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5 days in Paris itinerary

The perfect Paris itinerary: 5 days of fun, art and food.

View from Galleries Lafayette

You must be so excited that you decided to visit Paris. The city of romance, Paris is the perfect capital city to explore if you love art, food and fun. We recommend spending 5 days in Paris, the perfect length to enjoy the main attractions in the city.

Your Paris trip will take you to wonderful places, you'll see top attractions, and admire close to 300 illuminated places in the central district alone. Walk on the stunning bridges after sunset, admire the perfect glimmers reflected on the Seine and snap the perfect photo which inspired many French artists throughout the centuries.

In this guide, you'll learn how to spend the perfect Paris itinerary to ensure to see all the major highlights in 5 days. Visiting Paris is a remarkable experience, so here's how to make the most of it and enjoy the French capital in all its splendour.

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5 days in Paris itinerary

Before we get started, don't forget to check where to stay in Paris and ensure you book your accommodation well in advance. It's wise to book it as early as possible, as prices go up, especially during the busy season. If you are wondering what's the best time to visit Paris, know that winter in Paris is great if you wish to save money on accommodation and avoid crowds.

A quick overview of the perfect 5 day itinerary Paris:

  • Day 1 in Paris -- Louvre Museum, Tuileries Gardens and Eiffel Tower
  • Day 2 in Paris -- Musée d'Orsay, Ile de la Cité, Notre Dame, Palais Garnier, Moulin Rouge
  • Day 3 in Paris -- The Latin Quarter and Saint Germain des Prés
  • Day 4 in Paris -- Day trip to Versailles
  • Day 5 in Paris -- Champs-Élysées and Lafayette

Our complete 5 day Paris itinerary will take you to some exciting places, including art museums, the tallest building in Paris for epic pictures, some great food places and also to do some shopping for souvenirs. There will be one day trip from Paris too, taking you to enjoy the gorgeous and famed Versailles.

I strongly recommend that you walk as much as possible, so walking shoes are a must for this itinerary. Don't worry, there's sound public transportation available in Paris, so if you prefer taking the metro that's also fine.

In our Paris itinerary we're also making suggestions for what type of food to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food in Paris is exceptional and being a melting pot of cultures, you'll be able to enjoy a variety of international dishes as well, making the trip even more exciting. Ready? Let's get started!

Beautiful city of Paris with its gorgeous buildings

Day 1 in Paris: Louvre Museum, Tuileries Gardens & Eiffel Tower

Start the day with a coffee and a pain du chocolat then stroll through Louvre and admire world-class art. Walk through the gorgeous Tuileries Gardens, cross the superb Pont Alexandre III then head to the Eiffel Tower for those epic views over the capital. Finish the day with a romantic dinner cruise on the Seine and admire the city from a different perspective.

Breakfast

Start the first day of your Paris itinerary with a delicious breakfast. Have a coffee with a croissant or a pain au chocolat (also known as chocolatine). There are numerous bakeries all around Paris, so chances are you're going to have one just a walking distance from your hotel. As Paris is a major city, you'll find countless indie cafés as well as known chains.

Cory and G You Could Travel eating a croissant

Louvre museum

The Louvre Museum is one of the world's most visited museum and a major landmark in Paris. Naturally, it gets very busy since it's home to some of the most well known works of art, including Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

There's a way to avoid crowds, though. Start early, as early as you can, and pre-purchase your ticket in advance. Learn the stories and little-known titbits behind one of the world's most celebrated art museums during this small-group, skip-the-line tour of the Louvre.

Lunch

The world is your oyster here but we do have a couple of recommendations for you. For a sophisticated lunch, head to the Angelina Paris, a legendary 1903 tearoom. The interiors are Belle Époque style.

For a quick and easy lunch, head to Kodawari Ramen, a superbly decorated Tokyo dish market style Japanese restaurant. For fish lovers, this is a must, located just a few minutes away from Louvre.

Tuileries Gardens

After lunch, enjoy a relaxing stroll in the Tuileries Gardens, 17-th century formal gardens well known for their statues and 18 bronzes by Maillol. Situated right in the centre of Paris, these gardens connect the Louvre Museum, the Musée d'Orsay, the Jeu de Paume museum, and Place de la Concorde.

