I could gush on and on about Paris and my husband’s and my French adventure! It was our second honeymoon, so romantic, and an absolutely perfect vacation. I believe that all of my planning really paid off and led to our trip being such a success. The trick is finding the right balance of seeing all the things you want to see but not running around like a crazy person and then not enjoying your trip. Before we left for our adventures I planned a fairly detailed itinerary. I created a quick-glance master sheet and then day-by-day detailed plans as well. I even made a few custom google walking maps! I’ve had so many people ask about our trip details that I decided to share my 5 Days In Paris Detailed Itinerary. I even included an optional 6th bonus day in Versailles.
When planning this trip to Paris I used my 5 Essential Vacation Planning Tips which you can read all about in my previous post HERE. These tips work for any trip you plan! I’ve used these exact same steps to plan a visit to Nashville, The Bahamas, and now Hawaii too (as well as many other locations.) It might be helpful to read those tips right after reading this 5 Days In Paris Detailed Itinerary post so you can decide what your must-dos are on your next trip!
Disclaimer before I lay out my 5 Days In Paris Detailed Itinerary:
- I’m not including the travel days here in the day count. We left on a Monday from Washington DC on a direct flight to Paris and landed at CDG (Charles de Gaulle airport) the following morning. So Day 1 begins the morning we arrived.
- We spent a total of 15 days in France this is just the itinerary for Paris.
- Obviously what was super important to us might vary with what is important to you to see and do. Keep this in mind when reading and know you can easily swap some things out!
- I kept wiggle room in the itinerary in case we wanted to veer off the plan or wanted to linger anywhere. Always pad your time so you’re not rushed!!
- Even though there is some wiggle room this is a very full 5 days. Lots of walking! Lots of sightseeing! Lots of wine!
Day 1 –
- Arrive in Paris! We arrived at 7:30am (perfect time to arrive in order to start day one off with a bang!). We made our way from CDG to our hotel by G7 taxi. I need to say here that taxis in Paris are legit the nicest taxis I have ever seen. Everyone we rode is was a Mercedes, super clean, and smelled good. It almost felt a bit luxury riding in a taxi. Do yourself a favor and download the G7 Taxi app to your phone before leaving. It’s so very helpful. For our first 3 days in Paris we stayed at: Holiday Inn Paris – Gare de Lyon Bastille. Such a wonderful location located conveniently next to the Gare de Lyon train station. So easy to grab the metro and bonus points Le Train Bleu restaurant is here. So pretty!!
- Check into your hotel or at least store your bags so you can start seeing Paris!! The staff was so friendly and welcoming. We stored our bags and I changed my clothes. I had been traveling overnight and wanted to start fresh for the day in Paris. Be smart and pack an outfit in your carry on or right on top in your suitcase for an easy change. I also had packed some deodorant wipes and skin refreshing wipes so I did a little wipe down in the bathroom while changing. Felt like a new woman ready to take on Paris!!
- Grab some lunch somewhere close to your hotel. We walked around the block and found the cutest little épicerie. We ordered a sandwich to split (ham and butter on a baguette + cheese) and I had my first café in Paris!! There were two little bistro tables in front of the store and we sat down there to enjoy our food and take in the fact that yes we were indeed in Paris.
- To get an overview of the city take a 2CV tour!!! I surprised my husband with this and we both absolutely loved our drive drive around the city. Our driver was awesome and took us on a two hour tour around Paris in the cutest car ever. It gave us a great overall view of the city and helped us know the layout. Highly recommend!!
- Head back to the hotel to shower, change, take a cat nap if you need it. This is where the extra built in time comes in handy! You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of extra built in chill time!
- Go to Montparnasse Tower for sunset. We purchased our tickets ahead of time so we didn’t have to stand in any lines. The tower has the highest viewpoint of Paris and is divine at sunset with a 360 degree rooftop view. So beautiful!!!! I successfully navigated us here on the metro + a little walk. A little metro tip – download the Paris Metro App before you go. Oh my goodness it made our lives sooooo easy figuring out the metro system and what trains and stops to take.
