3 Days in Paris: A Perfect Itinerary for Exploring the City of Light

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Curated By

Jaycee Moore

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  • France

  • Paris

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • Romantic

  • Outdoors

  • Local Food

Eiffel Tower lightning at night
Curator’s statement

Paris, often referred to as the "City of Light," is a fantastic city that effortlessly combines rich history, art and romance. You can enjoy charming cafes, trendy shops and bustling markets all over Paris. Whether you're taking a leisurely stroll along the Seine River, sipping coffee at a Montmartre cafe or exploring famous art collections, Paris has something for everyone to enjoy.

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Where to stay

Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg

Upscale hotel with refined rooms in walking distance to the Musée du Louvre and Eiffel Tower.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

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

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, epitomizes luxury and history in the heart of Paris, offering an exquisite blend of elegance, modern comfort, and timeless charm.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

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

Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

Splurge-worthy Parisian icon just off the Champs-Élysées, with three Michelin-starred restaurants, Eiffel Tower views and renowned service.

Fora Perks
  • When you book Four Seasons through Fora, you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits. Your advisor will be pleased to give you more details.

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Day 1: Iconic stops in Paris

Beautiful Architecture in Paris

Your unforgettable day in Paris begins with a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Arriving early is key to avoid the long lines, and be sure to purchase your tickets in advance. Take an elevator ride to the summit, where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Don't forget your camera – you'll want to capture every angle of this iconic symbol of Paris.

Insider tip: Be sure to go across the street to Trocadero Gardens to take some insta-worthy photos.

After your Eiffel Tower adventure, take a leisurely stroll to the Champ de Mars, the vast green space at the tower's base. Purchase a selection of French cheeses, baguettes, charcuterie and a bottle of wine or Champagne from a nearby market or boulangerie. Spread out a picnic blanket and savor a relaxed meal with the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop. This will probably be the poshest picnic of your life.

Spend your afternoon delving into the art and history of the Louvre Museum. Home to thousands of artworks, including the world-famous Mona Lisa, the Louvre offers an unparalleled cultural experience. Consider joining a guided tour to gain insights into the museum's treasures. Be sure to explore the stunning architecture of the museum's exterior and its picturesque courtyards. Again, be sure to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines.

On your way to the next stop, take a leisurely stroll to the nearby Tuileries Garden. These historic gardens, which once served as the playground of French royalty, offer a serene oasis in the heart of the city.

Indulge in a sweet treat at Angelina's, a historic tearoom near the Louvre. The signature hot chocolate, known as "L'Africain," is legendary, and their pastries are equally divine. Relax in the Belle Époque atmosphere while sipping your beverage and enjoying desserts.

Stroll through Place de la Concorde, admiring its iconic Egyptian obelisk and stunning architecture. From here, make your way down the illustrious Champs-Élysées, often called the world's most beautiful avenue, known for its high-end shops, theaters and cafes. It's the perfect place for some upscale window shopping or picking up a souvenir.

Head west on the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe, an iconic monument honoring French soldiers. Ascend to the viewing platform for panoramic views of Paris. The illuminated cityscape is particularly enchanting at night, making it a perfect photo opportunity.

Conclude your day with a romantic Seine River cruise. Choose from a variety of operators offering evening cruises that pass by Paris' most famous landmarks, all beautifully illuminated. Sip on a glass of Champagne as you glide along the river, taking in the enchanting atmosphere and the reflection of the city's lights on the water.

Day 2: The center of Paris

Beautiful Eiffel tower

Start your day at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. It's a masterpiece of stunning architecture and it's totally worth checking out. You can go inside and explore and if you're up for it, climb the towers for a unique perspective of Paris and a close-up look at the famous gargoyles.

Just a short walk from Notre Dame, visit Sainte-Chapelle, often called a "stained glass jewel." This small chapel boasts some of the most exquisite stained glass windows in the world, creating a breathtaking kaleidoscope of colors when sunlight streams through them.

Explore the nearby Conciergerie, a historic palace turned prison during the French Revolution. Discover its intriguing history and walk through the halls where figures like Marie Antoinette were held before their fates were sealed at the guillotine.

Time for some art! The Musée d'Orsay is all about Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Housed in a magnificent Beaux-Arts railway station, this museum boasts an impressive collection of works by artists like Monet, Van Gogh and Degas. Art buffs, you're in for a treat.

Just a short walk from the Musée d'Orsay, you'll find the Musée de l'Orangerie. This intimate museum is renowned for its display of Claude Monet's Water Lilies series, housed in specially designed oval rooms that create an immersive experience. Discover other masterpieces by artists such as Renoir and Cézanne.

As the sun begins to set, head to Montmartre and visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. This stunning white-domed basilica stands atop a hill, offering panoramic views of Paris. If you're up for a bit of a climb, go up to the dome for even more amazing views, especially at sunset. Nearby, be sure to check out Maison Rose, a cute little pink cafe that was in Emily in Paris.

Day 3: Versailles

Beautiful Paris in evening

Begin your last day with an early departure from Paris. To reach the Palace of Versailles, you can take a short train ride from the Gare Saint-Lazare. Aim to arrive around 9:00am to beat the crowds.

Start your exploration of the Palace of Versailles with a guided tour or an audio guide to fully appreciate the history and opulence of this magnificent royal residence. Highlights include the Hall of Mirrors, the King's Grand Apartments and the Queen's Hamlet. Take your time to admire the architecture, ornate furnishings and the stunning Hall of Mirrors, where historic events like the Treaty of Versailles were signed.

After the palace tour, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the expansive Palace Gardens. Marvel at the perfectly manicured lawns, grand fountains and charming groves. You can rent a rowboat at the Grand Canal or simply wander along the tree-lined paths. If you're visiting during the summer months, you might be treated to the mesmerizing musical fountain shows. Don't feel like walking; you can even rent golf carts to drive around the property. It's a great way to see the massive area in a short amount of time!

In the afternoon, visit the Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette's Estate. These charming and more intimate areas of Versailles provide a glimpse into the private life of the royal family. Explore the Petit Trianon, a smaller palace, and the picturesque Hameau de la Reine (Queen's Hamlet), a rustic retreat built for Marie Antoinette.

As your time at the Palace of Versailles comes to an end, make your way back to Paris and wrap up your day with another magical visit to the Eiffel Tower. Arrive just before dusk to secure a prime viewing spot on the Champ de Mars or the Trocadero Garden (my personal choice). As the sun sets, witness the Eiffel Tower's enchanting light show, which takes place every evening on the hour. The tower sparkles with thousands of lights, creating a mesmerizing spectacle against the Parisian night sky. It's the perfect way to end your trip with a touch of romance and wonder.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Briana Masson’s guide, An Extended Guide to Paris.

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Travel Advisor

Jaycee Moore

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Paris.