Paris Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and Louvre in 3 Days
Bonjour Paris, capital of France, located along the Seine River and known for its special Parisian character and culture! Paris has a wealth of world-famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre-Dame, Panthéon, Sorbonne… Find inspiration for your Paris itinerary to make the most of 3 days in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Ainnelise Niyvold Liundbye UPDATED: 24 MAY 2020
Where to start when you wish to do ‘all Paris’ – including the grand sights like Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Louvre, Notre-Dame and the iconic Eiffel Tower? We will suggest an itinerary here for 3 days in Paris covering a vast majority of the top sights.
Roughly, the first day in Paris will take you round in the Latin Quarter and to the Île de la Cité with Notre-Dame, the second day to the Rive Droite of the Seine River including the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and an Eiffel Tower experience, and the last of the 3 days will show you the Seine, Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre…
We promise that you will definitely get a feel for the city… and a desire to come back!
DAY 1: Paris Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and Louvre in 3 days
Today you will be exploring the Latin Quarter, situated in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. Geographically the area is small, so you can easily change the sightseeing order – whatever is more convenient to you.
Le Quartier Latin, located on the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) of the Seine River together with the neighbouring quarter Saint-Germain-des-Prés, has existed for over 2000 years. In the past it was known as the Roman village of Lutetia.
In fact, the name ‘Latin Quarter’ has also been used for centuries. It goes all back to the Middle Ages where Latin was the predominant language in the area here.
For a long time the quarter has been associated with artists and intellectuals. The special ambience still found here reflects the thousands of students going to the Sorbonne Univerity and other academic institutions which the quarter is home to. At the same time a bohemian way of life blends with the simpler student life and creates a unique character and vibe in this part of Paris.
The main arteries running through the Latin Quarter is the lively Boulevard Saint-Germain and the tree-lined Boulevard Saint-Michel full of bookshops, cafés, designer and clothes shops. The quarter is home to many of Paris’s famous buildings, museums and institutions: Panthéon, Musée de Cluny, Sorbonne, Institut du Monde Arabe …
Not surprisingly, there are loads of interesting sites and hidden gems dispersed in the Latin Quarter, and you will probably discover your own favourites. You can really spend an entire day here exploring great, old buildings and experiencing the special Latin Quarter vibe. Our suggested itinerary will take you round to some of the places we consider the quintessence of the Latin Quarter – and tend to return to every time we visit the French capital!
Going for a stroll in the Latin Quarter, you cannot easily overlook the central campus of Sorbonne University and the students circulating in between their lectures in the area.
Officially, Sorbonne University was a merger of the former Paris-Sorbonne University and the Pierre and Marie Curie University in 2018. Its history goes much longer back in time, though, since the Collège de Sorbonne was founded as a college for theology students already in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon (chaplain and confessor of Louis IX), who gave his name to the university.
You will easily find the historic central Sorbonne building, located at 47 rue des Écoles.
The Sorbonne students have played a significant role in French history and the university has on several occasions been a political scene. In May 1968, Sorbonne was the site of a student uprising, which initiated similar protests all over France – and Europe.
It is still very attractive to be enrolled at the prestigious Sorbonne University which boasts all 32 Nobel prize and Fields Medal winners!
If you are interested in seeing the famous university behind the walls, it is possible to visit Sorbonne on a guided tour, which requires a bit of planning beforehand.
Already in year 507 a basilica was erected on the site of the present Panthéon. Saint Geneviève, who became the patron saint of Paris, was buried inside it a few years later. In this way the basilica was dedicated to her.
The Panthéon was built on this same site from 1758 to 1790 from designs by Jacques-Germain Soufflot. He was appointed by King Louis XV of France, who desired a church dedicated to Saint Geneviève, the city’s patron saint. The church was completed by Jean-Baptiste Rondelet after Jacques-Germain Soufflot’s death, at the start of the French Revolution.
