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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 itinerary, we will show you how to spend 5 days in Paris and see all the major highlights and attractions. 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 haven't decided when you want to visit Paris, in this article, we share when is the best time to visit Paris. If you are on a budget or just want to avoid the peak season, visit Paris during winter.

Highlights of your 5 day Paris itinerary:

  • 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

Paris Itinerary - Day 1

Start the day with a coffee and a "pain au chocolat" then stroll through the Louvre and admire world-class art. Walk through the incredible 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". 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 and the usual well-known chains. Keep in mind, most breakfast places open at 9am. Bakeries usually open between 7-8am.

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. Make sure to pre-purchase your ticket far 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.

The Louvre opens at 9am every day except Tuesdays. We recommend that you book tickets to the Louvre in advance or get a 2-hour guided tour and skip the long queues.

Depending on your speed, you will spend about 2-3 hours in the Louvre. After the galleries, there is an extensive shopping centre with high-end brands, so don't forget to allocate some extra time for browsing.

Lunch

There are countless places to have lunch in Paris, but we do have a couple of recommendations for you. For a sophisticated lunch, head to the Angelina Paris (Open all day, Address: 226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001), a legendary 1903 tearoom. The interiors are Belle Époque style.

For a more easy-going but traditional lunch, visit Le Mesturet Bistrot (Open from 12pm, closed on Sunday, Address: 77 Rue de Richelieu, 75002) located just a few minutes away from the Louvre serving superb French cuisine.

Quiche Paris Food

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 walk, a picnic, and great vacation photos.

Eiffel Tower

Cross Pont Alexandre III (bridge) and walk along the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower. We believe the views from the Eiffel Tower 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. 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 can last for hours as this is the most popular tourist attraction in Paris. Tickets to visit the tower during the day are usually available 2-3 days in advance, but evening tickets sell out weeks in advance. Depending on when you visit, check sunset times and purchase your tickets accordingly.

The entrance opens every day after 9am and closes at 22pm or 23pm, depending on the season. Check opening time.

You will spend about 1-2 hours at the Eiffel Tower. By the time you descend, you will probably be hungry.

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 referred to as the City of Lights.

Prebook your dinner cruise and indulge in a gourmet 3-course meal with Champagne and live music. We highly recommend this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Cruise on the Seine

Paris Itinerary - Day 2

The second day of our Paris itinerary is perfect for art lovers. You will visit 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 centre towards 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 our Paris trip 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!

The museum opens at 9.30am every day, but it's closed on Monday. We had a 10am ticket and the museum was still fairly empty. However, the crowds have arrived by 11.30am.

You will spend about 2-3 hours in the Musée d'Orsay. Definitely check out the shop at the top floor, but we don't recommend the café/restaurant. You will find better food elsewhere.

Orsay museum in Paris

Lunch

From Musée d'Orsay, head towards the Ile de la Cité (the iconic small island in the middle of Paris). 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 (open all day, Address: 3 Bd du Palais, 75004). We strongly recommend the traditional French onion soup, followed by a plate of snails. Enjoy it with a glass of French wine. For dessert, have the cheese plate or a delicious crème brûlée. Yum!

Notre Dame de Paris

No Paris itinerary is complete without seeing the gorgeous Notre Dame Cathedral. Because of the April 2019 fire, the Notre Dame is mostly closed for renovation. You can, however, enter the beautiful Saint Chapelle, a Gothic chapel with relics and superb stained-glass windows.

Can you visit Notre-Dame Paris?

  • Parvis de Notre-Dame (the square): Open for the public
  • Sainte Chapelle (royal chapel): Open for the public
  • Tours de Notre-Dame de Paris (the towers): Closed until April 2024
  • Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris et son trésor (the treasures): Closed until April 2024
  • Pont au Double (footbridge): Open for the public

The renovation of the Notre Dame Cathedral is scheduled to finish in 2027.

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

Palais Garnier (Opéra Garnier)

From Notre Dame, either walk 40 minutes to the superb Palais Garnier (Address: Pl. de l'Opéra, 75009) or take bus 21 or Metro line 7 for just 4 stops to the "Opéra Station".

Admire the stunning Palais Garnier from the outside or buy tickets online to see its superb interior. Self-guided tickets cost €14 ($14) for adults and free for children under 12. See ticket costs and options.

The opera can be visited every day between 10am-5:00pm - except on days with afternoon performances, exceptional closure and summer period. Last entry at 4.15pm.

You will spend about an hour in the Opera, or a little longer if you opted for a guided tour.

Walking around Palais Garnier before the show starts

Dinner

For a special dinner, head to the Moulin Rouge (Address: 82 Bd de Clichy, 75018, about 20 mins walk from the Opera) 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. As always, please remember to book your tickets in advance. Tickets sell out fast especially in the high season.

