With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, 2 days in Paris is just enough time to scratch the surface of one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

By: Paul Healy | Published: 13 Dec 2023 | Last update: 18 Dec 2023

Paris has timeless allure with a blend of history, grandeur, and diverse local districts. For many people, munching on a croissant while people-watching from a corner cafe is the ultimate continental experience.

We’ve visited Paris many times and put together what we think is the best way to see the main highlights in 2 days. This is the ideal itinerary for first-time visitors to Paris.

Walking times have been reduced as much as possible and you’ll only need to jump on the metro 3 or 4 times. Perfect for soaking up the unique vibe of Paris while walking between iconic landmarks.

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IN THIS GUIDE

2 DAYS IN PARIS


DAY 1

Jardin du Palais Royal, Louvre, Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, Le Petit Palais, Les Invalides, Champ de Mars, Eiffel Tower, Trocadéro, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Montmartre, Sacré-Cœeur.

DAY 2

Catacombs, Panthéon, Latin Quarter, d’Orsay, Sainte-Chapelle, Notre-Dame, Le Marais.

MAP | 2 DAYS IN PARIS

This two days in Paris has been designed so you can walk between most sights, without needing to catch public transport too often. We’ve listed all the attractions and walking routes on the below map.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


2 DAYS IN PARIS | DAY 1

JARDIN DU PALAIS ROYAL & GALERIES

Start your 2 days in Paris at the Palais Royal. It’s closed to the public, but the box hedge symmetry of the manicured gardens make it worth a quick stroll. The black and white striped columns at the southern end are a popular photo spot.

Some of the most beautiful shopping arcades surround the garden including Galerie de Montpensier, Galerie Beaujolais, and Galerie de Valois.

LOUVRE

The Louvre is enormous, and it would take several days to see everything. We recommend either joining a guided tour or using the suggested visitor trails from the official website.

If you’re looking for ideas, we recommend the Italian Masters, the Apollo Gallery, and the Greek Sculptures. Along the way, you’ll see the Venus di Milo, Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Caravaggio masterpieces, and much more.

Booktimed entry Louvre tickets in advance.

JARDIN DES TUILERIES

After the Louvre, walk through Jardin des Tuileries. The French formal garden has picturesque landscaping, sculptures, and two formal ponds perfect for a relaxing break.

The gardens were designed by the architect responsible for the gardens of Versailles and it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a great place for a morning stroll, particularly in spring.

If you have time, Musée de l’Orangerie is an excellent gallery, in the south-west corner of the garden containing Claude Monet’s nymphs and other impressionist and post-impressionist works.

jardin des tuileries
JARDIN DES TUILERIES

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

Continue through the gardens to Place de la Concorde, the largest public square in Paris. It’s notorious for being the site where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed. The Luxor Obelisk, in the square, was offered by the Khedive of Egypt.

You don’t need long, but it’s worth a quick stop before you continue on to the Champs-Élysées.

Luxor Obelisk place de la concorde
PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

LE PETIT PALAIS

Turn left off the Champs-Élysées to head down to the Petit Palais. (Don’t worry, we’re coming back to it). The palace was built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Today, it houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts, which contains a diverse collection of art and sculpture. It’s free to look around the permanent collection or just admire the elegant Beaux-Arts building.

PONTE ALEXANDRE III

Cross the river at Pont Alexandre III, an ornate bridge adorned with sculptures spanning the Seine. It connects Le Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais with Les Invalides and it’s considered one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris.

LES INVALIDES

Les Invalides was commissioned in 1670 by Louis XIV to provide care facilities for wounded soldiers. Consisting of 15 large courtyards, the complex is capped by a magnificent gold dome.

It houses Musée de l’Armée, a collection of war memorabilia and the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. We’d only suggest going in if you are particularly interested in guns and armour but it’s a good photo opportunity from the outside as you stroll past.

Book: skip-the-line Les Invalides tickets.

les invalides paris
LES INVALIDES

LUNCH

For lunch, take a short detour down to Rue Cler. It’s one of the most popular market streets in Paris with cafes, boulangeries, boutiques, and specialty shops.

