5 Days in Paris, France Itinerary – Perfect for First-Timers
It has been a long-lived dream of going to Paris. I mean what girl doesn’t dream of a vacation in Paris, am I right? The lights, the art, history, romance and of course food! In this Paris travel guide, I will cover the best things to see and do with 5 Days in Paris!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 5 Days in Paris, France Itinerary – Perfect for First-Timers
- How Many Days is Ideal in Paris
- Day 1 of 5 Days in Paris: Norte Dame, The Louvre, Tuileries Garden, and Tour The Seine
- Day 2 in Paris: Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe, and The Eiffel Tower
- Day 3 in Paris: Day trip to Versailles
- Day 4 in Paris: Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and Tour Montparnasse
- Day 5 in Paris: Musée d’Orsay
- How to Get to Paris
- Traveling Around Paris
- Where to Stay in Paris
- How Much Does Paris Cost
- 5 Days in Paris Travel Guide Overview
How Many Days is Ideal in Paris
I believe 5 days in Paris is the perfect amount to see all the major attractions, but if you prefer traveling at a more leisurely pace, consider spending 6 or 7 days in Paris.
On the other hand, if you travel at a faster pace, you could still use this Paris itinerary and squeeze it into 4 days.
Personally, I believe you need at least 4 days in Paris, with 5 days being the perfect amount of time.
Day 1 of 5 Days in Paris: Norte Dame, The Louvre, Tuileries Garden, and Tour The Seine
We started our first day in Paris at Norte Dame and did a tour down the Seine, since our Airbnb was 5 minutes away, however, you can do this 5 day Itinerary in any order you see fit!
I can highly recommend the Cafes around the Saint Michals fountain which are very close to Norte Dame!
Notre Dame Cathedral
UPDATE: We were so sad to hear Notre Dame was on fire. Our heart breaks for this stunning building and piece of history.
Notre Dame is known to be one of the finest examples of Gothic French architecture. It was completed in 1345, has 10 bells and the tower height stands 226 feet tall.
We were lucky to see Notre Dame before the fire. The sun shined through the delicate stained glass, with art and sculptures lining each side of the cathedral.
Due to the fire, they are not letting anyone inside as they work on the reconstruction, however, you can still walk around the building which I believe is still a must with 5 days in Paris.
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
The Louvre Museum
Next, you will want to take a stroll over to The Louvre. My first thought of the Louvre was those iconic glass Pyramids I’ve seen splatted all over Instagram.
Let’s be honest, they are very photogenic, I get it. I could imagine many tourists just go to see the pyramids and don’t even step foot inside the actual museum.
Personally, I think it’s worth the admission ticket to go inside. There are so many famous pieces of original artwork that you will only see at this Museum including the Mona Lisa.
On top of that, the Louvre is actually the largest museum in the world! They say it would take almost 3 months to look at each piece for 60 seconds.
I would also suggest getting a priority ticket (especially during the summer months) when the line can be very long.
Update: Currently the Louvre is temporarily closed to go inside, however, you can still view virtually see the Louvre online. Check virtual Louvre tours here.
Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
The Tuileries Garden
Upon exiting the Louvre, we were surprised to walk right into the Tuileries Garden. The gardens are free to visit and are the perfect spot to give your legs and feet a break by sitting at the fountain.
The Gardens are massive with sculptures, fountains, and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, not to be confused with the famous Arc de Triomphe at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle.
If you’re interested in history, these gardens hold heaps going back to King Henry III in the 1500’s! They are also the perfect spot to just relax or have lunch.
You can also find beautiful flower blooms in the Spring making for the perfect Instagrammable Paris pictures!
Address: Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris, France
Paris Seine River Cruise
One thing that many of our friends and family urged was to take a tour down the Seine at night and now I am passing it on to you!
From our boat, we watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle and it was truly magical! This tour was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!
Insider Paris Tip: I have been told the dinner cruise is not worth it.
Our guide spoke in both French and then English giving an authentic vibe and provided insightful information as we went down the Seine.
Some takeaways were that Paris has 37 bridges, their smallest bridge has collapsed several times (although he seemed like he might have been joking) and the rail bridge was a gift for Versailles.
Day 2 in Paris: Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe, and The Eiffel Tower
On day two of our 5 days in Paris, we are making it to the most iconic Paris attractions, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. If you decide to do this day first with so much excitement to be in Paris, I totally get it!
Place de la Concorde
After having a delicious breakfast at one of the many cafes in Paris, head to Place de la Concorde. Did you know it’s the largest square (21.3 acres) in Paris and famous for many public executions?
The square includes some really cool features, Luxor Obelisk, the Fontaines de la Concorde, and Roue de Paris.
Luxor Obelisk stands 75 ft high, weighs 230 tons, and is over 3,000 years old.
It was originally housed outside the Luxor Temple in Egypt and was gifted to France by Muhammad Ali Pasha, Ruler of Ottoman Egypt!
Right next to Luxor Obelisk are two fountains on either side that boast intricate details and beauty.
Originally 4 fountains were planned for this space but were then decided the water supply would be not sufficient enough.
