How to Explore Paris in 3 Days: Top Things to See

Our trip to Paris was made possible by a wonderful gift. Kriszti surprised me one Christmas with two plane tickets to Paris. The joy of receiving the gift quickly turned into excitement as we wondered about the adventures that awaited us. However, our first adventure began with the airline, as they repeatedly postponed our March flight until finally canceling our Paris-Budapest flight. Fortunately, we managed to get a refund and rebooked with another airline for a later date in May, which turned out to be a super weekend time.

Updated January 2024

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Access from the airport and public transportation

Arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport, we found the easiest way to get to the city center was by suburban train. Following the signs, we easily found the departure station at the airport, and the journey took about 35 minutes.

Regarding public transportation in Paris, in 2024, the RER ticket from Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1 RER station (accessible from Terminals 1 and 3) or Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 RER station (accessible to and from Terminal 2) cost 11.45 euros for adults. The RER ticket is also valid in Paris for transfers to the metro or RER within the city limits (Zone 1).

RER timetable: To read about the timetable, you can check out the official website.

At the price of 2024, the line ticket, the T+ ticket, costs 2.10 euros. It is valid for the entire Paris subway network, regardless of the zone (only 1-2 subway stations outside Paris, including La Defense, are in zone 3, but T+ or the collective ticket is valid there, too). It can be used on trams (except T11 and T13) and on the RER within the city limits of Paris, i.e. within Zone 1. Within the 90-minute validity period of the T+ ticket (120 minutes for the metro and RER), an unlimited number of transfers can be made on the metro. Transfers are also possible on surface transport: within 90 minutes. You can change as many times as you like from bus to bus, tram to bus, or bus to tram. However, surface and underground transport cannot be combined with a T+ ticket.

To find the best available prices, times, and train/bus tickets for your journey check Trainline. They aim to bring together all rail, coach, and other travel services into one simple experience so customers can get the best prices and smart, real-time travel information on the go.

Where to stay

We always try to book accommodations in the city center to minimize our reliance on public transportation. Exploring the city on foot is our preferred way to experience it. During our trip to Paris, we booked a hotel room near the Eiffel Tower, just a 10-minute walk away. The room was small but perfect for sleeping. While we had the option to request breakfast, we preferred to visit a nearby French bakery, Le Moulin de la Croix Nivert, each morning for freshly baked goods like croissants, baguettes, bread, focaccia, and pastries.

When it comes to hotel searches, I always start my research on sites where I can compare prices and read reviews. Such as Hotellook helps you find and compare prices on hotels around the world. The platform offers a comprehensive database of hotels, making it easier for travelers to find the perfect accommodation. The platform also offers detailed information on hotels, including ratings, reviews, and amenities, helping you make an informed decision about your stay.

Paris

Top Paris Attractions

Eiffel Tower

Visiting the Eiffel Tower both during the day and at night is worthwhile. To avoid long queues, especially during summer, booking tickets online in advance is a good idea. While elevator tickets might sell out for the day, taking the stairs to the 2nd floor (115 meters high with 704 steps, 20-40 minutes walking) is a great option that offers a closer look at the tower’s structure and a more enjoyable experience.

While climbing the stairs, we could observe the structure of the tower much better. We could stop where we wanted and we didn’t have to squeeze into the elevator. It was always full, with people standing inside like herring in a can. So if you’re not lazy, take the stairs. In the end, we didn’t regret it and even enjoyed it more.

Our hotel was close to the tower, so we spent every evening there, sitting on the grass in the park in front of the tower. Many people are out in the evenings, enjoying the evening decorative lighting of the tower and enjoying life with friends and a drink or two.

Eiffel tower

Entrance fee (2024): 18.80 euros for the elevator to the 2nd floor and 29.40 euros for the top floor, for 12-24 year olds 9 or 14.70 euros, and for children between 4 and 11 years 4.70 or 7.40 euros for the elevator ticket. Under 4 years free.
Ticket with access to 2nd floor by the stairs: 11.80 euros, 12-24 year olds 5.90 euros, while 4-11 year olds 3 euros. It costs 22.40 euros to go to the 3rd level, from the 2nd level 11.20 euros for 12-24 year olds and 5.70 euros for 4-12 year olds. To read about opening hours, and prices and get tickets online, you can check the official website here.

