Ah Paris, the city of lights! You could easily spend weeks in Paris, and still not explore every avenue or try every baguette. What if you’re only there for three days, though? Don’t worry, you can still see and do so much in that time! Keep reading on for our top secret tips, recommendations, and advice to planning a short 3 days in Paris that takes absolutely no compromises!
What to do in Paris for three days
There’s truly so much to do in Paris, and how you spend your three days will depend on what you want to see, and how long you want to spend in each place. To get the lay of the land, you can do a Hop On Hop Off bus tour to be able to easily get around Paris, and see some of the must-sees. This is an easy and convenient way to check off all the Parisian highlights in 24 hours.
That being said, if you only have three days and are looking to achieve a specific kind of trip during your travels, there are different things you can do. Here are some options!
Take in all the sights
If your goal in three days is to see the highlights, or if this is your first visit to Paris, you’ll want to stick to the “must-sees”. Even with only three days, you can still accomplish a lot, but you need to have it mapped out first. Here are our recommendations of what to see for a first-time visit to Paris in three days:
- Notre Dame
- Shakespeare & Co
- Sainte Chapelle
- Sacre Coeur and wander the streets of Montmartre
- Musée d’Orsay (reserve tickets here)
- Eiffel Tower (pre-book tickets to save time: you can choose to take the elevator or stairs up to the top)
- Louvre (purchase tickets in advance to avoid a queue)
- Arc de Triomphe (skip the line by buying tickets online. The view from up top is equally stunning by day and by night)
- Champs Elysees
- Head back to the Eiffel Tower for a nighttime viewing of it lit up
- Half-day trip to Versailles
- Walk along the Seine
For the history buff
Paris is chock-full of history, and while the highlights are fascinating, sometimes you want to go back in time and take a history lesson from your surroundings. In addition to the sights we’ve already mentioned, here are some places to visit in Paris that are steeped in history:
- Catacombs (tickets must be purchased in advance online)
- Les Invalides
- Pere Lachaise Cemetery
- Place de La Concorde and the Obelisque
- St-Germain-des-Pres (the oldest church in Paris)
- Place de la Bastille
- Half-day trip to Versailles
- Archeological Crypt on Ile de la Cite (purchase tickets here)
Romantic three days
Paris is known for its romance, and if you’re looking to sweep someone off their feet, you can certainly do it in Paris! Here are some things to do in Paris to take the romance up a notch, and to get the most out of your time in the City of Lights:
- Visit the Wall of Love
- Have a romantic picnic in one of the many gardens in Paris (Jardin de Luxembourg and Champs de Mars are top-rated picnic destinations)
- Lock your love up on the Pont des Arts. This is where tourists used to be able to attach a lock to the railing and throw the key in the Seine. While this is no longer allowed, you can still metaphorically do it!
- Sunset cruise along the Seine
- Musée de la Vie Romantique
Get your party on
If sightseeing isn’t your vibe, there’s still plenty to do in Paris. The city is abuzz at night, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun during the day! Here are some things we suggest adding to your three-day itinerary to add some pizzazz to your time in Paris.
- Rent an electric boat on Canal de l’Ourcq
- Disneyland Paris
- Take a vintage car tour
- Rent a bike with Velib and ride around the city
- Get a bird’s eye view of Paris from the Ballon de Paris Generali
A little bit of everything
Maybe you’re a seasoned Paris traveler and looking to try something new in three days. If this sounds like you, we’ve got some tips for you! Here are our recommended sights to visit if you feel like you’ve seen all the must-sees already:
- Centre Pompidou
- Paris Sewer Museum
- Musée de l’Orangerie
- Palais Garnier
- Snap some photos on the columns outside the Palais Royal
- Jardin des Tuileries
- Go on a day trip outside of Paris
Is three days enough?
The answer to this question really depends on whether you’ve been to Paris before, and how much of it you want to see. If it’s your first visit to Paris, three days will barely scrape the surface of all the things to do, and you might feel pressed for time to see all the highlights in that time.
That being said, you can still see a lot in those three days, provided that you do the planning in advance, and purchase any tickets beforehand to avoid long queues. It'll also help a lot if you know where the sights you want to see is in the neighborhoods in Paris so that you can better coordinate your travels to reduce travel time that can be better spent exploring Paris.
Another way to maximize your time in Paris is to buy a Paris Pass. This will give you access to some of Paris’ top attractions, as well as a travel card for the metro. A three-day pass costs €156, while a two-day pass costs €130.
Spending three days in Paris is a great way to hit all the highlights, but it will definitely still leave you wanting more. Since Paris is always a good idea, you can’t go wrong with how you spend your three days, but with a little advance planning, you can maximize your time to see everything you want to see.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what to do while in Paris, what about the other details of your trip? We want to help you organize everything, so check out our helpful posts about where to stay in Paris, what to eat, and what souvenirs to buy to ensure you’re fully prepared!
Even if Paris isn’t where you want to go, make sure you check out all our resources at Pilot. We’ve got itinerary planning ideas, destination inspiration, budgeting tips, and more to make travel a breeze, wherever you want to go.