The massive construction was built in a Greek-Roman neoclassical architectural style with beautiful Corinthian columns, aiming at being even more impressive than the Church of saint Peter in Rome!
During the French Revolution the building changed purpose for a while and served as a temple for those fighting for France. It was not until 1806 that it again became a real church. As a prominent character Victor Hugo was interred here in 1885, and it was then seen as a monument dedicated to the Great Men of the French Republic under Napoléon Bonaparte.
The tombs of significant personalities and famous people such as Rousseau, Voltaire, Emile Zola and Marie Curie, only the second women to be interred in the Panthéon, can be found in the crypt.
Panthéon’s cupola is awe-inspiring and you will have to notice the renowned Foucault pendulum hanging beneath it since 1851 – used to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth!
Meandering through the Latin Quarter and its old, remarkable streets, you will sooner or later reach the Rue Mouffetard, the continuation of the Rue Descartes. This is a real gem and one of the oldest streets of Paris with a history going back to the Romans. Fortunately, this streets and other streets in the Latin Quarter were left untouched under Baron Haussmann’s redevelopment project in Paris.
The origin of the name Mouffetard is the word mouffet in French meaning ‘skunk’. It was here the animal skinners in the old days performed the skinning process.
The bohemian street has a medieval character and is very picturesque with its great diversity of small grocery shops, restaurants and bars. It is most popular among students and the price level very reasonable. You will definitely have to enter one of the charming restaurants to try some traditional Parisian food – and maybe wine! Later, you may also have coffee at the terrace in the Place de la Contrescarpe, which is a good place for people-watching!
Rue Mouffetard is an attractive market street in authentic surroundings. If you are lucky to be here on a Wednesday, Friday or Sunday morning, you can enjoy the crowded market street Marché Mouffetard, the lovely local market, which expands with its stalls to the Marché Monge (near the Place Monge metro). We will absolutely recommend that you visit this gem of a street in Paris – maybe even several times during the 3 days!
One of our true favourite spots in the Latin Quarter is an old amphitheatre. You will be surprised to find the Arénes de Lutèce, a true Roman ‘arène’, just behind the ordinary house façades in Rue Monge.
When entering through the gate, you will immediately discover the striking remains of the Roman heritage, a magnificent amphitheatre, which dates back to the 1st century AD. The name Lutèce or Lutetia in Latin is the ancient name for Paris.
Once an ‘arène’ for gladiatorial combats which could seat 15,000 people, it was at the time a main location in Paris used for the Romans’ entertainment. Under the terraces five rooms were established as ‘cages’ where the animals could stay until they were released into the amphitheatre.
However, the Roman amphitheatre was destroyed during barbarian raids in 275 AD, and the stones were subsequently used as reinforcement of the city walls. Afterwards it became a cemetery and disappeared from people’s consciousness for many years. Only centuries later, in 1860–1869 when Rue Monge was established, it appeared again during the construction of a tramway depot!
Today, it is hard to imagine an amphitheatre full or Roman spectators and fighting gladiators. In stark contrast to the past, it is today a tranquil place where you can view elder Parisians playing the favoured French sport pétanque inside the ring! It is really a hidden gem a and a must-see in Paris!
One of the scenic views along the Seine in Paris is the picture-postcard bouquinistes, the traditional booksellers along the Seine. You will probably get the chance to see the iconic green boxes hiding all kinds of treasures within antiquarian books, art prints and black and white posters several times during your 3 days in Paris.
Their history dates back to the 16th century, where small-scale merchants opened secondhand bookstalls all along the Seine, as well as its bridges. Although popular, the bouquiniste market ceased for quite some years from 1649 onwards, when the stalls along Pont Neuf were now prohibited – since they were considered a threat to the conventional bookstores.
Later, the bouquiniste tradition along the banks was taken up again and became the flourishing practice in Paris as it has been ever since. Since 1891 the bouquinistes have legally been able to attach their boxes to the quaysides.
