Nomad by Trade

A travel blog for the kid at heart.

Tag: Eiffel Tower

3-Day Paris Power Itinerary

Due to limited vacation time and a desire to see pretty much everything in the world, I tend to do whirlwind trips with itineraries carefully crafted to maximize every second of the day. Here’s the ideal itinerary for covering the best of Paris in only three days. If you’re planning on spending a whole day at the Louvre or enjoying the city atmosphere at a café, this isn’t the right schedule for you. But if you have limited time and a desire to see and do as much as possible, read on.

This schedule makes use of late evening hours that the Louvre and Orsay museums hold on certain nights during the week. Make sure to look up the current late night schedules and you can swap days around accordingly. The best way to accomplish this itinerary is to buy a Paris Museum Pass.

Day 1

Invalides | Eiffel Tower | River Cruise

This is a slower day to accommodate morning flights or jet lag adjustments. Start by exploring the city a bit and take a quick visit to see Napoleon’s tomb at Invalides. Book your Eiffel Tower tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in line. Try to go up in the late afternoon just before sunset so that you can enjoy the view in the daylight, watch the sunset, and see the city light up below you. Read more about that here.

View from below the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

Take your time and enjoy a glass of champagne at the top and then take the elevator back down. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from for dinner in the area. Take an evening cruise along the Seine to enjoy views of the city at night and an introduction to some of the other highlights you’ll be visiting during your stay.

Day 2

Versailles | Notre Dame | Louvre | Arc de Triomphe

Start the day by taking an early train to Versailles. Take your time touring the palace and grounds, and enjoy lunch on site in the tea room. Take a mid-afternoon train back to Paris and head to Notre Dame.

Explore inside of the cathedral and then head up to the top for some close-up views of the famous gargoyles and the belfry. Once you’ve had your fill of the view, grab dinner at one of the resturants on Ile de la Cite.

Night time at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France

Walk or take a train to the Louvre to enjoy their late evening hours. You’ll have a few hours to explore the museum and see highlights like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Make sure to enjoy the view of the famous pyramid lit up at night – it’s even better after dark than it is during the day.

Day 3

Pantheon | Sainte Chappelle | Sacre Coeur | Arc de Triomphe | Musee d’Orsay

Begin your day at the Pantheon, France’s collection of national heroes all entombed together. From there, you can walk to the Ile de la Cite to see the beautiful Sainte Chappelle. It’s not as famous as Notre Dame, but the interior is a must-see.

The Pantheon in Paris, France

The Pantheon

Have lunch nearby on Ile de la Cite, and then hop a train to Sacre Coeur. There is an inclined railway up to the top if you don’t want to climb the stairs. On your way back, you can take a detour to visit the Moulin Rouge before catching another train to the Champs Elysses.

Sacre Coeur in Paris, France

Start at the Arc de Triomphe. Make sure to take the underground walkways to get to the center of the famous traffic circle surrounding it. A climb to the top offers beautiful views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Have dinner at one of the many restaurants on the Champs Elysees.

Musee d'Orsay gallery in Paris France

Your final stop of the night will be the Musee d’Orsay for its evening hours. Here you can enjoy impressionist paintings in the beautiful setting of a former train station. Be sure to climb all the way to the top of the main hall for a bird’s eye view.

Read more about our visit to Paris:

3-Day Itinerary for covering Paris highlights including the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre, Orsay, Sainte Chappelle, and the Arc de Triomphe

3-Day Itinerary for covering Paris highlights including the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre, Orsay, Sainte Chappelle, and the Arc de Triomphe

The Best Time to Visit the Eiffel Tower

Going to Paris was an experience I’d been dreaming of for my whole life. Of course, I don’t recall ever meeting someone who didn’t at least like the idea of visiting Paris at some point. Needless to say, I was bouncing in my seat on the RER train we took from Marne-la-Vallee (Disneyland’s stop) as we got closer and closer to Paris. The first place on our itinerary was the most iconic: the Eiffel Tower.

Getting There

We had to stop at the hotel first because we were hauling our luggage, so we asked the lady at the front desk about getting a cab, but she said that most of the drivers wouldn’t take such a short fare. Since there was no good way for us to take the Metro closer to the Tower, we power walked through the Champ de Mars to the base of the Tower.

We were a few minutes late, but it didn’t seem to matter. I’d read about horrendous lines for security and the elevators, but we seemed to breeze right through. Plans to increase the barriers around the base of the tower were recently announced, but guards and barriers were already heavily present. We had to walk through metal detectors before being allowed under the structure. Security only took a few minutes and we didn’t have to wait for more than one elevator car at any of the levels. Booking your tickets online is well worth it, and in the summer, it might be your only chance at getting to the top.

When to Visit

When making our reservations, we debated about what time we should do the Tower. One school of thought was to go up during the day so we could have good views of all of the landmarks. The other was that we should go up at night to enjoy the sight of the City of Lights all lit up below us. (And also to take advantage of its late hours so we could use the days to hit museums and other sites that closed in the evening.) It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that going up in late afternoon so we could watch the sunset over the city and see both day and night was the ideal solution. We googled the sunset times for November in Paris and chose our tickets accordingly.

I wanted to get tickets about an hour before the sunset to give us time to get through security and all the way to the top, but there was a mix-up when booking and we ended up with only about 25 minutes between our ticket time and the sunset. On top of that, we were a few minutes late, so we made it to the top just as sunset would’ve been ending. It didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, because it was overcast that day anyway. The best laid plans can always go awry, so sometimes you just have to make the best of things. We still had amazing views and got to watch the city light up below us.

View of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower

At the Top

There is a (slightly overpriced) champagne bar at the top. My sister and I spent the extra 5 Euros to get light-up glasses with ours. We were not disappointed. I took mine home and used it at midnight on New Year’s Eve, so if you factor in two uses, it was less expensive

Champagne glasses at the Eiffel Tower

It was freezing and very windy at the top of the tower, but we braved the cold and took our coats off anyway so we’d look semi-decent in some of the pictures.

Drinking champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower

This is my “please take the picture before I freeze” face.

Watching Paris light up below us was magical. Sunset was absolutely the right decision. In contrast to other European cities I’ve visited, it looked kind of grey and monotone from above, but as darkness fell it seemed to take on a whole new life. I had a bird’s eye view of an endless array of sights I’d been dreaming of seeing for most of my life. Paris has so many recognizable landmarks that gazing out over the city almost felt familiar because everywhere I looked, I saw sights I’d looked at in pictures hundreds of times before.
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

I have no idea what happened to the color in this picture, but I kind of love the blues.

I could’ve stayed up there until midnight, but we had tickets for a river cruise so we eventually headed back to earth to grab a quick dinner and find the docks. Kicking off the Paris portion of our stay with a visit to the Eiffel Tower was definitely a good way to start. It worked well logistically based on the locations of our hotel and our cruise departure and made us even more excited for the next few days. After finally laying eyes on the Louvre and Notre Dame from afar, it was almost impossible to sleep knowing that I’d be visiting them up close the next day.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

Good night, gorgeous.

Read more about our trip to Paris:

The best time to visit the Eiffel Tower

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