- Eat dinner at Bouillon Chartier in Montparnasse. You can walk there right from the tower…it’s just a few blocks. They do not take reservations but get people in and out fast. The restaurant is beyond beautiful!!! All of my Art Noveau dreams in one restaurant. Don’t forget to look up at the ceiling. Also as a note – if you haven’t been to Paris before keep in mind that at restaurants and cafes you may very well be sat right next to someone else. Like shoulder to shoulder next to someone. They make use of all their space in restaurants so keep in mind that “personal space” is something you will have to kick out the door. Eat the Duck Confit -it was so good!!!! Also one thing you’ll find is that good wine is cheap in France! So grab a bottle of Burgundy and sip away.
Day 2 –
- Get up early for a sunrise photoshoot!!! Yes we planned this way in advance and hired the perfect photographer – Brian of French Gray Photography. We met Brian at the Trocadero just before sunrise and spent several hours together getting some of my very favorite photos of Mike and I ever. This did mean I had to get up super early to do my hair and makeup and we took at taxi there. I honestly didn’t want to get on the metro with a full on evening gown. We started photos with the Eiffel tower in the background then headed over by the Louvre to do some more photos. Such an amazing experience and I can’t recommend Brian more.
- Head back to hotel to change clothes and regroup.
- Go on a covered passages walking tour. Paris has some of the most beautiful and historic covered passageways. When researching I found Wanderlust K blog and loosely used the author’s covered passages walking tour. You can find that HERE. We were so hungry by this point so as soon as we got off the metro and started on our journey we started to look for food. We found a quaint little cafe and ate outside to enjoy Paris and the sunshine. I of course caffeinated for the walking tour with some espresso. Yum! Like I said we loosely followed the walking tour, adding in some spots and avoiding some others. Must sees were: * La Mere de Famille – the most beautiful chocolate & candy shop you have ever seen!!!! Make sure you buy something to eat on your walk. *Passage Verdeau – covered arcade built in 1847, an antique lovers paradise with many antique bookshops & vintage postcards. * Passage Jouffroy- interesting window displays, it even has a hotel, museum, & a nightclub.* Passage des Panoramas- full of vintage stamp & coin shops * Galerie Vivienne- very famous passage with a variety of shops, luxury goods, & adorable used bookstores. Overall the passageways are just gorgeous and so different than what you might find in America. It’s a nice little stroll through the city for sure.
- Stroll through the Jardin de Palais Royal. It’s such an iconic little garden. The trees are sooo cool. Can you imagine being the tree trimmer? Full time job for sure.
- Walk by the Palais Royal which was a former royal palace dating back to the 17th century. It’s rather famous for its black and white columns. Perfect spot for a photo!
- Now here’s where you can decide to go back to your hotel for a little rest or keep pushing through to see more of gorgeous Paris!! We kept walking…because Paris.
- Stroll through the Tuilleries Gardens. It’s so very beautiful!! Full of gardens, flowers, statues, and a carousel too!
- Place de la Concorde & Fontaine des Mers. At the other end of the Tuilleries is an 18th century plaza with an obelisk and a gorgeous fountain.
- Walk down Av des Champs-Élysées. We didn’t do much of any shopping but my husband did go into the French National Teams soccer store. The door to get into the Louis V store was around the block!
- Go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. I bought tickets ahead of time to go to the top but we did have to figure out how to get there. Haha. The view from the top was awesome- looking down the Champs-Élysées in one direction and the Avenue de la Grande Armée in the other direction. The traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe is not for the faint of heart. Our 2CV driver took us around it a few times for fun and I’m just glad we didn’t have to drive around it ourselves.
- Dinner at Bouillon Julien. I made reservations here ahead of time too! This is another jaw dropping gorgeous restaurant. Worth the visit just to look! I must also say that it has one of the most reasonably priced menus we found. We ordered a bottle of Burgundy and I had the demi-coquelet grillé (grilled half-cockerel). Beyond good! And if you didn’t know a cockerel is a young male chicken. The frites were very good too & I had two desserts because it’s Paris!
- Back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep!
