Are you planning to visit Paris for the first time for about a week-long vacation, but you are not sure where to start? I do not blame you. There is so much to do in Paris, but I am here to help you break down all the recommendations and practical tips for visiting Paris to make your trip unforgettable and hustle-free.
If you have always dreamt about visiting Paris, you are not alone. Paris is elegant, romantic, historic, and simply delicious! It is one of the most visited cities in the world.
I visited Paris for the first time with my husband. We spent a week in Paris, and it was enough to cherish this city forever.
Is One Week Long Enough In Paris?
One week in Paris is a reasonable amount of time for the first-time visitors to experience as much as the city can offer but, remember, it will be busy. Having long breakfasts at the coziest street cafes and indulging in macaroons and hot chocolates is part of the Parisian experience. However, you may not feel like jumping from one site to another every day, and that is fine.
What to do in Paris for One Week: Itinerary Overview
Below you can see the highlighted sections of what to expect to learn from this itinerary. I do not recommend skipping through sections to ensure you don’t miss any tips or recommendations. Each day has more sights to explore, the best food finds, maps, and more. If you believe the list is a bit too long for your schedule or traveling with kids, feel free to skip to sights that most interest you to visit for the first time.
Paris Basic Tips for the First Time Visitors
Language: You will find locals speak English, but the most spoken language in Paris is French.
Tip: Parisians appreciate it when tourists understand or can communicate in some French. While it is not a requirement, learning a few essential words and phrases is much encouraged before you arrive. There are many helpful apps nowadays, but check out Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary; if you are looking for a small handbook, check out Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary.
Currency: The euro is the currency of France. Euro is also the currency in many other European countries.
Population: 2.1 Million (2021)
Climate: July and August are the hottest months. ( 75-80F). Expect somewhat chilly weather throughout other months. While the environment is mild in Paris, it is never bad weather to visit this city.
Best Time To Visit: All year-round. However, if you are more likely to enjoy the warm weather, visit between June – August. Another great alternative is September-October when there are not as many tourists.
Public Transport: It is effortless to go around the city. The most cost-efficient way is to rent a bicycle. But if you are not up for it, use the metro, bus, or grab a taxi.
Paris is most Popular For The Eiffel Tower, pastries, the Louvre, the Notre Dame, the Moulin Rouge, and unbeatable fashion.
Credit Cards & Banks: credit cards are widely accepted in touristy areas, cafes, and stores. Some tiny establishments may opt for cash, so keeping some money is a good idea.
Tip: The closer you are to the most popular tourist attractions, the more you will spend in stores or cafes. Try to go a few blocks farther.
Paris Electricity: You will need to bring your adapter if you travel from the United States or another country with a different voltage than Paris.
Safety: Paris is considered a safe city, but some pick-pocketing may usually occur in highly crowded touristy areas. Stay aware of your belongings.
Where to Stay in Paris: Get to Know Paris Arrondissements
Now it is time to decide which arrondissement is right for you to spend a week in Paris. Paris is divided into 20 Arrondissements. These are the neighborhoods with different historical areas. Each one is individual with its own feel and unique style.
As first-time visitors, we chose to stay in the 7th arrondissement, the Eiffel Tower District.
This is one of the most popular and romantic areas in Paris for tourists. Many hotel options, photo opportunities, and food options. In addition, this is the closest arrondissement to some of the main attractions, such as Musée d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower, and the gardens of Musée Rodin.
You can find out about the rest 19 arrondissements in this Paris arrondissements guide by World in Paris to decide which area will be the best for your budget, travel itinerary, or personality.
A week in Paris Itinerary
This itinerary will go over things to do and sights to see each day during your seven days in Paris. We have visited most of the recommended places with just a few exceptions that I think were worth mentioning regardless.
Day 1 – Relax & Explore The Neighborhood
When we do longer than weekend trips, we usually do not do any significant sightseeings on the first day. The truth is you will most likely be jet-lagged and exhausted. There is just so much to do in this city that getting good sleep is essential. The first days are great for resting and exploring your neighborhood.
Champs De Mars
If you are staying in the 7th arrondissement or closer, take a walk to the Champ de Mars Park. This extends from the École Militaire to the Eiffel Tower. Here you may bring your picnic or enjoy the sparkling Eiffel from the lawn.
Just steps away from the Eiffel Tower, you will come to the cutest carousel, also known as the Trocadéro Carousel.
Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III is the famous bridge in Paris across the River Seine. This connects the 7th and 8th arrondissement, and you can spot the Eiffel Tower. You can walk here after visiting the Eifel tower as you explore the city on your first day.
