Paris Itinerary: One week in Paris & Top 20 Sights
Paris is full of magic.
With its quaint streets, corner cafes and towering Eiffel, you can’t help but fall in love.
This Spring I spent a week in Paris with my sister, Victoria. We decided to plan a trip to celebrate her 25th birthday together and chose Paris because she had never been and I wanted to experience it for a second time as a travel blogger.
In my opinion, Spring is the perfect time to visit Paris. Flights from the United States are affordable (my San Francisco to Paris flight was only $450) and the city is full of life, with flowers in bloom and crowded cafes at all hours of the day. April weather in Paris is not too hold, not too cold and there is a very low chance of rain compared to other times of year.
In this post, I share the perfect Paris itinerary for a week-long trip. I start by sharing the top 20 sights to see and then organize them as an itinerary to help you plan out each day. These sights include not only on the must-see tourist destinations, but also the hidden gems that make this city so special. I hope this post inspires you to plan your own trip to Paris!
TBP's Top 20 of Paris
1. Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur is a Roman Catholic Church located at the top of Montmartre Hill, the highest point in Paris. When you arrive, head to the left of the entrance and purchase a ticket for six euros to access 300 steps that lead to the best view of Paris. Then, take a silent stroll through the church and admire the stained glass windows.
2. Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge is a world famous cabaret, a form of theatrical entertainment. It’s located right in Montmartre at the bottom of the hill from Sacre Coeur. The building looks like a large red windmill so it's worth walking by to take a peek. I wasn’t lucky enough to see a show, but you can purchase tickets here if you have time.
3. Wall of Love
You can find the Wall of Love located in the Jehan Rictus garden square in Montmartre, Paris. This wall has the word “love” written 311 times in 250 different languages. It’s a lovely place to picnic for lunch or take a romantic stroll with a loved one.
The Lourve is the world’s largest and most visited art museum in the world! It holds about 38,000 pieces and is most famous for being the home of Mona Lisa. As you can imagine, the Louvre is extremely crowded, so I recommend purchasing tickets in advance to avoid the long line at the entrance. The cost to enter is 17 euros.
Plan to spend an entire morning exploring the museum and getting lost among some of the world’s highest-profile works. When you’re ready to leave, take some time to explore the architecture of the Louvre itself and the pyramids in the Louvre's courtyard.
On the left bank of the Seine (the river that runs through Paris) sits Musee d’Orsay, a museum housing the largest collection of impressionist works in the world. I recommend spending a few hours walking through art from Monet, Degas, Cezanne and Van Gogh. While the Louvre is the largest museum in the world, I personally prefer the art in Musee d’Orsay. Tickets to enter cost only 14 euros and you can purchase them on the museum’s website.
Tuileries Garden has an interesting history. It was commissioned by Catherine de' Medici in 1564 and designed in the style of Italian Renaissance because Catherine was originally from Italy. There is also a large palace in the garden which was the home of Napoleon in the 1800s. Take some time to explore the fountains and find some of the sculptures that sit in throughout the garden.
In contrast to the Louvre , this art exhibit opened Spring of 2018 and does not physically hold any original artwork. That’s because the entire exhibit is digital! It’s an immersive experience where you can view the works of Gustav Klimt dancing across the walls of the venue. This show is hard to explain in words, but I was pleasantly surprised at how must I enjoyed my visit. Make sure you purchase tickets online before you go. This helps to avoid long lines but is also necessary if you’re visiting on a weekend when the ticket offices are closed. Tickets cost about 15 euros.
Unlike the other 20 recommendations in this list, Marais is not just a location but an entire district in Paris. It spans the 3rd and 4th arrondissements (neighborhoods) and is my favorite area in the city. Come here for cute cafes and Jewish bakeries, incredible shopping (from high-end to vintage) and the most incredible falafel you’ve ever eaten in your life. Check out this guide to the Marais to help plan your time there.
9. Palais Royal
Palais Royal sits just across from the Louvre in the 1st arrondissement. It was formerly a royal castle but is now the home of Paris’ Constitutional Council and Ministry of Culture. The building itself is gorgeous, but my favorite part is the art exhibit in the inner courtyard. In 1986, artist Daniel Buren designed an exhibit of black and white striped columns called Les Colonnes de Buren. With the exception of the Eiffel Tower itself, this was my favorite photo spot in Paris. I highly recommend making a stop here for pictures.
