A Classic Parisian Experience: 5-Day Itinerary

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  • Sightseeing

  • Local Culture

  • Shopping

bridge over water during sunset
Fora’s Take

From its world-famous sites like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe to its impeccable food scene, there’s a reason Paris is a city unlike any other. No matter how many times you visit, there is always somewhere new to explore in the City of Light. If you are looking for a variety of things to do in a very walkable city, then this itinerary is just the one for you!

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Where to stay

Hotel Bowmann

Sumptuous stay in the 8th with a classically French bistro, spa and splurge-worthy suites with Eiffel Tower views.

Fora Perks
  • Complimentary welcome drink.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Pavillon de la Reine

Prepare to feel extra zen at this Japanese-inspired hotel.

Hotel Esprit Saint Germain

Revamped Left Bank boutique with just 28 rooms and a prized home-away-from-home vibe.

Fora Perks
  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Day 1: Explore the Louvre

tall buildings during daytime

Start your day off with a cappuccino and croissant at PAUL’s before heading over to the famous museum for a tour. Plan to spend at least three hours at the Louvre, but know that you can’t possibly see everything in that timeframe; some tour guides claim that it would actually take three months to see it all!

After the Louvre, grab a gelato and a savory crepe for lunch while walking along Jardin des Tuileries. It's a great place to sit and just relax for lunch and you can even bring a bottle of wine to share.

In the afternoon, take a tour of the Musee d'Orsay, a great museum – one of our favorite components is its Monet collection; you could easily spend at least two hours there. 

After, head over to Angelina Paris for hot chocolate and macarons.

For dinner, stop by Mumi, a restaurant named after 5th Ave in NYC for their museum mile. It has a wonderful array of lovely French dishes that could satisfy any taste palette.

Day 2: Sightseeing and Moulin Rouge

large domed building with cloudy skies

Start your second day off with espresso and pastries at Boulangerie Julien. You can get your breakfast to go, and start walking north toward Montmartre while eating. You’ll pass over a number of bridges to view Montmartre Cemetery, admiring the beautiful headstones along the way. 

Make sure to stop by the Wall of Love, a beautiful blue wall with tiles with “I love you” etched in every language.

Then, walk up the steps (or take the elevator) to Sacre-Coeur, a famous Catholic Church. You can go inside (for free) to walk around and view the church or sit on the footsteps with a beer or wine and people watch. This is also the highest point with incredible views of the entire city. Afterward, head to lunch at Au Cadet de Gascogne in Place du Tertre. 

Then, continue walking the streets of Montmartre and exploring the local activities it has to offer, such as carousels, beautiful art murals, colorful buildings and apartments, cute local shops and more.

For dinner, head over to Le Moulin de la Galette. You should definitely make a reservation and it's best to go before 8 pm, because their mussels might sell out, and that is what they are known for. Definitely get their deal with the appetizer, entree, and dessert. Can't go wrong with French onion soup, mussels, and creme brûlée. Their escargot is also so delicious.

Then, catch a late showing of the Moulin Rouge show to end the night! Such a wonderful experience, so energetic and vibrant! Cheers the night with a glass of champagne.

Day 3: Admire the city's most iconic sites

Effiel tower next to body of water with cloudy skies

Your next day is all about seeing some of the city’s most iconic sites. 

Grab pastries and espresso to go and take in views of the Eiffel Tower during the daytime. Pull out those your goodies and have a little breakfast on the lawn in front of the Eiffel tower and just take in the views and people watch.

After breakfast, walk along the Seine admiring the bridges – Pont de Arches is the most iconic. You’re also near Notre Dame, and while it is still under construction and temporarily closed, it’s worth the visit to see it from the outside. It offers some information regarding the fire that happened and the restoration project, all of which are very interesting. 

For literary lovers, find inspiration and maybe a book or two at Shakespeare & Co. – the famed bookstore frequented by none other than Ernest Hemingway. It's a favorite cozy place in the city! There are also a ton of crepe places in the area for a quick on-the-go lunch. 

After lunch, walk through the island of Saint Louis – a tiny area in the middle of the Seine – to grab some ice cream at Berthillon, a great spot whose claim to fame is having 200+ flavors. Then, plan for an early evening Seine river cruise, enjoying wine during the ride. 

Stop by the Eiffel Tower to admire it lit up in all its glory at night. The lights go on the first 5 minutes of every hour, so make sure to time your arrival correctly! 

Finally, grab dinner at Malro. Definitely make a reservation, but this place is absolutely delicious. The Mediterranean menu has roasted cauliflower, octopus, delicious hummus, and even pizza! They also craft incredible cocktails and the place is decorated really uniquely.

Day 4: Explore Reims

buildings during daytime

Grab a train to Reims, and spend a half-day (or full-day) exploring the delicious tastings of the Champagne Valley. You can do a tour or explore the region yourself; it is up to you! 

Once you make it to Reims, spend some time walking through the small town and viewing the churches and little shops. Grab a drink or a snack for the train ride home.

For dinner, check out La Briciola, an incredible Italian place with a charming atmosphere.

Day 5: Tour the Palace of Versailles

large garden and fountain during daytime

Begin day five with a self-guided tour that takes you to the Palace of Versailles (located about 45 minutes from Paris).  You'll get views of the inside of the palace and get to walk through the gardens. We highly recommend renting a rowboat to have a lovely drift. There are little cafes and restaurants throughout for ice cream, lunch and wine! Most tours will have you spending between three to four hours at the palace in total.

When you're back in the city, venture to get some macaroons at Ladurée on Avenue des Champs Elysées.

Finally, get dinner at Cafe Charlot, a great spot that’s known for its burgers.

End your last evening with a nightcap at Little Red Door, a bar that doesn't have a sign; it's just signaled because it has a tiny red door. The cocktails have ingredients that are all locally sourced, and there are only 10 ingredients that they work with!

Need to Know

For more France travel tips, check out this guide to Paris created by Fora Advisor Briana Masson: An Extended Guide to Paris.

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