Today, the vibrant bouquinistes unarguably contribute to the picturesque setting along the Seine River. Take the time to meander slowly past the stalls and look for the unique souvenirs from Paris! You may be able to detect a real find or two among the piles of vintage books and other stuff.
You will now cross over to Île de la Cité, located right in the middle of the Seine. The island is home to a number of significant historical buildings and French institutions – most famous is the Notre-Dame de Paris. The Conciergerie is the former prison where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before being brought to the guillotine! The old courthouse, the Palais de Justice de Paris, together with the Gothic Royal Chapel, the Sainte Chapelle, the Paris court Greffe du Tribunal de Commerce de Paris and the Préfecture de Police are other important constitutional structures and impressive constructions on Île de la Cité. Moreover, as the icing on the cake, the small island boasts the grand Notre-Dame Cathedral which is a symbol of Paris and France and one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture!
Notre-Dame de Paris has a long and comprehensive history. Its name in French, Notre-Dame de Paris, means ‘Our Lady of Paris’. Construction began already in 1160, but it was not until three centuries later that it was all completed. Built in a Gothic style with sculptural decorations and other elements from naturalism, it it in particular features impressive stained glass rose windows, an enormous church bell and the world’s largest organ.
During the French Revolution it suffered considerable damage, but was thoroughly restored again afterwards. Recently, in April 2019, another fire in Paris severely damaged the roof of Notre-Dame. Many proposals were made for the reconstructions – also some implying a very modern design. However, it was decided by law that it should be rebuilt with the exact same appearance as before, and Notre-Dame de Paris is expected to be completely renovated in 2024!
Throughout the history Notre-Dame has been the centerpiece of important events in Paris. In the 19th century the coronation of Napoléon I took place inside the Cathedral, and in 1909 the Pope held a ceremony for Joan of Arc here.
Also the story of the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the classic novel by Victor Hugo from1831, has contributed to the fame of Notre-Dame de Paris in the whole world.
After Notre-Dame you are now ready to visit the historic garden in Paris, Jardin du Luxembourg.
Jardin du Luxembourg, dating back to 1612, is the lovely garden in Paris influenced by the Italian Baroque. It was created for Marie de Medici (1573-1642), who ended up becoming Queen of France. She was inspired by her native city of Florence and had the Boboli Garden as an architectural example when designing this garden.
Her original Parisian residence, the Luxembourg Palace, is today occupied by the French Senate.
When you need a pause from all the other attractions in Paris, it is time to enter the delightful garden. Among the hundreds of sculptures and outstanding Medici Fountain you will find an enchanting, cultural oasis in the middle of the city! It is popular with all Parisians and visitors – from young to old people. Both children and adults play around and set small boats out into the lake. It is here you will get an hour or so to renew your energy for the remaining part of today’s sightseeing or a night out in Paris at the end of the day!
Why not spend the evening with a show at the famous and iconic Moulin Rouge? Make sure to buy your tickets for this in advance!
You will now leave the Latin Quarter and find your way up to the Moulin Rouge, located in the 18th arrondissement.
The Moulin Rouge, easily recognisable with a red windmill on its roof which is illuminated at night, was founded in 1889 by Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller at the bottom of the hill of Montmartre, which was the hip, artistic neighborhood in Paris at the time. However, the Moulin Rouge building, as we know it today, is a replacement of the original construction, which unfortunately burnt down all back in 1915. It took six years before it was ready to open again to the public!
The entertainment genre cancan dance was introduced at the Moulin Rouge at the time of la Belle Époque towards the end of the 1800s and became a catalyst for the cabaret concept across the whole of Europe. Cancan was performed by a line of dancers presenting a new choreography of high lifting of their legs in colourful costumes. Thanks to posters by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec the Moulin Rouge and its dancers soon became known in all places.