Palace de la Concorde is a large square at the start of Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a famous shopping street that leads to the Arc de Triomphe. There is a rich history at this square because it was the location of the executions during the French Revolution from 1789 until 1799. The famous Queen Marie Antoinette was guillotined at this very spot!
This is one of my favorite streets in Paris for people watching, window shopping and delicious French macarons. I recommend starting at Palace de la Concorde and ending at the Arc de Triomphe. Take time to window shop (or actually shop, if your budget allows) and admire fashion both on the mannequins and off. During your stroll, stop by Ladurée for a box of macarons to munch on once you reach the Arc.
12. Arc de Triomphe
At the end of Champs-Élysées, you’ll find a large monument rising over 50 meters (164 ft). This arc was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to honor those who fought and died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. For eight euros, you can climb to the top and see a gorgeous view of Paris down the Champs-Élysées and over the rooftops to the Eiffel Tower.
Versailles is the perfect day trip from Paris. It sits just a 15-20 minute train ride from Paris and was the home of the French court starting in 1682 when Louis XIV relocated there. During his time there, the magnificent Palace of Versailles was erected. I recommend booking this Airbnb experience bike tour through Versailles. It allowed me to skip the lines and see areas of the Palace grounds I never would have found myself. If you want a sneak peak of this experience, check out my Paris instagram stories.
14. Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world! It was originally designed for the World’s Fair in 1889 but the city kept it around and it brings in an average of 25,000 visitors a day! I recommend visiting the tower both during the day and at night.
For a day visit, book this Airbnb experience to skip the lines and guarantee access to the summit, the highest point of the Eiffel Tower. From my experience, the lines at the Eiffel Tower can be insane, and taking this tour gave me access to jump right in the 100 year old elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The views are incredible and it’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.
For a night visit, bring a picnic and blanket to Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower right before sunset. When it gets dark, 20,000 light bulbs covering the tower start to sparkle and continue for 5 minutes every hour on the hour until 1 am.
Jardin de Luxembourg covers over 60 acres of Paris in the 6th arrondissement. It has the most beautiful flowers in the spring time as well as a large basin where young children float model sailboats. To really feel like you’re a local, buy a book and spend an afternoon sitting in a chair in the garden.
Notre-Dame Cathedral is located on the bank of the Seine in the 4th arrondissement. You may know it from the famous novel (and Disney Movie), The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, written by Victor Hugo. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to see Notre-Dames beautiful architecture with flying buttresses, gargoyles and detailed stained glass. It’s even free to enter!
I’ve already mentioned the Seine in this post but as a reminder, the Seine is a river that runs through the city of Paris. It has a number of beautiful bridges the connect the two sides as well as the Île de la Cité, the natural island in then middle of the Seine that houses Notre-Dame Cathedral. Strolling along the bank of the Seine is an experience you don’t want to miss during your time in Paris. On the right side, there are often booksellers and local artists looking to sell their merchandise. On the left side, you’ll find cute cafes and my favorite book store, Shakespeare & Company. At night, you’ll often see locals sipping wine and snacking on a baguette as the sun goes down. Take some time to enjoy what the Seine has to offer while you’re visiting.
I love this bookstore not only for it’s merchandise but for it’s motto, “Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers Lest They Be Angels in Disguise.” The store allows aspiring authors and artists to sleep there in return for working in the bookstore. Whether you’re in the market for a new book or not, the store also acts as a free reading library so it’s worth a visit.
On my first trip to Paris I went to Pont de Artes, the famous “love lock” bridge. It was my favorite bridge at the time but unfortunately the locks were weighing the bridge down and therefore visitors are no longer allowed to place them. On my most recent trip to Paris, I discovered my new favorite bridge, Pont Alexandre III. Not only is this bridge the most beautiful in the city, but it has incredible views looking to both sides of the Seine, including the Eiffel Tower. You can find this bridge connecting the 7th & 8th arrondissements.
The Pantheon sits in the 5th arrondissement and is worth a trip to see the neoclassic architecture and visit a few famous dead people. It was originally built as a church but is now used as a mausoleum. Some notable people buried here are Voltaire (author/activist known for his beliefs around separation of church and state), Victor Hugo (author of Les Miserables & The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), Louis Braille (he created Braille!), Marie Curie (the first woman to win the Nobel Prize) and many more.