Finished in 1840, the North fountain commemorates navigation and commerce on the rivers of France and the South fountain commemorates maritime commerce and industry.
Address: 75008 Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe
Next, if the weather is nice, I’d suggest walking to Arc de Triomphe! The best part about walking is getting to really appreciate where we are and venture down beautiful Parisian allies.
Google maps led us down Avenue des Champs-Élysées which boasts of luxury stores and cafes. If you are ready to shop until you drop, this is the place you will want to be with 5 days in Paris!
While in the area, consider stopping by Ladurée, one of the most famous Paris macaron bakeries.
Finally arriving at the huge roundabout (with crazy drivers, I should add) sits Arc de Triomphe.
This impressive Arc was built to honor those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
You can actually go to the top and view the city, although when we went, a ceremony was taking place, so we only got to view from across the street.
Watching the cars drive and look as if they are going to crash each time is an attraction in itself.
Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower
Now for the famous Paris attraction, we have all been waiting for, the Eiffel Tower. I’ve dreamed of wanting to stand under this tower as a little girl, so getting to see it up close and personal was a dream come true.
The closer we got, the more excited I was and wow, it is just massive.
We came from the backside of the tower, indulged on a baguette and cheese, sat on the lawn, and enjoyed the warm spring weather of April.
Did you know the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 and took 2 years 2 months and 5 days to complete?
You of course can go up the Eiffel tower as well. We opted to just stand under it since we planned to get views of the whole city with another Paris attraction on our 4th day in Paris.
Day 3 in Paris: Day trip to Versailles
Every Paris travel guide you ever look at will include a day trip to Versailles and with good reason. So with 5 days in Paris, I’d definitely recommend a visit! This Palace will have you in awe as you walk through history.
For scope, around 37,000 acres of land was cleared for tree-lined terraces, walkways, and gardens holding thousands of plants and trees.
To think we could cover the grounds open to the public in one day would be near to impossible as there is so much to see. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes!
Did you know Versailles was originally a hunting lodge used by King Louis XIII? It was King Louis XIV who built Versailles into the huge palace you see today, and boy did Marie Antoinette and King Louie have good taste!
Getting To Versailles
Just Southwest of Paris, you can take the train for about 30 minutes depending on where you are.
From the train, it was about a 10-minute walk to the large golden gates. We paid to have access to the Castle and Trianon Estate, but unless you are there super early, I am not sure if it’s worth it since the gardens are free!
Insider tip: I also believe it is better to buy your tickets online ahead of time, or even skip the line since it’s very popular! We waited a very long time online (lesson learned).
Gardens in Versailles
Being a nature lover, my favorite part was the gardens. The weather was absolutely beautiful as swans swam around fountains.
As you walk down to the garden, in the distance you can canoe around the pond. By the canoes, you can also rent bikes which were a lifesaver if you want to make good timing around the Palace.
You pay by the hour and they come with a lock. This helped us see a lot of the property and give us a nice breeze on a rather hot day.
We stayed until closing time and learned that the nearest train was closed for the day, meaning we had a hike to a much further train. So, make sure you check the train schedule!
We had recently visited the Biltmore Estate (largest Estate in the USA, and let me tell you, Versailles blows the Biltmore out of the water!
There also always seems to be a strike with the trains, so always best to double-check!
Day 4 in Paris: Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and Tour Montparnasse
On your 4th day in Paris, you will get a little off the beaten path and see some Paris local gems.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris), is an absolutely stunning church and another top attraction in Paris!
It is located in the eighteenth arrondissement and is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It holds both religious and political importance.
While visiting, the Montmartre neighborhood has a ton to offer including cute cafes and tons of instagramable places!
Paris Travel Tip: If you plan on visiting Moulin Rouge, you may want to see this church towards the end of the day since it is also located close to the Montmartre area.
Pass by to see the iconic windmill or even reserve a table and have dinner and a show!
Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Next. we head to Parc des Buttes Chaumont, known to be a hidden gem of Paris where you can find local hanging out.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont reminded me of Central Park, in New York City, but much cleaner.
The park also has free wifi if you can find a good spot, I might add.
The Park is free to visit and peaceful. It consists of a charming pond and lush cliffs, birds, ducks, and turtles. From the top of the park, you can also get a really nice view of the city.
Address: 1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris, France
As if one lookout wasn’t enough, we decided to head out for a second overlook viewpoint. A wise Instagram friend once told me, if you want to see Paris like a real Parisian, go to the top of Montparnasse to see all of Paris.
We took the train to Gare Montparnasse but had a little bit of a difficult time finding the entrance to the top.
Just ask a couple of times and eventually, you will make it to the entrance. We had to walk around the building to another side and pay 18 euros each, but let me tell you, these views are incredible!
First, you are brought to the 56th floor where there are telescopes, food, and a gift shop.
Next, you can take the stairs and walk to the open-air terrace with incredible 360-degree views of Paris including Eiffel Tower views and a champagne bar! Yep, that’s right, they have champagne!
Address: 33 Avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris, France
Additionally, also very popular and in the area are the Catacombs of Paris.
