5 Days in Paris Itinerary: Daily Guide on What to Do and Where to Eat

There is never enough time to see everything you want to see during a trip to Paris, let alone spend enough time soaking in the Parisian culture over a cup of coffee or glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe. However, if you only have 5 days in Paris, you will still be able to see all of the highlights — and have time to enjoy the City of Light too!

To best enjoy your five days in Paris and to fit everything in, you really need to plan carefully to understand what museums are open on which days and how to avoid the largest crowds. That is where this Paris itinerary comes in! I spent hours and hours planning our recent family trip to Paris and to save you a little time, I’ve laid it all out in this 5 day Paris itinerary.

La Favorite cafe in Paris with pink flowers and pink and white striped awnings

Planning a trip to Paris

If you are just starting to think about an upcoming vacation, be sure to read my Paris planning checklist so that you can start planning your trip to Paris early enough. And if you aren’t sure how much a trip to Paris costs, I’ve put together a Paris trip budget breakdown.

Here are a few important things to keep in mind that will impact your Paris itinerary:

  • Many museums and cultural sites are closed on either Mondays or Tuesdays. For example, Versailles, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Musée Rodin are closed on Mondays. Meanwhile, the Louvre, Musée de l’Orangerie, Pompidou Centre, and others are closed on Tuesdays.
  • Banks, shops, supermarkets and many restaurants are closed on Sundays. You may also find a number of restaurants closed on Mondays.
  • When planning your visit, also keep in mind French holidays, especially days like Bastille Day on July 14th, May Day, Victory in Europe day on May 8th, and Armistice Day on November 11th, but also religious holidays such as Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday and Monday, Assumption of Mary, All Saint’s Day, and St. Stephen’s Day.
  • Reservations are highly recommended for dining in Paris. Many times you can make reservations through the restaurant website or through services like The Fork.
  • French schools get out for the summer in early July, so if you can visit in June, you can beat some of the crowds.
  • Also keep in mind that many Europeans go on vacation in August, so you will find more crowds (although many tend to head to the beaches) and some smaller shops and restaurants will close.
  • Many museums require timed-entry tickets which need to be purchased in advance (even if you have a Paris Museum Pass, you will still need to make a no-charge reservation.)
  • Likewise, popular attractions such as the Eiffel Tower sell out so it is best to purchase timed-entry tickets well in advance to avoid queuing for hours to get same-day tickets.

These are all important to keep in mind when building your Paris itinerary! Another large factor that will impact your Paris itinerary is where you stay. The Paris metro is great for getting around (except when they are on strike), but you will want to plan your days based on your location and the attractions that are in proximity to each other.

I always recommend mapping it out using Google Maps and starring or saving points of interest, your hotel, and restaurants so that you can have a visual representation of what you want to do. If this is your first time in Paris, I’d recommend staying in Central Paris, within easy walking distance to most attractions.

Google Map of Paris with points of interest starred and saved

Where to stay in Paris

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. All opinions are my own.

Girl and father outside of the Relais Saint Germain Hotel entrance

We stayed at the Hotel Le Relais Saint Germain in the 6th arrondissement or the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. This area is highly recommended for first-time visitors to Paris because it feels authentic and is convenient without being overly touristy. I loved the accessibility of this hotel, just a two-minute walk to the Odeon Metro station or cab stand with some fabulous restaurants just outside of our door.

From the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood we were able to walk to so many things: the Louvre (15 minutes), Musée d’Orsay (20 minutes), Île de la Citê (10-15 minutes), the Latin Quarter (10 minutes), and Luxembourg Gardens (5-10 minutes).

For our stay, we opted for the suite with a terrace for my husband and me (although I wish the weather was better to spend more time on the terrace) and a superior room for my daughter. Since this was a splurge graduation trip for her, she got her own room. While the hotel wouldn’t be ideal for families with young children, it was perfect for a teen.

