eiffel tower
Travel Itineraries

How to Spend the Perfect 48 hours in Paris

Paris has long been known as the city of love. It is the place to go for a romantic getaway and boasts a perfect proposal location on top of its famous Eiffel Tower. But the city also offers much more than just the romance it’s famous for.

With beautiful museums, fashionable boulevards, delicious food and drink and a rich history, Paris definitely packs a punch. Here we have put together an itinerary to help you see and do as much as possible during a 48-hour break in the city.

Day 1 – Discovery

Today is all about discovery and getting a feel for the city. We’re going to start by getting up high for the best views around and navigate the waterways to get our bearings.

Morning – Look Down on Paris

On your first morning in the city where better to start your Paris discovery than at the most famous Parisienne landmark of them all: the Eiffel Tower.

Designed by Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Statue of Liberty in New York, the tower was made for the world fair in 1889 and despite being criticised at the time, has come to be one of the most recognisable and most loved structures in the world.

The tower has 3 levels in total with restaurants on the first and second and an observation deck on the third with fantastic 360 degree views of Paris. Being one of the most popular tourist sites in the world means getting up the tower can be a busy event. But if you can’t make it to the tower early to beat the queues you could try another tactic…

That is, if you want to dine above one of the worlds most picturesque cities. That’s right, if you book a table at one of the towers’ restaurants you get to bypass the queues! However, do bear in mind that this will only allow you to reach the floor that the restaurant you’ve booked is on.

Top tip: If you need to use the metro to get to the Eiffel Tower we’d suggest getting off at Trocadero which is just across the River Seine but provides picture perfect views of the tower.

bridge over the river seine
The Pont Alexander Bridge over the River Seine provides the perfect viewpoint to see the Eiffel Tower

The River Seine ranks alongside the Thames, Danube and Rhine as one of the most iconic waterways in Europe and is the heartbeat of the city. So what better way to discover the beauty and history of Paris than taking a relaxing river cruise.

Cruises run from a pier close to the base of the Eiffel Tower and usually last one hour and include an audio guide. You will take in sights such as the Bastille, Louvre and Notre Dame which line the river so be sure to be camera ready!

After all of this early morning sight seeing it’s time to indulge in another of Paris’ famous offerings: pâtisserie. Crossing the Pont d’léna away from the Eiffel Tower and through the gardens of Trocadero, there is a place not far away called La Pâtisserie des Rêves. This pâtisserie serves delicatable sweet things which are as creative and perfect as the surrounding decor.

Afternoon – Cultural Discovery

louvre museum in Paris at night
Discover some of the world’s most beautiful artwork at the Louvre museum

Sampling Parisienne cuisine should leave you ready to start the afternoon by experiencing its cultural side with a visit to one of the most famous museums in the world, the Louvre. The largest art museum in the world, the Louvre houses some of the most iconic pieces of art ever made, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

This afternoon’s cultural discovery doesn’t stop there though. From exploring an art museum housed in a former palace, cross the Seine to experience one in a majestic former train station.

The Musee d’Orsay may be overshadowed by its more famous big brother the Louvre, but don’t let that fool you. Inside is a fantastic collection of art from some of the most well-known painters the world has seen including, Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh.

Evening – See it sparkle

As the sun begins to set the landmarks in Paris really come to life. Nowhere is this more true than for the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc is an imposing structure sitting in the middle of a roundabout at the head of the Champs-Elysees boulevard. It is a monument to those who died for France during the revolution and is an iconic structure the world over. Climb to the top just as the sun is setting for picture perfect views of the city.

Top tip: Make sure you’re on top of the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the hour as it is the perfect vantage point to watch the Eiffel Tower light show which occurs every day on the hour after sunset.

To top off the first day in the city we’re going to enjoy some cocktails in the top floor bar of the only skyscraper built in the centre of Paris, Tour Montparnasse.

The tower was built in the early 1970s and left locals horrified by the effect on the city skyline. So while that meant no other skyscrapers were built after it, Tour Montparnasse was left as the place to go for the best unobstructed views of the city and the Eiffel Tower.

Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for spectacular views of Paris

Day 2 – Finish in style

On your second day in Paris we’re going to continue the cultural exploration and end with a fitting show to bring down the curtain on your trip.

Morning – See the sun rise over Paris

Similarly to the first day, we’re going to start today with a view over the city that is hard to beat. That view comes from the steps of Sacre Coeur in northern Paris.

