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Paris is one of the most well-known and sought after travel destinations in the world and if it’s your first trip to the city, I recommend that you spend at least five full days exploring the city of lights and love but seven days would actually be even better!
Seven days will give you a chance to experience some of the best of what Paris has to offer, including museums, landmarks, and architecture.
This itinerary is perfect for those using The Paris Pass or the Museum Pass, both of which will save you both time and money during your trip in this cosmopolitan city.
Getting Around the City
Paris is a big city so if you want to make the most out of your time in Paris, use their transit system.The underground metro system is fast and efficient and buses run regularly. Single tickets cost 1.90 euros each so it is often more cost effective to buy transit tickets in packs or travel passes. This way you will also spend less time queuing for a ticket from the machine or the teller and just breeze through.
Travelling with a group or friends? Pick up packets of 10 transit tickets for 14.90 euros and tear off the tickets when you need them. You can find more information on the Paris transit site.
If you plan on using transit extensively and plan on staying for more than 5 days, if can opt for a weekly travel pass called the Navigo Découverte. This pass gives you unlimited rides on all the public transport networks in the zones you have selected for a week. A pass for all zones (1-5 including Paris and Outer Paris) will cost 22.80 euro (plus 5 euros for the card) with the Navigo Découverte.
Anyone can get this pass you do NOT have to be a French resident. The website specifically states the travel pass is for EVERYONE. Bring along a passport sized picture as well. If you don’t have one, many metro stations have a photobooth inside where you can get your pictures taken. Then give it to the attendent who will cut it out for you and paste it onto your card.
Paris Visite Travel Card
Tourist trap alert! The unlimited rides offered by the Paris Visite Travel Card is geared towards tourists who are unaware of the Navigo Découverte. A five day Paris Visite travel pass for Zones 1 to 3, Paris costs 38.35euros. For Zones 1 to 5 (Paris and the Greater Paris area) it is 65.80 euros.
Tip: The Palace of Versailles, Disneyland Paris, CDG airport, and ORLY airport are outside the Paris centre so having an all zones pass (zones 1-5) is optimal if you fly into Paris or plan on visiting Versailles or Disneyland!
Finally, I recommend wearing comfortable shoes because you will be walking around a lot and there is plenty to explore! For navigation I use google maps when I have data or wifi and MAPS.ME when I am offline.
Affordable Accommodation in Paris
While Paris has a reputation as expensive city to visit, there are several ways to make travel more affordable. One of our favourite ways to save money on accommodation is through Airbnb. It can often cheaper than hotels and often strikes a wonderful balance between affordability and privacy for groups, family or friends, couples and solo travellers.
Alternatively Booking.com is a wonderful resource and will price match if you find the same room elsewhere!
TIP: Being a member will also unlock better prices than a guest user and Booking.com will price match if you find a better deal elsewhere!
On a tight budget? Find shared accommodation on Hostelworld! Many hostels in Paris also offer breakfast so do take advantage of that.
Sightseeing & Attractions
Paris offers many opportunities for free sightseeing but if you’re looking to visit the city’s most popular attractions (Tower of Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle, Louvre etc), you will have to pay.
Instead of paying for each individual ticket at each attraction (which can add up quickly), the Paris Pass or Museum Pass can save you time and money. First time visitors can be overwhelmed by the amount of attractions there are available in the city and combined with limited museum hours and long line ups, it is imperative to maximize the limited time you have in Paris.
Benefits of The Paris Pass and Museum Pass:
- MAXIMIZE TIME & MONEY
Passes are a great option for first-time visitors who want to make the most of their time and stretch their budget in an expensive European city. Skip the long wait at the ticket office and directly queue for entry.
- FAST-TRACK ENTRY ACCESS
These sightseeing passes allow you to skip the long line-ups for entry at select attractions so you can spend more time inside and less time queuing.
- CAREFREE SIGHTSEEING
If you want to visit all the major attractions in Paris, then using The Paris Pass or the Paris Museum Pass can help you reach that goal more easily. Scan your pass and you’re inside, easy as that.
How the Paris Pass Works
The Paris Pass is a pre-paid sightseeing card which allows you free admission to several of the city’s iconic attractions, including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, The Pantheon, Arc de Triomphe, a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour, and a cruise along the Seine river.
