5-Day Paris Itinerary + Disneyland Paris (No Museums!)

I gotta start by saying this — I love Paris. It seems more and more these days that that’s an unpopular opinion. People either love Paris or hate Paris. And most of the people I know seem to hate it!

I happen to fall into the ‘love’ bucket. Having solo traveled my way through Paris in my mid-20s, I got to see a lot of the city the way that I wanted to.

When I got home from my first trip, I was totally enamored. All I could think about was how much I enjoyed the city, how much fun I had exploring (even alone!), and how I wanted to go back the next chance I got.

I got to taste the sweetest figs and strawberries I’ve ever tasted, experience pure joy at the whimsical Musée des Arts Forains, eat more pastries than a pre-diabetic should ever eat, enjoy endless magic at Disneyland Paris, and so much more.

Since then, I’ve taken multiple trips back to Paris. And ALL of my visits to Paris have resulted in happy and unforgettable memories burned into my brain forever.

I never thought to create a guide because of how popular Paris was. I mean, there’s an endless sea of travel guides out there. But as I was researching new things to do in Paris for my most recent visit (as part of a 2-week trip to just France alone), I noticed how much I disliked some of the travel guides out there.

They were all recommending the same things — the Louvre, the Notre Dame, blah blah blah! I wasn’t interested in those things, and I thought “there’s no way I’m the only one NOT interested in churches and museums”.

So I created my own Paris travel guide, perfect for people who also avoid tourist attractions where you just pay to look at things.

As a quick disclaimer, I want to note that this itinerary was the exact same one I used for my trip to Paris when I showed Papu around. Even though it was his first time in Paris, he had no interest in seeing all the typical museums and churches as most travelers do, so you won’t find too many museums or touristy landmarks on this 5-day Paris itinerary.

We wanted to explore neighborhoods, check out quirky attractions, eat good pastries, and soak in local vibes more than anything. If this sounds like your idea of a good time, then I think you’re going to really enjoy my 5-day Paris travel guide!

Feel free to skim through this itinerary for ideas on where to eat for cheap, patisseries and markets to prioritize, neighborhoods to explore, etc. These are the types of things we prioritized when we were researching for this trip.

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!



Du Pain et des Idées, Le Marais, Tuileries Garden, Eiffel Tower, Seine river cruise


Rue Montorgueil, Notre-Dame, Rue Mouffetard, Jardin du Luxembourg


Musée des Arts Forains, Palais Garnier, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge


Disneyland Paris OR Catacombs of Paris


Palace of Versailles


Get morning pastries at Du Pain et des Idées

Du Pain et des Idées Bakery Paris

Start your day in Paris by indulging in some of the best pastries found in ALL of Paris at Du Pain et des Idées. This iconic bakery is probably going to be a bit out of the way from where your hotel is, but it’s so worth the effort of getting there.

This local institution is celebrated for its exquisite selection of freshly baked bread, croissants, and pastries. Every time I’m in Paris, I go out of my way at least once to wake up early for Du Pain et des Idées!

While I’m sure everything is tasty, I can for sure say that the pistachio escargot and the plain croissants are wonderful!

I’ve been wanting to try something new, but I always seem stuck ordering these items because they’re just so good.

Explore Le Marais

After satisfying your cravings, explore the historic streets of Le Marais, a trendy and upscale neighborhood with a strong Jewish presence.

Ever since the Romans conquered the city in the 1st century BCE, Jews have lived in Paris. And as early as the 13th century they settled in the Marais. To this day, this area is still the city’s most famous Jewish neighborhood.

Walk along Rue des Rosiers to explore what the historic street offers — you’ll come across Jewish restaurants, bookshops, boulangeries, kosher delis, and synagogues. While you’re here, you’ll for sure need to make room in your tummy for the famous falafel at La’s du Falafel!

While the falafel is not the best I’ve EVER had (there’s a local spot near me that does it way better), their sandwich toppings are unbeatable. There’s so much crunch with every bite!

Papu loved it so much that we went back a second time during this trip!

👉 Pro Tip: Order for takeaway because if you dine in, the price of everything is almost a few dollars more than if you order to-go. There is almost always a line for takeaway, but it moves fast!

Las du Fallafel Paris - Paris Travel Itinerary

And if you still have room, you’ll want to experience the delightful tea room ambiance of Le Loir dans La Théière.

If shopping (or window shopping) in Paris is one of your objectives, you’ll definitely want to linger longer here. The streets of Le Marais are brimming with eclectic boutiques, independent designer shops, cafes, and galleries.

While I never make enough time to explore the Marais in full, I know I could spend at least half a day here popping in and out of all the cute shops in the area!

If you’re on the hunt to taste some cheese, there are cheese shops galore here (try Fromagerie Beillevaire – Paris Saint-Antoine or Fromagerie Laurent Dubois). We love stocking up and bringing them back to our hotel along with a fresh baguette!

