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2 Days in Paris – Bucket List Itinerary for a Weekend in Paris (2024)

2-day paris guide
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After visiting 7 times and spending a semester abroad, I’ve cultivated the inside scoop for navigating the arrondissements (neighborhoods), finding the best cafés, and narrowing down Paris’s long list of main attractions.

Whether it’s your first visit or a return trip, this 2-day Paris Itinerary is the perfect way to hit the highlights quickly. This schedule is fairly jam-packed, so feel free to make cuts if you want to spend more time at any given location. On y va (Let’s go!)

2 Days in Paris –  Bucket List Itinerary for a Weekend in Paris (2024)

How to Get Around Paris

Paris has earned a reputation as the City of Love. With triumphs in the areas of history, architecture, art, cuisine, and fashion – the capital city of France has so much to offer. It could take lifetimes to experience it all!

Paris is split by the river Seine, acting as a divide between the North and South part of town. The arrondissements are 20 neighborhoods that lie in a clockwise spiral pattern across centre-ville.

This can be confusing at first, but you’ll find it’s very easy to get around the popular areas like Montmartre, Le Marais, Montparnasse, The Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, etc.

Here are the easiest way to get around the metropolis of Paris:

  • 1. Metro | Underground | RER | Bus

    The underground subway, known as Le Métro, is the easiest way to travel through Paris affordably. The same tickets are sold for metros/undergrounds, RER high-speed trains, and the public bus network. A single ticket costs €1.90 and can be used for all connections per journey. Here is a map of the Paris public transit system.

    You can also purchase a Metro Day Pass that allows unlimited travel for 24 hours. The rate is region-dependent and it’s easiest to purchase tickets directly at the train and bus stations or local tobacco stores. You can also book in advance through the Vianavigo app.

  • 2. Hop-on-Hop-Off Tour

    If you plan to hit the more touristic attractions, you may consider a hop-on-hop-off tour. This sightseeing bus will stop at the iconic Parisian landmarks (the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Musée du Louvre, and Musée D’Orsay, etc.), giving you a low-cost way to view the city from the ideal vantage point of a double-decker bus.

    You can book this through Get Your Guide or consider purchasing The Paris Pass, which includes the hop-on-hop-off tour, plus entry to many major sites.

  • 3. Taxi | Uber | Rideshare

    The most expensive way to get around, but arguably the most direct – Taxis and Ubers are a tried-and-true option at your disposal. There are also ridesharing apps like Free Now or Heetch.

Day 1 in Paris

  • 1. Enjoy an Authentic French Breakfast

    Starting in the 1st arrondissement (the heart of the city), Angelina is a famous Parisian tea room and café where you can grab a luxurious French breakfast. With an almost ethereal notoriety around their hot chocolate, this is a decadent way to begin your day in the 16th-century Palais Royal neighborhood.

    Angelina is located across from the Tuileries Garden, created by Catherine de’ Medici in 1564. Stroll through this preserved piece of history that hosted the likes of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the French Revolution.

    Enjoy an Authentic French Breakfast
  • 2. Take a Morning Tour at The Louvre Museum

    The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world. It is also notorious for long lines! I recommend visiting early in the morning or on weekdays if possible.

    You can enter with a simple skip-the-line ticket, but the Louvre is HUGE and it’s easy to get lost… In fact, there are 35,000 works of art and if you spent a single minute looking at each, it would take 65+ days to see it all!

    For this reason, we booked a guided tour of the Louvre must-sees. It was a great relief to be led directly to Leonardo Di Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the ancient Venus di Milo. You could also book a guide to the Mona Lisa tour and then explore at your own pace (the difference being that a guide will not enlighten you with historical facts and stories about the art, only lead you to these prime locations).

    The Museum Pass is another ticket option that offers you access to Paris’s top 60 museums and monuments.

    Take a Morning Tour at The Louvre Museum
  • 3. Set up a Picnic at the Eiffel Tower

    One of the best Parisian pastimes – creating a picnic and finding the perfect place to set up lunch! Go from small corner stores to outdoor markets to find fresh fruit and snacks. Stop at a boulangerie (bakery) for a baguette, a boucherie (butcher/meat shop), and a fromagerie (cheese shop) for all of your sandwich-making materials. Now you can make a final cave à vins stop for some local Merlot or Bordeaux wine, and head for the Eiffel Tower!

    There are many ways to witness the spectacular Tour de Eiffel –

    Go to the top for amazing panoramic views, or enjoy your ground-level view of the Champ De Mars Park for free. You’ll have easy access to the Grand Palais, Palais Galliera, and Petite Palais museums, all in close proximity.

    Set up a Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
  • 4. Wander the Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe

    At this point, you will be nearby the Champs-Élysées, where you can stroll down one of the world’s most famous commercial shopping streets.

