Planning your two days in Paris and not sure where to start? Don’t miss this step-by-step itinerary – packed with handy tips and suggestions to help you plan your trip. 

The first time I went to Paris, I was completely in awe. I’m a big city girl through and through, but there’s something so enchanting and grandiose about Paris that it even made me pause and take stock. 

In the years that have followed, I’ve been back again and again, each time discovering a new neighbourhood, a chic cafe or bohemian hangout – forgoing the big landmarks because hey – I’d already seen the Eiffel Tower, visited the Louvre countless times (and decided that I much preferred the Musee D’Orsay). 

That’s why I wanted to take a completely different tack on my last trip. We had 2 days in Paris and I decided that I was going to see it afresh.

I’d create a first timer’s Paris itinerary and explore the city as if I’d never seen it before. All of a sudden, that feeling of awe in the face of the city’s unabashed magnificence returned. 

We tramped around the city, oohing and aahing at the rose-tinted light inside Sainte Chapelle, watching the sunset from the Sacre-Coeur – it was an adventure – one that I think you’re going to love. So, what are we waiting for? It’s time to set off and explore the best of Paris in two days.

PS: I give you lots of practical tips and hints for planning your two day Paris itinerary at the bottom of this guide that will make your life a lot easier. Be sure to check them out.

2 Days in Paris Itinerary 

Day 1 – Louvre, Ile de La Cité, St Germain and Le Marais

For the first day of your two day Paris itinerary, it’s time to get a taste of the city’s best attractions, as well as spend some time living like a local in two of the capital’s trendiest neighbourhoods.



Once upon a time, the Tuileries Palace was the most desirable address in Paris – home to monarchs from King Louis XIV to Napoleon III. That was, until the radical socialist group the Paris Commune burnt it to the ground during their rule in 1871.

While the palace may be gone (although there are whispers of rebuilding), the garden near the Seine remains open to the public.

The meticulously planned garden is absolutely beautiful and a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.


The Louvre
The Louvre

To call the Louvre an art gallery seems kind of underwhelming. Its staggering size and collection means it’s a sprawling institution offering up the who’s who of the art world.

In fact, it’s the most visited art gallery in the world – with over seven million art fans (and total novices) visiting annually.

The Louvre’s most famous painting needs no introduction – it’s, of course, the enigmatic Mona Lisa. However, there’s so much more to see. From Egyptian antiquities to Impressionist masterpieces, it’s all here.


Queues for The Louvre can be nothing short of horrific. Plan ahead and get your skip-the-line ticket here

Pont Neuf 

Pont Neuf
Pont Neuf

The oldest and most iconic bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf is a beautiful location in a city tha

The oldest and most iconic bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf is a beautiful location in a city that’s not exactly short on pretty spots. It crosses the Seine near Ile de la Cite, the birthplace of modern Paris.

As well as the twelve arches of the bridge, it is also recognisable for the elaborate statue of King Henry IV – French kings weren’t known for their humility.

Another feature to keep your eyes out for are the many “mascarons” (or ‘scary’ – some would say funny – faces) decorating the bridge.

Ile de la Cite 

The most well-known of the two natural islands in the Seine, the Ile de la Cite has a special claim to fame.

It is here that the modern city of Paris was founded, when the Roman city of Lutetia was founded on it. Paris as we know it today grew up around it, into one of the great cities of the world.

Today, the Ile de la Cite is a must-see during your time in Paris. Although small, it has many impressive sights including Place Dauphine, Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre and Square du Vert Galant.

Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle has a strong claim to being one of the most famous attractions on the Ile de la Cité and certainly one of the most striking. 

It was formerly a royal chapel, built in the 13th Century as part of the Palais de la Cite, home to the first royal palace in Paris.

Much of the palace has been destroyed, however Sainte Chapelle remains with its dazzling stained glass windows. 

In total, they depict over 1,000 scenes from the Old and New Testament, and are a beautiful kaleidoscope of colour.