The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, and the rooms were quite spacious by Parisian standards with so much character. For our first family trip to Paris, I wanted a hotel that had personality instead of a cookie-cutter chain hotel. If you are looking for a more budget and family-friendly option in this neighborhood, I would check out the Citadines Saint-Germain-Des-Pres. Although I will say that the rates were not bad given the space and style, with breakfast included too.

While we chose to stay at a hotel for this trip, many visitors, especially families, may prefer a more local feel by renting an apartment. I’ve put together an entire guide to help you source and select a holiday apartment in Paris.

5 Day Paris Itinerary

Alexander III bridge over the Seine River with the Eiffel Tower in the background

We actually spent six days in Paris, but since our arrival day was mostly just spent walking around and getting over our jet lag, I focused our activities on our full five days in Paris. If you have 6 days or a week in Paris, you will have more downtime, or time for a day trip to Versailles, Disneyland Paris, Giverney, or the Champagne region.

If you have read this itinerary and still want some additional help planning your trip to Paris or the French Riviera, connect with Pascal from Go Ask A Local. He’s a local guide based in Paris who specializes in food, wine, art, and culture. He’s spent over a decade helping travelers explore his country and offers trip planning consultations on Zoom.

Day one – SUnday

Morning – Île de Cité

Ile de la Cite from the Pont des Arts bridge

If you arrive on a Saturday, you can take some time to acclimate and recover from jetlag so that on Sunday morning you are ready to start exploring. I’m going to lay out our Paris itinerary for 5 days exactly as we did it, but also make suggestions for tweaks along the way.

I tried to arrange our visit so that we could explore a different neighborhood in Paris each day. On the first day, we visited the Île de la Cité, which is an island in the River Seine and where you will find famous landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle (famous for its stained glass windows), and Place Dauphine (famous from “Midnight in Paris”), as well as the Monument to Holocaust Deportees.

To better understand this area, we booked an Ile de la Cite walking tour with LivTours. We had a great two-hour tour with Ferit from LivTours, really digging into the history of this neighborhood and some of the main attractions. If you do want to visit on your own, you can find an audio guide for a self-guided walking tour on the VoiceMap app from the Join Us in France podcast host Annie Sargent.

We started off outside of the Louvre, and talked about some of its history from its days as a royal palace, to the site of a horrific massacre of Protestants at the hands of Catherine de’ Medici, to the massive art museum that it is today. From there we walked over the Pont des Arts bridge (formerly known for all the love locks) and then crossed to the Île de la Citê.

Locks on a lamppost on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris

While exploring the island we walked through Place Dauphine, past the Conciergerie (former palace, prison, and hall of justice), and even discovered a Sunday bird market taking place, before arriving at our primary destination, Sainte-Chapelle.

Sainte-Chapelle is truly beautiful and to capture the stained glass windows on a sunny day, it is ideal to visit in the early morning or late afternoon. The chapel faces east, to catch the rays of the rising sun, but unfortunately, it was raining when we visited on a Sunday morning in March, but the clouds couldn’t take away from the beauty.

Admission is free with the Paris Museum Pass, but it is highly recommended that you book a timed-entry ticket. When we arrived there was still quite a queue for our time slot, but our guide helped us jump the line a bit. Sainte-Chapelle was built as a chapel for the religious King Louis IX in the 13th-Century.

Sainte-Chapelle stained windows and ceiling

The stained glass windows are quite remarkable, with each pane depicting a scene from the Bible, from Creation through Resurrection. The large circular window in the rear of the chapel depicts scenes from the apocalypse or the book of Revelation. Without our guide Ferit’s help, I’m sure we would have missed much of the symbolism and meaning behind the ornamentation of Sainte-Chapelle.

Visiting Sainte-Chapelle didn’t use to be as popular as it is today, as most people made a beeline for Notre Dame, but since the cathedral is still closed, you can expect larger crowds at the chapel. Notre Dame is still under construction after the devasting fire in 2019 and it won’t reopen until 2024. In fact, you will see a number of points of interest and attractions under scaffolding in Paris in preparation for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Family in front of Notre Dame cathedral

Afternoon – Latin quarter & Saint-Germain

When you finish your tour, I’d recommend you walk across Pont Saint-Louis to Île Saint-Louis for lunch. Cafe Le Saint Regis has a good Sunday brunch. I loved the atmosphere, the people were friendly, and the food was really delicious.