Sacre Coeur is a famous basilica which sits on top of the highest point in Paris and gives breathtaking views of the city and it’s famous monuments below. It is an especially good place to be early on a morning as the city begins to come to life.

A little more than a stones throw from Sacre Coeur is Place du Tertre where you can find many artists and painters displaying their works. Take a leisurely stroll around and enjoy the artwork, perhaps doing as the French do and stopping for a coffee and a pastry to help take it all in.

Afternoon – Old and New

This afternoon is going to be a bit of a mix of the old and the new.

First up is Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann which is the flagship store of the department chain Galeries Lafayette. The store has been open for more than a century and boasts fantastic art nouveau architecture inside with a fantastic rooftop view of Paris to boot. Of course, you can also indulge in a bit of retail therapy in the fashion capital of the world too!

pompidou center
The architecturally interesting Centre Pompidou has it’s insides on the outside and houses all manner of artwork and culture

The next stop incorporates a bit of culture in a very intriguing building indeed. The new style museum of Centre Pompidou is famous for having its ‘inside’ on the outside creating a vastly different architecture to what was explored on Day 1. The centre opened in the late 1970s and is a melting pot of culture, housing a vast modern art museum as well as a literary library and is well worth incorporating into any itinerary.

To finish off our afternoon adventure we’re going to visit one of the most famous cathedrals in the world: Notre-Dame de Paris. Meaning ‘Our Lady of Paris’ in English, Notre-Dame was built in early medieval times and its famous towers and French gothic architecture make this a must see attraction. Perhaps the film could be included in your pre-trip planning/watched on the journey!

Evening – A fitting finale

There’s no better way to finish our 48 hours in Paris than with a trip to the iconic Moulin Rouge for dinner, drinks and party. The windmill topped building is the venue which inspired the Hollywood blockbuster film and is the birthplace of the can-can dance which helped inspire cabarets all across Europe.

moulin rouge Paris
Where better to end your trip to Paris than the Moulin Rouge?

We hope you are inspired by this travel itinerary for spending a fantastic 48 hours in Paris. Are you thinking of travelling to the French capital soon? Let us know in the comments below.

The Rambling Travellers


Read More

5 Reasons Why Staying in a Hotel Might Not be the Obvious Choice

6 Top Things to Do in Paris

Where to go in Europe in Autumn?

8 Delicious Gluten Free Restaurants in London

What Inspired us to Create a Blog and How You Can Too


 

Please follow and like us:

16 Comments

  • Ezra

    Beautiful article and the images are just breath taking!Its always been a dream of mine to go to pairs but reading your article makes me want to go even more! lol My goal is to go there in 2021(hopefully) because I’m still a bit tied down by school right now so i cant travel.I’ll make a checklist based off this article and do every single thing (hopefully). I already had a hard time waiting and your article really doesn’t help lol. I just want to go already!

    • The Rambling Travellers

      Hi there, thanks for checking out our article on Paris. 

      We hope you have a great time when you get the chance to go! Let us know if we can help you with advice on your travels!

      The Rambling Travellers

  • AnnetteCristina

    I went to Paris as part of a larger tour which included London. We traveled to Paris by Ferry from the white cliffs of Dover. Amazing to see the underground WW!! barracks there. I don’t particularly like heights but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to go up the Eiffel Tower. We also took a lovely hour cruise along the Seine and visited the Louvre among other sites. What really stands out in my memory is also the food. Oh my! So good! My husband and I love to travel and plan on doing much more. So far we’ve been to Egypt, Croatia, Italy, France and England. There’s still so much more to see and experience! 

    • The Rambling Travellers

      It sounds like you had a great time on your trip to Paris! 

      We couldn’t agree more, there really is so many places to visit in the world. We’ve not made it to Egypt or Croatia yet but they’re definitely on the list for the future. Do you have any advice for visiting there? Did you enjoy it?

      The Rambling Travellers

  • Clement

    Thank you for coming up with this post, You have really given great insight into how to navigate around Paris and how best to enjoy the wonderful city of love. I have always dream of Paris and the great Eiffel tower. I think is one of the most beautiful places on earth and I will surely consider it for my next vacation. Ate there restaurants that serves good continental dishes around? 

    • The Rambling Travellers

      Hi there, we’re glad you enjoyed our Paris itinerary and we hope you get to make your dream a reality!

