Figuring out how many days in Paris is best for you and your loved ones is dependent on your budget, what major attractions interest you, and your travel arrangements. If you only have one or two days in Paris, you will not get to see all the major tourist attractions and art. You will feel rushed. More than a week, 2 weeks in Paris may feel long and expensive. If you want to stay longer in Paris, you will get to enjoy the sites, and not worry about fitting in the attractions.
How Many Days in Paris is Enough?
There is no perfect answer for how many days you should spend in Paris. However, we recommend five days in Paris. Five days gives you enough time to enjoy major tourist attractions and accommodate lesser-known districts. The following article contains a five-day in Paris itinerary to minimize travel and maximize your Paris trip.
We will suggest a day trip to Versailles. Versailles requires travel outside the main attraction. It is a beautiful area that can be explored in one days’ time. The other four days encompass activities and attractions that are close in proximity. You will minimize your time spent walking or traveling so you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying wonderful tourist attractions.
Flights from the US and other countries typically arrive in the morning. You should arrange how you will be getting to the hotel with your luggage. The metro is the cheapest option. If you have children with you, keep in mind you will be transporting luggage and assisting young ones on and off the metro. There are public and private shuttle options that are a bit more expensive but are much more convenient.
Once you have arrived at the hotel, you may find that check-in time is not until the afternoon. This is a common practice in the hotel business. You have the option of leaving your luggage at the front desk. They will store your belongings until check-in time and place them in your room. Hotel staff will offer travel guides and Paris maps to help you navigate the city streets. This is a huge help and are often free.
After a long flight, you may also be hungry. Hotels have cafes and eateries, making it a quick and easy food stop. There will be local cafes close to your hotel if you do not want to dine at the hotel.
- 5 Days in Paris Itinerary: Best Things to See in Paris in 5 Days
- Day 1 Itinerary: Musee d’Orsay, Luxembourg Gardens, Montparnasse Tower and Catacombs
- Days 2: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées and Tuileries Garden
- Day 3: Louvre, Palais-Royal, Pompidou, Notre-Dame, River Seine Cruise
- Day 4 Itinerary: Day trip to Versailles
- Day 5 Itinerary: Montmartre, Canal Saint-Martin, and Bassin de la Villette
5 Days in Paris Itinerary: Best Things to See in Paris in 5 Days
Day 1 Itinerary: Musee d’Orsay, Luxembourg Gardens, Montparnasse Tower and Catacombs
Orsay Museum (Musee d’Orsay)
As stated previously, the Orsay Museum (Musée d’Orsay) is in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris. It is the prominent center for Western Art. The Orsay Museum has famous impressionist works including Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait, Edouard Manet’s Lunch on the Grass, and Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World. We chose the museum as the first stop, because it is peaceful.
You can walk between exhibits seeing Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette to Degas’ The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer. Auguste Rodin is known as the father of modern sculpture. You will get to experience the rich western history of painters, sculptures, photographers, and graphic designers.
The Orsay Museum often holds events and shows. You may find yourself so enriched in culture; you will want to skip another attraction later in the week to see a show.
The most popular and beautiful park in Paris, Luxembourg Gardens, was designed in 1612 by Marie de’ Medici. It is inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence. The Garden is home to numerous statues and sculptures, the Orangerie and the Pavillon Davioud, the monumental Medici fountain. Luxembourg Gardens is a great place to relax and enjoy a bit of fresh air.
The Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck offers sweeping views over the Eiffel Tower and all the other iconic monuments in Paris.
The roof terrace offers a 360° panoramic view of the most iconic landmarks in Paris like The Louvre, Les Invalides, the Sacré-Cœur, Notre-Dame cathedral, the Panthéon, and Montmartre.
The Catacombs is a gigantic honeycomb of tunnels underneath the city. It was created in the late 18th century. It was filled with the bones of millions of dead reburied here when Paris’s regular inner-city cemeteries were closed down.
Days 2: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées and Tuileries Garden
The Eiffel Tower is approximately a 22-minute walk, a 12-minute train ride, or a 2-minute taxi drive away from the Pont Alexandre iii. You can walk along the bustling streets, absorbing the Paris hustle or enjoy a calm drive along the Seine waters.
The Eiffel Tower, also known as the “Iron Lady” is a source of architectural achievement. It stands at 324 meters tall with 18,000 iron parts. You can choose to take the stairs on the South Pillar or ride the elevator on the East or West Pillars. The elevator will take you to the first and second floors. Both the East and West Pillars have ticket booths. You can either purchase them when you arrive or in advance.
The Eiffel Tower is beautiful. You can stop at the gift shop on the first floor, enjoy dinner, and gaze out over the city.
