Editor’s Note: This travel guide to exploring Paris in 2 days is part of our ongoing itinerary series on Winetraveler. Discover authentic things to do and unique experiences in various countries and cities around the world.
Are you a first-time visitor to Paris? Maybe you have a long layover, or want to enjoy a Parisian weekend before heading to the French Riviera. Either way, here is a 48-hour itinerary for the City of Light to ensure you don’t miss any of the hotspots, and wining and dining along the way. Of course, with so many activities in Paris, you might even consider extending your trip!
IN THIS GUIDE:
It’s easy to fly from a number of U.S. hubs to Paris on a variety of airlines nonstop. Likewise, you can get to Paris from many other European cities, too, combing a visit to Paris with a vacation in Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, or otherwise.
Once in Paris, you won’t need to rent a car. Instead, get around on the city’s well-connected metro, or by using taxis or Uber.
Paris has every and any type of accommodation. From affordable backpacker hostels to some of the fanciest hotels in Europe, you can find lodging to suit your tastes and budget. There are also a number of apartment and home rentals on popular sites like Airbnb.
Here at Winetraveler, we recommend the opulent Four Seasons George V Paris if you’re looking for a real splurge. For the most sought-after locations and views, consider staying on the right bank of the Seine river. The 1st, 8th, and 16th arrondissements were recently rated the best locations in the city for accommodation according to Travel + Leisure. Luxury hotels including Le Meurice, Le Bristol (located on Champs-Élysées) and Hôtel Plaza Athénée (on the other side of Champs-Élysées) will undoubtedly leave you with a 48-hour experience you’ll never forget.
Another tried-and-true 5-star hotel experience that’s tough to beat is a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Paris. The location in the 1st arrondissement will place you in close proximity to the Louvre and designer boutiques in some of the top shopping neighborhoods.
For a boutique option, consider the Hoxton, located in an 18th-century building in the 2nd arrondissement. Those on a budget may prefer to stay in one of the three hip Mama Shelter properties located in Paris.
Some individuals and families prefer tour packages when visiting Europe. If you’d rather not explore Paris by yourself and it’s your first time, consider scheduling some of the highly-rated guided, yet private experiences recommended below. Continue on if you’d prefer to learn about specific things to do over a 2-day period broken down by morning, afternoon and evenings each day.
Take a gourmet river cruise on the Seine past Paris’ most famous monuments. Champagne and live music are included if you’re able to book an 8:30 departure.
Make the most of your 2 days in Paris by taking a hop-on-hop-off bus around the city to all the important landmarks.
Want to get to the top of the Eiffel tower quickly? You can schedule an elevator ride to the summit without waiting in line.
Have a Champagne tasting on the Seine river led by a certified sommelier.
Take a day trip and visit the Palace of Versailles with round-trip hotel pickup included and an optional show.
Visit the Paris Catacombs with access to restricted areas most of the public can’t get to.
Tour the Champagne region itself on a day trip from Paris with an all-inclusive small group tour, with lunch, a master class, and a visit to 8 famous estates.
Your 48-Hour Paris Travel Guide and Itinerary
Morning: Start off your day with a croissant and coffee for breakfast. You might opt for one of the most famous bakeries in Paris, such as Du Pain et des Idées. But in Paris, it’s easy to enjoy delicious baked goods and strong coffee almost everywhere. Just find the nearest local boulangerie (bakery) and get your croissant fix there.
Without a doubt, those with limited time in Paris need to see the Eiffel Tower first. And there are various ways to do so. You can head straight to the attraction itself, and go up to different levels via the stairs or elevator (prices vary depending on how you go up). We recommend you skip the line and buy tickets with Fat Tire Tours. Or, you can take photos from the grassy knoll leading up to the tower, called the Champs de Mars. On the side, the tower is visible from the Jardines du Trocadéro. Another way to view the tower is via a boat ride along the Seine.
Winetraveler Tip: They serve Champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower! But it’s not cheap. Expect to spend at least 14 euros for a glass of Moet.
Afternoon: Enjoy a typical French lunch of duck confit, pomme frites and a crisp glass of rosé at Bo Zinc, a French brassiere within walking distance just across the river from the Eiffel Tower. Then head up to view the Arc de Triomphe (skip the line with this link). You can enjoy it from down below, or go up to the top for a bird’s eye view of Paris, you can even spot the Eiffel Tower from up above. Then, wander down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées for a taste of luxury Paris.
Evening: Sample the best of French wine and cuisine at Le Barav, a cozy wine bar in the 3rd arrondissement. Nearby, the restaurant’s wine cellar, Le Cave, can be booked for tastings if you’d prefer to visit and taste during the day. If you think you know French wine, order the mystery wine. If you guess the region or grape variety correctly, you’ll earn yourself a free bottle.
Morning: Start with a hearty breakfast at Holybelly, a breakfast and brunch spot with a seasonal menu. Then, head to the most famous museum in Paris: The Louvre. It’s best to buy tickets online to avoid long lines and waiting. If you don’t feel like fighting the crowds to see the Mona Lisa, the D’Orsay Museum, located in a former train station, the Centre Pompidou, and the Rodin Museum are artistic alternatives.
Afternoon: It’s time for a picnic, weather permitting. Pick up a baguette, some cheese and ham, and a bottle of Bordeaux. Then, head over to the Jardin du Luxembourg to enjoy your French delights while leisurely basking in the shadow of the French senate building. Nearby, you can check out the famous Pantheon building post-picnic. If you’re up for further walking, head over to Notre Dame to view the famous cathedral.
Evening: Sample fondue (melted cheese) at Pain Vin Fromages. Or if you’d prefer a French seasonal menu, try Jaja Restaurant. Then, take in a cabaret show at Moulin Rouge. Or, watch the Eiffel Tower lights sparkle on the hour after dark if you just can’t get enough of the iconic iron structure.
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