Are you planning to explore Paris for a week? Whether you want to live your best Julia in Paris life, were inspired by a little girl named Madeline in your favorite childhood book, or have simply always dreamed of visiting the City of Lights, we have you covered with a comprehensive Paris itinerary featuring can’t-miss attractions and activities.
Don’t stress about booking your travel plans. Paris is one of the most well-connected cities in Europe and many international airports in North America fly directly to Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG). If you are staying to the south of the city or are traveling from within the EU, flying into Aéroport de Paris-Orly (ORY) might be a better choice. If you have a little extra time, you can also combine a visit to London with Paris and travel between the two cities with Eurostar.
Day 1: Arrival
You’re only in Paris for a week, so don’t let jet lag get the best of you. Acclimatize to your new surroundings in your apartment or hotel room and order takeout or room service. Watch French TV or listen to a Gallic radio show or podcast. If you are feeling adventurous, walk to a corner bar or café and savor a pain au chocolat, or a glass of house wine.
Use this time to get settled and prepare for your Parisian adventures. There’s a lot to see and do, but today is about relaxing before the busy week ahead. For now, do as the Parisians do, and take it easy.
Day 2: See the Sights
When you close your eyes and think of Paris, chances are you visualize the Eiffel Tower on Champ de Mars, the 330-meter-tall (that’s 1083 feet) Paris landmark. Tourists have been ascending the grand structure since its opening in 1889, but don’t let the prospect of a long line overwhelm you; you can skip the queues by booking your ticket online in advance.
After the Eiffel Tower, visit the Arc de Triomphe. This appropriately named “triumphant arch” was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon to commemorate the sacrifice of those who fought and died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Again, reserving a ticket ahead of time is advised to avoid last-minute disappointment.
Ascend the 50 meter (164feet) tall viewing platform for views of the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysées. The latter is Paris’s most famous shopping street that stretches two kilometers, starting at the Place de la Concorde, where the French Revolution led to the execution of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette, and leading west to the Place Charles de Gaulle. The best way to absorb the ambiance of Paris is on foot, and a 30 minute walk separates these two major attractions.
Day 3: Explore the Heights and Depths of Paris, from Montparnasse Tower to the Catacombs
Downtown Paris is home to one skyscraper, the 210-meter-high Montparnasse Tower which affords panoramic views of the French capital. Ascend the observation deck via the superspeed elevator and extend your stay with a cocktail at the rooftop bar. For a hassle-free experience, be sure to secure your booking before arriving.
On the ground level, you will find the Montparnasse Cemetery. This is Paris’s second-largest graveyard. Pay your respects to some famous residents, including celebrated philosophers and writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir who share a grave, Another noted resident isSerge Gainsbourg, whose Bonnie and Clyde duet with Brigitte Bardot is the very epitome of Gallic chic.
In the same neighborhood, take 131 steps underground to explore Les Catacombes de Paris. There you can tour an ossuary where the walls are famously constructed using carefully stacked bones.
Day 4: Go Down and Up River
Where London has its Thames and Budapest has its Danube, the Seine is the waterway of Paris. The 777km(483 miles) long River Seine cuts through Paris with the precision of a knife through butter.
The banks of the Seine are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are usually navigated on foot or by bike. Your starting point is the Gare Austerlitz train station, and you can conclude your walk or ride at île aux Cygnes, an artificial island with a bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty that was presented to Paris by French citizens living in the U.S. to mark the centenary of the French Revolution. Further highlights of this cycling or walking tour include Île de La Cité, the oldest Paris settlement formerly known as Lutetia. It’s the perfect place to stop for a riverside picnic.
A Seine river cruise gives you the chance to explore the area at a different pace. Bateaux Parisiens offers relaxing dinner cruises with the option of dining at 6:15 PM or 8:30 PM.
Day 5: Immerse Yourself in Parisian Culture
By day, brush up on your art appreciation at the Louvre, home to the legendary Mona Lisa. This art gallery is open every day of the week except for Tuesday. Visit from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, or enjoy extended operating hours to 9:45 PM on Fridays.
Even though it’s enormous, don’t just pay a visit to this one museum! A Paris Museum Pass allows you to visit more than 50 museums and monuments located throughout the city. Invest in a two, four, or six‐day pass to save on your entrance fee at a variety of attractions. Included are the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Musée de Cluny, a gallery dedicated to Medieval art.
Nightfall in Paris means showtime at the colorful and legendary Moulin Rouge. This risque cabaret show is famous for its pageantry, and it’s a classic Paris experience. No Paris itinerary is complete without it!
Day 6: Enjoy Parks and Gardens
You could spend a whole week in Paris’s gardens, but you can also see a lot in one day. Start with the Jardin du Luxembourg, which dates back to 1612 and is made up of 62 acres of stunning foliage. The best times to visit are in the spring to enjoy the flowers in bloom, and the fall when the leaves turn autumnal brown.
The Jardin des Tuileries was commissioned by Catherine de Medici in 1564. Because Catherine hailed from Italy, she ordered the style of the garden to be Italian Renaissance. For extra enjoyment, take the self-guided treasure hunt to discover all the hidden gems the Tuileries Garden has to offer.
Just outside of Paris, you can walk the lovingly cultivated gardens and park that adjoin the Château de Versailles. Look and listen for the nocturnal musical fountain show. It’s a wondrous pairing of Baroque music with an extravagant light display.
Day 7: Stroll Through Historic Paris
The perfect Paris itinerary must include time for French history. Return to the city center’s Île de La Cité to see Notre-Dame de Paris, or “Our Lady of Paris.” The Notre Dame Cathedral is currently closed as it undergoes repairs due to a fire in 2019. However, until the cathedral reopens in late 2024, you can still marvel at the restoration project as experts restore the ruins of the world’s most famous Gothic church.
Historically, Les Marais is the city’s Jewish neighborhood. It is an aristocratic district that maintains its sense of style. For a fashionable memento of your stay, pick up a little something at one of the area’s many boutique stores.
The Latin Quarter, situated on the left bank of the Seine, is home to Shakespeare and Company. This quaint English-language bookshop regularly holds events, seminars, and workshops. Shakespeare and Company also makes a key cameo appearance in Richard Linklater’s award-winning Before Sunset.
A Week in Paris: Itinerary Rewind
- Day 1: Arrive and use your first day to acclimatize to your new surroundings.
- Day 2: See the city’s iconic sights, including the Eiffel Tower on Champ de Mars, the Arc de Triomphe, and Champs Elysées.
- Day 3: Take some steps to explore Montparnasse Tower and the Paris Catacombs.
- Day 4: Roam the city and find its hidden gems while walking or cycling along the Seine river or taking a nighttime river cruise.
- Day 5: Invest in a Paris Museum Pass and spend the day exploring the Louvre Museum on Rue de Rivoli, the Musée de Cluny, the National Museum of the Middle Ages, and the Moulin Rouge at night.
- Day 6: Enjoy Paris’s variety of green spaces at the likes of the Luxembourg Gardens and the Tuileries Garden.
- Day 7: Conclude your one-week Paris itinerary with a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral and other historic Paris sites.
Dreams Abroad’s director Leesa Truesdell dreamed of visiting Paris, and she turned that idea into reality. Our team of dedicated global professionals is excited to help make your dreams abroad a reality, with tailored recommendations and custom itineraries to destinations including Paris and beyond. Get in touch with Dreams Abroad so we can help design your dream travel itinerary for your next big trip.