The capital of France is one of the most famous capitals around the world. As the city of love, Paris attracts millions of tourists every year and became a popular getaway for couples, friends, or families. Everybody wants to stand under the Eiffel Tower, eat a croissant in one of the many street cafes or admire mesmerizing art in the Louvre.
We won a 3-day-surprise-trip to Paris and since the city is so big, I’ve created this itinerary to make the most of our stay. Each route of the day is walkable since we didn’t want to spend big amounts of money on the metro and run from one point to another. This way you can explore one area by foot and only need the metro to get there and to get back to the hotel.
On our first day we had a flight from Bergamo to Paris early in the morning and didn’t want to pack this day too much since it would be too exhausting otherwise. We focused on the districts Chaillot, Champs-Élysées and Faubourg Saint-Germain and started our day at famous Arc de Triomphe.
Arc de Triomphe
This monument is intended to commemorate all soldiers who died in the war. Since 1920, the grave of an unknown soldier who died in the First World War has also been located under the Arc de Triomphe. Another interesting sight there is the Eternal Flame, which burns to this day and is relit every day at 6:30 in the evening to remember this soldier and all victims of the war.
It is possible to go on top and enjoy the view of the city, but since I’ve already been on top when I visited Paris a few years ago, we continued our walk.
Since the Arc de Triomphe is located at the western end of the district Champs-Élysées, it was the perfect starting point for our walk through this area. While walking through you can admire the fancy buildings, expensive designer shops and get a sense of the rich area in Paris.
Jardin des Tuileries
At some point we reached the Seine River and continued our walk looking for food options since it was already midday, and we were getting hungry. Once we had reached the famous Jardin des Tuileries which is the former palace garden of the Louvre, we turned left into the city.
By coincidence we found a small market to stock ourselves with baguette, cheese and some fruits to enjoy a picnic in the park.
After our late lunch we crossed the river and were heading to the Rue Cler. This street is car-free and a really nice market street in Paris. You can find nice cafes and restaurants, flower shops, and specialty shops there. Definitely worth a visit.
Finally, we reached the park Champ de Mars and were able to see the famous Eiffel Tower of 324m height. In fact, it’s the highest building of entire France and definitely the most famous sight of Paris.
Every full hour you can also admire the glittering Eiffel Tower for 5 minutes. For a different view we headed to the park across the river to end our day.
Our second day in Paris was our only full day. We wanted to focus on the districts Palais Royal, Marais, Ile de la Cité, Quartier Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Odeon.
Next to the Jardin des Tuileries, where we’ve had our picnic the day before, you can find the famous Louvre, which was our starting point of day 2. Our plan was a visit in the art museum, which not only includes the Mona Lisa, but also an impressive collection of 480.000 pieces of art.
Luckily it was the first Sunday of the month, which means you can get free entry in numerous museums of Paris, such as the Louvre.
Then we explored the area of Marais, which is now a popular district, even though it used to be a marshland at the gates of the city. Today it’s not only filled nice restaurants and boutiques, but also the Jewish center of Paris where you can find numerous synagogues and Jewish institutions around the Rue des Rosiers.
For lunch we wanted to enjoy one of the delicious falafel at the restaurant L’as du Falaffel, which apparently offers the best falafel of Paris. Unfortunately, the queue was incredibly long, so we decided to go to another restaurant next door and got our lunch there. There are indeed quite a lot of falafel restaurants in the area, so don’t worry if the queue somewhere is too long.
Located in the district Marais as well, we entered the Picasso Museum for free again and admired around 5.000 pieces of art. Inside you’ll also find his own art collection and his archive.
Then we headed to the famous cathedral Notre Dame on the Ile de la Cité. Since the fire in 2019 it’s not possible to go inside and the planned reopening is in 2024.
We strolled a bit around the island, then crossed the Seine River and found the Bouquinistes, which are the booksellers on the riverbank that exist since more than 100 years. Besides old books you can also find comics or magazines.
It was already late, and we got really tired and hungry, so we skipped the stops D-G of our itinerary and crossed the bridge Pont Neuf to go back to the hotel. Nonetheless, I’ll mention them in the following, since they are interesting places to go.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Some people say this park is the most beautiful of all Paris. Next to a water pool, playgrounds and patches of grass, there is also the oldest art museum open to the public of France called Musée du Luxembourg.
The former artists’ and literary quarter borders the Jardin du Luxembourg and strolling through the area is the perfect way to get back to the Seine River. It’s full of nice cafes and restaurants, in which even Pablo Picasso has been. In addition, there are nice boutiques and art galleries to look through.
Day 3 was already our last day in Paris, and we had our flight back to Italy in the evening. We wanted to use the remaining time to explore Montmartre, Saint-Georges and Pigalle.
Our hotel was located in Montmartre, one of the most beautiful districts of Paris. There are little cafes and restaurants next to romantic streets and numerous monuments to discover. Just walking through is a nice way to explore the area, but in the following I’ve listed some nice sights.
Rue de l’Abreuvoir
This street is quite an Instagram-Hotspot and was used in some movies for a good reason. The narrow road leads up the hill along paved sidewalks and houses in pink and blue. At the end of the street is a well-known photo spot of a café and the view is really nice.
Only a few minutes away, the stunning roman-catholic church Sacré-Coeur towers over Paris. Built only in 1914, the white walls consist of Château-Landon-Stones and rise up to 83 meters. On sunny days many people sit in front of the church on the stairs and enjoy the view of Paris.
Place du Tertre
Close to the Sacré-Coeur is the historical and touristy center of Montmartre with numerous painters and cartoonists that offer their art or even portray you. Furthermore there are lots of souvenir shops and pricey restaurants.
Photo booth at 53 Rue des Trois Frères
In case you want a more special and personal souvenir, head to this old school photo booth and take some shots with your beloved ones.
Mur de je t’aime
Just in the parallel street there is the famous blue wall with the sentence “I love you” in 250 languages. It’s located in the small garden of Square Jehan Rictus and was created by the artists Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito. Traditionally walls are the sign of protection from others or delimitation. However, the idea behind this wall is different.
On the blue wall you can spot red splinters which are parts of a broken heart and symbolize the divided society. With the power of love humanity is supposed to be reunited and the wall is the symbol for it.
Rue des Martyrs
This street connects Montmartre with the church Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. It’s the historic route and lined with many gourmet restaurants and shops. Here you can find some French baked goods, indulge in delicious coffee, and try some tasty food like truffle dishes, waffles and different cuisines.
We followed this street to reach the next and final stop of our trip. On the way we had some lunch in one of the many restaurants and went for some savory crepes.
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
The world-famous department store for luxury brands is not only a popular location for shopping. We went there to admire its remarkable architecture inside and outside and to get on its rooftop for a free view of Paris.
Surprisingly we even bought an item in one of the shops – a camping mug. Definitely not what we expected to find there but it has already turned out to be very useful as we have used it on several trips.
Paris is always worth a visit, and 3 days are not enough to explore the city. However, we’ve made most of our stay and I hope this itinerary helps you to enjoy your time in Paris.