You can use The Paris Pass to get free entry to 60+ attractions, museums, and tours in the city including free Paris Visite Travelcard included to cover your transportation needs in the center of Paris. I used the Paris metro everyday during my trip and found it to be an efficient and easy way to get around across the city.
To purchase The Paris Pass, CLICK HERE to be taken to the official website. To avoid shipping costs collect the Pass in person.
How the Paris Museum Pass Works
The Paris MUSEUM Pass is a pre-paid sightseeing card which allows you free unlimited entry without queuing to over 50 museums and monuments in Paris and the surrounding area.
The Museum Pass is specialized and does not include extras and activities such as the hop on and off tour and the river cruise.
To purchase The Museum Pass, CLICK HERE to be taken to the official website. To avoid shipping costs simply pay and collect the Pass in person.
TIP: Even though the Museum Pass does not come with a travelcard, it is cheaper to combine this pass with either a carnet or Navigo Découverte.
Which pass is right for me?
The Paris Pass is sold at a higher price point than the Paris Museum Pass. The Paris Pass offers a more diverse set of attractions and includes a travel pass while the Museum pass is limited to museums and monuments and excludes transport. Your personal preference and interests will dictate which Pass is compatible for your travel plans.
For a price comparison between the Adult Passes:
Paris Pass: 2 Days/131 Euros, 3 Days/160 Euros, 4 Days/189 Euros, 6 Days/225 Euros
Museum Pass: 2 Days/48 Euros, 4 Days/62 Euros, 6 Days/74 Euros
For a more full rounded experience with tours and activities, check out the Paris Pass. If you are primarily interested in sightseeing, get the Museum Pass and combine it with a transit pass or pack of tickets.
TIP: Decide how many museums and attractions you realistically can visit, add up the total cost and if it works out cheaper to buy a pass then go for it.
Day 1 In Paris
Why visit? The Eiffel tower is the most iconic feature of Paris skyline and showcases brilliant views from the 2nd floor and top floor. The wrought iron tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair and has graced the cityscape of Paris’ centre since. If you go before sunset you can watch the city transform as day turns into night.
TIPS: Save money and tighten your glutes by buying a Stairs & Lift ticket. The top floor can be uncomfortably cold and windy so bring layers and a windproof jacket.
Place du Trocadero
The Place du Trocadéro is a public square and a popular vantage point of the Eiffel Tower. The square separates two buildings that make up the Palais de Chaillot, a museum complex housing the anthropology exhibits of the Homme Museum in the West building and exhibitions on French architecture and national monuments in Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine in the East building.
Descend the steps below the square to stroll past the elongate central fountain of the Trocadéro Gardens (when renovations are completed) as you head towards the Eiffel Tower.
TIP: The Place du Trocadéro is relatively quiet in the early morning which makes it an opportune time for photography without the crowds. Alternatively it is a great spot to watch the hourly light show the Eiffel tower puts on every night.
Originally built as a hospital and residence for ill or older soliders, the complex of buildings that make up Les Invalides now houses five museums relating to France’s military history. The most popular museum in the complex is the Musée de l’Armée, a miltary museum with half a million objects. Finish off the visit at the Dôme des Invalides, the church housing the Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb along with other french war heroes.
TIP: One ticket will grant you access to all five museums which is of great value if you are interested in military objects and history.
Day 2 In Paris
The Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum, housed in a former palace, holds one of the most impressive art museums in the world and has an extensive collection of over 38 thousand objects dating from prehistory to present day. See the Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting then explore the many grand hallways and rooms filled with art pieces, artifacts, and ornate ceiling frescos.
TIP: Plan your visit to the Louvre in advance to maximize your time. Pick up a museum map as it is crucial to effectively navigating the enormous museum.
Want shorter wait times? Then go below to the underground shopping center and queue for the carrousel du louvre entrance by the inverted glass pyramid. Access is through Rue de Rivoli or the metro stop Palais Royale-Musee du Louvre.
The Palais Royal is a former royal residence built in the 17th century. At present you can take a stroll through the garden and fountains, browse the stores lined arcade, or view David Buren’s art piece, Les Colonnes Buren, in the courtyard.
TIP: Although the Palais Royal is across the street from the Louvre, it is often overlooked. Great place to take shelter when raining or for respite from the crowds.
Jardin des Tuileries
The Jardin des Tuileries is a lovely garden situated between the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel by the Louvre museum and Place de la Concorde. Chairs and benches are readily available throughout the park to rest your weary legs.
