Definitive guide

5 days in Paris: The perfect itinerary for a 5-day trip

The best attractions, museums, monuments, and parks: the ideal itinerary for a five-day stay in Paris.

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Paris has some of the world’s most interesting museums and breathtaking architecture, which means you really have endless options for your trip. The itinerary we propose here is obviously only a suggestion. You can and should play around with it according to your interests and taste.

Just keep in mind that the visits for each day are arranged as to maximise your available time and minimise your commutes. That means you’ll see attractions that are geographically close to one another on the same day. However, we did also consider that most people can’t visit several museums on the same day without feeling some level of exhaustion. So worry not, the itinerary is packed but not impossibly so.

We intend a 5-day trip to be five full days, morning to night time. If you arrive in the evening and have another five days to follow, we suggest you take it easy for the first night and do something light.

The very first thing you do could be something to get familiarised with the city and its highlights, like a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Hop-on hop-off buses have audio guides that give you all sorts of information about their itinerary and the monuments they pass by. The most recommendable tourist bus companies are Big Bus and Tootbus. You can get your tickets for a Big Bus tour here and a Tootbus hop-on hop-off tour here .

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower in Paris at night
The Eiffel tower gets lit up at night, making it one of the top nighttime sights in the city.

Something else you could do on your first night is to go enjoy the nighttime view of the lit-up Eiffel Tower. What awaits you is one of the most romantic and breathtaking views in Paris. Every night, every hour on the dot, a light show made up of 20,000 light bulbs illuminates the entire Tower. The installation is lit up for 5 minutes at a time, so you have to be on time to see it.

If you are tired, you might not want to climb up the Tower on the first night, but if you intend to do so, make sure to book your tickets to the Eiffel’s top online . Queues are always extremely long at the site, so going there without a ticket will get you waiting. Remember the Eiffel is open until 11:45 pm every day, but the last admissions are at 10:45 pm.

If you are not going up, you can still get beautiful views of the Eiffel from the nearby Champ de Mars - the gardens just behind the Tour Eiffel - and the Jardins du Trocadéro, the gardens on the other side of the Seine.

Eiffel Tower Practical Information

  • Location: Champ de Mars 5, 7th arrondissement
  • Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 9:30 am to 11:45 pm (last admissions at 10:45 pm).
  • Tickets: Between € 17.10 and € 26.80, depending on how high up you want to go. Discounts for children available.
  • Paris Museum Pass: not applicable.

Day 1

For your first full day in the city, we propose staying close to the Seine river and enjoying some of the most well-known attractions. All the sights and museums are within walking distance of each other, so once you get there you won’t need to use much transport.

Louvre Museum

Louvre Museum outside view at night
In the Louvre’s Napoleon Courtyard you can find the pyramid, designed by I. M. Pei.

The Musée du Louvre is the world’s most-visited museum, and probably the most famous as well. The Louvre is where you find some of the most important masterpieces of European art, including da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo along with thousands of others.

Remember that it is physically impossible to visit the Louvre all in one day. To get the best experience, check out the museum’s directory and pick the sections you want to see. We suggest one or two maximum since they are so big.

Unless you want to queue outside - which can take quite some time, with the number of visitors the Louvre gets - you should book your entries online. You can book an audio guide visit ticket to the Louvre here or Louvre entries without audioguides here .

Louvre Museum Practical Information

  • Location: Rue de Rivoli, 1st arrondissement
  • Opening times: Every day, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (last admission at 5:00 pm). Late closure on Fridays: 9:45 pm closing time (last admission at 8:45 pm). Closed on Tuesdays.
  • Tickets: €17.00. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Île de la Cité: Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Conciergerie

Île de la Cité in Paris seen from above
Île de la Cité in Paris seen from above. Author: Pierre Metivier. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Once you are done at the Louvre, you just need to follow the course of the river Seine and crossing Pont Neuf you’ll find yourself on the Île de la Cité. Pont Neuf, built in 1578, is Paris’ oldest standing bridge and one of the most beautiful ones, with its strong stone pillars.