If you are not afraid of heights, there is a small viewing area under a roof and another platform in the open air at the top of the tower. You can see as far as 70km on a sunny, clear day.
Finishing your first day at the Eiffel Tower, marks the perfect end to the start of the perfect vacation. You will enjoy dinner watching the sunset. In the evening, the Eiffel Tower is lit with Golden Lighting from lamps all along the framework. The Eiffel Tower performs a dazzling light show each night. The sparkling lights include over 20,000 bulbs. It is truly magical.
Arc de Triomphe
Tourists love visiting the Arc de Triomphe as the sun begins to set. We have made it the final destination spot on your stunning Paris adventure. The Arc de Triomphe is not walking distance from Ile de la Cité, so you will want to budget for a cab or train.
If you time your day right, you can end the day taking photographs with your family around this stunning structure. The Arc de Triomphe is in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. If you started your adventure with a hotel in the 7th Arrondissement, you now would end much closer than other districts.
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in all of Paris. It was built between 1806 and 1836 to honor Napoleon Bonaparte’s army and his victory at Austerlitz. The Arc de Triomphe stands 50 meters tall.
Do you want to see the top of the Arc? There is a platform at the top of the Arc de Triomphe that you can access by climbing 248 steps. It also has an Attic room that has a small exhibition of history and a display of sculptures.
Underneath the Arc de Triomphe is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Every day at precisely 6:30pm since November 11, 1923, an eternal flame is revived to pay respects.
A symbol of Paris, Champs-Elysées is the world’s most beautiful avenue and one of the must-see Champs-Elysées is filled with restaurants, luxury boutiques, and nightclubs.
It also hosts big events like the Bastille Day military parade, the arrival of the Tour de France and the Christmas lights.
The Avenue des Champs-Elysées home to some of the best museums in Paris like the Palais de la Découverte, the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, the Grand Palais, and the Petit Palais.
The Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most popular gardens in Paris. Located in the center of the City of Light, it links the Louvre Museum, the Musée d’Orsay, the Jeu de Paume museum, and Place de la Concorde. It also provides access to the Berges de Seine.
The garden is home to two ponds and are perfect places to relax by, near the Musée de l’Orangerie, where tourists can see the works of Monet.
Tuileries Garden hosts some events like free tours in French from March to December and the Fête des Tuileries from June to August.
Day 3: Louvre, Palais-Royal, Pompidou, Notre-Dame, River Seine Cruise
The Louvre Museum is one of the essential things to do in Paris. This is one of the world’s largest museums and the world’s most visited museum. Here you can view Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory, the world’s finest paintings and sculptures.
Palais-Royal (Royal Palace) is set to the north of the Louvre. It is surrounded by many elegant arches, its tranquil garden, and is an ideal for a relaxing stroll.
Centre Pompidou is home to the National Museum of Modern Art, with the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe.
Ile de la Cité and Notre-Dame Cathedral
If you have time to spare, Ile de la Cité is only a fifteen-minute walk from Marais. It is also a short two-minute cab ride. While Montmartre is the heart of Paris, the Ile de la Cité is the soul of Paris.
Parisi Gauls established a small settlement on this island called Lutetia. Over 2,000 years later, the small settlement is now one of the top tourist destination spots.
Ile de la Cité is home to many beautiful medieval buildings such as Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris), Sainte Chapelle, Archaeological Crypt, Conciergerie, and the Square du Vert Galant.
How do you get to the island? The oldest bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf, is a bridge that brings you from the mainland to the small island. Ile de la Cité dates to medieval times. You can see a medieval place that has since become a prison. There are tiny churches with beautiful art and stained glass.
Ile de la Cité is home to the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The Notre-Dame Cathedral is a gothic church. It dates to the mid-fourteenth century. The architecture is immaculate and progressive for its time. You can go inside the cathedral and explore. It hosts three beautiful rose windows. The Notre-Dame Cathedral is also home to the Crown of Thorns, one of the most cherished Catholic relics.
River Seine Cruise
River Seine Cruise is one of the best things to do in Paris to experience the nightlife from the river.
Day 4 Itinerary: Day trip to Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most famous palaces and places in the world. Its stunning French Baroque architecture encompasses beauty, luxury, and French culture.
Versailles requires a full day trip as it is approximately 21km from Paris. You will have to arrange transportation, as it is not walking distance. Your third day in Versailles will be exquisite.
You will want to remember your passport as it may be required for entry. It would be disappointing to plan, get there, and denied access. It is a good idea to have your passport as a foreigner to avoid any trouble at the gate.
The Palace of Versailles
To visit the Palace of Versailles, there are long lines and large crowds. You should plan to wear excellent and comfortable footwear. If you attempt to go to the palace on a whim, you will leave feeling disappointed as most of your day will be spent in life. The Palace of Versailles sees over ten million visitors each year.
