own. This was the perfect way to familiarize ourselves with the city!
  • The tour ends at Sacre Coeur Basilica, a massive Catholic church with stunning architecture. You are allowed to go inside the church and look around.
Sacre Coeur Basilica in Montmartre; Paris, France
Sacre Coeur Basilica

Two minutes from the Sacre Coeur Basilica is a restaurant called Au Cadet de Gascogne, which was featured in the Paris Pass under “Champagne Gourmand.” Basically, you walk up, show them your pass, and they give you a glass of free champagne with a small tray of French pastries and desserts. Yes, you read that correctly. After walking the hills of Montmartre for the past hour and a half, it was the perfect way to relax.

The best way to end a tour of Montmartre!

Free Time Suggestions

I technically had another full day in Paris after Day #3, but did not have an itinerary planned since I already knocked out the majority of the things I wanted to do. I decided to use this day as a “chill day” to really take it all in. If you find yourself with extra time and want to squeeze in a few other activities, here are my top suggestions:

  • Taking a Seine river cruise (Paris Pass)
    • Cruises start every hour on the hour
    • No need to make a reservation; however, there will likely be a long line!
  • Multiple walking tours throughout the city (Paris Pass)
  • Hop on/hop off bus tour through the city (Paris Pass)
  • Musee d’Orsay – this is probably Paris’s second-most famous museum (only to the Louvre). Set in what used to be one of Paris’s main train stations. (Paris Pass)
  • Pere Lachaise Cemetery – Oscar Wilde is buried here! (Paris Pass)
  • Tour Palais Garnier, Paris’s opera house
  • Parks in Paris
    • Most famous: Jardin du Luxembourg and Jardin des Tuileries
    • Other parks: Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Bois de Vincennes

And Lastly…Do a Champagne Crawl

If you don’t do a champagne crawl in Paris, did you even go to Paris? You can, of course, get more than just champagne at (most) of these places, but I would recommend indulging at least once in arguably the most famous drink of France.

  • Pro Tip: A glass of champagne here is not nearly as expensive as you may think; in fact, a lot of it costs about the same as a glass of wine. (You can, of course, get crazy-expensive champagne if you’re about that life!)
Toasting to Montmartre at Au Cadet de Gascogne

We ended up doing more than one champagne crawl due to the location of some of these places. I researched some of the top bars in Paris before I went, because I wanted not only the best drinks, but also the best aesthetics, and a little bit of cultural history.

We also usually started our champagne crawl at the restaurant where we had dinner. For a list of the must-try cultural foods as well as my favorite restaurants I went to, check out the My Favorite Restaurants section on the “Planning a Trip to Paris” page.

From rooftops with Eiffel Tower views to the first (and perhaps only!) TRUE champagne bar in Paris, here are my favorite bars, grouped in proximity to each other:

The Champagne Crawl: My Favorite Bars

Bars Near Our Hotel, Close to Arrondissement #8:

  • The Buddha Bar – Asian-themed bar with expensive sushi. We did not order food, but the aesthetic (and champagne) were top-tier.
  • Bar Hemingway – a small bar located in The Ritz Paris. Expect there to be a line, as seating is very limited. Hemingway frequented this bar (obviously!)
  • Harry’s New York Bar – this one has more of a sports-bar vibe. Not your traditional Paris flair; however, the staff was very nice and helpful with drink recommendations. This bar was actually Paris’s first-ever cocktail bar, so we got more than just champagne here!
    • Fun fact: The Bloody Mary and Sidecar were both invented at this bar!

Bars We Visited In Montmartre:

  • Le Vrai Paris – Montmartre restaurant/bar with decorative flowers on the outside
    • This could also be included in the restaurant list, as their food looked AMAZING, but we only got drinks here!
  • Au Cadet de Gascogne – Montmartre bar with the free champagne from the Paris Pass
Le Vrai Paris

Bars Near The Eiffel Tower:

  • Le Dokhan’s Bar – Paris’s original (and ONLY) champagne bar. Located inside the Dokhan’s Hotel near Plaza del Trocadero.
    • Fun fact: This place considers themselves Paris’s only champagne bar because they are the only bar that exclusively serves just champagne!
  • Le Rooftop at The Peninsula Hotel – rooftop bar with gorgeous Eiffel Tower views near Le Dokhan’s. Drinks are pricey, but worth it IMO.

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