We spent a solid 3 days in Paris and felt like we saw everything we wanted to see. I'm sure if we stayed longer, we would have found some amazing hidden gems. But in 3 days we were able to hit lots of major landmarks.
After our experience, we found that there were a few things we could have done better. So while this travel guide is not exactly how we saw everything, we did see everything in this guide and want to share from our experiences.
Before we start, here are a few suggestions of things to do before you start your trip.
- Hotel: Make sure to get a hotel near a metro stop. We suggest going through Hotels.com. When you are looking at hotels, make sure to check the comments from previous guests. They are usually good about saying if the hotel is close to a metro stop or not. We stayed at this hotel and it was SO CLOSE to a metro stop, but it was also a teeny, tiny room which we were not expecting.
- Paris Museum Pass: You can't go to Paris and not get a museum pass. It saves you so much money! And it lets you into so many different sites around Paris. Some of the sites even let you skip the waiting line if you have the Museum Pass. We bought our passes just at the airport near baggage claim, but you can also buy them online and have them mailed to you before you go or you can pick them up in Paris when you get there.
- Metro Passes: Check out our post here to get all of the details on what and how to get the passes.
- Apps: Make sure to download these four apps before you get to Paris.
Because you're in Paris, probably the first thing you will want to see is the Eiffel Tower. This is one of the attractions in Paris that opens at 9:00 am during peak season (mid-June through early September). You can check out our post here
for specific details. Plan on spending 2-3 hours at this site, especially if you are planning on walking up the stairs!
**For another cool Eiffel Tower experience, try going 30-60 minutes before sunset so you can watch the sun setting and see the tower lit up. While we did not do this on our trip, this was something I saw recommended after we were already home**
While at the Eiffel Tower, you may want to stop and eat at one of their restaurants or cafes. We found that the cafe had delicious food and wasn't too terribly priced.
After viewing the Eiffel Tower, make sure to take some time back on the ground to take some pictures of the whole tower. When we were there, the grassy area in front of the tower was closed. So we just went across the Seine and were still able to get amazing pictures.
From the Eiffel Tower, we suggest heading to the Arc de Triomphe. Check out our post here
to find out details about the tricky way to go to get to the Arc. While at the Arc, we definitely suggest climbing up to the top if you can! After the Eiffel Tower, it might be a lot for people in poor health or for young children. Our legs definitely hurt after our first day but the stairs were worth it!
For an easy end to the day, we suggest going to Napoleon's Tomb and the Army Museum. While we didn't actually go inside the museum (because it was closed when we got there), from what we hear it is a good place to visit. Check out our post here
about Napoleon's Tomb.
At this point we suggest finding a place to grab dinner. Our favorite places were little crepe stands and shops.
After dinner we headed back to our hotel to unwind and relax for the evening because we were so tired from touring all day! If you're up for it, head back to the Eiffel Tower to see it at night all lit up. The Arc de Triomphe at night is also an amazing sight.
The second day we suggest going to the old city center. By getting off at the Cite metro stop, you are within walking distance of 3 amazing sights in Paris.
First, head over to Sainte Chapelle
. This was my favorite place we saw in all of Paris. Plan on spending at least an hour there. Ben wanted to stay longer and I now wish that we would have.
After Sainte Chapelle, go over to Notre Dame and wait in line to climb the towers. Check out Ben's post here
about the towers. This was my second favorite thing we did in Paris.
After the towers, grab some lunch at a crepe stand across the street from Notre Dame and start to listen to the Rick Steves Audio Europe App. Go to the track called Historic Paris. As you eat your crepes and start listening to Rick, you can stand in line to enter the cathedral. Even if the line looks long, it moves pretty fast. Check out Ben's post here
about seeing the inside of Notre Dame.
When you come out of the church, if you have time and want to cool down a bit, head on over to the Archeological Crypts
at the opposite end of the plaza.
After the Crypts, continue listening to Rick and take the Historic Paris walking tour. Sadly we did not have time to do this tour and I really wish that we had.
If you aren't into seeing the Crypts, or you don't want to do the walking tour, you could go to the Louvre and Orsay Museums. But, we wouldn't suggest them, except maybe going to the outside of the Louvre Museum in order to see the glass pyramids. Check out my post
about the Louvre here and why you probably don't need to see it.
This last day, we suggest spending in Versailles. It is such a beautiful place and you can literally spend all day there. Make sure to take into account transit time getter there. Since it is outside of the main city center area of Paris, it does take a little bit of extra time getting there but it is so worth it. See my detailed post about Versailles here
And there you have it! 3 days in Paris! We loved our time in Paris and are so grateful that we got to experience one of the most popular cities in the world. It is so popular for a good reason. There are so many things to see and do, but don't over schedule yourself. Take your time and really enjoy the place you are in. Look for the beauty and the details and take lots of pictures! But also spend time in the moment. I think we had a good balance of enjoying our time in the moment and enjoying our time through camera lenses. Plan and prepare, but don't freak out when plans don't go your way.
We hope you have enjoyed this travel guide! Make sure to Pin if for later!
Labels: Arc de Triomphe, Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Europe, France, Historical, International Travel, Louvre, Museums, Napoleon's Tomb, Notre Dame, Paris, Transit, Travel Guides, Versailles