Paris Itinerary by Day
I recommend spending at least a week in Paris so that you have enough time to really experience the magic of this city. This also allows time to plan a day trip outside of the city to see more of the French countryside. If you’re just looking to see the main tourist attractions, four days should be enough.
Below is an example itinerary for one week in Paris. This itinerary includes all of the 20 recommended sights from the section above. I encourage you to make it your own and tailor it to the type of experience you want to have. I hope this helps you plan your own trip in Paris!
Day 1: Explore Montmartre & Find the Best Views
On your first day in Paris, head to the 18th arrondissement to visit Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge and the Wall of Love. Sacre Coeur sits at the tallest point in the city, so you can climb to the top and get a visual of what you’ll experience over the next week.
Day 2: Immerse yourself in Paris’ Art Scene
Book tickets in advance and plan to spend your second day exploring the art scene in Paris. Spend your morning at the Louvre or Musee d’Orsay (or both) and then visit the immersive art experience at Atlier Luminaries in the afternoon.
Day 3: Explore Marais
Take an entire day to explore the Marais District in Paris and taste the best falafel you’ll ever eat at L’as du Fallafel, listed below in our “What to Eat” section. At the end of the day, find a place to sit by the bank of the Seine with a bottle of wine and a fresh baguette.
Day 4: Wander the 1st & 8th Arrondissement
This includes Palais Royal, Palace de la Concorde, Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. Before the sun sets, grab a bottle of champagne and walk across Pont de Alexandre III to snag a spot on Champs de Mars to watch the Eiffel Tower at night.
Day 5: Notre-Dame and the 5th & 6th Arrondissement
Starting at Notre Dame, take time to appreciate the intricate artwork and details of this gorgeous Cathedral. From there, head to Shakespeare & Company to buy a new book that you can read in Jardin de Luxembourg while relaxing under a tree. Grab a bite in the park and head to the Pantheon to visit graves of some very notable people.
Day 6: Take a day trip to Versailles
Book this Airbnb experience and spend an entire day living like Marie Antoinette. I can’t imagine visiting Versailles again without going on a tour like this. We were able to skip the line and see areas of the royal grounds that I never would have found myself.
Day 7: Ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower & Indulge in High Tea
In the morning, skip the line to the Eiffel Tower with this tour. Then, stroll to Prince de Galles for English High Tea. Expect to spend a few hours there indulging in the most incredible snacks and desserts.
For more information on all of the sights and activities in this itinerary, make sure to read through the Top 20 Sights in the section above.
Where to Eat
You can’t walk more than a block without stumbling upon an adorable cafe or restaurant in Paris. I, however, chose to live more like a local and many of my meals consisted of a fresh baguette, sliced meat and a bottle of wine. The markets in Paris are an experience in themselves, and being able to sip a glass of wine and munch on prosciutto while watching the sunset from my 6th story walk-up Airbnb apartment was my ideal dinner. However, I did eat out for many of my lunches & brunches, so I’m sharing my favorite spots here with you.
This was by far the best brunch I had in Paris. Located near Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, this Franco-Australian restaurant serves delicious dishes with perfectly cooked, 64 degree eggs. They also serve the most delicious matcha latte I have ever tasted. Check out their instagram for the visuals and don’t forget to try one of their pastries.
We stumbled upon this place while searching for avocado toast on my sister's birthday. Wild & the Moon is based on the principal that food should be good for you, good for the planet, and taste delicious. They have options for all of your vegan and vegetarian needs, make delicious lattes and healthy juices to give you the energy you need to spend hours walking the streets of Paris.
Located in the Marais Jewish district of Paris, this falafel is the best falafel you will ever taste in your life. I’m not kidding, it’s that good. Come on a week day before noon and you’ll miss the crazy lines that wrap around the side of the building. When you order, ask for spicy sauce and watch the friendly staff stuff a warm pita with fresh veggies and soft falafel balls. Grab a fork because chances are, it will fall apart, and you don’t want to miss out on even one bite of it’s deliciousness.
This spot will really make you feel like a local. Enfantes Rouges is a market hidden in the 3rd arrondissement and has both farmer’s market style stands as well as small restaurants. Come here for lunch one day while you’re exploring the city, buy some fresh fruit and try one of the local stands. They are closed on Mondays and often for holidays, so check the Enfantes Rouges website in advance.
