Deciding how to spend 3 days in Paris, France can be equated to the same feeling a child gets when deciding what ride to go on first on their inaugural trip to Disneyland. Landing at Charles de Gaulle airport, you are met with excitement, anticipation and a little overwhelm as you stand wide eyed amidst the hustle and bustle of one of most visited destinations in the world.
With so much to see and do, it’s impossible to know the best way to see Paris in 3 days. Below I’ve outlined some of the best places to eat and drink in Paris, with the added guidance of Wendy Lyn of Paris is my Kitchen.
Help from a local
We reached out to Wendy before our trip after a friend of ours recommended her as the go-to contact for all things Paris. Wendy took her southern roots to the city of lights for a weekend away, and her love of travel, food and wine paired beautifully with the Parisian culture (see what I did there? ;-)). She never left.
Wendy helped us plan this 3 days in Paris full of craft cocktails, local food, and enough natural wine and cheese to allow us to go into hibernation for 6 months. A few tourist attractions were sprinkled in, but with a local spin to avoid the dreaded selfie sticks and pick-pocketers.
I have outlined our 3 days in Paris travel guide below to give you a snapshot of the places we went to and loved.
Where to Stay: The Hoxton, Paris
This itinerary was created with our home base in mind, The Hoxton Hotel, Paris. This trendy boutique hotel is located in the 2nd arrondissement, the perfect area for everything we wanted to see and do. It is incredibly central, but not in a touristy kind of way.
With little breakfast bags delivered every morning, a restaurant, courtyard, bar, speakeasy and stunning decor, it would be hard to leave if there wasn’t so much awaiting outside the Hoxton walls.
How to get around Paris:
Walk! With all the food and drink, you will welcome the opportunity to burn off some of those delicious calories. Walking is an incredible way to get a feel for the city as it allows you to stumble upon cute boutiques and swanky side streets. With only 3 days in Paris, sometimes you just need to get where you’re going fast. For anything outside walking distance, take an Uber or cab.
Dinner the evening you land: Frenchie Wine Bar
If you have an extra night, definitely go to Frenchie Wine Bar for dinner! We went there after we landed, and there was a line-up out the door 30 minutes before they opened. The wine bar is across the street from the iconic Michelin star restaurant Frenchie, but has a younger vibe to it. Old school hip hop and local laughter filled the air as we sampled small plates created with the season’s freshest ingredients.
Our favourites: The asparagus, feature pasta and the cheese plate with fresh bread. Oh, and the wine. Tell the waiter what you normally like and they are bound to pick out something beautiful.
How to Spend 3 Days in Paris: Day 1
Breakfast: Frenchie to Go (just a few doors down from Frenchie Wine Bar):
Grab a café au lait, juice, granola or a few scones to start your day! For something sweeter:
Unfortunately Boneshaker was closed while we were in Paris, but after taking one look at their instagram, I had to add it to the list of recommendations. Go early as these small-batch doughnuts can sell out.
Try one of their many alcohol infused doughnuts like their resident staple “Hoppy Days”: Chocolate stout doughnut with chocolate & stout glaze, torched marshmallow topping. Vegan options available!
Shopping: Rue Montorgueil
Start at cross streets: Rue Reamur x Rue Des Petits Carreaux
This open-air walking street is dotted with cafes, wine bars, bistrots, bakeries, and shops serving up fresh cheese, flowers, fruit, and Parisian goodies. Try to visit once during the day and once in the evening when it really comes alive.
Notable stop on Rue Montorgueil: Stohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris. Grab a croissant or two to wash down your boneshaker doughnut, because, when in Paris.
If Rue Montorgueil doesn’t satisfy your shopping itch, check out Etienne Marcel nearby where you’ll find a plethora of stylish clothing boutiques and accessory shops.
Lunch: Au Pied Cochon for French onion soup
You can’t spend 3 days in Paris without eating french onion soup on a patio! This spot is a favourite of locals and tourists alike and is open 24/7. Wendy mentioned it is a place many chefs go after midnight or for breakfast after a late night on the town. I’m a vegetarian and I had to have a few bites, even though it’s made with beef broth. It was THAT delicious.