If you are interested in something a little more morbid (but extremely popular) check out the Catacombs which hold the remains of more than six million people!
Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France
Day 5 in Paris: Musée d’Orsay
5 days in Paris went by so quickly! On our final day in Paris, we decided to spend our time walking up and down random allies and by the Seine until we made it to Musée d’Orsay.
Did you know the museum was installed in the former Orsay railway station?
The tickets were $13.50 euros each and the line was short which is always a plus! The museum displays time periods from 1848 – 1914.
It’s much smaller than the Louvre but has some great pieces. Our favorite areas were the Van Gogh exhibition with some of his most famous pieces.
Some even say they like Musée d’Orsay over the Louvre! We really enjoyed both so if you are museum buffs, be sure to check them out!
Day 5 is also time to do or see anything that you may have missed on the previous days in Paris.
On the other hand, if you are ready to see more, other popular attractions to see in Paris include:
- Luxembourg Gardens
- Sainte-Chapelle (Beautiful Gothic Church).
- Palais Royal (known for being a top Instagrammable place in Paris).
- A day trip to the island of Mont Saint-Michel.
- A free walking tour around Paris.
Additionally, I’d recommend looking for Paris skip-the-line passes for popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Versailles.
How to Get to Paris
The best way to get to Paris is generally to fly. If you are in Europe or the UK, you can also consider taking a train.
Your best bet is to usually fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport. From there, you have the option to take the tram or hire a car. I would not recommend renting a car.
If you have lots of bags, you will be better off taking a taxi or private car. We took the tram and found their subway system pretty easy to use.
We took the B RER headed towards Saint-Michel Notre Dame where our Airbnb was located. I found the app CityMapper, which my Airbnb host shared with me, to be very helpful in navigating the Paris train system.
Traveling Around Paris
The best way to travel around Paris is by walking and taking their subway system.
Important Paris Travel Tip: When inserting your ticket into the machine, make sure to wait for it to come back out. You will need the ticket to exit out of the subway.
Additionally, you can grab a taxi to get around Paris.
Where to Stay in Paris
Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements known as neighborhoods and the numbers are in one big spiral.
During our 5 days in Paris, we stayed in Saint Germain which is the 6th arrondissement.
I truly loved this area because we were very close to Notre Dame, the train stations, the Senie, there were tons of restaurants and the area, in general, is very lively.
Other areas/neighborhoods you should consider are Le Marais, Paris which are on the other side of Norte Dame and is another very charming area.
If you want to be near the Eiffel Tower (which most do), you should look in the 7th ARR. in Champs de Mars. The best accommodations go fast, so make sure to book at least a couple of months in advance.
Some hotels you may want to consider staying is:
Le Metropolitan a Tribute Portfolio Hotel: Known for its beautiful direct view of the Eiffel Tower, this eco-friendly property is located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. You will be within walking distance from the Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, and more. They even have an on-site swimming pool!
Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile: Located in the 17th arr. enjoy views of the Eiffel Tower. They offer free WiFi, 24-hour front desk service and you will be located about is 0.9 mi from both the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées.
Hôtel Sèvres Saint Germain: Located in the 6th district of Paris, the property is equipped with a 24-hr front desk, free WiFi, an onsite bar, and more. You will be less than a mile from 0.9 Musée d’Orsay and Notre Dame and just over a mile from the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens.
Hôtel Crayon Rouge: Located in the 1st arr. you will be located in the historic center of Paris, right next to Palais Royal. This elegant hotel features a wine bar, 24-hour front desk, and concierge service. You will be able to enjoy a 7-minute walk to the Louvre Museum or a 25-minute walk to Notre Dame. They also serve a continental breakfast.
Le Bristol Paris – an Oetker Collection Hotel: If you are looking for top-of-the-line luxury, this stunning property has modern luxury mixed with French elegance. Located in Champs Elysées and La Madeleine Place, enjoy a rooftop swimming pool with Eiffel Tower views. Some rooms even feature Louis XV or Louis XVI style furniture and they have an award-winning spa.
How Much Does Paris Cost
While Paris is an expensive destination, you can visit Paris on somewhat of a budget. To give you an idea of around how much it cost us to visit Paris is listed below for 2 people.
If you know you are planning on seeing a lot of attractions, you may even want to consider looking at the Paris Pass.
Psst… Sometimes you can save cashback on the Paris Pass when you sign up for Rakuten!
- Accommodation: $950+ USD – If you look at hostels, you can get a much better price.
- Food and Drink: $500+ USD
- Additional Activities: $ 350+ USD
So not including flights, we spent around $1,500 for two people and if this is too much, there is definitely more room to budget since we did splurge at times.
5 Days in Paris Travel Guide Overview
Paris has really stolen our hearts and I know we will definitely be back!. After 5 days in Paris, we couldn’t believe it was already over!
Not going to lie, we started plotting out how our lives could be if we stay in Paris, but I’m sure that’s a common feeling, right? Or we are just weird… but that’s ok!
There is still so much we want to do and see in Paris, so this will be one of those destinations we’ll have to go back to.
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