Travelling to Paris: A 2 Day Itinerary
You’ve only got 48 hours in the City of Light and Love? Don’t worry, we’ve collated the best that the French capital has to offer to make sure you get your croissant and culture fix.
Monuments, museums, Montmartre, there’s so much to do. But with just two days in Paris to spare, you don’t want to run yourself off your feet - non, non, that would be most unglamorous. So we’ve listed only the best highlights so that you can tick all the tourist boxes, while having enough time for an aperitif and to take in the magic for yourself. Whether you’ve taken the Eurostar or flown into the French capital, there are plenty of left luggage spaces at all major stations where you can pay a small fee to keep your non-essential bags. If you’re heading to one of our very own Parisian homes to stay at during your whistle stop tour, dump your bags and let’s get exploring. At Plum Guide, we've sorted out your itinerary, so you don't have to.
Day 1: Time for a culture fix
Once you’re all settled at your accommodation, head straight to Notre Dame. That’s it, we’re going to hit day 1 with one of the city’s most famous attractions. Stand on top of the famous 'Kilometre Zero', the point in front of Notre Dame cathedral. From there, it’s up to you whether or not you’d like to go inside and explore the building from the inside out. If not, take a look to your right and you should be able to see the famous Shakespeare & Company bookstore. Hang out of everyone from the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald to a plethora of today’s modern writers. Catch a poetry reading, play or event if you’re lucky (all details of upcoming events should be on the website). After browsing the book shelves and treating yourself to a few books, head over to the nearby Rue Monge where you will find Boulangerie Eric Kayser. Treat yourself to some delicious pastries and treats, pop into the nearby supermarket and buy a bottle of wine (bear in mind that cheap French wine is still fabulous quality), and head back towards the River Seine. You’ve got yourself a picnic. Enjoy.
Evening 1: Climb the arc de Triomphe
6.30pm: Most people think it’s de rigueur to visit Paris and climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Oh, how we laugh. No, no, no. Avoid the throngs of tourists and do something a little different. You can climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe instead for a less popular - but far less stressful - view of Paris. Look down and see the neon traffic streams at the crossroads beneath you on the Champs-Élysées. Every night, the Eiffel Tower lights up every evening from sunset to 1am (and until 2am during the summer months). Once at the top of the Arc, catch the glimmering light show, during the first five minutes of each hour on the hour. And if you're looking to completely avoid the throngs, you could opt for a stay in one of our homes with Eiffel Tower views.
8pm: Have a stroll and get yourself an aperitif somewhere off-the-beaten track down some charming windy alleyways before heading to your reservation at Le Chalet des Îles. One of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris, it sits on Lake Bois de Boulogne.
After-dinner. Well, that’s up to you, you can hit up one of the city’s many bars and clubs, although beware: Parisians are not renowned for their dancing. Think cool, moody wine bars that spill out on the streets instead.
Day 2: Visit the Louvre
Have a lie in. Go on, we know you had a good time last night. Besides, you’re on holiday. Once you’ve got up and got dressed (into something devastatingly chic, naturally), we recommend a quick coffee and croissant at one of the many charming little cafes that will inevitably be on your doorstep. Sit outside on the pavement in true flâneur style.
After you’ve caffeined-up, get yourself to the Tuileries Gardens for the second of your Paris 2 day itinerary. At one end, you have the Musée de l'Orangerie, home to Claude Monet’s famous water lily panoramas. The building was purpose-built for the paintings, so make sure you take a look. At the other end of the Gardens is the Musée du Louvre. If you haven’t seen the Mona Lisa in real life, it’s brilliant, but small and rather taken over by throngs of selfie sticks and tourists (eye roll). With almost 400,000 objects and displays, you’ll definitely be able to find something that will take your fancy. Have a wander and get lost in the bowels of the giant museum. It’s part of the charm of it. If you’re lucky, you may end up having an exhibition room all to yourself.
Evening 2: Explore Montmartre
No whistle-stop, Paris 2 day itinerary would be complete without a visit to the legendary Montmartre. Head to Place Blanche, and it is in this square that you will see the famous neon windmill of the Moulin Rouge in the bohemian and buzzing Clichy Boulevard area.
For something a little more refined, and a little less red-light, head towards the Anvers metro and from there (and depending on your footwear) you can decide whether you want to get the Montmartre cable car, or walk up the 200 steps to get to the top.
Once in Montmartre, we recommend visiting the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, known in Paris as Sacré-Coeur. You can reenact multiple famous film scenes on its steps, or, instead, wander its narrow and cobbled streets and follow the masses of tourists until you get to Place du Tertre (painter’s square). There will be plenty of waiters trying to cajole you into their restaurants, but we’d recommend having a wander until you find somewhere a little off the main square, where people don’t demand hamburgers. Get inspired by our guide to the best restaurants in Paris.
After that, a digestif to celebrate the success of your Paris 2 day itinerary. You won’t struggle to find plenty of places for a night cap.
Has this itinerary sold you on a trip to the city? Browse all of our Paris homes.