Need a one-week Paris itinerary that’s customized for 2021? You’ve come to the right place!
My husband and I have visited the gorgeous city of Paris twice now; once in February 2017 and once in October 2021. While each time we’ve had a wonderful time in the City of Love, I will say that some things have changed in Paris- mainly due to the pandemic. I’ll cover all those things here, as well as give you a Paris itinerary that covers the best of the best things to do in Paris!
Since I’m such a Type A person, both of our trips probably wouldn’t have been nearly as incredible had it not been for meticulous planning beforehand.
When it comes to international travel (or any kind of travel for that matter), a plan can make all the difference.
It can save time, allow you to visit everything you want to visit, and eliminate some stress.
Especially because there is just so much to see in Paris!
If you head to Paris without a general schedule, I feel like you could easily miss out on all that this city has to offer.
But no worries- I’ve done the research for you!
Things to Know when Visiting Paris in 2021
We are based in the USA and are fully vaccinated, so our knowledge of the pandemic restrictions in France and what to do with them revolve around those two facts. Make sure you check the French Embassy Covid-19 page here for up-to-date information in case things have changed since October 2021.
What’s required when you travel to France as a fully vaccinated traveler from the USA:
At the time of writing (October 2021, immediately following our most recent trip to Paris), here’s what’s required.
Fully vaccinated travelers from the USA (which means it has been at least 14 days since your second dose) are allowed to enter France without a Covid test.
You need to bring your CDC vaccination record card with you (as well as your passport- nothing new there!). We flew on an American Airlines nonstop flight from Dallas to Paris (into Charles de Gaulle) and got an email to fill out some forms online ahead of time. We never needed any of those forms.
When we got to our gate, they had two forms for us to fill out.
- One form was typical border entry information that was not Covid related. That form was one per family. We all handed that to our flight attendant while on the flight.
- The second form was one per person and was basically a Covid health declaration form. We never had to give it to anyone- which I thought was kind of odd.
When we landed in France, once we got to the front of the passport control line, we just showed our CDC vaccination card and our passport to the officer. That’s it!
There really is just one form- an application form- that is extremely helpful to complete online ahead of time. Here’s what it is:
Converting your CDC vaccination card to a Pass Sanitaire:
What you DO need to do ahead of time- about 2 weeks ahead of time- is apply for a French Health Pass (aka Pass Sanitaire). It’s completely free and you do that here (or here if you are a foreign student). The French government will convert your CDC card into the QR code that you’ll need on the TousAntiCovid (aka AntiCovid) App. The AntiCovid app is the French vaccine passport system. Click here for the App store version and here for the Google Play Store version.
You’ll use this app to enter restaurants (not all restaurants will ask to see it, but they are technically supposed to) and all museums. (We experienced firsthand how you won’t need it for the metro, boulangeries, pharmacies, and grocery stores.)
The Pass Sanitaire application form is per person, not per family, so every vaccinated person you’re traveling with should fill out this form.
Most of the application form is self-explanatory- except for the very last line on the form. Apparently, it is customary to sign off saying where you filled out the form and on what date. So I signed mine saying “in Dallas, TX, USA on October 4th, 2021.”
Once you submit your form, you’ll get a confirmation email. You’ll also be able to log into the site and view the status of your form (though they’ll send a follow-up email when it’s under review, and another one once it’s approved).
You can learn more about the form on the France Diplomacy site here.
If you don’t get your QR code in time:
Unfortunately, we didn’t fill out the form to convert our CDC card in time. We did it four days in advance and didn’t get our QR code with the confirmation until our 3rd day in Paris (ie. it took a week to get it back).
But it’s definitely not the end of the world. You’ll just need to shell out around 29 euros per person to get an antigen test, which almost every pharmacy provides in Paris. (You can also get a PCR test, but it’s more expensive and takes longer to get the results, so I don’t know why anyone would.) There’s no need to make an appointment ahead of time, and if one pharmacy doesn’t have it, just walk a block or two to the next one and you’re bound to find one that does.
