Having spent some time in Paris during winter and summer, I can definitely say that this city is beautiful no matter which season it is.
My Weekend in Paris itinerary will guide you through this city and make you fall in love with Paris even before the first 24 hours end.
If you are wondering if Paris is the perfect city for your next winter trip, then read my blogpost here: Visiting Paris in winter: Pros and cons.
When you explore Paris, you will find beauty in the old charming lanes, the abundance of history and the everyday life. Paris is about lovely neighborhoods that are just stright out of postcards where you will find beauty in every corner.
A perfect weekend in Paris
My weekend in Paris Itinerary is about getting lost in the city’s lanes, checking off the iconic landmarks and bringing back tons of unforgettable memories.
So dive in with my weekend in Paris itinerary and find you people watching over a coffee in no time.
3 Days in Paris – Overview
DAY 1 AM / Being wowed by the beautiful iconic Paris
DAY 1 PM / Arc de Triomphe and evening views of the Eiffel Tower
DAY 2 AM / Admiring the famous Mona Lisa in the Louvre
DAY 2 PM / Marveling at the Notre Dame
DAY 3 AM / Strolling through Montmartre
DAY 3 PM / Sauntering the Galeries of Paris
Why go to Paris?
- Watching the light show of the iconic Eiffel Tower at night
- Exploring the city of love
- People-watching from street side cafés with a delicious coffee
- Trying Crêpes, Galettes, Éclairs, Macarons, Croissants
Day 1 AM / Eiffel Tower, Trocadéro, Pont Alexandre III, and Hôtel des Invalides
The first day in Paris should include the best that Paris is known for: The Eiffel Tower, of course. On this day, you explore the Trocadéro Gardens with the most beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower, then head to the Eiffel Tower itself and maybe strolling through Champ de Mars. Before heading to Pont Alexandre III and L’hôtel des Invalides.
Start your day at the Trocadéro, because it will much likely be very crowded during the day.
Jardins du Trocadero is a garden that provides excellent views of the Eiffel Tower.
La Tour Eiffel
Gustave Eiffel, the architect of the Eiffel tower, once said, “I ought to be jealous of the tower. She is more famous than I am“.
Did you know that it is the world’s most visited paid structure?
The Eiffel Tower was originally built as an entry gate to World Fair (Exposition). This had nothing to do with romance actually.
If you compare the tower to some of the tallest buildings in the world, it is actually as tall as a skyscraper with 81 floors. The Eiffel Tower is 324 meters high.
To view the Eiffel tower closely, there is an entry fee and depending on how close, under or top you wish to go to the tower, the access fees are different. Technically to view the Eiffel or walk on the grounds is free, but to access the tower itself you pay a fee.
Pont Alexandre III
The Pont Alexandre III is located close to the Eiffel Tower and the Hôtel des Invalides. Hence, you definitely need to stop by and admire its beautiful architecture.
Moreover, you can enjoy the views of the Eiffel Tower while standing on this bridge.
Another beautiful bridge nearby the Eiffel Tower is the Pont de Bir-Hakeim where you will enjoy the most beautiful sunset views of La Tour Eiffel.
Hôtel des Invalides
The Hôtel des Invalides in Paris was originally a home for King Louis XIV, , and was built for war-disabled, disabled soldiers. Nowadays, its a famous sightseeing spot and definitely worth visiting.
Day 1 PM / Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe
From there, make your way to another Parisian popular spot – Le Champs-Élysées. Champs Élysées is a stretch of lane extending from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde.
It is a popular shopping street with the most instagrammable Ladurée store. Shop or window shop here and grab a bite to eat before heading to the Arc de Triomphe.
If you know you can’t make it to the Galeries Lafayette at Boulevard Haussmann, then you can find a Galeries Lafayette store here too!
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (or simply Arc de Triomphe) is a stunning neoclassical archway located at the west end of Champs Élysées.
The construction of the archway was ordered by Napoleon to honor the brave-hearts from the Napoleonic wars and the French Revolution. Today it attracts tourists from all over the world.
If you want to, you can go up and enjoy the views of the Eiffel Tower from here.
Fun fact: Incidentally, the Arco della Pace in Milan was modeled on the Arc de Triomphe.
Related: Read more about Milan here.
Light show at the Eiffel Tower
When it’s dark, the Eiffel Tower illuminates and is even more beautiful than during the day. Every hour there is a 5-minute light show, except for the one at 1 o’clock with a duration of 10 minutes. Take advantage of the famous light show and visit a place with views of the Eiffel Tower – no matter if its a bridge or somewhat else.
Did you know that you can even see the Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe? This would be a perfect opportunity!
Suggestions if you have some time left:
Catacombs of Paris
Catacombs of Paris is slowly becoming a popular tourist attraction. I totally understand that it’s not everyone’s thing.
The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries (room were bones of dead people are kept) in the 14th arrondissement – Montparnasse neighborhood.
Catacombs houses the remains of more than six million people in a small part of a tunnel network. In the late 18th century, many cemeteries were falling apart and there was an urgent need to dispose of the dead bodies. That is, particularly, the reason for the existence of the catacombs.
Day 2 AM / Louvre, Panthéon, and Jardin du Luxembourg
Start your second day of Paris at the famous Louvre. Be aware that it takes 2-3 hours to completely enjoy and explore the Louvre. So, give yourself enough time for this one. If you are more in the mood for a chilly afternoon visit, then I recommend to arrive late in the afternoon before the museum closes.
