I recently got back from Paris a few weeks ago and it was my first time visiting this incredible city! We didn’t get to do and see everything that was on our list, so I plan on writing a couple more posts for the “ideal Paris itinerary,” but I wanted to share our exact Paris itinerary first.
Don’t worry – I’ll add a few of the things that we wanted to do, but didn’t have time to at the bottom!
I feel like it’s also important to note that I was working in the afternoons for a lot of these days, so some of them are lighter than others. That means you can add more activities or take your time doing the ones listed here.
Day 1: Arrive in Paris
Day one, you’ll arrive in Paris. If you’re flying in, you’ll likely fly into Charles De Gaulle airport – the largest international airport in Paris. However, if you’re already in Europe, you might also be coming in via train. Here are the major train stations in Paris that you might arrive into:
- Gare du Nord
- Gare de l’Est
- Gare de Lyon
- Gare Saint-Lazare
- Gare Montparnasse
- Gare d’Austerlitz
Of these, I’ve only had experience with Gare de Lyon which was a huge train station with plenty of food options!
We arrived in the afternoon, so we really only had time to take a taxi to our hotel and then find a cafe to sip espresso and try to beat jet lag. I’ll also mention here that whether you’re at the airport or a train station, there will probably be “fake” taxi drivers trying to give you a ride. Don’t go with them to be safe. Just wait in the taxi line. It goes pretty quick.
Day 2: Antique Flea Market
Our second day started relatively early. We got up, headed to a patissierie for a croissant and an espresso, then made our way to one of the most famous flea markets in the world. It’s in Porte de Clignancourt and is located fairly far north of the city center.
We were staying in the Latin Quarter (which is a good place if you’re following this Paris itinerary), so we took the 4 Metro all the way up. This location is marked on the Google Maps list I shared above so you can see exactly where to go.
This market was incredible! They had everything from French paintings to ornate furnature to clothing. Anything you could want with a vintage or antique style.
The market is only open Saturdays (9am-6pm), Sundays (10am-6pm), and Mondays (11am-5pm), so you may need to switch around this day accordingly.
Day 3: Walk around Montmartre
We got lucky with the first several days we were in Paris because the weather was beautiful. So, we knew we wanted to spend as much time as possible outside and then when it rained, we would go to the museums we wanted to see. Feel free to move the days of this itinerary around according to the weather when you’re in Paris.
On the third day of our trip, we took the Metro up to Monmartre. From the Latin Quarter, you can take the 4, or the 10 and switch to the 12 Metro.
This is by far my favorite area of Paris! I always scope out where I’d want to buy a property in the cities I visit and this was it for me. If you’ve been to the Amalfi Coast in Italy, this reminded me a bit of Positano. The streets are all hills, the architecture is old, but beautiful, and there are little stores and restaurants on every block.
This area is amazing to just walk around in and, as my friend, Laurel, likes to say, let Paris tell you what you should see. However, there are a few spots you should aim for:
- Sacre Coeur is a white, domed church in Monmartre. You’ll have to walk a lot of steps (or ride the funicular) to get to it, but it’s also a great spot for a view of Paris.
- Moulin Rouge is the legendary burlesque theater in Monmartre. See a show here or just walk by to see the outside.
- Wall of Love is a pretty wall in Monmartre that says “I love you” in just about every language.
Day 4: Luxembourg Gardens and Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore
If you choose to stay in the Latin Quarter, you made an awesome choice because you have so many amazing Paris sites within walking distance, including Luxembourg Gardens.
–> Read more: The Best Airbnb in Paris Latin Quarter <–
This is where you’ll find the beautiful Palais du Luxembourg and Musee du Luxembourg. This area also houses the smaller version of the Statue of Liberty in New York! In addition to these landmarks, I’d also stop by the Marie de Medicis Fountain which is a gorgeous fountain with a long pool lined with greenery and chairs to sit.
While you should make it a point to see all of the sites above, also take some time to just walk around the gardens. This whole park is beautiful everywhere you turn. It would also be a great spot to eat a packed breakfast or lunch.
After the Luxembourg Gardens, we walked over to the Shakespear and Co. Bookstore. This is one of the most famous bookstores in Paris. The ground level is all books for sale (modern and classics), while the upstairs is all reference books.
Pro tip: If you buy a book here, make sure to have the cashier stamp it with the official Shakespear and Co. stamp!
Day 5: Palais Royal and Galleries Lafayette
Start day 5 the same day you’ll want to start every day – at a cafe with an espresso and a croissant (sub out for a latte or pain au chocolat as you wish!). When you’re done with that, head over to Palais Royal. It’s about a 20 minute walk from the Latin Quarter.
This is where you’ll find the famous Domaine National du Paiais Royal, the art exibit with black and white striped pillars coming out of the ground. This is a famous photography spot in Paris, so it’s usually pretty crowded.
