Paris may be one of the most famous cities in the world, but it can be visited in 1000 different ways. Would you like a rather romantic, festive or cultural stay? There's something for everyone. By dint of visiting the capital, discovering something new every time, and bringing my friends who often came for a long weekend, I ended up concocting what, for me, is the perfect route to visit Paris in 3 days.
PARIS IN 3 DAY – Route Day 1
pDistance: 2 kilometers
Montmartre and the Sacred Heart
We start this stay with my favorite area of Paris, Montmartre. It is such a lively area, so beautiful with the Basilica of the Sacred Heart that dominates the whole hill by its pristine white. There is always a musician, singer, balancer or actor at the bottom of the steps of the basilica to create animation as well as some painters and draughtsmen to hold its reputation as a neighborhood of artists. I like to stroll around while exercising thanks to the countless steps that will have to be braved to reach its heights!
The wall of "I love you"
Just below the Sacred Heart, a quick passage through the wall of "I love you", a wall covered with "I love you" translated into all languages. Romantic at will.
The Moulin Rouge and Pigalle
Even further down is the famous Moulin Rouge, made famous by its magazines and cabarets and also by the film of the same name.
Metro: Line 2 – White to Charles de Gaulle – Star (10 min)
Distance: 5 kilometers
The Arc de Triomphe – the Champs-Élysées
The Arc de Triomphe, commanded by Napoleon I and completed in 1836, was erected to celebrate French military victories and honour the tomb of the unknown soldier. In addition to the historical symbol, it is worth going up there at least once for a unique panorama of Paris.
Then obligatory passage on the Champs-Élysées, the most famous avenue in the world with its luxury shops. No need to spend your salary in a bag, you can also just enjoy the ride.
Alexander III Bridge – Small and Grand Palace
Before arriving at the bottom of the Champs-Élysées, take a right on Winston Churchill Avenue to admire the Petit Palais (Museum of Fine Arts) to your left and the Grand Palais (exhibition hall) to your right. At the end of this street you will find the magnificent Alexandre III Bridge built for the 1900 World's Fair.
Place de la Concorde
Continue along the Seine to the Place de la Concorde where a huge 23-metre-high golden-tipped obelisk from the Luxor Temple in Egypt was erected and donated in 1831 by Mehemet Ali, the Vice-King of Egypt to Charles X and France. On a less joyful note, it was also in this square that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined in 1793.
Just behind the Place de la Concorde is the Tuileries garden, where it is nice to stroll through its alleys. At the end of the gardens, you will find the Arc de Triomphe du Carroussel, also built by Napoleon I as a tribute to the Grand Army and its victory during the Battle of Austerlitz. You will see the Pyramids of the Louvre but let's keep this part for another day.
Rue de Rivoli and Place Vendôme
Walk along the pretty Rue de Rivoli and its covered arcades to reach Place Vendôme, one of the most famous and luxurious in Paris with its jewelry and haute couture boutiques. At its centre is the Vendôme column inspired by the Trajan column of Rome, again to celebrate Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz. It was also built with the bronze of enemy cannons.
Continue for 5 minutes on foot via The Rue de la Paix and you will find yourself in front of the imposing Opera Garnier. The tour lasts 1 hour and 20 hours and currently costs 17 euros. You can see the concert hall, of course, but also the large foyer covered with paintings, gilding and majestic chandeliers, as well as the library-museum consisting of an exhibition room and a reading room.
PARIS IN 3 DAY – Route Day 2
Distance: 9 kilometres
Trocadero and Eiffel Tower
I felt impatient then obviously, we begin this second day with the discovery of the most representative symbol of Paris and of the whole of France: the Eiffel Tower. Designed for the 1889 World's Fair by engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, it was not meant to last. But due to its popular success and then its scientific utility (weather station, astronomy, radio and telegraphic antenna), the Eiffel Tower will finally remain in the Parisian landscape.
Get up at dawn to see the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero esplanade. You can enjoy the view without the crowds around you and especially the colors are much more beautiful in the morning than in the middle of the day.
Then descend to the Tower through the gardens of the Trocadero and its large fountain. Climbing into the Tower is also worth a visit to get a closer look at the Iron Lady and see all of Paris. The ticket to the 2nd floor currently costs (in 2020) 16.60 euros by the elevator and 10.40 by the stairs. As for the summit, it is only accessible by elevator. You can either combine stairs and elevators for 19.70 degrees or do everything with the elevator for $25.60.
After or before your visit to the Eiffel Tower, take the time to stroll on the Champ-de-Mars, this large public garden 780m long. Formerly a farmland and then a practice ground for students of the nearby Military School, the Champ-de-Mars has then hosted many events, first military and then mainstream today (concerts, fireworks).
Photo spot with original view of the Eiffel Tower: from the pretty university street.
Nearby is the Invalides and its golden dome. Built by Louis XIV, this building was intended to serve as a military hospital where the war invalids would be cared for and housed. Today there is a military museum and Napoleon's tomb.
Seine Quays and Pont des Arts
On foot: about 30 minutes
On your way back from Les Invalides, head for a pleasant walk along the banks of the Seine to the Pont des Arts, the first metal bridge in Paris. This bridge, which had become fragile, collapsed in 1979. The current bridge is therefore a bridge that was rebuilt and completed in 1984. Starting in 2008, couples began to hang padlocks on the fence. So many, the weight of these padlocks ended up breaking part of the fence. Since 2014, this practice has been banned and fences have been replaced by plastic plates.
If you don't want to walk on the banks of the Seine, you can get to the Pont des Arts by metro from Les Invalides.
