Spending just 48 hours in the city of love? Here’s how to cram all the much-loved attractions into your trip, along with a dose of culture and a generous helping of French cuisine.
Follow this 2-day Paris itinerary below to get a great introduction to this major European city.
Paris’ landmarks and attractions are so iconic, chances are, you already have a good idea of what you want to see. Spend your first day getting your bearings in the city and ticking off those top sights. The city’s must-see attractions are scattered across the centre of Paris, so the best way to get from one to the other is by taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour, with the option of getting off at the major sights.
Start at the big one - the Eiffel Tower. You literally can’t miss it, so you might as well make it your first port of call and beat the crowds. It’s an amazing sight from the ground, but if you want to get a closer look, there are plenty of ways to explore. The first floor has a glass floor you can walk across, and exhibitions detailing the history of the tower. The second floor has a viewing gallery with telescopes plus souvenir shops and restaurants. The third floor is the highest point – take the lift straight up to the top and you’ll get vertigo-inducing views across the whole city. There’s also a champagne bar up there for a romantic touch.
After ticking off the Eiffel Tower, you’ll be whisked off to Paris’ other top landmarks. There’s the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and the Pantheon, plus loads of world class museums. Hop off at the Jardin de Luxemburg to stroll around the gorgeous green space to break up the landmark-hopping. Or, stop at the Champs-Élysées for a spot of shopping (or window shopping) at the luxurious high-end designer stores.
Classic Route - Red
Paris is one of the best cities in the world for food, with over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants to dine in, plus a huge variety of chic cafes, bistros and wine bars. If you’re after gastronomic excellence, pick Restaurant Guy Savoy for oysters and sumptuous seafood, or L’Orangerie for Michelin-starred masterpieces. Or, if you want to visit a traditional French brasserie and mingle with the locals, pick the lively and popular Boullian Chartier restaurant. This place is over 100 years old and offers traditional dishes (yep – that includes snails) at great prices.
After your culinary feast, why not treat yourself to a traditional Parisian cabaret? The Moulin Rouge is the most famous show – make sure you book your tickets in advance to get good seats. There’s also Le Zebre de Belleville, which is a contemporary version of the traditional cabaret, and Crazy Horse, an artsy, burlesque show.
You’ve seen Paris’ top landmarks, so now it’s time to delve into the culture and history of this city. Grab yourself a museum pass which will give you access to more than 50 of the city's best museums, galleries and memorials, and visit as many as you please.
When it comes to museums, the big one is, of course, The Louvre, which is officially the world’s largest. It boasts an iconic exterior and some of the most famous artworks in the world. It’s home to the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and loads of paintings by Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Da Vinci. After visiting this bucket-list attraction, be sure to check out the Musée d’Orsay which is housed in an old train station, and The Centre Pompidou which is a modern art museum designed to look like an inside-out boilerhouse.
If you’ve got time to spare after all that museum hopping, explore the Notre Dame. Or head to Sacre Coeur to see the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris for great views over the city from the top. If you’re keen to explore an alternative neighbourhood and check out some street art, make your way to Canal de l’Ourcq and Canal St-Denis. Here you can spot plenty of bold, colourful murals and duck into the chic riverside cafes and bars en route.
Parisian nightlife is laid back and refined – it’s all about wine bars and secret speakeasies. Many of the city’s best bars are under-the-radar hotspots, so you’ll have to be in the know to find them. The cinema-themed Le Reflet is hidden in a tiny street next to metro station Cluny-La Sorbonne. It’s decorated with cinema posters, boasts a 1920’s Hollywood vibe, and offers fine wines and cool cocktails. There’s also Comptoir Général, which is another tucked-away favourite. Entering this bar is like walking into a mansion – the corridors are covered in portraits and chandeliers. And inside, you’ll find quirky mismatched décor and even a tropical garden. Bar hop your way around Paris to toast a couple of perfect days in the city.
Sorted for your 48-hour trip to Paris. Follow these top tips and you’ll be able to do most of your Paris sightseeing in just two days. And, you’ll have an excuse to return to the city and do it all again.