3 days in Paris: What to do,see and eat
If it’s your first time to Paris, you’ll probably want to spend some time at the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and Notre-Dame, but don’t miss out on lesser-known jewels like the Musée Rodin, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and the many markets. There’s no way you’ll get to do it all — museum-touring, shopping, cemetery-perusing, district-exploring, opera-attending — so plan your own itinerary, group sightseeing nearby attractions together and see Paris on your own terms
1-Notre-Dame Cathedral(Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)
Builders started work on the Notre Dame Cathedral in 1163, finishing nearly 200 years later in 1345. Badly damaged and falling into disrepair after the Revolution, Victor Hugo stirred excitement for the gothic cathedral with his famed novel, “Notre-Dame de Paris.” Renovations were made and today Notre Dame exists as one of Paris’ top attractions.
The cathedral itself is free, but if you want to climb the 387 steps to the top — and see Montmartre to the north, the Arc de Triomphe to the west and St-Sulpice and the Panthéon to the south — you’ll have to pay a fee. Yet, most travelers agree that the view is worth the price. If you’re not a fan of heights, consider venturing below the cathedral floor into the crypt, where remnants of medieval structures and ancient remains await exploration.
Notre Dame is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. You do not have to pay an entrance fee if you’re touring the main cathedral. The towers are open daily April through September from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. October through March. Adults must pay €8.50 EUR (approximately $11 USD) to ascend, and children younger than 18 get in for free. Entrance to the crypt is €4 EUR (about $5 USD) for adults, and children 13 and younger can enter for free. You’ll find Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the city; subsequently, the Cité stop on the métro’s line 4 is the nearest.
2-Musee du Louvre
“To the Louvre!” as they say in “Eurotrip” — this Paris landmark is not to be missed. Once a fort and then a palace, the massive Musée du Louvre is now the world’s largest art museum and many also regard it as the best. It’s here that you’ll find a trio of greats — the enigmatic “Mona Lisa,” the curvaceous Venus de Milo and the headless Winged Victory of Samothrace. But you’ll also find rooms upon rooms of more art: In fact 35,000 pieces fill the wings of this museum, which opened in 1793.
Although the Louvre is a must-see attraction for most, many travelers bemoan the crowds (especially around the surprisingly tiny “Mona Lisa”) and the sheer enormity of the museum (it’s almost too much). Thankfully, the museum sells day tickets to the permanent collections for €12 EUR (about $17 USD), which means you can go in the morning, grab some lunch and a breath of fresh air in the adjacent Jardin des Tuileries, and then head back inside in the afternoon. If you’re visting between October and March, save some money by planning your visit for the first Sunday of the month when access to the permanent collections is free.
The museum is open Mondays, Thursdays, and weekends from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. The museum is located in the city center, serviced by the Nos. 1 and 7 métro lines.
3-Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Designed and constructed for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (the World Fair), the Eiffel Tower was almost universally hated by the French. But it managed to skirt demolition talks and has since become one of Paris’ most well-known symbols. Gaze up at La Tour Eiffel during a twilight picnic on the Parc du Champs de Mars, or enjoy a Parisian panorama by walking or taking the elevator up to the top, where detailed maps point to other notable attractions. While some recent visitors complain of long lines — especially during the summer — you can bypass the wait by booking your tickets online at the Eiffel Tower’s website. And though you may cringe at the price you’ll pay to get to the top, many agree that the views are worth it.
To catch a glimpse of Paris after hours, plan to take your tower trek at night when the Eiffel Tower illuminates the golden city below. Also, make sure to turn your attention to the tower every night on the hour, when thousands of flickering lightbulbs make the Eiffel Tower sparkle. According to one TripAdvisor user, “to see it twinkle at night is priceless! Highlight of our trip.”
You can reach Paris’ most famous landmark from the Bir-Hakeim, Trocadéro or Ecole Militaire métro stops, serviced by lines 6, 8 and 9. The Eiffel Tower, located on the western side of the city, is open every day of the year, from 9 a.m. to midnight from June 15 to September 1, and from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. the rest of the year. Admission prices vary depending on how high you wish to go and how you choose to get there (elevator or stairs). Most visitors choose to ride the elevator to the top, which costs €15 EUR (about $20 USD) for adults, €13.50 EUR (roughly $18.50 USD) for visitors between the ages of 12 and 24, and €10.50 (approximately $14.50 USD) for children ages 4 to 11. Access to the stairs and the elevator to the second floor is cheaper.
The home of great food, Paris has a plethora of restaurants offering fantastic French fare – ranging from traditional bistros to smart, trendy restaurants and Michelin-starred establishments. Please note that as many restaurants are closed in August, it is advisable to phone ahead of your visit.