Day 2. The Louvre Museum and Chocolate Chaud at Cafe Angelina’s
On the second day of your week in Paris, head over to the second most famous sight in Paris, Louvre Museum, and afterward, treat yourself to the most fantastic lunch at the famous Cafe Angelina. Don’t forget to order the hot chocolate!
Musée du Louvre is the world’s largest, most famous, and most diverse museum. Did you know that it would take 100 days to view all the artwork in the museum?! WOW, indeed! We did not have that much time. So, we planned.
Preparation and research are the keys to a meaningful experience at Louvre if you are visiting the museum for the first time and have only a few hours to spend.
Museum Visiting Recommendations
- Get there early in the morning. Museum opens at 9:00 AM and closes at 6:00 PM, every day except Tuesday.
- Avoid the use of the Pyramid entrance; unless you are visiting during the winter when there is less crowd.
- Wear comfortable shoes. There are many stairs inside the museum to climb.
- Museum is closed on Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25th.
- General Admission price €17 PP; 18 years old and under can visit museum for free.
- If you purchase tickets online instead of on site, you will save some time entering the museum. You may purchase your tickets here.
- At the time of updating this post (08/2021), all visitors aged 18 and up must present a vaccination certificate as of 21 July, 2021. All visitors are required to wear a mask.
A few most notable works of art that you can see at the Louvre include the following:
- Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci (Denon Wing, Room 711, 1st floor). Be prepared. It is tiny!
- Winged Victory of Samothrace (Exact origin not known). (Denon Wing, Room 703, ground floor)
- Venus De Milo by Alexandros of Antioch ( Sully Wing, Room 346, ground floor)
- Les Noces de Cana by Paolo Veronese (Denon Wing, Room 711, 1st floor)
- The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David (Denon Wing, Room 702, 1st floor)
- The Rebellious Slave by Michelangelo (Denon Wing, Room 403, ground floor)
Angelina Paris is one of the best cafes you can visit in Paris. It is just a short walk from Louvre Museum, so this should be your lunch spot when you visit the Louvre.
The most exciting part of our lunch was the long waited hot chocolate. So creamy, so sweet, so rich! Probably the best I have ever had. . .
We came here twice during our week in Paris because it was that good!
Day 3. Champs-Elysées and Dinner at the Eiffel Tower
On day 3 of your week in Paris, head to the most popular and beautiful avenue in Paris called Champs-Elysées.
Champs-Elysées is 1.2 miles long street that runs between Place de la Concorde and Arc de Triomphe.
The avenue is popular for its theaters, cafes, and luxury boutiques. You can window shop, eat macaroons, and visit nearby sights.
Ladurée is an upscale bakery located on Champs Elysées street. They specialize in French macaroons in different flavors. While you will probably try macaroons somewhere else during your week in Paris, this place should not be missed.
Address: 75 Av. des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris, France
Open daily 8:00AM-9:00PM.
Arc De Triomphe
You will end the Champ Elysee Avenue by arriving at the Arc De Triomphe. One of the most famous Paris monuments and the historical symbol. You may visit this place day or night to catch a stunning panorama of the city from the terrace.
Eiffel Tower Dinner
We finished the day by dining at the Eiffel Tower restaurant. A bit touristy, but we could not pass by on the opportunity. There was about a 20-30 minute wait to get tickets and wait for elevators. Everything was very organized. We had a fantastic time there. However, we could have easily skipped this place for dinner. You could get a better quality dinner for the money.
The highlight of the night in Paris is the sparkling Tower. No matter how many times you watch it, it just never gets boring, but you need to catch it at the right time.
The Eiffel Tower starts to sparkle from sunset to 1:00 AM every hour for 5 minutes.
Day 4. Breakfast at Plaza Athénée, Saint Chapelle, Notre Dame, Paris Opera
Hotel Plaza Athénée
Located on the famous Avenue Montaigne, the hotel Plaza Athene will take your breath away. With its remarkable seasonal decor and outstanding atmosphere, it has become one of the top places to visit in Paris.
Not only should you get here to take the most stunning pictures, but try to reserve your spot for an unforgettable Parisian breakfast experience.
Enjoy freshly baked bread and exquisite pastry combos, freshly brewed coffee, and an assortment of jams. The room is surrounded by 10,000 Swarovski Crystals that are sure to brighten your entire day! We have had many breakfasts and dinners in various restaurants, but Plaza Athenee exceeded our expectations.
After your fantastic breakfast, head out to the courtyard! Since we visited in December, it was decorated with lights and looked so dreamy!
Are you looking for more photo ideas at the Plaza Athene? Check out Most Instagrammable Spots at The Hôtel Plaza Athénée.
After the 5-star breakfast experience, we went to explore the colorful Sainte-Chapelle. Breathtaking gothic architecture was built by King Luis IX in the 13th Century.
