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Advice needed for my 2-day Paris itinerary!

I am beginning a tour of Europe with a 2 day stay in Paris. There is so much to see and do in this city that I can't help but feel overwhelmed while planning my itinerary! I do have an idea of what I want to see, so below I'll list points of interest.


-Sainte Chapelle

-Notre Dame

-Eiffel Tower

-Arc de Triomphe

-Sacre Coeur

-Possibly Musee d' Orsay and Centre de Pompidou

-Possibly a river cruise

My main priorities while in Paris include:

-eating/experiencing the cuisine

-getting the best view of Paris for pictures

-having a picnic in a scenic park and enjoying time outside

-experiencing the culture

-fun nightlife

Things I don't care about:


-spending lots of time indoors/in museums

Any suggestions would be very welcome! Merci beaucoup!

Posted by
5037 posts
  • Have you ever been to Paris before?
  • Have you ever been to Europe before?
  • Where are you flying in from?
  • Where are you going after Paris?
  • When (what time of the year) are you going?

Knowing the answers to the above questions will help everyone give you better suggestions.

Hint: When you say you will have a "2 say stay in Paris" you're not counting your arrival day or your departure day, right?

Posted by
6 posts


I've never been to Paris or Europe before. I'm flying from Denver, CO to Charles de Gaulle on May 27th. I'll arrive at 7 am in Paris on the 28th, and will be off to my next destination at 21:00 on the 29th. So I'll have one full day and night, plus one more day to explore. I'll be going to Barcelona next and then on to Switzerland, Italy, and Slovenia.

Posted by
2347 posts

You are giving one of the great cities in the world way too little time. On day 1 you wil be jet lagged. You’ll be OK strolling, having lunch, seeing perhaps Notre Dame or Saint Chapelle, Luxembourg Park, then you’ll begin to fade as the clock catches up with you. Nightlife? You’ll be dead on your feet by 1900. The next day you have more time and energy, but you will need to depart, get your transportation, etc. which will eat into your usable time. I’d pick two from your list. The Eiffel Tower is a must do for many visitors but I find it a long time to get to a high place and not worth it. Best solution for you is slow down and add at least another day, maybe two if you can.

Posted by
3283 posts

Eiffel Tower- I would go to Champ de Mars and view it both during the day and the night. I wouldn't take time to climb it. You don't see the Eiffel Tower from the Eiffel tower is the way I look at it.
Notre Dame-I feel its a must see and the views are fabulous from the top. The inside is free, but extra to go to top and though it is included in the Paris Pass, you don't get to cut the line. I usually get in line about a half hour before it opens.
Sainte Chapelle is very beautiful, lines can be long and again, the Paris Museum Pass does not allow you to cut the lines.
Sacre Coeur-I liked wondering Montemarte and liked going into the Sacre Coeur. The views of Paris from the steps is nice. As much as I like Montemarte and the Sacre Coeur, this would be lower on my priorities for a short trip.
Both the Orsay and Pompidou are on the Paris Museum Pass and it does allow you to skip the line. I love the Orsay, but that's the kind of art I like. I went to the Pompidou because it is included in the Paris Pass, the views of Paris as dusk are especially lovely. I spent about an hour looking at the art, and I'm glad I went, but honestly, not my favorite type of art. I really like the Orangerie, it's smaller, and it's my kind of art. The Louvre is worth a visit even for an hour or so since it is a former palace and the architecture is lovely. I typically spend more time because there is art there I like. Also, Napoleon's apartments are viewable. The Louvre is on the Paris Museum Pass and it does allow you to cut the line a bit.
I have walked along the Seine which I highly recommend. In my 3 trips I haven't done a river cruise. People enjoy it and maybe some day I will take one.
My favorite parks/picnic areas are the Champ de Mars and Luxembourg Gardens. The Touilleries is nice, too.
I spent two days in Paris on the end of a Europe trip with my daughters. I was able to "cram" a lot in by purchasing an all day metro pass and then used it even if it was just a half mile. It was January so I didn't do any picnics but we did enjoy the outdoor cafes which typically have heaters.
I have gone to the Arc de Triomphe twice. Views are nice, you can cut the line with a Paris Museum Pass. I enjoy walking to the Louvre from the Arc de Triomphe.