Clamato is a dinner recommendation from my friend, Megan. She stumbled upon it her last time to Paris when she was hoping to get into Clamato’s Michelin star sister restaurant, Septime. Clamato serves fresh seafood in a laid back atmosphere and from what I gather, is still under the radar of the tourist crowds. I didn’t make it here myself, but Megan has high standards for food so I trust this spot is one to add to your list!
If you don’t eat macarons in Paris, you’re missing out on one of my favorite Parisian desserts. Ladurée is easily the most famous macaroon shop in Paris, with multiple locations so there are no excuses for not trying it. During my trip, I bought a box of six from the store on Champs de Elyse, the store in Saint Germaine, and then the airport location because I just had to bring some home for my boyfriend (now fiancé :). My favorite flavor is pistachio, but I also recommend trying the chocolate, salted caramel, raspberry, lemon, vanilla…actually, why don’t you just try them all. While you can dine in at Ladurée, my favorite way to enjoy a macaron is sitting on a bench in the sunshine.
Where to Stay
Paris has an incredible variety of accommodations so you’re sure to find a suitable place within your budget. My preference when I am staying in a city for a whole week is an apartment. This makes me feel like I live in the city, and allows me to cook some of my meals. I chose to stay in two different Airbnbs while in Paris. The first was in Montmartre over a weekend to avoid some of the more touristy areas. On Sunday, I moved down to Saint Germain, one of my favorite parts of Paris.
I recommend staying in the 1st and the 7th arrondissements, which I believe are the most convenient locations in Paris for a visitor. The 18th, Montmartre, is also a great option outside of the tourist areas. While it’s tempting to stay near the Eiffel tower as a first timer, that’s unfortunately not the best area to stay. Below I share more options to help you decide what works best for you.
I’ve curated an Airbnb wishlist with Airbnbs located in my favorite areas of Paris. When looking for Airbnbs, I always recommend searching the specific area, using the date filters to ensure it’s available and reading at least 10 of the reviews! It takes time, but I’ve mastered the art of finding the best Airbnbs. We stayed here for most of the week and loved it!
Similar to Airbnb, Paris Perfect allows you to rent apartments in Paris. You’re sure to stay somewhere fabulous, but the cost is usually steeper than an Airbnb.
I stumbled across this hotel in Saint Germain because it was right next to the Airbnb I chose. The location is ideal, and I loved the romantic design of the lobby. It’s a 4 star hotel so will run you at least 300 euros per night.
If you have the funds to treat yourself, Prince de Galles is is a category 7 Starwood hotel and will cost you over 800 euros per night. Category 7 hotels are some of the best in the world, located in the most prestigious destinations. While this was out of my budget, I did visit the hotel for high tea and got a taste of that luxury for a fraction of the cost.
For more hotel options, use this search bar below.
Full transparency: This is an affiliate search bar so if you find a hotel to book through this site, we could make money at no cost to you! We’d really appreciate that, so start your searching :).
TBP Insider Tips
> When arriving to Paris there are two airports: Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly. CDG is the main international airport and usually has more flight options from my experience.
> Getting around Paris is a breeze. A lot of the areas are walkable and the metro is one of the most efficient and easy to use systems I've ever experienced. Here's an entire article on how to use the metro system in Paris. We even took it from the Airport and had a great experience.
> While the metro and train systems in Paris are great, there have been frequent strikes recently that limit the trains that run. Do a quick search on the Paris by Train site before you go to check which days trains won't be running. My sister and I originally planned to spend a day or two in Switzerland but because of the train strikes, we cancelled those plans.
> Always pack a travel umbrella or rain jacket when visiting Paris, regardless of the year. It luckily didn't rain at all during my time there, but it's better to be prepared! I purchased this travel umbrella in a striped print before my trip.
> The currency in Paris is euros and the conversion rate as of June 2018 is 1 euro = 1.13 USD. You can exchange money at the airport but it's usually cheaper to take money out at an ATM if you have a card that does not charge international fees. Most places will take cards in Paris but I recommend having a bit of cash on you for smaller purchases and tips.
> Packing for Paris is easier than you may think! Choose solid colors and simple stripes with pops of color. I kept my packing to primarily black, navy, white and grey and wore accessories such as a red beret and a neck scarf to create my looks.
> These rain boots and the best purchase I made before Paris. Although I didn't need them much, they are cute and comfortable even when it isn't raining.