With all the sights to see, croissants to eat, and culture to experience you might wonder how you can fit everything into just one weekend in Paris. While you will not be able to see and do everything with just 48 hours in Paris, if you plan right you can accomplish quite a lot. A weekend in Paris will give you a taste of the French capital and will leave you wanting more.
Paris is a magical city and it is huge! Every single time I visit I discover a new garden or attraction that blows me away. There is always a new arrondissement to discover and a new cafe to test out. However, I consistently find myself longing to look at the main attractions of the city. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe are all breathtaking structures that never get old. Although these sights are very popular and ‘touristy’, having them on the itinerary is a must.
This weekend in Paris itinerary includes both touristy and non-touristy things to do. You can organize your day however you please and skip or add things that you see fit. If you decide to follow it, you will definitely hit up all the major attractions this magical city has to offer and will look back at a well-spent weekend in Paris. It is time to enjoy the magic of Paris in 48 short hours.
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Weekend in Paris
In This Post
Weekend in Paris: Day 1
Day one is dedicated to visiting all the iconic Paris sights and do all the iconic Parisian activities. There are so many quintessential Paris sites that a whole day is needed to see them all.
Enjoy a French Breakfast
French breakfast is one of the best things to come from France. It consists of freshly squeezed juice, strong coffee, pain au chocolate (chocolate bread), and a croissant. There are a ton of cafes all throughout Paris that serve french breakfasts and this is the best way to start your weekend in Paris.
It is so magical to sit on the iconic french terraces overlooking the Parisian streets while enjoying delicious food. The city of Paris is always full of people and it is never a dull moment to watch everyone and take in the buzzing atmosphere.
To experience more of Paris’s delicious food you should consider taking a food tour or cooking class in Paris!
- Paris is a pretty expensive city, however, the French breakfast is reasonably priced at around 9 euros – this option is the best for getting a filling meal for a good price.
- French Breakfast is very brief – this is great for fitting a lot during the day and not wasting time sitting at a cafe.
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Embark on a Seine River Cruise
The Seine River is the vast river that cuts through the city of Paris. A Seine River cruise offers a very unique perspective of Paris and shows almost all the major attractions of the city. More so, since Paris is a vast city, a river cruise is an effective way to see the city in its entirety relatively quickly. The sightseeing cruises cost around 15 euros per person and lasts an hour.
This is a great way to see the city during the day, and a romantic thing to do in the evening! If you are in the city of love with your lover, planning an evening river cruise is a nice idea for a date night.
- Most Seine River cruises start and end at the Eiffel Tower – therefore, planning your explorations around this is ideal. ex. plan a Seine River cruise at 5 PM and dinner under the Eiffel Tower at 7 PM.
Check out the Louvre
The Louvre is probably the most visited attraction in Paris. From the stunning architecture on the exterior to the amazing and historic pieces of art inside, there are more than enough enticing elements to this. Taking some time to walk around the exterior and look at the iconic glass pyramid that has been the feature in a plethora of movies is a surreal experience.
The Louvre is the world’s largest museum. And the inside of the museum holds extremely famous and significant works of art; the most famous one being the Mona Lisa! If you are a lover of art this museum will blow you away. However, you need to budget your time right inside here. It would take over 100 days to view every single piece of art in the Louvre. Therefore, in order to have time to view other things in the city you need to pick the top pieces you want to see and move along. If you are a museum lover consider getting the Paris Museum Pass.
- There is a secret entrance at Porte des Lions that has a shorter wait time than the entrance through the pyramids.
- Budget around 2-3 hours for exploring the inside of the Louvre.
- The Mona Lisa is tiny – if you are only entering the museum for this prepare yourself to potentially be underwhelmed.
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Catch a Glimpse of The Notre Dame Cathedral
Despite the devastating fire at The Notre Dame in early 2019, the iconic front of the structure is still in good condition. However, entering the cathedral is still prohibited until further notice. But, you can still enjoy a walk around this beautiful building and its ancient surrounding. This Gothic masterpiece is located on the Ile de la Cité, one of the two islands in the middle of the Seine, and is often regarded as the heart of Paris.