Croque monsieur at Saint Regis cafe

However, if you prefer to make a reservation, try the cute and cozy Aux Anysetiers Du Roy. Save room so that afterward you can stop at the famous Berthillon for ice cream. Because it was chilly and raining, we never made it to Berthillon on this trip.

For the rest of the afternoon, I’d suggest taking the time to explore more of the Latin Quarter or Saint-Germain-des-Pres at your leisure. We were going to visit the Pantheon (free with the Paris Museum Pass), but decided to pop over to Le Marais and check out the Holocaust Memorial and Museum (Mémorial de la Shoah) instead since we try to incorporate a bit of Jewish history into trips if possible (like in Budapest and Vienna.)

Luxembourg Palace with toy sailboats in the pond in front

However, if you haven’t yet had a chance to wander through the Luxembourg Gardens, I would make that your priority. Since we arrived on Saturday, we had already spent a little time exploring Saint-Germain-des-Pres and Luxembourg Gardens. (See my friend Andi’s guide to the Luxembourg Gardens for more suggestions.)

Evening

Commerce alley Saint Andre at night

That evening we wanted to stick close to our hotel for dinner, so we had dinner at Le Colvert Bistrot. Just a few minutes’ walk from our hotel, this is bistro offers a modern take on traditional dishes and is small, friendly, local, and affordable.

Some other options include Le Procope, Chez Fernand, or Allard. We had a lovely dinner at Le Procope, one of the oldest restaurants in Paris, the night before and the Dauphine Ravioli are not to be skipped. And of course, there are always the popular, but touristy, Les Deux Magots, Cafe de Flore, Brasserie Lipp, or Cafe Bonaparte.

Day 2 – Monday

Morning – 8th & 1st Arrondissement

Arc de Triomphe in Paris

On our second full day in Paris, we decided to explore some of the 8th and 1st arrondissements. We started off at the Arc de Triomphe and then walked down the famous Champs D’Elysees toward Louvre. This neighborhood is home to a lot of high-end, luxury hotels and designer stores, but today I find this neighborhood not as charming as it once was. The first time I visited Paris, my husband and I actually stayed at the Hotel George V, which is now a Four Seasons, and I was able to lay in bed and look out at the Eiffel Tower, which felt like a dream come true. Yet I was much happier with our hotel location in this 6th on this trip.

The Arc de Triomphe is in the roundabout of a very busy street, so if you want to visit the Arc or just get up close, you should use the underpass to get there and not attempt to cross the street in the middle of traffic. To go to the top of the Arc, you will need a ticket. To get to the top, you will need to climb 284 steps, or take an elevator to the mid-level and climb the remaining 64 stairs to the top.

We just wanted to see the Arc in person and take some photos (make sure you check out the Arc from behind as well), so we didn’t bother to buy tickets.

As we made our way down the Champs D’ Elysees to the 1st arrondissement, we walked past the Grand Palais (closed for renovations) and the Petit Palais, where we cut over to the river to take pictures by the Alexander III Bridge, with a great view of the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Girl on Alexander III Bridge with the Eiffel Tower in the background

From there, we followed the river to the Place de Concorde with its Fountain of Rivers. Unfortunately, the Egyptian Obelisk is under scaffolding for renovation, but our destination was the Musée de l’Orangerie, where I had booked 11 am timed-entry tickets (free if you have the Paris Museum Pass).

My main goal was to see the large Monet Water Lilies paintings. If you really love Monet and the Impressionists, you may want to consider spending two hours and taking a private tour of the Orangerie Museum.

Orangerie Museum Monet Water Lilies

Afternoon

Once we finished at the museum, we enjoyed a beautiful spring day by spending some time soaking in the atmosphere in the Jardin de Tuileries. After all that walking, we were happy to get off our feet for lunch. I had tried to get reservations at Angelina’s for lunch, but by the time online booking was open, no reservations were available so I would suggest calling up to two months in advance.