      If you’re looking for good continental food in Paris and also the perfect view then we would really recommend checking out 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant. This restaurant is on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower and will give you an experience you won’t forget in a hurry!

      The Rambling Travellers

  • Eric

    That’s a lot of sights to see in such a small time. I’ve been to many countries in my time in the Navy and never had this detailed of a plan when I got to stop and see new places. I wish I would have found this site sooner. Of all the places you went to in Paris, which place had your favorite food?

    • The Rambling Travellers

      It is a lot of sights but it’s definitely achievable and will make for an unforgettable weekend! If you’re looking for good food then you really can’t go far wrong with trying out 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. Great food and great location!

      The Rambling Travellers

  • Mike

    My wife cannot find out I spied your site!  If it gets back to her it’s going to cost me BIG time.

      Your pictures are wonderful; don’t believe I’ve ever seen the Eiffel tower from the water; what a great shot.  All the photos were so well done.  Your sites presentation and abundance of white space make it very easy to navigate and enjoy your offerings one bite at a time.  

    I  am not much of a traveler but hope to be upon retiring.  I found your usage of the map in marking your travels informative and fun.  I will bookmark your site and even allow my wife to peruse your offerings as the most appreciated meals and journeys are those we have time to savor.

    Thank You – Mike

    • The Rambling Travellers

      Hi Mike, thanks for checking out our site. 

      We hope you and your wife find some inspiration to travel in your retirement!

      The Rambling Travellers

  • Cheri

    What a perfect itinerary to help anyone see the best highlights of Paris even if they only have two days to visit. I’m sure one would be exhausted at the end of those 48 hours, but how worth it it would all be for the amazing views and iconic experiences. I’m curious, though, how much time one would have to spend in the Louvre to really see it all? It’s one museum I hope to visit one day for sure…but I’m guessing one could spend an entire week trying to see everything it holds! Thanks so much for your insights on making the most of a few days in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

    • The Rambling Travellers

      Thanks for your comment Cheri. We’re glad you enjoyed reading about our Paris itinerary.

      How long to spend in the Louvre really depends on your personal taste. For some people, it is enough to be able to just visit and see the Mona Lisa. Other people can spend hours studying one piece of art! So it really does depend on your love and appreciation for the arts. One thing is for sure, the Louvre is a huge museum so definitely set aside a couple of hours at least to do it justice!

      The Rambling Travellers

  • Theresa

    Your article really makes me want to go back to Paris! (Will you be my tour guide?) Just this morning, I was telling my son that I had been to Paris as a young teen but that our tour had been somewhat boring being geared toward “educating” us about history. We spent a day going from one cathedral to another and all of the information was jumbled in my mind. We stood at the base of the Eiffel Tower and discussed whether or not it was true that people could actually go inside. How fun to find out from your article that it was designed by the same man who built the Statue of Liberty! That would have been interesting even to a group of young students.

    I love the picture you have painted in my mind! What a beautiful place it is when I see it through the eyes of someone who appreciates it! Having each day planned out in sequence, including where to watch the sunrise and where to eat makes it feel real. The only thing I’m left to wonder about is where would be the best place to stay?

    Thanks so much for the lovely pictures and descriptions; you have changed my mind about what it is like in Paris!

    • The Rambling Travellers

      Hi there! Thank you for checking out our site – I’m glad you liked the article 🙂 Paris is a truly beautiful city and definitely worth a visit. With regards to where to stay, there are so many amazing places, from hotels with views of the Eiffel Tower to hotels surrounded by excellent night life! Naturally staying outside of the city centre would be cheaper but there are also plenty of apartments for rent that may be more suitable for your holiday style. You can check out why we prefer staying in an apartment here.

      The Rambling Travellers

  • Kate

    It looks so beautiful… Paris is my dream destination. If I’m lucky enough, I’ll have enough money to go there for a week in summer. I hope I’ll visit everything on your list. 

    I’m definitely going to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame and the Louvre. I’m not sure about Moulin Rouge…

    By the way, what is your favourite attraction? The one you definitely have to visit no matter what?

    • The Rambling Travellers

      Hi there! Thank you for checking out our article. Paris is really very beautiful and definitely somewhere to have on your bucket list! There are so many beautiful attractions, I’m not sure I could choose just one! Although when I think of Paris the first attractions I think of are the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre!

      The Rambling Travellers

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *