2 days in Paris is just enough time to acquaint yourself with this amazing city, visit its top attractions, and enjoy the delicious cuisine Paris is famous for. Before you get to it, ensure you don’t mind waking up early and going to bed late. And, put on comfortable shoes because you’ll spend most of the time on foot!
Now, let’s see what your ideal quick Paris tour should look like:
2 Days in Paris – Day One
On the first day, you’ll explore the Left Bank, south of the Seine River.
What to Visit in Paris in the Morning of the First Day?
Visit Champ de Mars (Mars Field) next to the Eiffel Tower before 9 am and take photos of this world-famous monument. If you have time, cross the Seine and do the same from Trocadero. It’s the best photo spot for taking postcard-quality images of the landmark.
Eiffel Tower usually opens at 9:30 am. If you don’t secure a fast-track entry in advance, you better stand in line as early as possible. For the best views of Paris landmarks and attractions, go to the second floor.
QUICK FACT: Construction of the monument stirred quite a controversy in the then Parisian society. Those who didn’t like the tower visited a cafe at its base. It was the only place in the French capital offering city views free of the Eiffel Tower.
Where to Go in Paris for an Afternoon Tour?
Start walking along the Seine River toward downtown Paris around noon. En route, pay special attention to:
- The Beaux-Art (Fine Arts) Alexandre III Bridge
- Les Invalides – housing Napoleon I’s tomb – with a gilded cupola
- And monumental Grand and Petit palaces on the other side of the river
Within an hour or so, you should get to Musée d’Orsay, renowned for the world’s most significant Impressionist paintings collection.
I am a massive fan of Claude Monet, Eduard Manet, and Impressionism, so visiting Orsay should be among the highlights of your 2 days in Paris if you are a fan of these artists like me. Admiring sculptures on the ground floor by Rodin, Clesinger, Carpeaux is a highlight for me.
You’ll find quite a few eateries a stone’s throw away from Musée d’Orsay, but you can’t beat Les Antiquaries for lunch.
Jardin (Garden) du Luxembourg is what you should visit in Paris next. From Orsay, you should get there in around 30 minutes.
Brimming with manicured lawns, flower beds, tree alleys, and monumental fountains, it’s one of Paris’s most beautiful green oases and somewhere I love to frequent. If you happen to be a history buff there are many statues of French monarchs, saints, and other prominent personalities along the paths.
PLEASE NOTE: In the winter, Jardin du Luxembourg closes at 4:30 pm.
How to Spend the First Evening in the French Capital?
Browsing souvenir shops and dining specialties of Greek, Lebanese, or some other cuisine in the Latin Quarter is the way to conclude your first day in Paris. Take a short walk from Luxembourg Garden along Boulevard Saint-Michel and turn right when you pass the crossroads with Boulevard Saint-Germain.
2 Days in Paris – Day Two
On the second day, you go to the Right Bank, north of the Seine.
Begin the second day of your Paris itinerary by exploring Ile de la Cite. Famous for the burnt Notre Dame Cathedral (I am still in disbelief), Paris’s founding place teems with other attractions. If you need a break from Day 1 – take it now and relax at a cafe and watch the world go by.
Cross the bridge between 10am and 11am and access the commercial Rue de Rivoli (the second street parallel to the river). For shopaholics, it will be the highlight of their 2 days in Paris tour. Many eateries line the thoroughfare and nearby streets.
Louvre – the world’s most visited museum – will appear to your left soon enough. Three or four hours would suffice for a quick tour of the masterpieces located in European Paintings (Mona Lisa), Greek Antiquities (Nice of Samothrace), Marly Court, and Apollo Gallery. I have a post dedicated to the Louvre here
If you’re a bigger fan of wine than art, the nearby Caves de Louvre is what you might visit instead.
After visiting the Louvre Museum, relax in the adjacent Jardin de Tuileries among tree alleys, statues, and ponds. This is also one of my absolute favorite spots and on a hot summer’s day it is a great place to grab an ice cream.
Next, take photos of the adjacent Place de la Concorde, brimming with monuments to French cities and a few fountains. An Egyptian obelisk stands approximately where a guillotine called Black Widow killed countless royalists during the French Revolution (1789-99). And Marie-Antoinette was one of its victims.
Famous Champs-Elysees Boulevard, connecting Place de la Concorde to Arc de Triomphe (Triumphal Arch), is where to go in Paris next. Premium stores line both sides of the street after the crossroads with Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Dior, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, and Boss are just a few of them.
Arc de Triomphe usually operates until late, so think about climbing to its observational platform to enjoy sweeping views of the French capital. The light tends to be beautiful in the evening, so you may shoot some of the best photos during your 2 days in Paris here.
And probably the best way to conclude your itinerary is by taking a Seine River cruise. Boats of several cruise companies depart from Pont d’Iena, connecting the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero. Bateaux Parisiens and Vedettes de Paris are a few of them.
2 Day Paris: Summary
As you can see, the itinerary combines top tourist attractions and activities in the French capital. It encompasses first-class:
- Museums and works of art
- And more
Montmartre, occupying a hill north of the downtown and overlooking the city, is the French capital’s bohemian hotspot. Place du Tertre, a square teeming with painters, and the neighboring Basilica Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) are its highlights.
If you shorten the itinerary’s duration or skip some attractions or activities, Montmartre is a good substitute. Since you’d need time to get there, leave it for the end of the second day of your 2 days in Paris tour.