If you want to get more information about the tower take a trip to the summit or second level of the Eiffel Tower with an English-speaking guide. The great about GetYourGuide is that everything is in one place. They offer a ton of activities all over the world with free cancellation 24 hours in advance. It is a marketplace where you can choose between many programmes and read reviews about them.

View from the eiffel tower

Musée du Louvre, Paris

I read various tips on how to get into the museum as quickly as possible without waiting in long lines. We managed to avoid long lines by entering through the lower level of the Galerie du Carrousel shopping mall (in most cases you can avoid the lines, or at least the security line is shorter than the one to enter the Pyramid). We managed to get in without queuing at the security check, a great miracle, we arrived sometime between 11 and noon before lunch. If you arrive by metro, get off at the Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre metro station and come to this entrance. If you walk, look for 99 Rue de Rivoli, the street-level entrance to the mall, and go down to the lower level.

Of course, we also bought tickets here in advance. When we left the museum in the afternoon, there was already a long queue at this entrance. We saw very beautiful works of art, Mona Lisa was a bit disappointing, not the work of art itself, but the crowd that was in that room. The guards are constantly directing people to move the line, so there is not much time left for the painting. We had a similar experience in the Vatican…

To read about opening hours, and prices and get tickets online, you can check the museum’s official website here.

Want an audio guide but don’t want to join a group? Check out WeGoTrip. They offer a variety of self-guided audio tours on mobile and skip-the-line tickets.
Museums do not provide headsets for these audit guides, so be sure to bring your own.

Musée du Louvre, Paris

Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Paris

Montmartre Hill is the highest point in Paris at 130 meters and offers a magnificent view of the city. Many artists have lived and created in this inspiring environment, including Picasso, Monet, Dali and Van Gogh. On the steps in front of the Sacré-Coeur, in addition to the view, we can often enjoy the performance of great musicians. The atmosphere here is fantastic both by day and by night.

The magnificent Sacré-Coeur Basilica at the top of Montmartre was built in memory of the French soldiers who died in the Franco-Prussian War and who still pray in the basilica today for their peace of mind. The interior of the Sacré-Coeur is not as beautiful as many other church buildings in Paris, but the atmosphere, view and exterior of the Sacré-Coeur make it a must-see.

You can also go up to the dome of the Sacré-Coeur, where the view is beautiful (300 steps, no elevator). The spiral staircase is also very narrow and steep, which can cause problems for some.
Nearby, at the bottom of the stairs, in the famous Pigalle district, you will find the Moulin Rouge, the birthplace of Kankan, which opened in 1889, and the Erotic Museum. There are many cozy cafes and restaurants in this area.

Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Paris
Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Paris
View from Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Paris

Champs-Élysées

The Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous avenues in the world and the most prestigious and widest boulevard in Paris, 2 km long and 70 meters wide. Champs-Élysées, is home to all the major brands with their glittering stores. There are also many theaters and cafes. Walk along the Champs-Élysées street and enjoy the atmosphere.

Champs-Élysées

Arc de Triomphe

In the middle of Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, is the world’s most famous Arc de Triomphe. This famous sight commemorates the French who died during the Napoleonic wars, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is also located here. At the time of its construction, the 50-meter high and 45-meter wide triumphal arch was the largest triumphal arch in the world, today it is the third largest in the world and the largest structure of its kind in Europe. Construction of the Arc de Triomphe began in 1810, but it was not completed until 1836, due in part to the fall of Napoleon.

The Arc de Triomphe, like many other Parisian attractions, is also a wonderful vantage point. After climbing 284 steps, you can reach the top. When we were there, the viewpoint was not open to visitors.

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

Among the bridges of Paris, the Pont Alexandre III should be highlighted, perhaps the most beautiful bridge in the city. The bridge was built between 1896 and 1900 for the Paris World Exhibition. On the bridge, there are wonderful bronze sculptures covered with gold.

Overall, our trip to Paris was filled with unforgettable experiences, and we look forward to planning our next adventure together.

Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III

Some more pictures from our trip to Paris to get the Paris atmosphere.

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