Exploring Paris in 3 Days
Itinerary, Tips, and Maps for a Budget-Friendly Trip! Discover Our Adventure in Europe’s Most Romantic City, Uncovering FREE Activities and Attractions
Finally, it’s time to visit Paris! Despite being neighboring countries, it is the first time that we travel to this city. And no doubt that one day we will return to this ‘romantic’ city. Here are things you can do in Paris to fully enjoy this beautiful city.
Paris was a big surprise to us and we liked it more than we thought, it was better than expected! Arrgghh… another metropolis, we said… But the city of lights, love, fashion, or whatever you wish to name it, has that special charm.
The bad side was that our trip was during the weekend where tourists can be counted by the millions. It was shoulder-to-shoulder at major places of interest (eg. Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, Eiffel Tower, etc). Also on that particular Saturday, there were demonstrations (by the Gilets Jaunes – the yellow vests), so many areas were closed to the public, barricaded and locked away.
And the most of the fountains (or all of them) were dry, probably due to the public disturbance and protesters loitering around the city.
Snacks for you! : Try to avoid weekends or holidays to avoid the massive crowds.
Also keep yourself updated and informed for possibility of any demonstrations on those dates to avoid any type of incident or disappointments.
Here’s our itinerary, with the areas that we’ve visited during the 3 days of our trip in Paris. This includes a map of the route so that you could plan your route better. It looks like a really long walk, but its not because there’s lots to see along the way in between places of interest. Get yourself a good pair of walking shoes (fashion shoes in the backpack?) and take it easy.
For the ones that wish to travel a tad faster, you could use the electric-scooter hires now available in Paris using phone apps to activate the scooter. Prices starts from
€0.15/minute (the last time we were there). But make sure you obey the local rules of not riding on pedestrian walkways as the council are starting to impose a hefty fine on those who broke the law.
What to Do in Paris: Day 1
On this first day, we did the whole route on foot to try save as much as possible in transport, which happen to be quite expensive in Paris…
Although it may seem like a long walk, we assure you that it is not because the route is spreaded throughout the day : Stopping by for drinks, take thousands of photos, go for lunch, snacks (from the backpack lol), chill in the parks… Wear your comfortable shoes, you’ll have a good time walking this city! 😉
Also, since we had limited time on this city, we decided not to enter any of the attractions (eg. museums, towers etc.). By doing this, we had more time to walk around the Parisian streets. If you have more time to spend in Paris or wish to visit some attractions, such as the Louvre Museum (Musee de Louvre), you will have to exclude the other areas of interest or squeeze your schedule into your remaining days.
Snacks for you!: If you decide to visit any attraction, buy the tickets on internet in advance before traveling. This way you will avoid the long waiting queues, and sometimes it could be a lot cheaper than showing up with your cash.
- We started from the Arc de Triomphe. Our accommodation was in an apartment booked with AirBnB. This was located 5-minutes walking distance from the Arc de Triomphe, so today we started from here. Depending on where you are staying you can change the itinerary to fit your route. To check on the updated ticket prices into Arc de Triomphe Click Here. Otherwise, you could position yourself anywhere around the roundabout to take the world famous photos. To get to the Arc, you have to cross through tunnels located on the street curbs around. You CANNOT cross the large roundabout directly as there is no crossings for pedestrians. The Parisians drive fast and there’s no chance of you beating them on foot lol.
- Next, we went down the big avenue of Champs Elysees. This avenue is full of shops, restaurants and cafe’s along the streets. This is where all the expensive brands have their shops eg. Prada, Versace, Boss etc.
- At the end of this street, we arrived at the Champs Elysees Gardens. We crossed it enjoying the lush greens and later arrived at the Concorde Square.
- From here we crossed the avenue to arrive to The Tuileries Gardens. Paris is full of parks and gardens. But this is the one that we liked and enjoyed most of all of them. At this point it was midday and we were hungry. So we decided to buy some food to take away in a nearby restaurant. As the day was nice and sunny, we had a picnic in one of the gardens’ esplanades. The gardens were full of tourists and locals doing the same… hehehe 🙂 Need a quick bite? Yes, there’s a McDonald’s nearby serving everything familiar. Or if you prefer an authentic French meal, try Eric Kayser (Bakery) opposite McDonald’s. We had good pastries from there, soft fluffy croissants, gosh, its making me hungry! Don’t worry, prices are reasonable, Snacks-Approved! 🙂
- After eating and taking a well-deserved break, we continued walking to the end of the gardens where we found the Louvre Museum and the Crystal Pyramids. To check on latest ticket prices Click Here.
- After taking dozens of the typical pictures, from here we went to the Notre Dame Cathedral. To check on latest ticket prices Click Here.
- After admiring the famous cathedral, we went to the Luxembourg Gardens. At this point we also made a stop to rest and have a drink (the day was very hot and dry…).
- And we ended the day walking to the Invalides Palace and Gardens.
What to Do in Paris: Day 2
The second day we started from the Le Sacre Coeur Cathedral in the Montmartre district. Sacre Coeur is on higher-elevation, so walking your way down from here would be less tiring as you’re going down-hill.
To get there, we took the subway at the Étoile/Champs Elysées station. Located a few meters from the Arc de Triomphe, to the station of Anvers, located at the foot of the basilica.
Doesn’t matter which Metro (subway) or RER (main train line) station you start, always find your connection on the map to Anvers station. Its easy, follow the line colors on the map and you can get free paper maps at most major train stations. Or, if you prefer to go digital, you could use GoogleMaps app on your phone as it directs you through the whole transit systems, where to hop on trains, where to get off and where to walk.
- We started the day visiting Le Sacre Coeur Cathedral and its gardens around. The entrance to the church is free. However, to access its dome you have to pay €4.00. Lines going into the church is super-long in peak-seasons, so come early or visit in off-peak season.
