Want to go to the City of Light? Here’s how to plan a trip to Paris

Joshua Berida

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Want to go to the City of Light? Here’s how to plan a trip to Paris
Paris is frequently one of the most visited cities in the world. This comes as no surprise because of all the things you can do during your trip.

Paris, also known as the City of Light, is atop of many bucket lists. You might already be imagining the baguettes, the Louvre, the wine, the food, the Eiffel Tower, the museums and art galleries, and the quaint cafés you want to visit before you even send in your Schengen visa application.

Paris is frequently one of the most visited cities in the world. This comes as no surprise because of all the things you can do during your trip.

Getting a visa

You’ll need a Schengen visa to enter France. Some of the basic requirements for a visa application

  • Valid passport
  • Photo (35x45mm)
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation confirmation
  • Application form
  • Proof of occupation or business registration
  • Proof of funds (bank certificate, credit card statements, bank statements, etc.)

You can apply online:
Check the link out to learn more about the requirements and application process.

Get into Paris

You can get flights from Manila to Paris with a transit at another airport. You can look for prices and schedules at or other similar websites. You can also include Paris with a longer trip around Europe.

Get out of Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport

You can take public transportation to get out of CDG Airport. You can take the RoissyBus to the center of the city. Alternatively, you can also take the RER train from the Roissypole station at terminal 3 to the city.

Visit the Louvre again at night. Photo by Joshua Berida
Getting around Paris

You can take the bus, metro, walk or rent a bike to get around the city. If you plan to use public transportation often, consider buying a Navigo or Paris Visite Pass.

Itinerary and places to visit

The City of Light is a place you’d want to visit at least once in your life.

Montmartre is a lovely district to explore on foot. Photo by Joshua Berida

I would recommend exploring Paris in clusters wherein groups of attractions and neighborhoods are close enough to each other, so you won’t spend a long time in transit.

This itinerary assumes you start with one full day.

Day 1

On your first full day in Paris, visit some of the city’s most iconic attractions. Make the Louvre your first stop. You can’t see everything in this vast museum in one day, you’ll need weeks to see all the exhibits, paintings, and sculptures. The line for the tickets at the entrance is usually long except during low season.

Spend at least half a day exploring the Louvre. Photo by Joshua Berida

However, I would recommend purchasing your tickets in advance and book a time slot. For this itinerary, you’ll spend at least three hours in the Louvre. That’s why I suggest starting your day early. The highlights (for me at least) in the museum are the Mona Lisa (most people will go here first take several
photos then go to another room), Liberty Leading the People, Coronation of Napoleon, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, and the Wedding at Cana.

Of course, the Mona Lisa. Photo by Joshua Berida

I would also recommend returning to the Louvre at night to take some photos. Take a leisurely stroll through the Tuileries Garden and stop at the Musee de l’Orangerie. This museum is home to some of the most famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world. I would recommend a quick visit just to see Claude Monet’s Water Lillies. You can also find the works of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir in this museum.

Visit the Louvre again at night. Photo by Joshua Berida

After seeing some more paintings, take a long but leisurely walk through Place de la Concorde and Champs Elysee. These areas are lined with trees, beautiful buildings, high-end shops, restaurants, and cafés. It’s a long walk to the Arc de Triomphe but a lovely one. You can go up the Arc de Triomphe to get overlooking views of the city and, most importantly, it also provides you with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower is a Paris icon. Photo by Joshua Berida

After eating and resting, make your way to the Eiffel Tower, a good time to visit is either around sunset or in the evening.

  • Buy tickets and get a timeslot for the Louvre here:
  • Buy tickets for the Musee de l’Orangerie here:
  • Buy tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower here:

Day 2

After breakfast, walk along the Seine River en route to Sainte-Chapelle and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Sainte-Chapelle’s main draw is its intricate and beautiful stained-glass windows. These windows depict biblical images and stories. Take a short walk to another Paris icon, the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The centuries old Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo by Joshua Berida

The latter is still currently closed because of reconstruction work, but it’s going to open again soon. The cathedral is still worth a look even if just from the outside.

The stained-glass windows of Sainte-Chappelle are lovely. Photo by Joshua Berida

After a bit of sightseeing, make your way to Marais. This district has plenty of what Paris has to offer such as shops, cafés, restaurants, pâtisserie, and plenty of quaint and narrow streets to wander around in. Check out the Hotel de Ville and Place Vosges as you explore. There are more museums here if you still want to see some.

  • You can buy tickets for Sainte-Chapelle here:
Person, City, Landmark
The Hotel de Ville. Photo by Joshua Berida

Day 3

One of the most popular day trips from Paris is Versailles. This huge castle complex provides you with a glimpse of how the imperial court lived. It’s now a museum that showcases the lavish lifestyle of a bygone epoch.

Versailles was only a private retreat and hunting lodge for Louis XIII. The king commissioned Jacques Lemercier to build a chateau for him and his family in 1624. Louis XIV expanded and transformed it into a lavish and sprawling complex. The interiors and rooms were impressive with elaborate décor, furniture, and paintings. It takes around half a day to get through the rooms and halls. The most impressive section of Versailles is the Hall of Mirrors.

