What to do in the city of love and lights with only three days and three nights? With such an incredible array of options—where does one begin? Luckily, this was my fourth time to Paris, so I’ve been able to visit many different neighborhoods and attractions, but for my new husband it was his first trip, so I wanted him to get a good feel for it in our short time and gear it towards what he likes best – primarily art, history, and food. Though it was tough to choose, this was our lineup for a fabulous stopover on our honeymoon.
What to do:
Walk the lovely streets until you get tired, and then find a sidewalk café with a view of a small square and people-watch. This is the quintessential Parisian experience and what I would choose to do above everything else if I only had one day.
Two self-guided walking tours that I’d recommend:
1) [Leave 3-5 hours, depending on how many times you stop – we began around 2pm and that gave us a good amount of time] Begin at the Arc de Triomphe, walk down the Champs Elysees, stopping to take some photos at the Grand Palais and Petit Palais. Once you reach the Obelisque, where the road stops, continue on through the Jardin des Tuileries toward the Louvre (but don’t go in now as you’ll want to spend 3-6 hours).
Head back toward Place de la Concorde and walk alongside the Seine on Cours de la Reine to Pont des Invalides. Cross over on this elegant bridge and continue up the other side of the river until you reach the Eiffel Tower. If you like you can wait in line to take the elevator up for the view. Cross over the bridge to the Palais de Chaillot and the square beyond it, then up Avenue Kleber back to where you started. If you’re staying at Residence Foch you could head up Ave Raymond Poincare instead and go to Restaurant DAB for dinner.
2) [Full day] Begin at Musee D’Orsey, Paris’s impressionist extravaganza, and spend several hours there. Walk east along the Seine until you reach Ile de la Cite. You’ll see Notre Dame and cross over the bridge. Wait in the long line for entrance (it’s worth it) and when you’ve had your fill, walk around to the back where you’ll see a small bridge across to Ile St. Louis, famous for its ice cream. Wait in another long line for your late afternoon treat and walk around the quaint streets. There are a lot of gourmet shops to stop into if you’re so inclined. Then head across Pont de Sully to the Latin Quarter and walk down Boulevard Saint-Germain to Rue St Jacques past the Sorbonne until you see the Pantheon on your left.
After your photo head away from the Pantheon down rue Soufflot and cross Blvd. St-Michel into the Jardin du Luxembourg. Grab a bench near the fountain and relax – this is a great place for people-watching on a summer evening. Wander the Latin Quarter’s bustling streets until you find your perfect place for dinner and afterwards head back up St-Michel toward the ferry docks across from Notre Dame.
Take a late-night boat tour through the gloriously lit city and under its famous bridges. If the weather is good, you’ll see people having picnics, parties, and dances along its banks. Rest your feet and take the Metro home.