Provided your antigen test is negative for Covid, you’ll get your QR code via email in about 30 minutes, which you can then load into the AntiCovid app. The QR code from an Antigen test is good as your Pass Sanitaire for 72 hours only. The QR code that is converted from your CDC card doesn’t expire.
Note: I had read online that some pharmacies could convert your CDC card into the Pass Sanitaire QR code for a fee, but no pharmacies do this anymore. The only way to get this done is through the proper government website.
Returning to the United States:
You can go to a pharmacy and get an antigen test 3 days before returning to the states. They say 3 days and not 72 hours to give you a bit more flexibility. If your flight is Saturday night at 7 pm, you could get your antigen test as early as Wednesday morning instead of having to wait until Wednesday night at 7 pm.
Also, unless things have changed by the time you’re traveling, you won’t be able to check in to your flight online since you need to show proof of the negative Covid test at the airport. This can be on a cell phone- no need to print out your test results. (Just make sure your cell phone doesn’t run out of battery!)
Again, this is all based on my personal experience. Check here for up-to-date and official information from the CDC regarding Covid requirements when flying back into the US.
One Week Paris Itinerary Map of Locations
You can use this map to see the locations of all of the places that I recommend or that were recommended to me.
If you open up the map, the pins are grouped by areas that make sense so that you’re traveling within a small distance each day (instead of walking all over the city).
The pins are color-coded as follows:
- Dark blue– main points of interest
- Light blue– less famous points of interest
- Yellow– great photo spot
- Purple– restaurant/creperie/bakery
- Green– parks
- Dark red– carousel
Customize Your Paris Itinerary
Each day revolves around a main point of interest, which is where the titles for each day come from.
The places within each day are in an order that makes sense (ie. one thing is close to the next), but feel free to take this Paris itinerary and make it your own.
If you want to see the Eiffel Tower every day that you’re in Paris, don’t let me stop you!
And keep in mind that the beauty of being in a new place is feeling the freedom to travel, make friends, and explore.
So be sure to leave wiggle room for unexpected cafes, relaxation time at a park, or anything else that might steer you off course.
Go with a plan and use this Paris itinerary, but give yourself the freedom to explore.
I think that that’s the best way to get to know a new place!
How to Use This Paris Itinerary
I’d recommend copy and pasting my daily “At A Glance” lists somewhere, then highlighting the places that you really want to visit as you read through the in-depth descriptions.
Once you have your favorites picked out, you can follow the itinerary and skip the places you’re not as excited to see if you start running out of time.
That way you can linger at places that really blow you away without feeling like you’re on a time crunch.
Without further ado, here’s my week-long Paris itinerary!
Day 1: Arrive and Decompress
You’ve just arrived in Paris!
Chances are, you’ve been on a long flight and are jet-lagged.
If you need a nap, I don’t blame ya.
I usually am pretty gung-ho about staying up until a normal early bedtime in my new time zone, but when Harrison and I arrive in Paris, we were bone-tired!
We arrived right around 11 am and went out for lunch to pass some time before our check-in time at our hotel.
Once we checked in, I pretty much immediately took a nap- that accidentally lasted a couple of hours.
We used the rest of the day to groggily explore the area around us, get our negative antigen tests for our Pass Sanitaires, and eat some yummy Thai food near our hotel.
Then hit the sack early.
I have no regrets about our “wasted” day- the next day we were up bright and early, completely re-energized, and ready to explore!
Now the “real” Paris itinerary starts!
Day 2: Arc de Triomphe & Grand/Petit Palais
L’Arc de Triomphe
Go up to the top of the Arc for a spectacular view!
Hours (last entrance is 45 minutes before closing):
- April 1- September 30: 10AM-11PM
- October 1- March 31: 10AM-10:30PM
- Adults- 12 Euros
- 18 and under- free
See full details here.
This iconic shopping street is adjacent to L’Arc de Triomphe. It’s a must on any Paris itinerary!
