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Paris For A Weekend: The Perfect 3-Day Itinerary 

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Want to know the best things to do for an unforgettable weekend in Paris? With this “Paris-For-A-Weekend” guide, you will see Paris’ most famous sights, PLUS have time to wander and discover hidden gems in Paris.

Paris is still my favorite city even after many visits over many years!

I’ve wandered through its streets many times and stayed in five different arrondissements (neighborhoods). A weekend in Paris doesn’t give you time to see everything, but a short trip is like an apéritif that covers the major highlights.

Think of these three days in Paris as an appetizer to the city.

Croissant and coffee on hotel windowsill overlooking the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a perfect weekend getaway.

Paris For A Weekend – Quick Highlights

These are the main sites and landmarks you will see:

➡️Day 1: Notre Dame, Ste. Chapelle, Jardin de Luxembourg, Montparnasse Tower

➡️Day 2: Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Palais Garnier, Seine Dinner Cruise

➡️Day 3: Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur, Arc de Triomphe, Champs- Elysees.

Paris Itinerary for a Three-Day Weekend

This 2-3 day Paris guide explores the city’s top gems at a brisk pace. But don’t worry, we won’t go too fast! Travels on Point is a blog about slow travel and enjoying the places you visit.

Our guide strikes a balance that allows you to savor the most romantic city in the world.

We have carefully chosen restaurant and cafes for each day. If you would like more options of hidden gem restaurants, check out our blog post on authentic and local hidden gem restaurants in Paris.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris at dusk with view of the Seine River.
Notre Dame de Paris at dusk, France.

Paris Itinerary Day One: Notre Dame & Ste. Chapelle (Île de la Cité )

  • Morning: Café Odette, Sainte-Chapelle, Tour d l’Horloge, Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame
  • Afternoon: Le Petit Châtelet, The Seine Booksellers, Shakespeare and Co., Jardin de Luxembourg, Arènes De Lutèce
  • Evening: Restaurant Pastamore, Montparnasse Tower

Day One Overview: Explore the neighbourhoods of Île de la Cité and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

You’ll see some of Paris’ most exciting locations, walk along the famous Seine, and stop for coffee in a charming Parisian café.

Morning (walking – Île de la Cité)

Breakfast: Breakfast at Odette, a beautiful little café tucked between buildings on a cobblestone street.  Check out our blog on Paris cafe etiquette if you would like some tips on ordering in Paris cafes.

Cross the Pont Saint-Michel to Île de la Cité, the little island on the Seine where two of Paris’ most famous churches are, Saint-Chapelle and Notre Dame.

First, see Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic chapel from the 13th century with gorgeous stained glass windows.

Saint-Chapelle, Paris, France
Stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle

Most people spend about an hour at Sainte-Chapelle. This is plenty of time to explore the Lower and Upper Chapels, climb the medieval spiral staircase and wander the exterior grounds.

Next: Walking from Sainte-Chapelle to Notre Dame, you’re going to take a couple of detours:

Famous clock, the Tour de Horloge in Paris. Gold clock outlines with light blue backgound with stars.
The Conciergerie Clock
  • First, wander up Bd du Palais to see the Tour de l’Horloge with the Conciergerie clock, the oldest clock in Paris, built in the 1300s!
  • Next, cross the Pont au Change to the Hôtel de Ville, less than a 10-minute walk from the clock tower. The Hôtel de Ville is the city hall of Paris. While it’s not open to the public, this big, historical building is a sight to take in.
  • Finally, return across the bridge to see Île de la Cité’s crown jewel, Notre Dame. Notre Dame isn’t open to the public right now (it’s still being repaired after the fire in 2019), but you can admire the architecture from the outside.

👉 TIP To avoid the construction in your photo, go to the junction of Quai de Montebello and Rue de la Cité, near Pont de Coeurs. From there, you’ll have a clear view of the cathedral’s front and towers.

➡️Book A Guided Île De La Cité Walking Tour Here! ⛪ 

Afternoon (walking – St. Germain des Prés)

Lunch: Le Petit Châtelet . This will place you in the prime location to begin an afternoon of adventures along the Seine.

Next: Walk along the Seine river from Île de la Cité to Saint-Germain-des-Prés and you will see Les Bouquinistes, aka the Booksellers, they line up on each side of the Seine.

These green seller’s stalls have been there for centuries and are a wonderful place to pick up unique souvenirs. 

The booksellers stalls along the Seine River. Posters and books are displayes.
The Paris Bookseller stalls along the Quay St. Michel in Paris.

Also near the Seine is Shakespeare & Company, the most famous English-language bookshop in Paris.

Next: Jardin de Luxembourg: Walk into the neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, to the Jardin de Luxembourg. If walking straight from Notre Dame, it’s a brisk 15-minute walk.

👉 Local Tip: In the Jardin de Luxembourg you will be part of the local scene! Parisians are reading, eating, resting, playing chess and strolling in this peaceful and beautiful place. There are fountains, flower gardens and sitting areas.