Afternoon Tea: Angelina

For a quintessentially Parisian experience, treat yourself to afternoon tea at Angelina, a luxuriously grand tea room that’s world-famous for its decadent hot chocolate and refined pastries.

It’s going to be pricey compared to your average cup of hot chocolate, but let me be real — this isn’t just an average cup of hot chocolate! Plus, you get to enjoy it in a belle epoque-style tea room, which is half the fun.

If you’re traveling with others, I’d highly recommend you share a cup of hot chocolate because it’s RICH in taste. Almost too rich to want to drink a whole cup on your own!

While there are multiple locations, I recommend visiting the one on Rue de Rivoli, right by Tuileries Garden as that’s the next place we’ll be visiting on this itinerary. Be prepared to wait as Angelina almost always has a line!

Jardin des Tuileries

Tuileries Garden Paris

Unlike a lot of major metropolitan cities, Paris is almost as synonymous with gardens as it is with historical landmarks. And maybe that’s why I love the city so much — Paris just oozes romantic vibes! The French sure know a thing or two about gardening.

The first garden on our 5-day itinerary is the iconic Jardin des Tuileries, a serene oasis in the heart of Paris. Stroll along the tree-lined pathways, admire the exquisite sculptures and fountains, and relax by the tranquil ponds.

No matter what season it is, I’ve always found the gardens extremely well-kept with impeccably manicured lawns, trees, and bushes. Once you find the perfect people-watching spot, kick up your feet and take a break from all the walking and exploring you’ve done.

There are lots of open seating areas by fountains and carousels so you can enjoy your rest while still enjoying the pretty views and sights of Parisians passing through / living their lives.

Walk to Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III - Paris, France - www.travelswithelle.com

Don’t worry, we aren’t going to make you walk all the way to the Eiffel Tower from the gardens (unless you want to!).

Walk from Jardin des Tuileries to just where Pont Alexandre III is (about a 10-minute walk). Trust me, the views of the bridge are so worth it.

Pont Alexandre III is considered one of the most elegant bridges to cross the Seine River. This bridge is in the heart of Paris, making it super easy to access on foot.

Famous for its gilded Fames sculptures, nymph reliefs, and intricate design, Pont Alexandre III connects the commercial Champs-Elysées to the Les Invalides esplanade.

Expect to see some of the most beautiful and intricate artwork on the bridge itself! You’ll find all kinds of angels and statues embellishing the pillars and arches of the Pont Alexander III.

Walk along river Seiene in Paris, France

From the bridge, the walk to the Eiffel Tower is just 20 minutes long. But the views are so picturesque — you’ll see lots of trees and people hanging out by the river just talking and enjoying their meals. It’s a lovely walk.

You could walk or take public transportation.

See the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower Paris France

No visit to Paris would be complete without a glimpse of the iconic Eiffel Tower. You can’t say you’ve visited Paris without viewing the Eiffel Tower with your own eyes!

The Eiffel Tower was originally built as the entrance arch for the 1889 World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle) held in Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

Designed by engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was initially met with mixed reactions from the public and the artistic community — some people hated it and thought it was the ugliest thing in the world. Some people criticized its unconventional design and perceived it as an eyesore, while others appreciated its innovative engineering and monumental scale.

However, over time, the Eiffel Tower became an iconic symbol of Paris and one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Everyone today is completely obsessed with it!

For the best views of the Eiffel Tower, head to Trocadéro Gardens, located across the Seine River. Here, you’ll find the perfect vantage point to admire the tower’s intricate design and towering presence against the Parisian skyline.

Another popular spot for front row views is from the Champ de Mars, where you can enjoy a leisurely picnic while gazing up at the Eiffel Tower in all its splendor.

If you’re looking to explore the Eiffel Tower on a deeper level, you can buy tickets to visit its upper levels.

The line to visit the Eiffel Tower can be incredibly long (we’re talking 2+ hours wait on the busiest days). Who wants to spend their time in line when they’re on vacation though???

You have two options to avoid this fiasco: booking your tickets in advance or opt for a skip-the-line tour.

The cheapest way to visit the Eiffel Tower is to purchase your tickets in advance online on the official website, but these tend to sell out almost as soon as they become available (60 days in advance). If they are sold out, get this skip-the-line tour instead, which costs just slightly more than the basic ticket cost. 

You can take the elevator or climb the stairs to the first and second levels, where you’ll be treated to sweeping views of Paris’s landmarks. On one side you’ll see the Arc de Triomphe, on the other you’ll see the Notre-Dame, and more!

👉 Pro Tip: The lines for the elevators are very long, while the lines for the stairs are much shorter. Online tickets for the elevator go on sale 60 days in advance. Online tickets for the stairs go on sale 14 days in advance. 