The little island itself is full of history and locals define it as the birthplace of Paris. Also situated on the island and a stone’s throw away from the Cathedral, you will also find the Conciergerie, which is best known as Marie Antoinette’s prison, in which she was held before her execution. It is one of the best additions to your perfect weekend in Paris.
Visiting the Notre Dame will not take long due to the fact you cannot enter it. – but it is still one of those Parisian sights that you must see during your weekend in Paris.
Read more: 10 Most Beautiful Churches in Paris
Shopping at the Bouquinistes
Along the banks of the Seine River, you will see a ton of stands selling used books and beautiful artwork. These booksellers of Paris are called Bouquinistes and have been performing their trade of selling used books, art, and magazines since the 16th century. This is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a top place to stop at during your Paris adventures. Be sure to stop at some of these stands to admire the works and pick up the perfect souvenir to remember the special moments during your amazing weekend in Paris.
Roam Around Jardin du Palais Royal
Jardin Du Palais Royal is a lesser-known attraction in Paris that offers a welcome escape from the tourist mobs that consume the other attractions. It is a peaceful hidden gem in Paris that offers the best secret hideaway and it is located only a short distance from the Louvre. Just a quick turn off the main road and you find yourself in a secret garden dating back to the French Revolution. Admission to these gardens is free and it is a great place to sit, relax, or walk around in peace.
Moreover, these gardens are also home to some very interesting pieces of art such as the mirror-like balls and black and white cylinders. The artistic side of the gardens is lovely to see and the architecture is stunning. Although this attraction is not as popular as some others in Paris, it is a must-see.
- Louis XIV is rumored to have played in these gardens as a child – remember this and let your imagination run wild and explore this interesting attraction.
- Come here for a quiet midday stroll when the tourists are out in full force in the city center.
Read More: 10 Most Romantic Things to do in Paris
Go to the Top of the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is an iconic and historic structure that was built in 1806. It is a stunning landmark and the architecture of it is brilliant! You could easily spend hours looking at it and marveling at its sheer size and beauty!
However, one of the best things about the Arc de Triomphe is that it is open to the public to climb to the top and see some of the most stunning views of Paris. From the top, you can see the Eiffel Tower in its fantastic glory and the huge city of Paris stretching for miles in all directions. The views from up here are one of the best in the city, therefore, the lines to get up here can be pretty long!
- Purchase tickets beforehand – Skip the line tickets are the best.
- Bring your camera, both from the outside and on top of it, the Arc is something to marvel at and you will want to capture these moments.
- The only way to get to the top is by stairs – be prepared to walk up quite a few stairs to get to the top.
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Dinner Under The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the most iconic structure in all of Paris. It is absolutely huge in real life and is breathtaking every single time you see it, no matter how often you do. This beautiful structure holds so much significance and Parisian history that spending some time here is a must for everyone spending a weekend in Paris. The best way to admire the Eiffel Tower is by sitting on the green space under it and enjoy it with a picnic. Or head to one of the areas with the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
Many locals and visitors of Paris head to the Eiffel Tower in the evening with baguettes, red wine, olives, and other dinner items to enjoy the sunset behind the tower with good company. This is a very romantic activity as well, I have even witnessed a proposal during this time.
What’s even better is that after the sun sets, every hour on the hour, the Eiffel Tower sparkles for a few minutes! This is absolutely magical and a moment you will not soon forget. Moreover, if you fall in love with watching the Eiffel Tower at night – as I have – you can head back on night two! However, with just one weekend in Paris, you might want to try a different view for night two.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian you might find that Paris doesn’t have many vegan restaurant options. This is why planning your own dinner for two is the best way to ensure you can find vegan options for your needs. Side note: you are not completely hopeless if you travel to Paris as a vegan! With a vegan Paris guide, you can find ways around the obstacles.
Everyone wants a hotel with a view of the Eiffel Tower, but there are so many stunning boutique hotels in Paris without a view that are just as beautiful.
- Bring a blanket and other picnic supplies.