    Just at the western end of the street, the Arc de Triomphe staggers at a surprisingly large scale over the avenue. Connected to the Place De Le Concorde, the arc stands at 164-feet tall and commemorates those who lost their lives during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

    Whether you want to do luxury shopping or not, this is a beautiful street to explore and you can get some of the best views of Paris from the rooftop of the Arc de Triomphe.

    Wander the Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe
  • 5. Take a Seine River Cruise through Centre-Ville

    If you’re short on time, a Seine River Cruise at sunset will offer you stunning and expedited views of hot-spots like Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville, and the Eiffel Tower (pro tip: If you opt for an evening cruise, the tower will be lit up like diamonds!)

    Here’s the tea – you can book a 1-hour river cruise, an evening cruise with drinks, or a 3-course dinner cruise. I recommend saving the meal for a more authentic restaurant that won’t be targeted to tourists, as these cruise dinners can be. Take the views, leave the food!

    Take a Seine River Cruise through Centre-Ville
  • 6. Head to Montmartre for Dinner

    If you only have 1 or 2 nights in Paris, you MUST spend an evening in the Montmartre neighborhood. This bohemian haven in the 18th arrondissement is my favorite district in Paris. Perched on a hill, it’s an artist’s village that once was a go-to for legends like Picasso and Dalí!

    It’s artsy and edgy with divine bars and restaurants, yet still offers the old-world charm that most newcomers will expect from Paris. Book a Montmartre Walking Tour or find the Hidden Gems with Local Guide. Afterward, check out these fantastic spots for dinner and drinks:

    • La Maison Rose – Address: 2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir, 75018
    • Terrass – Address: 12-14 rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018
    • Le Consulat – Address: 18 Rue Norvins, 75018
    • Chez Pitou – Address: 28 rue Tholoze, 75018
    • Taverne de Montmartre – Address: 25 Rue Gabrielle, 75018
    • La Boîte Aux Lettres – Address: 108 Rue Lepic, 75018
    • Le Moulin De La Galette – Address: 83 Rue Lepic, 75018
    Head to Montmartre for Dinner
  • 7. Ascend the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart)

    While in the area, make time to see the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur. Known as ‘the sacred heart,’ this Roman church that opened its doors in 1875 welcomes more than 10-million visitors each year.

    It’s awe-inspiringly beautiful and if you’re up for the climb, you’ll discover some of the most spectacular views of the city from atop the hill.

    Ascend the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart)
  • 8. End the Night at The Moulin Rouge

    Finish a perfect day in Paris at a legendary Cabaret show! The Moulin Rouge made its debut in 1889. Known as the birthplace of can-can dance and a host to performers for over a century – it’s a glamorous and fun way to close your evening.

    You’ll spot the iconic red windmill at the southwest end of the Montmartre and can book a Moulin Rouge show or combine this with champagne toast or a 3-course dinner and show for a spectacle that will delight all the senses.

    The age minimum is 6 years old and Moulin Rouge considers itself a show for all ages. But if topless dance shows with feathers and sequins aren’t your thing, check out the nearby Opera Garnier, a 5-minute train ride away with an epic history dating back to 1669.

    End the Night at The Moulin Rouge

Day 2 in Paris

  • 1. Get Breakfast at Le Ju' in Le Marais

    Commence day two in the hip and artsy neighborhood in the 4th arrondissement, the Marais district. This area is eclectic and cool, filled with boutique shops, galleries, and a plethora of quaint cafés to choose from.

    One of my favorites is Le Ju’, a colorful spot for brunch and a cappuccino. As you begin to explore for your second day, prioritize stopping for croissants and desserts, it’s the French way of life!

    Get Breakfast at Le Ju' in Le Marais
  • 2. Visit the Picasso Museum

    Skip-the-line at the Musée National Picasso Paris to witness 5,000+ archived works. This stop lies between the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, perfect for your travels towards Notre Dame and other highlights.

    With these tickets, you can pass the long queue that can be wrapped around the building on a busy day. There is another large Picasso Museum in Barcelona, but this location offers the world’s most precise record of Picasso’s creative process and works ranging from illustrations, to paintings, to sculptures.

    Visit the Picasso Museum
  • 3. Saunter past the Hotel de Ville (City Hall)

    As you exit the Marais and head south towards the Notre Dame, you’ll easily pass by the Hotel de Ville. As home to the Mayor of Paris, this 16th-century building was chosen as the center for administration in Paris since 1357. Since then, it’s been the site of rallies, uprisings, festivals, and public executions.

    It’s a beautiful and poignant building to snap a photo of or linger in the open plaza for a healthy dose of people-watching. Then you can head towards Notre Dame using the Pont au Double, one of the oldest stone bridges in town (constructed in 1578).

    Saunter past the Hotel de Ville (City Hall)
  • 4. Marvel at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame

    Now that you’re leaving the Marais and heading into the Latin District in the 5th arrondissement, you’ll arrive at the deeply beloved Cathédrale Notre-Dame. It is one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals from the Middle Ages, commissioned by King Louis VII to symbolize the cultural power of Paris’s political and economic health.