You could also venture to the tippy top of the Eiffel Tower, where you can step out onto the observation deck and marvel at the cityscape below. Enjoy a glass of either rosé or white champagne at the champagne bar located at the top before you continue wandering.

For a dose of history, visit the Gustave Eiffel Room to learn about the tower’s fascinating history and engineering marvels.

And if you’re celebrating something special and have the budget to splurge, you can dine in style at one of the tower’s acclaimed restaurants, such as the legendary Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne.

Vedettes De Paris

River cruise in Paris, France

End your day with a scenic cruise along the Seine River aboard Vedettes De Paris, where you can admire the city’s landmarks illuminated against the setting sun.

From the comfort of your boat, enjoy panoramic views of iconic sights like Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay, Museum of Modern Art, the Louvre Museum, all the famous bridges Paris is known for, and of course, the Eiffel Tower!

While there are lots of boat cruises to choose from, we went with Vedettes De Paris because they offered free birthday cruises. Since Papu’s birthday fell on the first day of our Paris trip, we ended up getting one free admission ticket for our cruise. You gotta love a BOGO deal!

We upgraded and ordered two champagnes for our boat ride because we were celebrating a birthday for goodness sake!

Other boat cruises include drinks and/or even a meal. If a dinner cruise along the Seine is more your style, this 4-course evening dinner cruise by Compagnie des Bateaux Mouches gets amazing reviews and is a top option out there.

Have a dinner picnic at Champ de Mars

As I said earlier, the Champ de Mars is an iconic spot to get front-row seats to enjoy the Eiffel Tower in all its glory. Grab some dinner from around the area (don’t forget the cheese, meats, or drinks!), find a seat on the sprawling lawn, and enjoy the Eiffel Tower vibes along with everyone else.

👉 Pro Tip: You could opt to see the Eiffel Tower before the river cruise or after — or both! Seeing the Eiffel Tower at night is cool because of the twinkling lights that happen on the hour every evening from sundown to 1 AM.


Rue Montorgueil

Rue Montorgueil - Famous Streets In Paris - TravelsWithElle
Rue Montorgueil | Getty Images

Start your day by going off the beaten path and immersing yourself in the bustling atmosphere of Rue Montorgueil, a permanent market street that’s completely meant for pedestrians!

Known for its lively market stalls, quaint cafes, and historic architecture, Rue Montorgueil offers a quintessential Parisian experience. This street is home to some of the best meat and fish markets in the city, along with renowned pastry shops like La Maison Stohrer (the oldest patisserie in Paris!), cozy bistros, boutiques, and lots and lots of bars.

For a bite to eat, you can dine at Au Rocher de Cancale for classic French cuisine.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Paris - Famous Buildings In France

No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and a symbol of Parisian history and heritage.

Even though we aren’t cathedral-loving people, we had to at least walk by and take in the epic facade of the Notre-Dame!

While you’re here, you can marvel at the cathedral’s exterior architecture.

👉 NOTE:  In 2019, Notre Dame suffered a devastating fire. The cathedral and the towers have been closed while reconstruction work is being done. The cathedral is slotted to reopen by the end of 2024.

Lunch: Bouillon République

For lunch, we made reservations at Bouillon République, a beloved Parisian institution known for its affordable yet delicious French cuisine. French food is certainly not cheap, so I’m not sure how Bouillon can keep their prices so low!

Either way, it’s a good time and the food is pretty darn good. We wanted to taste traditional dishes like escargot, boeuf bourguignon, and coq au vin during our time in Paris, so finding this super affordable spot to try it all was really clutch.

We were seated quite tightly next to a few other tables because this place was PACKED with diners! The entire atmosphere was so lively and reminiscent of old-world Parisian bistros.

👉 Pro Tip: Bouillon has a few other locations including their Chartier, Pigalle, Julien, and Racine locations.

Rue Mouffetard

Next, wander through the charming streets of Rue Mouffetard, one of Paris’s oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods. Peruse the many market stalls, artisanal shops, and quaint cafes, and soak up the bohemian ambiance of this historic quarter.

While you’re here, enjoy classic old squares and pretty streets like Place de la Contrescarpe and Rue Monge. Around the corner is the magnificent botanic garden of Jardin des Plantes and the Natural History Museum which museum lovers would enjoy.

Also close by is the Panthéon, an 18th-century mausoleum with a colonnaded facade housing remains of notable French citizens including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, and Marie Curie. A lineup of truly important people!

Take some time to stroll around, browse the bookstands, or find a cozy café to sit at for a bit before moving on to the next stop.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg Paris France

Head to the enchanting Jardin du Luxembourg for a quick rest. This is one of Paris’s most beloved parks.

Once you grab a seat around the garden, take some time to admire the manicured gardens, ornate fountains, and colorful flowers dotted everywhere. There are also scenic pathways to walk through if you have more energy to explore.

This is hands-down one of my favorite gardens in all of Paris!

