Seven days in Paris ? Ready, set, go !
Start your stay by exploring the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood around Hotel du Danube. Have a nice French breakfast at the Café de Flore, where artists are known to hang out in Paris, then visit the charming church and walk along the mythical Boulevard Saint-Germain (go left when coming from the hotel). Along the boulevard, you will find many shops, cafés, cinemas, etc, and you will be able to sense the atmosphere of the chic, yet cool part of Paris.
Then, take a left on the broad Boulevard Saint-Michel that will lead you to the river Seine and the Île de la Cité, in the core center of the capital. You will walk by the tremendous Court Hall, which is right next to the Sainte Chapelle. Although it is hardly visible from the street, it is open to visitors and is truely worth a bit of your time !
Go on with your day by taking the metro until Champs Élysées – Clémenceau station, where the Grand Palais is situated. Under the gorgeous dome of this building are some of the most popular Art exhibitions in Europe ! But beware if you want to go and see one, it is better to book your tickets in advance (online) to avoid long waiting lines. When you get out, you may like to finish the day by walking up the Champs Élysées until the famous Arc de Triomphe. It is a particularly pleasant walk when the sun has set and the avenue is fully illuminated.
In France, most of the national museums are closed on tuesdays, but not the Orsay Museum : a must when visiting Paris ! This beautiful industrial styled building that used to be a train station is situated meters away from the riverside, and hosts an impressive Art collection. Among the represented mouvements are impressionism, symbolism and realism, with artists such as Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh or Gauguin.
After having spent the morning at the museum, and had lunch on the top floor if you feel like it, continue walking along the riverside. It will take you about half an hour to get to the Eiffel Tower. Go up and admire the view of the city, then if the weather allows it, relax on the Champ de Mars for a bit.
By crossing the bridge in front of the iron giant, you will get to the tremendous Place du Trocadéro, which is certainly one of the best spots to take pictures, with the beautiful light, the wide spaces of the square, and the Eiffel Tower right there in the background. Then you can have dinner in one of the nice restaurants around (beware, though : the top notch situation means steap prices!), or walk for a few more minutes to go and enjoy the chic and trendy restaurant of the Palais de Tokyo and its nice terrace.
Looking for something unusual to do during your stay ? Why not visit the Catacombs of Paris ? On the Denfert – Rochereau square, enter the underpass and let yourself be guided in the maze of underground passages. The hundreds of skulls embedded in the walls will not fail to surprise you !
Then you can come back up to enjoy the daylight in the closeby Luxembourg gardens. From there, walk along rue Soufflot towards the Panthéon. On your way, do not forget to turn around and admire the view on Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the background : a true postcard-like picture.
From the Panthéon, it is a nice walk through the Quartier Latin to the riverside. Some of these streets are among the oldest in the city. Cross a bridge to the Île de la Cité to reach the great Notre-Dame cathedral : a must in the parisian landscape. The cathedral is beautiful inside, but when you get out, try to linger for a bit on the esplanade to enjoy the sight of its amazing façade enlightened with the sunset.
Many say that one day is not enough to visit the Louvre museum. If your wish is to see it all, then the saying it absolutely true ! However, if you are aware of the immensity of its collection and do not try to visit all the rooms in a race against time, you will spend a great day there. Piece of advice : when you go in (or even better : beforehand), look for a map of the museum, and pick one or two themes among the many that are covered. Then you will be able to concentrate on the parts that interest you the most and truly enjoy your visit. You can also follow one of the guided tours they offer. And if you are afraid to miss something important, know that the most popular pieces of the Louvre are indicated by arrows around the museum. Joconde, Milo's Venus, etc, you can go on a treasure hunt by following their trail !
To end your day, relax by enjoying a nice dinner cruise along the Seine on a flyboat. Admire Paris by night, its lights, and the tremendous monuments that line the river.
The Montmartre hill is a little world of itself. During a visit in Paris, you have no choice but to climb it ! If the rows of stairs scare you, do not hesitate to hop on the funicular that stops down the Sacré Coeur church. Then walk along the small paved streets, look around and at the view on the city, have lunch and enjoy the Old Paris atmosphere.
If you walk down the hill on the south side, you will end up in the Pigalle neighborhood, where bars, concert halls, sex shops and cabarets are everywhere. Walk down the avenue until you reach the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret, on Place Blanche. It is a very unique place to have an evening to remember, indeed. But if you choose to do so, do not forget to book your tickets in advance. You can choose to only see the show, or add dinner and champagne to enjoy the full Moulin Rouge experience.
Fashionistas, save a day to swing by the biggest and most luxurious department stores in Paris : the Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette. From Haute Couture to more affordable choices, the great offer of clothing, accessories, beauty related articles, etc, will ravish everyone. On a side note, know that the buildings themselves are quite worth the detour. The tremendous decoration and the beautiful dome of the Galeries Lafayette in particular, attract millions of curious visitors every year.
For the others, do not worry : the neighborhood is not only dedicated to shoppers. Go have a look at the gorgeous Garnier opera house, or walk for a few minutes to the Place de la Madeleine. There, you will be able to visit the church and/or the Pinacothèque museum, which regularly hosts some of the hottest Art exhibitions in Paris.
On Sundays, one parisian district stays particularly lively and lovely : the Marais. Start your journey on the Place de la Bastille, then dive into the little streets. Do not forget to stop by the charming Place des Vosges, then walk around and window shop as you like. In the Marais, you will find a lot of art galleries, and many trendy clothing and design shops that are very popular among hipsters. When crossing the jewish neighborhood, do not forget to grab one of the delicious falafels that have made the Rue des Rosiers famous !
On the East end of the Marais, you will get to the center of Paris, in the Beaubourg district where you will find the famous Pompidou Modern Art Museum. With its unusual colored and modern architecture, you cannot miss it ! On top of its very rich permanent collection and its popular temporary exhibitions, this museum also has the great advantage of offering a superb view of the center of Paris. So, do not hesitate to go up to the last floor, if only to take a last look at the city before you have to leave !