Posted by
1176 posts

Arc, Eiffel, and Notre Dame. After that prioritize to preference. You might get in your top 5 if you hurry.

Yes you will fade fast that first evening, but you'll rebound nicely the next day.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all so much for your suggestions!

Although I would have preferred to have more time in Paris, my schedule just won't allow it. I've decided I will definitely see Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower (but not going to the top), the Arc de Triomphe, and at least one park. I'd like to see Sacre Coeur but it's not completely set in stone. I forgot to mention that I'm interested in Tour Montparnasse for a sunset view of Paris, so I might end my fist day there even though it's a bit out of the way of everything else I want to see.

Thank you all for the information and suggestions!

Posted by
276 posts

Hi nevaswartz, arriving at 7 am you'd think you would have a full day. But it takes awhile to get to the city. You might not get to your hotel until 11 ot 12. But that's still time to enjoy yourself. Where are you staying? I'd review that neighborhood well before you arrive, know what's there and walk, you'll be surprised at all you can enjoy right in your neighborhood. Hopping on metros will eat up time. On day 1 I'd stay out of any museums, even Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle may have lines too long eating away your time. But if the lines are short visit both, well worth your time. Sacre Coeur would give you the views. There are many gardens throughout the city. Grab something good to eat and enjoy a rest in any park. Luxembourg garden mentioned already is lovely. Google a nice restaurant before you arrive in Paris and enjoy dinner, especially eating outside it's wonderful. If you have lots of energy you could hire an uber to take you to all the top spots after dark. It's quite magical to see them lit at night. On day 2 get up early and you could spend a couple of hours in either museum you mentioned.. I'd skip the river cruise. You'll get more out of walking. Have a second restaurant picked out for lunch and enjoy. After you'll have a few hours to walk and enjoy this beautiful city before you'll need to leave. It's also a nice time to buy something good to eat on your way to Barcelona. Have fun.

Posted by
2006 posts

Another idea to help consolidate places of interest: The hop on hop off Batobus along the Seine has 8 stops that covers landmarks, sites, cafes, parks, photo opportunities, & cultural experiences.

Posted by
1176 posts

Neva if you can take a nap of less than an hour after getting to your hotel. Any more could make it hard getting to sleep at a decent hour that night. This will recharge your batteries.

Posted by
190 posts

Check in advance with your hotel whether you can check in early. If so, you can shower and nap and feel human again! If not, you can drop your luggage and head straight out, but maybe find yourself dragging a bit. You might want two different plans based on which situation you will be in.

Posted by
1176 posts

Agree with Renee I couldn't wait to shower and nap. If you can't check in early then maybe push a short nap to 1500 or 1600, as soon as you can get your room, and then you'll catch a second wind.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all so much for your replies! You guys have been so helpful and informative! After a couple more days of research, I think I've come up with a pretty nice itinerary.

May 28th - flight arrives at 7 am. Take metro and get off at Gare du Nord and explore the Sacre Coeur/Montmartre area. Walk or metro over to Buttes-Chaumont for a picnic lunch. Explore some of the neighboring areas, and make my way to my hostel to refresh. Eat dinner somewhere, then take metro to Tour Montparnasse for sunset pictures of Paris skyline. Walk along the Seine at night, go to a few bars/music venues.

May 29th - Begin day at Notre Dame (my hostel is 10 minutes walking distance). Go to Sainte Chapelle next. Walk to Louvre to see the pyramid and gardens. Have lunch in the park by the Eiffel Tower. End my tour by visiting Arc de Triomphe, which is about a 10 minutes walk from where the airport shuttle will pick me up for my flight to Spain.

Thank you guy again for all the information and recommendations! I appreciated it so much!