You have been working your ass off since the beginning of the year and it’s almost August now. Summer’s gone and a holiday is long overdue. A short Euro trip was on your mind but all you can manage is a week off. Is it possible to cover any European country in 5 days? Bluntly speaking: not really. But what if I tell you, there is an option to explore in and around one of the most gorgeous cities in the world in less than a week and still get your money’s worth?
Your friend who came backpacking across Western Europe touched Paris for a day and a half and has been advising everyone around that it’s not worth it. But deep down, you know you’ve always loved the idea of Paris. “It’s not the city, per se,” you told yourself. “It’s the idea… Paris is an emotion.” And you are right. Someone who actively shuns away from popular notions of ‘touristy attractions’, I will vehemently and passionately urge you to go and see Paris, at least for once in your lifetime. It is not overrated or overhyped. Paris is ALWAYS a good idea, mon amour. And if you can spare a certain amount of moolah for 5 days, why not take that long-awaited trip to the French capital?
Here is a detailed guide on how to get the best of Paris in 5 days.
Visa requirements: France is one of the 26 European Schengen States and hence you would require a Schengen Visa in your passport to travel to Paris. If you are an Indian passport holder, you would need to apply for a Schengen tourist visa and your first job is to get your roundtrip tickets. Book well in advance, so you have ample time to get your visa documents sorted. For the smooth processing of visa, you need to keep a healthy account balance in check since your bank statements would be one of the necessary documents of a Schengen tourist visa. After applying for the visa online, select a date, time and centre of the interview.
Also, go and check out this super helpful website: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/visa-application-indian-passport-holders/
Clothing: European weather is unpredictable. Even if you’re travelling in summer, Paris is fairly windy and you will feel chilly towards the evenings. Pack a long jacket and light sweaters or hoodies. Always carry an umbrella and raincoat with you. Do not carry heels unless you have planned some fancy evening dinner date. Comfortable shoes and waterproof footwear are recommended.
Preferred airports for Paris: You should start on a Saturday and return next Saturday. This way, you can optimize your 5-day trip to a full week and also have one day to rest to shake off all the jet lag. Between Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, Delhi airport seems like a cheaper exit point.
Preferred Airline for Paris: Etihaad, Finnair, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines provide great service from India to Paris and the journey is also comfortable enough.
Pro tip: Set alerts for price drop beforehand and book your tickets as soon as you see a considerable rate. But also keep in mind, the more the delay, the steeper the price goes.
Return flight price: 28k – 36k (depending on the season you book)
Here’s a quick guide (details below):
Day 1: Reach Paris and shake off your fatigue with a good sleep
Day 2: Palais Garnier – Louvre – Orsay Museum — Arc de Triomphe
Day 3: Montmartre district – Notre Dame – Eiffel Tower – Pont Alexandre III
Day 4: Versailles Palace – Seine River cruise
Day 5: Euro Disney
Day 6: Take your flight back to India
Day 1: Reach Paris and shake off your fatigue with a good sleep
How to reach Paris city centre from the airport
Taxi: Board a super early flight to Paris and reach Charles de Gaulle Aeroport by the evening. You will be tired and its valid for you to want a taxi to your hotel. The city centre of Paris is a good 35 km away from the Charles de Gaulle airport and by taxi it generally takes about 45 minutes to reach on a clear traffic day. If you plan to stay near the airport (Roissy en France), a free airport shuttle will take you to any of the hotels in Roissy. But if you want to move around freely without the pain of a long and expensive commute everyday, live near the city centre and walk the city everyday. That way, you save a ton of money. So, as you land, spend a little extra and book yourself a taxi to the city.
Price: From Charles de Gaulle to hotels in city centre – 60 euros. This includes hotels near Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower.
Train: A one-way train ticket from Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) to Paris city centre will cost 10€ for adults, 6€ for children, and children under the age of 4 are able to travel for free. The main train station in Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) can be found near Terminal 3, in the Roissypole building. If you arrive in Terminal 1 or 2, it is better to walk or catch an airport shuttle to Terminal 3 to catch the train. The signposts will conveniently guide you. No fret at all.
Follow these 2 links to ensure a safe and convenient commute in and out of Paris.
1. Paris by Train – First Time Visitor Guide: https://www.parisinsidersguide.com/paris-metro.html
2. Paris Insider’s Guide – Paris metro easy guide: https://www.parisinsidersguide.com/paris-metro.html
Bus: This is what I would recommend. Taking a bus from CDG to the city centre may not sound all that convenient, but it surely is the cheapest. Also, this is the best way to get a hang of the city since you’ll be able to catch sight of some the most attractive destinations while sitting in the bus.