Statue in the Jardin de Tuileries

A couple of other casual lunch options near the Louvre include Le Nemours or Baguetts Cafe (which is also a great spot for brunch.) If you prefer to make reservations for lunch as well, try Le Louvre Ripaille, which takes reservations through The Fork. We lucked out and got an outdoor table at Le Nemours, which was a perfect Parisian cafe experience.

After lunch, we popped over to Palais-Royal to have some fun with the Les Colonnes de Buren art exhibit (those black and white stools you may have seen on Instagram.) Since we had a little time before our Louvre tour, we also checked out the covered passageways at Galeries Vivienne and did a little chocolate shopping at Le Chocolate Alain Ducasse.

Girl on black and white sculpture in Palais Royal

Our last activity of the day was a big one, a “Closing Time at the Louvre” tour with Take Walks (or Walks of France). We picked this late-day tour to see the highlights of the Louvre and get to see the Mona Lisa when the crowds were at a minimum.

People walking through the Arc outside of the Louvre Museum

This tour was actually one of our favorite activities of the entire trip. Our tour guide Adam was absolutely fabulous. It was educational but also highly entertaining. When we first met up and I learned we were a group of 14 (Take Walks’ max group size and his largest since pre-pandemic) and that we would be using headsets, I immediately thought, “oh no, what did I get us in to.” But honestly, with the crowds in the Louvre, which aren’t even close to pre-pandemic yet, those headsets really made the tour much more enjoyable.

We learned so much from Adam, who has been working at, or guiding in, the Louvre for 10 years including two years in the Louvre labs. On any given day, the Louvre displays 380,000 pieces of art and artifacts, and that is only EIGHT percent of its entire collection. There is obviously more to see than we could ever fit into a three-hour tour, but Adam did an excellent job showing some highlights while educating along the way — from Venus de Milo to Nike to, of course, the Mona Lisa.

The tour does a great job preparing you to see the Mona Lisa, from giving realistic expectations around its size, to comparing it to other works of its time, to exploring the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. We entered the room with the Mona Lisa just before the museum started to announce it was closing soon. While the last few visitors worked through the line, we talked a little bit more about the painting and Leonardo, jumping in for our turn at viewing the Mona Lisa with no one else around just before the museum closed.

If you are visiting with younger kids, I’d suggest booking a family-friendly tour and booking an early morning time slot when kids have the most energy. But for those with an interest in art and a desire to see some of the museum highlights, this was a great tour. All of us expressed a desire to return and see more and hopefully take a different tour with Adam.

If you decide to visit the Louvre without taking a tour (first of all, good luck), you do need to purchase timed-entry tickets (or book a timed-entry slot even if using the Paris Museum Pass.) Also, Mondays tend to be the busiest days at the Louvre so you may want to switch it out with another day in this itinerary (just not Tuesday when the museum is closed.)

Evening

I knew we were going to be tired after a full day on our feet so I booked us a reservation at Le Comptoir in our hotel. Reservations can be tough to get, but it helps to be a hotel guest. While I enjoyed our dinner, we all actually enjoyed our aperitif of wine and snacks at L’Avant Comptoir de le Terre next door, which is also from the same chef at Le Comptoir in the hotel.

Day 3 – Tuesday

Morning – Montmartre

On our third day, we set out to explore the artsy neighborhood of Montmartre. I’d heard rumors that in recent years there has been an uptick in petty crime in this area and since I especially like to avoid tricky situations when traveling with kids (even if I do have a teen now), so we decided to book a private Montmartre tour with LivTours. (Our tour was complimentary for purposes of review.)

I knew our guide would know just where to go (and where not to go), and I didn’t want to miss showing my daughter the famous Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur. Our guide Claire used to work at the Montmartre Museum, and was a wealth of knowledge about the famous artists, authors, and performers who have called this neighborhood home.