The Tuileries Gardens are free of charge for everyone. They are ideal for an easy stroll, a picnic and great vacation photos.

Quiche Paris Food

Eiffel Tower

Cross Pont Alexandre III and walk along the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower. We believe the Eiffel Tower views are best in the evening, at sunset. There are two ways to access the Eiffel Tower. You can either stop on the first floor, or purchase complete tickets online that include access to the very top. For best views of Paris, we recommend purchasing tickets to the top floor.

Admire Paris and the beautiful Champ de Mars at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower. You'll feel like you're on top of the world.

We recommend getting tickets in advance with options to skip the line as queues are likely, given that this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris.

We are loving our time spent around the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement

Dinner cruise

Enjoy a Seine river cruise just after sunset to see how beautiful Paris looks like when all it's all lit up. Shimmers, flickers and all those glimmers will surround you from all directions. There's a good reason why Paris is sometimes referred to as the City of Lights.

Prebook your dinner cruise and indulge in a gourmet 3-course meal with Champagne and live music.

Cruise on the Seine

Day 2 in Paris: Musée d'Orsay, Île de la Cité, Notre Dame, Palais Garnier, Moulin Rouge

It's the second morning in Paris and you must be so excited to start the day. Today is a perfect day for art lovers as you'll visit the Musée d'Orsay, full of French art as well as international pieces. You'll then walk around Ile de la Cité, see Notre Dame de Paris (from outside) and indulge in a delightful lunch before heading towards Palais Garnier. For night owls, nothing beats an authentic show of cabaret at the Moulin Rouge. Ready? Let's go

Breakfast

Paris should always be explored on a full stomach, so start the day with coffee and a pastry of your choice. Head towards the city center towards the Musée d'Orsay. Paris is so wonderful in the morning, don't forget to stop to take the occasional selfie as you go about your day.

Pain au chocolate Paris food

Musée d'Orsay

This has to be the highlight of Paris. Maybe it's just me, but the Musée d'Orsay definitely made the Paris itinerary so much better and exciting. If you love paintings, then this is the place for you. You cannot explore Paris without a complete walking tour of the Musée d'Orsay.

See pieces from Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Paul Gauguin and more. The museum is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts train station built between 1898 and 1900.

The Orsay museum gets extremely busy during the day, which is why I strongly recommend that you purchase your tickets in advance for an early slot. To learn even more about the art, purchase tickets with a guided tour. It's well worth it!

Orsay museum in Paris

Lunch

From Musée d'Orsay, head towards the Ile de la Cité to first enjoy lunch. Lunch is always welcome, especially when you spend your time admiring art and the beautiful city of Paris.

Head to the Brasserie Les Deux Palais and purchase the traditional French onion soup, followed by a plate of snails. After all, you are in Paris and you should try everything interesting on the menu. Enjoy it all with a glass of French wine.

For dessert, take a plate of cheeses or a delicious portion of crème brûlée.

Notre Dame de Paris

No Paris itinerary is complete without seeing the gorgeous Notre Dame cathedral. Unfortunately, you cannot enter it for now, but you can still admire its exterior. You can, however, enter the beautiful Saint Chapelle, a Gothic chapel with relics and superb stained-glass windows.

Notre Dame is one of the most interesting places to visit in Paris

Palais Garnier

From Notre Dame, either walk for 40 minutes to the superb Palais Garnier or take the public transport. Take bus 21 or Metro line 7 for just 4 stops.

You can admire the gorgeous Palais Garnier from the outside or buy tickets online to see its superb interior. Just make sure you check the opening times. Visits are accessible every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except on days with afternoon performances, exceptional closure and summer period (last entry 45 minutes before closing).

Walking around Palais Garnier before the show starts

Dinner

For a special dinner, head to the Moulin Rouge to see an authentic show of cabaret with champagne or dinner. Take a seat in one of the most famous theatres in the world and prepare for a dazzling spectacle. It is, after all, what inspired the renowned painter Toulouse-Lautrec.

Purchase your ticket online to reserve your spot and see a formidable show with dinner included.