- There are a ton of people walking around trying to sell you drinks, food, and souvenirs – just ignore them once you’ve had enough.
- Be sure to keep your valuables close to you and hidden, there are quite a few pickpockets in this area with intentions to take what you have.
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Weekend in Paris: Day 2
We are already at day two of our weekend in Paris guide. After day one’s adventures of viewing all the main attractions and most iconic sights of the city, day two is for seeing another side of Paris. The more low-key and underrated side. This is a great day for taking it a little slower and soaking in the culture and authentic side of the city.
Montmartre is an authentic Parisian Village located on top of a large hill in Paris’s 18th arrondissement. It is a charming area full of colorful houses, cobblestone streets, and cute bistros. There are also far fewer tourists here than in the heart of Paris which is a welcome change from day one.
Montmartre has a really great ambiance, cute boutiques, and tons of art. The streets are lined with artists sketching people or selling their works. If you want a unique piece of art as a souvenir this is the best place to search and find the perfect piece.
Heading to this area is a great way to see a different side of the city with only one weekend in Paris.
- This area of Paris is safe and lovely, however, there are some street vendors trying to scam you of your money.
- Be careful of pickpocketers.
Get a Coffee at a Street Cafe
One of the most Parisian things to do while spending a weekend in Paris is to stop at various cafes for a drink or food. There are thousands of cafes in the city all with their own unique charm and draw. These cafes are the perfect place to take a break from sightseeing and walking around and to take a moment to soak in the surroundings. Paris is unlike any other place on earth, watching the bustling city and beautiful surroundings with a warm drink and a patio seat is a perfect way to rest up.
Admire The Basilica du Sacré-Coeur
Most people head to Montmartre to see The Basilica du Sacre-Coeur. This is a stunning white stone, Roman Catholic church that sits atop a hill. The Basilica is free to enter and offers some stunning views of Paris! Going up to a high point in Paris and overlooking the city is breathtaking! However, you must be prepared to walk up 300 stairs to get the view, but it is 100% worth it.
Side note: This is the main attraction of Montmartre and it can get pretty busy, but a historic addition to well-spent weekend in Paris.
- Go here in the evening to watch the sunset and the Eiffel Tower light up.
- Be careful of pickpocketers.
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See the Famous Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge is a risque cabaret in Paris that is performed inside a windmill. This is an interesting place to add to your weekend in Paris at night, as you’ll be offered a show you will never forget. The show is colorful, bright and entertaining. And the service is efficient and well done. If you are a Nicole Kidman fan or want to see an iconic show, in the city it was created in, you must head here.
- Purchase tickets beforehand to avoid queuing.
- Once the show starts the waiters leave and won’t come to your table, so order drinks before the show begins.
Eat French Pastries
What would a weekend in Paris be without its famous and unique pastries? There are shops all around the city that offer beautiful and tasty treats that are just begging to be tasted. Having a french pastry more than once a day is an option with only one weekend in Paris!
The best French pastry place in Paris is Angelina Café. This famous shop is known widely for its hot chocolate and crazy good sweets. If you are traveling to Paris for the food be sure to head to all the best food places in Paris to taste all the wonderful French flavors.
- Take a fresh macaroon to go and eat it while you walk
- Try more than one sweet – it is not every day you get to eat delicious and unique French delicacies.
Read More: Calling ALL COFFEE LOVERS – Here are the 20 Best Cafes in Amsterdam
Walk around the 9th Arrondissement
The 9th Arrondissement is the shopping and theatre district of Paris. This is a really unique and beautiful area of Paris that is great to explore. Here you will find Palais Garnier opera house, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, and gourmet restaurants. The best part about this area is that few tourists head here and its beauty and authenticity are relatively untouched by the tourist swarms.
More so, Galeries Lafayette has a rooftop and the view from the top is stunning! The rooftop is also free.
- Walk around here with no direction, everything is beautiful and exploring freely is exciting.
- This is a great area to capture some photos with few people around.