While you’re on the Champs Elysées, stop at Ladurée for their famous macarons!
Walk (or metro) to Chez Francis for lunch. It is a famous Parisian restaurant with a patio view of the Eiffel Tower.
Stop at this gorgeous hotel to take a look at some neat architecture. You can also enjoy a meal or tea here.
If you have money to spend (this hotel is NOT cheap!), book your stay here.
** From December 2020 until estimated Spring 2023, the Grand Palais will fully close for a complete remodel. **
The Grand Palais is a famous exhibition hall and museum built at the turn of the 20th century.
Check their website here for most up-to-date information.
This art museum is directly across the street from the Grand Palais. You’ve probably seen its gorgeous golden gate on Instagram!
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 6pm. (Note that the ticket office closes at 5:15 pm).
Cost: free admission to permanent collections
Check here for ticket info directly on the Petit Palais site for the most current information.
Pont Alexandre III
This is a beautiful bridge that offers a great view of the Eiffel Tower.
Rosa Bonheur sur Seine
Snack time! Stop in to Rosa Bonheur sur Seine for cheese and charcuterie!
Les Invalides refers to a complex of buildings, made up of military museums and monuments.
Hours: Daily from 10am-6pm
Cost: 16 Euro, get full ticketing information here.
Whether you’re an art fanatic or not, this art museum dedicated to Auguste Rodin is worth a visit!
Hours: Open daily except for Mondays from 10am to 6.30pm. (Note that the ticket office closes at 5.30pm).
Cost: Get full ticketing information here.
Day 3: Sacré-Cœur
The Sacré-Cœur is by far my favorite iconic place in Paris. You’ll certainly want to add it to your Paris itinerary! Definitely pay to go up to the top, it offers incredible views over the city.
(Please note that there are around 300 steps to climb and no elevator!)
- The church itself is open every day from 6am to 10:30pm, and entrance is free.
- To climb up to the dome:
- May-September: Daily from 8:30am to 8pm
- October-April: Daily from 9am to 5pm
Cost: 5-8 euros to go to the top of the Sacré-Cœur.
While you’re at the Sacré-Cœur, check out the Sacré-Cœur Carousel!
The Sacré-Cœur is in Montmartre, my favorite neighborhood in all of Paris! When you think of the charming, quintessential, cobblestone streets of Paris, you’re probably envisioning Montmartre.
Filled with cafes, shops, and art, Montmartre is a must when visiting Paris!
(Fun fact: this is the neighborhood where the movie Amelie was filmed.)
Place du Tertre
I think this is the most charming square in all of Montmartre because it truly embodies the spirit of this neighborhood. When the weather is right, you’ll see artists painting and selling their paintings, plenty of open-air restaurant seating, and an overall festive small-town feel.
La Maison Rose
This iconic, gorgeous pink shop is one of the prettiest cafes in Paris, in my opinion.
Here are two more options for cafes in Montmartre:
Cul de Poule
For an unassuming, laid-back cafe in Montmartre, Cul de Poule serves up great food at a great price.
We stopped into Le Consulat for mussels and fries, and it was so good! I highly recommend it!
The outdoor patio is so charming if you have the option to sit outdoors.
The Moulin Rouge is a photo-worthy Paris icon!
You can book dinner and a show at the famous Moulin Rouge here.
Grab a pastry and take a leisurely stroll through Parc Monceau.
Visit this private museum to see the notable works of art that Édouard André and his wife, Nélie Jacquemart, collected in their lifetime.
The mansion is stunning, with genuine nineteenth-century rooms, salons, gardens, and the museum to explore.
Hours: daily from 10am to 6pm (open until 8:30pm on Mondays when showing exhibitions). Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
Cost: normal price is 10-17 Euros, check rates here.
Day 4: Eiffel Tower
The Trocadéro Gardens offers arguably the best & most classic view of the Eiffel Tower. I’d say this is another must on any Paris itinerary. Come at sunrise for an epic shot with the Iron Lady!
