Looking to plan your perfect Paris itinerary but not sure where to start? You have come to the right place! Whether you have 2-3 days in Paris or up to 7 days in Paris or more, these things to do in Paris should be included on your Paris itinerary. We have been to Paris many times over the past few years, from visiting Paris in winter, taking a river cruise from Paris, traveling during the summer and more so we can give you the best advice on what to include and skip on your Paris itinerary.
Since everyone likes to do different things, we are going to provide you with our recommended stops that you should include on your perfect Paris itinerary. This is because everyone has a different time frame they will be in the city and some itineraries for Paris may not lay out all of your options. We want you to see what the city has to offer and choose what you can visit based on the time you have allotted for your Paris itinerary.
To help you when planning your Paris itinerary, we will also include how long we recommend to stay at each one of the stops we included so you know how long to budget in your day. Paris is our favorite city in the world and you must see these stops on your trip!
Table of Contents
10 Stops To Include On The Perfect Paris Itinerary
#1. The Eiffel Tower Should Top Every Paris Itinerary
Cliche? Yes! Worth it? Totally! Visiting the Eiffel Tower should be included on every Paris itinerary because it is a world monument and the most essential thing to do in Paris. Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time means that you really are in Paris! No matter who you are, seeing the Eiffel Tower will give you a little jolt of excitement.
No matter what time of year you are planning your Paris itinerary, you can visit the Eiffel Tower! Between the magic of the Eiffel Tower in the winter and the glorious summer nights, you really can’t go wrong!
Best Things To Do At The Eiffel Tower:
- Take Photos From The Trocadero. The Trocadero offers our favorite view of the Eiffel Tower from the location itself. To get here, cross the road in front of the Eiffel Tower and climb up the steps until you reach the platform of the Trocadero. This is a wonderful stop to add to your Paris itinerary when you are seeing the Eiffel Tower and a great spot for photography in Paris.
- Ride Up The Eiffel Tower. Taking a ride up the Eiffel Tower may top your itinerary in Paris and we don’t blame you! The whole experience is very memorable so make sure to take your camera! Book tickets in advance here because the lines get super long! [We seriously walked up the tower instead of waiting for 2 hours and wish we bought in advance!]
- Ride The Carousel. Did you know that there are two carousels beneath the Eiffel Tower? If you have children or if you are a romantic and love the vintage vibes of the carousel, make sure to add taking a ride to your Paris itinerary. They also make for a great photography spot!
- Eat Lunch In The Park. There is a large park at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, and if you are looking for a truly authentic Eiffel Tower experience, go shopping at one of the grocery stores in Paris, buy some bread and wine, and enjoy a Parisian lunch with a view!
How Long To Spend At The Eiffel Tower During Your Paris Itinerary
Depending on what you choose to do, we recommend budgeting between 2-4 hours to visit the Eiffel Tower on your Paris itinerary. We love the Eiffel tower so we recommend visiting the area multiple times if time allows! Go at night and during the day! If you just want to see the tower, you can get away with an hour or less and then grab dinner at a nearby cafe.
Skip the line by booking your Eiffel Tower entrance online:
#2. The Louvre Is Iconic Stop On Your Paris Itinerary
Everyone always talks about the Louvre, but you never really know how impressive, epic, and massive it is until you visit in person! This is why we recommend visiting the Louvre on your Paris itinerary. It is iconic and offers so much to see and do! If you spent 1 minute looking at each thing in the Louvre and spent 8 hours per day doing it, it would take you 75 years to get through the whole museum! Don’t be afraid of the size or scale, you don’t have to stop at everything and can walk around at a good clip to get an idea of the cool things to see and do on your Paris itinerary.
The Louvre is the place where you will see the Mona Lisa and other famous works of art. There are multiple cafes on site and you can get an audio guide if you so choose. We highly recommend adding the Louvre to your itinerary for Paris, even if you have children or don’t usually like art!
Quick Tips For Touring The Louvre:
- Wear good walking shoes. We are serious! You will probably walk a good 5-6 miles just in the Louvre itself! The building is massive, actually an old palace, and if you forget something you will need to run back and grab it causing you to walk even more! Your back will hurt if you don’t wear appropriate shoes!
- The Louvre has free lockers. Rejoice! The Louvre has free lockers for you to store all of your stuff and they are high tech and beautiful! This is also the Louvre coat room so if you are visiting during the colder months, you can check your coat and other belongings yourself! Depending on the length of your Paris itinerary, you may be carrying around a lot of stuff you will want to ditch while you explore the Louvre!
- Skip going on free days. During certain days of the week, entrance to the Louvre is free. While this may sound enticing, we strongly urge you to skip this, especially if you have a short time on your Paris itinerary. Thousands and thousands of people show up at the museum and you will have to battle them instead of truly enjoying one of the best things to do in Paris.