TIP: Get creative with your shot of the Louvre Pyramid by framing the glass landmark pyramid with the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
Musée de l'Orangerie
The Musée de l’Orangerie is a delightful impressionist art gallery featuring eight of Claude Monet’s Nymphéas or Water Lilies. Two oval rooms on the first floor are dedicated to Monet’s Water Lilly murals while the floor below showcases a variety of 20th century European art. The museum is located in the Western corner of the Jardin des Tuileries.
TIP: The second oval room containing the water lilly murals is often less congested than the first room where visitors tend to linger before realizing there is a second room.
The Musée d’Orsay is a phenomenal art museum held in a former railway station. Inside you will find a wonderful collection of masterpieces from Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh on display.
- The museum stays open until 9:45pm on Thursdays however they will start clearing patrons out half an hour before closing. Evenings are quieter than daytime visits.
- If you plan on visiting during the day, purchase a ticket online, print it off and access the reserved entrance C for faster entry.
Day 3 In Paris
Place du Concorde
Ride the ferris wheel for a birds eye view of the city, visit the Egyptian obelisk, and pose with the statues adorning the fountains at Place du Concorde, a square that has storied history with thousands of executions by guillotine during the French Revolution.
TIP: Visit the ferris wheel at night when it is lit up for an romantic ride into the sky.
The Petite Palais is a free museum housed in a gorgeous, ornately decorated building originally built for the 1900 Universal Exposition. Meander through the spacious halls of the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts and enjoy the varied European art collection.
TIP: Don’t overlook the lovely staircases leading downstairs from the corner rooms of the first floor .
The Grand Palais lies across the street opposite the Petit Palais and was also built for the 1900 Paris World Fair. This grandoise building boasts the largest glass roof in Europe and contains more steel than the iconic eiffel tower. They host numerous events and exhibitions throughout the year.
TIP: Check in advance if the Grand Palais is open to visitors or if you require timed tickets for certain exhibitions in order to avoid disappointment.
Pont Alexandre III Bridge
This late 19th-century arched bridge over the seine was built in Beaux Arts style & named after the Russian Tsar Alexander the Third. Walk over the bridge and admire the art nouveau lamps, gilded sculptures and nymph reliefs that decorate the bridge that many consider as the most beautiful in Paris.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées
The Avenue des Champs-Élyséee is Paris’ most famous shopping street stretching from the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle. High end stores, theatres, and cafés line the avenue providing extensive browsing or windowshopping opportunities. The avenue also hosts the annual Bastille Day military parade and is the finishing point of the annual Tour de France bicycle race.
TIP: It is worth visiting the Champs-Élysées on the first Sunday of the month when the streets become a pedestrian only zone.
Arc du Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is a 50m tall triumphal arch dedicated to those that died for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Situated on Place Charles de Gaulle it is worth ascending to the roof of the triumphal arch for the views of Paris and the traffic on the 12 avenues that diverge from the plaza.
TIP: Do not jay walk onto the busy roundabout surrounding the Arc de Triomphe. Take the underground tunnel instead!
Day 4 In Paris
This 13th-century royal chapel is beautifully decorated with tall ethereal stained glass windows depicting religious scenes and relics.
TIP: If arrive you early in the morning when it opens, you can enjoy some peace and quiet before the crowds come.
La Conciergerie is a UNESCO world heritage building previously used as a medieval palace and turned into a courthouse and prison during the French Revolution prison. Walk through the Hall of Guards, learn about the French revolution and visit the chapel dedicated to former celebrity prisioner Marie Antoinette.
TIP: If you don’t have a sightseeing pass, you can combine
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
- Download the JetFile app in advance and select your desired entry time to ascend the towers of the Notre Dame. Go up to the line attendant at your timed entry and avoid waiting in line!
- Bring a zooms lens to more easily photograph the gargoyles through the mesh fencing atop the Notre Dame Towers.
- The top floor of Arab World Institute is free to entry by elevator and offers great views of the posterior of the Notre Dame cathedral. The museum is only a ten minute walk along Quai de la Tournelle East of Notre Dame.
Hôtel de Ville
The Hôtel de Ville is a beautiful working building for the local Parisan government. The location of Paris’ city hall has been continuously housed on these grounds since the 14th century. Admire the current 19th century architectural facade from outside and then visit the free major exhibitions inside. Group tours will take you through the function room, reminiscent of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
TIP: Only group tours are available for visiting the interior of the building aside from the exhibitions. Appointments are recommended at least 2 months in advance but apparently last minute bookings are available. If you are interested you can contact the Protocol Department at +33 (0) 1 42 76 54 04.