I’d have lain down on the floor and gazed at the meticulously-depicted stained glass stories for hours but it’s hella busy in there and I have more sense than to lie down amidst a stampeding crowd. 

Amazingly, the whole thing was constructed in just seven years – the blink of an eye by historic building standards.

Notre Dame 

Notre Dame
Notre Dame

Sainte Chapelle has a strong claim to being one of the most famous attractions on the Ile de la Cité and certainly one of the most striking. 

It was formerly a royal chapel, built in the 13th Century as part of the Palais de la Cite, home to the first royal palace in Paris.

Much of the palace has been destroyed, however Sainte Chapelle remains with its dazzling stained glass windows. 

In total, they depict over 1,000 scenes from the Old and New Testament, and are a beautiful kaleidoscope of colour.

I’d have lain down on the floor and gazed at the meticulously-depicted stained glass stories for hours but it’s hella busy in there and I have more sense than to lie down amidst a stampeding crowd. 

Amazingly, the whole thing was constructed in just seven years – the blink of an eye by historic building standards.

Notre Dame 

La Palette
La Palette

Over the years, the stylish cafes of Saint Germain have attracted more than just chic Parisians and eager tourists from abroad as the places to eat in Paris. Many famous people have also sipped an espresso (or downed a champagne) at these cute little hubs.

Nowhere is that more true than at La Palette in Saint Germain. This cosy cafe was the place for creative types to hang out – everyone from Jim Morrison of the Doors to the painter Pablo Picasso has been here.

The menu is reasonable, the wine stellar and the outdoor seating extensive – perfect for a little tete a tete before you tackle the afternoon’s itinerary. It’s nice and chill too, so you needn’t worry about eating there if you’re on a solo trip.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg

Over the centuries, the face of Paris may have changed considerably – but the Jardin du Luxembourg has been a constant – if unusual attraction.

The beautiful garden was commissioned by royal widow Marie de Medici, who dreamed of bringing a little bit of her hometown of Florence to Paris.

The result was a staggeringly beautiful garden enjoyed by Marie and her other aristocratic buddies.

That was until the palace was converted into a prison during the French Revolution.

Luckily, things again improved and the gardens were opened up to the public. Today, they are one of the most beautiful green spaces in Paris and worth a leisurely stroll, no matter the weather. 


The Pantheon
The Pantheon

When architect Soufflot saw the stunning cathedrals of St Paul’s and St Peter’s in London and Rome, he thought ‘I can do better!’ (humble most certainly was not his middle name)

And so he set about building the Pantheon in Paris. 

I’m not one to play favourites, but I will say that the Pantheon is an incredibly beautiful building. 

Beautiful as it is, part of The Pantheon’s fame stems from its crypt, or rather the people buried within it. Victor Hugo, Marie Curie and Voltaire all rest within its walls. 

Wander Around Le Marais 

Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg

There are many chic neighbourhoods in the capital but one of my favourite stops on your Paris map is Le Marais. Centuries ago, this was a playground for the aristocratic few in Paris. Today, it is very different – and all the better for it.

Perhaps most famously, Le Marais is known as the LGBT+ centre of Paris, with a plethora of gay bars dotted along its picturesque streets.

It’s also home to a large Jewish population, meaning kosher eateries are almost as plentiful. Clearly, there’s much to enjoy here – so leave an hour or two just to go for a wander.

Don’t forget to swing by the Place des Vosges – the oldest planned square in Paris. The gorgeous small park is surrounded by aristocratic residences dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. 

Dinner at Le Petit Fer a Cheval 

Le Petit Fer a Cheval
Le Petit Fer a Cheval

If you can’t find a good meal in Paris, you’re doing something very wrong in life. You’ve worked hard peeps, and we all know that hard work deserves just reward, which is why we’re going to head to Le Petit Fer a Cheval.

