How to spend 2 days in Paris

How to See Paris in 2 Days: The Perfect Itinerary for the City of Light

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Kelly

Paris is one of the most popular destinations in the world. You might be wondering if two days in Paris is “enough.” My opinion is that it’s totally worth visiting Paris for even just a couple of days. (You’ll be surprised how much you can see!) During our last trip to Paris, we visited for two full days, and we have no regrets. In this post, I’m sharing the perfect itinerary for 2 days in Paris

We’ve packed a lot to do in two days, but we also think that this itinerary is realistic. We’ve taken into account travel times between sites, as well as down time for meals. If you’re traveling with small children, however, we recommend traveling at an even slower pace. (We know from experience, we’ve been to Paris with a toddler.) If that’s the case, you might choose only a few sites from the list we’ve included.

Itinerary at a Glance

DAY 1 DAY 2
Eiffel Tower

Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre

Carette for Breakfast Palais Garnier
Arc de Triomphe Sainte-Chapelle
Avenue des Champs-Élysées Notre Dame
Ladurée Latin Quarter
Place de la Concorde Saint Severin Church
Jardin des Tuileries Shakespeare & Company
Louvre Museum Paris Catacombs

 

Read our full itinerary (with photos) below!

River Seine in Paris
The Seine River in Paris

The Perfect Paris 2-Day Itinerary

Below, you’ll find our complete 2-day itinerary for Paris. We’ve included maps, photos, restaurant recommendations, and descriptions of our favorite attractions. We recently spent two days in Paris, so we think this is definitely do-able!

Day 1 in Paris

Below is a map that highlights the major sites from day 1 of the itinerary:

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower at sunrise in Paris

Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Av. Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France

Important Information: Be sure to book your tickets in advance. You can book directly through the official website. This would be our recommendation, unless you prefer a tour.

When we arrived to Paris, we woke up early because of the time difference. We took advantage of an early start by visiting the Eiffel Tower at sunrise. It wasn’t crowded at all, and we had the most beautiful sky backdrop for our photos!

If you’re traveling with kids, there’s actually a playground tucked away close to the southern corner of the Eiffel Tower. It’s a good place to burn some energy!

After seeing the Eiffel Tower, walk north about 15 minutes to one of our favorite cafes in Paris: Carette. Along the way, you’ll see the Carrousel de la Tour Eiffel, cross the Seine River, and walk through the Jardins du Trocadero. If you watched the sunrise at the Eiffel Tower, you’ll probably arrive at Carette before 9am and you’ll beat the crowds. 

Breakfast at Carette

Hot chocolate at Carette in Paris
Carette is my favorite cafe in Paris!

 

Address: 4 Pl. du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris, France

Important Information: The cafe does not take reservations.

Carette was one of my favorite cafes in Paris! This cafe serves the best pastries, hot chocolate, and espresso. Carette went viral on TikTok for their hot chocolate, so I had to try it! Even though the cafe received millions of views, it was very quiet and not touristy at all when we visited. 

We ordered the hot chocolate (complete with a whole tower of whipped cream), espresso, crepe with raspberries, a croissant, and scrambled eggs with cheese and meat. The eggs were unlike anything we had in the United States, and they were one of my husband’s favorite dishes from our entire trip to Paris. Of course, we were also big fans of the hot chocolate! It did not disappoint. 

Next, walk north for about 20 minutes until you reach the Arc de Triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe, 2 days in Paris itinerary

Address: Pl. Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France

Tour Information: Click here for several tour options.

Important Information: Book your tickets to enter the arch and see the rooftop views. Access to the arch is underground. (Do not attempt to cross the street!)

The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most impressive arches you will ever see. Built in 1836, the arch commemorates soldiers that were killed during the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars. 

The facades of the arch are covered in sculptures and engravings. The most famous of these is Departure of the Volunteers of 1792, which is also called La Marseillaise. The sculpture honors France’s first citizen army. 

Do not attempt to cross the street to reach the arch! Instead, follow the signs to the underground passageway. If you buy a ticket, you can also enter the arch. There is an elevator and stairs that will take you to a museum as well as an observation deck. If you didn’t have a chance to go up the Eiffel Tower, you can get an awesome view of Paris by going to the top of the Arch de Triomphe!