Why visit? The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge on the Seine river in Paris. It connects the Eastern and Western banks of the Seine with the Île de la Cité, the island on which the Notre Dame cathedral, Saint Chapelle and the Conciergerie are situated on and the birthplace of the great city of Paris.
Centre Georges Pompidou
Named after a former President of France, the Pompidou centre houses several public institutions including a large public library, Europe’s largest modern art museum, the Musée National d’Art Moderne, a cinema and a music research centre. Ride the escalators enclosed in glass tunnels outside of the building for great views of the city.
TIP: There is free wifi available inside the building that you can use to plan your museum visit. The museum stays open late until 9pm every night.
Stravinsky Fountain is an unique fountain near Centre Georges Pompidou. The fountain pays tribute to Russian composer Igor Stravinsky and you will find several eclectic art pieces within. The large scale Chuuuttt! Ssshhh! mural overlooks the square on which the fountain is situated on.
TIP: The bars and restaurants facing the square are great options for eating, drinking and socializing during evenings and weekends.
Day 5 In Paris
Why visit? The Latin Quarter is a joy to explore on foot. Visit local Parisian cafés such as the Le Tournon, quirky bookshops (see suggestions below), and get lost in the lively, narrow atmospheric streets (the smallest of which is the Rue du Chat Qui Pêche or The Cat Who Fishes) and alleyways . Students continue to study at the 13th century founded Sorbonne University and Collège de France from the early 16th century among other educational institutions in the area. The vibrant Latin Quarter was named after the Latin language often spoken by the scholars who studied and spoke Latin during the during the Medieval period.
Shakespeare & Company
This cozy and delightful two store bookstore is lined floor to ceiling with new and second hand books. Book lovers have a wide selection to choose from, particularly with English books. Founded by Slyvia Beach as a bookstore and library, Shakespeare & Company has seen many notable literary writers, such as Earnest Hemingway and James Joyce walk through its doors.
TIP: No photography is allowed inside but postcards are available for purchase. If you are allergic to cats you may not want to stay in the store long as there is a resident feline on site. You’ll probably find him near the piano upstairs.
The Abbey bookshop is an absolute delight for book lovers. Run by a Canadian expatriate, the Abbey bookshop is lined with books injected into every nook and cranny and friendly service. The owner is happy to dole out book suggestions and staff squeeze through narrow aisles to find what you’re looking for.
TIP: The Abbey Bookshop offers complimentary tea and coffee outside. When it’s raining it’s not as obvious but just look under the tarp for the carafe!
Palais du Luxembourg & Le Jardin du Luxembourg
The Palais du Luxembourg is a grand former royal palace now used as a parliament building. The 17th-century Luxembourg garden is a wonderful park and welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Paris’ city life. Slow down and wander around the trees, gardens, fountains and statues in the park. The Palais du Luxembourg is not open to the public but you are free to wander through the lovely Luxembourg Garden.
Eglise Saint-Etienne du Mont
Eglise Saint-Etienne du Mont is an asthetically pleasing church both on the interior and exterior. This Gothic-Renaissance church is located close to the Pantheon but receives a fraction of the visitors. Inside the church you will find the only choir screen in Paris, gorgeous stained glass windows, spiral staircases, and a gilded shrine dedicated to St. Genevieve, the Patron Saint of Paris.
The Panthéon is a beautiful 18th-century domed church with a grand colonnaded facade. Inside Foucault’s Pendulum hangs in the central to the hall, hanging from the apex of the dome. There is a crypt below where you can visit the tombs of notable French citizens including Victor Hugo and Marie Curie.
Les Arènes de Lutèce
Day 6 In Paris
Why visit? The Sacré-Cœur or The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a domed white church situated on a hill in Montmartre. It’s interior is decorated with mosaics and stained-glass windows.
TIPS: The Sacré-Cœur’s location on the highest point in the city makes it a popular spot for watching the sunset.
Place du Tertre
Why visit? The Place du Tertre is a small square located near the Sacré-Cœur filled with artists creating, showcasing and selling their art pieces. If you are interested in having your portrait or caricature drawn, several artists will be happy to provide such a service to you. Easily people watch from the numerous cafes and restaurants that face the square. Fans of Surrealist art can visit the permanent exhibition of Salvador Dalí at Espace Dalí just around the corner on Rue Poulbot.