The Louvre Palace originally served as the royal residence of the French monarchy. The museum opened its doors in the late 18th century – with royal exhibitions first. Over the years, the Louvre complex and the museum displays grew in size.
When the Palace of Versailles was built by Louis IX, the Louvre no longer served as a prime royal residence.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is displayed at the Louvre museum, along with more then 350,000 other historical and art items. Did you know that the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum?
The Panthéon originally was a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve, patron saint of Paris.
Jardin du Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) are popular for its lawns, beautiful flower beds and the picturesque Medici Fountain.
Suggestions if you have some time left:
The Montparnasse tower is a skyscraper in the district of the same name. The observation platform at the Montparnasse tower will give you amazing photo opportunities of the city.
It is, of course, a good option to view the Eiffel Tower at night/during sunset.
Day 2 PM / Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter
Notre Dame Cathedral is a beautiful church located in Paris’s 4th arrondissement. Its beauty is characterized by stained glass windows, statues, and bells.
The Notre Dame was built between 12-14th centuries and is now a museum with free entry to the cathedral.
Unfortunately, the Notre Dame is currently closed. You can still admire its beauty from the far, but due to the fire in early 2019, the beautiful cathedral is now under construction.
After admiring the Notre Dame from far, go and explore the Latin Quarter, sit by the Seine and enjoy some wine or just walk through the beautiful streets of Paris and love life.
Day 3 AM / Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur
Montmartre is a popular Parisian neighborhood located in the 18th arrondissement. It is also an official historic district, meaning the city of Paris is trying to preserve much of the vintage and bohemian vibe of this neighborhood.
Montmartre is the name of the hill that overlooks the district and is also the name of the district itself.
Montmartre’s iconic landmark – Sacred Heart Bascilica or Sacre Coeur was completed back in 1919. The entry to the basilica is completely free.
For access to the dome, there is a fee of €5. Unless, you can have some stunning views from the ground of the Sacre Coeur itself.
Le Consulat & La Maison Rose
Continuing your stroll through Montmartre, you will easily see some very famous instagrammable places – just like these two restaurants.
Related: Instagrammable Places in Paris.
Le Consultat – Le Consultat is a cafe in Montmartre. Today, it is one of the most photographed pictures for Instagram.
La Maison Rose – Pretty pink and mint green colored restaurant, also very Instagram famous.
The heritage of cabaret at the Moulin Rouge dates back to late 1880, and was evolved from the popular. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction. If you like, you can spend the evening with dinner and dance at the Moulin Rouge.
Day 3 PM / Galeries Lafayette, Opéra Garnier, and Galerie Vivienne
The Galeries Lafayette is a large traditional French department store chain.
Opéra Garnier is the State Opera and the seat of Paris Opera ballet. The stunning Opéra Garnier was built by Charles Garnier who won the opera house design competition.
Galerie Vivienne is a covered, glass-roofed shopping arcade from the 19th century. Located in the 2nd arrondissement in Paris, it is a monument worth protecting.
All the information you need to plan your own Paris Itinerary.
I believe that a little pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination, will help make your travels far more successful. Here’s some further information I think you might need to plan your own weekend in Paris itinerary.
Best time to visit Paris
The best times to visit Paris are from May to June and between September and November. Of course, Paris is beautiful year round, but these seasons will allow you to enjoy the weather without breaking the bank. Plus, during these shoulder seasons, you will much likely have less crowds in the city than during summer holidays.
How to get to Paris
A wide range of international flights arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly or Paris or Paris Beauvais-Tille international airport. The airports are all only a short train ride into town.
Paris Charles de Gaulle
Paris CDG is the main airport in Paris and is located about 45 minutes from the city center. We arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport and took the RER B to Paris Gare du Nord. This is not far away from the Sacre Coeur. The tickets cost €10 per person per ride.
You can buy the train tickets at Terminal 3 – don’t make the mistake and go outside the airport. Take the airport train to Terminal 3 and you will already see the train station with its ticket machines.
It’s around the same distance as CDG – 45 minutes from the city center. From here, you can also take a cheaper bus for around €3.90 to get into the city. The buses leave every 15 minutes.
You will much likely arrive here if you fly with Wizz Air or Ryanair.
It takes about 80 minutes to arrive to the city center from the Beauvais-Tille Airport. There are two options to get to Paris from the airport; airport transfer buses will take 80 minutes while you can also take the train. Here, you need to keep in mind that you need to drive to the train station with a taxi. The train then takes another 80 minutes to the city center.
If somehow possible, avoid this airport because it’s much easier to fly into CDG or Orly.
Getting around in Paris
Paris is very walkable but there is public transportation such as buses or trains (the metro) available in town. During my visit, the public transportation was down and I had to walk a lot.
For me, it was no problem and it’s not the rule that public transportation doesn’t run. Hence, you should be able to get to every sight or destination you want to very easily and quickly.
Where to stay in Paris
I’d highly recommend to stay somewhere between the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Sacre Coeur. We stayed in a lesser known arrondissement and regretted it immediately. We had to walk a lot to get into the ‚inner city‘ and the prices were just as expensive.
Costs of my itinerary
The total cost of my Paris itinerary, for two people, was €670.
With Jan 2020 exchange rates of €1.12 to the US Dollar; this equates to $749.
for 2 people, including transportation & accommodation
€150 for the flights from Dusseldorf to Paris CDG
€40 for the train from the airport to the city center & back again
€300 for accommodation
€150 for food and drinks
€30 for entrance fees with student discount
I really hope that this post will help you with your travel! If you’re curious about my other Paris posts, check them out here.