- When we finished seeing the Cathedral and the neighbourhood around, we walked through this district known as Montmartre. Here you can discover their talented street artists. And you can also stop to have a good coffee and enjoy a delicious croissant.
- In this same area is the famous Le Moulin Rouge. So it is mandatory stop to make the typical photo… 😉 This is somewhat like the Red-Light-District of Paris without the brothels.
- From here we went to Galleries Lafayette (Boulevard Haussmann, 40). Although it is a little far away, we went walking to enjoy the city and know more places (also to save on transport… hehehe). We went to these Galleries not because we wanted to do some shopping. We went to get one of the best views of Paris. And completely FREE!. You only have to go up to the roof terrace using one of their elevators and that’s it. Voila!
- From here we went to the Seine River. Walking along the river was one of the things we liked most about Paris. The weather was quite pleasant and the whole walk was full of people eating, drinking or just having a good time hanging out with friends.
- We walked along the river until we arrived the Trocadero Gardens. Here, there are beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower.
- Then, we crossed the river to get to the Eiffel Tower. At nightfall, there an hourly light show that lasts for 5-minutes every time. In winter it starts at 8pm and in summer at 9pm. Or check the sunset-time on your weather app, then add 5-10 minutes, that’s the time for first light-show of the day. It is repeated every hour until 2am in the morning. To check on latest ticket prices to enter Eiffel Tower Click Here.
- And we ended the day at Champ de Mars, which are the gardens located next to the Eiffel Tower. If the weather is right, here you can relax outside, have a drink and enjoy the views.
What to Do in Paris: Day 3
The last day we decided to do a more cosmopolitan route by wandering through The Marais Quarter. Today Le Marais is a very popular neighbourhood for its fashion. Here are concentrated stores of the best local and foreign firms. In this neighbourhood lies the largest Jewish community in Europe. It is also the gay area of Paris, especially around the streets Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie and Vieille du Temple.
And ending in The Latin Quarter. Its one of the neighbourhoods with the best atmosphere in Paris. It is full of bars and restaurants of all kinds where it is possible to eat at a good price. This neighbourhood is also one of the liveliest in Paris. Here there are many cinemas, small antique bookstores, concert halls and theaters.
- In the area of Le Marais we went to see the obligatory Pompidou Museum (National Center for Art and Culture). This is a complex building recognizable by its exterior escalators and huge coloured tubes. From the outside, it looks like a big factory or something related to Mad-Max : Fury Road. To know the price of the entry Click Here.
- Walking through the streets we found Stravinsky Fountain. This public fountain is adorned with sixteen works of sculpture in movement that represent the works of the composer Igor Stravinsky. The peculiarity of the sculptures is that they are all equipped with movement, and some include water in various forms (jets of water, fountains, shots…).
- From here we went down to the square where the Saint Jacques Tower is located. And from there, we walked to The Shoah Memorial. This is a museum and Holocaust memorial with photographs, documents and multimedia exhibits. Admission is free.
- To end the day we crossed the river to get to the Latin Quarter. Before stopping at the old Shakespeare & Library Company. This is a legendary and independent library that stores both new and used titles in a bohemian environment since 1951.
Our Trip Budgeting
Train SNCF from CDG Paris Airport to AirBnB House (Arc de Triomphe) – €20.50
Food for dinner and breakfast in Carrefour City (Snacks and supper) – €11.50
Lodging with AirBnB – €46.50
Food McDonald’s (Lunch) – €16.30
Food for dinner in Franprix (more snacks lol) – €8.00
Lodging with AirBnB – €46.50
Train RATP Metro – €3.80
Croissants in Boulangerie (next to Moulin Rouge) – €6.70
Lunch Crepes & Drinks in Delicieux Montmartre (food was gigantic!) – €31.00
Food Snacks G20 Shop – €2.00
Lodging with AirBnB – €46.50
Croissants in Eric Kayser (Bakery Croissants & Pastries) – €3.00
Lunch in Burger King – €10.50
Food for dinner in Franprix (more snacks!) – €5.90
Train RATP (from city to ORY Paris Airport) – €24.20
2 McDonald’s Ice Cream in the Airport (the day was really hot) – €4.00
Total Spent for 2 of us :
€287.12 / 4 Days – 3 Nights in Paris (€143.56/person)
This figure excludes return flights into Paris, drinks (night-outs), museum entry, tours, gifts, souvenirs, electric scooter hires or boat rides (if you prefer), etc.
The Bottom Line
Paris is full of streets with restaurants of all kinds where to eat or dine. Outdoor terraces where you can enjoy a good drink. Also, of course, of bakeries where you can enjoy their famous croissants and other delicious sweets. And of creperies where you can taste delicious crepes, both sweet and salty.
It is a city where we could become crazy doing shopping. Shops of all kinds; but above all exclusive, of big brands, of Parisian style so refined that you do not find anywhere else, and expensive… very expensive.
It is a city full of life. You will find street artists in all its corners. People gathering and drinking champagne along the Seine River, the Eiffel Tower or one of its many parks.
In contrast, it is a little stressful for the tourists and its very noisy because of the traffic that never stops.
There you go, you can explore an “expensive” city on a budget and still enjoy it. Instead of spending on tours, expensive all-day-transit tickets and entries to places of interest, we’ve spent on the local food, snacks and enjoy walking the streets.
If you have time to spare, yes -go for the museums, art galleries, city tours and rides, Harris and me have little interest in such POIs, so we skipped them altogether.
But definitely Paris is a special city that you always have to return to… 🙂
If you are travelling to Paris, maybe you can be interested in our post: PARIS VIDEO AND PHOTOS!. You will find all these places in the video!!