As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Paris has so many wonderful things to see and do. From snacking on Nutella crepes to marveling at the beautiful architecture, there is never a dull moment.
There are twenty different neighborhoods in Paris called arrondissements and I tried to cover a few of them each day. This six-day itinerary is the same one I used during my visit and involves moving at a quick pace.
As my first trip to Paris, I wanted to cover all of the major tourist attractions and explore a few off the beaten path neighborhoods too. The gardens were not in bloom when I went in February, so you may want to consider allotting more time to these if you plan on traveling during the warmer months.
I recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes and getting to know the Paris metro (and Batobus) to maximize your time in the city.
Related Posts: 12 silly mistakes to avoid when visiting Paris
Saving Money on Accommodations
While Paris is known to be one of the world’s most expensive cities, there are plenty of ways to have an incredible trip without breaking the bank. One of my favorite ways to save money on accommodations is to book through Airbnb. I have used Airbnb throughout Europe and North America and have always had a good experience. It’s great for groups, friends, or couples since prices are often cheaper than hotels.
CLICK HERE to get a coupon to use towards your next stay with Airbnb!
Saving Money on Tours & Attractions
Visiting Paris for the first time can be stressful. Paris is a big city and there’s lots of fun things to do and see. It can be challenging to plan an itinerary and determine which attractions to spend your money on.
The good new is you don’t need to plan your Paris trip alone. After doing a lot of research for my own vacation, I discovered the Paris Pass. This pass can be a great tool for planning your holiday.
I used the Paris Pass, which helped me easily plan my itinerary and visit all the top attractions in the city. With the Paris Pass, I saved time, money, and enjoyed stress-free sightseeing.
PRO TIP: Buy the pass online to save extra money off the retail price. To buy the Paris Pass, click here to go to the official website.
Here’s what’s included in the Paris Pass:
The Paris Pass is a sightseeing card which gives you FREE fast-track entry to the city’s top tourist attractions, including a free Hop on Hop off bus tour, the Louvre Museum, and the Palace of Versailles.
Standard Entry Price
FREE with the Paris Pass
Standard Entry Price
FREE with the Paris Pass
Standard Entry Price
FREE with the Paris Pass
Plus, you can use the Paris Pass to get free entry to 60+ other attractions, museums, and tours in the city, including an unlimited transit card to cover all your transportation needs. I used the Paris metro everyday during my trip and found it easy to get around to all the different neighborhoods.
How to get your Paris Pass:
Step 1: Choose which pass duration you want to buy (2, 3, 4 or 6 day). You can click here to purchase your Paris Pass from the official website.
Step 2: Download your mobile pass instantly using the Paris Pass App. If you prefer a physical pass, simply opt for delivery (they deliver worldwide) or collect on arrival in Paris.
Step 3: You now have FREE access to any of the 60+ top Paris attractions included for the duration of your pass. You can activate your pass anytime within 12 months from the date of purchase.
Step 4: Download the free guide book, which is included with your purchase. Use this book to help you easily plan your itinerary.
Flights from Canada and the USA usually arrive in Paris during the morning.
Plan how you’ll be getting from the airport to your hotel. Taking the metro is the cheapest option, but you may want to consider taking a shuttle (either shared or private) depending on your needs.
I usually take the metro from the airport to my hotel, but I hired a private shuttle for Paris and was very pleased with the service.
Once you arrive at the hotel, plan to leave your luggage at the front desk since check-in time usually starts in the afternoon. If you don’t already have a map of Paris, ask the front desk staff if they have a free map to provide you (most hotels have one available).
Chances are after a long flight you might be hungry. I suggest heading to a local café for breakfast to enjoy a pastry and café au lait. Use this time to take a look at the map to get yourself oriented (especially if this is your first time in Paris).
After a quick breakfast, it’s time to start exploring the neighbourhood. I stayed in the 9ème – Opéra, Pigalle area in Paris so plan to see the main attractions based on your hotel location for the first day.
Set at the highest point in the city, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a popular attraction in Paris that is worth a visit that includes a beautiful view of the city. (Note that photography and film is not permitted inside the basilica).
While not as popular as Sacre-Coeur, this is one of the oldest surviving churches in Paris.
Developed in the 1820s for the professional classes of the new industrialist era, this residential neighbourhood features beautiful architecture and neoclassical homes where many artists and musicians once lived, including Chopin, Berlioz and Sand.
Numerous passageways were created in Paris at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth century. These include mostly shopping arcades covered with glass roofs that feature shops, tearooms and restaurants.
Opera Garnier (free entry and guided tour with the Paris Pass)
Designed by Charles Garnier in 1874, this Opera House is a blend of neo-Renaissance and baroque styles. As one of the most recognized opera houses in the world, I highly recommend taking a tour of the building (self-guided or guided).
Head to Moulin Rouge in the evening to see it lit up.
End your evening by enjoying a nice dinner before retreating back to the hotel. I highly recommend Il caratello (5 rue Audran, 75018 Paris) which is not far from Moulin Rouge.
My must-have Paris accessories:
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If breakfast is not included in your hotel, I suggest grabbing a quick bite to-go at a local café before heading to the Louvre. The Louvre will get busy, so aim to arrive a little before it opens to avoid long waits.
Musée du Louvre (free entry with the Paris Pass)
As one of the world’s largest and most visited museums, you can easily spend the entire day touring the Louvre. I don’t recommend it though as you’ll be exhausted and you may not be interested in seeing everything that it has to offer.
If you’re unsure what to see, grab a map of the museum at the information desk which provides a list of the most popular attractions to visit. Plan to spend 2-3 hours here (depending on your interests and walking pace).