Dinner: Le Relais de l’Entrecôte

Le relais de lentrecote Paris

Chances are, if you’ve done any research on what to eat in Paris at all, you’ll have come across this legendary spot.

Le Relais de l’Entrecote is famous for its simple yet delicious concept: serving only one dish – steak frites – prepared to perfection. This iconic Parisian restaurant has garnered worldwide acclaim for its tender entrecôte steak, served with a secret sauce and accompanied by crispy French fries.

The sauce really is a secret — I asked what it was made out of and I was told “it’s a secret”, haha!

I’ve eaten at Le Relais de l’Entrecote twice — once when I was solo-traveling my way through Paris in 2017 and another time on this Paris trip with Papu. Both times, the meal was absolutely delish.

On my first trip, I knew to show up early about 20 minutes before they opened, and ended up third in line. It was chill! On my most recent trip, I ALSO showed up around the same time (about 20 minutes before they opened). But this time, the line was already massively long.

Heed my warning, this spot has blown up even more than I could ever imagine. Be sure to show up at least 30 minutes before they open. If you show up anytime after they’ve already opened, you’re in for at least a 1-2.5 hour wait. NO thanks.


Palais Garnier

Today we’re going to do some sightseeing at one of Paris’ prettiest cultural landmarks — Palais Garnier, Paris’s legendary opera house.

The Palais Garnier is one of the most iconic and largest opera houses in the world, renowned for its opulent Beaux-Arts architecture. This architectural masterpiece was inaugurated in 1875 at the request of Napoleon III, and is without doubt one of the most dazzling monuments in Paris.

Its grandeur and significance in the arts world have made it a symbol of Parisian elegance and a must-visit destination for lovers of opera and ballet throughout history.

This place is drop-dead gorgeous and should be in the dictionary under the word “opulent”. It’s got intricate ceiling paintings, the grandest staircase you can imagine, and lavish interiors including the ornate Grand Foyer and the auditorium itself, home to some of the world’s most prestigious performances.

You and I couldn’t even get tickets to these events if we tried, that’s how prestigious they are.

You can buy tickets to see Palais Garnier in all its glory here.

Musée des Arts Forains

Paris, France - www.travelswithelle.com

Ready to go off-the-beaten-path and be wowed by the magic of old-timey French fairs and carnivals?

You’ll get to transport back in time at the Musée des Arts Forains, a hidden gem tucked away in the Bercy neighborhood. This whimsical museum is dedicated to showcasing a collection of antique fairground attractions and carnival rides, offering visitors a glimpse into the quirky world of entertainment from the 19th and 20th centuries.

If you’re a huge fan of all things vintage, you need to stop what you’re doing and get tickets now. NOW!

Even after exploring dozens of countries across the globe, Musée des Arts Forains remains my #1 favorite museum in the world. And remember, I’m not a fan of art or history museums!

I was so enamored by everything I saw here, from the whimsically decorated halls to the vintage carousels and mechanical musical instruments. The fact that we were able to play some of the games and ride some of the rides (like the bicycle carousel) made my visit so freaking enriching!

It’s like I was living in a French movie set in the 1800s (secretly one of my dreams that I know will never happen!).

When I visited back in 2017, there were only tours in French. I took the French tour and had no idea what the guide was talking about, but I still had a blast taking in all the eye candy of this place!

👉 Did you know: Musée des Arts Forains was a filming location featured in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris.


Montmartre - Paris, France

Next, venture to the charming neighborhood of Montmartre, a bohemian enclave nestled on a hill overlooking Paris. Famous for its artistic heritage and picturesque streets, Montmartre is a must-visit destination for art lovers, history buffs, and anyone else who loves exploring charming neighborhoods with cafes and cobblestoned streets!

Explore iconic landmarks like the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, stroll through Place du Tertre to see all the cute storefronts and street artists at work, and soak up the buzzing atmosphere of all the cafes and bistros in the area.

Quiet Streets In Montmartre - Travel Tips For Paris, France - www.travelswithelle.com
Exploring the quiet streets of Montmartre in the early morning! Just me and the pigeons.

And for an authentically French experience, visit landmarks like the Moulin de la Galette (old mill restaurant) and the Lapin Agile (Paris’ oldest-standing bar-cabaret), both of which have inspired countless artists and writers over the years.

👉 What happens at cabarets like Lapin Agile? The show at the Lapin Agile is composed of several singers that perform anything from old French songs to traditional songs of Paris, and even drinking songs that audience members can sing along to as well. When everyone in the audience chimes in, the entire atmosphere is indescribably magical!

Moulin Rouge

If you’ve got money to spend on your trip to Paris, Moulin Rouge is where you should spend that money! Despite it being touristy, experiencing the legendary Moulin Rouge should still be on your bucket list!

