With some of the most iconic and globally recognised views anywhere in the world, France’s capital city is a popular destination for those looking to get away from a romantic long weekend. You may not be able to take in everything that this stunning city has to offer in just 72 hours. However, with a carefully planned itinerary, you should be able to get a real flavour of Parisian life.
It is expected that by the end of 2022 Paris will have had a staggering 33 million visitors. This isn’t bad when you consider that some countries only lifted their travel restrictions during the second part of the year.
Getting to Paris is incredibly easy, too. Charles de Gaulle airport is one of the busiest of all European airports. With 4 runways, it sees an average of 1500 flights per day. Flights from the UK take as little as 75 minutes and for those who don’t want to fly, the journey can be undertaken by train.
A Eurostar journey from London to Paris takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes.
If you want a little fresh air on your journey to France, you may also want to consider the Dover to Calais ferry, which takes 100 minutes, and then the TGV to Paris.
Table of Contents
- Paris Travel Tips
- Day 1 – 72 Hours In Paris
- Day 2 – 72 Hours In Paris
- Day 3 – 72 Hours In Paris
Paris Travel Tips
Unfortunately, there is no getting away from the fact that the “City of Lights” is an expensive city to visit. Whilst money may be no object for the ultimate romantic weekend / you may want to shop around for hotels well in advance of your trip. There are a surprising number of much more affordable, and very good, hotels to be found a little outside the centre of the city. Plus, the areas where these are found will also be a little quieter.
Paris has a superb underground system making it very easy to get around so even if you do stay on the outskirts of the city, you should still find it very easy to get into the centre, and also from one point of interest to another, where travelling on foot is not an option. A metro and bus pass would be a good investment for your stay.
You will find plenty of Parisians speak at least a little English; it is an incredibly international city after all. Parisians, like most French people, however, will warm to visitors who try to use a little French to communicate. A simple “Bonjour” and “Merci” will get you a long way in Paris
Day 1 – 72 Hours In Paris
Croissants and The Luxembourg Garden
Plan to arrive early in Paris and drop your bags off at your accommodation. This will give you a full day of exploration. Why not start the morning by picking up croissants or some other breakfast pastries fresh from one of the many bakeries you will find everywhere. The Luxembourg Garden makes a great place for your impromptu breakfast picnic.
The garden was created in 1612 by Queen Marie de Medici, covering 25 hectares it is split into a stunning mixture of English and French gardens. With an orchard, a pond and an incredible collection of orchids in the greenhouses there is plenty to captivate. Don’t forget to look out for the 106 statues that are dotted all over the park and make some fascinating viewing. You should be able to catch a glimpse of the top of the Eiffel Tower from the park.
The Curie Museum
Whilst you are over in this part of the city a visit to The Musée Curie. This is a free museum that focuses on the history of radiological research. The museum was renovated in 2012 thanks to a donation from Ève Curie the younger daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie. The museum is only open from Wednesday to Saturday so you will need to factor this into your trip.
Rue De Seine
There are some fantastic little second-hand bookshops and independent galleries that can be found along the Rue de Seine. This is a historically bohemian district. Therefore, you will find plenty of unusual places for a little window shopping.
This is also a great place to stop for some lunch. You really can’t go wrong in France with a Breton-style creperie. Here, the Breizh Café is a great choice for delicious gourmet galettes, and for a more traditional crepe menu you will find plenty of options as well. Don’t forget that the French like “une bolée de cidre”, which if you have never had it before is French Cider in a large teacup.
It is just a short walk from Rue De Seine to our next destination, Sainte Chapelle. You will need to book this in advance. However, a visit to this incredible and ornate 12th century chapel will be completely worth it. Built by Louis IX, the chapel is so ornate inside that visitors often describe it like being in a giant jewellery box.
Les Deux Palais
For something a little different travel back in time to the 1920s for your next stop on the agenda. If you can, make time for a coffee in the incredibly beautiful and ornate surroundings of this café that dates back to the 1920s. Coffee and a spot of people-watching is a national pastime in Paris. So, sit, relax and watch the people passing by.
No visit to Paris is complete without a visit to the iconic Cathedrale de Notre Dame. This stunning building may have been ravaged by fire in April 2019, but it is currently undergoing restoration work that is hoped to return it to its former glory. The structure of the cathedral was badly damaged however the front square of the building is still completely open to the public and offers some incredible views of the cathedral itself. The nearby bridges are also a great place to take photographs and really will offer you some of the best shots of the building that you will get anywhere in Paris.