Over the years famous entertainers have performed at the Moulin Rouge. Among these are Édith Piaf, Josephine Baker and Frank Sinatra, each in their decade.
What best describes the Moulin Rouge today is a combination of dance-hall and nightclub atmosphere. It is an icon of Paris’s nightlife and a must-see show if you want to experience a more than a century old entertainment tradition in Paris.
Attend a show – maybe combined with a dinner or at least a glass of champagne to get a feel for the French cabaret culture as introduced in the Belle Époque. It is a special feature of Paris’s history and a really unique experience you will definitely not regret having!
DAY 2: Paris Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and Louvre in 3 days
First thing today is a morning walk on the Promenade Plantée, a scenic walkway elevated above the streets of Paris on a former railway which was unused since 1969. Established some decades later, in 1993, it was the first of its kind in the world, also preceding (and probably giving inspiration to) the pedestrian Highline in New York from 2009.
The Promenade Plantée is also known as ‘La Coulée Verte’. From its starting point close to the Place de la Bastille, it is 4.5-kilometre (3-mile) stroll across the 12th arrondissement to the end near Bois de Vincennes.
Find the entrance at the junction of Rue de Lyon and the Avenue Daumesnil. Now you will be able to have the most lovely walk with unusual views of buildings, flowers and trees in the middle of Paris – without even noticing that you are inside the bustling metropolis!
Enjoy the green promenade as the Parisians do! Paris can certainly surprise, and this is really the perfect way to start your second day of your 3 sightseeing days here!
From the Place de la Bastille, the location of the Bastille prison until the storming of the Bastille on 14th July 1789 during the French Revolution, you will now enter Le Marais. It is the historic aristocratic Parisian district across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements which hosts an abundance of buildings of architectural importance.
One of the outstanding squares is the beautiful Place des Vosges, which was designed under King Henri IV in 1605. The ‘hôtels’ flanking the square were the French nobles’ Parisian mansions. Many of these ‘hôtels’ in Marais have today been turned into museums such as the Picasso Museum and the Musée des Archives Nationales.
After the French Revolution Le Marais became the district of the Jewish communities, among other the Jewish people coming from Eastern Europe. The centerpiece was the Rue des Rosiers which is still today a central street with Jewish shops and restaurants.
The nature of the district has over the years considerably changed. Around the 1950s, the district had now rather become a working-class area.
Anyway, you will discover that today Le Maris is again a fashionable district with trendy art galleries, fashionable restaurants and hip cafés.
Just west of Le Marais district you will find the Centre Pompidou located near Les Halles, Paris’s former central fresh food market – now being the Forum des Halles shopping mall.
The Centre Pompidou with the industrial-looking exterior from 1977, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, has since its construction become quite an iconic building with exterior escalators and huge coloured oversized tubes on the façade. It is a piece of high-tech architecture and cultural centre housing a public library, the Musée National d’Art Moderne, a centre for industrial design, a film museum and IRCAM, which is a centre for musical and acoustic research.
The complex is named after Georges Pompidou, who was the President of France 1969-1974 and who commissioned the building. It was, though, inaugurated by the president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.
Even if you don’t want to visit the entire centre, at least you should allow yourself to try the escalators that take you slowly to the top while you are standing inside the voluminous glass tube enjoying the views.
By now it is probably also time to start looking for a lunch restaurant which you should easily find here – maybe around the Forum des Halles! Afterwards it is time for one of the big draws in Paris: the Louvre!
After the Centre Pompidou you will continue to one of the sights in Paris which are on top of most visitors’ list together with Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower: Le Louvre!
The Louvre is one of the absolutely top art museums in Paris and the largest museum in the world! Although built by Philippe Auguste in 1190 as a fortress just on the city’s limits, the Louvre was in the 16th century transformed to a royal palace – at that time inside Paris due to the urban growth.
With time the palace expanded. Nearly every monarch added a section. Today, it takes up an area of 60,600 square meters (652,300 square feet).