    Due to the 2019 fire, the cathedral is still under renovation, expected to welcome visitors again in late 2024, while reconstruction may stretch into 2025. You can still take an outdoor walking tour with crypt access through Get Your Guide.

    Marvel at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame
  • 5. Experience Saint-Chapelle on Île de la Cité

    While on Île de la Cité (an island in the middle of the Seine River, a 4th-century fortress), continue from Notre Dame to Saint-Chapelle, another gorgeous Gothic cathedral.

    Dating back to 1238, Saint-Chapelle is considered to be the finest royal chapel in the country, offering stunning stained glass windows and architecture that can bring even a stone heart to tears.

    Experience Saint-Chapelle on Île de la Cité
  • 6. Peruse Shakespeare & Company Bookstore

    Looping around the Rue de la Cité (a street between Notre Dame and Saint-Chapelle), start heading south towards Shakespeare & Company Bookstore.

    You may have to search for books in your native language, but the experience is one that has been featured in movies and favored by literary lovers since 1951.

    Peruse Shakespeare & Company Bookstore
  • 7. Explore The Historic Latin District & Roman Baths

    As you make your way to the Pantheon, explore to your heart’s content in the Latin District. Once owned by the Gauls as well as the Romans, there are still ruins and ancient remains that you can discover in the area.

    The Thermes de Cluny is worth the stop, an ancient thermal Roman spa that is currently the largest ancient remain in Northern Europe. There is also a 13th-century school, La Sorbonne, and the charming ancient street Rue Saint-André des Arts which is lined with restaurants and shops.

    Explore The Historic Latin District & Roman Baths
  • 8. Tour the Roman-Inspired Panthéon

    The Panthéon is a neoclassical building that is modeled after the Roman Panthéon. Commissioned by King Louis XV, the building was intended to be a symbol of the strength of the monarchy.

    The former church has become a burial site for famous writers, artists, and soldiers from the French Revolution. Housing legends like Voltaire and Victor Hugo, it’s covered in impressive art and mosaics that will leave you awestruck. Take a self-guided tour where you can take spend an hour in the temple and take in beautiful views from the upper levels.

    Tour the Roman-Inspired Panthéon
  • 9. Relax at Jardin d’Luxembourg & Palais du Luxembourg

    My favorite park in the city is the Jardin d’Luxembourg, specifically the Medici Fountain. It was built in 1630 by Marie de’ Medici, King Henry IV’s widow. It’s a romantic and haunting statue that depicts lovers in each other’s arms, overlooked by Polyphemus, who is jealous of the lovers.

    In the 56-acre park, you’ll find perfect reading nooks, ponds, tennis courts, and the Palais du Luxembourg, the former residents of Marie de Medici.

    There’s an incredible brunch spot near here where you could have a southern farm-to-table breakfast (for dinner if that’s your thing!) Treize au Jardin.

    You’ll also be nearby the Catacombs if you want to experience the underground ossuaries (buried beneath the city of love are 6-million people in a network of tunnels). It’s a spooky but eccentric thing that many people view as a must-do while in Paris.

    Relax at Jardin d’Luxembourg & Palais du Luxembourg
  • 10. Grab Dinner in Montparnasse & Drinks at a Speakeasy

    As you’ve headed south into the Latin District and started turning west towards Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement, grab an authentic French dinner at one of my favorite bistros, Le Petit Sommelier.

    We ordered delicious French wine, frog legs in a creamy garlic sauce, a lobster baked in croissant-like flakey bread, and traditional boeuf bourguignon. It was a top-notch feast with a reasonable price tag.

    Next, head towards Rosebud for an after-dinner drink, or a super sleek speakeasy, No Entry (located secretly in the freezer of Italian restaurant Pink Mamma).

    Grab Dinner in Montparnasse & Drinks at a Speakeasy

Final Tips to Keep in Mind

This is a very packed itinerary! Maybe a little too ambitious to be possible. But you can temper efficiency at your discretion and slow down to enjoy the magic along the way.

With any extra time, take day trips to The Palace of Versailles, the Loire Valley, or Disneyland Paris! From Monet’s Gardens in Giverney to the nearby Champagne Region – there are so many incredible cities at only an arm’s reach from Paris.

One last thing that could alter the trajectory and success of your plans – keep in mind that many businesses are closed on Sundays in France; this is a day of rest and respect due to France’s religious roots in Catholicism. You’ll find that some coffee shops and restaurants are open in the morning, and it’s not impossible to find food or a drink, but it will be much more challenging to do major activities or shop at popular stores.

Museums are closed frequently on Mondays and Tuesdays, so Sunday is a good day to prioritize museum visits or day trips.

With these tidbits in mind, you can see SO much in 2 short days in Paris! By planning strategically and creating a roadmap, you can use this guide for the City of Love on this and all future visits.

Voila et bon voyage!

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