For those of you less familiar with Moulin Rouge, this is an iconic cabaret known for its dazzling shows set in one of the most glamorous venues in all of Paris.

Once you enter the front doors denoted by the iconic red windmill, you’ll be treated to a spectacular show of cabaret entertainment featuring extravagant costumes, high-energy dance routines, acrobatics, singing, and can-can dancing.

Throughout the evening, you’ll thoroughly be transported back in time to a world of glamour and sultriness — a must for people who love experiencing different periods!

Heed my warning, these tickets sell out quickly because this show is almost a rite of passage for people visiting Paris. You can buy your advance tickets here.


In this 5-day Paris itinerary, I’ve dedicated day 4 to exploring outside of the main city.

You have a few options with your day 4: day trip to Disneyland Paris, day trip to the Catacombs of Paris, or something completely different if you hate those ideas.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris Sleeping Beauty Castle

Papu and I are Disney geeks, he more than I. This meant that there was no way we were going to France and NOT doing Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris is located about 40 minutes away by train and consists of two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.

As we only had 5 days in Paris (not enough days in my opinion!), we opted for the Disneyland Paris 2-parks-1-day ticket and planned as efficiently as possible to squeeze two parks into just one day trip to DLP.

Despite the limited time — and the fact that it rained half the day — we had a total blast!

For first-timers who love rides, you absolutely cannot miss rides like Ratatouille: The Adventure, Crush Coaster, Phantom Manor, Hyperspace Mountain, or Big Thunder Mountain.

And when it comes to attractions unique to Disneyland Paris, we cannot recommend the super cool La Tanière du Dragon or Alice’s Curious Labyrinth enough!

For those of you celebrating something special (or just love dining at Disney’s creatively themed restaurants), I hope you’re reading this early enough because you’ll want to snag reservations at Auberge de Cendrillon, Bistrot Chez Rémy, or Captain Jack’s if they’re available!

Is one day enough at Disneyland Paris?

Looking back on it, it would have been nice if we had more time in Paris so that we could dedicate 2 full days to Disneyland Paris. With two days, we’d have been able to explore more slowly, try more foods, and actually enjoy all the rides.

There were a couple of rides that we missed out on due to long lines and renovation closures, so we’ve been feeling the need to go back to experience the rest of it!

Alternative Activity: Catacombs of Paris

Catacombs of Paris - Paris France

Not into Disneyland Paris? Another fun half-day excursion is a trip to the Catacombs of Paris.

If you’re looking for a different sort of adventure that’s just a tad less… magical… venture into the mysterious depths of the Catacombs of Paris.

The Catacombs of Paris originated in the late 18th century as a solution to the city’s overflowing cemeteries. Due to public health concerns and the risk of disease, authorities began relocating human remains from overcrowded graveyards to unused underground quarries, creating the extensive network of tunnels and chambers we know today as the Catacombs of Paris.

You’ll see eerie displays of bones and skulls arranged in intricate patterns, and learn about the history and significance of this unique underground ossuary.

I totally wanted to see the Catacombs on my last trip to Paris, but Papu (being the scared-y cat he is) was worried about it being haunted!

While the Catacombs sure are macabre, there is no scientific evidence to support any claims of hauntedness. Plus, it’s super historical. You can explore the Catacombs with peace of mind, knowing that any ghostly encounters are purely the stuff of legend and folklore.

Got more time and energy?

With the remainder of the day, you could either take it easy and rest up for dinner or keep exploring. Here are some sights/areas to consider based on what you’re interested in:

  • Arc de Triomphe / The Champs-Élysées: Iconic monument and avenue known for its grandeur, luxury shops, theaters, and historic significance
  • Île de la Cité: Historic island in the heart of Paris, home to Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Conciergerie, and picturesque riverside views
  • Musée d’Orsay: One of the best museums in Paris featuring an impressive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces
  • Rodin Museum: Intimate museum showcasing the works of sculptor Auguste Rodin
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery: The most famous cemetery in Paris, and the final resting place of figures like Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and Edith Piaf
  • Explore the prettiest and most famous streets in Paris like Rue Crémieux, Avenue Montaigne, or Rue des Martyrs
  • Explore Canal Saint-Martin’s charming footbridges, tree-lined paths, and trendy cafes
  • Discover Butte-aux-Cailles‘ bohemian atmosphere (cute cobblestone streets, colorful murals, and hidden courtyards filled with street art)
  • Experience the old-world charm of Passage des Panoramas, one of the oldest covered passages in Paris lined with quaint shops, bistros, and antique bookstores


Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles - Best Castles In France - Paris, France - www.travelswithelle.com

Located just 17 km southwest of Paris just about a 35-minute train ride away, Versailles stands as one of the most popular, most opulent, and easiest day trips from Paris by train.

The Palace of Versailles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe’s most popular attractions. It would be a shame to come all this way to Europe and miss out on such a grand palace. Not only is it a total feast for the eyes, but it’s also got so much historical significance!