There is a special, peaceful atmosphere here that I have remembered since the first time I came about 30 years ago!

Medici Fountain, Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris
The Medici Fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was built in about 1630 by Marie de Medici.

If you’re interested in sights off the beaten track in Paris, stopy by the historic Arènes De Lutèce, just 15 minutes away. Here are the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheatre.

Evening (metro to Montparnasse)

Montparnasse Tower (Night views of Paris and Eiffel Tower) – a 20-minute metro ride from Arènes De Lutèce.

Montparnasse Tower offers an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower all lit up against the night sky! A perfect end to a perfect first day in Paris.

Dinner: For dinner, you might want to try out Restaurant Pastamore, located near the metro exit.

  • Tower hours: open until 11:30 pm in summer and 10:30 pm in winter.
  • Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue

Paris Weekend MAP – Day 1

Paris Itinerary Day Two: Eiffel Tower & The Louvre

  • Morning: Cafe de la Paix, Palais Garner
  • Afternoon: Louise Cafe, Louvre
  • Evening: Eiffel Tower at sunset, Seine Dinner Cruise

Day Two Overview: On your second day in Paris, visit the Palais Garnier and the Louvre, and then to the top of the Eiffel Tower. End the day with a romantic dinner cruise, sipping champagne as the sun sets.

Morning

Breakfast: Enjoy Café de la Paix where you sip coffee in the same seats where Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Ernest Hemingway once sat. 

Next: cross the street to the magnificent Palais Garnier (the Paris Opera) where you can choose to take a guided or self-guided tour. 

Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera. Inside the great hall with chandeliers and ornate decorations.
Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera

👉 TIP: Visiting Paris for a weekend isn’t enough time to make it to the Grand Palace of Versailles, but you’ll get a similar experience at the Palais Garnier (The Paris Opera House)

Filled with gold accents and extravagantly ornamented, Palais Garnier is often compared to the grandeur of Versailles and was the original setting for Phantom of the Opera.

➡️Purchase Palais Garnier Tour Tickets Here! 🏰

Afternoon

Lunch: Eat at an authentic Parisian café, Louise Café, which is conveniently located near your next stop: The Louvre. 

Outside view of the Louvre and the glass pyramids.
The Louvre

Next: The Louvre – the world’s largest art museum! It has an incredibly diverse collection, spanning paintings, sculptures, and artefacts from various cultures and historical periods. 

Wander through Napoleon III’s apartments and the Louvre’s original fortress foundation, and see iconic works like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.

➡️ Get Skip-the-Line Tickets To The Louvre Here! 🎨

👉 TIP and OPTIONS: If you like Impressionist art, it is not at the Louvre! The Musee d’Orsay has the largest collection in the world. Or choose one of the museums with impressionist art. Another option is to choose an excellent smaller museum in Paris for art, culture and/or history.

Next: Eiffel Tower at Sunset: After the Louvre take the metro Trocadero. This is where you’ll find the quintessential view of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. 

Eiffle Tower seen from Trocadero, Paris
The Eiffel Tower seen from Trocadero, Paris, France.
  • 👉 Warning: it’s bound to be crowded as everyone wants the perfect photo of the Eiffel Tower, but it’s worth the visit. 
  • 👉 Photo Tip: To find alternative angles of the monument, walk from Trocadero to the Eiffel Tower, pass the Trocadero Carousel and the Seine for a closer look.

If you’ve never been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, now is your opportunity! Here, 906 feet above the streets of Paris, you’ll have unbelievable 360° views of the City of Light

Next: Dinner Cruise: After the Eiffel Tower, you will see Paris from the Seine on a Seine River dinner cruise.

The dinner cruise is a grand excuse to eat some classic French dishes and create lifelong memories, and a superb way to see Paris from another perspective in the evening. It’s magical.

➡️ Check Times and Book Your Seine Dinner Cruise Here! 🚢

Paris Weekend MAP – Day 2

Paris Itinerary Day Three: Montmartre & Sacre Coeur

  • Devotions Café, Sacre Coeur, Montmarte (La Maison Rose, Rue d l’Abreuvoir), Moulin Rouge
  • Bouillon Pigalle, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries
  • Laurent, Louvre and Seine by night

Day Three Overview: For your last day in Paris, you’ll explore one of the city’s most artistic neighborhoods: Montmartre. Then, close your weekend in the City of Love with an evening stroll along the Seine.

👉 NOTE: If you only have two days in Paris, you can skip this day or mix and match the activities in this itinerary to fit with the time you have.

Morning (metro to Montmarte, walk)

Breakfast: It’s your last day in Paris, so enjoy a marvellous le petit dej (that means breakfast) at Devotions Café, a charming brunch restaurant in Montmartre. 

Next: Montmartre: Spend your morning exploring the artistic hub that is Montmartre. Start with The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, a 10-minute walk from the café.

