Discover the best of Paris in 2 days with our definitive, carefully crafted Paris itinerary to make the most of your short time in the French capital.
‘A trip to Paris is the worst idea,’- said no one ever.
Paris is always a good idea and whether you have just 2 days or a full week, you’ll be able to experience its elegance, glamour and that Parisian joie de vivre. While 2 days might not nearly be enough for a city like Paris, it certainly is enough time to break the ice and get a taste of what the French capital has to offer.
With iconic landmarks, some of the best museums in the world, so much history, great food, amazing shopping and photography opportunities and much more, Paris is a city that really is difficult to beat. On a short trip to Paris in 2 days, you’ll be able to sample some of the best French food, see the iconic sights, wander some of the most beautiful and vibey neighbourhoods and see some world-class art.
Keep reading for my unique Paris in two days itinerary and make the most of your 48 hours in Paris.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT PARIS
When is the best time to visit Paris? This really is the million-dollar question. With variable weather at all times of the year, in Paris, you never know what you’re going to get and with just 2 days in Paris, it can be a bit of a gamble.
In general, however, the best time to visit Paris is in the summer months of June, July and August. There are the hottest months where temperatures can reach about 30°C/85°F or even more but generally, you’re most likely to see an average temperature of about 20°C/68°F or 22°C/71°F. In summer you’re more likely to see much fewer rainy and cloudy days too giving you more time to explore outside.
Another pro of visiting Paris in the summer is the long daylight hours and with sunlight from about 5 am until 10 pm in the summertime, it gives you plenty more time to explore, especially if you only have 2 days in Paris.
Summer however is the most crowded time so you will be sharing the streets and iconic sights with far more people. For this reason, always try to start your day as early as possible and book tickets to major attractions ahead of time.
The months of May and September, the shoulder season, are also great times to visit.
In winter, Paris, like many other northern European cities can be quite cold, rainy and grey. Daylight hours are also much shorter so if you’re planning to visit in winter I highly recommend extending your itinerary to 3 or 4 days in Paris instead of trying to do Paris in 2 days.
Public Transport – The Paris Metro is, hands-down the best way to get around Paris. The extensive network serves the centre of Paris as well as, the outskirts and almost all the destinations in this guide and beyond are served by the metro. The metro is fast, cheap, easy to use and it’s efficient.
Buying tickets for the metro is easy and can be done from the machines at the station. Depending on how much you decide to use the metro, you can buy individual, single tickets which cost €1.90 per trip or you can buy a 1-day or 2-day metro pass for your entire stay. If you’re going to take the metro more than 5 times per day, it’s worth buying the day pass.
Paris also has a vast bus network but buses often succumb to the intense Paris traffic. Personally, I chose to avoid them as the metro is much faster, especially in the city centre.
Ride Shares– Uber and Bolt are popular in Paris like any other major city around the world. They are good for short journeys around town especially if you find yourself not too close to a metro station. They are also a great option at night when public transport no longer works.
Uber in Paris is quite expensive, however, so, if you’re travelling on a budget you’ll want to limit moving around the city through ride-sharing apps especially when the metro is available.
Walking – There’s nothing quite like strolling around a city to get a feel of it and Paris is very, very walkable. You’ll no doubt do a lot of walking (I averaged 28,000 steps per day) so make sure to bring comfortable footwear.
Sometimes it’s actually faster and more direct to walk from one place to another than taking any other means of transportation. To make walking around Paris easier, make sure to download the Paris Map on Google Maps for offline use.
WHERE TO STAY
Paris has so many great neighbourhoods and areas to stay in with easy access to most of the city’s sights. Where you’ll stay will depend on your budget, your trip priorities and also what you look for in an area.
If it’s your first time in Paris, you’ll soon realize that Paris is split into arrondissements or administrative districts. There are 20 of them all numbered between 1 and 20. The written short-hand for arrondissements is arr. and this is what Parisians are referring to when they talk about ‘the 8th’ or the ’16th’.
Most travellers stay in the most central parts of town such as around Champs-Élysée, Opera, Île de la Cité and the Louvre, in the 8th and 1st Arr but these are also the most expensive as they are the most centrally located. My personal favourite areas to stay in are Montmartre (18th arr) and Le Marais (3rd arr). These can be more affordable (especially Montmartre) yet they are great places to explore in their own right and have many dining options for dinner and breakfast.
I recommend using the map below to discover what hotels and vacation rentals are available in Paris in each area for your specific dates.
Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa – Small Luxury Hotels of the World – If you’re looking for 5-star luxury in Paris consider this fantastic hotel option. An oasis of calm in the center of Paris, very close to Le Marais, Le Pavillon offers exquisite, royal suites, a fitness center, a hot tub and a hammam to enjoy after a day of exploring. There are also many beautiful gardens and corners to explore around this property. Check rates and availability here.
Hôtel D’Aubusson – For a luxury, boutique experience try this converted 17th -Century private mansion just a stone’s throw from Île de la Cité. Rooms feature original beams, antique furniture and cosy fireplaces. Some rooms also feature pleasant courtyards views and four-poster beds. This is quite easily one of the best luxury, small hotels in Paris and an excellent place to stay in Paris in 2 days. Check rates and availability here.
Apartments Du Louvre – Le Marais – If you prefer to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel for your time in Paris, make sure to check out Apartments du Louvre. They have several locations throughout Paris but this one in Le Marais has a great location and fantastic features. You’ll find a private, well-equipped kitchen, living and TV area, private bathroom and bedroom in your apartment. There are studio, one-bedroom and up to 3 bedroom options depending on your party size. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel du College de France – If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, this is a great option in the Latin Quarter. With lovely, simple, clean rooms with balconies and windows overlooking the Parisian rooftops, this is a perfect option for those looking for a great location, a solid place to stay with a good breakfast and friendly staff. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel Elysees Opera – Another great budget option, this hotel is located in the Opera area not far from all of Paris’ major sights. With warm and inviting rooms, great balcony views and a typical Parisian breakfast included in your stay. The staff are great and it’s clean and comfortable- a great base from which to explore the city. Check rates and availability here.
