Paris in Three Days – A list of favorite attractions and must-see iconic locations to help you make the most of your trip to Paris!
Paris, France – “the city of light” or “the city of love” – is the most visited capital in the World; and, upon arrival, it’s immediately clear why this city is so dream-worthy!
This is Kat. My husband, Joe, and I planned a three day visit to Paris as part of a larger trip to Europe. We were there before Christmas and were able to enjoy all of the Christmas decorations, the cool weather, and the gorgeous city!
Paris is without a doubt the most beautiful city I have ever visited. The city’s magical atmosphere, stunning architecture, and abundant history could fill schedules for days on end.
I’ve rounded up our favorite parts of the trip to help you make the most of your visit! It is essential to have a list of must-see’s for a visit, especially if it is part of a larger trip to Europe!
We obviously love walking while traveling. We feel like we can experience the city and culture that way, but Paris is huge! You could walk everywhere, but I wouldn’t advise it for the sake of time and your feet!
There are a lot of options for transportation, including the metro, Ubers, taxis, and buses. Most of the time we walked or took an Uber. However, the metro is probably the most cost efficient way to get around the city. Be careful though, as some try to take advantage of tourists and pick-pocket while you’re waiting.
You can also do a hop-on hop-off tour where a double decker bus stops at most popular attractions every few minutes. It allows you to get on and off at any of their stops. You can also just sit on the top and ride through Paris and take it all in, which is very cool!
Geographically, Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, which are essentially large neighborhoods.
After considering a different locations, we decided to choose a hotel in the 7th arrondissement, which includes the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, and the Musée d’Orsay.
The area is clean, safe, and features a fascinating combination of Parisians conducting everyday life and tourists bustling from destination to destination.
Staying in this area was convenient with public transportation easy to access and many major sights just a leisurely stroll away.
We stayed at Hotel du Cadran, which is about a mile from the Eiffel Tower. The hotel was tucked away on a side street and our accommodations were nice and clean. Our experience with the staff was excellent.
The hotel backs up to the famous rue Cler, a cobblestone pedestrian street that is lined by bakeries, flower stands, cheese and wine shops, cafés, restaurants, and more.
You can find everything you need here and locals frequent the street to shop and eat. I can’t express how much we absolutely loved staying here!
We ate dinner at Tribeca (my truffle rigatoni was so good that we ate here on back to back nights).
We also visited one of the bakeries – Artisan Boulanger Patissier – at least twice a day! Everything is baked fresh daily and goodness, the smell walking by was heavenly – I couldn’t resist.
I had to have a pain au chocolat everyday!
Along with having the amazing market street right outside our door, we enjoyed the safety and laid-back atmosphere of the area.
There is also a grocery store – Franprix – across the street which is helpful for grabbing water bottles, a quick snack, or essentials.
One morning we grabbed breakfast at the cutest cafe, Kozy, who had the yummiest avocado toast and pancakes! A definite must try when in the area. I highly recommend staying in the 7th!
Arc De Triomphe
The Arc De Triomphe – one of Paris’ most famous attractions – is located in the neighboring 8th arrondissement. It is an iconic monument that sits in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, the intersection of 12 major avenues.
The Arc De Triomphe is a tribute from Napoleon to those who fought and died in the French Revolution, although it was not completed during his lifetime.
It is incredible to see and you can follow the underground passage from Champs De Elysees to stand under the arch. You can even climb to the top for an amazing view of the city!
Avenue du Champs De Elysees
Avenue du Champs De Elysees is one of the most well known streets in Paris and often cited as the world’s most beautiful avenue. Filled with cafes, entertainment, and most notably, high-end shops, the avenue is frequented by tourists and locals alike.
Strolling down the Champs is an absolute must-do!
At night, the trees lining the Champs were lit and the view from Place de la Concorde back towards the Arc was beautiful.
Pont Alexandre III
Alongside the Arc and the Champs, the area is full of things to see and do.
We enjoyed visiting the Pont Alexandre III, a bridge that crosses the Seine river. It is extremely intricate with art and detail. The golden statues and accents are stunning!
If you walk along the river, you will get a beautiful side view of the bridge as well.
