Are you passing through Paris or only have two days to visit the city? Of course, visiting Paris in just 48 hours isn’t really enough time to see all the best places in the French capital. However, you’ll be able to get a real flavor of the atmosphere in the ‘City of Light’. Whether you’re going as a couple or with your family or friends, our tips and advice here will be really useful.
To make the best use of your time, we recommend that you devote the first day to seeing the best highlights and split the second day by seeing other sights in the morning and then having a stroll in the afternoon.
What to do in Paris in 2 days
- Climb The Eiffel Tower
- Admire the view on the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero
- Visit the Louvre Museum
- Have a walk on the Seine Banks and the Cité Island
- Have Boat Tour
- Visit the Orsay Museum
- Have a shopping session in the Marais Neighborhood
- Visit the Centre Pompidou
- Eat a the Marché des Enfants Rouges
- Have a romantic stroll in Montmartre
- Visit the Sacré Coeur.
- Finish the last evening in a Montmartre’s pub, restaurant or cabaret
Paris in 2 days itinerary
The 1st day: Eiffel Tower, Seine river, Islands and Louvre (or Orsay)
THE EIFFEL TOWER AND THE TROCADERO
There’s nothing better than to start your tour of Paris by visiting one of its symbolic monuments – the Eiffel Tower!
You can get there via the Trocadero and will be able to see this fantastic sight from the Esplanade, with an amazing view. It’s the ideal time to take a great picture of the monument.
You can, of course, go up the tower for a superb panorama. There’s a good way to avoid the long queues (often over 2 hours):
A BOAT TRIP ON THE SEINE
There’s nothing better than seeing the capital while on board a boat on the Seine.
Several companies (Bateaux-Mouches, Vedettes de Paris, Bateaux-Parisiens…) offer trips on the Seine so you can see the most beautiful buildings in Paris in an hour.
If you have a toddler, this will help make things easier as there’s a lot of walking when visiting Paris. If you’re with your family, this trip is a great opportunity to take a break while admiring the views of the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower.
Several options are available, from a simple boat trip to a romantic dinner cruise or a lunch cruise.
THE NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS CATHEDRAL
Visit the other flagship monument of the city- the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
This masterpiece of Gothic architecture, whose construction began in the 12th century, is the most visited monument of France. It really is a must-see. Don’t miss the North Tower. In addition to the gargoyles, there’s a superb view. Unfortunately, it’s no longer possible to visit the Cathedral but you still can have a walk around.
You can also visit the archaeological crypt and the nearby Sainte-Chapelle. They’re really worth seeing, especially Sainte-Chapelle.
ILE SAINT-LOUIS AND ILE DE LA CITE
Then, take a stroll on the Ile de la Cite: you’ll love the beautiful Square Vert Galant and, on the nearby Saint-Louis island, you can sample the great Berthillon ice-cream… much enjoyed by the Parisians.
The Ile de la Cite is the heart of Paris and is one of the oldest districts in the capital. It’s an unmissable part of a visit for all tourists staying in Paris.
VISIT THE LOUVRE
Then you can (must?) visit the Louvre Museum, but be warned: the queues can be quite long.
The Monument itself is really stunning. The Louvre palace housed the ruling royal family up to when Louis XIV moved to the Palace of Versailles. Of course, there are also many world-famous masterpieces to enjoy: The Mona Lisa, the Raft of the Medusa… and also an impressive Egyptology Department.
Then, take the opportunity to visit the beautiful Tuileries gardens. then, visit the Orsay Museum, on the other side of the Seine. If you like museums, you can add the Jeu de Paume or the Orangerie Museum.
If you’re a fan of Impressionism and painting, the Orsay Museum is a must, particularly with the paintings by the many great masters: Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Renoir…
The Orangerie Museum and the fabulous Monet Waterlilies will be the pinnacle of your introduction to Impressionism.
The Jeu Paume museum is dedicated to photography and has many beautiful exhibitions. However, only having two days to visit Paris means your time will be precious. This means making choices.
The 2nd day: Marais neighborhood, Pompidou and Montmartre
Visit two of the most emblematic districts in the capital. When you want to visit Paris in 48 hours, it’s not easy to cover every part of the capital. Therefore, we’ll focus on these two mythical city suburbs.
THE MARAIS DISTRICT
Start your morning with a visit to the Marais. This trendy area is one of the most commercial parts of the capital.
It’s also the perfect place for brunch. The many cafes in the neighborhood offer a great brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
You’ll find lots of trendy shops, artists’ workshops, concept stores, and art galleries.
Lose yourself in the old narrow streets in this district, some of them dating back to the 12th century. You’ll also find the Picasso Museum and the Paris Carnival History Museum in this area.
THE POMPIDOU CENTRE
Next, visit the Pompidou Centre. Be mindful that it opens at 11:00am, so there’s no need to get there super-early.
Alternatively, you can avoid the long queues with a fast-track ticket.
If you like modern and contemporary art, this houses one of the largest collections in the world.
Then, enjoy lunch nearby. There are many great local restaurants.
If you visit Paris with your family, a popular alternative for children would be the City of Science and Industry at La Villette. If you visit Paris in 2 days you will certainly make some choice.
LATE AFTERNOON ON MONTMARTRE HILL
View Paris from the sacred heart of Montmartre. To finish off your 2-day visit to Paris, spend your last afternoon in the famous district of Montmartre.
This is another picturesque area. Known for its Bohemian atmosphere, it’s been home to many artists: Picasso, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec.
Located on a hill, there are several parts to this district, which features original topography and a village atmosphere.
Of course, a visit to the Sacré-Coeur is a must! Climb to the top for views of the capital. Many visitors gather on the Esplanade and visit the markets located in front of the building. As night falls, you can listen to musicians on some evenings: guitar playing, songs… a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere!
Also, when in the district, walk past the Bateau Lavoir, Picasso’s former workshop, the Vignes de Montmartre, the Moulin de Galette, Van Gough’s former cabaret favorite.
On the Museum side, the Museum of Montmartre will tell you the story of the hill, which was once a village on the edge of Paris. Finally, the Abbesses district, with its shops, cafés, and restaurants is a great opportunity to do a little shopping or simply enjoy a little time out.
Montmartre is one of the best aera to have a typical parisian dinner or to enjoy a show in a cabaret.
Visiting Paris in 2 days on a budget: cheap activities
There are ways to save some money when visiting the capital. Here are some tips to enjoy Paris without spending too much during your 2-day visit.
- Travel by bike. This is nice and inexpensive (a 1 euro subscription for 24 hours or 1 euro for an hour of use).
- Visit free museums in Paris.
- Visit Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur and other free churches in the capital
- For your shopping, opt for outlet stores and big brand sales. You’ll find some great clothing deals at cheap prices.
- Treat yourself to a bus tour for the price of a metro ticket with the RATP bus routes e.g. the 27 and 85, for example. Some buses will take you straight to the most beautiful monuments in the capital and will take you on a tour of all the beautiful sights.
Find somewhere to stay in the nearby suburbs. Some outlying areas around the capital are well-served by the metro and prices there are cheaper: Montrouge, Boulogne, Pantin, Saint-Ouen, Clichy, Les Lilas, Montreuil or Vincennes.
Here’s more info for visiting Paris on a budget with family or friends.
Of course, visiting Paris in just two days is a challenge. We hope that our tips will help you to better prepare for your visit.