Île de la Cité is an island on the Seine and was one of the first areas of the city to be settled. Packed on its small surface are some of the city’s most appreciated historical buildings. The most well-known ones are the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Paris, the Sainte-Chapelle (an extraordinary Gothic church), and the Conciergerie, a palace which became the most infamous prison during the French Revolution.

Just like with the Louvre, you should get your tickets in advance to avoid wasting time in line. You can book your tickets for the Sainte-Chapelle here . Unfortunately, the reconstruction works at Notre-Dame de Paris are not finished yet, so the inside of the cathedral cannot be visited. However, there are outdoor tours of Notre-Dame available . A guide will tell you all about the cathedral’s history and significance.

Sainte-Chapelle Practical Information

  • Location: Boulevard du Palais 10, Île de la Cité.
  • Opening times: 1st Apr - 30th Sept: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (last admission at 6:20 pm). 1st Oct - 31st Mar: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last admission at 4:20 pm).
  • Tickets: € 11.50. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Conciergerie Practical Information

  • Location: Bulevard du Palais 2, Île de la Cité.
  • Opening times: Every day, 9:30 am to 6:00 pm (last admission at 5:15 pm).
  • Tickets: € 11.50. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Luxembourg Garden or Jardin des Plantes

Luxembourg Garden in Paris
On their days off, locals like to relax at the Luxembourg Gardens.

After much visiting, you can finish your day off with a peaceful walk through the park. Two beautiful gardens not far from the Île de la Cité are the Jardin des Plantes and the Jardin du Luxembourg.

While the Luxembourg Garden is more of a public park, ideal for a relaxing stroll, the Jardin des Plantes is actually a botanical garden with lots of greenhouses, controlled microclimate areas, and medicinal gardens, as well as a zoo (the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes) and the National Museum of Natural History, for which you can reserve family tickets here .

Day 2

On day two, you’ll be spending visiting numerous Parisian landmarks in the western areas of the centre. You can use public transport to move between different points, but we suggest a boat cruise to give you the full experience.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe in Paris
The Arc de Triomphe rests on four pillars that meet in a vault, under which is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

To start the day off, you can head to the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, a monument to French military victories. Climbing atop the Arc de Triomphe you can get a view over the twelve intersecting avenues of Paris.

The view from up there is truly something magical. It attracts lots of tourists every day, so we suggest you book your tickets to the Arc de Triomphe’s panoramic terrace in advance . Aside from the view, the Arc is a magnificent monument on its own, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lying underneath its vault.

Arc de Triomphe Practical Information

  • Location: Place Charles de Gaulle, 8th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: 1st October - 31st March: 10:00 am to 10:30 pm (last admission at 9:45 pm). 1st April - 30th Sept: 10:00 am to 11:00 pm (last admission at 10:15 pm)
  • Tickets: € 13.00. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Champs-Elysees

Champs-Élysées in Paris
It is common for parades to take place in the Champs-Élysées, especially on the occasion of national holidays.

Of all the streets that depart from the Arc de Triomphe, the most well-known is the Champs-Élysées. This avenue stretches from the Arc to the historical Place de la Concorde.

To be able to see the entirety of the Champs-Élysées, its trees, luxury shops, and curated hedges we suggest getting on a hop-on hop-off bus. On these open-top buses, you’ll get the best view of this iconic street. You can book your tickets for Tootbus hop-on hop-off buses here or tickets for a Big Bus tour here .

Tuileries and Orangerie Museum

Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris Exposition
Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris Exposition. Author: Brady Brenot. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

At the end of the Champs-Élysées, behind Place de la Concorde, you’ll find the Jardin des Tuileries, an exquisitely curated garden, and the Musée de l’Orangerie. The art gallery is known for its collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works, including Monet’s Water Lilies.

If you want to visit the impressive collection in the museum, remember to book your tickets before going, otherwise, you’ll have to waste time queueing. You can reserve your entries to the Orangerie here .

Orangerie Museum Practical Information

  • Location: Jardin Tuileries, 1st arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Every day, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, last admissions at 5:15 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
  • Tickets: € 12.50. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Petit Palais

Petit Palais in Paris
Author: Edgardo W. Olivera. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Heading back west again, you will find the Petit Palais. The Palace houses Paris’ Museum of Fine Arts, known for its varied collections. They include Mediaeval and Renaissance holdings, 18th-century furniture sets, and 19th-century paintings and sculptures.

