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If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. – Ernest Hemingway
We love Paris for the million reasons that everybody loves the city. Paris is an incredibly romantic and beautiful place. There is no city that is easier to spend time in like Paris and we are sure that you will always find new things to see and do, Paris truly is a moveable feast!
Paris in two days is a bit short, we recommend spending at least 3 days in Paris to get a good picture of the city. But if you only have two days in Paris, what to do? Don’t worry, we have prepared the perfect Paris 2-day itinerary so you can have the time of your life in Paris.
Paris Itinerary 2 Days – Our Proposal
Here’s an overview of this 2 Days in Paris Itinerary
- Day 1 in Paris – Right Bank
- Day 2 in Paris – Left Bank
We decided to split this 2 days in Paris itinerary into Paris Right Bank and Paris Left Bank. This has an obvious logistics advantage: all our proposals for one day are concentrated on the same side of Paris so the walking and metro distances are optimized.
For this Paris in 2 days itinerary, we are going to cover the most popular Arrondissement of Paris, leaving the lesser-known districts for longer Paris itineraries.
The Google maps with our suggested points of interest are very easy to use: green spots are for the first day in Paris while red spots are for the second day in Paris. Dark green and dark red spots are the activities that we suggest to do in Paris at night. For your convenience, the map can be zoomed in and zoomed out.
2 DAYS IN PARIS, DAY 1: PARIS RIVE DROITE (RIGHT BANK)
Paris is crossed by the river Seine (la Seine, in French) which flows westwards to the English Channel cutting the city into two. The isle that you can see in the middle of the Seine is named Ile de la Cité.
In Paris, you will often hear about Paris Rive Gauche (Paris’ Left Bank) and Paris Rive Droite (Paris’ Right Bank): when facing downstream, the northern bank is to the right, and the southern bank is to the left.
In Medieval times, the royal and religious powers were located in Ile de la Cité and in the Right Bank of the city. It is in this area where we find the Conciergerie, Notre Dame de Paris, the Sainte Chapelle, and the Louvre.
Centuries later, the Right Bank was the synonym of elegance and sophistication while the left bank was the Bohemian Paris. The Rive Droite was the center of commerce and trade in Paris, with the stock market (la Bourse) and most of the headquarters of banking and finance groups while the Left Bank was the focus of the intellectual and religious life in Paris.
During the first day of this Paris itinerary, we are going to explore the following districts of Paris: Paris 1, Paris 4 and Paris 18, all located in the Right Bank.
~ MORNING ~
Notre Dame Cathedral (from outside)
Begin with a coffee at Ile de la Cité, the heart of Paris. From metro Cité look for Notre Dame’s twin towers, this will be the starting point of this 2-day Paris itinerary.
On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral was badly damaged by a terrible fire and it is currently closed to the public for reconstruction works. However, we still find a good idea to start your 2 days in Paris from the cathedral because Notre Dame is (and will always be) the heart and soul of Paris.
Admire Notre Dame‘s main facade, this cathedral is a jewel of Gothic architecture and one of Paris’ main sights. Notre Dame de Paris is dedicated to Our Lady of Paris. You can see Her represented on the rose-window.
With the restoration works, this is not visible but just in front of the cathedral’s main façade there is a plaque indicating France’s km 0 so you are in the center of France! All the French roads are measured from this point.
» You can reach Ile de la Cité by métro (Cité metro station, line 4)
» Notre Dame opening hours: closed to the public until further notice
» Notre Dame Towers opening hours: closed to the public until further notice
Walk along the Seine River
Take rue d’Arcole and cross the bridge, you just reached the Seine’s Right Bank. Start walking north-west along Quai François Mitterrand, always having the river on your left side. From here you have a better view of Ile de la Cité and you can admire sights like La Conciergerie (the building with the pointed towers), the iconic rooftops of Paris or the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), which is actually the oldest bridge in Paris! After a pleasant 20 minute walk, you will reach the Louvre Museum.
» You can find all the sights mentioned in the description on the Google Map.
The Louvre Museum
When spending only 2 days in Paris, you might have time for only one museum. Pick either the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay. We recommend the Louvre Museum.
First-timers in Paris find difficult to resist the temptation of visiting the Louvre Museum, even if they visit Paris in 2 days! Originally built as a royal palace, the Louvre Palace is today one of the best and most visited museums in the world. Admire Pei’s glass pyramid, located in the Louvre’s inner court, and enter the museum for a short visit.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: the famous tea-house Angelina has an establishment inside the Louvre Museum, not far from Napoleon iii apartments. Enjoy Angelina’s famous hot chocolate or taste the incredible Mont Blanc dessert without the crowds!
» The Louvre Museum opens from Wednesday to Monday from 9 am to 6 am. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the Louvre opens until 10 pm.