- Buy tickets in advance. When visiting the Louvre, you are going to want to buy tickets in advance to avoid long waits and long lines! The lines are often very long and time-consuming, and standing around isn’t something you really want to be doing on your Paris itinerary! Buy your timed entrance ticket here!
- Go at your own pace. Some people like to walk slowly and some people are okay at breezing through. Decide how long you usually take at museums or if you are a history and art buff or just want to check this one off your Paris itinerary by seeing the Mona Lisa and go from there. Know your museum style when planning your Paris itinerary!
How Long To Spend And When To Go To The Louvre During Your Paris Itinerary
This is truly an age old question and really depends on your travel style! We don’t do anything early in the morning, so we made sure we went to the Louvre on a day it closed at 8pm instead of 5pm to give us extra time! We recommend budgeting at least 4-5 hours at minimum to see the Louvre if you are semi-interested in art and history but don’t want to spend forever in each and every section.
If there is something you totally love, like Egyptian artifacts or paintings and you want to spend a lot of time, we recommend budgeting an entire day to see the Louvre and going early. You may even want to go back two days during your Paris itinerary and that is okay too! For the “regular” traveler who just wants to see the museum, we recommend 4-5 hours.
Skip the line by booking your Louvre Tickets online:
#3. Climb The Arc De Triumph And Walk The Champs Elysees
Contrary to popular belief, the Eiffel Tower does not offer the best views of the city! That is because when you are in Paris, you want the Eiffel Tower to be in your photos and that isn’t possible if you are on top of it! That is why the Arc De Triumph is a must-stop on your Paris itinerary! The Arc De Triumph is located on the end of the Champs Elysees which is the most famous shopping street in Paris.
The Arc De Triumph is a famous photo spot in Paris, but most people don’t know that you can go inside of it too! You can climb a bunch of winding stairs and come out on top to see spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower. You will not be disappointed and this is a fantastic place to watch the sunset, no matter what time of year you are planning your Paris itinerary! Once you are done, walk and shop on the nearby Champs Elysees!
There is a small fee to go inside the Arc De Triumph, and it is also open one day a month for free. We accidentally went on a free day and the lines were so long! We recommend checking in advance when the free day is during your Paris itinerary and then avoiding going on this day! The fee is small and a shorter wait and less tourists will be more than worth it! Make sure you are in good physical health as there is no elevator to get to the top of the Arc De Triumph!
How Long To Spend At The Arc De Triumph During Your Paris Itinerary
We recommend spending between 1-2 hours visiting the Arc De Triumph on your Paris itinerary. The line may be long so take that into account. You will also have to climb stairs and then there are exhibits inside the monument you may want to enjoy too. Last but not least, you will want to take in the breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower and city!
As far as visiting the Champs Elysees goes, that is up to you! This is a famous shopping street so you may want to grab dinner or shop. If you don’t want to shop and just want to look and walk up and down the street, you may only spend 30 minutes checking it out.
Skip The Line And Get Your Arc De Triumph Tickets Online:
#4. Visit Notre Dame And Marvel At The Gothic Architecture
Notre Dame Cathedral is a wonderful thing to include on your perfect Paris itinerary! It is the ultimate blend of gothic architecture and Parisian charm! Notre Dame Cathedral is located on a small island in the middle of the Seine River in the heart of Paris. When visiting, you will want to make sure you bring your camera because the church is stunning both inside and out!
We actually prefer the outside because of all the gargoyles and spires, but the inside is a must see if you visit here during your Paris itinerary! The inside of Notre Dame is complete with multiple giant stained glass windows called rose windows. If you have ever seen the Hunchback Of Notre Dame, you may remember them being included in the movie! It is very impressive to see these windows in real life and a highlight of visiting Notre Dame on your Paris itinerary!
There is a small fee to visit Notre Dame, but it is also free at some points of the month. This is one stop that we say is fine to visit if you end up on a free day. The lines go fast and it doesn’t make that big of a difference. You also have the option to climb one of the famous bell towers at Notre Dame, but that is an additional entrance and a fee of eight euros.
How Long To Spend At Notre Dame During Your Paris Itinerary
We recommend budgeting between 45 minutes-2 hours to see Notre Dame. Add time if you want to climb the bell towers too and subtract time if you already have visited or aren’t interested in going inside. Make sure to walk around the back of the cathedral and marvel at the gardens and even more gothic architecture!
Skip The Line And Get Your Notre Dame Tickets Online:
#5. Saint Chapelle Is One Of The Lesser Known Stops On Your Paris Itinerary
Never heard of Saint Chapelle? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone! This is a stunning chapel of impressive beauty and it is right near Notre Dame so you should include it on your Paris itinerary, especially if you are visiting Notre Dame. Saint Chapelle is located on the same small island in the middle of the same and is a 5-10 minute walk or less away from Notre Dame.
