There’s nowhere in the world quite like Paris. It gets under your skin, revealing its secrets one at a time and enticing you back again and again. It’s a feast for the senses, full of sights, sounds and flavors that’ll have you falling head over heels faster than a Disney princess meeting her prince. And since it has its own Disneyland theme park as well, you can relive all your childhood fantasies while this city of romance weaves a brand-new spell on you. There’s no need to choose between carousels and culture, silliness and sophistication – with this three-day Paris combined itinerary, you can have it all. It will take in:

  • The Arc of Triumph
  • Champs Elysees
  • Opera House
  • Montmartre
  • The Louvre
  • Notre Dame
  • The Eiffel Tower

Morning, day #1 – self-guided walking tour

Arc of Triumph in Paris

 

Get on a pair of sturdy walking shoes and start your Paris adventure at the Place d’Etoile, with the Arc of Triumph at its heart. Use the underground access and pop up in the center to find the tomb of the unknown soldier and the eternal flame. Do a circle around the base to get a sense of how imposing this structure is (Napoleon had it built as a monument to himself) then climb up to the top for some exceptional views down the Champs Elysees.

When you’re done, use the underpass again and head down that same street. It’s the most famous and sophisticated boulevard in Paris, so soak it all in and adopt a stylish swagger if you feel the need. There are cafes and patisseries, car salesrooms and designer fashion shops – and it’s not far from the Café Marbeuf, if you need a quick crepe stop. Finish in the Place de la Concorde, where fans of The Devil Wears Prada will recognize the fountains from the famous mobile-phone-dropping scene at the end of the film.

Turn left and head between the two symmetrical buildings towards the Magdalene Church, which is the classical-Greek looking building ahead of you. It’s another one that was commissioned by Napoleon, but has since been rededicated to St Mary Magdalene. Have a look inside, and if you didn’t grab lunch on the Champs Elysees try one of the cafes in the square here.

Afternoon and evening, day #1 – exploring the arts

A cafe in Montmartre overlooking Sacre Coeur

 

Walk on to the Palais Garnier, or Opera House. This is the building that inspired the story The Phantom of the Opera, and while the opulent foyer and staircases are worth a look with or without a guide, only the tour lets you glimpse into the phantom’s box, number five. Head out and up Rue de la Paix – stopping for a refreshing Kronenbourg if you need to – then on to Place Vendome and the Tuileries Gardens.

For the evening, it’s time to explore the artistic side of Paris. Grab the Metro from Concorde to Montmartre, then take the funicular or the stairs (think of crepes) up to Sacre Coeur, the very middle eastern-looking church at the top. Have a look inside then just wander around, watching artists plying their trade as you go. Pick a spot for dinner or a drink, then finish the day with a cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge or one of the smaller theaters in the area.

Morning, day #2 – museums

View of the Louvre and glass pyramid in Paris

 

Your legs might be needing a rest after all that walking, so after a classic French breakfast start the day with the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour. If not, perhaps you’d prefer a guided walking tour along the river – either way, finish at the Louvre and get ready for some serious art appreciation! It’s impossible to see everything in one visit (that’s actually true – someone did the math) so try and get there with an idea of what you want to see. The collections range from Egyptian, Greek and Roman up to the renaissance and include, of course, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Afterwards, head over to Ile Saint Louis, the smaller of the two islands in the Seine, for some lunch. There are lots of little cafes and bistros here, all tucked away down cute, narrow streets, as well as some much-needed ice creameries!

Afternoon and evening, day #2 – famous views

View of Notre Dame from the Seine in Paris

 

For the afternoon, jump back on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus and choose another museum. There’s the Orangerie for Monet’s Waterlilies, Les Invalides for military history and Napoleon’s tomb, Saint Chapelle for its impossibly tall but beautiful stained glass windows or, if you’re interested in the story of Marie Antionette, the Conciergerie. If you’re into impressionist art then the best choice is the Musee D’Orsay, housed in an old art nouveau train station. Or, if you want to rest your legs a bit, try a Seine river cruise instead.

Finish the day by swinging past the 1,000-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral with its stunning rose window and imposing square towers that inspired the story of the famous hunchback. Then head across the river to the Latin Quarter, favorite haunt of students and full of cafes, bars and restaurants with a more laid back vibe. Finally, jump back on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus for one more stop for the day.

You didn’t think we’d forget to fit in Paris’ most famous monument, did you? Head up the Eiffel Tower as the sun’s going down and watch as the City of Lights begins to live up to its name. From three levels you can enjoy views over the Champ de Mars, up and down the Seine and all the way across to Montmartre.

Morning, day #3 – Disneyland

Roller coaster ride at Disneyland Paris

 

Now you’ve done all the cultural stuff, it’s time to have some fun! If it’s your first visit, we recommend spending the day at Disneyland Park and getting there as early as you can. Paris Disneyland has around 50 attractions spread over five zones, and many shows and parades scheduled throughout the day, so it’s a good idea to grab a map and programme and decide what you want to do at each one.

Because many rides will have long queues, start the day with the ones you most want to try (you can also purchase a Fast Pass which lets you skip some queues). In Discoveryland you’ll find the Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, Orbitron and Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast (which is a super-fun way to try and beat your friends), while Fantasyland has the immersive Peter Pan’s Flight Over London, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups and the Disney Princess Pavilion. If the wild west and roller coasters are more your thing, head over to Adventureland and Frontierland for the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean Adventure and the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril ride.

Afternoon and evening, day #3 – stay up past your bedtime

Minnie and Mickey host an interactive show at Paris Disneyland

 

When you’re hungry, grab some lunch at one of the many themed restaurants around the park. There’s Toad Hall Restaurant for classic fish and chips, Caribbean food at Captain Jack’s Restaurant des Pirates, middle eastern food at Agrabah Café, Italian at the Pizzeria Bella Notte, or for a taste of the wild west try the Silver Spur Steakhouse.

If you need a bit of digestion time after lunch, use the afternoon to watch an interactive show or parade. Or, if you need to take a step back from it all, try the PanoraMagique Balloon Ride for views over the whole park. Grab some dinner when you’re hungry again and spend the evening watching the fireworks display, wandering around with an ice cream or going on more rides that will now be alive with light and color.

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