Alternatively, Kozy Busquet does an excellent vegetarian brunch. It’s one of our favourite coffee shops in Paris.

CHAMP DE MARS

After lunch, make your way over to Champ de Mars, the green space in front of the Eiffel Tower. The park is open day and night and it’s a great spot for a picnic lunch (which you may have picked up from the market) under the gaze of the Eiffel Tower.

EIFFEL TOWER

Next, climb the Eiffel Tower one of the Paris must-do experiences. There are three viewpoints: the 1st floor, the 2nd floor, and the summit.

The best view is from the 2nd floor. You can either walk up the stairs (674 steps) or take the elevator. Book Eiffel Tower tickets in advance as the queues can be very long, especially in peak summer periods.

Our Tip – If you only have time for one viewpoint in Paris, make it the Arc de Triomphe. The views are better than from the Eiffel Tower.

PLACE DU TROCADÉRO

This elevated, open space, opposite the Seine, is one of the best locations to photograph the Eiffel Tower.

Leading from the square, the English-style Trocadéro Gardens contain the Fountain of Warsaw, a 22-cannon water feature. There are also sculptures in the gardens that are well worth checking out.

Catch the metro from Trocadéro to Charles de Gaulle – Étoile Station which is at the Arc de Triomphe.

place du trocadero view of the eiffel tower
VIEW FROM TROCADÉRO

ARC DE TRIOMPHE

You can visit the base of the arch for free to see the eternal flame and the grave of the unknown soldier. But, in our opinion, the climb to the top offers the best view of Paris with boulevards stretching out in all directions.

Bookskip-the-line Arc de Triomphe tickets to climb the 284 steps to the summit, which includes the museum on the way up.

CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES

After climbing the Arc de Triomphe, head down the Champs-Élysées, one of the most famous streets in the world. It’s lined with luxury boutiques, theaters, and cafes.

It’s an iconic destination in Paris, but the wide boulevard lacks a bit of character. Unless you want to do some shopping, we suggest just walking down as far as Ladurée to stock up on macarons.

Head back to Charles de Gaulle – Étoile Metro Station to catch the train to Pigalle Station.

PLACE DES ABBESSE, MONTMARTRE

From Pigalle Station, walk up to Place des Abbesses. This charming square has a village-like atmosphere with cool boutiques, cafes and bistros.

Don’t miss the Wall of Love just off Jehan Rictus Square featuring 612 tiles with the phrase “I love you” in 250 languages.

PLACE DU TERTRE, MONTMARTRE

Walk up the stairs to Place du Tertre, also known as Artists Square. Artists are allocated 3 feet of space which must be shared between two artists on alternating days. Have your portrait taken or peruse the landscapes, caricatures, and silhouettes for sale.

Strolling around this cool area is one of the best things to do in Paris for free.

SACRÉ-CŒUR

The Romano-Byzantine Basilica of Sacré-Cœur offers a picture-postcard Paris experience with excellent views across the city.

The queues to climb the dome can be very long and unfortunately, there is no way to book skip-the-line tickets. But, by the time you’ve done everything else today, the timing should be about right for the queues to be shorter.

sacre coeur montmartre
SACRÉ-CŒUR

PIGALLE

As the evening rolls in, stroll down to Pigalle to explore the area around Moulin Rouge. You could try a show at the famous cabaret venue, however, the reviews are not great. A better option is Au Lapin Agile, on the backstreets of Montmartre.

If you stay in Pigalle, there are plenty of great restaurants and the nightlife is excellent. Don’t miss No Entry, a hidden speakeasy under Pink Mamma restaurant.

2 DAYS IN PARIS | DAY 2

CATACOMBS

To start the second day of your 2 days in Paris, head to the Catacombs, a 1.5-kilometre underground tunnel containing the remains of 18th-century Parisians.

In what has become a true temple of equality, bones are piled head-high on either side of the tunnel in careful constructions and none of the remains are named.

