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This article contains a 2 days in Paris itinerary that shows how you can spend a perfect weekend in Paris.
Are you considering spending a weekend in Paris but don’t know how to start planning your 2 days in Paris? Or have you already booked your tickets but need a smashing 2-day Paris itinerary? Whatever may be the case, this article is your one-stop solution to figuring out how you can spend the perfect 2 days in Paris – alone, with a significant other, with your dearest friends or with family.
Whether it’s getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower, cruising along the Seine, eating croissants on the terrace of a cafe overlooking the Iron Lady or walking through the romantic Parisian lanes of Montmartre, Paris is sure to sweep you away if you allow it to. With this Paris weekend itinerary, explore the best of what Paris has to offer and take that dream trip to the most beautiful city in the world.
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Overview of Your Weekend in Paris
This Paris itinerary for two days caters to all types of travelers, covers all the best things to do and places to see in Paris and can even be tweaked to accommodate your bucket list places or activities. Not only will you get to see the most iconic landmarks, but you will also explore the best food spots and some places frequented by locals where you can have a leisurely meal Parisian style but without the hordes of tourists.
Is a Weekend in Paris Worth it?
It would be ideal to have at least 3-4 days in Paris. But I say that because I’m a sucker for the city and can mindlessly just walk along the Seine and eat French bread all day. However, don’t let this discourage you. 2 days is the perfect amount of time that you need to see the top sights in Paris and still have room to breathe, without rushing through the Paris weekend itinerary like a crappy tour.
In this itinerary, there are some spots that are optional and some that can be skipped or others added, based on what you would like to see and at what pace.
How Much does a Weekend Trip to Paris Cost?
Now let’s talk numbers. I’m not going to talk about the prices of air tickets to Paris since it may vary drastically depending on where you’re flying from. I paid €200 for round trip tickets from Hannover to Paris during spring break. The cost of 1 night stay in a hostel during a weekend in Paris costs €35 at the very least and you can even find budget hotels at under €100 per night.
To get around Paris, a carnet of 10 tickets for travel in the Paris metro or buses costs €14.90. An inexpensive breakfast of croissant and coffee will cost €5 but you can easily spend over €20 on a nice breakfast in a good cafe. Furthermore, a lunch or dinner of falafels or street food costs a maximum of €10 per person and there were some nice meals we had that set us back by €40-50 for two.
The rest of the cost of your 2 day trip to Paris over the weekend depends on how much more you spend on food, souvenirs, shopping or any other extra expenses.
How to Get Around During 2 Days in Paris
The Paris metro has incredible connections and is a super convenient way to get around Paris for 2 or more days. If you’re spending just a weekend in Paris then it makes sense to buy a carnet of tickets which is basically a bundle of 10 single use tickets at a discounted price that can be used for a metro or bus ride.
However, paper tickets are being phased out and so you’ll need to purchase a Navigo Easy Card that can be loaded with any number of tickets, including a single ticket, 10 packs or even a full day pass. You’ll need to tap the card on the scanners while entering or exiting the metro station or bus. The benefit of this card is that it is transferable. However, it can only be used by 1 person during a particular journey.
2 Days in Paris Itinerary
This weekend itinerary for Paris takes you to the best and the most iconic spots in Paris in addition to the must-visit places. Additionally, it’ll even introduce you to offbeat spots where you can eat like a local in typical Parisian cafés and make the best of your two days in the city of love (or is it city of lights?).
Where to Stay during a Weekend in Paris
This 2 days in Paris itinerary comes with recommendations on where to stay in Paris. Given that over 12 million people visit Paris each year, there are enough hotels to accommodate them all. If you’re on a budget, then it is best to book a bed in a hostel or an inexpensive hotel. However, if you have a bigger budget then it’s worth booking a good hotel with a view of Paris. A good view of Paris is well worth the splurge.
Hostels in Paris
Booking a hostel in Paris is an ideal way to save some money while visiting one of the most expensive cities in the world. Infact, budget travellers and backpackers prefer to book hostels in Europe as a way to meet other travellers and to save money. We all know how expensive a Europe trip can get! Take a look at some of the best hostels in Paris below.
The People – Paris Bercy is one of the top-rated hostels in Paris that comes with a rooftop terrace that offers amazing views of Paris, in addition to dorms, double rooms, quadruple rooms and female dormitories. If that’s not enough, they even have a bar and breakfast option on premises. They have a sister property, The People – Paris Nation, that offers the exact same facilities!
Jo & Joe Paris is yet another highly rated hostel to spend a weekend in Paris that comes with a bar, restaurant and lounge. Apart from a rooftop, breakfast option and bike rental, they even have all types of rooms to cater to every type of traveller.
If you’re looking to stay in the hip and romantic area of Montmartre, then Le Village Montmartre is a good budget-stay option. Only a 10 minute walk from the Sacre Coeur, they offer dorms as well as double/triple/quadruple rooms. With a bar and a fully equipped kitchen, you cant’t go wrong with booking this stay in Paris.