Relax at Jardin du Luxembourg
The Jardin Du Luxembourg – in English Luxembourg Gardens – is a stunning area in Paris’s 6th arrondissement that dates back to 1612. This area is home to the Luxembourg Palace that was created by Marie de’ Medici, who was the widow of King Henry IV.
This is the most beautiful park in Paris that is full of exciting things to do and see. The whole area is immaculately kept and full of lush greens, chestnut groves, formal stone terraces, and a small pond.
- Take some time out of your weekend in Paris and come here to admire the beauty of this park. There are chairs everywhere to sit and relax which is perfect for taking a break.
- This is a random tip, but it is so white here that on a sunny day it is excruciating bright! Be sure to bring sunglasses so you can see everything without hurting your eyes.
Take photos on Rue Crémieux
Rue Cremieux is a blogger or influencers heaven in Paris. The streets in this area are all stunning and beyond picture-perfect. This block is located in Paris’s 12th arrondissement and has become quite popular in recent years.
Here you will find many people filing and trying to capture the perfect social media photo.
Side note: In addition to this street, there are a ton of other stunning photo spots in Paris!
- When spending a weekend in Paris, go here early in the morning so you can capture some photos without a ton of people in the backgrounds
View Paris from Above at a Rooftop Bar
The best way to admire Paris and all the beauty it holds is by seeing it from above. There are many ways to do so, from going to the top of the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe, but these options are not as relaxing and intimate as viewing the view from a rooftop bar. Luckily there are quite a few rooftop bars in Paris is choose from that all offer an unbeatable atmosphere and enchanting views and will serve as a cherry on top of your weekend in Paris. Here are some of the top rooftop bars in Paris:
- Le Perchoir
- 43 Up on the Roof
- Terass en Haute
Additional Information – Weekend in Paris
Where to Stay in Paris
If you are wondering where to stay during your weekend in Paris, it is important to be conscious of various things when searching. Remember that Paris is huge – and although a hotel is in Paris it could be very far from the actual city center and main attractions. More so, Paris is very expensive, therefore, hotels with an Eiffel Tower view that are in the city and closer to attractions are more expensive. But you do save a lot of money on travel costs when you are closer to attractions than further.
When to Visit Paris
The best time to visit Paris varies. However, the months of March-May and September – November are the best in terms of weather and amount of people. In the summer months, Paris is packed with tourists and it can become a little bit overwhelming and annoying to deal with. However, the cheapest months to visit Paris are December, January, and February. During these months the weather is not the best but everything is much more cost-effective and there are still some lovely things to see and do in the colder temperatures. Be sure to pack for Paris in winter correctly to keep up with all the fashionable Parisians!
Overall, the best time to spend a weekend in Paris is in the shoulder season.
How to get around Paris
As I have mentioned, Paris is a huge city! Therefore, there are quite a few ways to get around and some are better than others.
- Walking: Walking around Paris is fine sometimes. When attractions are close or you want to stay in one area. However, if you plan on traveling all around the city and try to hit up as many attractions as possible during your weekend in Paris, walking would take far too long.
- Scooter: The most fun, efficient, and cost-effective way to get around Paris is by scooter. These scooters are scattered all around the city and are available for around .15 cents per minute. All you have to do is download the app and upload money, then scan the barcode before taking the scooter and the rest is easy! I used the ‘Lime’ scooters and they were phenomenal.
- Public Transportation: Paris has one of the oldest public transportation systems in the world. Under the city is a maze of metro and train lines heading everywhere. I find the metro in Paris to be very confusing, but it is a very efficient way to get around the city.
- Uber: Paris has uber, so if you need to get somewhere quickly and easily this is your best option.
Check out this post for some more information about traveling to France!
One weekend in Paris is perfect for anyone wanting to get a taste of the city and see the main things Paris has to offer. Paris is huge, and one weekend will only show you 15% of the city, but this 15% covers all the iconic bits and some additional sites!
If you can’t get to Paris during the weekend fear not! There is no shortage of things to do in Paris in 2 days during any day of the week!
After this weekend in Paris adventure, I can guarantee you will be itching to go back and this time you can embark on a day trip from Paris.