» The Louvre Museum sees long lines all year-round. Book in advance to get skip the line tickets and don’t waste time standing in line.
Jardin des Tuileries
After visiting some of the most famous Louvre artworks, let’s head to the Tuileries Gardens for a walk in the fresh air.
Tuileries Gardens is one of the most beautiful parks in Paris and the oldest French garden in the city. It was designed in the 16th century on the site of ancient tile factories that gave the park its name. The current layout still keeps the spirit of André Le Notre’s design, the same landscape designer than Versailles Gardens and the gardens of Château de Chantilly.
Take a stroll around the park to see the ponds, the flowers and admire the different sculptures. If you have not eaten yet, the park has a couple of guinguettes for a coffee and a quick eat.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: do you want to learn about the fascinating park’s history whilst having fun? Check out our DIY Tuileries Garden Quest for a unique view of the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.
If it is raining in Paris or it’s too cold outside, explore some of the most beautiful covered passages of Paris, located in the same area (Paris 1 and Paris 2).
~ AFTERNOON ~
Montmartre and Pigalle
From Tuileries, take the metro to the iconic neighborhood of Montmartre. We suggest arriving at Abbesses metro station (line 12) to explore the Wall of Love, Saint Jean de Montmartre Church and other iconic places around like rue Lepic, Le Moulin de la Galette or Le Consulat.
From Place des Abbesses, head up to the Sacré Coeur and its parvis, with great views of Paris from above. Montmartre is a hilly neighborhood with many steps, so you’ll have to do a little bit of cardio here to get to the top. Take your time to reach Sacré Coeur, perhaps with a coffee break in between.
» Metro Abbesses can be reached with line 12
» The Wall of Love is located in a small park (Square Jean Rictus), just behind the metro entrance.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: climb up to Sacré Coeur’s dome for amazing panoramic views of Paris! The access to the dome is from outside the basilica, on the left side.
~ EVENING ~
Montmartre by Night and Moulin Rouge
For the first evening of this 2-day trip to Paris, head to the Moulin Rouge – one of the most iconic cabarets in Paris – for a fun night of music, can-can, and lots of bubbles. The Moulin Rouge is the most popular cabaret in Paris so you may want to buy your Moulin Rouge tickets well in advance!
Alternatively, explore other bits of Montmartre under the moonlight and have dinner around. Finish your day with a cocktail at one of our favorite rooftop bars in Paris, Terrass Rooftop Bar, admiring the Paris skyline and gazing across the lights and landmarks that define the City of Lights.
» Terrass Hotel and Rooftop Bar are located at 12 Rue Joseph de Maistre. Closest metro stations are Place de Clichy (lines 2 and 13) and Abbesses (line 12). Open also to non-guests
2 DAYS IN PARIS, DAY 2: PARIS RIVE GAUCHE (LEFT BANK)
During the second day of this 2-day Paris itinerary, we are going to explore the Left Bank of Paris and more specifically the neighborhoods of the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain des Prés and the Eiffel Tower.
~ MORNING ~
The Latin Quarter
Start with a coffee at Quartier Latin (Paris 5). The Latin Quarter in Paris is the heart of university life in Paris. This is also one of the oldest districts of Paris, where the former Roman city Lutetia (IC AD) developed along its Cardo Maximus, the present Rue Saint Jacques. Like all the Roman cities, Lutetia had a forum (current Rue Soufflot), a couple of Roman baths (Les Thermes de Lutece) and even an amphitheater known today as Arènes de Lutèce.
Start with the Panthéon, one of the most famous landmarks in Paris. Originally built as a church, the Panthéon operates as a mausoleum with tombs of illustrious French citizens. The building has an impressive facade surmounted by a large dome. In 1851, physicist Léon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the Earth by constructing a 67-meter Foucault pendulum beneath the central dome. Today, a replica of this famous pendulum is still displayed inside the Panthéon.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: don’t miss the awesome views from the Panthéon’s dome! The dome is often referred to as the “balcony of Paris” because of these amazing views of Paris.
Wander around the Latin Quarter. In this same area, there are several buildings making up the large complex of La Sorbonne University, which are also impressive and always teeming with students. La Sorbonne was founded in 1253 at King Louis IX’s request as a college for 16 poor students who wanted to study theology. After 1885, it became the most important university in France and it is still one of the most important universities in Paris.
Around the Sorbonne, you can find the Collège de France, prestigious schools and the beautiful Sainte-Geneviève library, as well as many bookshops, cafes and independent cinemas.
» You can reach the Panthéon by metro from Jussieu metro station (lines 7 and 10) if you want to have a quick look at the Arènes de Luthèce or from Cardinal Lemoine metro station (line 10) if you want to go straight to the Panthéon.