It connects the Champs to Les Invalides- multiple buildings made up of museums and monuments to the French Military. It also contains the tomb of Napoleon.
If you’re interested in military history, then it’s definitely worth the visit, but just walking by and enjoying the view of the golden dome and ornate architecture was breathtaking!
Musee de Louvre
Just a short distance away in the 1st arrondissement is the Musee du Louvre, the most visited and largest art museum in the world that includes the famous Mona Lisa.
People travel from all around the world just to visit The Louvre and for good reason, it is breathtaking!
The building itself is incredibly beautiful with elaborate detail and it features some of the greatest works of art to have ever been created. Definitely worth spending time walking around the museum and admiring the beauty.
The outside is just as charming as the inside with the elegant architecture, the Louvre pyramid, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and the Tuileries Garden. So much to see, you could spend hours admiring all that the Louvre has to offer and it’s a must-do when in Paris!
Christmas in Paris
Since we visited during Christmas time, Paris was fully decorated, glowing with lights, and absolutely magical!
Right outside the Louvre, there was a Christmas Park with vendors selling mulled wine, coffee, snacks, and gifts.
There were also games and activities for kids. Entrance was free and it filled you to the brim with Christmas spirit! Visiting during the holiday season was wonderful and an experience I will never forget.
Another icon is the Notre-Dame Cathedral – a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and popular tourist destination that’s located in the 4th arrondissement.
Constructed in the 12th century, the cathedral is awe-inspiring and the inside is just as beautiful as the outside with stunning stained glass windows.
They offered tours daily, but unfortunately there was a fire recently which resulted in severe damage. While the steeple has fallen, the twin bell towers are still intact and so much of the works of art, statues and religious relics were thankfully saved!
I am not sure the current status of tours and I’m sure that tour situations will change greatly throughout the progress of the reconstruction. I would recommend checking online for updates prior to your trip, but definitely attempt a visit while you are in Paris in the hopes of begin able to see any of this amazing cathedral.
From the Notre-Dame, we walked across the Siene into the 6th arrondissement.
Known to be one of the most expensive and intellectual areas of the city, the 6th features many art galleries, high-end stores, and cafes. Our favorite spot in the 6th was the Luxembourg Gardens.
It is shocking that the vast, elegant park stretches over 55 acres is right in the middle of Paris. From sports courts, to greenhouses, to statues and ponds, the gardens have something for everyone, but we loved getting off our feet and enjoying the view from a bench!
At the north end of the city in the 18th arrondissement is Montmartre, a large, steep hill filled with so much history that stretches to the highest point of Paris.
Getting to Montmartre was a much harder walk than I expected as we had to walk over 220 steps straight up. When we finally made it, it felt like stepping into another city all together! It was much quieter and calmer than most of Paris with narrow cobblestone streets and colorful, vibrant homes.
The major attraction that draws many tourists is the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur or Basilique of Sacred Hearts, a Roman Catholic Church. It is like nothing I have ever seen before and provides one of the most fantastic views of the city. You can see all of Paris in the skyline, it is absolutely surreal.
Walking around Montmartre and absorbing the culture and charm is one of my favorite memories from Paris.
I would recommend though, if you’re not interested in the laboring walk up, to take the cable car. It has a stop at the Basilique or the metro.
Last, and certainly not least, is the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement.
I don’t even think I need to include it, because it’s arguable one of the most iconic landmarks ever that I hope everyone gets to see in their lifetime! It’s every bit as beautiful as people say it is and it is HUGE.
There are so many cool ways to experience it with parks all around and you can even go up to the top through an elevator! We didn’t venture to the top, because heights aren’t one of Joe’s favorite things, but I imagine the view is incredible. Every night after dark, they bring it to life with sparking lights for 5 minutes at the start of every hour until 1AM. It is truly one of the coolest things I have ever seen!
Paris is home to the iconic macaroon company, Laduree. They have shops in major cities all over the world, but the company was founded in Paris in 1862.
There are many locations throughout the city with the most fun, stylish decor. It’s a must-do to get your fix of the airy, delicious pastries!
There is so much to do and see in Paris, but these are just a few of our favorites.
For more in our series about our trip to Europe:
Stay tuned for our next destination!