Ultimate 2-Day Paris Itinerary
Do you want to visit Paris in 2 days and would like to discover the must-see attractions over a weekend because you don’t yet know what to do in Paris?
In this article, I offer you my itinerary to discover Paris peacefully over two days.
What to see and do in Paris for a short stay?
Paris is considered the most beautiful city in the world by many people, and this is no coincidence. Architectural wonders, historical monuments, museums, cultural places… the attractions of the French capital are numerous.
There is so much to discover in the City of Lights that if you want to visit Paris in two days , with family or as a couple, it is better to prepare your stay well.
That’s good, I’ll explain everything to you in this article and I’ll offer you a complete itinerary 😉
Day 1 Itinerary
For this first day in Paris, I suggest you discover the following places:
- Eiffel Tower
- The Trocadéro and the Champ-de-Mars
- The Champs-Élysées
- The Arc de Triomphe
- The Louvre museum
- Cruise on the Seine
Of course, it is unthinkable to visit Paris in 2 days without seeing the Eiffel Tower.
It’s a must, especially if it’s your first time in Paris. I suggest you go to the Place du Trocadéro, where you can take beautiful photos with the gardens of the Champ de Mars and the most famous French monument in the background.
For me, it is the best place to appreciate the Grande Dame, and the beauty of the gardens of the Champ de Mars.
I also recommend visiting the Eiffel Tower. For a long time I told myself that it wasn’t necessarily “useful” since it is possible to see it from below.
But after being able to go up, I find that it is absolutely necessary to go up there to understand all of this work (and also for the crazy view!).
On the other hand, there are a LOT of people buying tickets for the Eiffel Tower. I encourage you to buy them online, you will save a LOT of time once you get there.
Two types of visits are possible for the Eiffel Tower:
- either you can go up to the 2nd floor
- either you go up to the 2nd floor and the top of the Eiffel Tower
For my part I find that it is better to climb to the top, it is something to do at least once in your life
This is the highest viewpoint accessible to the general public, which offers a panoramic view to take your breath away over all of Paris (I’m deliberately not including a photo so as not to spoil the surprise).
On the other hand, remember to reserve your places, there are A LOT of people who want to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. This will help you avoid long queues.
The Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is undoubtedly one of the most famous avenues in the world. It’s the ideal place for window shopping or to do a little shopping during your 2 days in Paris.
You can stroll leisurely on the Champs-Élysées, strolling along the avenue allows you to visit and discover some of the most exclusive shopping streets, and to admire the windows of jewelers and great fashion designers.
It is also a walk that I appreciate for its unique side, you also have access to very beautiful squares from this avenue.
Place Vendôme and its famous column, or Place de la Concorde with the Obelisk of Luxor are crossed by the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
At the west end of the avenue, you can find Place Charles-de-Gaulle (formerly named Place de l’Étoile) and admire the Arc de Triomphe. You can visit it or contemplate it from below.
If you don’t have a big budget, I recommend visiting the Eiffel Tower rather than the Arc de Triomphe.
The Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is another must-see during a stay in Paris. Even if you don’t particularly like museums, you will enjoy the Louvre.
For what? Quite simply, because this museum is gigantic and you will therefore be able to target the periods that interest you the most.
For my part it is Ancient Egypt and the period of the pharaohs. But there are other sections and eras that are really cool.
I don’t recommend spending the whole day there, but 2-3 hours in the afternoon is perfect!
It is also better to book your tickets in advance, because if you queue for an hour to buy your tickets, it is not really profitable.
You must optimize your time as much as possible to visit Paris in just 2 days!
Even from the outside, the Louvre Museum is a true masterpiece. You can just walk past it to admire the great pyramid (it’s also worth the detour at night!).
Tips for your Paris itinerary:
By visiting the Louvre Museum, you can admire the most beautiful creations of some of the most talented artists in history, such as the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, or the Venus de Milo of Antioch.
You can spend 2 hours or more discovering some of the world’s most beautiful works. The price is not very high (around €20), so for my part I recommend going there for a few hours during your stay.
For me it is a must-see in Paris. Don’t forget to book your tickets, you will see the crowds there with all the foreign tourists. Plus, you will have a time slot so you won’t waste time at the entrance! It’s simple, quick and effective 🙂
Discover the Capital from the Seine
Another activity that I highly recommend for your 2 days in Paris is to discover Paris from the Seine.
What could be better than letting yourself be carried away peacefully by the waves at the end of the day?
Many companies offer to discover significant places in Paris by sailing on the Seine.
These visits last around an hour, and allow you to admire some of the most beautiful buildings in the capital, such as Notre-Dame, the Pont-Neuf, the Louvre, and of course the Eiffel Tower.