TIP: At the South end of Place du Tertre before the stairs heading down to Rue Gabrielle, turn onto Place du Calvaire to relax under the foliage of the twisted tree canopy of Chez Plume’s terrace. Alternatively continue onto Rue Poulbot and take a seat in the charming courtyard of La Troubadour restaurant, nestled among overgrown foliage and hidden from the crowds.
Rue des Saules
Why visit? Find colorful Moulin Rouge theatre postcards and other souvenirs at the Galerie Butte Montmartre. Across the street Le Consulat bistro has a bright exterior with a terrace for sunny days and a cozy interior to warm up in on a cold, rainy day autumn or winter day.
Windmills in Montmartre
Why visit? Paris’ two surviving windmills are found in Montmartre: Moulin Radet and Moulin de la Galette. Moulin Radet was built in 1717 and now houses a restaurant. Moulin de la Galette is the last functioning windmill in Paris and has been featured in works by famous artists such as Renoir, van Gogh, and Pissarro.
- As you walk along Rue Lepic, visit the local bakery Les Petits Mitron (26 Rue Lepic) for scrumptious baked goods and macaroons!
- Walking tours are popular around the Montmartre and run rain or shine.Get your comfy shoes and book your tour here.
Moulin Rouge Theatre
Why visit? The Moulin Rouge theatre is Paris’ most well known cabaret. You will easily spot the entertainment club by its distinctive bright red windmill that sits on the roof. The Moulin Rouge theatre continues to entertain patrons with entertaining, high energy performances. Book your tickets here.
Why visit? The Palais Garnier is an ornately decorated opera house built in the 19th century. Today you can enter to view the grand interior on self guided or group tours to view the grand staircase and Chagall ceiling. Alternatively take a seat in the auditorium and enjoy a delightful performance by night.
TIP: CLICK HERE to visit the special offers page on their website and find a date and performance that fits your itinerary.
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
Why visit? The Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is a beautiful department store with seven floors with high end brands, a massive stained glass dome and a rooftop terrace with a bar and restaurant.
TAX REFUND: Non-European residents can receive a tax refund after spending over 175 euros in one day at Galeries Lafayette Haussman. Note that you must process your VAT refund the same day the purchases are made so ensure you have enough time to do so before the mall closes.
Place Vendôme is an elegant public square with upscale hotels including the Ritz, high end designers and upscale retail stores. A grand victory column in the middle of the plaza commands attention.
Tip: Be aware of your surroundings and oncoming traffic as vehicles serve around the Vendôme column.
The Montparnasse tower is the only modern skyscraper in the center of Paris and provides an unparalled view of Paris at 210m above. Ride the elevator 56 floors then climb another set of stairs to reach the roof terrace for panoramic views of the city. A great way to end a Paris city trip with a fantastic views overlooking the city.
TIP: Time your visit before sunset so you can see admire the changing colors in the sky as dusk falls and then watch the city light up.
Although you can take as many photos of the Eiffel tower as you like during the day, it is technically illegal to showcase the Eiffel tower lit up at night due to French copyright laws.
Day 7 Château de Versailles
Why visit? The palace of Versailles is a grandiose, opulent palace museum in Versailles, a wealthy suburb of Paris. What started out as a humble hunting lodge built in 1624 by Louis XIII was enlarged and embellished by Louis XIV and successive kings. The French Royal Court and government were transferred out of Paris and into the palace in 1682 until the French Revolution.
In the Château de Versailles start in the Royal Chapel then continue to the Royal Opera in the right wing of the Royal Courtyard. Then meander through the state apartments, the King’s and Queen’s apartments, the elegant hall of mirrors and finish off in the Hall of Battles.
A full day is needed to fully explore the Château de Versailles, the gardens, park, estate of trianon, and coach gallery.
Planning a Trip To Paris Soon?
We utilize travel insurance from World Nomads for short trips abroad. You never expect something to happen until it does. From personal experience we would have been out of pocket and experiences had we not had travel coverage!
Paris is an incredible city with an almost overwhelming number of places to visit and explore. This 7-day itinerary of Paris for first time visitors breaks down major attractions and points of interest to be visited day by day. We hope this itinerary was helpful for planning your first visit and to inspire future visits to this vibrant world class city!
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