After the show, we suggest that you take a taxi back to your hotel. The area around the Moulin Rouge is not particularly safe late at night.

Moulin Rouge Paris

Paris Itinerary - Day 3

For photographers, The Latin Quarter 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.

For lunch, try different flavoured macarons and Parisian tea. Enjoy the beautiful botanical garden, 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, and 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 rush by.

The Latin Quarter

Head to the 5th arrondissement, the well-known home of the Sorbonne University. (The best metro station is Saint-Michel Notre-Dame.) The Latin Quarter is the ideal place to take your camera out and snap some lovely pictures of Paris. Browse through the famed bookshops (there are many along Rue des Écoles) and purchase the ideal French souvenir.

To learn the history of the Latin Quarter, and discover the important highlights, we recommend this brilliant self-guided audio tour.

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, and the gates are open from 8am until 6.30pm every day.

Lunch

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

There are quite a few stores around the centre of Paris. We recommend the one on 21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006.

You don't usually 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 (to take away), you can do so from the Ladurée store.

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

Alternatively, book a Latin quarter food and wine tour to discover an array of local dishes with the help of an expert local guide.

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.

Opening times: 10am-6pm. Tickets are €11.50 for adults and for everyone under 25 is free.

You will spend about 30mins to 1 hour in the Pantheon.

Panthéon Paris

Le Jardin du Luxembourg

The Luxembourg Gardens 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.

The gardens are open all day and free for everyone.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Your 5 days in 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 (Address 6 Pl. Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006), 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 centre, as well as an important marketplace frequented by international merchants.

There's no better way to experience this place than by indulging in the local foods and drinks. Book your Paris Food & Drink Tour Of Saint-Germain. We highly recommend this tour. It's about 3 hours long, and your local guide will take you to try bakeries, wines, visit small shops and sample local delights.

Montparnasse Tower

You know those gorgeous pictures of Paris from above which have the Eiffel Tower in them somehow? Those are taken from the Montparnasse Tower. 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 and evening views.

Book your tickets online for the Montparnasse Tower and get a guided tour & learn the history of this landmark from a local. These tickets include access to the lift and to the rooftop as well.

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

Paris Itinerary - Day 4: Day trip

Château de Versailles

For superb French architecture, superb gardens and a delightful day trip from the capital - Versailles is next on our itinerary. Leave modern Paris behind and head to one of the most famous monuments in the world: the Palace of Versailles.

Take the Overground C (RER C) train from any station along the Seine river to "Versailles Chantiers" station. The train leaves from Gare d’Austerlitz regularly and the return trip costs €7.30 ($7.30) per person and takes about 55 mins including the walk from the station to the palace entrance.

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 and enjoy the seasonal gardens.

As always, we recommend visiting as early in the morning as possible. We spent the longest time walking in 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.

Opening times: 9am-6.30pm every day except Monday. (The gardens open at 8am). Tickets cost €19.50 ($19.10). Full details can be found on the official site.

It's hard to say how much time you should allocate for Versailles. We have spent 4 hours in the palace and the gardens, but we did walk all the way to the end and back.

It's probably a good idea to book an afternoon train back to Paris, so you don't have to rush and have time to eat lunch.

The gardens in the Versailles

Restaurant in Versailles

For lunch, head to la Cantina, open from 11.30am, (Address: 30 Rue des Réservoirs, 78000), a delightful Italian restaurant just 10 minutes walk from the Palace of Versailles. Just make sure you time your arrival well, as the restaurant is closed between 2:30pm and 6:30pm.

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

After lunch, it's worth taking a quick walk around the city while you wait for your train back to Paris. There are a handful of shops and boutiques along de la Reine Boulevard.

Montmartre Hill

You should be back in Paris for the afternoon, 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

Paris Itinerary - Day 5

The 5th day of your 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 Haussmann, 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 (Address: 47 Rue de Ponthieu, 75008), Le Restaurant Le V (Address: 25 Rue Vernet, 75008) or the popular Pierre Gagnaire (Address: 6 Rue Balzac, 75008, Reservation must be made, usually a couple of months in advance).

Galeries Lafayette

Especially stunning in the winter, Galeries Lafayette (Address: 40 Bd Haussmann) is an upmarket French department store chain.

Its flagship store is on Boulevard Haussmann, 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 that sells 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 did a 3 day trip first and then a romantic weekend later, 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.

For your Paris trip, budget at least €100 ($98) per day, on top of accommodation and tickets to attractions. For a couple, €1500-€2000 ($1500-$2000) will normally cover everything including meals, attractions, hotels and extra expenses. An average meal for 2 cost about €70-€100.

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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