Afterward, head to Palais Royal Garden to walk around or sit and enjoy the peaceful, beautiful views of greenery and flowers.
When we were done here, we walked over to Galleries Lafayette. There are a few different locations in Paris – the most famous probably being the one on Champs Elysees. However, we went to a location closer to the Latin Quarter (about a 25 minute walk from Palais Royal).
This building is unlike anything I’ve every seen! It’s almost like a department store for high end designer brands as well as more affordable (but still nice) brands. I ended up picking up a pair of platform chelsea boots here and then we made our way to the rooftop where we got a view of the city and the Eiffle Tower.
Day 6: Eiffle Tower Day
This wouldn’t be a Paris itinerary without a full day dedicated to the Eiffle Tower!
You may want to move this day up in your itinerary because it felt like we were in Paris so long without getting up close and personal with the Iron Lady!
By this point, we had switched where we were staying to a hotel between the 1st and the 9th arrondissments. We started the day by taking the 9 metro to Trocadero. This is a wonderful place to start because as you leave the metro station, you’re greeted with an amazing view of the Eiffle Tower!
If you start walking toward the Eiffle Tower, you’ll walk through a little park called Jardins du Trocadero. Once you get down to Av de New York, take a left and you’ll get stunning views of the Eiffle Tower through the greenery next to the river. This spot is especially beautiful in the fall!
From here, we walked into the surrounding neighborhoods to find food for a picnic. You can get food at any of the vendors in Jardins du Trocadero, or walk further past the Eiffle Tower and grap food at a shop or market. Whichever you decide to do, I’d suggest having a picnic in the grass behind the Eiffle Tower. There will be a ton of people and music playing. It makes for such a peaceful afternoon.
Day 7: Opera House
Day 7 was a rainy day for us, so we decided to walk around the Paris Opera House. You can schedule a tour or pay to go in yourself and walk around. The architecture in the building is so elegant and opulent that you feel fancy just looking at it!
You could spend anywhere from 1-3 hours walking around this building. If you’re up for it, you can even book tickets to see an Opera show. If not, this might be a good day to add one of the extra activities below (unfortunately, I had to work in the afternoon).
Pro tip: There will likely be a booth open for you to walk into and see the Opera stage. If you walk around to booth number 5, you’ll see this one is reserved for the Phantom of the Opera!
Day 8: Orsay Museum, L’Orangerie, and Angelina
We started this day by heading straight to the Orsay Museum (after a quick breakfast, of course). We scheduled a time online and we were one of the first groups in the museum this day! We headed straight up to the famous clock that overlooks the city.
We had this clock to ourselves for about 15 minutes to quickly take as many photos as we could before people starting coming. Aside from this, my favorite part of this museum was the amount of Monet paintings it housed. There was an entire art section with Impressionism which we spent a LOT of time looking at. The museum as a whole is quite large, so it will likely take you a few hours to see everything.
If you have an itch for more Monet art after seeing it at the Orsay Museum, head over to L’Orangerie. This houses a few different works of art, but the show stopper (in my opinion) is Monet’s Water Lillies. These stunning paintings fill four massive walls in two rooms!
Pro tip: If you’re going to be visiting a bunch of museums in Paris, I’d recommend looking into the Paris Museum Pass to help save money and, in some cases, skip the line!
After a morning of museums, the only logical thing to do next is have afternoon tea. Angelina is the perfect place for this! While they’re famously known for their hot chocolate, they also have tea, espresso, pastries, and more. If you want their actual tea service, make sure you wait until 3pm to go!
–> Want to see even more museums? I have a list of all the best museums in Paris! <–
Day 9: Saint Chapelle and Conciergerie
I had heard so much about the stained glass at Saint Chapelle that I couldn’t leave Paris without seeing it for myself! This is a very quick visit since it’s really just one room that you’ll want to see, but it’s worth it.
At first the stained glass panels all look the same, but when you really look at the details, you’ll see each one is unique. The time and effort that must have gone into making this building definitely shows.
Saint Chapelle is very close to Conciergerie, so adding these to the same day in your Paris itinerary just makes sense. The Consiergerie is a museum all about the French revolution. This is the building where Marie Antoinnete was held! I learned about the French Revolution in school, but there’s nothing like being in the location where it took place.
This museum was one of the more modern ones we went to. They gave us each a tablet that had video game-like interactions with each room.
Day 10: Leave Paris to go back home
Unfortunately, day 10 is when we said goodbye to Paris and flew back home. I had to leave my hotel at around 6am to catch my flight, so I didn’t have time to do anything fun this day.
That said, if you have extra time throughout this Paris itinerary, here are a few things you might consider adding:
- Visit the Lourve Museum
- Walk through the Monet Museum
- Shop along Champs Elysees
- Ride up the Eiffle Tower
- Visit the Arc de Triomphe
- Take a train to Versailles
- Cruise along the Seine River
- Tour the Catacombs