Conveniently located in Le Marais, this authentic Parisian restaurant offers vintage decor yet a modern take on French classics like confit de canard and steak tartare (if you’re into it, theirs is truly something). 

After dinner, feel free to order a drink (champagne, of course, you’re celebrating the end of a big day in Paris) from the horseshoe shaped bar that this place is named after.

Beautiful setting, delicious food = the best.

Day Two: Musee D’Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees and Montmartre

Today we’ll tick off more of the city’s main historic and cultural attractions, before enjoying a taste of the famous Parisian nightlife. Buckle up, it’s time to discover a little more of Paris. 

Musee D’Orsay 

Musee D'Orsay
Musee D’Orsay / Shutterstock

Paris has enough museums that you could spend a lifetime exploring them, however the Musee d’Orsay is an absolute Paris must-visit. The collection contains all kinds of Western Art, spanning from 1848 to 1914. However, it is the impressionist section that is most famous…for good reason. 

The first time I went to the Musee D’Orsay at the tender age of 17, quite frankly I lost my shit. Conjure up the names of all of the great Impressionist painters and I’ll bet they’re all there. 

The art is so dazzling you could be forgiven for overlooking the beauty of the museum itself. Aside from its much-loved collection, the Musee d’Orsay just so happens to also be something of an architectural wonder. 

It’s housed in an old train station that’s been renovated to look like an elaborate palace. Trust the Parisians to make absolutely anything look incredibly beautiful.

Les Invalides 

Standing proudly on the left bank of the Seine with its gold-plated dome, Les Invalides is another wonderful stop on your Paris itinerary for 2 days.

The building was first built by King Louis XIV as a hospital for injured war veterans. Over time, it was converted into various cultural institutions including the Army Museum.

Perhaps most famously, it is home to the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. Although Napoleon was in exile at the time of his death, the city of Paris well and truly made up for it with this elaborate tomb in the centre of the city.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is, without a doubt, Paris’s most iconic landmark, so there’s no way I’d have you spend two days in the city without swinging by. I’d never do that to you. 

Built in 1889 to commemorate the French Revolution’s centenary, the tower soon became one of the most iconic structures on earth.

So much so that there seems to be a never-ending line of people waiting to make it to the top to take in the gorgeous views.

Top Tip

If you’d prefer not to waste any time in Paris queuing (fair call – why would you want to do that when you could be having fun elsewhere), then you’ve got two choices – pick up a priority entry ticket, or just snap away from the floor.


View of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero
View of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero

The beautiful Trocadero gardens are so synonymous with the Eiffel Tower that it’s hard to imagine one without the other.

In truth, the gardens were added a fair bit later, for the 1937 World Fair in Paris.

They were designed to perfectly frame the Eiffel Tower, and that they do. You could spend hours here trying to snap the perfect shot of the tower with the extra beauty of the gardens.

The last time I visited it was hotter than hell and also rammed with everyone trying to capture that perfect “ooh look I’m holding the Eiffel Tower in the palm of my hand shot” (rolls eyes). You can roll up your sleeves and join the throng or just get there early for a more peaceful experience. 

Arc de Triomphe 

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

Built by Napoleon as a signal of French power, the Arc de Triomphe was once the largest building of its kind anywhere in the world (crazy how the world moves on – while it’s stately, it’s just not that big). 

Impressively, the beautifully decorated arch remains that to this day, albeit surrounded by a ram-jammed roundabout. 

Buy a ticket and puff your way to the top of the stairs and you can get a fab view of Paris from the top of it. That said, but also be sure to walk beneath it, where you’ll find the touching Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

As the name suggests, it’s the resting place of an unidentified member of the armed forces – with their grave commemorated by an eternally burning flame.

Champs Elysees 

Champs Elysees
Champs Elysees

It’s time to flash some cash. Or, maybe just window shop to your heart’s content.

Arguably the Champs Elysees is the most famous shopping street in Europe, and possibly the world. It’s lined with chic boutiques selling some of the most fashionable clothing out there.

