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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 beautiful, incredibly romantic, and there is no city that is easier to spend time in like Paris. The kind of place where one always finds 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 2 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 2 day Itinerary – Our Proposal
What to see in Paris in 2 days? Here’s an overview of the perfect itinerary for two days in Paris
- Day 1 in Paris – Right Bank, with Ile de la Cité, the banks of the River Seine, the Louvre Museum, the Tuileries Garden, and Montmartre
- Day 2 in Paris – Left Bank, with the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Près, Trocadéro, and the Eiffel Tower
We decided to split this Paris itinerary 2 days into Paris Right Bank and Paris Left Bank. This has an obvious logistics advantage: all our proposals for the day are concentrated on the same side of Paris so the walking and metro distances are optimized.
To understand the different areas of Paris, it’s important to know that Paris is made up of 20 arrondissements. These arrondissements of Paris are individual districts which make up the entire city of Paris. For this Paris in two days itinerary, we are going to cover the most popular Arrondissement of Paris, leaving the lesser-known districts for longer Paris itineraries. Still, it’s recommended that you read our Paris by Arrondissement guide, with the story and main highlights by arrondissement. This will make your itinerary planning much easier.
This Paris itinerary 2 days comes with 2 different maps, one for each day spent in Paris and with our suggested points of interest. The maps can be zoomed in and zoomed out for your convenience and they are very easy to use:
- the green spots on the map are for the first day in Paris
- the red spots on the map are for the second day in Paris
2 Days in Paris, Day 1: Paris 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 Museum.
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 2-day trip to Paris, 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)
Grab a coffee and head to Ile de la Cité, the heart of Paris. From metro station Cité (line 4) look for Notre Dame’s twin towers, this will be the starting point of this 2 days in 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 this Paris for 2 days itinerary 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 spot not visible right now 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.
Useful Info & Tips:
» 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 following 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.
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 for two 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!
Useful Info & Tips:
» The Louvre Museum opens from Wednesday to Monday from 9 am to 6 am. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the Louvre opens until 10 pm.
» Buy Louvre skip the line tickets and don’t waste time standing in line: you only have 2 days in Paris!
After visiting some of the most famous Louvre artworks, let’s head to the Tuileries Garden for a walk in the fresh air.
The Tuileries Garden 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 the Gardens of Château de Versailles 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 where you can get coffee and a quick eat.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: do you want to learn about the fascinating history of the park whilst having fun? Check out this DIY Tuileries Garden Quest for a unique view of the Tuileries Garden 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 not far from the Tuileries Garden.
~ AFTERNOON ~
From Tuileries, take the metro to the iconic neighborhood of Montmartre. We suggest arriving at Anvers metro station (line 2) and follow this Stories of Old Montmartre Walking Tour which explores the top sights of Montmartre such as the Sacré Coeur, the Moulin de la Galette, Place du Tertre or the Wall of Love.
From Sacré Coeur down to Place des Abbesses, take your time to read the stories behind the main sights, perhaps with a coffee break in between.
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 days in Paris itinerary, head to the Moulin Rouge for a fun night of music, can-can, and lots of bubbles. The Moulin Rouge is one of the most popular cabarets 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, the Terrass Rooftop Bar, admiring the Paris skyline and gazing across the lights and landmarks that define the City of Lights.
Useful info & Tips:
» 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 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 district.
~ MORNING ~
The Latin Quarter
Start with a coffee at the Latin Quarter in Paris, the heart of university life. 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 Lutèce) 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 today 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 the 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, other prestigious schools, and the beautiful Sainte-Geneviève library. There are also many bookshops, cafes and independent cinemas.
Useful info & Tips:
» You can reach the Panthéon by metro, from Cardinal Lemoine metro station (line 10). If you want to have a quick look at the Arènes de Lutèce first, then take the metro to Jussieu (lines 7 and 10).
» The Panthéon of Paris is open every day from 10 am to 6.30 pm. The entrance ticket costs 9€
» The access to the Panthéon’s dome is open from April to October. Apart from the Panthéon ticket, you need to purchase a second ticket that costs 2€.
The Luxembourg Gardens
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.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: this cool DIY Treasure Hunt is perfect to explore the Luxembourg Gardens whilst having fun.
Useful info & Tips:
» Jardin du Luxembourg has no entrance fee. The opening hours of the garden are defined according to the season.
~ AFTERNOON ~
From Luxembourg Gardens, take the Avenue Bonaparte to the neighborhood of Saint Germain-des-Prés.
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 great place to get lost in its winding streets or to 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.
~ EVENING ~
Eiffel Tower and Seine River Boat Tour
For your last night in Paris, head to the Eiffel Tower for a “grand finale” in the City of Lights! Climb up to the Eiffel Tower’s summit to watch the sunset over Paris.
Designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the 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!
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, …and back to Notre Dame, where everything started.
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!
Useful info & Tips:
» Book your Eiffel Tower tickets well in advance! With only two days in Paris, it’s important to secure the date and time slot asap.
» Restaurant Les Ombres is located at 27 Quai Branly (Paris 7). Book your table in advance directly on their website.
» 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 we recommend booking the last or pre-last boat tour to see the monuments illuminated.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Other Interesting Things to Do in Paris in 2 Days
Of course, there are many other interesting things to do in Paris in two days, it’s just that we cannot include everything in a single itinerary! Below, the list of other places to visit in Paris in 2 days:
» 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 in Paris.
» Check out the Paris Bucket List category for other ideas.
Where to Sleep in Paris for 2 Days
If you have not decided where to sleep in Paris for 2 days, we can help with some suggestions:
If 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, booking a hotel in this wonderful area (Paris 3 or Paris 4) can be an excellent choice. 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 personal suggestions on where to sleep in Paris for two days:
- Location: Paris 4
- Category: 3 stars
Hotel Saint Louis en l’Isle has an 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 do in Paris for 2 days you are ready to explore Paris!
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