From the Arc de Triomphe, you’ll then be able to stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

louis vuitton on Champs Elysees in Paris

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is famous throughout the world for its high-end shops, designer boutiques, and amazing restaurants. We recommend that you walk east along the Champs-Élysées toward the Place de la Concorde. You’ll find famous stores such as Louis Vuitton and Cartier. You’ll also find some more affordable stores such as Adidas and Levi’s. 

There’s also a McDonalds on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Although we don’t recommend dining there for lunch, it’s worth popping in to see their unique French menu. In addition to French macarons, they also offered the McChoconut: a dessert burger!

McDonalds in Paris McChoconut

If you’re able to get a reservation, we recommend having lunch at Ladurée. Each of the dining rooms located inside the restaurant exudes Parisian elegance. 

Even if you don’t visit for lunch, however, be sure to visit the patisserie. There are so many gorgeous French pastries to choose from!

Laduree in Paris

Also while you’re at Ladurée, be sure to pick up a box of macarons. They have been making these pastries for over 160 years! They make a beautiful souvenir. We tried many of their macarons over the course of our trip, but the pistachio and vanilla flavors were my favorite!

After you leave Ladurée, head to Place de la Concorde. It’s about a 20-minute walk if you continue to follow the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. You can also choose to take a taxi. (But it might take just as long to wait in a taxi line and drive there.) If you go by foot, you’ll walk by Square Marigny, the statue of General Charles de Gaulle, and finally Jardins des Champs-Élysées.

Place de la Concorde

Address: 75008 Paris, France

The Place de la Concorde is the largest public square in the city of Paris. It has been called several names since it was first built in 1772. It has been called Place Louis XV, Place de la Révolution, Place de la Chartre, and Place Louis XVI. It is now known as the Place de la Concorde, because the word concorde in French means agreement. The name was chosen to reflect the unification of the French people after the Reign of Terror.

At the center of the square is the Luxor Obelisk

After strolling through Place de la Concorde, cross through the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries. Within the gardens, you’ll notice numerous statues, fountains, and a carousel. On the northern side of the garden, along Rue de Rivoli, there’s also carnival-like attractions. Our daughter loved running around the Jardin des Tuileries. We recommend finding a bench and relaxing for a little bit before you’re back on your feet exploring the Louvre Museum.

Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum in Paris (central courtyard)

Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

Tour Information: Book a guided tour of the Louvre with reserved entry included. 

One of Paris’s most famous attractions is the Louvre Museum. This is the museum in which the Mona Lisa, perhaps the most famous painting in the world, is housed. The Louvre is the world’s largest museum. If you visit one museum in Paris, make sure it’s the Louvre!

crowded room showcasing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
As you can see, there’s quite a line to see the Mona Lisa up close

 

The Louvre has so much more to see than the Mona Lisa however. If you’ve never seen the painting, we do recommend that you follow the crowds to see it in person (make sure to check out Winged Victory on the way!), but then escape from that over-crowded room as soon as you can. The Louvre is filled with thousands of historical treasures, relics, and pieces of art. My recommendation is to just get lost in the Louvre and see what you can find. Once you’re away from the main crowds, you’ll find that many of the rooms in the Louvre are near-empty and much more relaxed. 

The Louvre Museum in Paris

After exploring the Louvre, it’s time to eat! We had a meal at Cafe de Paris, which was less than a 5-minute walk away from the Louvre. We enjoyed a Croque Madame, French Onion Soup, and Sparkling Champagne. 
A glass of French champagne at Cafe de Paris
A glass of champagne at Cafe de Paris

Evening

If you have the energy, you might enjoy visiting a trendy bar for a night cap. Bar Les Ambassadeurs is a gorgeous bar located in the Hotel de Crillon. (It’s pretty much covered in gold!)

Another option is to book dinner, champagne, and a cabaret show at the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge is the birthplace of the Can Can dance, and it continues to be a major icon in the dance world. 


