Heading to Paris for the first time? Looking for the best Paris itinerary for 5 days? You’re in the right place.
Paris is the kind of city that never stops giving. Besides being the largest city in France, its twenty arrondissements are jam-packed with so many exciting things to do that picking the best can be pretty tough. You could spend weeks, or even months in this city without ever getting bored. That being said, if you put together the right Paris itinerary, 5 days are more than enough to capture the essence of this beautiful city – you’ll just need to be strategic.
Following this 5-day Paris itinerary, you’ll be able to see all the most famous landmarks, as well as some hidden gems.
5 Days in Paris: Itinerary for First Timers
Avenue Des Champs Elysees
Métro station: Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau – Line 1 (yellow) or line 13 (light blue)
Start your first day in Paris with a serene stroll along the iconic Champs Elysées.
One of the main touristic attractions in Paris, the Avenue des Champs Elysées is considered by many travelers one of the most beautiful streets in the world. It is truly majestic – 70 meters wide and almost 2 km long from the place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle. Parisians gather here faithfully for annual events such as the Bastille Day parades, the finish of the Tour de France, and New Year’s Eve. Why don’t you join them too?
Arc De Triomphe
Métro Station: Charles de Gaulle Etoile – Line 6 (green-blue)
After a long stroll up the Champs Elysées, you’ll eventually find yourself in front of the Arc De Triomphe. To get up there, don’t even think about crossing the roundabout, Paris’s busiest traffic hub – death is certain! Instead, take the underground passage and live a little longer. Note that visiting the Arc de Triomphe involves climbing up no less than 284 steps, but I’m telling you, it’s totally worth it, as you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views in the city.
Métro Station: Montparnasse Bienvenüe – Line 6 (green-blue)
It’s time to celebrate your first evening in Paris with a beautiful sunset. If you’re coming from the métro station Charles de Gaulle Etoile Station near Arc de Triomphe, then you can take the subway line 6 directly to Montparnasse Bienvenüe.
Tour Montparnasse is a 210-meter-tall office skyscraper located in the area of Montparnasse. Its gigantic proportions and monolithic appearance have been often criticized for being out of place in Paris’s urban landscape and, as a result, two years after its completion, the construction of skyscrapers in the city center was banned. Still, the tower deserves a visit, if only to get a glimpse of that gorgeous 360° view it provides. A super-fast lift will take you to the top where you’ll be able to shoot that one-million-dollar photo from the open-air roof terrace.
Métro station: Trocadéro – Line 6 (green-blue) or line 9 (yellow)
Rise and shine mes chéris, it’s time to get another day in Paris started. As corny and cliché may be considered, seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time is one of those epic moments in life that you will never forget. Besides, Paris is a city where embracing clichés is perfectly fine! And Trocadéro is definitely the best place in Paris to admire the Iron Lady.
Seine River and Pont Alexandre III
When you’ve finished Instagramming the Eiffel Tower, head over to the banks of the Seine and cross Pont Alexandre III.
A stroll along the Seine will show you wonderful sights of everyday Parisien life. Take your time, wander around, and enjoy all the beautiful landmarks built through the centuries. Spanning the Seine between the Grand Palais and the lawn of Invalides, the splendidly ornamental Pont Alexandre III is a romantic backdrop that often pops up in wedding photos (and even in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris). With its golden framework and perfect symmetry, Pont Alexandre is beautiful by day and especially charming at night.
Jardin De Tuilerie and Orangerie
After crossing Pont Alexandre III, turn right and then walk through the Jardin de Tuileries – a huge garden with fountains and crushed stone walkways. This is the perfect place to relax, maybe get ice cream, and engage in some serious people-watching.
Just around the corner, the intimate Musée de l’Orangerie is also a lovely break to take from your stroll around the city. Home to Claude Monet’s masterpiece water lily series called Nymphéas, the Musée de l’Orangerie is one of the most famous Paris artistic gems. Sitting in the center of the grand oval gallery you’ll be surrounded by an enchanting flow of blues and greens.
