Here is my guide for 7 days in Paris, including some tips and tricks we picked up along the way! We actually flew in Monday morning and left on a Monday morning, so we were there for 8 days total but had 7 full days of sightseeing.
7 Days in Paris
What to Pack/Getting to the Airport
Do you have Global Entry yet? Check to see if it is offered at your closest airport. It costs around $100, takes 30 min, and will save you hours upon hours of time. With Global Entry you automatically have TSE Pre-Check on all flights, and basically get to skip the custom line in the US and in some European countries.
Unfortunately, France does not accept Global Entry yet, but you will still be TSA Pre-Check for your flight out of the US and you will get to use Global Entry when you return! We used it during our connection in Chicago and might have missed our connecting flight if we didn’t have it.
International Flights require you to be at the airport around 2 hours early. This is because the airplanes board 45 min before the flight (not your standard 30.) If you don’t have Global Entry or TSA Pre-check, use this two our standard.
Make sure to check the weather leading up to your trip. If you are heading to Paris in the Winter like we did, expect temperatures to vary within 10 degrees. We thought we would have lower 40 temps all week but turns out we had lower 30s! Luckily we packed heavy and had enough sweaters to get us through.
PACK LAYERS!! 30 degrees is cold, but it is especially cold when the wind chill is 22. We wore fleece-lined tights every day under our jeans, had big coats, lots of scarves, WARM gloves, something for our ears, a cami, tee shirt, and sweater. And yes, we were STILL COLD! Don’t come unprepared. It will ruin your trip!
When I fly internationally, I like to arrive in the morning. This allows me to 1. sleep on the plane ride there and 2. jump off the plane and have the entire day to sightsee!
We flew in at 9:30 Monday morning and were in and out of the Paris airport within 30 minutes.
We just grabbed a taxi from the airport (it is a set $50 fee from the airport no matter where you are going.) We then dropped our bags at the hotel and asked for a room that we could quickly change in since ours wasn’t ready yet.
First Day in Paris
You can shop my similar items HERE.
From our hotel (details on where we stayed below) we walked to the nearest metro station. I took the metro EVERYWHERE, ALL WEEK. I actually love using the metro. It really makes you immerse yourself in the culture and it is also super cheap, quick, and convenient.
At the metro stop we immediately had our pictures taken in a photo booth (these photo booths are at every metro stop and cost 5 euro.) Some take credit card but some don’t, so I would just have the cash ready. After your pictures spill out, tell the person behind the customer service counter that you want a Navigo.
A Navigo is something they do for tourists and sometimes requires you to show your passport (so have it on you just in case!) This allows you to ride the metro from Monday-Sunday for just 28 euros!! Yes, that is all I spent (+the taxi to and from the airport) to ride around Paris ALL WEEK! Pretty proud of myself! I think they have other options as well in terms of days, so ask the person at the counter before buying to make sure you get the best deal for the days you are there.
There are options at the ticket kiosk to buy 20 metro tickets at a time for 23 euro, but we used it nearly 3-4 times a day, so the Navigo was definitely worth it. You also never have to stop and reload tickets on to it.
The metro maps are pretty easy to use. Just know the number of the line you need to get on, the name of the last stop on the lane, and the name of your stop! You can also download a Paris metro app before you go! Definitely write down or memorize your stops before getting on the train.
We took the metro to the Champs Élyées, which is basically just an Avenue with tons of shops on it (luxury and regular.)
You actually get off right at the Arc de Triomphe, which the very first thing you see when you get off the metro line. It is jaw dropping! Take some time to walk around the Arc from all angles and definitely go underneath as well. At the base of the Arc you will find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which definitely worth the walk across the street!
From there we casually walked down the Champs Elysees and took everything in. Definitely glance back every now and then to see the Arc as you walk farther from it!
At the end of the Champs Elysees you will come to the Place de la Concorde. This has a gorgeous monument, a carrousel, and it is actually where they chopped off the heads of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Take your time to just take everything in from there as you can see the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and other amazing sights!
Take the side street to the right called Avenue Montaigne. This is where you will find Chloe, Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and so many more designers! It is worth just seeing the window displays.
Now, head back to the Place de la Concorde and keep walking in that same direction (towards the Louvre.)
You will then find Musée de l’Orangerie on the right corner of the Tuileries Garden. This museum is worth the time and money, as it houses Monet’s famous Water Lilies (such a breathtaking sight!)
You can buy a museum pass at any place that accepts the passes. See the list here. It saves you money IF you use it wisely. You can get a 4 day pass like we did and try to cram most of your museums in 4 days. We ended up sleeping in for one of the museums and didn’t go until the next day when the museum pass was expired, so it didn’t end up being worth the $. If you are only there for a short time and on a tight schedule it is definitely something to look into!
After you leave the museum, walk around the Jardin des Tuileries. Not much of a sight during the Winter, but I heard it is definitely worth a stroll during the Spring/Summer.