As a quick backstory, this palace had humble beginnings in the 16th century as it was intended to be a hunting lodge and a small countryside getaway. As the years progressed, King Louis XIII and the others in his family line continued building to create one of the greatest châteaus in France.

This royal residence became a museum in 1833 and now houses 60,000 pieces of art!

The Palace of Versailles has been featured in a long list of movies (mainly French), but if you watched the 2006 movie Marie Antoinette, you’ll recognize certain areas of the palace like The Hall of Mirrors — hands-down the most epic room in the entire palace.

If you plan for a full day, you can visit all the spots that make up the property, including the palace itself, the massive gardens, the Grand Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet. 

There’s so much to see and do in Versailles that being bored during your day trip just won’t be an issue. You’ll very likely need a full day to see it all.

👉 Pro Tip: Aim to arrive before the palace opens to beat the insane crowds–this is what I did on my last visit and I was able to capture photos of the palace and gardens with virtually no one in them (except for maybe the grounds gardener)! I’d recommend you purchase a skip-the-line ticket if you’re arriving after the park opens. Opt for a guided tour if you find audioguides too boring!

Recommended Tours:

👉 Pro Tip: Wear your most comfortable shoes during your day trip to Palace of Versailles! The property is truly MASSIVE. I walked over 30k steps during my day trip to Versailles, and even with my best walking shoes, my feet were throbbing after my visit to the palace and the palace grounds!

Market of Notre Dame

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When you get off at the train station for the Palace of Versailles, you’ll need to walk about 15 minutes to get to the actual palace. Along the way, you’ll walk past all kinds of stalls and shops beckoning for you to enter.

You can explore the different street stalls and markets after you’ve seen the palace on your way back to the train station.

Don’t miss the Notre-Dame Market, where you can sample some excellent pastries, local cheeses, and seasonal produce. You’ll find both indoor and outdoor stalls at this gourmet market!

Head back to Paris

At this point, it’ll have been a really long day. Head back to Paris for a quick rest before heading out for your last meal in Paris.

If you need to shop for souvenirs, I recommend spending your last afternoon doing that.

For epicurean delights and French cooking supplies, head to La Grande Épicerie de Paris, located in the upscale 7th arrondissement. This gourmet food emporium offers a vast selection of artisanal products, including fine wines, cheeses, chocolates, jams, pates and rillettes, and specialty ingredients sourced from across France and beyond.

For gourmet snacks and sweets, explore the charming streets of Le Marais, where you’ll find boutique shops like Thomas Artisan Fromager for delectable cheese and Paul Marius for exquisite leather goods.

Additionally, don’t miss the bustling outdoor markets like Marché des Enfants Rouges, where you can discover a treasure trove of local delicacies (great for seafood and wine), artisanal crafts, and unique souvenirs to remind you of your time in Paris.


Map courtesy of Wanderlog, an itinerary planner on iOS and Android


Paris is massive, so naturally there are going to be loads of hotels in every corner of the city. Below, I’ll suggest three areas that I always consider staying in whenever I’m in Paris.

No matter where you stay, make sure you’re located next to a Metro station!

This will make getting around much easier, to the point that the neighborhood you choose won’t really matter because the rest of the city will be just a couple of train stops away.

Le Marais (3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris)

Known for its historic charm and upscale yet laidback atmosphere, Le Marais offers a quintessentially Parisian experience. You’ll find everything that makes an area charming: cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and trendy boutiques, cafes, and galleries.

Staying in the Marais also provides easy access to top attractions like Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, and the Seine River.

Because it’s so picturesque, trendy, and centrally located, hotels here are not the cheapest.


Les Tournelles

A stylish boutique hotel that’s quite affordable given the central area that it’s in! The hotel is close to lots of good shopping and something to see or eat in every corner. Saint Paul Metro Station is just about 1,300 feet away.


Hôtel Le Presbytère

Hôtel Le Presbytère is a contemporary-meets-historical hotel set in a former presbytery. Set over 5 floors, each room in this 3-star hotel is decorated in thoughtful earthtone colors with Gothic furnishings that will transport you to another time.


Le Grand Mazarin

This is a Michelin-guide hotel that’s well-deserving of its status. With a Wes Anderson meets Alice in Wonderland vibe, this hotel sits on the spectrum between an indie boutique hotel and a palatial luxury hotel! Either way, it’s drop-dead gorgeous.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés (6th arrondissement)

Situated on the Left Bank of the Seine, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area exudes elegance and intellect. Home to iconic landmarks like the historic Café de Flore, this neighborhood is beloved for its charming streets, chic boutiques, and lively cafe culture.

It offers a relaxed yet refined atmosphere, making it an ideal base for exploring Paris’s cultural treasures. For those looking to splurge, Saint-Germain-des-Prés offers a range of upscale hotels and stylish accommodations.