Glass of rosé at Café Le Nemours
From there, put Café Le Nemours in your GPS and walk off the carbs while exploring the lively streets. Switch to a liquid diet and sit outside for some of the best people watching you’ll find in Paris.
The place where instagram dreams are made of! Chances are, you’ve seen these black and white striped cylinders splashed across your feed. While you can’t enter the palace, the grounds surrounding the stunning architecture can still be enjoyed. Walk around the gardens as you weave your way between locals having lunch and tourists snapping photos of the flower beds and fountains.
The Palais Royale is home to one of Paris’s Michelin restaurants, Le Grand Vefour. Take a peek inside before you leave!
Louvre and Gardens
A hop, skip and a jump away is the Louvre and it’s stunning courtyard where you’ll find the famous IM Pei Pyramid. I went into the Louvre on my first trip to Paris, and didn’t have any desire to return. Riddled with tourists snapping photos, it is difficult to enjoy the displays and it can be time consuming. This time we opted to admire the Louvre’s beauty from the outside.
Explore St. Germain (6th Area)
After exploring the gardens near the Louvre, walk across one of the bridges to St Germain (6th area – use google maps if needed). Make your way to Boulevard St Germain and explore one of the oldest parts of town with lovely cafes and art galleries.
La Palette Café
Stop at La Palette café for a glass of wine and burrata on the terrace. I’m lactose intolerant and figured it was worth the repercussions. The best part? NONE of the cheese in Paris made my stomach upset.
Shopping in the 6th – Rue Bonaparte
After lunch, shop in the 6th district. There are a few side streets like Rue Bonaparte with beautiful boutiques. Stella Forest was my favourite! Great for purchasing unique pieces from local designers.
L’ Avant Comptoir
When you’re ready for another light snack (and more wine, of course) walk to L’avant Comptoir, a little wine bar HIDDEN behind a curtain with a pig face painted on it. Ask the bartenders to suggest wine, and look up at the ceiling for the menu. Try not to fill up on the bread and mounds of salted butter like I did. It was just TOO good, and if you know me, my bread addiction is REAL.
Take an uber back to your hotel to freshen up. We loved staying at the Hoxton because their bar was stunning and they had incredible craft cocktails. We sat in the courtyard and drank negroni’s and aperol spritz’ before every meal.
Dinner at Racines
Located in a long, hidden passageway called Passage des Panoramas you’ll find Racines, a charming bistrots a vins (a bistro that specializes in wines). We were introduced to a lot of natural wines while in Paris, and it has been so difficult to go back to North American wine after sampling all these delicious vinos!
The menu is displayed on a couple chalkboards they will bring over as you sip your wine. One of my favourite things to do in Paris is to watch the locals greet each other. Smiling, kissing both cheeks, wine fuelled laughter filling the room. The atmosphere at Racines was infectious. This was our favourite meal of the trip!
How to Spend 3 Days in Paris: Day 2
Breakfast: Au Pain et Des Idees Bakery
Four words: Pistachio chocolate escargot bun. I didn’t really know what to expect when Wendy recommended we pick up a few of these (early, as they can sell out by 10-11am). They. were. insane! So good and unlike anything I’ve tried before. The Parisian exterior is almost as beautiful as the smell of the interior.
As someone who could live the rest of her life eating only bread, this was my nirvana as that is ALL THEY SERVE. And man do they do it right.
Baguettes, savoury rolls, buns. Christophe Vasseur, thank you, from one bread obsessed traveller. TIP: Closed weekends so plan accordingly!
Canal St Martin
Turn right when you leave the bakery and make your way to Canal St Martin. Walk along the water and watch as the motorized barges travel along the water before disappearing underground. You can get a great view of this on top of one of the bridges over the canal.
Fun fact: Canal St Martin was built hundreds of years ago for horse-drawn barges that carried goods up the river through Paris.
MERCI concept store
Set off a cute courtyard complete with a vintage red mini-cooper, this concept store is a must see in Paris! (see photo above). There are multiple floors selling men and women’s fashion, home decor and kitchen utensils. If you are going to buy a souvenir, this is the place to do it! We bought the suitcase in the photo (above, right) from there!
If you’re hungry or need a jolt of caffeine, stop into the vegan-gluten free bakery café on the lower level.