I’ll be honest – these days there are a lot of crap shops on the Champs Elysees, but the contrast between the high end boutiques and tackier offerings is kind of kitsch in itself. 

Top Tip

Visit on a Sunday the Champs Elysees  is closed to motorised traffic, meaning you can take a stroll down the middle of the road and capture that perfect shot of the Arc de Triomphe without the fear of being run down like roadkill. 

Sacre Coeur for Sunset  

Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur at sunset

The stark white facade of the Sacre Coeur is instantly recognisable as a Parisian icon. So much so, that it’s surprising to know that it was only consecrated a century ago, in 1919 – pretty modern by Parisian standards.

Modern-ish or no, it’s certainly one of the most beautiful structures in the city – and even more so at sunset. 

The light of the dipping sun casts a spectacular glow over the white church, while both locals and tourists gather on the church’s steps to watch Paris bid adieu to the light of another day. 

Dinner and Drinks in Montmartre

Bouillon Pigalle
Bouillon Pigalle

There’s no two ways about it: Montmartre is one of Paris’ most charming arrondissements. It’s home to several notable landmarks, like the Sacre Coeur, and yet it still feels the teeniest more peaceful than central Paris, well, during the day anyway. Taking a walk around Montmartre during the day is an absolute must.

At night, it’s a rather different story… The right combination of slightly seedy, eccentric and buzzing, you simply have to spend a night drinking and dining in Montmartre. 

I’m a huge fan of the relatively new Bouillon Pigalle, a bustling yet authentic “bouillion” that serves up amazing French food and lashings of great wine at ridiculously good prices. 

Lulu White Drinking Club
Lulu White Drinking Club

Then, it is only right to follow it up with drinks at the infamous Lulu White Drinking Club, once a den of debauchery of all kinds – and today a brilliant cocktail bar and one of Paris’ lesser known gems.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is the most famous cabaret in the world. Sounds like a good enough excuse to settle down for an evening of razzle dazzle amidst the bright lights of the club. 

It first opened in 1889, raising eyebrows and getting people all hot under the collar with their new can-can dance, which was rather alluring and just the tiniest bit risque at the time. It soon spread around the world, with visitors all over the globe going wild for the all-kicking, all-dancing style.

Unfortunately, the original club burned down in 1915 but it was swiftly rebuilt – iconic windmill and all.

It’s a bit pricey, but truly unforgettable to catch a show here.

Have More Time? Add These To Your Itinerary 

If you have a little extra time in Paris, here are a few more things that you can add to your itinerary.

Palace of Versailles


The Palace of Versailles lies less than an hour south west of the centre of Paris by road or rail, and is an awesome addition to any Paris itinerary.

Before Louis XIII got his hands on some land to build a hunting lodge, Versailles was a quiet rural hamlet. Several expansions later, and the eventual Palace that stands today is a testament to the extravagant opulence that came to characterise the reign of Louis XIV.

With more than 2,000 rooms, the famous hall of mirrors, the palace included a zoo, roman-esq baths, elevators (a novelty in the 18th century!) and elaborate gardens with stunning water features.

In 1789, thousands of French citizens stormed the palace in protest and compelled the royal family to follow them to Paris where they were interned. 

Much of the opulence of that period remains visible today, and of course, the palace played another huge part in European history in 1919 as it hosted the peace conference that saw an end to the Great War.

The scale of the palace is absolutely staggering and puts other European palaces to shame, and this alone, never mind its rich history, makes it a must-visit if you have the time while in Paris.

Visit the Pompidou Centre

The Pompidou Centre is an unmissable piece of modern architecture bang in the middle of Paris designed to resemble a heart fed by brightly coloured arteries. While its exterior may divide opinion, venture inside and you’ll find all sorts of awesome artistic treats.

After being built in 1977 it immediately started to build one of the first collections of modern and contemporary art in Europe, and it now serves as a gallery, library and constantly-evolving exhibition space for art lovers in Paris.