We were pretty worn out by this point and stopped over at Angelina’s (located on the left side of the Jardin des Tuileries.) This restaurant is famous for some of their delicious pastries and hot cocoa, but definitely stop for lunch as well if there isn’t a long line. If you do see a long outside, that’s ok. You can still walk in to the right and get something for your walk home. They call this TAKE AWAY in France (instead of To-Go.)
We slept in. Don’t plan anything on the morning of your second day. You will need some time to get over your jet lag and just to relax after the long couple of days you just had!
After breakfast (see more on meals below) we went to the Galeries Lafayette Haussman, which is one of the main department store chains in France. It has 5 levels and hosts pretty much every brand you can think of (even Topshop and Urban Outfitters!) It also has all of the luxury brands, the Disney Store, and so much more. The decorations alone are worth the visit.
When we went it had a Christmas Tree of balloons in the middle and then hundreds of balloons hanging from the ceiling. When a song would come on, the balloons would move up and down!
Every Christmas they also have a great window display to check out outside of the department store. This year’s theme was a carnival.
From the Galeries Lafayette we walked over to the Palais Garnier, which is the main Opera building for Paris. This is also something that is definitely worth your time and money. It was such a beautiful building and there is so much to see inside! Even better- buy tickets ahead of time to see an actual show!
From there, we took the metro to Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame. These are both located on the island of, a little island called Ile de la Cité in the middle of the Seine River. These are both covered with a museum pass. At Saint Chapelle, you can see 1,113 bible scenes depicted on stain glass windows. It is breathtaking to say the least. They have a guidebook in the cathedral to help you decipher the massive windows, which start with Genesis.
Shop Similar Items HERE.
We took it fairly easy on our third day. We explored Marais (where we were staying) and went to a few vintage shops. My favorite was Thanx God I’m a V.I.P. where I found an amazing Burberry coat for $250!
We also went to a store called Merci, which is definitely worth popping into. It’s a multi-concept store with just about anything and everything you could imagine in there and my mom bought a beautiful bud vase.
At night, around 6pm, we visited the Musee de Louvre. We were told that evenings on Wednesdays were a great time to go and I am so glad we read that piece of advice. We just walked right in from the metro station. There is also an entrance at the pyramid outside, but we were told that line is much longer!
From the Louvre metro station you will see the Carrousel du Louvre, which is just an underground shopping mall centered around the Lourve. Some of them are super interesting so make sure to leave some time to hop around in there.
For the Louvre and other Paris sights, I recommend downloading Rick Steve’s Audio Europe App and listening to his tour while you are inside. It took around an hour and 45 min and it makes sure you see all of the best things (most famous) while skipping some of the not-so-great paintings & sculptures. We found it to be very comprehensive and just the right amount of time/walking! Download the app & the actual Louvre tour before heading to Paris!
The Louvre was once a palace, so make sure to look up and around everywhere you turn. You will find the Mona Lisa here, but it has some amazing greek statues as well!
After the Louvre we ate at Cafe Marly, which has an amazing view of the Louvre pyramids and the view is especially amazing at night! Book a reservation online ahead of time, as they fill up each night.
Shop Similar Items HERE.
On Thursday we enjoyed a long brunch before heading out (see more on food below.)
From brunch we went to the Dior Exhibit at Les Arts Décoratifs. DEFINITELY do the Dior exhibit if it is still in Paris when you visit. Book your tickets ahead of time HERE to avoid waiting in an extremely long line.
The exhibit is so well done. So stunning. They give you a new experience in each room and there is so much to look at.
After the Dior exhibit we headed back to Marais, where we did a ‘Taste of Marais’ food tour that we got tickets for at Paris by Mouth. It was such an amazing tour, and another highlight of our trip. Buy tickets ahead of time HERE!
The tour guide speaks perfect English and takes you to a bakery where you learn how to pick out good bread from bad bread. From there he took us to a chocolatier and had us sample some chocolates from one of the top chocolatiers in Paris. After that he took us to a place that sold different meats and then to a place full of different cheeses!
At each stop he purchased a bunch of stuff, and we went to a wine bar after the tour and had our own private cellar where we paired wines with all of the meats, cheeses, and chocolates that he picked up! It was worth every penny and we only wished we had booked more of their tours around Paris! I will definitely be trying another one next time I go.
After our wine and cheese tour we headed to Musee d’Orsay (my mom’s favorite museum.) It is an old train station that they converted to a museum. Here you will find tons of works by Monet, Renoir, Manet, Michelangelo, D’Vinci, and so many more. Everyone I have talked to that has visited Paris lists this as the top museum to see! Again, we used Rick Steve’s Audio Europe App and did the guide for the d’Orsay Museum!
Did you see my Instagram Stories? It actually snowed in Paris while we were inside the museum! It was so dreamy!
On Friday we headed to Versailles. If you have the Navigo pass, you can get there for free & if you have the museum pass it is also included on that.
DEFINITELY go to Versailles if you are in Paris for more than 4 days. It is well worth the quick 40 min trip.