However, even if you don’t want to visit the inside of the Petit Palais, we recommend you go just to admire the beautiful Beaux-Arts design and grand architecture.

Petit Palais Practical Information

  • Location: Avenue Winston Churchill, 8th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (last admission at 4:45 pm).Friday and Saturday: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm (last admission at 5:45 pm). Closed on Mondays.
  • Tickets: free for everyone.
  • Paris Museum Pass: not included.

Pont Alexandre III and Les Invalides

Les Invalides Paris
Les Invalides complex stretches for about 450 metres (almost 1,500 feet).

Next up you can cross Pont Alexandre III, known as the most beautiful bridge in Paris. On the other side of it, you’ll be right in front of the Les Invalides complex.

Les Invalides is a military honorary complex. It includes a military museum, the museum of military models, and the Tomb of Napoleon. As per usual, if you intend to visit, you should book ahead of time to avoid lines. You can get your tickets for the Hôtel des Invalides here .

Les Invalides Practical Information

  • Location: Rue de Grenelle 129, 7th arrondissement
  • Opening times: Mondays + Wednesday through Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (last admissions at 5:30 pm). Tuesday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm (last admissions at 8:30 pm).
  • Tickets: €14.00
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Seine river cruise

Batobus shuttle hop on hop off boat Paris
Author: Guilhem Vellut. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

After much museum-hopping, the perfect way to relax (while also getting to your last destination for the day) is to go on a charming river cruise. Batobus offers the most reliable service and you can catch it opposite Les Invalides, so it’s the one we recommend.

If you want to go for the entire tour, you can catch the Batobus outside Les Invalides (southern river bank), but if you want to get to the Eiffel Tower quickly, you should catch it on the other side of the bridge, in front of Place de la Concorde (northern bank of the river).

Batobus Practical Information

  • Itinerary: Les Invalides complex - Musée d’Orsay - Saint-Germain-des-Prés - Notre Dame - Jardin des plantes - Hôtel de Ville - Louvre Museum - Place de la Concorde - Tour Eiffel
  • Schedule: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
  • Tickets: € 20.00 for a 1-day ticket, € 22.00 for a 2-day ticket. Discounts for children available.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower in Paris seen from Seine River
If you have already visited the Eiffel Tower on your first night, you can still get a beautiful view from the boat.

This is the time for you to visit the Eiffel Tower if you haven’t already done so on your first night. Remember the best views over the tower are from Champ de Mars (just behind the Tour Eiffel) and from the Jardins du Trocadéro (on the other side of the Seine).

Climbing to the top (don’t worry, there’s a lift) you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city: you can book your tickets to the Eiffel’s top here .

Eiffel Tower Practical Information

  • Location: Champ de Mars 5, 7th arrondissement
  • Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 9:30 am to 11:45 pm (last admissions at 10:45 pm).
  • Tickets: Between € 17.10 and € 26.80, depending on how high up you want to go. Discounts for children available.
  • Paris Museum Pass: not applicable.

Day 3

Your third day is going to be a lot easier in terms of the itinerary because you’ll dedicate most of the day to one site.

Versailles

Versailles Palace in Paris interiors
The Hall of Mirrors, pictured here, is one of the most famous rooms in the Palace.

The Palace of Versailles, also known as Château de Versailles is a former royal residence. The palace was built in the 17th century and holds great historical and artistic importance, aside from being a major museum.

At the Versailles Palace, you can expect decorated halls, precious artwork, lavish rooms, and neatly curated gardens with fountain shows in the warmer months. You can get your entries to the Versailles Palace or the entire Estate here . For a guided tour of the whole Estate, you can click here . If you want to be fully worry-free, you can even book a guided tour ticket with included transfer from and back to the city .