Hotel De Seine

Another brightly-decorated hotel that’s reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie! Except this one has a touch of classic French regalness to it. Hotel De Seine is located just 650 feet away from the Mabillon Metro Station.


Hôtel De Fleurie

Yet another colorful and cute boutique hotel in the 6th arr. Decorated in pastel colors, the luxury rooms at Hôtel de Fleurie are air-conditioned and feature a private balcony with a view. A continental breakfast of French pastries and hot coffee is served under the breakfast room’s 100-year-old arches!


Hôtel Bel Ami

Located in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Hotel Bel Ami is just a 10-minute walk from the Louvre Museum. Every morning a buffet breakfast is served at the hotel’s café, which opens onto Rue Saint Benoit.

The Latin Quarter (5th arrondissement)

Known for its bohemian spirit and youthful energy, the Latin Quarter is a dynamic neighborhood steeped in history and culture. Home to the Sorbonne University and the Panthéon, this area buzzes with young, intellectual vitality and artistic flair.

You’ll find a maze of narrow streets housing a bunch of eclectic shops and bookstores, as well as cozy bistros and brasseries. Its central location and unique atmosphere make it a popular choice for first-time visitors looking to experience the heart and soul of Paris.


Hôtel Maxim Quartier Latin

Each soundproofed guestroom is decorated in a contemporary style and equipped with satellite TV and a work desk. Some of the rooms have a balcony. Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast in the breakfast room or in the hotel’s courtyard patio when the weather is nice. The Metro station is less than 400 ft away.


  • Paris Book Fair (Salon du Livre) (March): A major literary event that brings together authors, publishers, and book enthusiasts for book signings, panel discussions, and literary debates, showcasing the latest trends in literature and publishing.
  • Paris Marathon (April): One of the largest marathons in the world, attracting tens of thousands of runners from around the globe to run on a course that passes by iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • Paris Wine Festival (May): Where you can sample a wide selection of wines from France’s renowned wine regions as well as international varieties, accompanied by food pairings and entertainment.
  • Fête de la Musique (June): A citywide music festival that brings together musicians of all genres to perform in streets, squares, and venues across Paris.
  • Paris Jazz Festival (June-July): Features world-class jazz performances by renowned musicians as well as up-and-coming talents.
  • Bastille Day (July 14th): France’s national day commemorating the French Revolution with military parades, fireworks displays, and festivities throughout Paris, including a grand concert and ball at the Champ de Mars.
  • Nuit Blanche (October): An all-night arts festival that transforms Paris into a sprawling open-air museum, with installations, performances, and exhibitions scattered throughout the city.
  • Salon du Chocolat (October): An event dedicated to chocolate lovers, featuring tastings, demonstrations, and workshops by top chocolatiers from around the world.
  • Paris Fashion Week (February/March, September/October): One of the most prestigious events in the fashion industry, showcasing the latest collections from top designers from around the world.


  1. Plan museum visits strategically. Many museums in Paris are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays, so plan your itinerary accordingly to avoid disappointment.
  2. Beat the crowds. Book tickets in advance for popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral to skip the long lines and ensure entry.
  3. Explore off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods. Discover hidden gems and avoid tourist crowds by exploring lesser-known neighborhoods like Belleville, Canal Saint-Martin, and Butte-aux-Cailles.
  4. Take advantage of free museum days. Many museums in Paris offer free admission on the first Sunday of the month, so plan your visit accordingly to save money.
  5. Embrace café culture. Enjoy a leisurely meal or coffee break at a local café, where you can soak up the Parisian atmosphere and watch the world go by. Just know that sitting at a table al fresco does cost extra, though!
  6. Learn basic French phrases. While many locals speak English, making an effort to speak French will be appreciated and can result in friendlier interactions with locals. If you have absolutely no idea how to do this, then ask if they speak English, but ask in French. “parlez vous Anglais?” Chances are, they do know English so don’t be afraid of there being a language barrier. Just show them that you’ve tried, it really goes a long way and people are nicer to you for this.
  7. Avoid peak tourist season. Visit Paris in the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) to enjoy milder weather and fewer crowds.
  8. Paris is slightly dead in August. Avoid going to Paris in August if you want a mix of local and tourist experiences. Parisians usually leave the city this month to head off to their vacation destinations. As a result, the majority of non-touristy businesses close in August.
  9. Don’t become a victim of pickpocketing! Be mindful of pickpockets in crowded tourist areas and keep your belongings secure at all times, especially on public transportation and in tourist hotspots.
  10. Paris recently had a bed bug issue, so always check your mattresses for bed bug stains, and never put your suitcase on your hotel bed! Gross.