Sainte-Chapelle is famous for its elegant sizeable stained glass windows.
The place is magical. Unlike other significant sights like Louvre or Palace Versailles, it does not take long to explore. It is also located somewhat near Notre-Dame Cathedral so you can visit both in one trip.
Just six minutes away from Sainte Chapelle, you will get to Notre-Dame Cathedral.
The Cathedral is famous for its enormous bells. You can also travel up the stairs and see a breathtaking view of Paris from there. The Cathedral is a widely recognized symbol of Paris and is 100% worth checking out.
- Monday – Fridays, 8:00AM – 6:45 PM
- Saturday & Sundays: 8:00 – 7:45 PM
Tip: If you want to avoid the crowd, visit on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when there is the least crowd. Avoid religious days or Sundays when there is a mass service.
We ended the day with a pre-planned trip to the Paris Opera, also known as Palais Garnier (Named after the architect).
As you walk inside, you are welcomed by a vast and gorgeous staircase. It felt like we were in a castle. It is simply a stunning work of art and architecture.
Tip: If you decide to visit, as you should, you can book tickets online on their website. Do not be alarmed if tickets are sold out. Just get on their waitlist.
Arrive at least 30-40 minutes before the show starts. It is less crowded, and you will have a few minutes to walk around, take some pictures and absorb the place.
There are paid tours that generally cost as much (or more) as cheap tickets and take you around the place. With tickets, you can still get to walk around the area AND also watch a high-quality show.
As a bonus, there is a ballroom decorated with breathtaking artwork and gorgeous chandeliers that you can easily see before a show (or during), so long as no event is booked.
Day 5. Moulin Rouge
Slow down a little after exploring numerous sights and enjoy the fun activity on your day 5.
The most fun and entertaining way to spend an evening in Paris is to attend the “Moulin Rouge.”
It was an enjoyable evening with delicious food, music, and a show. The costumes were the best! Make reservations ahead of time for dinner and show.
Day 6. Day Trip From Paris
The Versales Palace
We dedicated one full day of our trip to visiting the Versailles Palace. It was a cold and windy day. Layers are a must if you are visiting Paris in winter. It can get freezing. We got up early and walked about 20 minutes to the nearest Metro Station. The walk would have been much faster if not for my extra slow walk that day. We took the “RER C” line. We rode about 40 minutes in a comfortable and partially empty train car and arrived in Versalles without any delays. Visiting Versalles in winter will help you avoid most of the crowd. However, the famous “Gardens of Versalles” may not be as impressive as in the summertime. The dancing fountains are turned off, and the place feels a little less green.
The Versailles Palace is enormous. King Luis XIV built it at the age of 23. He wanted his palace to be the most beautiful in the world. I think it is safe to say that he succeeded. It is also worth noting that he was already living in the Louvre. Just imagine thinking the Louvre is not big and pretty enough to impress your guests. It is a hard thing to process fully. In any event, once we made our way into the Palace, we were handed tour headphones and started to walk around from one room to another, from one bathroom to another. I stopped counting the rooms soon after our tour started.
We spent a few hours walking around inside and outside of the Palace, taking in the grandness and greatness of this place. After tiring ourselves out, we decided to get lunch. There are few meal options in the Palace itself, including the already mentioned “Angelinas.” Of course, we headed there. While the food was still delicious, it was not quite the same experience. We preferred the city location.
While we did not visit Disneyland, this is another day trip idea from Paris. For more details, check out the fantastic post by Christina on how to plan your trip from Paris to Disneyland.
Day 7. Sacre Coeur and farewell dinner
Packed and prepared luggage for the next day’s departure. Believe it or not, this trip felt so long compared to other trips we have taken together. Maybe because we had to explore many sights or perhaps because I was pregnant and lacked the usual energy, That afternoon We quickly took a cab and visited the beautiful Sacre Coeur. Paris streets have reminded me very much of my home city (Tbilisi, Georgia) and especially this spot.
Before going back to the hotel to relax and get ready to leave, we checked in to one of the cafes I always wanted to visit: Carete. The food there is so delicious and especially the desserts! most cafes typically have an outdoor heater, so we chose to sit out and enjoy the Paris streets. If you are looking to eat in Paris, Definitely include this place on your bucket list.
What to Pack for a Week in Paris
- Slightly more upscale than super casual clothes with solid colors
- Hats / handbags / other accessories
- Power Adapter
If you plan to visit Paris at the end of November or the beginning of January, be sure to visit a Christmas market location. We only went to one that was nearby, but there were plenty of them to choose from. The place we went to was decorated with a ton of pretty lights; it was filled with various local food and sweet carts, ice skating rings, many things to buy, and even had a pretty lovely Ferris wheel overlooking the city—a very fun way to spend an evening during the holiday season.