Place de la Concorde
Designed for Louis XV in 1754, this busy crossroad is one of the most exquisite spots in Paris.
Musée de l’Armée (free entry with the Paris Pass)
Under the order of Louis XIV in 1671-6, the Invalides served as a hospital for wounded soldiers. Today you can visit the museum, the tomb of Napoleon I, the Dome and the St-Louis churches.
Museum Rodin (free entry with the Paris Pass)
Visitors can enjoy around 500 sculptures and 8,000 prints and drawings by the artist Rodin. Don’t miss the gardens which feature some of his most important works including Le Penseur (The Thinker) and Les Bourgeois de Calais (The Burghers of Calais).
While it does cost a little more, I highly recommend a visit to the sommet (the top of the Eiffel Tower). Aim for a clear day which allows you to take in beautiful views of the city below.
This impressive Palais de Chaillot overlooks the Seine, opposite the Eiffel Tower. One of the best views of the Eiffel Tower is from here.
Arc de Triomphe (free entry with the Paris Pass)
The best time to visit the Arc de Triomphe is at sunset, where you can get another beautiful view of the city and the Eiffel Tower. Stay here until the sun goes down and watch the city light up.
Not sure if the Paris Pass is right for you? Consider purchasing the Paris Explorer Pass instead. You can to visit 3, 5, or 7 top attractions and tours as you go. Save over 48% off Paris’s top attractions. Once activated, the pass is valid for 30 days. You can click here to buy your Paris Explorer Pass from the official website.
Château de Versailles (free entry with the Paris Pass)
Aim to arrive about 10-20 minutes before it opens to beat the tour groups. This will hopefully allow you be one of the first people inside the palace so you can get some photos of its famous rooms without too many tourists around.
Quick Tip: I recommend devoting a whole day to the Palace of Versailles since there is plenty to see and do here.
Musée d’Orsay (free entry with the Paris Pass)
Home to France’s national collection of impressionist, postimpressionist, and art nouveau movements spanning from the 19th and early 20th centuries, this is a must visit museum. Some of the most famous artists showcased here include: Degas, Manet, Van Gogh and Renoir.
Built in the shape of a rectangle with its corner cut off, the center of this square holds the Vendome column (19th century) which was made famous by Napoleon.
Pont des Arts
The famous Love Locks bridge in Paris. While most of the locks have been recently covered, it remains a popular spot for visitors.
Completed in 1604 to allow King Henry IV to cross from one bank to the other, this is the oldest and most famous of Paris’ bridges.
Conciergerie (free entry with the Paris Pass)
A former prison in Paris, here you can visit the guardroom (14th century) and the cells where Queen Marie-Antoinette spent her last days.
Ste-Chapelle (free entry with the Paris Pass)
This Gothic chapel was built at the request of St Louis (1245-8) to house Christ’s Crown of Thorns.
Notre-Dame (free entry with the Paris Pass)
As Paris’ most visited unticketed site, this cathedral is a beautiful display of French Gothic architecture. Don’t miss the climb up the Notre-Dame Towers (not free) but holds one of the best views of Paris.
This small island, just a few steps away from Notre-Dame, has a small French village vibe that’s lined with boutique shops and delicious ice cream.
Musée National du Moyen Age (free entry with the Paris Pass)
Housed in the Hôtel de Cluny, a gothic-style 15th-century mansion, this museum is best known for the beautiful, allegorical The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. It also has a collection of medieval sculptures.
Pantheon (free entry with the Paris Pass)
Located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Pantheon contains the remains of some of France’s distinguished citizens which include: Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Rousseau and Marie Curie.
With parts of this church dating back to the 6th century, this is the oldest church in Paris.
Musée Gustave Moreau (free entry with the Paris Pass)
Originally Moreau’s dwellings, this museum was built to showcase his paintings. Worth a visit for those who are fans of his work.
If you’ve seen the blockbuster hit, Amélie, you’ll recognize the iron footbridges that set as the backdrop for some of the film’s famous scenes. This 4.5 km long canal is worth a visit to explore the cafes and boutiques around the neighbourhood.
Once a wine-making village, this neighbhourhood is home to a mix of cultures and includes one of Paris’ lively Chinatowns. Don’t forget to visit Parc de Belleville while you’re here.
Hotel de Ville
Constructed at the end of the 19th century, this is the administration centre of the municipality which houses the Mayor’s office, the Conseil of Paris, reception and exhibitions rooms.
Place des Vosges
Dating back to 1604, this is the oldest planned square in Paris and one of the most beautiful in the world.
Centre Pompidou (free entry with the Paris Pass)
Opened in 1977, the Centre Pompidou is home to the largest collection of modern art in Europe (second in the world after MoMA in NYC). While the Paris Museum Pass only includes admission to the permanent collections, it’s also worth paying extra to see the temporary exhibits.
Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Opened in 1804, this is the world’s most visited cemetery and the largest in Paris. Here you can visit the tombs of some notable people including Oscar Wilde, the rock star Jim Morrison, and the composer Chopin.
Jardin du Luxembourg
One of the most popular gardens in Paris, this is the perfect place to take a stroll during a spring or summer afternoon. Don’t forget to relax in one of the chairs near the octagonal pond.
These underground ossuaries hold the remains of about six million people. While much of the catacombs are out of bounds, visitors can tour a small section which covers about 2 km and takes about 45 minutes to walk. I wrote a whole post about my visit to the Catacombs, you can check it out here.
Stretching almost 2 km long, this is probably the most famous avenue in the world. Spend the afternoon here exploring a variety of cafes and luxury shops.
Shop the upmarket French department store while admiring its beautiful ceiling.
Over to you — what are your favorite things to do in Paris?
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