HOW TO SPEND 2 DAYS IN PARIS: THE PERFECT PARIS ITINERARY
Paris is easily one of our favourite European cities, and one that we return to time and again. It has so much to offer, from beautiful views to world class museums to fabulous food. We’ve visited a number of times, both for short breaks like the 2 days in this Paris itinerary, as well as for more prolonged stays.
Speaking of a shorter visit, we wanted to share with you an itinerary for 2 days in Paris that will get you to all our favourite sights. It’s a fairly packed itinerary (feel free to adjust accordingly!), but if you’re short on time in the city and want to see as much as you can – this will help you do that.
This Paris itinerary is perfect for a first time visitor, or even a returning visitor looking for a quick 2 day Paris itinerary that includes most of the major attractions. After the itinerary, we share some tips and advice for visiting Paris, as well as some ideas for saving money on your trip. Now onto our suggestions of how to spend the perfect 2 days in Paris.
- 2 Day Paris Itinerary
- 2 Days in Paris Itinerary Map
- When to Visit Paris
- How to Get Around Paris
- How to Save Money on Your Paris trip
- Where to Stay in Paris
2 Day Paris Itinerary
Paris Itinerary: Day 1
1. Saint Chapelle
I have to admit, it took multiple visits to Paris before I actually visited Saint Chapelle. Suffice to say, my mind was blown. This is without doubt one of the prettiest churches I’ve ever visited, and I can’t believe it took me so long to actually go inside.
Saint Chapelle normally opens at 9am, and we highly recommend you get here by 9am sharp, if not a little earlier, in order to get in before the queues. It’s a relatively small attraction, and the security and ticket lines can be long, so arriving here when it opens will save you a lot of time.
Entry is €10 at time of writing, and it’s included with the Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass.
2. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Just near Saint Chapelle is one of Paris’s most well know religious buildings – Notre-Dame Cathedral. With two huge towers and mighty flying buttresses, it’s not hard to see why this has become one of Paris’s iconic attractions, not to mention one of the most famous churches in the world.
Notre Dame is a beautiful building that is well worth the visit. You can walk around and appreciate the exterior, and of course, you can head inside. Entry is free, although if you want to visit either the towers or the crypt there is an additional fee (included with the Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass), and you need to pre-book a timeslot for climbing the tower.
From Notre Dame it’s a 20 minute walk (or 15 minute metro ride) to one of Paris’s most famous museums the Louvre. This is of course home to the Mona Lisa (which many visitors make a bee-line for!) and the Venus de Milo, but the largest and most visited art gallery in the world has a great deal more to offer than these two sights, from Islamic art to Greek antiquities.
There are two main entry lines, one fast track security line and one slower line for people without an advance ticket.
We’d definitely encourage you to save money and time by either getting a fast track ticket in advance, or buying a pass that gives you access to the fast track line. Both the Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass offer free entry to the Louvre with fast-track access.
4. Wine Tasting
France is known the world over for wine, so after you’ve sated your cultural curiosity at the Louvre, why not relax a bit over a glass of wine whilst learning all about the art of French wine making. Sound good?
Well, right next door to the Louvre you’ll find the “Caves du Louvre”, a relatively new wine tasting experience set in an 18th century wine cellar, formerly home to the wine collection of the King of France himself.
Here, over the period of about an hour, you’ll try three different French wines, whilst learning all about grape varieties and the factors that go into the making of a French wine.
If you’re not keen on drink, or you’re travelling with children, you might instead want to pop along to the nearby Angelina Café for a divine cup of hot chocolate.
5. Arc de Triomphe
There are a number of places in Paris that I think offer fantastic views of the city, and the Arc de Triomphe is one of my favourites. Found at the western end of the Champs Elysees, this fifty metre high monument to those who died for France in both the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars is a must-see when visiting Paris.
From the top of the Arc de Triomphe you get wonderful views of the Parisian skyline, including the Eiffel Tower, and the business district La Défense.
I’d also add, if you take the stairs on your way out, there’s a nice photo opportunity as you look down the stair well from the top of the stairs spiralling down.
Climbing the Arc de Triomphe costs €12. It’s included with the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass, which both also offer fast-track entry.
5. Eiffel Tower
We’re near the end of your first day in Paris and this entry is an absolute must when in Paris – the Eiffel Tower. You will have already seen this magnificent construction looming over the skyline as you wandered around Paris, but I promise you, nothing really compares to standing underneath her and looking up.
You can experience the Eiffel Tower in a number of ways. Good views can be had from the Trocadero, on the opposite bank of the Seine. You can also get a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower at sunset from Le Champ de Mars. This is a popular spot for the sunset in Paris, and many people bring a picnic to sit outside and enjoy the view in the warmer months, often with a glass of wine in hand.
If you want to climb the tower, we very much recommend that you book your tickets in advance.Tickets can be purchased directly from the official website, which usually has the best price.
6. Seine River Cruise
People look forward When visiting Paris is taking a Seine River Cruise. These let you see a good many Parisian sights from a unique perspective, often whilst listening to a commentary. Most tours last around an hour, and are a nice way to see a lot without too much effort. Just sit back, relax, and let the views roll on by.
If you buy the Paris Pass, a Seine River Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens is included. This is a good option, and one we took advantage of on a recent trip to Paris.
Paris Itinerary: Day 2
8. Sacre Coeur
Your second day in Paris has you starting at the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. This beautiful basilica is found at the summit of Montmartre hill, the highest summit in the city. As you would imagine therefore, there are excellent views on offer from up here.
The Basilica is relatively new, with construction being completed in 1914. Its white domes are instantly recognisable, and you can climb to the top for a fantastic view of the city. Entry to the Sacre Coeur itself is free, although there is a fee for accessing the towers.