View from Sacre Coeur Basilica, Paris
View of Paris from Sacre Coeur

Then, meander through Montmartre’s charming streets, discovering landmarks like the famous optical illusion of the sinking house, La Maison Rose (a café where Picasso was a patron), and the picturesque Rue de l’Abreuvoir, and the famous artist’s square, Place du Tertre.

Montmartre, rue de l'Aubrevoir, Paris
Rue de l’Aubrevoir, Montmartre, Paris

Afternoon (metro and walk)

Before you leave Montmartre, stop for a photo in front of the famous red windmill of the Moulin Rouge.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at Bouillon Pigalle, a nearby brasserie.

Moulin Rouge, Paris taken at night.

Next: Arc de Triomphe. When you’re ready to continue your Parisian adventure, hop on the metro for a short 12-minute ride to the Arc de Triomphe.

Lines to the rooftop of the arch can get pretty long, so I recommend purchasing a skip-the-line ticket to maximize your time in Paris. They’re extremely affordable and worth the time you’ll save.

➡️ Tickets: Skip The Line At The Arc de Triomphe! 🏛️

Conveniently, the arch is located on Paris’ most famous road, Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Next: Champs-Élysées. You can spend the afternoon walking down the Champs-Élysées, exploring the famous shopping areas, stopping by the obelisk at Place de la Concorde, and exploring the Jardin des Tuileries

👉 TIP: The Champs-Élysées is busy! At the other end, the Place de la Concorde and Jardin des Tuileries are beautiful and more peacefulplus the most famous hot chocolate in Paris is right there at Angelina’s.

Evening

Dinner: Laurent. Celebrate your final evening in Paris with fine dining in a historic setting at the restaurant Laurent on the edge of the Jardin des Champs-Élysées.

Then enjoy a moonlit walk along the Seine to the Louvre where you can see the pyramids of the museum magically lit up in the darkness.

Paris Weekend MAP – Day 3

👉 Local Nightlife TIPS: A couple of unique options

Where To Stay In Paris For A Weekend

These hotels are within easy walking distance to your first day’s sights.

📍Budget Option: Hotel le Petit Belloy, in the Latin Quarter, central location for Île de la Cité, Jardin de Luxembourg. Views of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame in some rooms, ask when booking.

📍Mid-Range Option: l’Hotel in the Latin Quarter,  Rich history, the last home of Oscar Wilde, unique rooms (small), lavishly decorated, a Hamman pool, near art galleries and cafes, a one-star Michelin breakfast, a fantastic bar, a quick walk to the River Seine.

📍Luxury Option: Hotel d’Aubusson (St. Germain des Pres), 5-star, elegant, 17th-century mansion, spacious rooms, quiet street, Cafe Laurent (Sartre, Camus came here), piano bar, easy walk to Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, etc

How To Get Around Paris

Paris is the largest city in France and has a variety of transportation options.

By Walking

Walking is an excellent way to experience the city and its magic even if you are there for a weekend only. With pedestrian-friendly boulevards, quaint alleys, and iconic landmarks, much of Paris is easily walkable. 

The walkability factor allows you to immerse yourself in local culture, stumble upon secret sights, and appreciate the architectural wonders at your own pace. Paris is safe overall, just pay attention to your belongings when in crowded tourist areas. Check out this Paris safety guide for info on avoiding scams and pickpockets.

By Metro

The Paris Metro is a well-connected and cost-effective at €2.10 a ride. I walk, use the metro and take occasional taxis to get everywhere I like in Paris with ease. 

You can buy tickets at any metro station.

By Taxi & Uber  

I prefer official Parisian Taxis over private taxis and Uber. The official Parisian Taxis are well regulated safe and pleasant.

👉 Tip: Official Taxis have a fixed price to any destination on the left or right bank from each airport. I recommend using them, it’s easy and efficient. Book online here.

Private Taxis are not regulated and may cheat you on the fare. Uber dropped me repeatedly the last time I was in Paris and I gave up and got a taxi.

FAQs – Weekend in Paris

Below are questions and my answers based on many trips to Paris.

Is Paris good for a weekend?

Absolutely! You will be able to see the highlights if it is your first time and enjoy wonderful French cuisine and wineIf you are returning, there a many unique areas of Paris, each with its charm to explore.

If you decide to stay for a week or more in Paris, you will be able to discover more of its charm, unique neighborhoods and culture.

How expensive is Paris for a weekend?

This depends on your choice of lodging and transportation and what you do.  You can enjoy many free things in Paris, including walking and admiring the architecture, the Seine, window shops and the many beautiful gardens.

Should I visit Paris on a weekday or weekend?

I prefer weekdays because there are fewer crowds in the tourist areas.

Is Paris busier on weekends? 

Yes

Final Thoughts on Visiting Paris For a Weekend

Paris is a dream destination for many. It was my dream when I was 22 and is still one of my favorite places worldwide.

Don’t worry about seeing all the sights of Paris in two or three days. If you take it slow, you will be able to absorb the culture, people, architecture and beauty.

Follow this Paris for a weekend itinerary and you’ll have a fabulous time exploring Paris. Bon voyage!

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