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Wendy Pappas says
Paris is on my short list of places to visit. It is incredible you can do all of this in one weekend. I especailly love the Seine River Cruise it looks like a great way to see the city. I love that they have scooter to get around the city with. Ihave used the Lime scooters in other citys they are lots of fun.
A WEEKEND doesn’t sound like enough time. I’d want to check out all of the cafes. This is perfect though and gives an idea of the non touristy things to do. I’m pinning for when I go to Paris.
Eric Gamble says
Okay okay okay, I need to return to Paris and give it one more chance cause the first time I was extremely how you put it about the Mona Lisa “Underwhelmed” by the whole city. It was just kind of okay but I did miss out on the Louvre and never took a Seine River cruise and definitely didn’t know you could go atop the Arc de Triomphe. So your day one activities make me realize I need to hit this city again. Perhaps with Darcee it will be a different experience. I think she would love to see a show at the Moulin Rouge too.
P.S. – thanks for the secret entrance to the Louvre tip. The reason I missed it last time was I was outvoted by a bunch of people whom I was touring with that didn’t want to wait in the line.
Nicola Hilditch-Short says
This is such an awesome Paris itinerary, especially as it is so expensive so often people don’t get chance to spend more than a few days here given the accommodation costs! I desperately want to go back and my husband hasn’t been but I think it might have to be a short trip because we’re backpackers so this is perfect to help us plan my return!
Catherine DCruz says
We spent two weekends in Paris at the beginning and end of our trip to Europe last summer and did include many of your recommendations on our itinerary. We definitely recommend buying tickets to Level Two or the Summit of the Eiffel Tower for sunset as that was a highlight of our trip.
What a lovely itinerary. There are so many beautiful things to see and do in Paris. I love the Palais Royal and wandering through Montmartre. Paris always leaves me wanting more.
Mirela | The Travel Bunny says
Pretty cool, but I think the first day is too intense to actually learn/see anything properly. The Louvre by itself took me one day only because I only walked by most of the stuff, stopping to admire only a few things 😛 It’s a pity to go on a weekend for a couple of hours, especially since weekends are more busy with city-breakers. And, if the Mona Lisa is on people’s lists, it takes much longer to get to see it in its current temporary location. Personally, I’d replace the Louvre with something else. (E.g. Musée de l’Orangerie).
Samantha Karen says
Thank you for the tip! If you are heading to Paris purely for the art this is amazing to know 🙂
Laura Pedlar says
I want to got back to Paris! I’d eat the breakfast and pastries before visiting Notre Dame and taking a river cruise.
Michael Hodgson says
That is one HECK of a wild itinerary for a weekend, especially in Paris. 😉 So unFrench of you. You need much more time to simply “experience” Paris, like wandering as you suggest through the Montmartre. We also don’t want your readers to think that all French breakfasts must have fresh juice, coffee, chocolate bread and a croissant. Coffee, yes. Juice yes, but not always fresh. A croissant, yes, but it is not always fresh and sometimes comes with butter and a bit of jam, or you dunk it in your coffee. Anything else will depend on the hotel or restaurant you are in. You clearly found one that loves to serve Pain au Chocolat, which is more a roll or small rectangle of pastry filled with chocolate. Some places serve what is essentially a breakfast cookie instead. Either way, it is light. WAY too light for me.
Samantha Karen says
Yes true! I love the light breakfast while watching the busy city in front of me 🙂 Such a unique breakfast that really makes you feel a part of the French culture. If you are hungry you can get an extra snack after too 🙂
I love Paris but I had no idea about how beautiful Rue Cremieux was! I will definitely be taking a stroll down that street my next visit
What a perfect round up! Some cities are so large that you can be quite overwhelmed with the array of options to visit. Finding the highlights all in one post is a godsend. I feel like I have only really skimmed the surface of Paris so fat. Can’t wait to head back there soon and explore some more of those gorgeous back streets of Montmartre.
When I lived in London and went to Paris for many weekend getaways. I love Paris and all the things to see, do and especially eat. Those pastries! Ooh La La!