Most people agree that Paris is one of the most beautiful place to see in the world and you
could spend two weeks there and still not see all of the beauty, art, and sights it has to offer. Both times I have been lucky enough to make it to Paris it was for a short trip of about 48 hours. Now, I don’t recommend going for 48 hours if you have the opportunity to stay longer absolutely do it! But for those of you that don’t have the luxury of a two week vacation or are looking to add Paris as a stop in a longer vacation, here’s all of the places I tackled while in Paris for 48 hours (over two different trips). Of course, everyone has different sites that are important to them, so make sure you mix and match what interests you and fits with your time frame. A lot also depends on where your hotel is located. I have stayed on two opposite sides of Paris but I definitely recommend using Uber to get around because it is super easy!
I seriously recommend the Luxembourg Gardens area. It is very centrally located, safe, and gorgeous! We stayed at a boutique hotel in this area called Hotel Le Senat. It was seriously beautiful, had amazing hot/cold breakfast (included), and we even had a balcony overlooking Paris. Since it was our engagement weekend, John splurged a bit but we usually never spend this much on a hotel (about 215-240 Euro per night). As always, I suggest checking out Hotwire if you aren’t picky about specifics because you can get a great deal on there.
Speaking of Hotwire, that’s what I used on my first trip to Paris and we ended up over by the Arc De Triomphe at Le Meridien Etoile and it was absolutely stunning. The beds are amazingly comfortable and it really is a luxurious hotel. At regular price this hotel starts at 319 Euro but we paid closer to $250 USD through Hotwire.
Moral of the story, it’s expensive to stay in Paris.
- Eiffel Tower (obviously) – If you went to Paris and didn’t spend a significant amount of time soaking in this beautiful site then I would question your sanity. It’s mesmerizing and no matter what the time of day, it is worth going to see. The first time I went to Paris we opted to climb the stairs up into the tower. This was an unforgettable experience and so much fun. If you are physically able to climb all those stairs (it’s a lot) you should definitely do it! If not, there’s an elevator but it’s not as cool :). When me and John went back we didn’t have the time to make it up the tower but that was where we told all of our family and friends where we were and that we were engaged. It’s the perfect backdrop for all kinds of announcements or even just the perfect Instagram.
- Notre Dame – This building has so
much history and it’s such a beautiful site that you cannot miss stopping by. The line gets super long to go inside so unfortunately I haven’t made it in both times I was in Paris but I swear next time I will. Notre Dame is breathtaking from every angle and I can’t wait to see what it looks like on the inside. Be SUPER careful here for pickpockets, we noticed a lot of people try to get you to sign a paper they have and while you are signing that is when they will steal from you.
- Montmarte/ Sacré-Cœur – I made here during my first trip and it really is a can’t miss. You can also walk to Moulin Rouge from this location (this isn’t on my list because it’s not that exciting to me). Montmarte is a really quaint district of Paris that is full of all the cutest little cafes and also has a big hill with tons of steps leading to Sacré-Cœur. If you can, definitely climb the steps to have a look in the church because it’s beautiful and if you turn around, the view of Paris is great. At the bottom of these stairs is also a really tasty bakery with great croissants but I can’t remember the name.
- Louvre Museum – This is a no-brainer too and if you miss it, that’s just a real shame. Whether you’re an art fan or not, the Louvre is enjoyable and worth seeing. I’ll be honest, I’m not super crazy about art and I never took art history so I had no idea what I was looking at half the time but seeing pieces like The Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Venus de Milo were really cool and you can take pictures of them. The room with Mona Lisa gets SUPER busy and the line to get into the Louvre can be really long so I definitely suggest planning this for an early morning and getting in line 15 minutes before they even open.
- Trocadero – I only made it here on my second
trip and hadn’t even known about it on my first trip. It’s technically a small area of Paris but it’s a big palace and the marble plaza is THE place for photos. John chose this place for our engagement because it is unbeatable in terms of photo opportunities and the view of the Eiffel Tower is perfect. I haven’t been in the Trocadero but I can only imagine based on the outside that it’s beautiful!