Metro: Line 13 from the Saint-François-Xavier, Varenne or Invalides station depending on what is closest to you as you leave the Invalides – to Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau.
Then Line 1 to Louvre – Rivoli.
Ile de la Cité and Notre-Dame-de-Paris
On foot: about 5 minutes
Continue to the Island of the City that you already saw from the Pont des Arts by taking one of the many bridges that lead to it, such as the Pont Neuf for example. Cross the Island of the City to reach the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Paris. It was in this cathedral, several times modified, damaged and renovated, that Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor in 1804. Unfortunately in 2019, a large fire destroyed the frame, the spire and many art objects.
Gourmet break at Berthillon on the island of Saint-Louis which offers the best ice creams in Paris. Or at least that's how many people see them.
The Latin Quarter
If you still have energy, heading towards the mustard street, pass by the Pantheon, where are big names of French history like Victor Hugo, Jean Moulin or Voltaire. You can also pass through the arenas of Lutece, an ancient Gallo-Roman-style amphitheatre.
Dinner on Rue Mouffetard
Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest in Paris, is now full of restaurants. Perfect for dining in a picturesque setting. My favourite: the "Casa Pepe" restaurant, at number 5, a traditional Spanish restaurant where a friendly and festive atmosphere reigns, thanks in particular to the musicians who regularly play the headlines of Spanish music.
PARIS IN 3 DAY – Route Day 3
Metro: Pyramids or Palais-Royal / LouvreDistanc
e Museum: 9 kilometres
Royal Palace Garden
Let's start this third day with a quick walk in the garden of the Royal Palace, a garden labelled "remarkable garden".
Buren Columns / The Two Plateaus
Continue to the Buren Columns, a modern work of art made up of black and white striped columns of different sizes. A good playground for photo lovers.
The Pyramids and the Louvre Museum
These glass and metal pyramids, inspired by the pyramids of Giza, were commissioned by François Mitterrand and inaugurated in 1989. Heavily criticized at the time of their construction, the pyramids are now one of the capital's flagship monuments.
If there is one Parisian museum to visit, it is the Louvre Museum. Spend at least half a day knowing you won't be able to see it all. It is estimated that it would take 96 hours to see all the works of this gigantic museum. The museum consists of three wings: the Richelieu Wing, the Sully Wing and the Denon Wing. Each has different collections of works of art. Look at the museum plan to organize your visit.
Lunch break: Near the Louvre, I really liked Le Café Plume (164 rue Saint Honoré), a very nicely decorated brasserie bar, with cozy chairs and the typical Parisian terrace.
To say the least, the architecture of the National Centre for Art and Culture is changing the monuments and museums you have seen so far. Its industrial design sparked controversy in the 1970s before becoming iconic, as did the Eiffel Tower in its day. Described as a refinery or gas plant, the centre is now visited by more than 3 million people each year. There are numerous exhibitions of modern and contemporary art as well as the largest public library in Europe.
Then head to the neighbouring Marais district. Originally, this area was swampy, then became a market garden, before becoming today a motley neighborhood comprising a Jewish quarter around Rose Street, a Chinatown in the northwest, and a so-called "gay" neighborhood around St. Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie Street.
Gourmet break on the go: if you're still hungry, stop at the Ace du Fallafel (Rue des Rosiers), a must for its delicious falafels. Not as good as in Egypt but we're getting closer!
Place des Vosges and Place de la Bastille
Continue to the Place des Vosges and then the Place de la Bastille, two historic squares in Paris. The first was first a place of parties and tournaments, then a place of walk, surrounded by many mansions built by many celebrities like Richelieu, Molière, Mme de Sévigné, Victor Hugo and many others…
As for the Place de la Bastille, its history is more eventful since it witnessed the Revolution. It was here, in fact, that the Bastille prison was located, the capture of which was then considered the beginning of the French Revolution. It is still a place of political gathering or protest, as was the case after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Notting Hill of Paris: the cremated street
Well known on Instagram, this street with colorful houses is the delight of photographers to the chagrin of its inhabitants who are forced to put up signs to enforce their privacy. In any case, it is a nice street to see, with respect for the locals, and immediately reminiscent of the Notting Hill area of London.
Garden of Plants and the Natural History Museum
Cross the Austerlitz Bridge and you will find yourself in the large Garden of Plants where you will find gardens, large greenhouses, as well as the great gallery of Evolution, a very interesting museum, both for adults and children.
Grand Mosque of Paris
The Grand Mosque of Paris is the oldest mosque in France. It was built to pay tribute to the Muslims who died for France during the First World War and celebrates the Franco-Muslim friendship. During World War II, the mosque became a place of resistance for Muslims against Nazi Germany and a refuge for many Jewish families. Today, the mosque is open to the public, except on Fridays, and is well worth a visit, especially in its gardens.
I hope you will have enjoyed this itinerary to visit the must-sees (in my opinion) of Paris in 3 days. Don't hesitate to share your essentials in comment and continue to explore the blog articles on France.
And for even more ideas for visits and activities, visit the official website of the Paris tourist office 'VISIT PARIS REGION' which is full of information very useful for your stay in Paris. You will find the events that take place when you are there: exhibitions, festivals, shows… but also everything related to guided tours, restaurants, outings, shopping and much more.
The tourist office has also developed a 'CLICK AND COLLECT' system that allows you to collect your tickets and tickets to visit Paris, such as the 'PARIS REGION PASS', from 12 withdrawal points.
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This article was written in partnership with the Regional Tourism Committee of Paris Ile-de-France. The editorial content is entirely mine.