Avenue de Camoens
Located right next to the Trocadero, this is a quiet road that dead ends into a gorgeous view of the Eiffel Tower! It’s great for photos!
Banks of the Seine
Stroll the banks of the Seine or simply grab another great shot of the Eiffel Tower!
Did you visit Paris if you didn’t visit the Eiffel Tower?? The most iconic structure in Paris (and some might say in the world!!), this is absolutely a must for your Paris itinerary. We actually have never gone up the tower- I much prefer the views you can get from the other Paris monuments where you can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
If you want to go up to the top, here’s a bit of information:
There are several options for getting to the top of the tower: some that involve mostly stairs, some that do some stairs, some escalator, and some that do only escalator straight to the top.
Pricing and times vary based on which option you choose; get the full details here.
222 Rue de l’Université
This street offers a great photo-worthy view of the Eiffel Tower. It has become rather popular in recent years, so know that there will probably be people here- patience is key to getting a cool photo.
Au Canon des Invalides Brasserie
This cafe has a great urban view of the Eiffel Tower as well!
Grab a meal at La Gare: a gorgeous restaurant in the old La Muette metro station.
The decor here is beautiful, and chef Gaston Acurio, who studied at Le Cordon Bleu, compliments it with his carefully planned menu.
Take the train to this famous city with its palace and gardens, located about 10 miles southwest of Paris. (From the Eiffel tower area, the train usually takes 33-40 minutes.) If you are a real history or architecture buff and want to spend all day at Versailles, you can pretty easily combine the Eiffel Tower day with the Arc de Triomphe day!
You have to book a time slot ahead of time, get your tickets/reservation here!
Day 5: Luxembourg
6th Arrondissement of Paris
On today’s Paris itinerary, you’ll be mainly in the 6th arrondissement.
Here you’ll find some notable places like Luxembourg Gardens and Montparnasse.
But while you’re here, keep your eyes open for pastry shops- there are so many good ones in this lovely arrondissement.
This is the tallest building in Paris with a view of the whole city. More than just that: Europe’s fastest elevator takes you to the 56th floor in just 38 seconds!
Once you get off the elevator, panoramic views of the city greet you.
- Sunday-Thursday: 9:30 am to 10:30 pm
- Friday and Saturday: 9:30 am to 11 pm
Cost: normal price is 16-18 Euros. Check rates and book your ticket here.
Le Plomb du Cantal
This traditional French restaurant serves up food out of Frace’s Auvergne region. They dole out large portions, so keep that in mind when ordering.
Tip: order the Saturnian salad and a truffade!
Don’t skip this spot! The Pantheon is actually a mausoleum, the resting place of famous French like Voltaire and Marie Curie. You can pay to go up the dome to get a remarkable view of Paris, check rates here.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Built in 1612, Luxembourg Garden spreads out over almost 62 acres of land, divided into French and English gardens.
These famous gardens are best to visit from the spring until fall.
Hours: the garden hours vary based on the season. Typically they open between 7.30am and 8.15am, and close between 4.30pm (winter) and 9.30pm.
Cost: it is completely free to explore Luxembourg Garden.
While you’re visiting the gardens, check out yet another Parisian carousel!
Ladurée is known for its macarons, but Pierre Hermé has arguably the best macarons in Paris!
Café de Flore
This cafe features a gorgeous storefront.
This is a classic Parisian neighborhood that is perfect for a leisurely stroll.
Les Deux Magots
This cafe is famous in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
While they serve up all sorts of food, I recommend stopping at this cafe for its wonderful pastries.
Day 6: Le Marais & Notre Dame
Stop at this popular brunch spot for some tasty food.
Le Marais is a historic district that is home to a lot of important buildings. Two notable places in this area are Musée National Picasso-Paris and Places des Vosges, a gorgeous park/square.
This area has a ton of nice bars and high-end jewelry and clothing stores.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
Looking for another option? Marché des Enfants Rouges is perfect for lunch or brunch on a weekday.
