PARIS IN FIVE DAYS
A guide for a short trip to Paris
As a slow traveler, I'm not usually an advocate for one to five day itineraries but understand that sometimes, you just want/need to hit the highlights. I’d suggest at least five days in Paris, two to three just see the "highlights" and and then a few days to wander the little streets and see the magic.
Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Seine
1. Eiffel Tower and Trocadero: take some photos and move on. Skip going up the Eiffel tower, the lines at each level take all day and the views aren’t that impressive… especially since it’s missing the Tower itself!
A good vantage point is Passerelle Debilly, a small passenger footbridge that was first opened for the World’s fair in 1900. (See: Best Paris Views)
2. As you’re leaving the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero, you’ll see the golden dome of Invalides, a WWII museum
and Napolean’s tomb, worth a visit for history lovers. (See: Museum Guide)
3. Take a Seine cruise to see the layout of the city and main sights. Many offer “hop on/hop off” options. The original is Bateux Mouche at Pont de Alma right across from the Eiffel Tower.
4. Stop at Pont Nuef, Pont Alexander III, and Pont des Arts for some quintessential Paris bridge photos
5. Walk or take the boat cruise to Notre Dame, and don’t miss seeing the cathedral from the back. If you want to go to the top, the pictures are cool with the gargoyles but keep in mind that the line is long and time consuming.
6. Stop at the iconic Shakespeare and Co. and grab a coffee from their cafe
7. Depending on time/energy go inside the Louvre and select a few areas of interest.
8. Walk from the Pyramid of the Louvre to the Tuileries, ride the carousel.
9. Walk down Avenue l'opera to Garnier Opera. Check shows and listings, I’d recommend watching a performance if you can.
For more, see: Neighborhood Guide for Eiffel Tower and Trocadero, Notre Dame
Saint Germain, Latin Quartier
1. Get up early and visit one of the many markets of Paris and shop for your lunch picnic. One of my favorites is Rue Moffetard. (See: Paris Market Guide)
2. Wander around Saint Germain, and the Latin Quartier, and if interested, visit the Pantheon
3. St Germaine, and walk the cour du commerce on Rue St Andre.
4. Do a pastry tasting at Laduree, or a tea tasting at Maison Freres.
5. Picnic at Jardin du Luxembourg.
6. Evening: Walk down the Champs Elysees and go up the Arc de Triumph for sunset views.
For more, see: Neighborhood guides for Latin Quarter and San Germain
Montmartre , Moulin Rouge
1. If you haven't already, head out early and visit a museum in the morning. For first timers, D'Orsay or the Louvre, or a smaller musuem like l'Orangerie.
2. Alternatively, you can visit Piere Lachaise Cemetery.
3. In the afternoon, visit Place du Teatre and go inside Sacré-Cœur Basilica.
4. Walk to the Moulin Rouge and see the famous windmills.
5. Evening: Garnier Opera or Bastille for a show or end the day at the hammam or tea house of the Grand Mosque of Paris.
For more, see: Neighborhood guide for Montmartre
Le Marias, Canal St Martin, Bastille
1. There are so many good cafes and brunch spots in the Marais, pick a few and wander around.
2. Place des Vosges and nearby ice-cream.
3. Stop at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges for more food.
4. Bastille, and Promenade Plantee.
5. Canal St. Martin and Le Comptoir General.
For more, see: Neighborhood guides for Marais, Canal St Martin, and Bastille
A day trip to Versailles, Giverny, or pick a few neighborhoods to get lost in
For Versailles, make sure to start early and check train schedules and confirm routes.
For more neighborhoods and details, see the Guide to Paris Neighborhoods