Saint Chapelle is a stunning chapel inside a walled section of Paris that will take your breath away. The church is standing room only with impressive stained glass windows. You arrive on the bottom of Saint Chapelle and then walk a small winding staircase up to the actual main church. The windows are almost floor-to-ceiling and depict different biblical scenes on them. There is a 10 euro fee to enter and we highly recommend paying because the views are worth it!
The stained glass makes for beautiful photography and this is a stop that you won’t want to miss on your Paris itinerary. Although it is far from hidden, many people who are planning their itinerary in Paris don’t know that it exists! This is a shame since this gem of a chapel is just steps away from the more popular Notre Dame! We highly recommend adding Saint Chapelle to your Paris itinerary, we promise you won’t regret it!
How Long To Spend At Saint Chapelle During Your Paris Itinerary
We recommend spending around 30 minutes visiting Saint Chapelle. This is one of the quicker stops on your Paris itinerary but well worth the visit. The chapel is very small so you need to get in, marvel at the beauty, take some photos, and leave. If the entrance line is a bit long, that may add extra time, but we recommend a half hour when touring Saint Chapelle.
Skip The Line And Get Your Notre Dame Tickets Online:
#6. Explore Paris’ Montmartre District
Montmartre translates to Mountain Of Martyrs in English and is a wonderful district you must explore on your Paris itinerary. Montmartre is a more bohemian and laid back part of Paris and very affordable to stay in! We once stayed in an entire home Airbnb which is a private flat to ourselves for 40 euros a day! Talk about affordable!
Montmartre also offers so much to see and do and has a charm all it’s own. If this isn’t your first Paris itinerary, we recommend visiting Montmartre and exploring some of the cool things this Parisian district has to offer. Getting there is quick and easy on the metro and you can walk the rest on foot!
What To Do Around Montmartre
- See The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur can’t be missed when visiting Paris! It is the highest point in the city and sits atop the hill that Montmartre is built on. The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur is a stunning white domed church and offers sweeping views of Paris! It is a must-see viewpoint during your Paris itinerary because you are literally standing on top of the city! The church is on top of a steep hill which you can either walk up or take a small tram.
- Visit The Moulin Rouge. Ah! The famous Moulin Rouge! You have seen it in many movies and it has been written about in hundreds of books! You need to make sure that the Moulin Rouge is on your Paris itinerary because it is such a famously Parisian spot! It is walkable from lots of places in Montmartre and easily accessible from the metro if you don’t want to walk.
- Go Shopping At Rue de Steinkerque. You may be tempted to buy souvenirs at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, but hold off until you reach the popular Rue de Steinkerque in Montmartre! Here you will find streets lined with gift shops and cafes that are much more affordable than the ones in the middle of Paris. The trinkets are pretty much the same but at a fraction of the cost!
- Explore The Montmartre Vineyards. The Montmartre Vineyards, also known as Vignes du Clos Montmartre are truly a hidden gem on your Paris itinerary. If you are stopping in Montmartre, you need to visit this place that is usually free from tons of tourists! The vineyard is over 800 years old and is the last remaining one in the city!
How Long To Spend In The Montmartre District During Your Paris Itinerary
Depending on the number of things you want to do in Montmartre, we recommend spending between 2-4 hours. At the very least, you should see the Moulin Rouge and visit the basilica for sweeping views of the city. That alone should take a good 2 hours from transiting around, walking up to the Basilica, touring it, taking photos and more! If you want to shop and explore more of Montmartre, budget even more time into your Paris itinerary!
Cool Tours Of Montmartre To Consider
#7. The Musee d’Orsay Is A Breathtaking Museum To Include On Your Paris Itinerary
If you love museums and architecture, you are in for a real treat! The Musee d’Orsay is located on the banks of the Seine River and is actually housed inside of an old train station! The views are incredible and the art inside is even better. When visiting the Musee d’Orsay on your Paris itinerary, you will get to see works of art from many famous artists, including Picasso!
The Musee d’Orsay houses art from the middle of the 19th century to the early 20th century and truly does not disappoint. Even if you aren’t an art superfan, the Musee d’Orsay is worth the stop to browse through and walk around. Be sure to buy tickets in advance so you don’t waste time on your Paris itinerary waiting in line!
The best part about visiting the Musee d’Orsay is the giant clock face inside and the views of the city and of the Montmartre district. If you love unique things to do or if you are a photographer, visit the Musee d’Orsay and climb inside the giant clock face for a memorable thing to do during your itinerary in Paris!
How Long To Spend At Musee d’Orsay During Your Paris Itinerary
We recommend spending anywhere from 1-2 hours at the Musee d’Orsay if you just want to check it out. If you are an art and history buff, you are going to want to budget even more time. That said, the average traveler can get away with a quick stop and a visit to check out this beautiful museum without taking away too much time from the rest of the stops on your Paris itinerary.
