3 Days in Paris Itinerary
Paris is a dream and bucket-list destinations for so many people across the world.
Promises of romance, famous structures such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, and red wine along the Seine draw millions of tourists each year.
But I speak to many readers and travellers who only have a few days in Paris – so after spending a lot of time in the city over the last few years, here is my itinerary from three days in Paris last week in the hope that it can inspire your own itinerary when visiting Paris!
Time & Place of Departure: 21:30 (Monday, 21st March) at Victoria Coach Station, London
Time & Place of Arrival: 06:30 (Tuesday, 22nd March) at Bercy Train Station, Paris
Mode of Transport: OUiBus
Accommodation: St Christopher’s Inns Gare du Nord
Each section of this Paris itinerary comes with a map of what I saw during the days there. The yellow marks are locations and the green ones on the map for Day 1 are where I ate.
1. Jardin Des Plantes
- 25 Minute walk from Bercy
- Nearest metro: Gare d’Austerlitz (Lines 5, 10 and RER C)
Established in the 17th Century(!), the Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden in Paris and is such a retreat from the hectic city!
Arriving after a long bus journey and walking along one of the main roads that run parallel to the Seine in order to go from Bercy to the city, the Jardin des Plantes makes for the perfect first stop to breath in the colourful beauty of one of Paris’ quieter spots.
2. Arènes de Lutèce
- 6 Minute walk from Jardin Des Plantes
- Nearest metro: Place Monge (Line 7), Jussieu (Lines 7 and 10) and Cardinal Lemoine (Line 10)
Once a Roman Amphitheatre that could seat up to 15,000 people (despite looking quite small these days!), the Arènes de Lutèce was built in the 1st Century AD, and after falling into ruin during the Middles Ages it was rediscovered by Théodore Vaquer in the late 19th Century.
But it was Victor Hugo (one of my favourite writers!) who was determined to preserve the ruins as they were and led the campaign to its restoration…
3. Église St Étienne du Mont
- 6 Minute walk from Arènes de Lutèce
- Nearest metro: Cardinal Lemoine (Line 10)
A mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, this stunning Church was completed in the early 17th Century, has hosted mass for Pope John Paul II (on the 23 August 1997) and is home to the shrine of Saint Geneviève – the patron saint of Paris.
- 1 Minute walk from St Étienne du Mont
- Nearest metro: Cardinal Lemoine (Line 10)
Remember Saint Geneviève who I just mentioned above? Well the Panthéon was originally designed and built in dedication to her, under orders of King Louis XV. Then along came the French Revolution and in 1791 the church was renamed the Panthéon by the National Constituent Assembly.
It soon became the burial place of notable and distinguished citizens of France, and has remained so to this day.
5. Église Saint Sulpice
- 14 Minute walk from the Panthéon
- Nearest metro: Saint-Sulpice (Line 4) and Mabillon (Line 10)
The second largest church in Paris, Saint Sulpice in itself is an architecturally beautiful sight. But my joy in visiting always comes from the fountain that stands in front of it.
Built in the mid 19th Century, Fontaine Saint-Sulpice (or the Fountain of the Four Bishops) is dedicated to notable religious figures and in my opinion the falling water glistens over the white-gold stone.
6. Notre Dame de Paris
- 17 Minute walk from Église Saint Sulpice
- Nearest metro: Cité (Line 4)
My favourite place to be in Paris and a sight I never miss on any visit, the Notre Dame de Paris and the square in front is always full of an excited atmosphere brought by the tourists wishing to experience the magnificent view from its towers and the stunning architecture within its Gothic walls.
7. Hôtel de Ville
- 6 Minute walk from Notre Dame de Paris
- Nearest metro: Hôtel de Ville (Lines 1 and 11)
The Hôtel de Ville has acted as the headquarters of Paris ever since the 14th century, but was reconstructed to its current beautiful state in the late 19th century by French architects Théodore Ballu and Édouard Deperthes.