Getting to Paris from CDG Airport is easy with several transportation options available:

Roissybus (€16,60, 60-75 minutes)

  • Roissybus is a dedicated airport bus service operated by RATP (Paris public transport authority). This is an air-conditioned shuttle bus.
  • It provides direct service from CDG Airport terminals to the Opéra Garnier area in central Paris.
  • The journey takes approximately 60-75 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.
  • Roissybus runs frequently throughout the day, with departures every 15-20 minutes.
  • Buy tickets: From automatic vending machines in all stations and on board the bus from the driver.

RER Train (€11,80, 30-40 minutes)

The RER B train line connects CDG Airport to different locations within central Paris. CDG Airport is located in Zone 5 of the Paris public transport system, so you’ll need a single journey ticket from Zone 5 costing €11,80.

  • The RER B train line connects CDG Airport to various stations in central Paris, including Gare du Nord, Châtelet-Les Halles, and Saint-Michel Notre-Dame.
  • The journey time varies depending on the destination station, but it typically takes around 30-40 minutes to reach central Paris.
  • RER trains run frequently throughout the day, with departures every 10-15 minutes.
  • Tickets cost €11,80 for a one-way journey from CDG Airport to central Paris. This ticket allows connections between the Metro and RER trains within central Paris.
  • The RER train is a good option for travelers heading to destinations served by RER stations or those who prefer a faster mode of transportation compared to the bus (below).

Bus (€2.15, 60-90 minutes)

Another option is to take a bus (350 or 351), which costs €2,15 for a single journey. This may be a more affordable choice for budget-conscious travelers.

There are two buses, one that connects the airport to Paris Porte de la Chapelle and the other that connects the airport to Place de la Nation.

While the travel time can vary between 60-80 minutes depending on traffic conditions, buses typically run every 15-30 minutes throughout the day. Tickets can be purchased from ticket desks and automatic vending machines at metro and RER stations.

Check here for the latest ticket airport routes and transit fares.


The Metro is your best friend in Paris!

With its extensive network of underground lines, the Metro provides quick and convenient access to virtually every corner of the city. Whether you’re exploring iconic landmarks or discovering hidden gems in charming neighborhoods like Montmartre and Le Marais, the Metro offers a reliable mode of transportation to suit all your travel needs.

Plus, with trains running frequently throughout the day and into the late evening, you’ll never have to wait long to hop on board and continue your Parisian adventure.

I don’t think I’ve opted for any other form of transportation other than the Metro / RER Trains (to get to places like Versailles or Disneyland Paris) while exploring Paris.

Sure, there are other forms of transportation, but as a traveler, it totally makes sense to just stick with the Metro while you’re in Paris.

Metro Sign In Paris

Paris Visite Pass

The Paris Visite pass is a convenient travel card that allows unlimited travel on the public transportation system in Paris, including the Metro, RER trains, buses, and trams, within certain zones.

It comes in different durations (such as 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days) and allows you to hop on and off public transportation as much as you like during that time.

The pass is available for different zones, with Zone 1-3 covering central Paris and Zone 1-5 covering a wider area (including airports and popular day trip destinations like Versailles and Disneyland Paris).

The Paris Visite pass also offers additional benefits, such as discounts on certain attractions and activities. You can read more about it here!


Many savvy travelers opt for the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) seasons, when the weather is mild, and the city is less crowded compared to the peak summer months.

Having said that, the spring months could very well bring rain. I visited in early May and it basically rained for the entire first half of my two-week trip to France. A bummer, but when it wasn’t raining, the temperatures were definitely very pleasant for exploring.

With that said, my personal favorite time of the year to visit Paris is in September. On all my previous visits to Paris in September, I was met with near-perfect weather. It’s always on the cooler side, perfect for walking/exploring the city on foot!

Summer is by far the most popular (and busiest) time to visit, with the exception of August.

August is a unique time in Paris. While the weather is typically warm and sunny, it’s also when many locals leave the city for their annual summer vacations. As a result, Paris can feel quieter and more relaxed, with fewer crowds at major tourist sites.

However, this also means that many small mom-and-pop shops and local establishments may be closed or operating with reduced hours, as many businesses take their own vacations during this time. If you’re hoping to experience the vibrant energy of Paris’s local neighborhoods, it may be better to plan your visit for a different time of year.


For first-timers, I’d recommend no less than 5 full days. 3-4 days is not enough.

I’m just going to say that outright. You’ll barely be scraping the surface of what the city has to offer, so just be okay with that. Prioritize your must-see’s and must-do’s, not what other guidebooks and itineraries tell you are the top attractions.

Personally, I still have not been inside the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay, because there were so many other things I wanted to do/see more with my time.

If you can swing it, extend your trip to Paris by a few days more. And even then, there’s still too much to do to fit it all into one trip! Give yourself time to slow down and fall in love with the city.

Shift your mindset from knocking attractions off an itinerary and just live like the locals do. Paris is one of the best places to do this.

Planning Your Trip To France?

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Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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