Due to its popularity, it gets super crowded on the weekends, so try to visit on a weekday if possible.
Museum of National Archives
Created as a result of the French Revolution, this state museum of French history was built for the people.
It is operated by the Archives Nationales and is perfect for anyone interested in learning about French history.
Don’t write it off as a boring ‘ol museum- there are really neat exhibits and gorgeous gardens here!
- Open daily except for Tuesdays
- Weekdays: 10am to 5:30pm
- Saturdays and Sundays: 2pm to 5:30pm
Cost: It has been free since July 2020, check here for up-to-date ticketing information.
Rue des Rosiers
This is a really neat street in the 4th Arrondissement. To give you an idea of what to do in this area, L’as Du Fallafel is a great falafel shop close to Metro Saint Paul. There are also a lot of thrift stores nearby if you’re interested in finding cool, retro French fashion!
Rue des Barres
This short street in the Marais has been around for a long time- it shows up on a map from 1550 (source)! Walk down and let your mind go back in time!
Not only does it have a lot of history, but it’s also a gorgeous street in Paris.
Hôtel de Ville
Hôtel de Ville translates to City Hall. And this city hall has some gorgeous architecture worth checking out!
Île de la Cité
Adjacent to La Marais you’ll find Île de la Cité. This natural island in the Seine is home to Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, and Rue Chanoinesse (the next 4 items you’ll find on this list).
Keep your eyes peeled for the famous Flowers and Birds Market, a flower market that is a bird market on Sundays, and has been around since 1808!
This famous church features stunning stained glass and church interiors.
Over 1,000 stained glass windows adorn this chapel, built in the 13th century! It costs 10 euros to enter.
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole
Stroll down Rue Chanoinesse where you’ll find Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole.
This cafe has a gorgeous storefront- especially when the flowers bloom in the spring!
Now it’s time for the most notable Parisian spot of the day: the glorious Notre Dame. What Paris itinerary is complete without it?
Construction on Notre Dame started in the 12th century, and it has become the most famous gothic cathedral in the world. Just how famous? Typically, Notre Dame attracts 13 million visitors every year!
Unfortunately, after the April 2019 fire, you can no longer go up, but you can still admire Our Lady of Paris from the outside.
The Latin Quarter (& Odette)
Next to Montmartre, this is my second favorite area in all of Paris! The winding cobblestone streets lined with plenty of shops and cafes will absolutely charm you!
Stop at Odette for some macarons and some of the most charming street views in the Latin Quarter.
This little island is the only other natural island in the Seine. It is adjacent to Île de la Cité, and is surrounded by gorgeous bridges.
Bonus: it has a great view of Notre Dame.
Quai de la Tournelle
While you’re in the area, cross over the Quai de la Tournelle, where you’ll get a spectacular view of Notre Dame and the Seine.
If time and your itinerary permit, visit at sunset for a perfect spot to watch the sun go down.
This road is very popular on Instagram because of how cheerful and colorful this road is. It’s a bit of a walk away from the other spots on this list, but if you’re looking for a colorful photo spot, know that pastel-colored houses line Rue Crémieux.
Day 7: Louvre & Palais Royal
Le Printemps Hausmann & Galeries Lafayette
Head to these luxury department stores for some high-end shopping.
At Le Printemps Hausmann, head to the roof where you can stop into Perruche for a cocktail and enjoy the epic views!
You can also see epic views over the city from the rooftop at Galeries Lafayette and from the 7th and 8th floors of Le Printemps Hausmann. Purely for the fantastic (and free!) views, either shopping mall is a must on any Paris itinerary! Though I’d say if you have to pick one, choose the view from the rooftop at Galeries Lafayette.
Les Fils à Maman Paris
This cafe serves up home-style foods among their warm and eclectic ambiance.
Portions are generous, so if you’re stopping in for a snack, consider sharing a dish!
Le Bouillon Chartier
This is one of the oldest brasseries in Paris!
Go for the cultural experience and yummy food. Since this restaurant is so popular, you will probably be seated with strangers, so don’t be alarmed.