Among their enormous collection of 140,000 works are masterpieces by Vassily Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Piet Mondrian and Henri Matisse. 

Find Jim Morrison’s Resting Place at Pere Lachaise Cemetery

While taking time out to visit cemeteries may be a little bit of a niche pastime on a trip to Paris, I loved taking a wander around Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the largest graveyard in Paris.

If, like me, you find a stroll through a cemetery an oddly peaceful experience that allows you to reflect quietly, you’ll also be keen to know that Pere Lachaise is the final resting place of some big names.

Jim Morrison, the enigmatic frontman of The Doors, lays here, as do Chopin, Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Sarah Bernhardt and Oscar Wilde.

Handy Tips for Planning Your Paris Trip 

So, there we are – what to see in Paris in 2 days. That’s only half the fun though, check out these cool tips to help you make the most of your time in the city. 

Fountain in Paris

What to Pack for Your Paris Itinerary

Choosing what to pack for your two days in Paris can be a headache – it’s not easy to plan what to wear in one of the world’s most stylish cities.

What to bring will also largely depend on what time of year it is. However, here are a few items you just can’t forget –

  • Comfortable walking shoes, as those cobbled streets can be fatal to stilettos
  • An umbrella and/or rain jacket (especially in winter), as you don’t want a spot of rain dampening your plans
  • A camera, with plenty of room on your SD card since Paris is incredibly photogenic.
  • Outfits that make you feel fabulous, because this is Paris and you’re joining the well-heeled crowd.
  • Your passport and other important documents, lest your travel plans are ruined before they even begin.

Where to Stay 

Opera – Hotel Opera Marigny 

With its many theatres (and the famous opera, of course), the arrondissement of Opera bring to mind the glam Paris of old. It’s a great place to stay if you want convenience, with more than a little glamour.

My pick for hotels in Opera is Hotel Opera Marigny. This four star hotel is modern and inviting, with a great location close to the action. Nearby there’s plenty of shopping, while attractions including the Louvre and the Sacre Coeur are within walking distance.

Check rates and availability at Hotel Opera Marigny

Bourse – Hotel Bachaumont 

If you are looking to shop while you’re in Paris (and really – it’s hard not to), then La Bourse is an ideal base. It’s home to many brilliant brand and fashion houses, while the other attractions of Paris are close by.

Of the hotels in this area, I can’t go past Hotel Bachaumont. It’s located just one kilometre from the Louvre, meaning you can simply roll out of bed and beat the crowds. The hotel itself is also very stylish, and a great breakfast buffet is on offer.

Check rates and availability for Hotel Bachaumont

Getting Around 

I’ve organised this itinerary so that most spots are within easy walking distance of each other, but there are a few points where you might want to use public transport. 

No fear, Paris has an excellent public transport network. The subway system is known as the Metro. It’s clean (mostly), efficient and will take you all around the city in a jiffy.

You can buy individual tickets, however it may be more cost-effective to buy a carnet of 10, especially if you’re travelling with someone. 

Buses ply their way across every conceivable inch of the city, helping zip you from one part to another (unless you get stuck in a notorious Parisian traffic jam) at reasonable prices.

I’d recommend downloading Citymapper before you go as it will always help you find the fastest route between destinations. 

Failing that, Uber is widespread and super-cheap too.

Quick Info 

Time Zone: Paris observes Central European Time (GMT +01:00)

Currency: France is within the Eurozone so make sure you have exchanged your national currency for Euros

Plugs: French power sockets use the C and E-type plugs with two pins

Nearest Airport: The nearest airport to Paris is Charles de Gaulle, around 23km northeast of the centre of Paris

5 Must-See Spots: The Musee d’Orsay, Arc d’Triomphe, Louvre, Saint Chapelle and Notre Dame

Top Tip

Although most Parisians speak English, they do appreciate foreigners making the effort to speak the local lingo. Try and at least learn some essential phrases in French before you travel.

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