Price: The 80-minute journey from the airport to city centre will cost you around 11.50 euros. There are three bus lines to choose from during the day. The most direct line is Roissybus, which will take you directly into the centre. At night there are two bus lines, N 140 and N 143. The bus stand can easily be seen just outside of the arrivals gates of T1, T2 and T3. All buses make a stop at each of the three terminals except from N 140, this can only be caught at Terminal 3.
Day 2: Palais Garnier – Louvre – Orsay Musuem — Arc de Triomphe
This is the day your trip officially begins. Have some breakfast in your hotel or Airbnb and then proceed for the day. The best way to travel in Paris or any other European city is to walk. Paris is a pedestrian-friendly city and trust me when I say this: walking around Paris is a truly unforgettable experience. This also saves a lot of money, as mentioned earlier. Put on your most comfortable pair of shoes, carry a raincoat or an umbrella in your backpack and walk away, my friend. Also, while you reach the city centre, get yourself a one-day pass for a Hop-on Hop-off bus.
A Big Bus one-day pass will cost you some 39 euros and will allow you to move freely and stop at any destination of your choice within the city – all day, any number of times. Go to Big Bus Paris official website to help yourself get day passes.
Palais Garnier: Palais Garnier, or the Paris National Opera House. The beautifully ornate Palais Garnier was once the setting for the Gaston Leroux’s famous book, later made popular by the musical and film – The Phantom of the Opera. The huge structure with its stupendous dome ceiling has two gilded figures standing on two ends of the terrace at the front. The opulent theatre has elements of Baroque, Palladio and Renaissance blended together. A ticket worth 14 euros will let you in, and you can explore the grand interiors of the world’s most expensive and exuberant opera house. Don’t forget to sit on the steps on the opera and enjoy some live music perhaps played by a street musician as hordes of young tourists give you company on the steps and if you’re lucky, you could witness some dancing by a happy, carefree couple – right on the streets.
Musée du Louvre: After you’ve filled yourself with the warmth of Paris, head straight to Rue de Rivoli to reach the Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum) to immerse yourself in some serious culture porn. The museum is massive and impossible to cover entirely in one day. Get yourself a pamphlet from the grand entrance and this will guide you to the nook and corners of the museum as well as show you the exit, which is an almost impossible task to locate without help. A ticket will cost you some 17 euros. You should check the Denon Wing for some of the most exquisite works of art including the Mona Lisa, Liberty Leading the People, Madonna of the Rocks, etc. The shopping centre in the Louvre basement and the souvenir shop at the Denon exit has some great stuff to offer!
Jardin de Tuileries:Finish your Louvre tour and as you exit, don’t just rush. You will find yourself at the entrance of a beautiful and large garden with a stunning water fountain in the middle. This place is Jardin de Tuileries. The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concord and is a wonderful spot to just take a stroll around. Walking straight ahead you will find a large black gate and as you exit, you’d be standing at the Place de la Concorde, the famed Parisian square with the Egyptian Luxor Obelisk at its centre flaunted by two monumental fountains (Fontaine des Mers and Fontaine des Fleuves). This picturesque avenue was once the execution site of King Loius XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette.
Arc de Triomphe: Standing at Place de la Concorde you will now get a clear view of the legendary Arc de Triomphe. The neoclassical monument at the centre of the city honours soldiers who fought and died in the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolution. The Arc de Triomphe marks the beginning of the historic Avenue des Champs Élysées, a broad picture-perfect straight road, almost 2 kilometres long. Champs Élysées, arguably one of the most beautiful avenues of the world, ends in the majestic Place de la Concorde. Champs-Élysées is a cultural hotspot, boasting cinemas, theatres, and exhibition venues. A shopper’s paradise, the High Street stores along the avenue sets the zeitgeist of every fashion trend that first hits Paris before the rest of the world. You can also see the iconic Eiffel Tower standing proudly over the Seine to your left. But let us catch that on Day 3, the next day.
Les Invalides: Appreciating Champs-Élysées will take its fair share of time. Near Arc de Triomphe, you can hop on a Big Bus and head straight to Les Invalides. With its golden dome and ornate features, this 17th century hospital stands as an example of Baroque architecture and is home to the richly decorated tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. The sprawling historic complex houses several fascinating museums to stunning marble-clad tombs. The different amazing parts of the complex that you can visit are: The Army Museum, the Museum of Military Models, the Museum of Contemporary History, and the Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Musee d’Orsay: I also recommend you go visit Musee d’Orsay, a 7-minute walk from the Louvre. Renowned for its rich collection of Impressionist art, the Musée d’Orsay also displays all Western artistic creation from 1848 to 1914. Its gorgeous collections represent all expressive forms, from painting to architecture, as well as sculpture, and photography. Tickets cost some 14 euros per adult. The best part about this museum is the grand architecture: Orsay was previously a train station that looked like a palace. It was converted to a museum for the 1900 Universal Exposition (World Fair).