Skip The Line And Get Your Musee d’Orsay Tickets Online:
#8. Find Respite From The City At The Luxembourg Gardens
This Paris itinerary has lots of city stops and things to do! That is why one of your must-see things during your trip is the Luxembourg Garden or more popularly known in French as the Jardin du Luxembourg. These gardens offer a respite from the city and from walking around by showing you some of the most popular and beautiful green space in Paris!
Luxembourg Gardens are actually inspired by the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence! We have also been to Boboli Gardens and they are stunning, so you can rest assured that the Luxembourg Garden will not disappoint! The gardens date from 1612 and the colors change according to the season! In the spring all of the flowers are in bloom and in the fall, you will see more color as the leaves change!
Luxembourg Gardens is split into two sections, a French-inspired garden and an English inspired garden. It is fun to walk through the two styles and decide which one you prefer! There are also different ponds and pools as well as geometric forests in the middle of the garden. Finally, there are 106 statues spread throughout the garden to find! It is free to visit Luxembourg Gardens and you should totally include them on your Paris itinerary to escape the city for a bit!
How Long To Spend At The Luxembourg Gardens During Your Paris Itinerary
We recommend spending about 30 minutes to an hour exploring the Luxembourg Gardens on your Paris itinerary. The gardens are large but not too massive and you will be able to tour them quickly. If you have children, you may want to stay longer as there are many playgrounds for children to visit at the park. Don’t forget that you can always go back at a later time in your itinerary if you fall in love and want to visit!
#9. Explore The Catacombs And Dive Into Paris’ Dark Past
If you love creepy-cool things, visiting the Parisian catacombs should top your Paris itinerary! The Catacombs in Paris allow you to dive into the city’s dark and dramatic past and you will go underground and explore either on your own or with a tour.
The Catacombs in Paris hold the remains of over 6 million people and you will see bones, skulls, and more. The bones are lined up from the floor to the ceiling of the catacombs as far as the eye can see. If you have never been to Catacombs, rest assured that seeing real bones from hundreds of years ago is an eery and exciting feeling that you won’t soon forget! Make sure to bring your camera because this stop on your Paris itinerary is unlike anything you have ever done!
The Paris Catacombs are located under the city and are quite narrow and small. As a result, only 200 people at a time are allowed. This may result in longer wait times as you wait your turn to visit so make sure to budget your time if you want to see this stop on your Paris itinerary. The temperature is a bit cool because you are underground, so make sure to bring a sweater!
How Long To Spend At The Catacombs During Your Paris Itinerary
Most tours of the catacombs run about 45 minutes and we think 30 minutes to 1 hour is the perfect time to budget on your Paris itinerary. The Catacombs are one of the quicker stops during your trip to Paris and you don’t need to budget all day to visit.
Skip The Line And Get Your Catacombs Tickets Online:
#10. The Palais-Royal Allows You To Explore A Real Palace On Your Paris Itinerary
Just steps away from the Louvre sits the lesser-known Palais-Royal. Although it can still be quite busy, compared to other spots on your Paris itinerary like the Louvre itself, many travelers don’t know about it! We highly recommend stopping at the Palais-Royal on your Paris itinerary so you have the opportunity to explore a real palace in the center of Paris!
The best part of visiting Palais-Royal on your Paris itinerary is seeing a famous and quite photogenic art installation! This art installation is called Les Colonnes de Buren and was erected in 1986. The installation consists of many black and white striped columns that rise up from one of the courtyards in the Palace. There are some short ones you can stand on and some taller ones that are great for the background! It is a great spot for photography and you should make time to stop here on your Paris itinerary.
The Palais-Royal was completed in 1639 and was actually erected as the Palace for Cardinals in the Catholic Church. Later, it became home to the royalty of the House Of Orleans. If you love royalty and history, this is the place for you! There are also a variety of galleries, covered walkways, and gardens to explore during this part of your Paris itinerary.
How Long To Spend At The Palais-Royal During Your Paris Itinerary
We recommend spending 1-3 hours exploring the Palais-Royal. If you just want to take photos of the art installation, you may only need 30-45 minutes. This is a great quick stop to take before or after your visit to the Louvre if you want to see what it has to offer and then come back later in your Paris itinerary for more!
Map Of Paris Itinerary Stops
To make your Paris itinerary easier to understand, we put together this handy map of all of the stops you will see! This way, you can see where they are all located and how close some really are to each other. This will allow you to plan your Paris itinerary to maximize your amount of time by going to locations that are nearby each other!
These 10 stops will help you create your perfect Paris itinerary! Make sure to take the time and read through each one and decide which ones you want to add to your itinerary in Paris, depending on the amount of time you have to spend! You can’t go wrong with visiting any of these locations and you will love Paris!
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