Palace of Versailles Practical Information

  • Location: Versailles, 12 miles south-west of Paris
  • Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 9:30 am to 11:45 pm (last admissions at 10:45 pm).
  • Tickets: Between €19.50 (only the Palace) or €28.50 (entire Estate). Discounts and selected entries available for minors.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Cabaret

Cabaret in Paris Moulin Rouge
Author: Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Once you are back in Paris, it will be the perfect time to get ready to spend a night indulging in the most famous form of entertainment in the city, cabaret. There are actually a few different clubs that offer cabaret shows in the centre, so here is a summary of the most famous.

Day 4

On day four, you’re going to explore some of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Paris, just south of the Seine. You’ll have quite a few museum options to choose from, so pick the ones that best fit your taste.

Tour Montparnasse

Tour Montparnasse - the highest building in Paris
Tour Montparnasse - the highest building in Paris. Author: Андрей Бобровский. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

First thing in the morning, you can head to Tour Maine-Montparnasse, a 210-metre tall (689 feet) skyscraper with an observation deck. From there, you’ll get a 360° view of the entire city and all its landmarks. If you get your tickets to the Montparnasse panoramic terrace online , you’ll get a cheaper price than in person, aside from skipping the queues.

Tour Montparnasse Practical Information

  • Location: Avenue du Maine 33, 15th arrondissement
  • Opening times: Monday to Thursday and Sunday: 9:30 am to 10:30 pm (last admission at 10:00 pm).Friday and Saturday: 9:30 am to 11:00 pm (last admission at 10:30 pm).
  • Tickets: €18.00 (in person). Discounts available for minors and children.
  • Paris Museum Pass: not applicable.

Catacombs

Paris Catacombs
Inside the Catacombs, human bones line the walls and corridors, creating patterns and sometimes even images.

Not far from Montparnasse are the Paris Catacombs, an underground ossuary estimated to hold the remains of more than six million people. The site is home to incredible - if a bit grotesque - structures and arrangements made of human bones and skulls.

The Catacombs are an extremely popular destination, but unfortunately, the space inside is a bit cramped, meaning the number of visitors allowed at a time is limited. For this reason, you have to get your tickets for the Catacombs in advance .

Catacombs Practical Information

  • Location: Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy 1, 14th arrondissement
  • Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday: 9:45 am to 8:30 pm (last admission at 7:30 pm). Closed on Mondays.
  • Tickets: €29.00. Discounts for young visitors and minors available.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Latin Quarter

The streets of Latin Quarter in Paris
Author: Oliver Romo Miranda. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Heading north from the Catacombs, you’ll find Paris’ academic neighbourhood, the Latin Quarter. The area is known for its historical (especially Mediaeval) architecture and prestigious higher education institutions. We suggest you take your time to explore the neighbourhood a bit before paying a visit to the beautiful museums in the area.

The two most well-known attractions are the Panthéon (historical mausoleum containing the remains of illustrious French nationals) and the Musée Cluny (National Museum of the Middle Ages), As with all other museums, it’s much better to get your tickets online before you go, so you can skip the queues and save time.

Cluny Museum Practical Information

  • Location: Rue du Sommerard 28, Latin Quarter, 5th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30 am to 6:15 pm (last admission at 5:30 pm). Closed on Mondays.
  • Tickets: €12.00. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Panthéon Practical Information

  • Location: Place du Panthéon, Latin Quarter, 5th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: 1st Apr - 15th June: 10:00 am to 6:30 pm (last admission at 5:45 pm).

15th Jun - 30th Sept: 10:45 am to 7:00 pm (last admission at 6:15 pm).

1st Oct - 31st Mar: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (last admission at 5:15 pm).

  • Tickets: € 11.50. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

St-Germain-des-Prés

The streets St-Germain-des-Prés
Author: Celette. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Slightly north-west of the Latin Quarter is another famous neighbourhood, St-Germain-des-Prés. The area is known for its rich history, art institutions, and elegant atmosphere, to which the numerous gourmet dining options contribute greatly.

Rodin Museum

Musée Rodin in Paris facade
Musée Rodin in Paris. Author: Dalbera. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Further west of Saint-Germain des-Prés, you will find a prestigious art gallery, the Musée Rodin. The museum is completely dedicated to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin and his personal collections. It includes a collection of more than 6,000 sculptures and thousands of other artefacts like drawings and photographs.

As always, it’s best to book your entries for the Musée Rodin in advance to avoid standing in line at the entrance or not finding tickets.