- Jardin du Luxembourg – Paris has tons of Gardens
but Luxembourg really takes the cake for me. There is a beautiful palace, fountains, statues, and a grove of trees that are very cool looking. On my second trip, we would wake up in the morning and stroll through the park before it got busy and I found it so calming and enjoyable.
- Arc De Triomphe – This is another landmark you can’t miss. During my first trip we stayed right by here so we spent a lot of time marveling at this site. I know you can go up into it but we weren’t able to do that for lack of time. I definitely think climbing The Eiffel Tower is a better view and cooler experience.
- Versailles – This is a full day trip so with limited time it’s tough to squeeze it in. We
managed to spend the day there during my first visit and I would really love to go back. We did take public transport to get there and it can get really busy so definitely get there early. Also, we had a big problem finding a place to stop and eat for lunch so I might consider packing lunch if you can and eating it in the gardens. At Versailles, you get to see the Palace that Marie Antionette lived in, her room (and all the other royals but to be honest, I only cared about Marie), the Hall of Mirrors, and the Garden. If you’re lucky they have fountain shows multiple times throughout the day so try to time it out so you can see that too. If you have the time, definitely at Versailles to your itinerary but if you only have a few days it’s something that can definitely be left out too.
- Jardin Des Tuileries – This is also a garden that I feel like can’t be missed. We stopped here during our engagement photos and I was shocked I hadn’t been there the first time we went to Paris. The pictures are stunning and the palace and trees provide a perfect backdrop for any photo.
- 4 Roues Sous 1 Parapluie – Really pressed for time and considering doing one of the “hop- on- hop -off” tours? Skip it and do a personal tour with 4 Roues sous 1 Parapluie. On my second trip here, John planned this for us and it was seriously such an unforgettable way to see Paris. They picked us up in the tiniest, open top car I have ever seen and the guide was the sweetest person who had a lot of knowledge about the city. Everywhere we went people were waving at us and he even let us stand up to get photos. We did it at night so it got a bit chilly but I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything else. This runs about $100 USD per ticket but it’s well worth it.
Restaurants/ Food to Try
The first time I went to Paris was at the end of my study abroad experience, so to say I was broke is an understatement. We lived on croissants, baguettes, and cheese. I’m not gonna lie, I was actually in heaven because bread and cheese is really really good but real meals are a better option. Paris is expensive, and the food there is no different. Many of the little cafes are pretty similar but you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything they offer.
My favorite treat in Paris is Macarons
because there are so many flavors and the bakeries that sell them are always the most adorable places that I never want to leave. They are pricey but worth every penny in my opinion. These also make a great souvenir to bring home (or just bring them home for yourself and cry about how you wish you were back in Paris while you eat them like I did).
Croque Monsieur is my favorite brunch/ lunch option because it’s just so tasty. Most places make it with toast, ham, and cheese but everywhere puts their own little spin on it. I am definitely a fan and it fills you up.
If you leave Paris without having a freshly made crepe then you really didn’t live. There are shops dedicated just to making sweet and savory crepes and they come out warm and delicious every time. I am a sucker for Nutella crepes so I will be honest, I haven’t tried any others and I probably never will because Nutella crepes in Paris is literally heaven on Earth.
If all else fails and you’re feeling super poor, buy a block of brie and baguette to munch on. A baguette is usually only 1 Euro and cheese should be less than 5. depending on where you buy it from. Then I would just go to town on them together and enjoy.
Of course I didn’t take note of many of the restaurants considering we didn’t stop at many and lived off snacks as much as possible but we did go to Minipalais for our engagement dinner and it’s probably the best meal I had of my entire life. Their champagne selection was on point and we both had Roasted Beef Tenderloin but the real star of the show was their Creme Brûlée. This restaurant really is a can’t miss and is super fancy (we felt very out of place when John dropped his silverware on the ground LOL).
Overall, Paris is a can’t miss destination that I feel everyone needs to make it to in their lifetime even if it’s only for 48 hours. Hopefully, you will find what attractions are right for you to fit into your trip. Three things I wish I had the time to do during both of my trips to Paris were going into the Catacombs, Waiting in line to see inside Notre Dame and wandering through the Museum de Orsay. Looks like I’ll just have to go back!