In 1682, the king Louis XIV decided to move the royal residence out of the city of Paris to Versailles, and the Louvre again changed status and function. In 1793 the Louvre complex in Renaissance and French Classical style was shortly opened as a museum in Paris by the National Assembly, but due to some problems it closed down again, and was only reopened in 1801 by Napoléon as the Musée Napoléon!
Since then the Louvre has developed to being not only the largest art museum in Paris – but in the whole world! Its collections span from Egyptian antiques, ancient Greek and Roman sculptures to Islamic art, decorative arts, paintings, prints and drawings.
In recent times the Louvre has again been remodelled – now with a glass pyramid in the courtyard which has now become a landmark of Paris! The architect I.M. Pei has succeeded in creating a stunning modern Grand Louvre which was inaugurated in 1988. Medieval structures from the old fortress can still be viewed beneath the pyramid.
Of course you must find your way to the room with Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa!
We suggest that you concentrate on just a small part of the museum – otherwise it will be completely overwhelming. In all, the museum contains more than 35,000 art works on display at any time.
Other masterpieces, you may also want to see, include the Venus de Milo from ancient Greece, the Winged Victory, The Raft of the Medusa, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss and The Coronation of Napoléon – just to mention a few! There are of course many more!
When exiting the Louvre, you naturally continue past the small Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel through the Tuileries Garden, created in 1564 by Catherine de’ Medici as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in Paris with sculptures and fountains in Florentine style. The name ‘Tuileries’ has its origin in the tile-making workshops called tuileries which were located here before the construction of the Palace.
The palace and gardens were abandoned for a while when the French Court moved to Versailles – and only restored again in the 18th century.
The Tuileries Palace was a magnificent royal palace standing on the Rive Droite of the Seine next to the Louvre, until it was burned by the Paris Commune in 1871.
An interesting fact is that during the French Revolution, Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were transferred from Versailles and imprisoned in the Tuilleries Palace.
Today, the Tuileries Garden is a lovely public garden to go for a stroll and have a break from the busy city!
On the other side of the Tuileries you will reach Place de la Concorde, where Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI were guillotined in 1793. It is here you will find yourself gazing at the giant hieroglyph-ornamented Egyptian obelisk, once marking the entrance to the Luxor Temple, which was received from the Egyptian government in the 19th century.
Continuing a few kilometres down the famous 70 m (230 ft) wide Avenue des Champs-Élysées, known for its cafés, luxury shops, the annual Bastille Day military parade, and the Tour de France cycle race, you will finally be reaching the iconic Arc de Triomphe!
The impressive Arc de Triomphe with a height of 50 m (164 ft) stands in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle, previously named Place de l’Étoile, the meeting point of twelve avenues.
Construction was initiated in 1806 on the orders of Napoléon I to honour the victories of his Grande Armée. The Arc de Triomphe served as a gathering point when the French troops were parading and it was used for military campaigns, as well as the annual Bastille Day military parade.
The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in a Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture and has the names of battles and their generals from the Revolution and the Napoléon Wars inscribed on the surfaces.
In 1840, when Napoléon’s remains were brought back to France from Saint Helena, they passed under the Triumphal Arch on the way to their resting place, the Invalides.
Beneath the vault you will also find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
If you continued from Place Charles de Gaulle along the same straight line as when you came from the Louvre, you would after 5 km (3 miles) reach the Grande Arche de la Défense, a modern 110 m (361 ft) high triumphal arch in Paris built by the Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen at the end of the twentieth century in La Défense to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution in 1989.
You are now ready to today’s highlight in Paris, the Eiffel Tower!
Just like Notre-Dame and the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower is also a historic construction in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower was the result of a competition marking the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris. It was constructed 1987-1989 by the company of the engineer Gustave Eiffel who won the competition out of the 107 submissions and stood behind the remarkable, unique tower.