It’s a small space so places are limited. Tickets must be booked in advance on the Catacombs website but they are only available up to 7 days in advance. A visit takes around 1 hour.

PANTHÉON

Next, get the metro to Luxembourg and walk to the Panthéon. It was originally designed to be a church, but it is currently a mausoleum to honor French revolutionaries.

Inside, Foucault’s Pendulum which was used to measure the rotation of the earth, hangs from the dome. The crypt contains the tombs of famous French philosophers.

Book: skip-the-line Panthéon tickets.

pantheon paris
PANTHÉON

LATIN QUARTER

Leave the Panthéon and stroll around the Latin Quarter. Jozi Café is a great Paris coffee spot, and there are plenty of grand buildings to admire including Sorbonne University.  

MUSEE D’ORSAY (OPTIONAL)

If you are interested in seeing more art, catch the metro from Saint-Michel Notre-Dame Station to Musée d’Orsay, the world’s largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces.

You’ll find works by Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Renoir. The building itself is stunning. It’s one of our favorite galleries in Paris.

SAINTE-CHAPELLE

If you went to Musée d’Orsay, get the metro back to Saint-Michel Notre-Dame Station. Head to Sainte-Chapelle, a breathtaking Gothic chapel, renowned for its stunning stained-glass windows depicting biblical scenes. The upper chapel contains 15 extraordinary panels filling the entire wall space with stained-glass windows.

Book: skip-the-line Sainte-Chapelle tickets.

4 days in Paris, Sainte Chapelle
SAINTE-CHAPPELLE

NOTRE-DAME

Walk over to Notre Dame, stopping off at Le Marché aux Fleurs, a flower market dating back to the 1900s, and Ponte Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine.

Following the fire in 2019, Notre-Dame remains closed to the public, but you can still admire the magnificent French Gothic architecture and visit the archaeological crypt. Notre-Dame is due to reopen in December 2024.

SHAKESPEARE & CO

Cross the river again to stop off at Shakespeare & Co, a popular English language bookstore just opposite Notre-Dame. Stroll along the banks of the river to inspect Les Bouquinistes, the iconic book stalls selling vintage books, prints and historic illustrations.

BERTHILLON ICE CREAM

Continue along the river, then cross at Pont de la Tournelle to have an ice cream at Berthillon, one of the best ice cream shops in Paris.

shakespear bookstore latin quarter paris
SHAKESPEARE & CO

LE MARAIS

Ice cream in hand, continue over the river and into Le Marais.

Le Marais is a fashionable district known for its narrow streets, historic architecture, trendy boutiques, and art galleries. The area was favored by France’s nobility in the 17th and 18th centuries which has given Le Marais the elegant architecture you see today.

Roughly follow the walking tour on the map above. Here are some great places to see in Le Marais:

  • Visit Place des Vosges, one of the most beautiful squares in Paris.
  • Take the elevator to the 6th floor of the Pompidou Centre for free views over Paris.
  • See the whimsical Stravinsky Fountains.
  • Have dinner along Rue du Temple or Rue des Archives.
  • Hit the bars. Le Marais is the heart of gay Paris.

WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS

We recommend staying in Le Marais for your 2 days in Paris. It’s centrally located, there’s plenty to do and it’s a beautiful place to hang out.

However, there are many other options which we have covered extensively in our guide to the best places to stay in Paris.

OUR PICK

ULTRA-MODERN BUDGET

MAMA SHELTER

Mama Shelter is a stylish and modern hotel, nestled among artists studios and cobbled streets in East Paris. They do simple French cooking in the kitchen and great cocktails in the trendy bar.


HIP & ELEGANT

THE HOXTON PARIS

Set in an 18th-century mansion, the Hoxton is designed to be relaxed and comfortable without the unnecessary frills. It’s buzzy, it’s cool and the aesthetic is designed for maximum satisfaction.