Rodin Museum Practical Information

  • Location: Rue de Varenne 77, 7th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:30 pm (last admission at 5:30 pm). Closed on Mondays.
  • Tickets: €13.00. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Musée d’Orsay

Musée d’Orsay in Paris
The Orsay Museum is located inside a Beaux-Arts style ex-railway station.

Closer to the river is the Musée d’Orsay. This is one of Paris’ top museums, famous for its large Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection. Considering how popular of a destination this gallery is, it’s best if you get your entries for the Orsay in advance .

Musée d’Orsay Practical Information

  • Location: Rue de la Légion d’Honneur 1, 7th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Every day, 9:30 am to 6:00 pm (last admission at 5:00 pm). Late closure on Thursdays (9:45 pm with last admissions at 9:00 pm). Closed on Mondays.
  • Tickets: € 16.00. Free for minors and EEA citizens under 26.
  • Paris Museum Pass: free admission.

Day 5

On your last day in Paris, you will visit some more beautiful neighbourhoods and two of the most appreciated sights in the city. On this last day, you might need to use transport a bit more to move between the various sites. However, everything in the itinerary is in the city centre (Zone 1).

Pere-Lachaise Cemetery

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise
Author: Andrea S. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

You can start your final day in the city by going to the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, the world’s most visited cemetery. Père-Lachaise is as beautiful as it is well-known. Its hills and curated footpaths are lined with solemn mausoleums and beautiful monuments.

Among the numerous graves are buried hundreds of famous personalities. Among them are Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, and Frédéric Chopin. Père-Lachaise Cemetery is rather large, so we suggest getting a tour guide to show you around the most beautiful areas and notable tombs . You can still visit on your own, it’s just best to have someone to guide you through it.

Père-Lachaise Cemetery Practical Information

  • Location: Rue du Repos 16, 20th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Monday to Friday: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Saturday: 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
  • Tickets: Free.
  • Paris Museum Pass: not applicable.

Le Marais

The streets of Le Marais district in Paris
Author: Henrik Berger Jørgensen. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Le Marais is known as the most fashionable neighbourhood in central Paris. This upscale area is home to several historical buildings (previously aristocratic townhouses) and curated squares.

The area is obviously best explored on foot, so just make sure you don’t miss out on the famous Place des Vosges.

La Madeleine

Interior of the Église de la Madeleine church in Paris
Interior of the Église de la Madeleine church in Paris. Author: Joe deSousa. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

North-west of Le Marais is a famous Neoclassical church, the Église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine. From the outside, the church looks like an ancient Greek temple, while the inside is richly decorated with bright colours.

La Madeleine Practical Information

  • Location: Place de la Madeleine, 8th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Every day, 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.
  • Tickets: Free
  • Paris Museum Pass: not applicable.

Palais Garnier

Opera Garnier in Paris - interiors
The ceiling of the Grand Foyer is meant to represent various moments in the history of music.

Just a stone’s throw away from La Madeleine is Paris’ historical opera house, Palais Garnier. Opéra Garnier is an Eclectic style building, which means you’ll see a beautiful amalgamation of architectural influences.

If you like ballet, you can get a ticket for one of the shows at night, otherwise, Palais Garnier is open for visits as a historical building. You can get your entries to visit the Opéra Garnier here.

Palais Garnier Practical Information

  • Location: Place de l’Opéra, 9th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Every day, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (last admissions at 4:15 pm).
  • Tickets: €14.00 or €12.00, depending on whether there are exhibitions. Discounts for children apply.
  • Paris Museum Pass: not applicable.

Montmartre

The streets of Montmartre district in Paris
Among other things, Montmartre is famous for its scenic little streets, gently sloping up and down the hill.

As the day comes to an end, head north to Montmartre. You’ll have to get a bus or the Montmartre Funicular to get to the neighbourhood, but it will be worth it. This is one of the most romantic and whimsical districts of Paris.

Among the unmissable landmarks are the Neo-Byzantine Basilique du Sacré-Coeur and the historical Place du Tertre. However, we really recommend you get a walking tour of Montmartre with a local to learn about the neighbourhood’s rich past .