No less than a masterpiece of precision work was the new wrought-iron Eiffel Tower in Paris! It required 3,629 detailed drawings and 18,038 different parts to complete the massive, but at the same time elegant-looking, rising wonder.
The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated in March 1989 at the Exposition in Paris, before the lifts were actually completed! Nevertheless, it was such a draw that 30,000 people climbed the 1,710 steps to the top, before the lifts finally came into operation!
Being one of a kind, the Eiffel Tower has over the years become a cherished symbol and icon of both Paris and France, although in the beginning criticised for its unconventional design. A vast number of artists and intellectuals initially protested again the monstrous skeleton.
With its 324 m (1,063 ft) the Eiffel Tower is today the tallest structure in Paris, and was at the time of construction even the tallest building in the world. It remained so until the Chrysler Building in New York was completed in 1930!
The ingeniously designed structure is a heavy construction: in total, it weighs 10,100 tons, and alone the wrought-iron material reaches 7,300 tons!
If ascending the tower, you will take the lift up to the observation deck on the top level’s upper platform, situated 276 m (906 ft) above the ground. You may alternatively climb the stairs part of the way – in case you feel ready for a bit of exercise!
When stepping out on the glass floor on the 1st floor, you will feel way above the ground, when reaching the 2nd floor your will have panoramic views over Paris – and when standing at the very top, you will have the impression that people down in the streets are just tiny ants moving around. Moreover, you will get two really different experiences whether you visit during daylight hours – or at night when the light show is on!
During your visit you will get the chance to explore the history of the Eiffel Tower and the reconstruction of Gustave Eiffel’s office in Paris. There are also dining options, so maybe your dinner plans should be included in your visit here?
DAY 3: Paris Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and Louvre in 3 days
A less traditional thing to do in Paris, but definitely a lovely thing to do on the last of your 3 sightseeing days, is a morning walk along the 4.6 km (2.9 miles) long Canal Saint-Martin connecting the Canal de l’Ourcq and the Seine River.
You may start at Rue du Faubourg du Temple and continue right up to the metro station Jaurès.
Construction of the canal was initiated by Napoléon I in 1802 to supply Paris with potable water and hence reduce the risk of diseases such as dysentery and cholera. Due to the considerable volume of wine consumed in the country, it was easily funded by imposing a new wine tax! After more than two decades of construction works the canal was finally inaugurated in 1825.
Later, it was also used to transport grain and building materials on canal boats. Two ports were established on the Canal Saint-Martin to unload the boats: Port de l’Arsenal and the Bassin de la Villette. Moreover, a number of warehouses saw the light of day along the new canal. During the mid-1800s it was to some extent covered to provide more public space (from Rue du Faubourg du Temple to Place de la Bastille).
Today, it is a charming stretch of road along the old canal flanked by restaurants, bars and shops. Together with Parisians and other visitors who have found their way to the idyllic old waterway, you can enjoy the tranquil ambience along the Canal Saint-Martin, exploring a fascinating route with its own history through Paris.
If you would like to continue your Paris sightseeing by boat to see the city from this angle, we suggest that you now return to the Seine and take an approximately 1-hour sightseeing cruise past the Notre-Dame de Paris, the Louvre and all the other great sights located along the river banks.
You can even make the cruise a ‘lunch cruise’.
In the afternoon you will visit the unconventional art museum in Paris, Musée d’Orsay, on the Left Bank – which is very different from the Louvre! (In case you haven’t had lunch yet, there are excellent lunch options here, too!)
The art museum is housed in the building of the former Gare d’Orsay, which is a beautiful Beaux-Arts railway station built 1898-1900 for the 1900 Exposition Universelle.
The station was the terminus for the trains of southwestern France right until 1939. Subsequently, it was used for suburban services and it also became a mailing centre during World War II.