On our tour, we strolled past apartments where Picasso, Renoir, and Van Gogh once lived and took in the sites including Moulin Rouge and Place Dalida. We saw Montmartre’s vineyards on Rue Saint-Vincent, strolled along Rue Norvins, Rue Lepic, and Rue de l’Abreuvoir.

Sadly as it was raining, there weren’t any artists set up in Place du Tertre. I have fond memories of strolling through here on my first visit to Paris and still have a painting that I bought from one of those artists on display in our home.

We finished our tour at the Sacre Coeur, or Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Usually, the view from here is spectacular but on a rainy and misty day, it was a bit more limited. It is free to visit the church and Claire took us for a quick walk through before we said goodbye. If you want to learn more about the history of the artists and the neighborhood, then this tour is quite useful. It is also helpful in finding your way around the small, charming streets of this neighborhood.

Afternoon – Opera House

Le Coq & Fils in Montmartre

After our tour, we had a lovely chicken lunch at Le Coq & Fils in Montmartre. This stylish restaurant focuses on chicken and the dishes are delicious (and very generous.) But if you go for nothing else, go for the shots of chicken soup. Don’t tell my mother-in-law but it may just be the best chicken soup on the planet.

After lunch, we hopped back on the Metro to the Palais Garnier Opera House for a self-guided tour. You should purchase your tickets in advance, but they are good for the entire day and therefore you don’t need to be beholden to a specific schedule. There is the option to sign up for a guided tour, which sounded fun, but I didn’t want to have to rush our lunch.

However, after visiting, I would recommend doing the guided tour if you can make it work. Without the tour or an audio guide, we got to see a beautiful building but didn’t learn much else. And, unfortunately, the auditorium was closed (I’m presuming for a rehearsal) during our visit.

I knew we were pushing our limits on how much we could fit into a day, but since we were right next door, we also took a quick walk through the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. This architecturally-stunning department store specializes in designer goods, but they also host special events like wine tasting and macaron making classes. There is also a great rooftop, offering terrific city views. It is worth a visit for pictures alone!

Evening

That night for dinner we ventured slightly further from our hotel, but not too far (just a 15-minute walk) at the Michelin-starred Baieta, which offers Mediterranean-style French to give us a break from Parisian bistros or modern cuisine. This is an option for a foodie, splurge meal, as the only choices are between a five or seven-course tasting dinner, but we really enjoyed the creativity and preparation. And while this was fine dining, it wasn’t pretentious or overly formal. However, if you only want to do one “fancy” meal, I’d save it for another I’ll suggest later.

Appetizer dish at Baieta

Day 4 – Wednesday

Morning – Le Marais

We had to skip our typical morning croissants on this day because we started off by exploring Le Marais neighborhood on an “Ultimate Paris Food Tour” with Devour Food Tours. I am such a huge fan of food tours because not only do they introduce you to some of the typical local foods, but you also get to explore a new neighborhood and learn a little of its history on the side.

On this tour with our guide Joshua, we sampled fresh croissants from a family-run bakery, tried socca (a crepe made from chickpea flour) at the Marche des Infants Rouge, strolled past the fromageries and sampled macarons and chocolate on Rue de Bretagne, enjoyed a traditional Jewish pastry, sampled cheese and meats from a specialty market, and sampled onion soup at a traditional bistro. We even finished up with a wine tasting at a small wine shop on the Île Saint-Louis.

Afternoon – Le Marais

After the tour, there are other sites to see in the neighborhood including the Square du Temple Elie Weisel, Rue Montorgueil, and Place des Vosges. You may also want to taste test Le Marais’ famous falafel stands. But honestly just wandering around this area gives you such a sense of Paris.

While in the area, you may also want to visit the Centre Pompidou, the contemporary art museum. After some shopping, we decided to head back to the hotel for a little walking break and some time to relax.

Evening – River Cruise & Eiffel Tower

If we were visiting in the summer, I would have planned a picnic on the Champ de Mars and enjoyed the Eiffel Tower view. And even though we had a lovely day, it wasn’t quite picnicking weather. And after seeing so many rats in the park at night, I’m glad we didn’t do a picnic.

