What to see in Paris?
Paris, it’s always a good choice
Things to do in 5 days in Paris, visit the city of light. We have had a great time, visiting its most important monuments and attractions. Trying to make the most of these five days, but not dying in the attempt. You want to know what to do in Paris? Keep reading!
In this post I will also tell you about our experience with the 2-day Museum Pass. Our new year eve dinner, our more than 2500 kilometers by car and more! Paris has a lot to do, so it’s better to have an approximate itinerary, so you don’t miss anything.
If you’re traveling in winter or autumn, you’re quite likely to rain. If you want different plans to do in Paris when it rains, click on the link, we give you a lot of original ideas.
Índice de contenidos
Planning and Itinerary prepared before going to Paris
Paris is a huge city that has a lot of places to see and visit, so we did a trip planning before we travel. This way we have an idea what we wanted to see and what we didn’t want to miss. From day one that planning changed. But, we had time to see everything we wanted and what didn’t give us time we’ll see it another time. We already have an excuse to come back!
What to see in Paris in 5 days?
In our first planning, the first day we had planned climb the Eiffel Tower. It’s one of the must-sees to see in Paris. But when we arrived there was a very long queue, actually 4 very long queue, one for each entrance of the tower. That happened to us because we didn’t buy the ticket in advance.
There is a ticket without queues plus a cruise on the Seine for 49 euros and you buy it online. It will be the best option for our next visit.
We were very lazy to get in line after being in the car for 8 hours. So from the very first moment we were making changes in the planning of our trip to Paris. In this post you’ll find the actual trip. If you want, you can compare it with our first planning in case you like our first itinerary more.
Day 1 in Paris
In the afternoon: Mars Field, Eiffel Tower (without climbing) and The Invalides
By the time we had parked, it was about 4pm, we went to the ticket office area to buy the ticket to climb the Eiffel Tower and we saw how many people was in line, it was too much and we chandge the idea…
Our idea was to go up by day and at 5pm it gets dark in Paris in winter, we wanted to see Paris day and night from the Eiffel Tower, but it wasn’t going to give us time. So we decided to make a change of plans and went for a walk and took pictures of the Champs de Mars and The Invalides.
Field of Mars and The Invalides
The Champ de Mars, being on Christmas dates, had on its left side a Christmas market, with food stalls, sweets, hot wine, souvenirs, and even a mini ice skating rink, for children.
By the time we got to Los Invalides it was already dark and it was closed. The Invalides is a complex, which was originally created to house crippled, elderly and retired French soldiers and servicemen. Today it houses different museums and Napoleon’s tomb.
What to see at night in Paris? MontMartre and Moulin Rouge
After visit the Eiffel Tower area, you can go to the Montmartre area. We park behind the Sacre Coeur, here the ticket of the hour costs you 0.60 euros for the 15 minutes. But at night it free, check times for you be sure.
The first thing you can do is visit the Sacre Coeur and then the square where the artists are painting. If you go in day week, there are not many people and you could walk very comfortably.
The Sacre Coeur Basilica is located at the top of the Montmartre hill. It is a religious building of the late nineteenth century. It is of esplendid architecture, of Roman and Byzantine inspiration, with four domes that can be seen in the distance, very beautiful.
The Montmartre district is also known as the artists’ quarter. I think it’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris. In the square you can see the painters making portraits of tourists visiting the area. There are also many different restaurants and prices.
Also in this neighborhood belongs the famous Moulin Rouge, which we have visited only on the outside. If you take a walk down this street, you’re going to come across a lot of cabarets and sex shops. You’re going to see how curious.
Day 2 in Paris
Morning and afternoon tour: Notre Dame, Conciergerie, Pantheon, Pere Lachaise
Second day in the city of love. Well, get up early to go to Notre Dame Cathedral.
*(Update: after the fire the cathedral is close, but you can go and visit the surrounding are).
When we arrived we were able to enter the cathedral without queuing and with few people. In this way we were able to enjoy the visit with tranquility, at least the first 10 minutes!
When we finished our visit, we went to line up to climb the towers and see the famous Gargoyles of Notre Dame close. When we arrived they had not yet opened, so it was hard to wait a little, but it was quite fast, in the meantime we were chatting with a family of Basques who were in front of us who recommended a place to eat, which I will tell you later.
The visit through the towers of the Cathedral of Notre Dame is totally recommended, if I had to say which are my essentials of Paris, climbing the towers would be one of them. The views are spectacular, you can imagine the Hunchback of Notre Dame wandering around. You better go up and tell me!
With regard to the Crypt of Notre Dame, we had read out there that it is not worth the visit, but we found it very interesting, especially if you have the Museum Pass or the Paris Pass, take advantage and pay it a visit. There are no queues to enter and you will walk through the history of Paris, you will see it with other eyes.
