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2 1/2 days in Paris


I'm heading to Paris for 2 1/2 days (not as much time as I would like but I will be back!). What should I NOT miss? It will be Thursday (1/2 day), Friday, Saturday.

Thank you for any suggestions you have.


Posted by
10059 posts

Rick Steve's Paris guide has a list of sights with his personal rankings of 3 diamonds, 2 diamknds, and so on. Good place to start and see what interests you. Sometimes my 3 diamond sights are Rick's one diamond, but I pick them because of MY interests. I can usually only do one museum a day, for example.

Posted by
13 posts

Where are you arriving from? If from the USA, you will be pretty tired that first half day.
Then, have you been to Paris before?
Where are you staying?
Lastly, do you leave on Sunday, or is Saturday also a partial day?

Two days isn't much. Go for things you don't normally have, such as food. Make good choices about meals that reflect where you are. Try some traditional French cuisine and maybe Algerian, too.

If you haven't, I'd visit the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, it can be booked up on short notice.

Definitely visit the Ile de la Cite, even though Notre Dame is closed. Walk down the left bank. Consider a trip on the river (a couple of hours). I'd catch the metro or a bus to visit Sacre Coeur basilica, as well. It's a beautiful church with commanding views. The neighborhood around it, Monmartre, has some shopping and cafes (maybe 1/2 a day?). You might also stroll down the Rue de Rivoli from the Tuileries Garden past the Place de la Concorde down the Champs Elysees, to the Arc de Triomphe (an hour or two).

You might consider one of several museums, like the Musee d'Orsay, but you can easily lose yourself in these for quite a while. The Louvre is right out, you don't have the time. I'd spend the time enjoying the city and save such visits for another time.

Anyway, I'd start there.

Enjoy your vacance! Sean

Posted by
985 posts

If you’ve never been before, definitely do one or more of Rick’s walks listed in his Paris guidebook, add a museum if it interests you, and enjoy the food!

Posted by
5262 posts

Our host's recommendations re Paris are right here on this website -- see "At a Glance" and "Plan." Your interests and energy levels may vary of course.

Posted by
12 posts

We'll be coming from London so jetlag won't be an issue. The Eurostar has us getting to Paris about 11 or 12 noon on Thursday and we fly out from CDG Sunday morning. Somehow we found an Airbnb on the Ile de la Cite to stay at.

I just want to get the most out of the visit without making it be a blur but see what makes Paris special.

Posted by
511 posts

If you tell us your interests we can get more specific, but I second those who have recommended walks. You might try to visit one church or cathedral (I vote for Sainte Chapelle), one museum, and a one-hour Seine cruise (Vedettes du Pont Neuf is near where you're staying).

Posted by
12 posts

My interests include architecture, food, books, oddball sites, walks local neighborhoods.

The Louvre and Saint Chappelle as well as the RS historic city tour are given.
What is everyone's favorite Parisian place or experience?

Posted by
307 posts

I love the Musee d'Orsay's Impressionist galleries on the top floor. We headed directly there on our visit, and I'm sure I missed other treasures below...but I loved the Impressionist paintings. If you go to the Louvre, check out their website first, and Rick's tour so that you can hit the exhibits that appeal to you and then leave before you are too overwhelmed to appreciate anything else on your timetable.

Check out which museums have extended hours - maybe that will help you make the most of your short visit.

A Nutella crepe from a street vendor, with the crepe made fresh before your eyes, would be a memorable treat. Walking through Luxembourg Gardens and seeing the Medici fountain, and walking through the Tuileries by the Louvre and taking time to sit in a green chair and watch the world around you - maybe while eating a little picnic or a pastry from a nearby patisserie...these were some of our highlights recently. There will be lots of places to pop in and buy picnic supplies or simply desserts.

The Rodin gardens are beautiful to stroll through, with lots of sculptures and roses, and they have a small cafe there, too.

The Cluny museum is small and cool and very manageable for a short visit. Roman ruins, stained glass, and the unicorn tapestries make for an interesting visit. I think some of the glass from Saint Chapelle is there...and if you get a chance to go to Saint Chapelle, it is breathtakingly beautiful.

There's so much you can choose from. If there's a Museum Pass for two days, that might be worth your while for the jump the line privileges.

With such a short stay, maybe consider using buses as much as or more than Metro lines for traveling across town - so you can see more. On our first visit with our kids, we took a Hop On Hop Off tour which gave a great overview of many sights and history all at once. We sat on the top, and saw so many famous spots, while resting weary feet. Depending on when you visit, there might be really long lines for these buses, or not. You'd have to decide if it was worth the cost. (We decided it was NOT worth the cost in Barcelona last summer, and wandered on our own).

Have fun!

Posted by
5697 posts

I'm a Monet fan, so Orangerie (waterlilies room), Marmatton museum (small, less-crowded, but not covered by Paris Museum Pass), impressionist floor of Orsay. Eiffel tower seen from the bottom, from the river, from a bridge is memorable even if you can't get tickets for the top. See Sainte Chappelle early in the morning for shorter lines. And a Seine cruise almost any time.

Posted by
14919 posts

After a number of 1-2 week visits, my favorite thing in Paris is just being there, walking along the Seine, watching sunset from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, finding a cafe in the Marais (much of which is turned into a pedestrian mall on the weekend) and people-watching, a one-hour cruise on the Seine with Les Vedettes du Pont Neuf. With only 2.5 days, I wouldn't want to spend hours in museums. I'd duck into a couple of the very old churches on the Left Bank and eat a few delicious dark chocolates and macarons from a couple of the top chocolatiers.

Instead of an RS walk - either from the guide book or downloading his audio tours - you might like to take a Paris Walks guided tour. You can cover more ground with a Fat Tires bike tour or pricey but fun Segway tour.

Maybe an evening concert at Sainte-Chapelle.

Posted by
720 posts

I agree with Chani....great suggestions....plan your Seine Cruise at night when the lights flicker on the Eiffel Tower. Go to David Lebovitz’s Blog and make certain you read his THE THINGS YOU MUST EAT BEFORE LEAVING PARIS. You can map the places where you will get these unforgettable treats and see Paris while you check out their locations!