Since we were in Paris in March and the sun sets by around 6:00 pm, we decided to take an early evening river cruise along the Seine. There are a few different companies that offer sightseeing cruises or dinner/lunch cruises. However, I chose the Bateaux Parisiens both because of their schedule and also the embarkation/disembarkation location at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower in the evening

I purchased tickets in advance, but they are only reserved for a particular day, not a specific time. Therefore you need to check in 20-30 minutes before the sailing you want to make sure you get on board. Since the sunset cruise is a popular one the line was very long when we arrived 30 minutes early. I’m glad we got there when we did because it still allowed us to get a prime spot up top. We chose a spot facing the Eiffel Tower, then debated if that was the right choice since we would be on the opposite side on the return, just as the tower was lighting up. But it worked out fine as the boat swings around to dock and both sides get a great view.

I debated signing up for a tour that included the river cruise and an Eiffel Tower tour, but it would mean a 9:30 pm dinner so we decided against that. The river cruise was fine, but more of a “thing to do” than a must-do. Perhaps if there wasn’t a school group of children that screamed when we went under every bridge it would have been more enjoyable.

I had intended to visit the Eiffel Tower prior to the cruise, but getting tickets for the time I wanted was a challenge. Eiffel Tower tickets are typically open for sale 90 or 60 days in advance. Every time I logged in they weren’t yet for sale, and then it appeared that the entire month of March was blocked off. I’m not sure what was going on but eventually, they seemed to open tickets for just one slot, at 10:30 pm. If you also have this trouble, you can book a hosted visit with a tour company instead to get more time options.

Looking back, I’d probably stick to my preferred plan of visiting the Eiffel Tower during the day and then taking the river cruise at night if tickets are available. I wasn’t a big fan of this area at night with so many street vendors selling light-up toys, mini statues of the Eiffel Tower, and cheap champagne — it felt very crowded and extra overwhelming in the dark.

But overall we didn’t mind going late since it gave us time to have a relaxing dinner after our river cruise and then get to see the tower do its evening light show. We only bought tickets to go to the second level, but even that was a great view of the City of Light. I will say that I’ve now visited the Eiffel Tower during the day and at night and I don’t feel any need to return again. The lines for the elevators are long and tedious and the staff is not at all happy to be there. It is very much a “been there, done that” experience.

Just so you know, you can visit the first floor via the stairs, purchase a ticket to the second floor via a lift/elevator or stairs, or buy a separate ticket to visit the top using two elevators. It is highly, highly recommended that you purchase these tickets in advance (like as soon as they open up) or you will be waiting in extremely long lines for same-day tickets, if they are even available.

Les Cocottes bistro entrance

For dinner, I made a reservation at Les Cocottes, which was a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. This modern bistro offered a very affordable menu of the day, only 39 euro for an appetizer, main course, and dessert.

Day 5 – Thursday

Morning – Musée d’Orsay

Inside hall of the Musee d'Orsay

On our last day in Paris, we wanted to give ourselves time to just enjoy the city, but first, there was one more museum I wanted to see. On my first trip to Paris many years ago, all the museums were on strike so I spent the entire week just soaking up the culture, but never stepped foot in any of the museums.

Being a fan of Impressionist art, I didn’t want to leave Paris for a second time without visiting the Musée d’Orsay. Unlike other museums, the Orsay does not (at this time) require timed-entry tickets and it is included in the Paris Museum Pass.

We spent a little time appreciating the architecture of this grand former train station on the ground floor before making our way to the fifth floor, where you will find the masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Van Gogh, and others. It really is an incredible collection and the restaurant here would also make a great spot for lunch.

This museum is very doable with kids (especially if they have read or watched The Invention of Hugo Cabaret) and only takes one to two hours at most unless you want to fully inspect every piece.

Since it is nearby and also included in the Paris Museum Pass, we took a short walk over to the Rodin Museum after visiting the d’Orsay. But I promised not to overload us with museums so we just strolled through the gardens and past some of Rodin’s more famous sculptures and can save the inside of the museum for another time.