Where to eat on Day 2
Eating out in Paris can be extremely expensive and a mere 10 euros will not get you a heavy lunch. My suggestion would be to fill yourself up with free breakfast in the hotel and then go about your business. But to be honest, food forms an intricate form of culture and one needs to try French food in Paris for sure! Here are some places you can try for dinner.
Café de la Pais; Mon Paris!; Grand Café Capucines – near Opera House
Brasserie du Louvre; Maxim’s Louvre; Cafeteria de la Pyramide – inside Louvre Museum
Zia; L’Escapade; Le Bistro de Gaspard; Koi – near Hotel de France Invalides
I would recommend you grab a burger or a sandwich from a McDonald’s and wait for dinner to get all fancy.
Day 3: Montmartre district – Notre Dame – Eiffel Tower – Pont Alexandre III
This is your 3rd day in the city and you would want to squeeze in as much as you can. But our itinerary won’t allow you to squeeze in vistas. It will let you properly tour a place in a breezy manner, with no rush and maximum enjoyment. Our first issue of business today – head straight to Montmartre district. Otherwise known as The Mountain Of Martyrs, Montmartre offers the artist in you a serene and unparalleled experience.
How to reach Montmartre:
To reach, you need to take the metro and stop at Abbesses, which is also the deepest train station in Paris as Montmartre is known to be a huge hill in itself. From the Louvre Metro Station, the metro cost me some 1.90 euros. You could book a guided tour in Montmartre for a complete experience or you could also just pick up a pamphlet and stroll the legendary district on your own, at your own pace. And it is no denying that it’s thrilling to be walking the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, breathing the very air that drew their inspirations, and to be surrounded by such beautiful and bohemian architecture.
A wonderful walking tour of the best of Montmartre will cost you around Rs 3,948 if you book in Klook. Here’s a link for an easy way: https://www.klook.com/en-HK/activity/15879-amelie-montmarte-walking-tour-paris/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwvdXpBRCoARIsAMJSKqJvFskWt6iAjDZUUjdkeJ_SoZVaGh_DQJ0i-MT2cWWLuAJcj8me4CUaAleFEALw_wcB
Some of the must-visit places in Montmartre are:
- Basilica of Sacre-Coeur: This is one of the most iconic attractions that towers over Montmartre. This fully operational church also offers audio tours free of charge.
- The Moulin Rouge: Also known as the birthplace of the 19th-century seductive dance can-can, The Moulin Rouge is an internationally famous cabaret which still retains its antiquity and atmosphere as a place of entertainment for guest all over the world.
- Musée de Montmartre: Set in a quaint French home that was a common meeting place for many artist and writers, this museum is a charming hotspot for all literature freaks like us. The pieces displayed are symbols of the charming architecture that surrounds the whole city.
- Bateau-Lavoir: Known as the melting pot of modern art, this homely and charming little green space with its beautiful wooden structure was paid homage to by was paid homage to by artists and writers such as Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Mac Orlan, Modigliani, Van Dongen and Juan Gris and Pablo Picasso.
Notre Dame: After your soul-stirring tour of Montmartre, chances are, you will be left craving more. Take the metro back and now stop at Saint-Michel Norte Dame station. Walk to Notre Dame and marvel at the beauty of the cathedral, which unfortunately, suffered a terrible fire early this year. A 3-minute walk from Notre Dame across a little bridge over the Seine will take you to Shakespeare and Company, the iconic independent bookstore. Spend some quality time there and flip through the ancient pages. Walk along Seine and see the artists by the river sketching away their city, while some play the harmonica and some play the mouth organ, and your heart flutters away somewhere. The Eiffel Tower is waiting for you. It’s almost dawn.
Eiffel Tower: Hop on a bus and head straight to the Eiffel Tower. 17 euros will take you to the top floor of the Iron Lady and you will be able to see beautiful Paris in all its glory. Around 8 or 8.30 in the evening, watch the Eiffel light up with 20,000 twinkling lights and simultaneously, watch the city turn a magical land of dancing lights. Sit yourself down on the expansive stretch of lawns at Champ de Mars and enjoy your evening. Take a stroll down Pont Alexandre III, while you return to your hotel.
Where to eat on Day 3
Have lunch in Montmartre in of the following amazing restaurants –
Signature Monmartre; Le Jardin d’en Face; La Boîte aux Lettres.