1-ALAIN DUCASSE AU PLAZA ATHENEE
Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris (+33 1 53 67 65 00;www.alain-ducasse.com)
The Hôtel Plaza Athénée has long been a favourite with the seriously rich fashion set, but it now attracts serious foodies too. The multi-starred chef Alain Ducasse has forsaken his 16th-arrondissement manse for the neo-rococo frills of the avenue Montaigne. The period dining room, known simply as Alain Ducasse, has been cleverly restyled by young designer Patrick Jouin, setting the scene for dishes that range from crayfish with girolles mushrooms and beef Rossini to an audacious lobster curry. Open for lunch Thu-Fri and dinner Mon-Fri. Annual closure from mid-Jul to mid-Aug and Christmas week.
83 rue Laugier, 75017 Paris (+33 1 40 54 97 24)
Parisians can be a bit sniffy about the 17th arrondissement (an overflow residential zone for those who can’t hack the prices in the richer 16th), but it has some terrific restaurants that are worth a detour. The best is L’Entredgeu, on the western edge of the district. Here, surely, is everything you want from a neighbourhood restaurant in Paris: unpretentious, solid, bourgeois cooking that references the regions, and a dining room straight out of central casting (sepia lace curtains, checkerboard flooring, red vinyl banquettes, a velvet door curtain, zinc bar, and so on). Chef Philippe Tredgeu’s cooking is authentic and robust but with refined touches, in dishes such as quail with foie gras or lamb with endives roasted and topped with a savoury crust of Parmesan. Depending on the season, the menu (€32) might feature excellent game, seafood and quality charcuterie. Deeply satisfying.
9 rue de l’Eperon, 75006 Paris (+33 1 44 41 00 09)
If Yves Camdebord’s Le Comptoir du Relais is full – which it invariably is – don’t fret. A short walk away is this new bistro, a little treasure trove of raw brick, chalkboard menus, wooden beams and hearty terrines. The menu is impressive value for this part of town (€28) and generally features classics (scallops with cauliflower purée, for instance) as well as more adventurous dishes such as marinated mackerel with Mediterranean vegetables and Parmesan sablé, and flavoursome oxtail, beef cheeks and pressé de veau (a kind of terrine) with a puy lentil salad. There is game in season – at reasonable supplements – and all dishes are executed with an accomplished grace. This is chef’s food which, along with a short but reasonably priced wine list (with many bottles under €20), explains why L’Epigramme is a popular chef’s haunt.
In Paris there are many clubs with all kinds of music and for all kinds of people. Most of them though do have very strict dress codes and are quite particular about their customers’ look.Lots of trendy bars in Paris become clubs after the dark. The most famous ones are located in the Champs-Elysées area: the Six-Seven (former Bash), the VIP room (located in the basement of Planète Hollywood), the Baron, the Latina café… These celebrities meeting-points usually don’t have admission fees and are for people in their thirties or more.
1-The Latin quarter
The Latin quarter has tones of bars of any kind (Tex mex, pubs, lounge…) and is perfect either for college students or older people with more sophisticated tastes. Pubs like the Pub Saint Germain with its special fancy cocktails or the The Frog and the Princess are good spots for students, as well as bars that are famous for their DJ’s or live music (Le Piano vache, Le Who’s bar). More classy places are L’Alcazar (very hype restaurant and bar design by Conran), and the very select private club, Castel. These are only a few of the dozens of bars in the neighborhood.
Near the Latin Quarter, you have Saint-Germain, a place full of fancy bars, which has some schools around (Institute of Political Science of Paris, les “Beaux-Arts”), and which is known to host Parisian intellectuals. There are lot of kinds of bars, from pubs to really elegant place where famous people come to have a drink, and where you can have different kind of drink, from a Café at Café de Flore (Sartre and Beauvoire place), to a beer. The best is to walk around Saint-Germain boulevard and to meet difference ambiance and settle the one your prefer!
3-Bastille / Ménilmontant
Here you will find bars that attracts a young and fairly local crowd. Most of them are quite tiny and crowded above all in the Rue de Lappe. These are perfect for pub-crawling but can become a bit tiring if you plan on staying in the same bar all night. Around the rue de Lappe, you’ll find better places to have a drink in peace with nice lounge atmospheres, hype music and most of the time food (La Fabrique, Le SanZ SanS, Le Wax…). If you go a little further from the Place de la Bastille, toward Charonne, you will find very nice and less crowded bars (La Plage, Boca chica, Le Pause café…). Continue toward Ménilmontant and you will find the very lively and trendy area of Rue Oberkampf, with its lovely bars like Le Café