The Palace of Versailles was once home to the French Kings and Queens. The palace is one of the most desired destinations in Europe and in the world. You will walk through the corridors, imagining where Queen Marie Antoinette once spent her days before her fatal end.
The gardens at the Palace of Versailles are stunning. There are no words to describe how carefully designed, beautiful, and luscious they are in person.
The Hall of Mirrors is the most famous room in the palace. Louis Le Vau had designed a large terrace that opened into the extravagant garden. Later the architect was redesigned because it was subject to poor weather conditions with the Hall of Mirrors.
The Château de Versailles is one of the world’s most visited historic sites for tourists. Versailles is a royal city. It represents France monarchy at every twist and turn. You can take a self guided tour or arrange for a tour guide.
Today, the Palace stands as a museum, owned by the Presidency of the Republic. It serves purpose to host heads of state and presidents.
Versailles is a must-do when you are in Paris. You can walk in the park that is decorated with outstanding buildings like the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon. The Park features water parterres, fountains, and statues.
Versailles is also home to the Museum of the History of France. This is the perfect location for the museum as it is smack in the middle one of the most influential areas. The Royal Opera opened in 2009 to the public. It hosts stunning programs. When you are planning your day trip, you should see if there is an opera in advance.
The Grand Couvert hosts the King’s table. It is fully restored and on display. The designers recreate a dinner atmosphere in which King Louis XIV would have enjoyed.
You will need a ticket to visit the palace. You should budget accordingly. You can purchase tickets in advance. There are different types of tickets like a guided tour ticket and a one-day pass ticket. If you did not buy a ticket in advance, do not worry. You can buy one at the gate. However, the line may be extremely long, and it will use some of your time that you could be exploring.
Day 5 Itinerary: Montmartre, Canal Saint-Martin, and Bassin de la Villette
Day 2 starts further away in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris: Montmartre. You will easily be able to spend most the day getting lost exploring Montmartre. In the afternoon, we suggest heading over to the Canal Saint-Martin /Bassin de la Villette.
Day 2 starts further away in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris: Montmartre. Montmartre has quaint cobble stone streets lined with history. Montmartre started as a small hilltop community centuries ago and now bustles with cafes, restaurants, and even the occasional street performance.
You can spend half the day, looking, walking, and enjoying all Montmartre has to offer. There are museums, hidden pedestrian staircases, and shaded terraces to enjoy fine cuisine.
Montmartre is the heart of Paris. It has an enchanting ambiance. The highest point of Montmartre is the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. The Sacré-Cœur was built at the end of the 19th century. The building is dedicated to the heart of Christ and is a place of worship. Currently, it has the largest mosaic in France.
The martyr Saint Denis was buried at the Sacré-Cœur. Locals and tourists do not find this place of burial somber but rather describe the Sacré-Cœur as a sanctuary. The grassy lawns are a great place for a picnic lunch or a romantic view out over the city.
Montmartre was home to many famous artists like Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Miro, and Modilgliani. Today, local businesses and artists use this inspiration to create. The Musée Montmartre is an amazing museum where you can see wonderful exhibits of surrealism and former local artists.
Exploring Montmartre will take most of your morning and into the afternoon. After you have enjoyed lunch, you should plan to start heading to your second stop, the Canal Saint-Martin /Bassin de la Villette.
Canal Saint-Martin /Bassin de la Villette
The Canal Saint-Martin winds through the urban culture. It was built in the early 19th century and has become one of the most favorite sites of Paris. It is about 5km from Montmarte. You will want to catch a cab or a train ride to the destination.
The Canal Saint-Martin expands over 4.5km and in some areas, is underground. When it was built, it was built as an irrigation and drinking water source. Today, its rich with art, bars and bistros.
When you walk out of the metro station, you will walk towards the Saint-Martin Canal by going down Rue de Lancry. Soon You will see the Antoine et Lily shops. The canal is busting with bistros, cafes and bars. Tourists love the vibrant culture mixed with the nature. During the holidays, this scene is special, marked with lights and festivals.
If you time it right, you may even see the Récollets lock open. When the Récollets lock opens, tourists are stunned by the opening mechanism. The Récollets lock stems from the Récollets people. The Récollets were a French reform branch. They took vows to devote their lives to prayer and spiritual reflection.
Further down the Canal Saint-Martin you can walk along the Villemin Garden. Where the Récollets Covent once stood, now is a beautiful garden with play and picnic areas. At number 8 rue des Récollets, you can see one of the covenants original doors.
The Bassin de la Villette is links the Canal de l’Ourcq and the Canal Saint-Martin. It is the second biggest lake in Paris and artificially made. During the holidays, the Bassin de la Villette is lit with festivals, vendors, and amazing fun for the whole family.