Rodin Museum Gardens

Afternoon – Shopping

Hungry from our museum exploration, we walked past the Les Invalidies, home to the Museum of the Army and Napoleon’s tomb behind, for one last classic French lunch at Le Recrutement cafe. With its Insta-famous view of the Eiffel Tower, I expected this to be very touristy but we actually had a lovely lunch and the perfect Parisian experience.

It is best to use your last afternoon in Paris doing something very Parisian and I promised my teen a little mother-daughter shopping time. I’m certainly not the expert on French fashion and found many boutiques too rich for our pocketbooks, but we enjoyed browsing the shops in the Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood and came away with a few special pieces from ba&sh, Sessùn, and agnès b. (that was for me.)

Evening

Our last dinner in Paris ended up being my favorite. We enjoyed another tasting menu at Ze Kitchen Galerie. This art-forward restaurant from Chef Paul Andréjac bridges French and Asian cuisine in a delicious, light, fruity and fish-focused menu.

Our trip to Paris was quite a success and my family deemed our 5 days in Paris itinerary the perfect balance of doing things and time to relax or just enjoy being in Paris. I have to say that I was a bit more nervous about this trip than most because, first of all, I wanted to make it special for my daughter, and second because Paris intimidates me. On my first visit, I found Parisians to be unwelcoming, although I’m sure part of that was my own lack of confidence.

However, on this visit, we found everyone we encountered (with the exception of the staff at the Eiffel Tower) so friendly and welcoming. Whether that is from another 20 years of globalization or the realization of the pandemic that the city needs tourists, even American ones, I don’t know but I’ll take it. We had such a lovely stay that my daughter was reluctant to leave.

Hopefully she will have many opportunities to return! If you have more time to spend in Paris, I would recommend a day trip or more time exploring some of your favorite neighborhoods from the trip. But this 5 days in Paris itinerary is perfect for first-time visitors. As for us, we continued on to Venice for the next portion of our trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Shops along the Seine river

If you are planning a trip to Paris, I would encourage you to stay on top of the rules for entry. When we were in there in March 2022 they lifted the need for the vaccine pass to enter restaurants and museums, as well as the mask mandate, but these are always subject to change. At the current time, you need to show your Passport, vaccination card, and EU Digital Passenger Locator form to enter France.

Some other frequently asked questions include:

Is 5 days in Paris too long?

Definitely not. I wouldn’t recommend doing any less than five days in Paris if this is your first trip. If you have visited Paris before, then any length of time is the right time depending on what you want to do.

How many days are enough for Paris?

I would recommend at least five days in Paris to see the highlights and get a sense of the City of Light. If you have more time, a week in the City of Light would be ideal.

How much does 5 days in Paris cost?

If you are visiting with a family, you should budget for about $1,000 a day, including airfare. In reality, you can get away with <$500 a day for a couple if you find budget accommodations, a competitive airfare, and eat at casual bistros or visit the markets to cook your own food or make picnics. See my full breakdown of how much a family trip to Paris costs.

What is the best month to visit Paris, France?

Paris is ideal in the late spring (April – May), when the trees are blooming, and early fall (September – October) when the weather is pleasant. We visited in March and had a mix of rain and sunny spring days, but it was a little too early for many of the flowers and trees to be in bloom. I’ve also visited in October and found it ideal weather. Summer, especially July and August, bring throngs of tourists and in August, many shops and restaurants will close as the owners head out on holiday.

What should I wear in Paris?

Parisians are known for their fashion sense so you don’t want to stand out as a tourist by looking too dowdy. At the same time, dark jeans and white fashion sneakers are common in Paris these days so there is no need to sacrifice comfort for fashion. Plan on wearing layers, like a smart top underneath a cardigan or blazer, with a light, weather proof jacket. You will also see many women sporting short skirts or shorts with tights and black lace up boots.

Further Reading

If you are planning a trip to France, you may also want to check out these articles:

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Publish Date: March 26, 2022

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