Day 2 in Paris

Below is a map that highlights the major sites from day 2 of the itinerary:

 

Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre

Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre in Paris

Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France

Tour Information: For a guided tour of the basilica and the Montmartre neighborhood, click here

The basilica Sacré Coeur is a Roman Catholic Church located in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris. The basilica sits on top of a hill and has excellent views of Paris. It’s known for its large white domes and panoramic views of the city. Because of this, it’s one of the most famous tourist attractions in Paris. The church was built in 1914. Be sure to check out the statue of Joan of Arc on the south facade. 

The basilica is open very early in the morning and has a free entrance. We recommend visiting first-thing in the morning so you can beat the crowds! If you want to visit the dome, though, you’ll need to visit a bit later in the morning when the dome entrance opens. It’s 300 steps to the top and there isn’t an elevator. There is an admission charge to access the dome.

For breakfast, look for cafes in the Montmartre neighborhood. A popular brunch spot is Sylon de Montmartre. Next, walk a bit south to see the Palais Garnier. 
 

Palais Garnier (Opera House)

Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House)

Address: Pl. de l’Opéra, 75009 Paris, France

Palais Garnier is an ornate opera house in Paris. The cool thing about the opera house is that you can typically view the inside without opera tickets from 10am until 5pm, unless there’s an afternoon performance. For a small fee, you can take a self-guided tour. There’s also the option to book a guided tour as well. 

The opera house was completed in 1875. It was never a palace, but instead it was called Palais Garnier due to its extravagance. There are 1,979 seats. The interior is famous for its Grand Staircase, Grand Foyer, and chandelier. 

Next, head to Sainte-Chapelle. It’s about a 30-minute walk from the Palais Garnier. This would be a good time to take a taxi if you’d like to give your feet a break. But if you have the energy, it’s a beautiful walk!

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle in Paris (stained glass windows)

Address: 10 Bd du Palais, 75001 Paris, France

Visiting Sainte-Chapelle was one of my favorite things from our trip to Paris because of its numerous stained glass windows. It’s a great alternative to visiting Notre Dame!

After you leave Sainte-Chapelle, be sure to check out the large clock on the exterior of the Conciergerie. It’s the oldest clock in all of Paris! The clock was built in 1371 and still tells time.

Conciergerie oldest clock in Paris

While you’re on the Île de la Cité, walk over to the Cathedral of Notre Dame. 

Notre Dame

Notre Dame after the 2019 fire in Paris

Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

Although Notre Dame has been closed for the last several years due to fire damage, it’s still worth walking by! We took photos of the exterior and it was an impressive sight!

Fontaine Saint-Michel in Paris

After Notre Dame, we stopped by Le Départ Saint Michel for lunch. We had good service and good food, so we’d recommend it to others! We had a refreshing Aperol Spritz, a waffle with nutella, and a croque madame. Across the street, there’s a Carrefour supermarket if you need to pick up any snacks or water bottles. Be sure to check out Fontaine Saint-Michel to see an epic fountain with a depiction of Saint Michael. The fountain was built in 1860.

Latin Quarter

Latin Quarter in Paris

The Latin Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in Paris. We wrote an entire post about things to do in the Latin Quarter – check it out here!

Here’s a few places we recommend on visiting while you’re in the Latin Quarter…

Odette Paris

Odette in Paris (best spot for cream puffs)

Address: 77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, France

This is the most charming bakery we saw! The storefront is wedged on a side street within the Latin Quarter, with a couple of bistro tables outside and a counter inside. My husband went inside to purchase some cream puffs while I entertained our toddler, and he came out with a gorgeous sleeve of cream puffs. Even though we were full from lunch, we just had to try the different flavors. Each one was absolutely delicious, and we agreed that the raspberry cream puff was one of our favorite bites of food from our entire trip to Paris. 

Although macarons get a lot of attention from travelers, the cream puffs in Paris are just as exquisite! In French, they are called Choux à la Crème. Be sure not to pass up Odette Paris while you’re in the Latin Quarter!

cream puffs at Odette in Paris
Delicious cream puffs at Odette!

 

Eclairs

Fancy eclairs in Paris
You better believe we ordered one of each of these eclairs!

 

Address: 1 Rue de la Harpe, 75005 Paris, France

While we were in the Latin Quarter, we were also on the search for some eclairs. (Can you tell we really love to travel for the food!?)