It’s a stunning building and one of my favourite things to do is sit in the sun in the square in front with an ice cream whilst listening to the sounds of the carousel…
8. Centre Pompidou
- 5 Minute walk from Hôtel de Ville
- Nearest metro: Rambuteau (Line 11)
I love this building! Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic long Parisian chic streets and the intricate architecture of buildings like the Hôtel de Ville. But it’s also nice that there is a building in the centre of Paris that bucks the trend towards cliché.
Officially opened in 1977, the building is the result of the first time France allowed international architects were allowed to participate in the international design competition. The team who designed the centre was comprised of two Italians and one Brit.
1. Le Mur Des Je T’aime
- 23 Minute walk from St Christopher’s Inn Gare Du Nord
- Nearest metro: Abbesses (Line 12)
Designed by Frédéric Baron, the website for Le Mur Des Je T’aime (The “I Love You” Wall) describes the 40 square metre engraved wall as “a space where love comes together in every language.” And it is exactly that.
On this wall the phrase “I love you” is featured 311 times in 250 languages. It’s beautiful…
2. Basilique du Sacré-Coeur
- 8 Minute walk from Le Mur Des Je T’aime
- Nearest metro: Abbesses (Line 12) or Anvers (Line 2 then funicular to Sacré-Coeur)
Opened in 1914, the Sacré-Coeur is one of the more recent additions to Paris’ religious scene as well as one of the most famous monuments of Paris. I love the atmosphere around the Basilica in Spring and Summer and the views of Paris on a sunny day are spectacular!
3. Château de Versailles
I didn’t actually visit Versailles on this trip, but I did take a tour with Sandemans New Paris Tours a couple of years back and I would highly recommend taking it!
The tour leaves at 9am every day apart from Mondays and costs €30 (or €28 if you are a student). To see more of what you can expect on the tour read this: Beauty & Bowel Movements at the Palace of Versailles.
On my final day in Paris last week I walked with friends from St Christopher’s Inns Gare du Nord to Le Place de la République and Cimetière du Père Lachaise, but from there we took the metro to Galeries Lafayette and then to Trocadero to see the Eiffel Tower before getting the metro back to the hostel.
1. Le Place de la République
- 20 Minute walk from St Christopher’s Inn Gare Du Nord
- Nearest metro: République (Lines 3, 5, 8, 9 and 11)
Not surprisingly, this Parisian square is named after the French Third Republic – the system of government that was in place from 1870 until 1940.
The reason I love Le Place de la République is that the central monument has remained covered in tributes photographs, candles and written pleas for peace ever since the January 2015 attacks on Paris. For me it’s always been a symbol of the unity of men and women regardless of race and religion…
2. Cimetière du Père Lachaise
- 28 Minute walk from Le Place de la République
- Nearest metro: Père Lachaise (Lines 2 and 3)
Founded in 1804, the Père Lachaise was the first garden cemetery in the world and is also the most visited cemetery worldwide. This may have something to do with the fact that Jim Morrison was laid to rest here, as his grave was named one of the top ten grave sites by Time Magazine.
We visited Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf – but with over a million graves and more than a few notable ones it’s easy to spend the whole day here…
3. Galeries Lafayette
- 1 hour walk from Cimetière du Père Lachaise
- Nearest metro: Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette (Lines 7 and 9)
I was so glad I was able to meet up with my friend Joey whilst in Paris! He’s second from the left in the photo below and thanks to him we were treated to this incredible view of Paris from the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette!
It’s free to go up to the top during opening hours, and I had no idea the view existed so I’m so glad I found this little gem to share with you. Thank Joey not me!
5. The Eiffel Tower
- 49 minute walk from Galeries Lafayette
- Nearest metro: Trocadéro (Lines 6 and 9)
Despite spending a lot of time in Paris over the last few years, I haven’t actually visited the Eiffel Tower since a Topdeck Tour I took in 2011!
As I was with friends I would have loved to have taken a bottle of wine to drink in the parks under the tower. But it was a bit chilly on my last day so I’ll have to save that for next time!
I hope this helps some of you visiting Paris for the first time!
For those of you who also know Paris well – have I missed any of your favourites that you think could fit in to a three day Paris itinerary? Let me know in the comments!
Lots of love,