Get there around 11:30am if you don’t want to wait in line.
(But if you do have to wait in line, they offer 1 Euro Sangria while you wait!)
Built in the 17th century, this palace is a remarkable work of art and has breathtaking gardens to boot.
The classic black and white Daniel Buren columns on the exterior of the Palais-Royal are too cute not to photograph while you’re there!
It is free to visit.
- October-March: Daily from 8am – 8:30pm
- April-September: Daily from 8am – 10:30pm
The Louvre is probably second to the Eiffel Tower in regards to famous places in Paris. Your Paris itinerary can’t be complete without it!
Definitely make sure you stop for a visit, whether you just want to catch a glimpse of the famous Mona Lisa (be warned: it is tiny!) or want to spend hours wandering through its many halls of art.
The museum is closed on Tuesdays, and is open from 9am to usually 6pm (on Wednesdays and Fridays it stays open until 9:45pm).
Cost: 17 Euros if you purchase online here (it gives you quicker entry), or 15 Euros if you buy tickets at the Louvre.
The Musée d’Orsay contains some incredible works of French art, most dating between 1848 and 1914. From sculptures and paintings to antiques and photography, you’ll find it all here.
My favorite photo spot here? There is a stunning, giant clock inside! You’ll see a photo of it at the very end of this post.
Hours: Daily except for Mondays, from 9:30am – 6pm. The museum is open late on Thursdays, until 9:45pm.
Cost: normal price for adults is 14 Euros.
The Tuileries Garden is located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde.
Originally commissioned by Catherine de’ Medici in 1564, this French-formal style garden became a public park following the French Revolution.
It has stayed public and is free to enter.
- Last Sunday in September to the last Saturday in March: 7:30am – 7:30pm
- Last Sunday in March to the last Saturday in September: 7am – 9pm.
Musee de L’Orangerie
Located in the southwestern corner of the Tuileries Garden, you can head to the Musee de L’Orangerie to see some spectacular Monet paintings.
Hours: Open daily except for Tuesdays, from 9am-6pm (last admission is 5:15pm).
Cost: ranges from free to 12.50 euros for adults, reservation required. See full pricing information here.
Place de la Concorde
Measuring almost 19 acres (7.6 hectares), Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris.
Notably, it has a 3,300-year-old Egyptian Obelisk, the Luxor Obelisk, in the center of the square!
For some gruesome history, this was an execution site during the French Revolution- the list of names of around 1,200 guillotine victims include Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.
Nowadays, the square is named as a place of peace, and you’ll find fountains, the obelisk, and even a ferris wheel on the square!
This octagonal-shaped square (don’t overthink it!) is located to the north of the Tuileries Garden.
The teal Vendôme Column stands in the center of the square. It actually has a staircase inside that takes you to the top, but it is no longer open to the public.
While you’re here, many luxury designers have storefronts around Place Vendôme, so you can do some (window) shopping or stop in the Ritz bar for a drink!
Chanel is too classically French to not stop in or do some window shopping!
There are actually two Chanel stores around Place Vendôme, but 31 Rue Cambon is the original location.
Gabrielle Chanel (known by her nickname, Coco), built her first store- a hat shop- at 21 Rue Cambon. By 1918, she had acquired the whole building at 31 Rue Cambon.
Now for the last thing to do on your Paris itinerary: pick up some souvenirs if you haven’t already.
Stop in to Fauchon Paris for some gourmet foods- it is perfect for finding a classy souvenir from Paris (think teas, chocolates, gift boxes, etc.).
The location at 24 Place de la Madeline (marked on the map) is Fauchon’s flagship store.
There you have it!
I hope you found this one-week Paris itinerary helpful!
For more Paris inspiration and planning guides, check out these articles:
- The 72 Most Instagrammable Places in Paris
- What to Wear in the Winter in Paris
- Why You Should Stay at an AirBNB in Paris
- What You’ll Find at Monmartre
- The Best Views of the Eiffel Tower
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