Heading to city of lights and wondering the perfect Paris Itinerary. Fear, not my fellow travelers.
This guide will pave the way. In just 10 easy steps it will let you suck up all the major highlights in one of the best cities to visit in Europe. This guide will help you plan your days in Paris whether you have 3 days in Paris or 10.
Plus, it will let you save some precious time.
If you have any extra time, I suggest buying some stretchy pants, heading to the nearest bakery, and eating everything without feeling the slightest twinge of guilt about a number of calories you just consumed. I can personally, thanks to Paris for 4 or 5 pounds of my blogger belly.
THe Perfect Paris Itinerary in 10 Steps
Step 1 -Book Your Accommodation
Ok, so unless you want to be carrying your backpack around with you all day the smart move is to first check into your hostels.
At least stop by to drop off your bags, depending on when you fly in you might want to take a nap, or chug coffee to stay awake and get on the right sleep schedule for the next 3 days in Paris.
For hostels. I love St. Christopher’s. The rooms, Wi-Fi, bar, and tours are solid. Also, when you book with them directly, you get free breakfast and drink deals. They have two properties in the city.
Both of the hostel’s rock, but I would say the Gurd De Nord is the better choice since it is closer to from the metro and the bar is pumping at night.
Also, keep in mind that Western Europe in general is way more expensive than Eastern Europe.
There are so many factors that go into answering the question ” How much does it cost to Backpack Europe” that I wrote an entire post on the subject.
Step 2- Relax and Enjoy the Atmosphere in a Café
I am not a massive fan of jumping out of plane and then immediately start running around site seeing in a jet lag stupor. However, if you only have 3 days in Paris you might not want to waste time sitting in a cafe resting.
Personally, I like to head to an area full of café’s and restaurants to try a little of the local cuisine or hang out in a cafe.
Paris is a cafe culture so you can relax without feeling bad while you try local food and adjust a little to the enchanting atmosphere of ol’ Parie.
A couple good areas to check out cafés are Rue de Buci and Saint-Germain-des-Près.
Step 3 – Check out Notre Dame
One of the first areas to check out in the world renowned Notre Dame. This cathedral is massive, impressive, historic, and stunning.
Inside, the cathedral is free to enter, which has the largest stained glass windows in Europe.
However, to go up into the towers, a ticket is required. It goes without saying (though, I guess I am saying it) that Notre Dame is a must when planning the perfect Paris Itinerary.
Step 4- Shakespeare and Co and the Latin Quarter
After you’re done checking out Notre Dame head across the street to the Shakespeare and Company. This is the famous bookstore where authors such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald used to hang out.
It is easy to imagine them debating about books of the day, discussing writing, and arguing about life. It is a neat little bookstore to visit and just a couple min walk to Notre Dame.
Then spend some time walking around the Latin Quarter. It is one of my favorite areas of the city to meander around.
Then head back to get some rest for a big day tomorrow.
Step 5 – Start Your Day at the Louvre
Now, this is going to be a full, tiring, yet exciting day. Wake up early and head to the Louvre. I just want to note that you will not be able to see everything in the Louvre. If you spend the entire three days in the Louvre, you still wouldn’t see everything. The museums is huge, and each nook and cranny hold something special.
To even attempt to get a good view of the Mona Lisa you need to get there right when it opens. Even then it is almost guaranteed that 30 min before opening a line will start to form in front of the entrance.
Paris Pro Tip: You can also book specific times and tickets for the Louvre online. Tickets seem to be the same price in most cases. It gets you into a separate line in the morning that is shorter and faster.
Another option is to use Walks of Paris for a tour of the Louvre, if it fits your budget.
Spend a few hours walking around Louvre. Rush to the Mona Lisa, because soon the crowd around it is thicker than a mosh pit at a rock concert.
It is insanely crowded and takes a lot of work to get that selfie.
After the Louvre head outside to the gardens. Walk along them enjoying the old statues, and atmosphere of the city until you come to the Roue de Paris. This huge ferriswheel is another icon of the city, and right behind it is the Luxor Obelisk.
Like the name implies this Obelisk was once outside the temple of Luxor in Egypt.
But was gifted to France as a sign of friendship in the mid-1800’s
Th whole gardens are one of my best places in the city and I highly suggest them on your Paris Itinerary.
Step 6 – Versailles
Next, you might want to grab some food before hopping on the train to Versailles
Make sure by 1 or 2 (at the latest) you are on the bus or train to Versailles. If you are staying at St Christopher’s like I suggested they have a half day trip.
The words like fancy or elegant doesn’t even come close to describing Versailles. The “house” is covered in gold, filled with art, and has a room decided to crystal chandeliers. Someone was definitely trying to show off when they designed this palace.
Funnily enough, my favorite part of the castle is the gardens. Just like fancy doesn’t describe the palace, massive doesn’t come close to the gardens. These babies are endless. Anne Boleyn house is a good 30 minutes walk from the main palace if not longer. There is the famous Apollo Fountain, a huge lake, and a ton of statutes and gold plated fountains to see.
Paris Pro Tip: One thing I didn’t like is that the Gardens cost a separate ticket. This means the total cost of a day trip to Versailles with bus
or train and tickets to the Palace and Gardens will cost around 30 -40 Euros per person.
Step 7- Choose Your Own Paris Journey.
Use this morning to travel slow and recover from the long day we had before..Part of the perfect Paris Itinerary of course is based on your passion.. Now is your time, if i can make a suggestion head to the Arc de Triomphe, or visit a museum on your Paris bucket list.
A few other good options are the catacombs, Musée d’Orsay, or Sacré–Cœur.
Step 8- Eiffel Tower – Cruise, Gardens, and Lights.
Ah, the city of lights. I have found that people either love or hate Paris. Honestly, it took me a couple of visits to warm up to the city, but now I have fallen in love with the city.
There are such amazing sights in Paris. Plus the outdoors cafes are tempting, plentiful, and overflowing with great food. Even on a cloudy day, Paris is beautiful. Another perk are the unusual things to do in Paris.
Ok timing is critical for this one unless you want to hang out at the Eiffel tower for hours. During the early afternoon, you should head to the main icon of Paris. Take the Elevator the top or walks the stairs (which is a lot cheaper) to the mid-way point. Check out the views of Paris.
Next, head down into the gardens and drink a little wine. As the sun, starts to set hop on the boat cruise down the river Seine.
These cruises run all day. Either every hour or half hour depending on the season. I was told by multiple people, (and after doing it myself I agree), that the best time for the boat cruise is 7 or 7:30. Hopefully, you will have the incredible sunset I had.
Another perk of doing the boat cruise at this time is that by the time it finishes the lights of the Eiffel Tower should be coming on. It is a win, win, win for your Paris itinerary.
9 – Eat Everything (But Bakery, Crepes, Cheese and Breads are my favorite)
You Should do this the entire time in Paris. Don’t fell guilty just eat eat eat. It is worth the couple pounds.
10- Sunset and or Moulin Rouge
If any free night you can fit it in, then head to Montmartre to watch the sunset. This is also next to the Moulin Rouge if you have the money. (A Ticket to the Moulin Rouge is roughly 100 euros per person)
There we go! If you follow these ten steps, you will have a blast.