A short getaway is more than enough to fall head over heels in love with Paris, the City of Lights. The effortlessly-elegant French capital has world-class food, fashion and art, and a sophistication that runs through the streets. Stroll grand boulevards past iconic architecture, eat rich French dishes and watch how quickly 72 hours passes. Here's our guide to what to do in Paris in three days.

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Photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash

Day One

Morning

Paris is made for walking but save your legs for your introduction to the city. A cruise on the River Seine will help you get your bearings as you pass famous sights like the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay on the riverbanks. Most cruises start near the Eiffel Tower and last about an hour.

Now that you're acquainted with Paris, discover its most recognisable monument. The Eiffel Tower, a centenary symbol of the French Revolution, is made from twisted wrought iron and stretches more than 1,000 feet into the sky. The wait for elevators to see the views from the top is long, so buy your ticket in advance. Better yet, skip the queues and climb the 704 steps to the second floor.

Back on the ground, reward yourself with another French favourite - a fresh, buttery croissant. Pace yourself, it probably won't be your last.

Afternoon

Explore another side of Paris in the Catacombs. This underground cemetery, in operation since the late 18th century, is the final resting place for six million Parisians. You can walk past walls lined with bones and skulls as you learn why the Catacombs were created.

Make the most of being back in the daylight at the Luxembourg Gardens. Covering 25 hectares of French and English-style gardens, Paris's most popular park includes the Grand Bassin pond, a near-400-year-old Medici fountain and 106 sculptures. Just remember not to step on the manicured lawns.

Night

By the northern end of the Luxembourg Gardens, La Cuisine de Philippe is a restaurant specialising in soufflé. Try a different soufflé for each course - if you can rise to the challenge.

Alternatively, head to the nearby Latin Quarter. By day, the area, within the fifth arrondissement, has a student vibe and well-thumbed bookshops. At night, things become livelier with restaurants run by some of the most exciting chefs in Paris and underground bars that stay open until the early hours.

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Photo by Willian West on Unsplash

Day Two

Morning

Much of Parisian life is focused around the banks of the Seine, but one of the city's most renowned landmarks is right on the river. The picturesque island neighbourhood of Île de la Cité is where you'll find Notre-Dame Cathedral, which was badly damaged by fire in April 2019. Restoration is currently underway.

Sainte-Chapelle, on the other end of the island, is a Gothic-style chapel built in 1242. It has 15 spectacular stained-glass windows illustrating 1,113 scenes from the Bible.

Afternoon

You could spend many afternoons at the Louvre. On the Right Bank of the Seine, the world's largest art museum has 35,000 works including the Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa. Somewhere you can skip the infamous crowds is at the museum entrance. Avoid the popular pyramid entrance and try one of the four others, including directly from the Metro station.

Stretch your legs to the Champs-Elysées, a mile-long boulevard lined with luxury boutiques. At its far end, the Arc de Triomphe - a monument to fallen soldiers, commissioned by Napoleon - stands proudly above a chaotic roundabout.

Night

For a dinner with a difference, Bustronome offers meals on a high-end bus with large glass windows. The three-hour journey passes key city sights and leaves from the Arc de Triomphe. It might sound like a gimmick, but this is France, so the food is taken seriously.

After dinner, return to the river to walk along its bank with the city lights illuminated in the water.

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Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Day Three

Morning

Start the third day of your holiday to Paris by paying respects to icons including Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Frédéric Chopin and Oscar Wilde at Père Lachaise Cemetery, before a wander through the peaceful tree-lined grounds.

A few kilometres away, the modern art gallery the Centre Pompidou is an ultra-modern steel structure with colour-coded air ducts and a giant external escalator. Inside you'll find more than 100,000 works from art giants like Picasso, Duchamp and Rothko.

Afternoon

On a summit overlooking the neighbourhood of Montmartre, the Sacré Coeur offers some of the best views of the city. Spend the afternoon at the Basilica, where a 300-step climb leads to the top of the dome.

Later, head to the surrounding cobblestone streets and bohemian vibe of Montmartre. The Place du Tertre is filled with painters and artists, as well as caricaturists ready to sketch your portrait.

Night

Once the sun goes down, head for the bright red windmill of the Moulin Rouge - the birthplace of the can-can. Nightly shows include a cabaret performance with 100 dancers and a glass of champagne or meal and show packages. If cabaret's not your thing, wander back through Montmartre and grab an outdoor table at a lively café or bar.

Find a sophisticated stay to match the city by checking out our hotels in Paris.