Budget Stays for a Weekend Trip to Paris
Take a look at some of the best budget hotels for your 2 day trip to Paris:
- Hotel Victor Massé
- Waldorf Montparnasse
- Hôtel De La Porte Dorée
- Hotel Inn Design Paris Place d’Italie
- Hôtel Aiglon
- Grand Hôtel Amelot
- Le Temple De Jeanne
- Hôtel Lucien & Marinette
- Hôtel des Arts Montmartre
2 Days in Paris Itinerary : Top Things to do in a Weekend in Paris
DAY 1 OF WEEKEND IN PARIS ITINERARY
Start your day at the place with the best view of the Eiffel Tower. While this monument is overcrowded during sunset, it is empty and almost magical during sunrise. Not to mention that you can get incredible photos here when it’s devoid of crowds and pickpockets in the morning. The Trocadero is an open space that is free to visit at any point of the day or night.
2. Eiffel Tower
From the Trocadero, walk straight through the bridge to arrive at the Eiffel Tower. A visit to the Eiffel Tower is going to be the highlight of your Paris weekend itinerary. If you want to get to the top of the tower, I suggest booking a morning ticket (online and in advance) when there’ll be less of a crowd. Another advantage of this is that you’ll be free at sunset to see the Eiffel Tower glittering from down below.
However, if you want to see Paris at sunset then you can just traverse this itinerary in a reverse order.
There’s nothing quite like catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower from any angle any number of times. You’ll love walking around the Haussmann buildings and seeing the tower between them. My heart skips a beat every single time I see the Eiffel Tower, as I’m sure yours will too.
3. Arc de Triomphe
From the Eiffel Tower, it’s a 10-15 minute walk to the Arc de Triomphe that Napoleon had built in his honour, taking architectural inspiration from the Romans. Although there are a number of roads all around the monument, there are even some patches for pedestrians and tourists to stop and take a good luck at this structure.
From certain angles, you might even be able to see the Eiffel Tower from here. Visitors can even climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for an incredible view of the Iron Lady.
4. Champs Elysees
From the Arc de Triomphe, walk towards the East to be transported to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. This famous street in Paris has the stores of the world’s most luxurious brands. The street is 1.9 km long and extends between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde which will be in front of you when you’re walking from the Arc de Triomphe. Apart from brand stores and shopping malls, there are even some nice restaurants, legendary macaron stores and some carts selling crepes. However, instead of walking all the way to the Place de la Concorde, turn right to reach your next destination.
5. Pont Alexandre III
The Pont Alexandre III is one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris. Built in the 19th century, this arch bridge has ornate lamp posts and nicely carved statues. Not to mention the fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, it’s a good place to come at sunset to see the tower sparkle. Emily in Paris fans will particularly recognise this bridge from season 1 of the show.
Another one of the things that make this bridge so great is that there is plenty of space for pedestrians on both sides of the bridge, giving everyone a chance to take pictures and enjoy the bridge and the views from here.
6. Les Invalides
From the Pont Alexandre III, continue to walk south for 10-15 minutes to reach the Invalides area that has a number of museums such as the Army museum, Rodin museum and the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. You can skip this area in your weekend in Paris itinerary if you’d rather spend more time at the D‘Orsay museum or any other place.
7. D’Orsay Museum
The D‘Orsay museum, set along the Seine, has both an amazing architecture as well as a great collection of art. Art lovers will find that even 2-3 hours are not sufficient to see and appreciate the collections of paintings here. Due to the popularity of the museum, it’s better to buy your tickets in advance with a time slot and skip the line option. Museums in Paris are free to visit on the first Sunday of the month but it can get super crowded so plan accordingly!
8. Dinner in Saint Germain
The Saint Germain area is a few steps to the East of Musee D‘Orsay and is known for the best cafés and restaurants in Paris, including legendary cafés like Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. That being said, there are many more great places to eat in Saint Germain apart from these. For a beautifully decorated outdoor setting, consider visiting Café Cassette.
DAY 2 OF WEEKEND IN PARIS ITINERARY
1. Sacre Coeur
Start the second and final day of your 2 days in Paris with a visit to the second-most visited monument in Paris – the Basilica of Sacre Coeur. Situated on the highest point in Paris, the monument is located in Montmartre which used to be a village until it was included into the city of Paris. Entry into the Sacre Coeur is free of cost but there may be long lines.
It’s worth spending at least half an hour wandering in the region around the Basilica to get a glimpse of Paris without the buildings, the way it used to be in the golden era. Montmartre was popular among writers, musicians and painters like Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh. To know how you can see the best spots in Montmartre, take a look at my comprehensive guide to Montmartre, Paris.
2. Moulin Rouge
The Moulin Rouge is a legendary cabaret located in the 18th Arrondissement in Montmartre, Paris. Painted in bright red, it’s worth coming here just to see one of the best places to visit in Paris even if you don’t go in for a show. If you do plan on seeing a performance here then book a ticket on the official website.