PERUVIAN BLING

1K PARIS

Set in the bustling Le Marais district, 1K Paris delivers high-tech Peruvian style in an excellent location. The rooms and bright and spacious with excellent amenities.


where to stay in paris hotels

BEST TIME TO VISIT PARIS

SPRING (APRIL – JUNE)

  • Weather: The weather is mild in Spring with temperatures ranging from cool to pleasantly warm.
  • Crowds: It’s generally less crowded over Spring making it an excellent time to visit.
  • Events: There are several cultural events and festivals including the Paris Opera Festival and the Saint-Germain-des-Pres Jazz Festival.

SUMMER (JULY – AUGUST)

  • Weather: Expect sunny days and warm to hot temperatures.
  • Crowds: Summer is the peak tourist season in Paris so expect large crowds and longer queues.
  • Events: There are several outdoor events including Bastille Day, the Fireman’s Ball and the Fnac Live Music Festival.

FALL/AUTUMN (SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER)

  • Weather: The temperatures in Paris start to cool down over autumn making it very comfortable for sightseeing.
  • Crowds: Similar to Spring, it’s generally much quieter in Paris over Fall.
  • Events: Fall/Autumn is a great time to visit Paris for food events including the Montmartre Wine Harvest and Salon du Chocolat, the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate.

WINTER (DECEMBER – FEBRUARY)

  • Weather: Winter in Paris can be cold with occasional snow, but it rarely goes below zero.
  • Crowds: Winter is generally the quietest time to visit Paris. We walked straight up the Eiffel Tower without a queue in early December.
  • Events: Paris hits the festive spirit with decorations, ice skating and Christmas markets. Paris Carnival and Paris Fashion week are both held in February.

HOW MANY DAYS IN PARIS

You can see the main highlights in 2 days, which is perfect for first-time visitors. If you have longer, you’ll be able to visit more museums, plus experience some local Parisian culture.

  • 1-2 Days in Paris: See the iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.
  • 3-4 Days in Paris: Soak up Paris at a more leisurely pace. See the main attractions, plus take a day trip out to Versailles or Givenchy. Read our 3-day Paris itinerary.
  • 5-7 Days in Paris: You could easily spend a week in Paris and not run out of things to do. Read our full list of the best things to do in Paris for ideas.
eiffel tower views from pont alexandre iii

GETTING TO PARIS

International flights arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport. It’s a 40-minute taxi ride to the centre of Paris, but it’s much cheaper to hop on the Metro. Take RER line B.

The Eurostar arrives at Paris Gare du Nord station and it’s the easiest way to get to Paris from London. Catch the metro into central Paris. Look for cheap Eurostar tickets well in advance.  

GETTING AROUND PARIS

We have designed these 2 days in Paris so you can walk most places. It’s a beautiful city to stroll around and walking is by far the best way to see it. We have indicated where you need to get the metro in the above daily breakdowns.

USING THE PARIS METRO

It’s no longer possible for tourists to purchase multi-day passes on the Paris metro for a discounted rate. The only option is a 5-day travel pass which we don’t think is worth the cost, given how easy it is to walk around Paris.

The Carnet offer of 10 single tickets has now been phased out. You can purchase a pack of 10 tickets via the Navigo Easy pass at a discounted rate, however, you need to purchase the card (€2) which can be topped up at the stations or online.

In our opinion, the easiest way to use the metro for a short stay is simply to buy single tickets from the station. For longer stays purchase the Navigo Easy pass and buy a discounted carnet of ten tickets on it. 

Please note, the Paris Pass no longer includes free public transport.

VISITING THE MUSEUMS IN PARIS

We recommend booking skip-the-line tickets in advance as much as possible.

Each of the museums have very different opening times so it’s important to check the times before you go.

Additionally, most museums are closed on either Monday or Tuesday.

Depending on how many museums you plan on visiting, it may be worth getting the Paris Museum Pass which includes entry to over 60 museums.

MUSEUMCLOSEDTICKETS
Musée d’OrsayMondayskip-the-line + river cruise
CatacombsMondayguided tour + vip access
LouvreTuesdaytimed entrance
Musée de l’OrangerieTuesdaydedicated entrance
montparnasse tower paris

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