Cross Pont Alexandre III in the opposite direction and you will find yourself right in front of the lovely Museum D’Orsay, highly regarded by most art lovers who come to Paris to enjoy the most valuable items of French art. The museum exhibits plenty of late French art dating back to the late 19th – 20th centuries. The most valuable collections of the museum include the works of the impressionists like Monet, Degas, and Renoir.
Musee du Louvre
Métro Station: Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre – (Line 1, yellow)
I hope you slept well and that you are refreshed enough to take on a new day! Start day 3 of your 5 days in Paris by visiting the Louvre – this place needs all your strength and undivided attention.
With a collection of more than 30.000 works of art and relics, the Musée du Louvre is the world’s largest and most visited museum, with representative examples from almost every civilization on Earth. The collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings. It’s nearly impossible to see them all, but if you’d like to try, it does help to have a plan of action and choose in advance which works see.
Métro Station: Opéra – Line 3 (green); line 7 (pink); line 8 (light purple)
In the same district of the Louvre Museum, there is the Opera Garnier, one of the world’s renowned opera houses. The Opera Garnier is certainly one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. Not only does it welcome world-class opera and ballet performances, but its architectural beauty and interior decoration make it a visit not to be missed. At the end of the 19th century, the Opera Garnier was the place to be for some small talk among the elite!
After this cultural-heavy day, it is time to give your brain a break and let your wallet feel a little lighter. The Galeries Lafayette in Paris is in the same vein as Harrod’s in London, Bloomingdale’s in New York or Isetan in Tokyo. You can find all the major brands of ready-to-wear and lingerie, cosmetics, fragrances and jewellery.
Sacre Coeur Basilica
Métro station: Abbesses – Line 12 (green); Anvers – Line 2 (blue)
Montmartre is the highest Paris hill at 130 meters. Rural until 1900, it became famous in late 1800 with the arrival of artists such as Renoir, Van Gogh, and Picasso. In spite of the affluence of tourists from all over the world, Montmartre still keeps its charm and its villagey atmosphere. Montmartre’s most recognizable landmark is the Basilica du Sacré-Coeur, constructed from 1876 to 1912. The white dome of this Roman Catholic basilica sits at the highest point in the city.
Place Du Tertre
The square is also lined with lovely 18th-century buildings featuring busy restaurants, crepe stands, and cafés. Many places have outdoor seating, allowing tourists to soak up the scene.
Sorbonne and Latin Quarter
Métro station: Cluny, La Sorbonne – Line 10 (yellow)
No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Latin Quarter in the 5th arrondissement. The area’s many cafés and restaurants are laid-back, welcoming, and filled with Parisians, students, and tourists. There are several attractions to visit, like the Pantheon, the Musée National du Moyen-Âge, the Luxembourg gardens and museum, and the Arènes de Lutèce. As you stroll through the district you will also come across Sorbonne, the best-known university in Paris.
Straight ahead, on the opposite bank of the Seine, you will find the Centre Pompidou and the Marais district.
Just as modern on the outside as it is on the inside, the Centre Pompidou is housed in a building you will not soon forget. The museum not only features well-known masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Duchamp, and Miró, but those of 5,000 other artists as well. Explore the history of Cubism, Surrealism, Fauvism, and Abstract Expressionism with over 50,000 works of late 19th-20th century art spread over 5 acres.
If Paris has a heart, then this is it. One of Paris’ most popular attractions, Notre Dame de Paris is a Gothic cathedral built in the 12th and 13th centuries. It was the site of Joan of Arc’s canonization and the coronation of Napoleon I. It is perched on the Ile de la Cite, which represents, as I mentioned, the heart of Paris. Fun fact? Ile de la Cite is the exact point where Paris was ‘born’ when the Parisii Celtic tribes settled here a long, long time ago.
I think that’s a delightful way to end your Paris itinerary, right?
So there you have it, a perfectly planned out itinerary for 5 days in Paris!
If you haven’t already, check out this list of fun facts about Paris, so you can get to know a little bit about this city before your trip and make your visit even more exciting.
Tags: 5 days in Paris; Paris in 5 days; Paris itinerary 5 days