Floor, Flooring, Chandelier
Inside the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. Photo by Joshua Berida

After spending a few hours inside the castle complex, take a leisurely stroll around the manicured gardens. After spending a day in Versailles, make your way back to Paris.

I suggest you go in the morning so that you maximize your stay. You can buy a specific ticket package and schedule a timeslot for your visit.

  • You can get a ticket to Versailles from their official website:

How to get to Versailles:

  • You can take the RER C train from Paris to Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche station and walk to the entrance.
  • You can also take an SNCF train from Gare Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite station and walk to the entrance.

Day 4

Musee d’Orsay is another noteworthy museum you’d want to add to your itinerary. It would take more than a day to see everything here. If you have half a day or a few hours to spare, spend it in the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. Here you’ll find Claude Monet’s Poppy
Field, Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait, Auguste Renoir’s Bal Moulin Galette, and Paul Cezanne’s Card Players just to name a few.

Architecture, Building, Spire
Spend some hours wandering in Paris’ Latin Quarter. Photo by Joshua Berida

After lunch, take a leisurely stroll along the Seine River all the way to Saint-Germain-des-Pres. The latter is a lovely area to simply walk around in and admire the architecture or get something to eat and/or drink in one of the cafés.

Make your way to Paris’ Latin Quarter and spend the rest of the afternoon to evening there. One of the attractions you can visit is the Pantheon (this has an entrance fee).

Explore the Pantheon while in the Latin Quarter. Photo by Joshua Berida

The latter is where many of France’s greatest men and women are buried such as Descartes, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Voltaire, and Rousseau. This district is quite lovely as well. It exudes plenty of charm with its architecture and old churches.

  • Buy a ticket for the Musee d’Orsay here:

Day 5

After visiting some of the city’s highlights, I would recommend heading over to Montmartre for the day.

Montmartre exudes old world charm and an artistic flair that has attracted artists over the centuries. Van Gogh, Picasso, Claud Monet, and others have called this district home. All visitors make the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur their first stop. This church sits atop Paris and was constructed as a symbol of hope after the Prussians defeated the French during the Franco-German War.

The Sacré-Cœur Basilica sits atop Montmartre. Photo by Joshua Berida

If you squint a few times and use your imagination, the basilica will resemble a huge cake. Inside you’ll find a detailed ceiling mosaic and a Grand Organ. The area surrounding the basilica is also a great place to get overlooking views of Paris.

A visit to Montmartre isn’t just about sightseeing, it’s also about soaking in the ambiance in one of the bistros, bars, and cafés. A glass of wine (white or red, pick your poison) in the afternoon (or even before lunch) isn’t a bad idea here. You’ll also see several artists selling their work during your visit. Wander around the district’s quaint and lovely thoroughfares or visit another museum, if you haven’t had enough of museums in the last couple of days.

Path, Walkway, Road
Experience Montmartre’s artistic vibe. Photo by Joshua Berida

Day 6

On your last day in Paris, spend it in your favorite district, café, and/or bistro. You can revisit places you liked so much during your first few days in the city. You can hang out in some random café and go people watching, while eating an overpriced cake and/or sipping an equally overpriced cup of coffee.

Glass, Body Part, Finger
It’s wine o’clock throughout the day in Paris. Photo by Joshua Berida

If you’re still in the mood to visit more museums and art galleries, you have many options such as:

  • The Centre Pompidou
  • Army Museum
  • Palais de Tokyo
  • Fondation Louis Vuitton
  • Petit Palais

You can extend your stay in Paris (which isn’t a bad idea) or head on over to another city in France or to another country like Belgium and/or the Netherlands.

How much will you spend?

A budget of P45,000 for six days covers a bed in a hostel dorm, budget meals (bakeries, baguettes, boulangerie, etc.), use of public transportation, one or two paid attractions a day, and free activities.

Floor, Flooring, Chandelier
Versailles’ most famous room, the Hall of Mirrors. Photo by Joshua Berida

This doesn’t include flights and shopping. You can spend less or more depending on your travel style and interests. Visiting plenty of museums and galleries will eat into your budget. Pick ones you really want to see or you can also settle for taking photos outside. Check the schedules of museums because many aren’t open every day.

Work your itinerary around opening times. Dining out is also expensive.

Grab a box of French macarons for dessert. Photo by Joshua Berida

However, you’re in Paris so might as well spend a bit on a nice meal at least once a day or once throughout your trip if it’s within your budget. Eating out typically costs anywhere from €20 to €30+++ per person depending on the type of restaurant you go to.

Budget tips
  • Consider staying in a hostel dorm to save money on accommodation.
  • If you plan to eat out, go for lunch instead of dinner as the meals are usually cheaper.
  • Consider getting a Paris Museum Pass if you plan to visit a lot of museums and art galleries.
  • During my visit, I purchased the 4-day pass and it paid off nicely. It covers popular attractions such as the Louvre, Versailles (excluding the gardens), Arc de Triomphe, Musee d’Orsay, Saint- Chapelle, and others. Read more about it here:
  • Consider getting a Navigo or Paris Visite Pass. Both allow you to use public transportation conveniently and get discounts.
  • Consider visiting during low season like winter or just before and after it. This time sees a substantial reduction in prices of accommodations and shorter lines at attractions. –

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