Day 3 –
I’m calling this the Classic Paris Walk About Day!!! Exploring Île de la Cité and more. Maybe my favorite day!!?? Since we were staying at Holiday Inn Paris – Gare de Lyon Bastille it was an easy place to begin our walk for the day! You could just as easy make your way to the Gare de Lyon train station and start from there if you’re on the metro or find another point closer for yourself. I’ll go through all the great things to see and points of interest. AND double bonus I’m linking you to my very special custom Google Map just for this walking adventure. You can access that HERE. Here’s the morning / afternoon plan!
- Follow the map and walk towards Île de la Cité. It’s a really beautiful walk with so many pretty things to look at. If you’re starving you can grab some crepes at La Crepe En L’isle! Keep following along and walk down Rue des Chantres – one of the narrowest streets in the city. It’s so awesome.
- Walk Rue Chanoinesse – (Rue Chanoinesse 75004 Paris) – it’s a glimpse of medieval Paris with views of Notre Dame and great eateries. The street was once home to an order of Monks and is also home to the Gravestone Courtyard of Paris.
Walk by Au Vieux d’Arcole (24 Rue Chanoinesse) – oh so Parisian. Cutest café in Paris and so instagrammable!!!! It wasn’t open when we walked by but I did stop for photos.
- Paris Point Zero (Parvis Notre-Dame) is the city’s true centre. This is the point of Paris from which all other signs in France are measured.
Notre Dame- Of course you can’t go up in it and there are no tours right now as it’s under construction but it is worth seeing for sure!!!! When you are facing the cathedral, walk around right hand side of it (as you’re facing it) to check out the gardens. Make sure to view from rear & the view from the Pont de l’Archeveche (used to be the famous love lock bridge). Of course many views are blocked right now with the construction so best of luck to you!!!
- If you haven’t eaten yet try out Le Quasimodo Cafe Notre Dame. Yes it’s in a super touristy area. Yes it’s a ridiculous name. But we were there very early before many tourists and had a lovely breakfast of fresh crepes and coffee! It was a cute little place with a lovely view of Notre Dame and there were so many cute little buildings all around.
- Hotel Dieu – The oldest hospital in Paris. You can walk around it or….head in to view the courtyard. Head to the Parvis of Notre Dame. When facing the façade of the cathedral face on, head left and towards the large blue door. Once through sliding doors ask for directions to the central courtyard. Or enter main doors, turn left, then turn right. Voila!
- Shakespeare & Company (5 minute walk. There is a little back tracking here so look at the map and points of interest to see what makes most sense to you.) This is Paris most famous bookstore!!! If you’re into books then this is a MUST and for me it was one of the highlights of my day!!!! The store is a series of winding little rooms with books in every nook and cranny. Every room has so many books that you don’t even know where to look. I spent forever in here trying to find the perfect book to buy and bring home. Keep in mind that they will stamp any book you buy with their stamp on the title page! Also there is a store cat that lives upstairs…I made it my mission to find her/him. All the signs tell you not to disturb it, but it will jump up in your lap for a nap if you’re in one of the its favorite sleeping spots. The view from 2nd floor over the Seine & Notre Dame is divine. Keep in mind that NO pictures are allowed inside the store or I would have a photo of the kitty here for you!!
- Flower Market – Marche aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux (Alee Celestin Hennion 75004 Paris) – The famous “Flowers and Birds Market” has been located since 1808 on the Ile de la Cité. It’s beautiful and so refreshing in the middle of the city.
- Oldest Clock in Paris (2 Boulevard du Palais 75001 Paris) – Affixed to the street facing side of the Conciergerie. It’s been there since 14th century and escaped unscathed through French Revolution.
- Conciergerie – Once a prison that housed Marie Antoinette before her execution. Once known as “Palais de la City”. You can do a tour if you like but we just walked around it.
Saint Chapelle (6 min “ish” walk) – To me if you’re only going to see one thing on this whole walking tour Saint Chapelle is the place hands down!!! I’m not even slightly joking when I say I climbed the stairs to 2nd floor, took in the amazing stained glass and immediately started crying!! It was beyond beautiful. I did purchase our entry tickets ahead of time. You must visit here. No excuses!!