Moulin Rouge Paris

Day 3 in Paris: The Latin Quarter and Saint Germain des Prés

For photographers, this is probably the most interesting area in Paris. You'll see several historical buildings, beautiful gardens, but also plenty of quaint Parisian streets lined with bistros and cafés.

You'll have lunch with lots of macarons, enjoy the beautiful botanical garden, then see one of the oldest and liveliest neighbourhoods of Paris. you'll see the Panthéon, the superb Luxembourg Gardens followed by a walk around Saint-Germain-des-Prés, considered one of the poshest neighbourhoods in Paris.

You'll finish the day in the Montparnasse tower, to admire a different part of Paris from above. And if you still have the energy, walk around the busy Montparnasse, known for its crêperies, and historic bistros once frequented by authors like Hemingway. This area is also home to the Paris catacombs.

Breakfast

By now, you already know what I'm going to recommend: a coffee and a pastry. Today you'll be taking it easy, so why not enjoy your morning breakfast in a traditional Parisian café? Relax and enjoy some people watching as the busy locals are rushing here and there.

The Latin Quarter

Head to the 5th arrondissement, the well-known home of the Sorbonne University. It's the ideal place to take your camera out and snap some authentic pictures of Paris. Enter the famed bookshops and purchase the ideal French souvenir.

Not sure where to start? Get this brilliant self guided audio tour of the Latin Quarter to make it easier for you to explore of the highlights.

Visit the National Museum of Natural History and the superb Jardin des Plantes. Ideal for families, the botanical gardens are home to several glasshouses, with the Tropical Rainforest greenhouse being one of the favourites.

The main area of the Jardin des Plantes is free of charge for everyone.

Lunch

No Paris itinerary is complete without a stop at Ladurée, a French institution known for its delightful macarons. Ladurée or Maison Ladurée is recognised as the ambassador of Parisian macaroons. It was also the inventor of the French tea room. It's been existing since 1862.

You don't need a reservation to sit down for lunch, but note that during busy periods you might have to wait a little. If you wish to only purchase macaroons, you can do so from the Ladurée store.

Try the croque sandwiches and follow with a selection of macaroons and a hot chocolate.

Alternatively, book a Latin quarter food and wine tour to discover an array of local dishes.

Macaroons in Laduree in Paris

The Panthéon

The Panthéon is located atop the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, in the centre of the Place du Panthéon. It is often referred to as the temple of the French nation. The French Revolution in 1789 transformed the monument into a temple for Great Men.

The crypt houses the tombs of more than 70 illustrious figures including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile Zola, Alexandre Dumas, Pierre and Marie Curie.

Panthéon Paris

Luxembourg Gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) are located between the Latin quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. They cover 25 hectares of land and are split between French and English gardens. You'll enjoy a geometric forest, a large pond and an orchard.

The gardens are superb for a leisurely stroll, ideal for a family with kids, and perfect for couples looking for a quiet and romantic spot in Paris. Active visitors can play chess, tennis, and bridge here.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Your 5 days is Paris are bound to take you to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a well known quarter and home to several famed cafés. Pass the Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, le Procope, and the Brasserie Lipp, as well as many bookshops and publishing houses.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés is known to be the centre of the existentialist movement. Beginning in the Middle Ages, Saint‑Germain‑des‑Prés was a religious and cultural center, as well as an important marketplace frequented by international merchants.

Of course, there's no better way to experience a quarter than by indulging in the local food and drink. Book your Paris Food & Drink Tour Of Saint-Germain.

Montparnasse Tower

You know those gorgeous pictures of Paris from above which have the Eiffel Tower in then somehow? That's because they are taken from the Montparnasse Tower. Enjoy a 360-degree view of the City of Lights from Paris's highest roof terrace.

Sit down with a glass of wine and admire the city from above, or head to the roof terrace and chill with your loved ones. I recommend visiting in the afternoon or evening for the most beautiful sky.

Book your tickets online for the Montparnasse Tower. These tickets include access to the lift and to the rooftop as well.

Cory and G from you could travel - view from montparnasse tower

Day 4 in Paris: Versailles

For superb French architecture, superb gardens and a delightful day trip from the capital, you'll want to add Versailles to your list. Leave modern Paris behind and head to one of the most famous monuments in the world: Palace of Versailles.