You can choose to go on a sunset cruise (it’s not very expensive), or spend the evening on the water with a dinner.
It’s a rather nice activity and it always has a little effect when you announce to your other half that you are going to eat on a boat while discovering Paris from the Seine. It’s tested and approved for me. My girlfriend was really surprised and the evening was very pleasant.
For around €70 you are on the water for 2.5-3 hours and you have a really nice meal (dishes to choose from) and you will pass in front of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and under the bridges of Paris. It’s really a great activity.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to eat on the boat, at least go and visit the monuments at night, the price is lighter and it’s very nice too! For more information, it’s on this site.
Day 2 Itinerary
You have no time to waste if you come to visit Paris in 2 days. After a good breakfast, head to Notre-Dame de Paris.
Notre Dame de Paris
Located on the Île de la Cité, the Parisian cathedral is one of the most famous monuments in the world. Victim of a terrible fire in April 2019, the cathedral was for a time inaccessible to tourists.
Since May 2020, the Notre-Dame square can once again be visited.
From outside the cathedral, you can contemplate the full majesty of this building, and admire the wonderful work on the facade and the magnificent sculptures, including the gargoyles which watch over the city.
The Centre Pompidou
Barely a 10-minute walk from the cathedral, the Pompidou center is open for visits from 11:00 in the morning.
It is an essential cultural place in Paris, which brings together one of the largest collections of contemporary and modern art. Some masterpieces by artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Miro are permanently exhibited there.
The center also regularly organizes exhibitions, conferences and live shows.
In addition, visiting the Pompidou center will also allow you to access one of the most beautiful views of Paris, allowing you to admire the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Notre-Dame, and many other magical places.
For the end of your stay in Paris, you can spend your last hours exploring one of the most charming and emblematic districts of the capital.
Climbing the hill, taking the funicular or climbing the 222 steps of Square Louise Michel, offers a breathtaking view of the city.
The Sacré-Cœur Basilica is a magical place to discover.
Montmartre is a major cultural place in Paris, where some famous artists such as Van Gogh and Guillaume Apollinaire lived.
You can visit the Bateau-Lavoir, an artists’ residence which hosted Picasso, Modigliani, and many others in its workshops.
Among the most famous places in the district, you can discover the Moulin Rouge, as well as the vineyards of Montmartre. Populated by painters and musicians, Montmartre is a pleasant place to end a very busy weekend in a calm and relaxing way.
Discover Paris from a New Angle
Visiting Paris in 2 days is very complex, it is better to organize yourself so as not to waste time there.
But if you have a little free time left between 2 visits or at the end of your stay, you can take advantage of it to discover the charm of the capital in a different way.
As soon as the weather permits, going to one of the many parks in Paris will allow you to enjoy these little corners of nature in the center of the city, which are very popular with residents of the capital.
The Buttes-Chaumont park, for example, is one of the most beautiful you can find, and offers a magnificent view of Paris.
The Jardin des Plantes, within which the natural history museum is located, is a botanical garden created more than four centuries ago and which hosts a very large collection of plant species.
If you plan to stay longer in Paris, I also have a complete article to visit Paris in 3 days (I add a day to this itinerary).
Parisian cafes are also among the emblematic places of the French capital. They are present on almost every street corner, and sitting down at a terrace will be the best way to calmly enjoy the Parisian atmosphere. Some cafes will also allow you to admire magnificent places.
The Marly café for example, offers a breathtaking view of the Louvre pyramid. The terrace of the Musée du Petit Palais café overlooks the museum garden, which has many exotic plants.
A short stop in these places will be the perfect way to take a breather during your visit to Paris, while enjoying the wonders of the capital.
Accommodation in Paris
Here’s a list of best neighborhoods in Paris, to enjoy your stay with no worries.
The trendiest neighborhood in Paris, the Marais is defined by the hip Parisians who come to eat, drink, and shop in this uber cool quartier.
Though the tone of the neighborhood slants towards a younger set, the Marais’s diversity offers something for everyone – from its famed Jewish quarter to the historic Place des Vosges – for visitors who’ve checked off their sightseeing list, the Marais is the perfect place to understand Paris outside of the guidebooks.
- Best Hotel: Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels: Hôtel Marais Bastille • France Louvre
Saint Germain retains the timeless charm of the Left Bank while buzzing with a lively array of galleries, restaurants, and jazz clubs. From the upscale shops that dot the bustling Boulevard Saint Germain to the aristocratic calm of the Jardin du Luxembourg, this quarter is popular with locals and tourists.