More things to do if have Day 6, Day 7, Day 8 in Paris
Saint Germain des Prés
Saint Germain des Prés is the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It is known for the artistic celebrities that lived and worked in this area during the late 19th century. Painter, writers, and existentialists would meet in Saint Germain des Prés to collaborate and get creative.
Saint Germain des Prés is one of the best areas for shopping in Paris. It has boutiques, street markets, clothing retailers, and upscale stores like Le Bon Marche.
When you are in Saint Germain des Prés, you will find a wide variety of brasseries, bars, restaurants, and cafes. Cafe de Flore, Les Deux Magots, and Brasserie Lipp are three famous eateries in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.
Saint Germain des Prés is home to the Musee Delacroix-National Museum of Eugene Delacroix. Delacroix is world famous for establishing the French Romantic movement. He focused on a sense of movement in his art paired with sensuality, deep brush strokes, and bold colors. Delacroix lived in St. Germain and fought for the preservation of its architecture. Today, it serves as a museum. To visit the museum, you must purchase a ticket for you and your family. It is wise to purchase tickets in advance to properly budget your vacation.
Delacroix painted a well-known piece called the Jacob Wrestling with the Angel. This beautiful artwork hangs in a 17th century church called the Église Saint-Sulpice. You can take a walk through this immaculate architecture, seeing an original piece of Delacroix and its grand organ. Recently, the da Vinci Code has brought more fame to the Église Saint-Sulpice. This book and movie was based on secret meanings found in history, one of them being the architecture of the Église Saint-Sulpice.
The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter will remind you of Paris during medieval times. It has winding, narrow, cobblestone streets. Noting that it is cobblestone, you will not want to wear heels. Comfortable sneakers is a must when you navigate the historic and novel streets.
The Latin Quarter is approximately 1km away from Église Saint-Sulpice. It is about a 13-min walk, 5-minute bus ride, or 2-minute cab fare.
The Latin Quarter is named after the scholars that spoke the ancient Roman language. It is home of the Sorbonne district. The Sorbonne district is the 5th arrondissement of Paris.
When Baron Haussman renovated large areas of Paris, the Latin Quarter remained untouched. When you visit this medieval city, you can imagine the horses clopping along the cobble streets. It will feel like you travelled through time.
Marais was originally built on marshland. This is where the name, Marais, originates. Marais is on Paris 3 and Paris 4, perfect for a leisurely stroll and relaxing day after a long week of activities.
Marais is a romantic district. It is festive, trendy, and charming. Like other districts, it has cobblestone streets, designer boutiques, and cute cafes. Tourists love the rich culture, and all Marais has to offer.
Marais is old, but home to private mansions. This district is extremely wealthy. You and your family will be walking along the cobblestone streets and notice passing horse-drawn carriages. Have you ever wanted to explore a private mansion? Some of these mansions have since become monuments. Other mansions have become hotels, and museums.
Hotel Sale is now a Picasso Museum. You and your family can buy tickets to explore its exhibits. It is one thing to see Picasso paintings in a history book, it is a whole new experience to witness this cultural impressionist five feet away on display.
Other sights you want to visit are Place des Vosges, Carnavalet Museum, Centre Pompidou, Village Saint-Paul, The Pletz, Cloître des Billettes, and Archives Nationales and Garden.
Next head to Hotel de Ville hosts many events all year round. When you are booking your vacation to Paris, you should see what events Hotel de Ville will be hosting while you are in Marais.
Pont Alexandre iii
Alexander iii Bridge is approximately 1.5km from the Orsay Museum. This distance translates to about a 15-minute walk or a one-minute taxi ride and that makes it our next stop.
The Pont Alexandre iii is one of Paris’ most emblematic bridges due to its architecture and location. The four pylons are 17 meters high with bronze sculptures of winged horses at their crowns. Each winged horse represents four illustrious symbols: Industry, Commerce, Sciences, and Arts.
From the bridge you will be able to see the Grand Palais on the left bank (Paris Rive Gauche) and the Petit Palais on the right bank (Paris Rive Droite) which is home to the City of Paris Museum of Fine Art. You will also be able to see the Eiffel Tower, which is our next stop.
Paris is the city of romance, stunning architecture, culture, and history. You will enjoy seeing world famous monuments, walking along the canal, and shopping at some of the finest boutiques.
When you are planning your trip to Paris, you should budget and buy tickets in advance when possible. You will skip the lines and spend more time enjoying the views.
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How many days to stay in Paris is really your personal choice. You can use this itinerary in a variety of ways. You can follow each step or rearrange the days for what best suits your hotel accommodations. On your last day, you will most likely want to end in a district closer to your hotel. This will give you time to pack up and get a good night’s sleep before a long flight home.