How to see Paris in just three days

Day 1 in Paris

By the time you arrive in Paris and check into your hotel, it'll be time for lunch.

Afterwards, head to the Rodin Museumto gaze upon The Thinker and dozens more of the master sculptor's works in his former studo and garden.

Then hustle on over to the Eiffel Tower before sunset to get your requisite picture and drink in the panorama of Paris.

Take an evening cruise along the Seine River, then treat yourself to a first-class dinner to celebrate your arrival in one of the world capitals of cuisine.

To save time (and add romance), you could actually eat in one of the Eiffel Tower restaurants. In fact, you can kill three sightseeing birds with one tour that includes all three: dinner at the Eiffel Tower followed by a Seine River cruise.

Day 2 in Paris

Be at the cathedral of Notre-Dame early (8am) to beat the hordes, then clamber up the cathedral towers when they open to examine the famed gargoyles up close and enjoy a much more intimate view across Paris than the Eiffel gets you (don't buy a regular ticket for the towers, but rather ask for the 3-day Paris Museum Card, which you then validate on the spot and it will get you into every sight we'll be visiting for the rest of your stay).

When you get back to ground level, cross the square in front of the cathedral and descend into the Archaeological Crypt to puzzle out Paris's earliest origins. Continue to the far end of the square for the jewel box chapel of Sainte-Chapelle, hidden amidst the government buildings. Grab some lunch on your way to the Picasso Museum.

Don't stay too long with the works of this 20th century master (leave by no later than 2:30pm), since one of Paris biggies lies ahead: the impressionist treasure trove of the Musée d'Orsay. Stay in there as long as they'll let you before heading off to dinner.

Day 3 in Paris

This morning it's off to the Louvre, which is French for "ludicrously huge museum." Pay your respects to Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, and have lunch in the cafeteria.

By mid-afternoon, give up on trying to see it all and take the Metro out to the original Bohemian quarter of Montmartre to wander the streets, peek at windmills and vineyards, visit the Moulin Rouge (if you must), and people-watch and write postcards at a classic Parisian café.

Then it's time for one last dinner in Paris.

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