If you prefer to rent a stunning luxury apartment in Paris over a hotel, make sure to check out the Plum Guide. You’ll be able to find the perfect, expert-vetted, service-orientated apartment rental for your stay. Check out all the Paris listings on the Plum Guide here.
WHERE TO EAT
Patisseries & Cafes
Land & Monkeys – One of the first and best vegan French patisseries in Paris. Here you’ll find all the French classics like croissants, pain au chocolat, madeleines, cakes and danishes, all delicious and all 100% plant-based which is actually hard to come by in Paris. If you’re vegan make sure not to miss this incredible bakery. 86 boulevard Beaumarchais
Wild & The Moon – A healthy, LA-style cafe with a few different locations around Paris. Come here for organic, freshly pressed juices, mushroom spiked coffee, turmeric lattes, salads, snacks and daily mains. This is a superb spot for a healthy breakfast or lunch. 55 Rue Charlot and 19 Pl. du Marché Saint-Honoré
Maisie Cafe – Another great, healthy plant-based option in the Concorde area, Maisie Cafe sells some amazing fresh salads, juices, desserts and a special of the day. There’s also a lot of coffee and sweets to go. A great option to pop into for lunch after the Louvre. 32 Rue du Mont Thabor
Cafe Kitsuné– You’ve probably already seen this modern, French cafe all over Instagram. Not only are they extremely photogenic, but they also do some of the best coffee I tasted in Paris. Also, make sure not to miss their matcha lattes. They are fantastic. 2 Pl. André Malraux and many other locations
Veggie Tasty– Simple, plant-based and healthy bowls with a variety of flavour combinations and ingredients. Great for a quick lunch. 78 Rue La Fayette
Le Potager de Charlotte – An Incredible plant-based restaurant for a delicious, sophisticated meal in Paris. They pride themselves on using local, seasonal ingredients and the food here is classy, delicious and healthy. Make sure not to miss a meal here. Open for dinner only and it’s also best to make a reservation in advance. 12 Rue Louise-Emilie de la Tour d’Auvergne and also another branch in the 17th ar.
Abattoir Végétal – One of the best restaurants in Paris for plant-based food, don’t miss this healthy bistro when in Paris. With spins on classic french dishes made vegan, there’s grilled cheese, steak and flan as well as some other Arabic classics too. There’s also a superb wine and cocktail list. 9 Rue Guisard
Le Potager du Marais – The best place to come from classic French dishes made plant-based. Come here for the classic French onion soup, Bourguignon without the beef, hearty stews and to finish, plant-based crème brûlée or Tarte Tatin. All food here is homemade and there are many gluten-free options too. 26 rue Saint Paul
PARIS IN 2 DAYS ITINERARY: THINGS TO DO
It going to be pretty difficult to see everything Paris has to offer in 2 days and I really don’t suggest you try. But, 2 days is enough to visit quite a few of the main sights, get a feel of the main neighborhoods and eat some pretty amazing French food in the process.
If you have only 2 days in Paris, I highly recommend getting up early to make the most of your time there. It’s a big city with lots to do and it will take you a while to get around. If you want to take good photos without the crowds too, this is another reason to start your day early.
Palais Royal & Colonnes de Buren
Start your day at the Palais Royal, a former palace built for Cardinal Richelieu back in the 1600s that now serves as the home of the Ministry of Culture, Constitutional Council and the Conseil d’Etat. As part of the Palais Royal, you’ll also find the Gardens of the Palais Royal and the famed Courtyard of Honor which contains the Colonnes de Buren, a popular Instagram photo spot in Paris.
While today, it’s not possible to go into and visit the many rooms that once made up the Palais Royal, you can visit the many shops and arcades on the ground floor, the garden and the courtyard to admire the beautiful architecture from the outside. It really is a lovely building as I recommend walking around and through it.
Inside the Courtyard of Honor you’ll also find the now famed photo spot in Paris, Colonnes de Buren, a sculptural installation by french artist Daniel Buren that consists of black and white columns of all different sizes arranged across the courtyard. The idea here was to create a space of two virtual platforms, one coinciding with the existing columns of the gallery and another ‘floating’ platform suggested by the other shorter columns.
Whether you’re a lover of conceptual art or not, it’s definitely a spot worth checking out and of course for taking some photos.
The Palais Royal and the Courtyard open at 8 am and I suggest coming here at that time in order to experience it without the crowds.
Jardin des Tuileries
From Palais Royal, it’s just a short walk to Jardin des Tuileries, one of Paris’ most famed gardens. These perfectly manicured gardens consist of classical fountains, duck ponds, manicured lawns, stone benches and romantic stone paths flanked by ficus trees.
One of the best things to do in Jardin des Tuileries, apart from just strolling through is to take one of the public green chairs and find a spot in the sun to relax for a while; a perfect spot for a morning coffee. Just note that you aren’t allowed to sit on the grass here even on a lovely summer’s day- the green chairs and the stone benches are the only options for relaxing.
Next on your Paris in 2 days itinerary is the most famous art museum in the world, the Louvre. Whether you’re an art lover or it’s just your first time in Paris, a stroll through the Louvres galleries is a must.
As the largest and most visited art museum in the world, famed for DaVinci’s Mona Lisa and the classical sculpture Venus de Milo, the Louvre is packed full of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, Renaissance painting and French classics from the French Revolution artist David to Monet and the Impressionists. (However, if it’s French Impressionist painting you really want to see the Musee d’Orsay is much better).