Rue St Louis en L’Ile
Use google maps to wander over Port Sully bridge to Rue St Louis en L’Ile. Browse this charming shopping street complete with ice cream shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. You’ll notice the influx of tourists walking around, and that’s how you know you are close to Notre Dame, one of the most popular things to see in Paris.
Snap a few photos of Notre Dame while you dodge tourists, and then head home to freshen up.
Dinner at CLAMATO
If you like seafood, CLAMATO seafood bar is a must. They don’t take reservations, but that gives you the opportunity to wander over to their wine bar after putting your name on the list.
Septime La Cave
A somewhat hidden wine shop and bar located across the street and to the left of Clamato. This is the perfect place to wait for your table at Clamato (usually about 45 minutes).
We sat at the bar and allowed the staff to select wines for us to try, starting with rosé, and moving through their selection of orange and red wines.
We paired them with a mouthwatering plate of goat cheese topped with honey alongside a freshly toasted baguette. My salivary glands are actually aching as I type this. I wish there was teleportation so I could go there tonight!!
How to spend 3 days in Paris: Day 3:
Explore Marais Neighbourhood
Marais is one of the most historic districts in Paris, known for it’s architecture and old world charm. It is now home to many trendy boutiques, brunch spots and vintage shops.
There are two neighbourhoods that make up Marais, NOMA (North Marais) and SOMA (South Marais). Walk around exploring both, popping into shops and restaurants as you go!
Places to Note: Jacques Genin Chocolat for hot chocolate, salted butter caramels and photos of the lovely cafe inside.
Place des Vosges: A beautiful park similar to Palais Royale. Lots of art galleries!
Briezh Café for crepes and cider
I told Wendy I couldn’t leave Paris without a few crepes. She pointed us toward Briezh Café, and the line told us we weren’t the only ones in need of a crepe fix. The line moved fast, and we were eating our savoury crepes and drinking local cider within 20 minutes. We finished off with a salted caramel crepe for dessert because it was day three and we gave up pretending to remotely care about the calories.
Check out Picasso Museum after lunch, or shop along the surrounding streets. Lots of cute boutiques and a few outlet stores!
Dinner: Visit Wendy-Lyn.Com
There are way too many restaurants worth visiting, and I know everyone has different tastes. For this final dinner I recommend spending some time on Wendy’s blog, wendy-lyn.com for her latest and greatest recommendations. We opted for her favourite, Bistrot Paul Bert. She was able to call the owner and squeeze us in! Told you she was the insider’s insider ;-).
Bistrot Paul Bert was perfect for our last night as it specializes in traditional french favourites and the quintessential Parisian decor made us feel like locals out on the town for date night.
Note: One of these days you’ll have a bit of extra time. We decided to use a few spare hours to visit the Eiffel Tower. I definitely recommend checking it out, but from a distance! The tower itself is full of tourists and people trying to sell you souvenirs. You could also use this time to visit the Arc De Triomphe, Montmartre, or a museum of choice!
A few places to have after dinner cocktails in Paris:
Hidden behind their taco stand is Candelaria, an award winning cocktail bar that is tucked away and only accessd through the taco bar. We went here before dinner! Really cool spot.
Across the street from the Hoxton is this trendy cocktail lounge!
Cute outdoor courtyard to sit and have a drink!
Rue Saint-Sauveur is a fun street with a variety of cocktail lounges and wine bars. A few favourites:
Experimental Cocktail Club
Behind a curtain and unassuming, this cocktail bar is so dimly lit people were whipping out their phone flashlights to read the menu (don’t be one of these people). We sat, sipped and people watched as the bar got louder and louder as the night crawled forward.
Little Red Door
This bar is listed as #11 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. Order anything and watch the bartenders make them. I’ve always considered bartending somewhat of an art, and this rings true at Little Red Door. Sip slowly and savour the flavours!
Some other favourites on Rue Saint-Saveur include Redd, aveK and Klay Saint Saveur. I am a sucker for tropical decor, so the hanging ferns, palms and bamboo fans at Klay Saint Saveur drew me in! We sat at the bar and had a few delicious negronis. Highly recommend!
There are a million and one ways to tell someone how to spend 3 days in Paris, or 50 days in Paris for that matter! The city of lights has so much to offer, and this post only scratches the surface. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have!
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