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur Practical Information

  • Location: Parvis du Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, 18th arrondissement.
  • Opening times: Every day, 6:30 am to 10:30 pm
  • Tickets: Free
  • Paris Museum Pass: not applicable.

Getting around in Paris

In Paris you can get a great service from the public transport networks. Whenever public transport is not available or not the fastest option (late at night, trips to or from the airport), there also are other solutions, like taxis or bike and scooter rentals.

The public transport network consists of the following.

In the city centre, you’ll mainly use the Métro and buses. You’ll only use the RER and Montmartre funicular occasionally, and you’re not likely to use the tramway at all.

Our recommendations

Try to walk as much as possible to be able to enjoy the scenery. Use transport when you have to cover longer distances.

In terms of transport zones, the city centre corresponds to Zone 1, where you’ll be spending the great majority of your time. The exceptions to this are your trips to the airport and the Versailles Palace, of course. Both the Château de Versailles and the Orly Airport are in transport Zone 4. Charles de Gaulle Airport is in Zone 5. If you want to find out more about how to get around in Paris, you can read our article on Parisian transport.

As for private transfers and taxis, they are best used occasionally. They are great for airport-city transfers or late at night when there are fewer buses available and the Métro is closed. A short cab ride within the city centre should cost between €10.00 - €15.00.

Bus driving on the streets of Paris
Paris has almost 24h bus service, thanks to its daytime lines and the nighttime Noctilien bus services.

What tickets and passes to get

As for transport passes, there are a few options. Here are the ones we recommend and why.

  • If you’re not going to be using transport a lot, you should get the T+ 10 carnet**. This is a** 10-journey transport pass, it costs €14.90 and it is valid for 10 journeys throughout Paris’ transport network (in Zone 1 only). That means you will have to buy separate tickets for your journeys outside of the city centre (the airport and Versailles).
  • If you want to use public transport for more than just a few trips and you are visiting within the week (for instance, Monday to Friday or Wednesday to Sunday), you need to get a weekly Passe Navigo. The pass covers all zones and the entire public transport network, costing €22.80. Unfortunately, if you arrive in Paris between Friday and Sunday, you won’t be able to get the pass, as it is sold only on weekdays, to be used during the current week.
  • If you intend to rely heavily on public transport but you are visiting in between weeks (for example Friday to Tuesday, or Saturday to Wednesday), the ideal will be a 5-day Paris Visite pass. You can either get one for the city centre (zones 1-3 option) or include the entire network map (zones 1-5 option). Remember that if you get the first option, you’ll have to get separate tickets for your trips to Versailles and the airport. The prices are as follows.
Paris Visite 5 days
Adult
Cost
Paris Visite 5 days Zone 1-3 Zones 1-5
Adult Children* Adult
Cost €38.35 €19.15

Tips to maximise your available time

Our recommendations

You can move through the city and get information about the most important sites at the same time with hop-on hop-off bus tours and Seine river cruises.

Commuting from one attraction to the other can feel like you’re wasting time without being able to see the city’s views and monuments. However, if you get on a hop-on hop-off bus or a Seine river cruise, you’ll get to commute while also sightseeing and learning about those very monuments. All of Paris’ most important attractions are part of the itineraries and there are always audio guides in several languages on board.

The bus companies we recommend are Tootbus and BigBus, the two most well-known in Paris. You can get 1 or 2-day tickets for BigBus here , or buy 1, 2 or 3-day tickets with Tootbus here .

The river cruise works pretty much just like the hop-on hop-off buses, except that it’s a boat. Batobus offers the best service, and you can buy your Batobus tickets online, which gives you a discount over buying in person .

The airports

Depending on the airport you are flying to and from, there are different transport options available.

Charles De Gaulle Airport, in Zone 5, is the largest one. You can move between CDG and the centre with RER train line B or by bus. If you prefer private transport, you can book your private transfer to or from CDG Airport here directly . You can find in-depth details about how to reach the airport in our dedicated article.

Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris
Author: Eric Salard. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Orly Airport, in Zone 4, is Paris’ second largest. You can reach it using a combination of the airport’s shuttle services and RER train lines B or C. Of course, the third option is a taxi. You can get a private transfer between the city and Orly Airport here . If you need more information about Orly Airport transport options, you can read our article.

