Three Perfect Days in Paris

You in Paris: Three days to experience the City of Lights

Paris – The home of romance, art, food, and architecture – it’s been on travellers' must-do list for centuries. Planning a trip to Paris can often be overwhelming – it’s not a matter of deciding what you could do, but narrowing down what you can fit in. Here’s our guide to the perfect three days in Paris.

 

Day One

The Eiffel Tower

There really is only one place to begin a Paris visit – The Eiffel Tower. The first time you walk across the park and under the giant metal legs of the tower can be a humbling experience. It’s iconic the world over and lives up to expectations. 

You have the option to take an elevator up and see the Parisian landscape from the tower – which is ideal if you’re planning to propose or simply to breathe in the Parisian landscape. The park below is also the perfect place to get that iconic photo of you and the tower that will be on your Instagram before you know it.

 Crosswalk in Paris

Arc de Triomphe

Seeing as you are already all in on the iconic architecture your next stop should be the Arc de Triomphe. This stunning archway situated in the middle of one of the busiest roundabouts in Europe is the gateway to the city. Fortunately, there is a tunnel for pedestrians so you don’t have to brave the chaotic traffic. 

Unless driving around the Arc de Triomphe roundabout is on your automotive bucket list – we’d avoid taking a car anywhere near here. Paris is a stunning city that for fit travellers is a wonderful place to explore on foot. If you’re feeling weary the extensive and reliable metro is a great way to get around. 

 

Champs-Élysées to Notre Dame Cathedral 

Continuing from the Arc de Triomphe you find yourself one of the most iconic streets in Europe – the Champs-Élysées. It has been described as the most beautiful street in the world and it’s hard to argue with that. Dotted with cafes, with their Paris-style outdoor seating where all the seats face the street so you can watch the world unfold. Grab a pastry and a coffee, wander the shops and take it all in. 

If you’re feeling energetic you can continue walking and as you meander along the banks of the River Seine you will eventually arrive at Notre Dame Cathedral. This stunning structure was severely damaged by fire in 2019 – but the nation of France has come together to repair this national treasure in record time. It is set to reopen soon, and may even be open by the time you visit. It’s incredible to think how much work has gone into this repair when you consider it took two centuries to build in the first place.

Dining in Paris

All this walking and history has surely helped you work up an appetite – you’re in luck, Paris is one of the best places for a meal anywhere. Thousands of options exist, at every price range. Don’t be fooled, you don’t have to spend a mortgage payment to have a great meal – though you can, easily. Also, don’t feel obligated to eat French food for every meal – in a city that is so in love with dining, there are delights to be discovered in every culinary direction you can imagine, and a few you can’t.

 

Day Two

Famous museums and galleries

Today is museum day. Paris is home to the most famous art museum in the world – The Louvre. This monster of a space is an intimidating and daunting place to visit. To call it sprawling is the understatement of the day. You could spend weeks exploring every wing, room, gallery, floor and wall. 

To get the most out of The Louvre you need to plan and prioritise. It’s physically (and mentally) impossible to truly experience it all in one day. It’s best to do some research before you arrive and make a checklist of things you’d regret not seeing. Of course, a visit wouldn’t be complete without a visit to see The Mona Lisa. Seeing this masterwork is as much about seeing the painting as it is experiencing the crowd. Take a step back and watch the crowds flow past the painting like the ebb and flow of the tides. It’s some of the best people-watching you’ll ever do as everyone cranes to see the painting for a fleeting moment.

For an off-the-beaten-track stop head to Musee d’Orsay – this stunning art museum would be a world-class destination in any other city. But in Paris when you are competing with The Louvre a museum with works by Van Gough, Monet and countless other masters is astonishingly rendered second place. Don’t miss it – the hype isn’t as high but the collection is incredible.

 

The Louvre in Paris

 

Day Three

Parisian film and literature

Today is the day to see a very different Paris. For many of us, our connection to Paris is through films and literature – today is the day to embrace that. A quintessential Paris film is the delightful Amalie. It tells the story of a quirky young woman who holds court in an archetypical French cafe bistro. Well you’re in luck, you can dine in that very place. Cafe de Deux Moulins in the Montmartre district not only served as the film location but also serves up a fantastic meal to this day.

By now you are probably starting to embrace your inner Parisian – your clothes have become a little more stylish, your walk a little slower, your opinions a little sharper and all you need to complete the look is a tattered book under your arm. Look no further than Shakespeare and Company. This English-language bookstore opened in 1951 and has long been the hangout of the literary greats. Everyone from Alan Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and James Joyce to much lesser-known authors (including this one) have made the pilgrimage to this beautiful, messy, shambolic bookstore. Spelunk deep into the corners and snag a volume that will live on your shelf for a lifetime and remind you of Paris.

 Parisian street


The Moulin Rouge

Top off the evening with a visit to the granddaddy of musical theatre – The Moulin Rouge. Long before it was a film of the same name, this red windmill has drawn in the crowds. It first opened in 1889 and in the thousands of shows since then has entranced the audience in a nightly cabaret show. The show has a bit of everything – empowerment, silliness and of course The Can-Can which was invented on this hallowed stage. 

You could spend a lifetime in Paris and never see it all. You could visit Paris to just look at art, just to eat at the world's best restaurants, just visit film locations and still fill weeks of perfect days. The best trips to Paris embrace the Parisian vibe and take a bit out of everything this place has to offer. So settle in, go with the flow and you’ll be getting more French by the day.

 

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