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Guide: Paris in 2 Days Itinerary
Do you need to find a “Paris in 2 Days Itinerary” for your upcoming trip to the City of Lights? Then you’ve arrived at the right post for planning your charming French trip! Whether you’re spending a weekend in Paris or doing a quick jaunt around the great European capitals, if you’re planning to see Paris for 2 days, then this itinerary is written especially for you. Buckle in.
As for me, I loved my solo visit to Paris. Sure, it’s a large city and the atmosphere is occasionally overwhelming (I won’t lie; Paris has a lot of scams), but Paris is still worth spending even a short amount of time in. After all, the City of Lights is known for its intricate history, spectacular food, abundant museums, world class shopping, and so much more.
However, I think Paris is one of those destinations that has “too many good things,” which stresses out new travelers and triggers that impulse to see everything. Instead you need to devote plenty of time to plan a successful trip to Paris. Don’t go in blind. You’ll see nothing by trying to see everything if that makes sense, haha.
Can I Even Do Paris in 2 Days?
Honestly, Paris is a huge city with an endless amount of museums, fantastic cafes, scenic parks, and so much more. I spent a week in Paris in November, and those seven days still wasn’t enough time to truly “know” this capital. I don’t even think most expats see everything in Paris, and they live there!
However, I think you’re more than able to enjoy Paris in 2 days. Just don’t expect to see “it all” on a short visit.
Instead I want you to follow the philosophy of “less is more,” while roaming France’s capital city. Pace yourself. Remember that you’re always able to come back for another visit. Paris won’t disappear anytime soon.
Still not convinced? Think about it this way. Burning yourself out, running from site to site and hopping on a million different metro cards, won’t translate into a very awesome trip. You’ll feel tired and not in a good way.
Even in my case, I think I tried to see too much on my trip to Paris and forgot to just savor and enjoy the city. Learn from my mistakes and take your sweet time.
Paris in 2 Days Itinerary: My Suggestions
So you already know this will be a “slower” itinerary. Well. As slow as you can have in Paris, anyway. Keep in mind that you’re more than free to “cut” items to make your 2 days in Paris even more relaxed! You want to dedicate time to enjoyable meals too.
Ultimately, it’s entirely your choice on how you want to approach the planning process.
Also keep in mind that I’m writing this post based off my own travel experience and personal interests. Feel free to tweak anything in this post to suit your needs. We’re all different, yeah?
Paris for Two Days: Day 1
For your first day in Paris, I decided to focus on the city’s complex history and smaller museums, as well as it’s most famous attraction: The Eiffel Tower!
Additionally, I purposely left some “wiggle” room for you to simply shut your brain off, walk the streets, and absorb the atmosphere that is unique to Paris.
Learn More: Don’t Forget Your Pocket Guide to Paris
1. Take a Guided Walk of Paris
As you already know, I’m a huge fans of taking guided walking tours on my first day in a new city. You learn about different neighborhoods, ancient and modern history, famous figures, and so much more. Walking tours help you appreciate your new surroundings.
For budget travelers, take a free walking tour like this 3 hour excursion offered by SANDEMANS New Europe. Free walking tours are common all over Europe, and Paris is no exception to the rule. Keep in mind these tours are tip-based, so even though the experience is “free,” you ought to still show appreciate for your guide and give a few euros.
Since Paris is a big capital, there are plenty of speciality of tours available if you’re interested in specific neighborhoods, such as the Latin Quarter. Go with your own personal interests.
2. The Eiffel Tower
Everyone knows the Eiffel Tower. It’s freakin’ iconic. I don’t think I need to explain it too much, right? Right. Let’s go right to practicalities.
For you to save time, it’s recommended that you book your tickets for the Eiffel Tower in advance. Booking ahead is especially important in the summer months. Furthermore, the Eiffel Tower’s website will warn crowds are expected on specific days, and to reserve your spot ahead of time.
Don’t miss the Eiffel Tower at night either! The entire structure sparkles! But more on that later.
3. The Army Museum & Rodin Museum
Paris is well known for its museums. After seeing the Eiffel Tower, you have the option of visiting two very different museums, which are in easy walking distance: The Army Museum and Rodin Museum.
The Army Museum
History buffs will want to check out the Army Museum or Musee de l’Armee des Invalides. The building originally served as a hospital for France’s soldiers. Napoleon’s glided tomb is the highlight of this museum. I couldn’t believe how large the tomb was in person! You can find the Army Museum (or Musee de l’Armee des Invalides) at 129 Rue de Grenelle.
Not so much into war? Then check out the Rodin Museum dedicated to … you guessed it! French sculptor Auguste Rodin. I liked roaming through the outdoor gardens, and think this would be a lovely museum to visit in the spring when the weather turns nicer. You can find the Rodin Museum at 77 Rue de Varenne.
4. Walk the Champs-Elysees
The famous Champs-Elysees extends from Place de la Concorde all the way to the Arc de Triomphe. This broad avenue is one of the most famous streets in the world, so even though it’s packed with tourists, you still ought to stroll along the Champs-Elysees at least once on your two day trip to Paris. Well worth it.
