How to Spend 3 Days in Paris for First-Timers

Paris

Paris is no doubt on everyone's bucket list. And when you finally get around to booking a ticket for the very first time, you make sure you do it right.

There's so much to do in Paris! You could easily spend months learning to live like a local. But if you're tight on time, try to spend at least 5 days in Paris. That way you've got a day to get your bearings, a day to visit Versailles and 3 days absolutely jam-packed full of things to do.

So, for all the first timers out there, here's how to spend 3 days in Paris.

Check-in

Budget

Le Regent Hostel & Budget Hotel
Montmartre
$32.43 /night

Mid-range

AirBnB Apartment
Le Marais
$160 /night

TREAT YO' SELF

Le Roch Hotel & Spa
1st arrondissement
$554 /night

 

Day 1

Whether you've got a severe case of jet lag or not, get up early. You'll be glad you did once you step one foot onto the Parisian streets.

The best way to get around in Paris is by metro. But most of the time, it's worth the walk. That's where you can get immersed in the Parisian life and slow down a little.

Start your morning with a stroll towards Île de la Cité, the little islands that sit in the middle of River Seine in the centre of Paris. On your stroll, you should grab some breakfast from a local boulangerie (bakery) and a coffee from one of the many cafes with tables out the front.

Tip: you'll receive your receipt with your coffee. When you're done, just leave your money on the table as you leave, and remember to round it up to the nearest whole number.

Once you're fed, have a wander around Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité where you can find plenty of local boutiques, slowly making your way to Notre Dame. After you've walked through the beautiful gothic church, head south through Saint-Germain where you can window shop to your hearts content. Along the way pick up a takeaway lunch.

Next up, Jardin du Luxembourg. Find yourself a seat in the garden – there are plenty scattered around – and enjoy your lunch while taking in the view. But make sure you're not too full, because after lunch it's only natural to treat yourself to a bounty of pastries at Laduree.

Now I hope the sugar high has kicked in because it's time for the pièce de résistance, the Eiffel Tower – for your first timers out there, it'll just blow you away! Walking along the River Seine will take about 30 minutes. But don't worry, once you get there you can sit on the grass and eat some more sweets.

Depending how tired you are, you've got a few options. You could make your way to the top of the Eiffel Tower or across the road to Trocadéro for the ultimate view of the tower.

But if your feet are aching, call it a night.

Whatever you chose to do, make sure you end your day in Rue Cler, a small street very close to the Eiffel Tower full of great Parisian eateries. Pick whatever restaurant appeals to you, they're all good, and dine like a Parisian on the street. Rue Cler is definitely an experience not to miss – a street you'll be sure to walk away with a full stomach, a red wine haze and a bag full of snacks.

Day 2

Are you ready for day 2! First, spend the morning wandering around Le Marais, making a pit stop to enjoy the morning air at Place des Vosges – my absolute favourite spot in Paris. Bring a packed breakfast to make the most of this gorgeous little park.

Depending on how much you enjoy museums (each to their own), spend as much or as little time as you need at the Louvre. Skip it all together if you're not interested. But if you are, research what you want to see, and go with a plan. The Louve is huge, so it's very easy to spend a whole day (or more) there.

Given you've only got a few days in Paris, give yourself a few hours before the sun sets to finish the day. From the Louve stroll through Jardin des Tuileriers making your way to Place de la Concord along Avenue des Champs-Élysées to Arc de Triumphe. This will take around an hour on foot, but you could also catch the metro.

There's an underground walking pass that takes you to the middle of the Arc de Triumphe where you can climb to the top for uninterrupted views of Paris. And for only €6, it's well worth it. If you're lucky, you'll catch the sun setting over Paris.

Now you've got a choice, either stay at the Arc de Triumphe to catch the hourly Eiffel Tower light show, or head to Trocadéro instead. The light show starts at night-fall every single night.

Day 3

This morning we're going to start the day at Sacré-Cœur. But I would recommend skipping the front entrance through Square Louise Michel, as it's overrun with very pushy scammers – not a pleasant experience even in winter.

Take a look inside Sacré-Cœur and spend some time taking in the view of Paris. When you're ready to move on, get lost in the streets of Montmartre – one of my favourite districts.

If you're looking to get some shopping done, now's your chance. Walk along Boulevard Haussmann and don't be afraid to check out the luxe shopping centres.

If you're looking for more art, head over to Le Centre Pompidou or Museé d'Orsay.

Or if you'd like to do something a little different, head to the Catacombs of Paris where a seemingly neverending spiral staircase takes you beneath the city where an open cemetery, or an ossuary, lies. Bask in the eeriness of around 6 million skeleton remains.

And remember to end your night with an extravagant dinner and plenty of wine. I haven't mentioned any restaurants because Paris, like most big cities, is constantly changing. It would be better for you to Google restaurant reviews.

Get inspired

Before you get planning, get inspired with my photo essay of a week in Paris.

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Are you a first-timer heading to Paris? What are you most excited for?