We went to the Chateau Versailles first, which is the extravagant palace that Louis XIV built! This is where you can find the famous Hall of Mirrors. It was midday but there was NO LINE to get in (which is pretty much unheard of unless you go at this time of the year!) The palace was beautiful and we listened to Rick Steve’s App once again throughout the palace.
We then walked through the gardens to The Grand Trianon and Petite Trianon. Both have their own history and both really fun to tour. If you aren’t a walker, they offer bikes and go carts that you can rent.
When we got back from Versailles we hung out at our hotel for a couple of hours before heading to Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse is a nude burlesque show. No, I didn’t know it was nude when I booked it to see with my mom… but I AM SO GLAD WE SAW IT! We both LOVED IT! Apparently it is where Jay-Z and Beyonce celebrated after getting engaged in Paris.
It is nude but they have something to cover their lower privates. It is actually tastefully done and the scenes were so fun and cool! I HIGHLY recommend going!! The dancers are all so insanely gorgeous. Book your tickets in advance HERE as they fill up!
Shop Similar items HERE.
We woke up and headed to the Palais Royale for a picture of the striped courtyard! It was gorgeous and I loved the Jardin de Royale as well! This is also a great time to jump across the street and see the Louvre during the day!
After the Palais Royale we headed to Montmartre. Montmartre is a large hill in Pairs and is one of the oldest neighborhood (cobblestone streets.) The Sacre Couer sits at the crest of the hill. It is a beautiful church that is definitely you should definitely visit while in Paris.
You can walk the 300 steps to the top, or take a lift. When we visited the Sacre Couer, they were actually in the middle of mass. It was kind of surreal to walk around the church and be able to hear the priest speaking French.
Walk around to the left at the top of Montmartre to find a really cute courtyard full of creperies, painters, shops, etc. We grabbed some vin chaud (mulled wine) and roasted chestnuts on the square and sat down to have some of the most amazing nutella crepes. We had to keep asking ourselves ‘is this real life?’
Shop Similar Items HERE.
We spent day re-visiting things we wanted to see again (like the Eiffel Tower) and a chocolatier. We also made sure to eat things we wanted to eat again before we left (like mulled wine, crepés, and just really good pizza!)
We also went to Paris’ largest Christmas Market at La Defense! Definitely worth it!
Keep this day open. You never know what you might have had to skip during the week that you want to re-visit.
*Please note that all museums are open to the public the first Sunday of every month. I would not recommend visiting a museum on that day!*
Getting home- if you bought anything expensive or designer in Paris you can get tax back on it at the airport, or choose to put it on your card. Either way this will have to be done when you get to the airport and takes around 30 minutes depending on the line. The Paris airport has around three security checks before you even get on the plane!
Get there 2 hours ahead if you are not claiming anything for tax. Get there 2:30 min before your flight if you are! My mom and I got there 2 hours early and I got tax free back on a couple of bags I purchased and we almost missed the flight!
Things we missed-
We really wanted to see the Catacombs! That is on our list for the next time we go.
I had a lot of people tell me to do the Paris Secret Charms Bike Tour. Unfortunately we just decided it was too cold to get on an electric bike for 4 hours. Definitely something I want to do if I come back in the Spring/Summer.
Disneyland! I really wanted to go to Paris Disneyland. I have always been a Disney fan and think it would be so fun to go to one in a foreign country. Unfortunately the cold weather didn’t allow for this, as we did not think it would be fun waiting in line in 30 degree temperatures!
We stayed at Les Jardins du Marais and we loved it. It is right by the number 8 metro line and it is easy to get anywhere you want from that line!
The hotel has around eight different buildings and each is unique. They also had Christmas trees up in the courtyard and gave out waffles and hot cocoa nearly every night!
My mom & I requested two twin beds when we booked and they ended up upgrading our room in order to give us the two twin beds!
If you stay at this hotel I would definitely recommend bringing your own shampoo & conditioner or buying some when you get there. The shampoo at Les Jardins du Marais is really watery and hard to lather so you never feel like your scalp or hair is really getting a good wash.
They have a airport car service for 55 euro, but they require it in cash so make sure you save at least 55 for the end of your trip to book this service.
I received soooo many recommendations on food for Paris. Honestly, we just found a cafe near where we were when we got hungry. Usually we opened the map and looked at what was around us and what had the best reviews (because there are constantly 5-6 restaurants around you at all times.)
Most of the restaurants serve the same things as well!
We just aren’t really foodies and didn’t think it was worth stopping our schedule to get to whatever dinner we planned on time. We just found things where we were and everything turned out to be amazing!
If you are a foodie, there are tons of books you can get on Paris restaurants to use for your trip.
Paris in November
Paris in late November is the perfect time to go. We didn’t have to wait in any lines and there were Christmas decorations everywhere!! Yes, it is cold, but it didn’t slow us down or damper our spirit. I think the lines and crowds would have been worse than the cold!
Best advice I can give you- Go to Paris in late November or early December! Travel is just so much cheaper (we got round trip tickets for $690) and you will almost feel like you have the city to yourselves.
*make sure to print this itinerary to take with you for your trip! I really hope this 7 Days in Paris itinerary helps you!