We actually had some trouble finding a patisserie with eclairs near us. It seems like every time we looked, there weren’t any near us. This time, while we were in the Latin Quarter, we were determined to find some eclairs. We asked our server at lunch for his recommendation, and he directed us to Paris Baguette. Paris Baguette is a chain bakery in Paris, but I have to say, they had an excellent selection of eclairs! We ordered three different flavors, and they were each decorated so beautifully. If you also find yourself on a journey for eclairs, we had great success at Paris Baguette. 

Saint Severin Church

Saint Severin Church in Paris

Address: 2 Rue des Prêtres Saint-Séverin, 75005 Paris, France

As you’re walking through the Latin Quarter, stop by the church of Saint Severin. (It’s just a 2-minute walk from Odette Paris.) Construction on the church first began in 1230, which makes it one of the oldest churches in Paris. The church was affiliated with the University of Paris during the 13th century, and the building has survived despite numerous wars and political changes.

Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris

Address: 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France

Shakespeare & Company is a bookstore located in the Latin Quarter that has quite the following. The bookstore opened in 1951 and its name pays tribute to an earlier bookstore that operated from 1919 to 1941. 

When we visited Shakespeare & Company, there was a bit of a line to enter because they were at capacity within the building. (However, it only took about 5 minutes to reach the front of the line.) No photography is allowed within the bookstore, so we don’t have any photos to show you, so our description will have to suffice. I am a huge fan of bookstores, and this one in particular really grabbed my heart. The bookstore consisted of multiple rooms spread out over two floors. In addition to newer books, Shakespare & Company also sells antique books. I particularly loved the reading room upstairs. It was very cozy and there were so many books I wanted to browse. If you’re also a fan of books, make sure you stop by this bookstore while you’re in the Latin Quarter.

Shakespeare and Company bookstore sticker!

Also, if you purchase a book at Shakespeare & Company, they will add a sticker to your book. (In previous years they would stamp their logo within the book.) We bought The Very Hungry Caterpillar for our daughter, and we were delighted they added their sticker. It made for an excellent souvenir! 

Square Rene Viviani in Paris's Latin Quarter
Square Rene Viviani is right next to the bookstore and has an excellent view of Notre Dame

 

If you’re looking for a place to rest your feet after the bookstore, there’s a pretty park right next to the bookstore called Square Rene Viviani. It’s home to the oldest planted tree in Paris, which was planted in 1601. After you’re done resting, head south to the Catacombs of Paris. It’s a bit of a walk, but if you choose to go by foot, you’ll walk by the Jardin du Luxembourg

Paris Catacombs

Address: 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France

Tour Information: To skip the line and receive special access, see this link for tour information. 

The Paris Catacombs are typically open into the evening hours, which is why we end the itinerary with this site. (Please note that the Paris Catacombs are closed on Mondays.) We recommend purchasing tickets for the catacombs in advance, because they can sell out. 

Make sure that you are comfortable seeing the catacombs. In the primary ossuary, there are thousands of bones and skeletons. During the visit, there are many narrow passageways, the floor can be uneven or slippery, and it can be quite dark. The catacombs are not wheelchair accessible, and you’ll need to go down 131 steps and then back up 112 steps. Please note that you are not allowed to touch any of the bones while you are visiting. Be a respectful visitor at all times.

After you’re finished seeing the catacombs, head back to central Paris and enjoy a meal. If you have the budget for fine dining, L’Écrin holds a Michelin star. Or you can find a brasserie (typical French restaurant) and enjoy classic French cuisine. Brasserie Bofinger is a particularly famous one. 

If You Have an Extra Day in Paris

 Versailles Hall of Mirrors

If you find yourself having an extra day in Paris, we recommend that you visit the Palace of Versailles. It is one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. The palace is about 1-1.5 hours’ drive west of central Paris. The Palace of Versailles was built in 1634 and is famous for its Hall of Mirrors, lavish apartments, the Gallery of Battles, and the Gardens of Versailles. 

If you’re interested in booking a tour of Versailles, click here. There are lots of tour options available, some of which include skip-the-line tickets and/or transportation from Paris.

