Three Days in Paris - Getting the Most Out of a Short Parisian Adventure

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Advisor - Christina Gales
Curated By

Christina Gales

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Paris

  • France

  • Architecture

  • Sightseeing

  • Foodie

The famous Eiffel Tower of Paris
Curator’s statement

While we would all love to have endless time (and money!) for traveling, often reality may mean we only have a few days to sample our dream destination. And in a beautiful destination like Paris, there is so much to see and do, but with a little bit of pre-planning, you can make the most of your time while still leaving room to relax in a quaint sidewalk café with a glass of wine and a delicious cheese plate.

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Day 1: Getting to Know Paris

Set in the 18th arrondissement is the charming hilltop Montmartre district.

Paris is a beautiful city with lots to see and experience – and it is also quite large, with many of the most popular sights spread across 20 numbered neighborhoods, called arrondissements. The arrondissements spiral out of the city center like a snail and each offers something different.

Start in the first arrondissement, where you can see historical sights like the Palais Royal and the Louvre then make your way toward the 8th, where the Place de la Concorde will greet you on its Eastern edge. From here, continue up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and take in the breathtaking views of tree-lined streets as you make your way to the Arc De Triomphe.

By this point, your legs might be getting a bit tired (consider this your “leg day”). But, it is really the perfect excuse to make time to stop into a sidewalk café for a glass of delicious French wine and Parisian people watching.

After you’ve been sufficiently refreshed, you can continue your walk across one of the Seines’ many bridges (called “Ponts”) into Paris’ Left Bank where you’ll be able to take in one of the most iconic sights in Paris – The Eiffel Tower!

After a full afternoon of walking, take Paris’ easy-to-navigate Metro or a cab back to your hotel to refresh, rest and get ready for a breathtaking dinner cruise along the Seine, allowing you to truly appreciate how Paris got the nickname “City of Lights” as bridges glow and the Eiffel Tower puts on her nightly light show.

Day 2: Art, Beauty and Love

The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is a national art museum in Paris.

While in Paris, the Louvre cannot be missed. Formally a medieval fortress and royal palace, the architecture is stunning before you even walk through the iconic pyramid entrance. To maximize your time there, be sure to purchase a timed ticket before you go and I recommend going as early in the day as you can. The Louvre gets crowded as the day goes on and top exhibits, like the Mona Lisa, can become extremely congested. By going early you’ll be able to enjoy the museum’s magnificent collection of art without feeling mobbed and still have the rest of your day before you for more adventure.

After the trip to the Louvre, take the Metro or a taxi to the stunning neighborhood of Montmartre, home of the Sacre Coeur Basilica, the infamous Moulin Rouge and some of the most beautiful streets in Paris. Be sure to stop in at one of its iconic cafes like La Maison Rose or Le Moulin de la Galette, where great artists like Van Gogh, Picasso and Renoir used to gather.
After you stroll the picturesque hills of Montmartre, cap off your evening with an unforgettable show at the Moulin Rouge or dance the night away in one of the area’s many nightclubs.

Day 3: Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a former royal residence built by King Louis XIV located in Versailles.

Built by King Louis XIV, the Palace of Versailles is something not to be missed. About a 45-minute drive outside of Central Paris, I recommend visiting with a tour group that coordinates both transportation and a guided tour of the palace.

At Versailles, you’ll experience the Sun King in all of his glory before exploring the rooms once occupied by Marie Antoinette. From the gold leaf gates to the splendor of the Hall of Mirrors, do not be surprised if you find yourself simply saying “wow” as you enter each new room. You could easily spend an entire day exploring the expansive gardens.

To cap off your short Paris holiday, stop and grab a bottle of wine and bread and cheese to sit along the banks of the Seine and watch the lights of Paris sparkle one last time.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Hotel Spotlight: 4 Reasons to Love Chicago's London House.

Advisor - Christina Gales

Travel Advisor

Christina Gales

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