72 Hours in Paris
The Best Things to Do in ParisBonjour, welcome to Paris! Don your best couture and allons-y.
Day 1: Discovery
Start your day à la parisienne with coffee and pastries. We’re partial to one of the city’s best spots, Du Pain et des Idées (34 Rue Yves-Toudic), for biting into baked delights before strolling by the charming Canal St-Martin. Alternately, you could opt for the best croissant in Paris at Le Marais’ Tout Autour du Pain (134 Rue de Turenne), wander around the stylish neighbourhood, and stock up for the day at Paris’ oldest market—the Marché des Enfants Rouges.
Since you’re short on time, board a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour for a whirlwind overview of Parisian highlights. The Arc de Triomphe, Champ de Mars, Place de la Concorde—name it and you’ll see it. If that doesn’t evoke the romance you came here for, spot the same sights from a river cruise on the Seine, snaking through the heart of the city. Active types might prefer taking advantage of the reliable network of bike paths with Vélib, a bike sharing system ideal for sightseeing at your own pace, stopping at riverside cafés and book stalls on the way.
Paris at night—this is when the City of Lights really shines. Set your heart a-flutter with a visit to the lit-up Eiffel Tower. Make it to the top for a breathtaking view of the illuminated French capital—don’t worry, there is a champagne bar up there. End your day with a French classic: a typical meal at Bouillon-Chartier (7 Rue du Faubourg), a traditional Parisian brasserie.
Day 2: Les Arts
Dress comfortably and fashionably, because today, we go mad for museums.
Although you could easily dedicate a whole week to it, it would be remiss of us not to mention The Louvre, one of the largest and most visited museums in the world. Wake up and go, because you’ll need time to explore its ornate halls decked with thousands of artworks. Thankfully, you can fuel up on food and coffee there, with countless cafés spread out across the museum, including Café Marly (93 Rue de Rivoli) just outside.
If that seems too intimidating, seek solace in the peaceful garden of the Musée Rodin, the sculptor’s private collection housed in an elegant mansion. More into contemporary art? Meander at the Centre Pompidou, or the Musée d’Orsay, or the Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton Foundation, or the Musée de l’Orangerie…shall we go on? And that’s only a sliver of the art selection here! Take in as much as you can and save the rest for your next trip.
Balance a day of refined art with a raucous night. An evening at the infamous Moulin Rouge*, maybe? Before burlesque, drop in at nearby Montmartre’s Café des Deux Moulins (15 Rue Lepic), the filming location for Amelie, stroll by the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, and opt for the gastronomy of Détour (15 Rue de la Tour des Dames), the more casual Jeanne B (61 rue Lepic), the bistro fare of Les Affranchis (5 Rue Henry Monnier), or simply raid the fantastic food shops on the Rue des Martyrs.
*Pro-tip: other cabarets to check out include the flamboyant Le Lido, or the more affordable and local-approved Paradis Latin and Au Lapin Agile.
Day 3: Treat yourself
Begin with a bang in Belleville, the birthplace of famed chanteuse Édit Piaf and now a hip neighbourhood in the north-east. Go for amazing coffee and breakfast on the sunny terrasse of La Fontaine de Belleville (31-33 rue Juliette Dodu), or the classic Aux Folies (8 Rue de Belleville), where a young Piaf once sang. Finish your morning around the beautiful Parc des Buttes-Chaumont for stunning views. Alternately, you could pick a less verdant stroll around the tombstones of fallen idols, from Piaf and Molière to Jim Morrisson, at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.
You can’t leave Paris empty-handed—this afternoon, we shop! Lovers of luxury, don’t miss the famous designer shops of the avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Élysées, the magnificient Galeries Lafayette or Le Bon Marché, the department store designed by none other than Gustave Eiffel. Bookworms should head to the historic Shakespeare & Company, while thrift enthusiasts will love the flea markets of St-Ouen and Port de Vanves. Top off your shopping spree with a sweet treat: the colourful macarons of Maison Ladurée!
The best way to wind down your trip? A nightcap at one of the world’s best bars, Le Syndicat (51 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis), which concocts cocktails with French ingredients only! For trendy speakeasy vibes, step into the Little Red Door (60 Rue Charlot), and if you really want to treat yourself, go for drinks at the Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris (15 Place Vendôme).
What’s NextWe crammed a lot up top and there’s still a lot we left out (the cinemas! The day trips to Versailles!). Do what you can, veer off the beaten path and discover your own Paris. Alternately, leave the planning to us and opt for one of our tour packages: Paris à la Mode or Gourmet Paris. Don’t worry about seeing everything in three days, after all, Paris is a city that pulls you back in eventually. À plus!
Plan your Paris trip!