- Here’s where you have a few choices for lunch!!! You can pick up picnic supplies for lunch in Luxembourg gardens (next stop) or you can walk through the gorgeous gardens and stop at #14 before for lunch. Luxembourg Gardens (15 min walk) – distinctly Parisian garden. Luxembourg Palace sits to one side (walk by and admire it). This is a great place for picnic lunch. You can walk to Luxembourg Gardens from St Chapelle with a longer route that takes you by the Pantheon also just depends on how you’re walking feet are feeling and how you are on time.
- Stop at Café de Flore!!!! It’s so beautiful!!!! And so instagrammable. Everything is branded and absolutely top notch. We ended up having lunch here and it was my husband’s least favorite meal in the city. Go to figure it was one of my favorite because it was just so pretty!! It is definitely on the pricey side as you’re paying for Café de Flore.
- Eglise Saint-Sulpice – Yep the same church as featured in The Davinci Code!! Worth a look around inside and out.
- Next and last stop for the afternoon is Musee d’Orsay. The museum itself is gorgeous and set in a former train station. There are many famous works of art here and well worth the visit!! Pre-purchase your tickets to avoid the line and enter the museum through the reserved entrance C.
- Wow what a morning and afternoon!!!!! Your feet might be hurting by now so head back to the hotel (metro or taxi) to regroup, rest, nap.
- Dinner River Cruise night with Bateaux Mouches! This was so beautiful, tasty, and fun. Make sure to pre-purchase your tickets!!! There are many different river cruises so pick what you like best. We opted for the sunset dinner cruise and it was excellent. We boarded when it was light out & had a window seat. We headed up/down the Seine (don’t know my directions here) and then turned around and came back for the perfect viewing of the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night and sparkly!!! It was magnificent. I thought the food was really good, my husband however who isn’t into fancy food and has a bit of a limited palette, didn’t enjoy the food as much as I did. He absolutely loved the whole evening though. You can go up on top of the deck up top and take in all the sights as you pass by almost close enough to touch. Worth every penny!
- Back to your hotel to sleep sooooo good!!!!
Day 4 –
We changed hotels this day to a different part of the city and stayed the next two days at the Crown Plaza Paris – Republique. Another beautiful place to stay! It’s always fun to change things up so try staying in a different hotel or airbnb to get to know the city a little
- Take luggage to hotel and have them check it in for storage.
Food Tour in le Marais with Secret Food Tours!!! Omg this was soooo fun!!!! Fortunately our hotel was close and we could just walk to meet up with our group. The tour was several hours and our tour guide was awesome. She showed us all around le Marais and told us about the history of the area and we ate so much good food. I highly recommend taking a food tour on any trip. It was a small group and very manageable to get in and out of places and try so many things. Our guide told us about the foods we were trying as well as their history. It was also fun meeting everyone else on the tour and hearing their stories. Make sure you book ahead of time as they fill up.
- After the tour you can wander around le Marais and take in more of the area, chill at a cafe (although you’ll be so full that eating and drinking any more will probably be out of the question), or you can head back to your hotel to relax and take a little nap. Remember what I said about not over doing it so you can enjoy it all!!
- Time for the Louvre! Please note that we visited on a Friday evening when the museum is open late. Trying to avoid the long lines and too many people I pre-purchased timed entry tickets for 6pm. It was absolutely perfect and hardly any line at all. We spent the evening seeing as much of the famous museum as we could. It’s huge so we visited the highlights first and then took our time looking at everything else. Yes we saw the Mona Lisa which of course had the longest line. My two favorites were the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Liberty Leading the People.
- Dinner at le Relais de l’entrecote on Rue Saint-Benoit. Absolutely fantastic endless steak and frites. The sauce is to die for!!! Keep in mind they do not take reservations and you will have to wait in line. It’s that popular and yes that good and well worth the wait. Order a bottle of red wine of course and take it all in. The rum babka for dessert was pretty awesome too.
- Back to the hotel to sleep!
Day 5 –
Montmartre day!!!! It’s time to spend the morning and afternoon wandering the streets of Montmartre and soaking in all it’s glory!!!! In medieval ages most of Montmartre was an abbey which was destroyed during the French Revolution. During the time of impressionists it gained a reputation for cafes, dance halls, and cabarets. I’ll give you a few highlights and places to look for below. They’re pretty much in order for walking.