This neighborhood typically attracts a well-heeled crowd who come seeking only the biggest names in food and fashion. Though at times the area may feel overrun with tourists, the biggest advantage is that you’ll find many shops and restaurants open in summer while other areas of the city are quiet.
- Best Hotels: Relais Christine • L’Hotel
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels: Holiday Inn Notre Dame • Welcome Hotel
The Latin Quarter is great for those who want a central location with classic Parisian charm while seeking something a little quieter.
Find somewhere away from the student hangouts for which the area is typically associated with and you’ll find yourself strolling down cobblestone streets, through leafy squares, and taking in some of the most diverse architecture in the city which includes Roman ruins, gothic spires, and the innovative Institut du Monde Arabe.
Great restaurants and wine bars abound in this part of the city as well as the lively market street Rue Mouffetard.
- Best Hotel: Hotel Parc Saint Severin
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels: Hôtel Les Dames du Panthéon • Grand Hotel Saint Michel • Hotel du College de France
4. The 7th
The 7th has everything you think of when you think of Paris – the Eifel Tower, the Seine, excellent museums, breathtaking architecture, charming markets, high-end shopping, and world-class restaurants.
Its diversity and versatility make it a popular choice for everyone, whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. Visit the family-friendly Berges de Seines and you’ll have a riverfront play area that stretches from the Musee D’Orsay to the Pont D’Alma.
Or at night, take a romantic stroll near the Pont Alexander III bridge, one of the most beautiful Beaux-Arts bridges in Paris where you’ll also have a view of the Grand Palais just on the other side of the Seine.
Be sure to explore Rue Cler, a charming market street that has a village-like feel and gives you a small slice of Parisian life.
- Best Hotel: Le Cinq Codet
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels: Cler Hotel • Hôtel du Champ de Mars • Hotel Duquesne Eiffel
Tourists who want a local Paris vibe should stay in South Pigalle. Just south of the former red light district, the city’s most up-and-coming destination offers quiet tree-lined streets dotted with fashionable boutiques, cafes, and a thriving restaurant and bar scene.
A few tucked away boutique hotels have popped up in recent years, allowing tourists to take advantage of its proximity to the hills of Montmartre and nearby Sacre Coeur.
- Best Hotel: Maison Souquet
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotels: Hotel Saint-Louis Pigalle • Grand Pigalle Hotel
Montmartre’s charm and breathtaking views are the biggest reasons to stay in this part of Paris. Though it’s a bit far from the other main attractions, you can easily reach the rest of the city by metro or explore this neighborhood’s unique history.
Away from the touristy spots such as the Sacre Couer, Moulin Rouge, and Place du Tertre, you’ll find quiet cobblestone streets to wander with Avenue Junot having some of the most beautiful houses in Paris or Rue des Saules which climbs past the Vigne de Montmartre (Paris’s only vineyard).
The street also connects the Montmartre hilltop with the Lamarck-Caulaincourt neighborhood with several stretches of stairs and its beauty was immortalized by artists such as Cezanne and Van Gogh.
- Best Hotel: Le Relais Montmartre
- Best Cheap/Midrange Hotel: Best Western Plus Hôtel Littéraire Marcel Aymé • ibis Montmartre 18ème
7. The 1st
The 1st arrondissement is a great base for sightseeing.
You’re in the heart of Paris with many of the city’s sights within walking distance such as the Louvre, Tuileries Garden, and Notre Dame Cathedral while the Musee D’Orsay and Saint Germain are just across the river.
Combined with a fantastic dining scene including some of Paris’s best restaurants like Spring and Verjus, visitors have an abundance of activities to choose from both day and night.
- Best Hotels: Mandarin Oriental • Le Meurice
- Best Midrange Hotels: Hôtel Regina Louvre • Hôtel Paris Louvre Opéra
Where Should I Stay In Paris?
That’s my fault. Here are 3 great reasonably priced hotels. You can’t go wrong with any of these places.
- Hotel des Grands Boulevards – Fantastic 4-star hotel that is 30 seconds from a metro station and walking distance to the Louvre, Notre Dame, and both the Gare du Nord (direct trains to the airport) and Gare de l’Est train stations.
- Cler Hotel – Great 3-star hotel located in one of the most charming neighborhoods in Paris. Surrounded by local shops, cafes, and restaurants. Walking distance to the Eiffel Tower.
- Gardette Hotel in Paris – My favorite midrange hotel for families. Nice location in a non-touristy Paris neighborhood (bus still fairly close to the main attractions). Across the street is a nice square and grean area with a kids playground. Several great local restaurants are steps from the hotel’s front door. It’s an easy walk to the Marais and several metro stations.
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