In 1978 three young architects, Pierre Colboc, Renaud Bardon and Jean-Paul Philippon won the competition to design a museum inside the old station, turning the 20,000 square metres (220,000 sq ft) into four intriguing museum floors. Gae Aulenti was the Italian architect of the interior design, and Musée d’Orsay officially opened in December 1986.
You can easily spend a couple of hours here in the collections of art by famous artists spanning over the period 1848 to 1914. You will find art within all genres represented here: painting, architecture, sculpture, decorative arts, as well as photography.
Now, if you want to squeeze in a bit of shopping before ending up around Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre at the end of the day, you may consider going to one of the iconic department stores from the end of the 19th century, Printemps Haussmann or Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, renovated in an Art Déco style, both located on the Seine Right Bank a 25-minute walk north of the museum.
Here you will find a plethora of everything within the usual department store categories, and at the same time you will be able to enjoy lavish décor, as well as outstanding design and architecture.
Anyway, in case you are not up to shopping today, you can choose to walk straight up to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica (or take the metro).
You will arrive at the Sacré-Coeur Basilica at the summit of the butte Montmartre.
In 1870 the Franco-Prussian War broke out between France and Germany, where France was eventually defeated. As a consequence a church was then agreed upon (the ‘National Vow’) as a spiritual gesture: the Sacré-Coeur Basilica.
It is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart (‘Sacré-Coeur’) of Jesus, designed by Paul Abadie and completed in 1914. However, the outbreak of World War I put it on hold for some years, and it was not consecrated until 1919.
Being Romano-Byzantine in style, Sacré Coeur is greatly inspired and influenced by churches like Hagia Sofia in the former Constantinople and San Marco in Venice.
Enter the church (entrance is free) to view the fine mosaic and the stained glass windows.
From the forecourt you have panoramic views all over Paris, and you are actually able to see the countryside 50 km (30 miles) away.
From ancient times Montmartre has been a place of worship. Both the ancient Gauls and Romans had temples here where Sacré-Coeur today stands.
Already during the 9th century, Montmartre (meaning ‘Mount Martyr’) was a Christian pilgrimage site under the influence of Saint Genevieve, and a chapel in honour of Saint Denis was erected at this location.
Later in history, the Benedictine abbey, the Abbey of Montmartre, was constructed as a religious centre and a pilgrimage site.
In the 12th century a new church, the Église Saint-Pierre, was now constructed at Montmartre.
Today, all that remains from the time preceding the present Sacré-Coeur Basilica is the vineyard belonging to the old Abbey!
Anyway, Montmartre today is so much more! It is an authentic cobbled village with charming bistrots, galleries and performing artists. Visit the vineyard, Vignes du Clos, planted in 1930 on the sunny hillside of Montmartre contributing to the area’s rural ambience!
Famous artists such as Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Modigliani and Miró were all painters who found peace to work at Montmartre.
In Place du Tertre you can even have your portrait painted or drawn by a talented artist – provided you have the time to pose for him or her!
You will definitely enjoy spending the last evening of your 3 eventful days at Montmartre enjoying the bohemian atmosphere and the scenic views of Paris. Of course it is not the most budget-friendly restaurants you will stumble across here, but the special Montmartre vibe makes up for it!
At the foot of Montmartre you will also spot the old merry-go-round which has also become quite an icon of the entertainment around Montmartre.
If you have more than the 3 days in Paris, we can recommend a jaunt to the Palace of Versailles, former royal residence and a national historical building, to see the sumptuous castle, which is a magnificent example of French Baroque architecture, and its outstanding gardens.
Other things you may consider doing in Paris is to get up early and explore the vibrant Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, visit the labyrinthine Catacombs or engage in an unusual tourist activity such as discovering the personalities buried at the large Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Are you going to London? Check out here which museums and sights you can cover in 3 days in the British capital: London Museums, Attractions and Sightseeing in 3 Days
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Featured image for ‘Paris Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and Louvre in 3 days’ article, attribution: Dimitris Vetsikas