- Take the metro to the Abbesses stop to start your walking tour!
- Le mur des je t’aime – the I Love You wall!!
- Place du Tertre – street artists working / pretty alleyways
- Sacre Coeur – AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! You’ve climbed the winding hills for this beauty!!!! Make sure you come early because this is very much a place full of tourists. It opens at 6am. Start by climbing the steps to it & walk towards the forecourt of the church and enjoy the panoramic views of Paris. Walk inside & look at stained glass & the mosaic of Christ in the glory (largest mosaic in France). Yes you need to also climb the 300 spiral steps to the dome of the basilica! You will NEED TO PURCHASE TICKETS to walk to the top. It’s glorious up there!!! The views are breath taking and the gargoyles up close are amazing. We purchased tickets day of as I couldn’t find a way to pre-purchase.
- Rue de la Bonne – for best views of Sacre Coeur without the crowds walk around the other side of it.
- Clos Montmartre – the only vineyard in Montmartre & the oldest vineyard in Paris.
- La Maison Rose – coffee shop Picasso once frequented! So cute and on my Instagram list for sure.
- Rue de l’abreuvoir – winding street named for the water trough that used to exist. Lovely street to walk.
- Place Dalida – a square along the end of the prettiest street in Paris.
- Villa Leandre – widely considered to be one of the most beautiful streets of Paris. Homes sell in the millions.
- Le Moulin de la Galette – one of last remaining windmills in Montmartre.
- Bateau Lavoire – once used as Picasso’s studio. Not open to the public but you know you’ve found it if you find the green door.
- Make sure you find a place to eat when you get hungry!!! We ate at Le Relais de la Butte which had the cutest outside cafe with a beautiful view!! We earned those glasses of wine!
- Rue Durantin – cute street.
- 45 Rue Lepic – functional studio is one of the few artist studios in Montmartre that you can enter. Be quiet & polite.
- Maison de Van Gogh – Van Gogh’s home in Paris (42 Rue Lepic)
- Café des Deux Moulins – iconic café in Amelie.
- Cite Veron – narrow street has been perfectly preserved from the 20s. Lots of greenery. Toward end of alley you’ll find a stunning 1920s house stuck in time.
- Moulin Rouge – birthplace of the can can dance.
- Villa Des Platanes – private villa constructed in 1896. – view through fence
- Cite du Midi – charming street filled with ivy away from crowds & tourists.
- Back to the hotel to shower, change and rest.
- Watch a soccer game at Stade de France!!! Viva la France! My husband is a huge soccer fan and his favorite team is the French National Team. We planned our trip around a home game to make his dream come true of seeing France play a game at Stade de France. I must say it was so very fun!!! We took the metro there and back and I have to say that France has a wonderful system for sure. We also ate stadium food for dinner because we were at a stadium and it’s totally fitting.
- Back to the hotel to sleep.
That ends my 5 Day detailed Paris itinerary. Five glorious days in Paris for sure!!! If you want to throw in a 6th day then keep reading!
Day 6 in Paris (on add-on but sooo worth it!!)-
Since we were staying in France and heading to Burgundy next we rented a car and drove to Versailles. You can opt to take the metro there or sign up for a tour and have them transport you. A full day dedicated just to Versailles is a must in my book especially if you’re traveling to Versailles and then back in to Paris on the same day. Pre-purchase your timed Versailles entry to save hours of your time!!!!!!!!! I think my husband might have thought that I was a little crazy with pre-purchasing all of our tickets. However when he saw the hours long line to get in he turned to me and smiled and said “great thinking!”. Hahaha. Again I can’t stress enough to get a timed entry ticket!! Stroll all the lovely gardens before and after your time.
Wow! What a trip!!!! Hopefully my 5 days in Paris detailed itinerary gives you a good place to start planning your trip. Paris is so large and there’s just so much to see that it’s a bit overwhelming for sure. I’ve done much of the planning and research for you ahead of time. Feel free to leave me a comment on your favorite things to see in Paris or ask me a question.
To get some helpful planning tips for your next trip READ MY POST HERE. I share my 5 essential planning tips for any vacation or get-away. The same exact tips I used to plan my 5 Days in Paris Detailed Itinerary!