There’s so much to see at Versailles, be prepared to spend at least half a day there.


How to Get to Paris

 

The primary airport near the city of Paris is Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (Airport Code CDG). The airport is quite large, so make sure you take note of which terminal you arrive in and will depart from. 

Traveling from the Airport to Downtown Paris

From the airport, you can take a taxi to downtown Paris. We paid 53 euros for our trip from the airport to downtown central Paris. I can’t guarantee how much the taxi ride will cost you, but I included our price to help give you a general estimate of what to expect. We found taking a taxi to be the quickest option. There wasn’t much traffic on the day we arrived, so we were able to go directly to our hotel. (This was the best option for us since we were traveling with a young child.) We were able to use our credit card for all the taxi rides we had in Paris, except on one occasion. It’s good to have cash as a backup just in case.

On a separate trip to Paris, we did experience a bit of a scam at the airport. We were looking for a taxi ride to take us to our hotel, which was just 5 minutes away from the airport. We had an international flight early the next morning, and we wanted to be near the airport. When we asked our taxi driver how much it would cost for the 5-minute drive, he quoted us 50 euros. Don’t pay that much for such a short drive!  Thankfully, from experience, we knew that was way overpriced. Make sure you get a sense of the price beforehand, or ask to see the meter, just in case. I don’t think scams like that happen very frequently, but it did happen to us once. We were able to negotiate the taxi ride to under 20 euros on that occasion. This taxi driver was also the only one from our trip that didn’t accept cash. (And we had taken at least a half dozen taxi trips.)

We had great service from all the other taxis while we were in Paris.

You can also take the train from the airport to downtown Paris. The SNCF railway station is located right at the airport, and can be found between Terminals 2C, 2D, 2E, and 2F.  The train will take you to the Gare du Nord train station. From there, you can easily take the metro or possibly even walk to your destination.

Transportation in Downtown Paris

The taxi system is fairly easy to navigate once you are downtown. Any taxi that has a green light on is available. Some of the taxi lines can be quite long. We saw a line of at least 30 people waiting for a taxi at the Avenue des Champs-Élysées taxi stand. However, the taxi stand across the street was practically empty. We just crossed the street and waited for a taxi on the other side. If you do need to take a taxi, make sure to give yourself extra time just in case there is a long line.

You can also use the metro (subway) system while you’re downtown. We didn’t use the metro on our last trip because we were more cautious with covid, but I have used the metro for previous trips. I found the Paris metro to be easy to navigate. It’s also an affordable way to see the sights. Some of the Paris attractions can be quite far away from each other. For example, walking from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame would take about an hour.

If you’re in a hurry, taking the metro can be much more efficient. A downside, however, is that you don’t get to see as much of the city since you’ll be underground. If you walk, you’ll be able to see more of the side streets, shops, and residential areas. We recommend using the metro only if you’re pressed for time. Otherwise, a leisurely stroll through Paris is perfection!


Tips for Visiting Paris

We wrote a full post about our best tips for visiting Paris, but we will share a few of those tips here as well:

  • Book tickets for attractions like the Eiffel Tower in advance… they can sell out!
  • Book a hotel near the city center. (We recommend Hotel du Louvre!)
  • Take into account museum closure dates when you plan your itinerary. (Some museums are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays, for example.)
  • Consider buying the Go City Paris Pass. If you plan on visiting multiple attractions, you can save money by buying one pass. You can easily download the pass on your phone, so it’s really easy to see all Paris has to offer. 
  • Make restaurant reservations in advance for fine dining.
  • Make sure you have medical insurance for international trips.

Paris France neighborhood, 2 days in Paris itinearry


Summary: 2 Days in Paris

After spending two days in Paris ourselves, here’s what we would recommend that you see if you have only 2 days in Paris.

As you can see, you can visit quite a lot of attractions if you have two full days to the city of Paris! We hope this itinerary was helpful as you plan your own trip to Paris!

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Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.

Hi, I’m Kelly!

After studying abroad in Spain, I became passionate about international travel. Since then, I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 36 states within the United States. When I’m not travel blogging, you can find me hiking, reading books in Spanish, or playing cribbage. I hope my blog inspires you to see the world!