» The Panthéon of Paris is open every day from 10 am to 6.30 pm. Entrance ticket costs 9€
» The access to the Panthéon’s dome is open from April to October. Ticket to the dome is the Panthéon ticket + 2€
Explore the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens and admire the palace originally built for Queen Marie de Médicis (today the Sénat Palace), and other beautiful sights like the octagonal pond or the romantic Médicis Fountain. If the weather is good, don’t hesitate to blend in with the locals and have a picnic on the grass.
» Jardin du Luxembourg has no entrance fee. The opening hours of the garden are defined according to the season.
» You can go from Luxembourg Gardens to Saint Germain-des-Prés by taking the Avenue Bonaparte, which limits the park on the west. It is a 13 min walk starting from the pond.
~ AFTERNOON ~
Developed around the former Saint-Germain Abbey, the neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés became after the Second World War a center of intellectual and cultural life in Paris, with the presence of interesting writers and artists like Marguerite Duras, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, François Truffaut, Picasso, Giacometti and many more. All these cool people liked to wander around Saint-Germain and enjoy its particular atmosphere and a good intellectual discussion at Café Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore.
Today, Saint-Germain is a very touristy neighborhood, deeply transformed by the tourism industry and big investors, with luxury boutiques and art galleries instead of small bookshops and some universities. However, it is a very nice place to get lost in its winding streets or stop at a nice cafe for people watching.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: Saint-Germain is well known for having some of the best chocolate shops and pâtisseries of Paris. We recommend the Saint-Germain Chocolate Walking Tour. Alternatively, check out this page for more yummy tours.
~ EVENING ~
Eiffel Tower and Seine River Boat Tour
For your last night in Paris, head to the Eiffel Tower for a “grande finale” in the City of Lights! Designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the 300m Eiffel Tower is always impressive but it is even more incredible to see at night when the golden floodlights come on. When the Tour Eiffel is lit up it will sparkle for the first five minutes of every hour so check your watch not to miss the next one!
MAKE IT SPECIAL: a gourmet dinner with amazing views of the Eiffel Tower at restaurant Les Ombres can be the perfect start of an unforgettable night!
End your day with a Seine night boat tour (and perhaps a glass of champagne) and admire the historical monuments dotted along the route: The Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, the Conciergerie, …back to Notre Dame, where everything started.
OUR TIP: during summertime, sunset can be around 22:00, which means illuminations will come only after this hour. Boat tours usually run until 10.30 pm so to see the monuments illuminated we recommend booking the last or pre-last boat tour.
» Restaurant Les Ombres is located at 27 Quai Branly (Paris 7). Book your table in advance directly on their website
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
OTHER INTERESTING THINGS TO DO IN PARIS IN 2 DAYS
Of course, there are many other interesting things to do in Paris in 2 days, it’s just that we cannot include everything in a single itinerary.
» This Paris 2-day itinerary does not include Le Marais. Le Marais is another interesting area to explore and you can find some ideas in our posts on Paris 3 and Paris 4. Both posts cover different parts of Le Marais.
» Traveling to Paris during the winter? Check out our Winter in Paris Bucket List, with some cool proposals when it’s too cold to be outside. If the weather forecast shows rain in Paris, check out this list of things to do in Paris during rainy days.
» If you want to surprise your partner with a romantic weekend getaway, we recommend using this romantic weekend in Paris itinerary instead, also with a program for two days.
» Check out the Paris Bucket List category for other ideas.
WHERE TO SLEEP IN PARIS FOR 2 DAYS
If you are traveling to Paris for two days and you can afford it, why not treating yourself with the pleasure of waking up with an amazing Eiffel Tower balcony view? Some of Paris’ top luxury hotels, well known for its great facilities and amazing interiors, come also with the best views of Eiffel Tower, especially beautiful during its night show.
Because this Paris itinerary does not cover the area of Le Marais, perhaps it is a good idea to set your base in Le Marais (Paris 3 or Paris 4). This means you are central, and you get the chance to get the taste of this charming area whilst you are exploring the rest of Paris.
Here are our suggestions on where to sleep in Paris for 2 days:
- Location: Paris 4
- Category: 3 stars
Excellent location, on the heart of Ile de Saint Louis. Its classic Parisian décor, wooden beams, and exposed stone walls make this hotel unique and an excellent option for your stay in Paris.
- Location: Paris 4
- Category: 3 stars
Stay in the heart of busy Marais, and finish your days in the hotel’s quiet garden. Rooms are cute and bright with a very defined contemporary design and breakfast is served in the hotel’s impressive stone cellar
- Location: Paris 4
- Category: 4 stars
Located at the heart of Marais and entirely designed by Christian Lacroix, it is impossible to have a better combination history + design. Guests can use complimentary bicycles and enjoy free access to the spa at Hotel Pavillon de la Reine, a 10-min walk away.
We hope that you will enjoy this 2 days in Paris itinerary. Now that you know what to see in Paris in 2 days you are ready to explore Paris!
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