Now, Versailles is just about 12 miles west of Paris, so you will get there in less than an hour by train.

The palace and park were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979. While the palace itself can get a bit busy with visitors from all around the world, the gardens are usually a lot more quiet and serene. Rent a boat or just walk around the lake for some serene moments.

As always, I recommend visiting as early in the morning as possible. We spent the longest time walking around the gardens, but by the time we decided to leave (around lunchtime), the place got pretty packed. As a tip, the further away you venture from the palace, the quieter it gets in the gardens.

Tip: Don't miss the Hameau de La Reine, a rustic retreat built specifically for Marie Antoinette.

Versailles is one of the most popular Paris attractions, so it's imperative that you purchase your tickets in advance.

The gardens in the Versailles

Restaurant in Versailles

For lunch, head to la Cantina, a delightful Italian restaurant just 10 minutes walk from the Palace of Versailles. Just make sure you time your arrival well, as it closes from 2:30 pm until 6:30pm.

There are daily specials, but the pizza is especially good here.

Montmartre Hill

Back in Paris for the afternoon? Perfect, as it's time to head to the Montmartre Hill. Montmartre is primarily known for its artistic history, the famed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur on its summit, and as a nightclub district.

It's especially known to be the former quarter for many artists. To truly appreciate and enjoy this historical neighbourhood, purchase your guided tour for french gourmet food and wines here. Not only you'll indulge in a special gastronomic tour, but you'll learn about the local landmarks and follow in the footsteps of famous residents and artists.

Montmatre

Day 5 in Paris: Champs-Élysées and Lafayette

Your day 5 in Paris is all about shopping. Whether you're looking for modern art or wish to purchase superb souvenirs from your Paris holiday, today is the day for it. After breakfast, admire the Arc de Triomphe on Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Do your fair bit of shopping here, then make your way towards Galeries Lafayette.

Take in the views of the Eiffel Tower from the rooftop of the Galeries Lafayette, then allow yourself to get lost in all the galleries dotted with indie boutiques, cute shops and contemporary art.

Alternatively, head to the fashionable district Le Marais, filled with boutiques and elegant galleries.

Arc of Triumph Paris

Champs-Élysées

Walk up Champs-Élysées towards the iconic Arc de Triomphe, a well-known landmark in Paris. The avenue is lined with well-known shops and boutiques, as well as shopping malls to keep you busy for the morning.

There are several restaurants in the area too, notable ones being Le Sens Unique, Le Restaurant Le V or the popular Pierre Gagnaire (reservation must be made, usually a couple of months in advance).

Galeries Lafayette

Especially stunning in the winter, Galeries Lafayette is an upmarket French department store chain.

Its flagship store is on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, which is precisely the one you should visit. Admire the ornate glass-domed department store and head to the rooftop for epic views of Paris from above, one of those lovely hidden gems we discovered accidentally.

At the top floor there's also a lovely souvenir shops with unique items from Paris.

At the bottom floor there is a supermarket where you'll find incredible French cheese and great Parisian baguettes. Try the charcoal baguette for something unique and sit down to enjoy some caviar and champagne.

View from Galleries Lafayette

Final thoughts

We visited Paris so many times, we spent 3 days in Paris but also a romantic weekend in the past, to specifically enjoy a show at the Palais Garnier. Paris is a great city to visit, full of history and so much wonderful art. We believe 5 days in Paris is just the right time to spend visiting all the highlights in the capital.

Paris does get busy though, that's important to remember. Which is why we recommended that you purchase tickets in advance. If you haven't, make sure to read the article again and purchase all needed tickets for your favourite attractions.

Paris is not a cheap capital, so you will want to budget at least 100 euros per day, on top of accommodation and tickets to attractions. For a couple, 2000-2500 euros will normally cover everything including meals, attractions, hotels and extra expenses.

To truly enjoy attractions, make sure to visit them as early as possible. Eat, drink wine, relax and take countless photos. This is what Paris is all about. Of course, in a 5 days Paris itinerary you can see only a small section of the whole city, but these are the highlights that matter, perfect to create those sweet memories from abroad.

Enjoy your time in the French capital and have lots of fun spending your 5 days in Paris! Bonne Journée!

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