With the Museum Pass or the Paris Pass, take advantage and visit the Conciergerie, the entrance usually is very fast.
The Conciergerie is also known as the Palais de la Cité or City Palace. It is a historic building, which during the time of “terror” became a prison, very few were able to get out of here alive. It was Marie Antoinette’s prison and you can see her cell.
Then you can visit the Sainte Chapelle, and after this visit you can eat near os The Panteon. There are nice places to go!
Saint Etienne du Mont
A few steps from the Pantheon is Saint Etienne du Mont, is the church where the remains of Saint Genoveva, which is the patron saint of Paris, are located. Construction began in 1494. He’s got some years old!
Visit the Pantheon of Paris
The visit to the Pantheon is included in the Paris pass. Your bags and backpacks are check in case you are a terrorist.
The Pantheon of Paris is in the Latin Quarter, it is surrounded by some very important Parisian buildings, such as the University of Paris of the Sorbonne, the Library of Santa Genoveva and the afore mentioned, Saint Etienne du Mont and the City Hall of the V district.
In the Pantheon are the coffins of illustrious characters from the history of France, some of these are: Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Marie Courie and about 60 others.
Visit Pere Lachaise Cemetery
From here we went to pick up the car and went to the Cemetery of Pere Lachaise. Pere Lachaise Cemetery is one of the most visited cemeteries in Paris, the largest and one of the best known in the world.
Here are the remains of many celebrities such as Chopin, Abelardo and Eloisa, Delacroix or Oscar Wilde. Although I wanted to go visit Jim Morrison, like many of the people who were there.
Best time to go es in the afternoon, the atmosphere that reigned in the cemetery was peculiar. People looking for tombs, some very old, others half abandoned and covered with moss, others with beautiful sculptures.
A recommended visit, to escape the crowd. Please note that at 17.30 hours the Pere Lachaise Cemetery closes. But our day doesn’t end here, as on Wednesdays the Louvre Museum opens until 9.30pm, and we went there and you must!
Afternoon and night in Paris
Louvre Night Visit. Walk along the Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe
We had read that on Wednesday afternoons there were not so many people in the Louvre Museum, I would like to remember where I read it, because there were quite a lot of people!!!
The good thing is that since we had the Museum Pass we avoided the super queues and it took about 10 minutes to get in.
Inside the Louvre there were a lot of people, the first painting we wanted to see, was Leonardo Da Vinci’s Monalisa.
The number of people in that room was amazing, it was like a day at a London Tube station when there is strike. I don’t know how there is no one controlling the entrance to that room.
Despite that room, the rest of the museum can be visited very well.
Honestly it is spectacular, I really like sculptures and in the Louvre Museum there is the winged victory of Samothrace, without words, you have to see it and of course, the Venus de Milo, you can not leave without seeing it.
We were in the Louvre almost until the closing of the museum, from there we took a good walk along the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. The decoration and lighting of this street is beautiful, they also put a Christmas market, very nice, all very well maintained, with many food stalls and sweets in which you end up buying something, everything is awesome!
We fell more than once into temptation, it was cold! Lol. So we had to try the waffles, the mulled wine and some meringue buns that were delicious!!!
Day 3 in Paris
Visit Versailles in the Morning
To make the most of the day you have to get up early at about 06:00. Take breakfast in the village and continued to the Chateau de Versailles.
Instead of entering through the Palace, we enter through the gardens. We had to pay 6 euros to leave the car inside, but we found it a good option as the Palace of Versailles had not yet opened.
If you do not go by car, you can book to make the visit to Versailles with a tour or by hiring only the transport. click on the link for more information.
Here I leave you my personal review of our visit on December 31 comparing it with our visit in August a few years ago.
The gardens in December have nothing to do with the gardens in August and I don’t even want to imagine it in spring.
When we arrived there were the statues of the gardens covered. There were practically no people, it was a little dark still, so we thought they would remove the tarpaulins.
We went to visit the Palace and found the queue and all the people we hadn’t seen for entering the other side. Good thing the queue goes fast. Here the museum pass has no preference, if you have ticket, museum pass or Paris pass you make the queue and period.
Our experience inside the Palace of Versailles was disappointing
First we had to leave the tripod in lockers, since no one warns you that you can not enter with it, not even stored in the backpack.
Following that, we were going like cows, the number of people that had, made you move and move forward without having the possibility to enjoy what you were seeing, people push you, the guards rush you.
While we were in there we were looking forward to getting to the exit.
Once out, again in the gardens and with the plan we were given at the entrance, we went to tour the different spaces. To our surprise, they were closed with padlock! the statues were still covered with the tarpaulins and sincerely, had nothing to do with the remember I had for our visit in August.