Restaurants and Bistros
There is no shortage of incredible bistros and restaurants when it comes to eating out in Paris. Don’t forget that the French do not tend to eat out until around 8.30 pm. The time before that is usually reserved for “l’apéritif”, however, restaurants in more touristy areas are open from 7 pm to cater to those who prefer to eat earlier. Things to look out for on menus include classic onion soup, escargot (snails), Steak Frites, Moules Mariniere, and rich meaty dishes like Cassoulet.
Day 2 – 72 Hours In Paris
The Marais District
After a leisurely breakfast leave your accommodation and head towards the 4th arrondissement, the Marais district. This is considered to be the hippest hangout in the capital. Here you will find plenty of contemporary galleries, designer boutiques and cool bars, so indulge in some window shopping. This is also where you will find Place de Vosges, considered to be one of the worlds most beautiful squares. It is also where you will find Poilâne, a legendary bakery that has been creating sourdough and hand-cut cookies since 1932. They serve an incredible apple tart, making this the perfect place for a mid-morning break.
Romantic Walk Along the Seine
It doesn’t matter what season it is. Walking along the banks of the Seine is a rather romantic way to spend some time. Follow the river in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. There are plenty of book stalls along the way to distract you. Their old maps, vintage posters and postcards are the perfect souvenir to remember your holiday with.
When you reach the Arc de Triomphe you will come across a relatively new experience in Paris, the Bustronome. This unusual combination of restaurant and bus takes gastronomy on a tour of the city whilst giving you the opportunity to indulge in a spectacular four-course meal complete with French wine pairings. The double-decker bus wins its way slowly past such iconic landmarks as the Opéra de Paris and the Louvre, with soft jazz playing in the background. You will also get some great views of the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower
From the bus it is just a short walk to the Tower, the most famous landmark in France. There are some incredible views to be had even before you climb the tower. However for security reasons it is no longer possible to stand under the tower – there are glass walls to stop people doing this. You can purchase different types of tickets for the tower so consider which level you want to get to. The views from the top will obviously be the best but are not for the faint of heart. If you actually want to take incredible cityscape photographs that include the tower don’t forget to visit the Montparnasse Tower – a rather ugly building offering incredible views.
The Grand Palais Éphémère
This is a temporary exhibition hall located in the Champs de Mars. This 10,000 m² hall is only expected to be around until 2024 – although the Eiffel Tower was only supposed to be a temporary exhibit as well so time will tell. The building itself is an intriguing ecologically responsible building that has been designed in an incredibly responsible way and is worth a visit just to admire. The exhibition hall is host to exhibitions from the Grand Palais itself whilst it is undergoing a programme of renovation for the Summer Olympics in 2024.
Day 3 – 72 Hours In Paris
The Left Bank
Make the most of your last morning, leave your accommodation early and cross the Seine to head south in the direction of the 14th arrondissement. Here an old, abandoned train station is home to a newly opened social hub that makes the perfect place to have one last Parisian style breakfast. A strong coffee and buttery croissants will really set you up for a final day of exploring the city.
La Cité de la Mode et du Design
A multi-level culture and arts venue, La Cité de la Mode et du Design can be found in a truly stunning riverside building. With its concrete and glass frontage and bright green roof this building is an absolute delight to explore with its wooden walkways and clever architecture. Here you will find stunning views and cutting edge design and fashion. This might not be a stop on every tourist’s list of places to visit but it offers a look at the real Paris, away from the more usual attractions.
A Trip on the Seine
One of the best ways to see Paris is to take a scenic boat trip along the Seine. If you plan this carefully you may even be able to get on and off the boat – there are special tickets for this – and take a look at some of the more touristy sites that you haven’t yet visited. Alternatively, you could just sit back, enjoy the views and take plenty of photographs. Don’t forget to take some of the rather fascinating bridges that span the river – there are rather a few.
End your tour of the Seine by getting off at The Louvre. For some people, the Eiffel Tower is the high point of their trip to Paris, for others it’s The Louvre. This is the most visited museum anywhere in the world and really isn’t something to be missed.
Even those who are not big fans of museums cannot resist a visit to see the iconic Mona Lisa painting, the Venus de Milo and the $65 million Regent Jewels. It is a wise move to purchase your tickets for a trip to this incredible museum in advance.
It hosts almost 10 million visitors per year and gets incredibly busy. Don’t forget to take some pictures next to the contemporary glass pyramid before you head home.
Now you’ve spent 72 hours in Paris, you may long to return. There’s certainly more to pack in, so why not take a look at some of the other things to do for your next trip to France’s iconic capital city?