Champs-Elysees is home to many stores including the famous Louis Vuitton flagship! Break out your credit card if you’re feeling a bit reckless, haha.
Furthermore Champs-Elysees is a hub of culture and the perfect place to see a French film. There are some cool arthouse cinemas, as well as theaters for travelers who are more interested in live dramas.
5. Climb the Arc de Triomphe
At the end of Champs-Elysees, you must take pictures of the Arc de Triomphe. It’s spectacular at night.
And, personally, I think one of the loveliest views in the Paris can been seen from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. You’re able to see the Eiffel Tower, for instance, which you can’t do at the top of the Eiffel Tower. You need to climb a lot of steps, so take your time if you’ve physical limitations.
You’ll be able to see the Eiffel Tower erupt in sparkles from the top of Arc de Triomphe if you time your visit right, too!
Paris for Two Days: Day 2
Are you ready for round two after a night’s rest? I hope so! Your second day in Paris includes even more charming neighborhoods, great shopping, one of the best art museums in the entire world, and glistening churches.
Let’s have a closer look, shall we?
Learn More: Don’t Forget a French Phrasebook!
1. See Saint Chapelle
Saint Chapelle is one of the most gorgeous churches I’ve ever seen on my travels. Seriously, I think the above photo speaks for itself, don’t you? What a gothic gem.
There are over 1,100 panes of stained glass in Saint Chapelle. Yup, you read that correctly. 1,100. It blows my mind.
Arrive at Saint Chapelle early to avoid standing in long lines. This church is rather popular due to its beauty and is far from a “hidden treasure” in Paris. You might want to check the official website for events, too. Saint Chapelle is a stunning venue for classical music concerts and such.
2. Notre Dame … Kind Of.
Argh, it’s hard to write about this site. I started this post before the fire happened, and I still didn’t have the heart to cut Notre Dame completely from my itinerary.
As you all know, Notre Dame caught fire on April 15 2019. While the island is accessible for visitors and locals alike, please respect the fact that it will take up to several months for a full investigation of Notre Dame to be conducted. Renovations will take many years.
However, don’t ignore closed and restricted areas in a selfish attempt to snap a photo of Notre Dame Cathedral. Instead I want you to view this beautiful piece of history from a safe distance.
Like many other book geeks, I’ve long associated Notre Dame with Victor Hugo’s super depressing novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame and treasure the time I spent exploring the cathedral. I’m grateful I had a chance to see it.
3. The Louvre
As your morning winds down, you’ll want to visit the most famous (and largest) art museums in the world: the Louvre.
This is another attraction that I would recommend buying a ticket in advance. The lines outside the glass pyramid are frightening to behold, haha. You don’t want to waste your time on that nonsense.
You’ll want to see popular pieces of art, such as the Mona Lisa, but I also suggest “getting lost” in the Louvre and finding hidden corners of the museum. You won’t see all of the art. I think such a formidable task would take years and not two days. So take your time and stare at select masterpieces rather than rushing around checking items off a list.
Book Now: Louvre Museum Direct Entrance Ticket
4. Shop at the Famous Department Stores
You can’t visit Paris and not check out the department stores. Even if you’re not a shopper, sorry, you still have to go, because these department stores are amazing and unlike anything you’ll see in your hometown.
The two most famous department stores in all of Paris are Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. Each store is set in an iconic building so even if you don’t plan on purchasing anything, you should still go and take plenty of pictures. Plus the window displays are absolutely stunning. Worth visiting, for sure.
Need More Advice? Check out these 10 Tips for Your First Trip to Paris
5. Go and explore Montmartre
Finally, you want to go to Montmartre in northern Paris to see the city just like it appears on postcards. I personally think Montmartre is the most romantic area in all of Paris.
The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur is one of the most popular sites in all of Montmartre. Head up the hill to the soaring white basilica and capture an amazing view of Paris. Another famous site is the The Moulin Rouge. Keep in mind that shows at the Moulin Rouge are very expensive, and the surrounding area gets seedy at night. Solo travelers may want to change this itinerary to go to Montmartre in the morning rather than evening hours.
Paris in 2 Days Itinerary: Where to Stay?
First of all, you want an ideal location since you’re only in Paris for 2 days. While the metro is effective, you don’t want to waste too much time staring at the inside of a subway train.
Then you want to focus on your travel needs and what neighborhood best fits them. For example, the 1st Arrondisement is great for sightseeing since you’re situated right near all of the most famous landmarks in Paris. Meanwhile trendy Marais is suitable for travelers seeking vibrant nightlife. Looking for a classy area for you and your family. Then head to Saint Germain. Whatever you want, go for it.
Again, my main recommendation is to stay in the center of Paris. A prime location will make your life a million times easier.
Also keep your budget in mind. Paris is expensive. Luckily for you, Paris has many great hostels for a reasonable price. Budget travelers rejoice!
What would you do with 2 days in Paris? What are your favorite things to see and do in the City of Lights? I hope you found my “Paris in 2 Days Itinerary” helpful for planning your trip to the French capital. Thanks (as always) for your support!
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