So if you want to know Versailles do not go in December, at least from our experience it is not worth it…
Afternoon tour of the Opera Garnier
After our visit to Versailles, we passed the Opéra Garnier, we had in our head that was included in the museum pass, but no, it was not included. So we entered the free part, which is practically nothing and went to the hotel to rest. It was December 31 and at 21.30 we had booked our new year eve dinner, about 300 meters from the Arc de Triomphe.
And at night: Old Night Dinner and Celebration at the Arc de Triomphe
We had dinner at a restaurant called Del Papa, it is an Italian restaurant that we find on the internet, in the French version of “El Tenedor”.
We booked the New Year’s Eve menu. It cost us about 50 euros per person, we ate phenomenal, we parked at the door and when we finished we went to the Arc de Triomphe, which was very close and there we hope that the 00.00 hours would be done and the new year came!
On the occasion of the attacks that occurred in Paris, there were no fireworks at the Eiffel Tower and the projection at the Arc de Triomphe was clearly oriented to multiculturalism, it was very restrained but emotional.
Day 4 in Paris
Climb to the Eiffel Tower and Walk on the Seine
Fourth day, we finally climb the Eiffel Tower!
And… it was very cloudy, the third floor of the Eiffel Tower was covered by the clouds, we were hesitant whether to climb or not, in the end we decided to climb anyway.
NOTE: You have to arrive early, if you want to buy the ticket at the ticket office.
Nowhere have I read about the feeling of climbing the Eiffel Tower in the elevator. I am not a person with vertigo, but as you go up it becomes narrower and you don’t see anything holding the elevator, it’s a strange feeling.
In the second floor we confirmed our suspicions, there was almost no visibility. We went up to the next floor, the last one, and you couldn’t see anything, we were in the clouds. We spent a while circling, looking at the photographs that show you what the life of the Eiffel Tower was like in other years.
On the first floor of the tower is where the restaurant is, the souvenir shops, there was an ice skating rink and a small shop selling macarons. So I took away the desire to eat macarons in Paris, they were great, I caught one of caramel and another of chocolate, the caramel was delicious!
After the visit to the Eiffel Tower, took a walk along the Seine to the Statue of Liberty. Obviously it is a replica, a much smaller one than the original found in New York and with far fewer visitors!
It is a very pleasant walk, with people doing sports and some visitors.
Visit Trocadero at night, Latin Quarter and Place de la Concorde
In the evening, well, it was actually night, but it was like 6 or 7 p.m., hehehe… We went for a little walk, I don’t know if it was because it was January 1 or what, but the traffic was very quiet and there were few people, compared to other days.
So we took the opportunity to visit sites that we had not yet visited, such as Trocadero, where there are very nice views of the Eiffel Tower, we stayed for a while and went to the Place de la Concorde, we were walking, taking some pictures and it started to rain stronger, so we took the opportunity to go to dinner.
We chose for dinner the Latin Quarter, we went to a restaurant with typical French food, which apparently liked Italians a lot, because they were mostly!
The Latin Quarter at night and after the rain has a very good atmosphere and is not as expensive as we had been told. We were walking, taking pictures, touring the city without any hurry and enjoying the moment.
Day 5 in Paris. Visit the Parks
Luxembourg Gardens and Tuileries Gardens
Last day in Paris, we wanted to visit the parks we hadn’t seen before. We went to visit the Tuileries Gardens, left the car in Place de la Concorde and toured the entire park to the Louvre Museum.
This was the first public park in Paris. It is Florentine style, because it was sent to build Catherine de Medici, originally from Florence, Italy. In this park you will see a lot of statues, a huge round fountain surrounded by chairs, so you can rest or stare at the seagulls that are in the water.
Then we went to the Luxembourg Gardens, which are very close to the Pantheon. This park is also very beautiful, although it should be better to visit them in spring, when the flowers bloom and it is better weather.
Le Marais and Place des Vosges
To finish the visit to Paris we went to the area of Le Marais and place des Vosges.
In the Plaza des Vosges is the house of Victor Hugo. The square is very beautiful, with gardens and trees and also, is the oldest in the city. It opened in 1612. Surrounding the square, in the arcades you can find shops, cafes, in number 6 is the House of Victor Hugo, you can visit it.
Le Marais is a neighborhood that has become fashionable in recent times, considered to be the gay quarter of Paris. There are many shops of all kinds, art galleries, museums, restaurants, not very cheap, but nice.
Where to eat in Paris?
In Paris we have eaten in three cool places that are worth commenting, one near the Arc de Triomphe and the other two in the Latin Quarter, one in the pedestrian street of this neighborhood and another on the outskirts.
It is a restaurant with typical French food, located 2 minutes from the Pantheon, in the Latin Quarter. This restaurant was recommended to us by a family we met in line to climb the towers of Notre Dame and it was very good.
We sat on the typical covered terrace, the customer service was very good and the food was very good also.
We ordered a menu each. It cost 19 euros, isn’t it bad, huh? And the homemade chocolate coulant, I think it’s the best I’ve ever tasted!