For dinner, consider some of these restaurants near the Eiffel Tower –
Marie-Ann Cantin; Sapori di Parma, and Apollon.
Day 4: Versailles Palace – Seine river cruise – Champ de Mars
Versailles Palace: To reach Versailles via metro, you need to take the Yellow line. From your nearest metro point, take the train to Javel metro station. Stop at Versailles Rive Gauche. From Paris, the total cost of a round trip to Versailles is 7.1 euros per person.
You can book a full access pass to the magnificent Versailles estate with audio guide and full access to the gardens online. With some 50 euros you will be able to stroll the palace at your own pace, walk through the opulent Hall of Mirrors and Royal Apartment, discover the private estate of Marie Antoinette and learn a lot many things about French monarchy and King Louis XVI. The optional light and sound show is a thing to behold!
Book the Versailles experience beforehand on Klook here: https://www.klook.com/en-HK/activity/17773-versailles-palace-gardens-tour-paris/?krt=s10&krid=c0df1489-e6c6-4e0e-482a-4b541129c642
Seine River Cruise: After your Versailles tour, come back to the city in the evening for a splendid river cruise. For 30 euros, you can book a Seine river cruise online and be a part of the magnificent Illumination Cruise. In this informative, 1 hour, glass canopy boat ride, you will be able to experience one of the most beautiful Parisian boulevards after dark, as the Iron Lady starts bedazzling the city with its thousands of twinkling lights. The flexible ticket allows you to board at any day and time within 6 months from the date of purchase. This cruise is easily accessible from a convenient boarding point located at the foot of Eiffel Tower.
Book the Seine cruise here in Klook for an easy process: https://www.klook.com/en-HK/activity/3317-night-city-tour-seine-cruise-paris/?krt=s21&krid=9f57876d-7f04-49c2-5b76-ca39fdf38953
After the cruise, as the chatters come to a standstill, head straight to Champ de Mars, the sprawling lawns ahead of the Eiffel Tower. Wear your jacket and lie down on the grass. Look at the Eiffel again. This time with a passionate intensity. Trust me, this view will never grow old. And you will forever be mesmerized by the spell the city will cast on you.
Day 5: Euro Disney
Disneyland Paris: This will take an entire day if you really want to immerse yourself in the most innocent and enjoyable of experiences! Euro Disney is situated 32 km east from the city centre of Paris. It has two parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studio Park, and it is quite difficult to cover both of them in a single day. I would recommend getting the best of experiences in one day because this will be the most costly ticket you buy in your time in Paris. One adult ticket costs 85 euros whereas for children it is 77 euros.
Go to Disneyland Paris official website to help you maneuver through the park.
How to reach: If you are travelling between central Paris and Disneyland, you will be travelling on Metro Line A (RER-A). Fortunately, the station used for Disneyland, Marne-la-Vallee is the last stop of the line, so it is a bit easier to find when looking for the next train. A return ticket would cost 14.20 euros for adults and 7.10 euros for kids.
Where to eat in Disneyland
You will find plenty of cute eateries around the park. They will be a little expensive, but the ambiance will make it up to you by tenfold.
By the time you return, you will be dead tired to even move your arms. It is better to head straight to your hotel and have some dinner before retiring.
Day 6: Take your flight back to India
It is absolutely foolish to shop in Paris from the branded and expensive stores, especially in and around Champs-Elysees. The souvenir shops along the streets are enough to get to some charming tidbits of your memory from Paris. If you’re looking for some perfume, buy them from the duty-free shops at the airport. But for macarons, head to Laduree and get yourself a box of scrumptious desserts before heading to the airport.
Check out the detailed price breakup of your 5-nights Paris trip
|Schengen Visa (adult)||4,400|
|Return flight tickets||30,000|
| Bus to city centre (or stay in the city) – |
return fare included
|1,780 (11.50 euros x 2)|
|HoHo Bus pass for 2 days||6,030 (39 euros x 2)|
|Louvre Museum ticket||1,314 (17 euros)|
|Invalides ticket||928 (12 euros)|
|Monmartre return metro fare||294 (3.8 euros)|
|Montmartre guided walking tour||3,948|
|Top level of Eiffel Tower ticket||1,314 (17 euros)|
|Versailles return metro fare||550 (7.1 euros)|
|Versailles Palace and gardens guided all-access tour||4,100|
|Seine River Illumination Cruise||2,451|
|Euro Disney||6,574 (85 euros per adult)|
|AirBnB Stay (5 nights)||15,000 – 20,000|
|TOTAL||89,683 – 94,683|