Montmartre itself is an area which has long been popular with artists, and many famous artists of the Belle Époque era had their studios in this area. Today, you can get your portrait, caricature or silhouette painted at the famous Place du Tertre, a short walk from the Basilica.
9. Dalí Museum
Whilst you are up in the Montmartre area, we suggest you might want to take in the Dalí Museum – Espace Dalí. For fans of the artist, who was a part of the Surrealism group that was headquartered in Montmartre in Paris, this museum is a joy
With over three hundred original artworks on display, this is the only permanent museum in Paris dedicated to the artist. There are sculptures, drawings, watercolours and more on display, and the attached gallery even has some of his artwork for sale.
Entry is €11.50, free for holders of the Paris Pass.
10. Opera Garnier Tour
From the Dali Museum it’s around a half hour stroll, or half an hour by public transport, to the next stop on our two day Paris itinerary – the Opera Palais Garnier.
we suggest that you take a tour of this spectacular building, which served as the inspiration for the play “Phantom of the Opera”
Tours of the Opera Garnier are currently €15.50 per person, and are free for holders of the Paris Pass
11. Musee d’Orsay
From the Opera Garnier we’re going to head to another of Paris’s famous museums – the Musee d’Orsay. Found in a former train station on the south bank of the River Seine, this spectacular building picks up where the Louvre finishes off, with a focus on artworks dating from 1848.
The museum has no shortage of art either, with works from Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Renoir all on display, to name but a few.
Entry to the Musee d’Orsay is currently €12. Free entry with skip the line privileges is provided to Paris Pass and Paris Museum Pass holders.
12. Stroll along the Left Bank
Paris is a romantic city, and we think that one of the most romantic things you can do is take a wander along the “Left Bank”.
In case you were wondering where the left bank is, it’s the south side of the river Seine. It’s called the Left Bank because it’s the left side of the river as you look downstream.
From the Musee d’Orsay, it’s a nice stroll along the left bank, if you head in an easterly direction, with views of the Louvre, the Pont des Arts and ultimately, if you keep going, spectacular views of Notre Dame.
13. Sunset at Tour Montparnasse
The last two entries on our two day itinerary can be switched around, depending on what time of year you visit. This is because sunset will vary depending on when you visit, and I’d suggest that the Tour Montparnasse is absolutely best experienced at sunset.
The Tour Montparnasse is the second tallest skyscraper in Paris, and From here you can see all the way to the Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse and La Defense.
At sunset, the view is truly magical, as the sun lights up the sky, and the city lights start to come on. Then – the pièce de résistance – the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower herself.
Access to the Tour Montparnasse viewing deck is currently €14.50 per person, or free for holders of the Paris Pass.
14. Centre Pompidou
Last on our list of attractions for our two day Paris itinerary is the Centre Pompidou. This is home to a number of things, but we think you’ll be most interested in the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Europe’s largest Museum of Modern Art.
Conveniently, the museum is open until 9pm, which means you’ll be able to visit either before or after your sunset at Tour Montparnasse.
Tickets for the Centre Pompidou museum are currently €14. It’s free for holders of the Paris Pass or Paris Museum Pass.
This is not a “must-see” in Paris, so feel free to skip this one if you don’t want to feel rushed.
2 Days in Paris Itinerary Map
To help you visualise all the above, we’ve put the attractions onto a map so you can see where you need to be for each day of your Paris visit. You can see this map here on Google.
When to Visit Paris
Paris is a city that is good to visit throughout the year. As with most European cities, it is particularly busy in the summer months, and lines for attractions in July and August can be long. The summer months do however promise the best weather.
If you want reasonable weather with fewer people, then the months of May and September will offer some solace. We also love visiting Paris in both fall and winter, when the leaves on the trees turn golden, and the city lights itself up for Christmas.
Basically, we think you’ll have a good time whenever you visit Paris, but just bear in mind that some months are much busier than others.
How to Get Around Paris
Paris is very easy to get around, with a comprehensive underground (the Metropolitan) as well as buses and local trains. Naturally, there are also taxis and private hire cars available.
If you avail of the Paris Pass (see below on money saving tips for Paris), this will come with a transport pass that matches the length of the pass, allowing you to travel on any public transport inside zones 1 – 3. These zones cover all the attractions on this itinerary. Alternatively, you can buy individual tickets for transport on the metro or bus.
The most cost-effective way to do this is to buy tickets in packs of 10, which represents a fairly significant discount on buying them individually. Tickets can be bought at pretty much every metro station from the ticket machines, which accept cash and cards, as well as coming with an English language option.
How to Save Money on Your Paris trip
If you chose to do everything in the above list, you’d be looking at spending just over €200 per person (including a two-day metro transport card).
The answer is to invest in a Paris Pass. This includes access to nearly everything we’ve included in our itinerary (except the Sacre Coeur dome and the Eiffel Tower). It also comes with a travel card valid for the duration of the pass and grants you skip the line privileges at key sights.
As a guide though, for the itinerary in this post, total attraction entry and transport would cost you €211.5. At time of writing a two day Paris Pass costs €131. Add in the cost of climbing the Sacre Coeur (€6), and a ticket to the top of the Eiffel Tower (€25), and the total cost with the pass would be €162.
This represents a saving per person of €49.50 – enough for a nice dinner somewhere!
As well as the above, you should be aware that on the first Sunday of every month, access to most museums in Paris is free – although be aware that popular museums like the Louvre get incredibly busy on these days. In addition, some locations will give you free entry if you are an EU citizen under 26 – you’ll need ID to prove this of course.
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas for where to stay in Paris. More more accommodation ideas when you travel.