Address: 2 Rue Descartes,75005 Paris.
It is an Italian restaurant, it is close to the Arc de Triomphe. This is where we dined on new year eve. We chose it for the location and because the price of the menu did not go too much, 50 euros each. There were a lot of people here, and everywhere, we were treated greatly and the food was very good. If you’re going to eat a normal day you’ll spend a lot less and eat very well.
The address is 233 Bis Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré,75008 Paris.
It is a restaurant with Provencal food, is located in the heart of the Latin Quarter. We went in because we were walking around and we wanted to eat a fondue.
The restaurant is very nice, the waiter who attended us was a charmer, a gentleman who spoke Italian, French, some Spanish and surely English. Prices were roughly on average, about 20 euros per person, we took a salad, a fondue, half a bottle of Bordeaux and two coffees. We were honestly surprised by the price.
If you want to go this is the address 15 Rue de la Huchette, 75005 Paris
Is Museum Pass or Paris Pass worth it?
Before buying the Museum Pass we were looking at which attractions and monuments gives access, we chose which ones were essential for us, we made the calculation and it came to us. The museum pass for two days costs 42 euros per person.
The bad thing about using the museum pass is that you want to visit more to take advantage of it and in the end you are all day like crazy going back and forth. So you can see that our second and third days in Paris are very intense and in the end we end up tired and with foot pain.
There is also the option to The Paris Pass, this card is a little more expensive than the other one, includes more attractions, you avoid the queues and includes unlimited public transport, so it’s interesting if you’re not driving. Its main attractions are these:
- Sightseeing bus (1-day ticket)
- Louvre Museum
- Palace of Versailles
- Seine River Cruise
- Cathedral of Notre-Dame (Access to the Towers)
- Arc de Triomphe
- Montparnasse Tower
- Pompidou Art Centre
- Opéra Garnier
- Orsay Museum
Tickets for these attractions already add up to almost 150 euros, but there is still more, such as the Pantheon, the Rodin Museum, the Dalí Space, the Funicular de Montmatre or a French wine tasting.
This card can be purchased online and picked up once you arrive in Paris. If you use it, stop by and tell me, because I’ll be back in Paris sooner rather than later!
Where to sleep?
Paris is a huge city with a great offer of accommodation for all tastes and budgets. We stayed at La Defense,it is a bit retired but well connected. We only had to follow a straight and we would get to the Arc de Triomphe and from there we would go to Nota Dame to leave the car in a parking lot that we had hired for our stay.
If you do not go by car it is better to stay closer to the center or the attractions that interest you visit, if you are not going to spend all day inside the subway, bus or taxi.
How Parisians drive?
As you know we went to Paris by car, the previous time we had also done it, but it was August and the Parisians were on vacation, but this time it has been different.
In Paris you drive like in Buenos Aires, if you’ve been to Buenos Aires you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? That is, motorbikes get where they want, buses are believed to be scooters and cars go fast. They beep to you to let you know they’re going to pass, obviously they don’t stop at the pedestrian crossings, unless it has a traffic light and it’s red.
They say that if you do well the roundabout of the Arc de Triomphe you are good driving, it has twelve streets, the ones that are inside the roundabout are the ones that give way to the cars that are incorporated, it is a little chaotic, but in the end you get used to it.
Where to park the car in Paris?
Leaving the car on the street in Paris is expensive. We complained about Madrid! but in Paris it costs you 1o the 15 minutes and the most you can throw at it is 8o which is the same as 2 hours A barbarity!
What we did was hire a parking lot. Not that it’s very cheap, but for 3 days we had a spot in the Notre Dame car park. We could go in and out as many times as we wanted.
It cost us 66 o 3 days, making numbers we did very well priced. Since the hotel cost us 40 euros a night and we had free parking.
So if you go by car I think it’s the best option. There is also a multiparking card, it is a little more expensive, but you have the option to park in more car parks, this card is purchased online.
This trip to Paris has been great, I get a better impression of the city and the Parisians. So you know “We’ll always have Paris”
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Have you been to Paris? what opinion do you deserve?
Prepare your trip to Paris
- What to see in Paris when it rains
- Itinerary from Madrid to the Alsace (Burdeos, Paris and the Alsace by car)
- Where to park your car in Paris, book your place online and save money.
- Paris accommodation
- Must-see tours in Paris
- Visit the Moulin Rouge
Book Your Trip
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel, hotel or apartments on Booking.com.
Best companies for activities
Check out Civitatis.com and find the best tours in English (French, Spanish and Italian)
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too! (Is in Spanish yet)
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We are not native English speakers but we have decided to translate our post to English so we can share it with the whole world. If you see any spelling mistake or something, please let us know, it is so important to us. If you do so, we can improve our post and also our English knowledge! Thanks in advance!!!