3. Tuileries Garden
From Moulin Rouge, walk 450 m to Pigalle station. Take the green line going towards Mairie D’issy to the Concorde station which will take you to the west end of the Tuileries Garden – one of the best gardens in Paris. During Spring in Paris, the garden will be full of beautiful blooms and even Cherry Blossoms. There are nice chairs and benches, a restaurant, and a water fountain in the garden. During our trip to Paris, this was our favorite place to cool down and we particularly enjoyed sitting by the fountain on hot days.
If you walk East from the Tuileries Garden and pass through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, you’ll arrive at the Louvre – the most famous museum in Paris. In fact, the Louvre is the world’s most visited museum. Famed for containing the Mona Lisa painting and made even more famous by the book and subsequent movie Angels and Demons, this museum is great to see even from the outside.
The queues to get into the Louvre can get quite long, so its better to book a skip-the-line ticket to get entry into the Louvre.
In all honesty, you can spend a whole day looking at the massive collection in the Louvre Museum but for the purpose of this weekend itinerary for Paris, spare 1 hour for the museum because you have limited time. This gives you a reason (or excuse) to come back to Paris!
An exemplary example of the Gothic style of architecture, the Sainte-Chapelle is close to both the Louvre and the Notre Dame de Paris. The detailed stained glass windows and high ornate ceiling make this small but beautiful chapel a must-visit place to see during a weekend in Paris city.
6. Notre Dame
The Notre Dame de Paris is the most visited monument for Paris and for good reason. This 13th century cathedral was once about to be demolished by the city council. There was one student who thought the monument to be an exemplary example of Gothic architecture and so he wrote a book to help save the structure. That’s how the famous book, which was later adapted into a Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written.
The Cathedral was partially destroyed in a fire in 2019 but is expected to be fully restored by the Paris Olympics in 2024. Until then, visitors can admire this structure from the outside.
7. Le Centre Pompidou
If you’re into modern, abstract, contemporary art then you can’t skip a visit to Le Center Pompidou. Situated in the Marais neighborhood, this area is still not under the tourist radar and frequented mostly only by locals. The exterior of the Pompidou centre, designed in the high tech architecture style, iis just as whacky as the interiors. It’s worth checking this spot out while you visit Marais for dinner on the last day of your weekend trip to Paris.
8. Dinner in Le Marais
Le Marais is one of the very few areas in Paris that still retains the old school charm of the cafés with a sidewalk terrace, rattan chairs and an awning. You’ll find many restaurants or cafés here where you can eat at a slow pace like a local – savoring every bite of every meal of the French cuisine. As romantic as it is to have a 3 course dinner while cruising down the Seine or taking a fun food tour in Paris, nothing beats eating a meal like a local.
The Le Marais area is still an offbeat gem since hardly any tourists visit. Moreover, the places to eat here are reasonably priced and serve better food than the tourist trap restaurants near the Eiffel Tower and other popular locations in Paris.
9. Galeries Lafayette Haussmann – optional
If you want to catch one final glance at the Eiffel Tower after dinner, take a romantic walk to the luxury mall Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. The interior of this luxury mall is exquisite and once you’re done admiring it, make your way to the top floor. This free rooftop view of the Eiffel Tower is absolutely awe-inspiring and a great place to be at sunset or at night once the tower lights up. It’s the best way to end an amazing weekend in Paris and you can leave with your heart full of exciting experiences and the trip of a lifetime.
What Else Can You Do During a Weekend in Paris?
Just because you’re visiting Paris during the weekend doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on bucket list experiences. There’s a lot that you can cover within a limited amount of time. If you don’t plan on visiting a few of the places mentioned in this 2 day Paris itinerary, then you can make room for some additional activities.
Firstly, you can never go wrong with a boat ride in the Seine, especially at sunset. Tours in the Seine start at €15 and can cost even hundreds of Euros depending on how luxurious you want it to be.
Next, to explore something totally offbeat and a little dark, book a ticket for a tour of the Catacombs of Paris. Fans of the show Lupin will particularly enjoy this experience. Food lovers can take a cheese, wine and pastry tour in Montmartre to taste the best food and drink that Paris has to offer.
Where to Eat in a Weekend in Paris
Paris is famous for many things – the Eiffel Tower, the romantic Seine river, Haussmannian architecture, Notre Dame, the Mona Lisa and food! Despite having just a weekend in Paris, there’s still plenty of food that you can gorge on. As mentioned in this Paris itinerary for two days, it’s worth checking out the famous cafes in Saint Germain or even the offbeat places to eat in Le Marais. Apart from that, I recommend finding a well-rated bakery or patisserie near your hotel and trying some of that famous French bread and pastries.
If you’re heading to Western Europe and need some travel inspiration, take a took at the posts below. All posts open in a new tab.
- Prague Itinerary for 2 Days
- Salzburg, Austria 1-Day Itinerary
- Things to do in Giethoorn – Most Romantic Place in the Netherlands
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