The smallest airport in Paris is Beauvais Airport. It is not as well-connected as the other two, so you can take the shuttle bus to the city centre or arrange a private transfer between the city and BVA airport . However, the latter option will be rather expensive. You can find all the details about Beauvais Airport in our article.

Where to stay

While accommodation outside the city centre tends to be easier to find and cheaper, we recommend trying to find something as close to the city centre as you can, since you are not staying for long. Anything in arrondissements 1 to 9 or even in Montmartre (18th arrondissement) will be close enough to other attractions that you won’t be wasting unnecessary time commuting.

If you’re worried about safety, know that the entire city centre is pretty much the same in those terms, so you don’t have much to worry about. If you tend to stay out late at night, it’s best to avoid areas close to the major train stations, which tend to be a bit more dangerous at night. The stations you should avoid late at night are Gare du Nord, Barbès-Rochechouart, Stalingrad, and Jaures.

In any case, the most important piece of advice we can give concerning accommodation in Paris is to book early. Hotels, apartments, and rooms sell out quickly, especially around popular holidays. Start looking and booking immediately, otherwise finding a place to stay might become a problem.

Accommodation in Paris
For short stays, it’s best to invest in the location of your accommodation so that you don’t have to travel far to reach the centre.

When to visit and seasons

Paris is great all year round, so you should choose the time of your visit according to your personal preferences and availability. In winter, Paris is extremely romantic and the Christmas holidays are particularly lovely, as the whole city is decorated for the occasion. Although the weather is a bit cold, it makes for the perfect time to enjoy the local cuisine.

Summer is a great time too, with warm, sunny weather and long hours of daylight. This is ideal if you like to spend time outside in the parks and by the river. Spring and autumn are the quieter seasons and the most temperate in terms of climate.

For our taste, the ideal time to travel to Paris is early autumn or the late spring. In May and September-October the weather is warm but never so hot that it gets miserable. The city is alive and eventful without being crowded, which means accommodation prices are more accessible than in summer, Christmas-time, or around any other popular holiday.

Streets of Paris during different seasons
Streets of Paris during different seasons

To know more about the climate in Paris, check out our dedicated article.

Remember that a few museums in the city are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you are visiting on those two days, you’ll have to work around their closing days.

The Musée d’Orsay, Musée Rodin (both on day 4 on the itinerary), and Versailles Palace (day 3) are closed on Mondays, while the Louvre (day 1 on the itinerary), the Musée l’Orangerie (day 2 on the itinerary), and the Centre Pompidou (day 5 on the itinerary) are closed on Tuesdays.

Additionally, almost all sites of tourist interest are closed on the 1st of May and on the 25th of December. In our opinion, the ideal days for a 5-day Paris trip are Wednesday to Sunday.

General tips

  • Book your accommodation now. Even if you think it’s still early, we promise it’s not. Hotels and apartments in Paris get booked and expensive very quickly. If you wait too long, it might be too late to find what you need. You can find and book your accommodation in the dedicated section of our website.
  • Book your tickets online. Some museums require this (meaning you can’t get a ticket in person) while all others recommend it. Even if advance booking is not required, having to get a ticket in person means having to stand in line and waste time, so you want to avoid that.
  • Unless you’re only visiting a couple of museums, get a 4 or 6-day Paris Museum Pass. The pass gives you free access to almost all monuments and museums in Paris and lets you skip the queues at the entrance. You can get your Paris Museum Pass here .
  • Keep a water bottle with you and stay hydrated. You’re going to have a few intense days and you want to avoid feeling sick in the middle of a museum. You can refill your water from the tap: in Paris, tap water is always drinkable unless it is specified on a sign.
  • Pickpockets are everywhere. Especially at busy (tourist) sites. Make yourself a difficult target: keep an eye on your belongings, always close your bag, and don’t look too lost. Don’t be fooled by looks, pickpockets could look like anyone. You can look up all of our safety tips for your stay in Paris.

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Introduction
5 days in Paris: The perfect itinerary for a 5-day trip