The best art galleries in the world, beautiful Gothic churches, wide avenues, the Eiffel Tower, croissants, one of the best cuisines in the world… Yes, you have arrived in Paris, and it turns out that you only have one weekend. Grab your bags, check in at your hotel and set off to discover the city of light with our two-day Paris itinerary.
The truth is that the capital of France is unparalleled in terms of beauty in Europe. It is a city that cajoles as soon as you step on it. No matter how many times you visit it and how much time you dedicate to it, the monuments of Paris are still there waiting for you to charm you, fall in love and make you come back again and again – in my case, there are already three.
In this article we have prepared a basic itinerary to discover the most important places of interest in Paris in two days. In no case does it mean knowing the city in depth, but rather an approach to obtain a very general vision of the most iconic places. In the end, Paris needs a lifetime.
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Paris in two days: a perfect weekend in the city of light
In this map we leave you the itinerary that we have prepared with the places to see in Paris in two days. Each of the colors represents a different day: red for the first and blue for the second. If you want to know specifically the route we have designed, keep reading the article.
- Day 1. The Louvre Museum, the Tuileries Gardens, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
- Day 2. The Seine, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Sainte Chapelle, the Center Pompidou, the Opera Garnier, the Galeries Lafayette, the Basilica of the Sacre Cœur and the Montmartre district.
Paris in two days: first day – The Louvre Museum, the Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower
In this weekend that is about to begin in the city of light, nothing better than starting with a free tour of Paris to get a general idea of the French capital. It starts every day at 11:00 in the morning, lasts about two and a half hours, and will take you through some of the most iconic monuments in the city. It’s a great way to start the day and best of all, it’s free.
Once you have cycled through the streets of Haussmann, we begin our tour at the Louvre Museum – where the free tour ends. This is one of the most important art galleries in Europe and the most visited museum in the world. It stands out both for its exterior, which represents the symbiosis between an old Renaissance palace and a groundbreaking inverted glass pyramid, and for its interior, which houses one of the most important art collections in the world.
It is true that the Louvre is very large and if you haven’t more or less studied what you want to see (especially if you have little time), you can get a little lost. For this reason, we refer to our article on the best monuments in Paris in which we recommend 10 of our favorite works (based on the selection of masterpieces that the museum itself makes):
- The Code of Hammurabi (ground floor)
- The Venus de Milo (ground floor)
- Nike of Samothrace (ground floor)
- The Frieze of the Archers of Susa (ground floor)
- The tomb of Philipe Pot (Ground floor)
- Liberty Leading the People, by Delacroix (floor 1)
- The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci (floor 1)
- The Wedding at Cana, by Veronese (floor 1)
- The Portrait of Louis XIV, by Hyacinthe Rigaud (floor 2)
- The Great Sphinx of Tanis (floor -1)
Once you’ve tired of strolling through the Louvre galleries, we recommend you wander through the peaceful Tuileries Gardens until you reach Place de la Concorde. During the Age of Terror it was called the Place de la Révolution and was the place chosen to celebrate the execution of Louis XVI. This square, one of the largest in the city, stands out for its imposing central obelisk and is the gateway to the Champs-Elysées, our next stop on this tour of Paris in two days.
The Avenue des Champs Élysées connects the Place de la Concorde with the Arc de Triomphe and is one of the most photographed and visited places by tourists. Part of its charm lies in the beautiful boutiques that are located along it and that remind us why Paris is the city of big luxury brands.
The final icing on this avenue is the Arc de Triomphe, another of the great attractions of the city of love. Ordered to be erected by Napoleon to celebrate the military victories of the Second French Empire, the Allied troops paraded through it after the Normandy landings – which marked the liberalization of France. Inside there is an emotional flame that commemorates those who fell in the First World War and a tomb to the unknown Soldier. It is, of course, a place with a lot of symbology.
For the rest of the day, we suggest that you go to the Eiffel Tower, which not only boasts of being one of the most emblematic places in the world, but also of fabulous views of the architectural ensemble of Paris. This metal hulk, erected for the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris, has gradually won the hearts of Parisians and the whole world, despite an initial rather negative reception to the project – it was thought of removing it after the celebration of the event.
To get good views and photos of the Eiffel Tower we recommend two places. The first is the Champ de Mars, a garden area adjacent to the tower where you can get a very complete panoramic view. The second alternative is to go up through the Trocadero Gardens until you reach the Palais de Chaillot, possibly the best view of the Eiffel Tower in all of Paris.
Paris in two days: second day – Notre Dame, the Seine, the Sacré Cœur and Montmartre
For the second day in Paris, we have reserved some of our favorite places and activities to do in the city. From a boat ride on the Seine, to Notre Dame, the beautiful Opera Garnier or the painters’ quarter and its imposing Basilica of the Sacred Heart. We are sure that it is a perfect combination to fall in love with Paris!
We start in the heart of the Cité to approach Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most outstanding examples of Gothic architecture in the world. Until relatively recently we talked about it and about a past full of difficulties – until Victor Hugo wrote the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, it was just any old story – but now we must also talk about the present. The fire that broke out inside in 2019 destroyed part of its roof and it will be many years before the church recovers its original splendor. Meanwhile, we can only visit it and make our particular tribute in memory of an entire symbol.
If you want to visit a very nice church inside, the Sainte Chapelle, also located in the Cité, is equally spectacular and is not usually so crowded. Here you can get the tickets to the Sainte Chapelle and avoid the queues.
Now, if there is an activity that cannot be missed in Paris, it is the particular boat trip on the Seine. Not only because of the charm of calmly navigating this iconic river, but also because the main monuments of the city are located on the banks of the Seine, many of which we have not been able to include in this itinerary for reasons of time: the Musée d’Orsay, the Conciergerie, the Alexander III Bridge or the French National Assembly, among others.
Once you put your feet on solid ground, we continue our journey until we reach the Center Pompidou, one of the greats of contemporary art. In this case, it is a museum that we love because of its exterior structure. Each of the colors of its façade represents something different: the red pieces are communication elements, such as lifts and stairs, blue for air conditioning, green for everything related to water, yellow for electricity and white for air intakes and extractions. One last.
If you’re really short on time, we recommend that you don’t visit it inside – for the next time, it won’t move from there – and continue on to our next stop: the Opera Garnier. The truth is that until my third visit to Paris I did not decide to get to know it from the inside, and I can say that it is truly worth it. It is a wonderful place, possibly one of the most beautiful opera houses we have ever visited.
The good thing is that Galeries Lafayette is also very close to it. It is true that there are practically department stores of this company in all French cities, but the one located in Haussmann is the chain’s flagship and it shows. Especially at Christmas, the decorations and the lights make it a fascinating place even if you don’t plan to take out your wallet.
For the rest of the day, there is no better way to put the icing on the cake than by visiting what is nicknamed the neighborhood of painters: Montmartre, one of the most charming sights of the capital of love. To do this, you can take the metro (another experience to add) and get off at the Abbesses stop. Stroll quietly among artists and enjoy its postcard streets. If you still have some energy left, the stairs leading to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart should not be a problem for you. In exchange, one of the most beautiful temples in Paris awaits you.
Paris is immense and the places to visit cannot be counted on the fingers of one hand. This itinerary is for those who, without knowing the city or having forgotten it, have a weekend – one of those who, why not, throw the blanket out the window and take out some cheap flights. In the end, the truth is that you don’t need many days to fall in love with the caractère parisien, and this itinerary through Paris in two days is the proof.