Paris in 2 Days

If you’ve only got two days to visit the City of Light, here’s some tips to make sure you don’t miss out on it’s most impressive treasures.

Day 1 Paris Highlights

10:00 AM A walk through the Jardin des Tuileries

What better way to start discovering Paris than a stroll in the a typical garden à la française? Constructed to serve the Palais des Tuileries, a former royal residence, this garden has seen a number of transformations notably under Louis XIV, during the Revolution, and even more recently under the late President Mitterrand. An array of statues embellishing the central path dazzle art lovers along the way. Start at the basin outside of the Concorde metro station and work your way up toward the Louvre.

12:30 PM Lunch by the Madeleine

Head toward the Comédie Française and take Rue Saint-Honoré, crossing Place Vendôme, until you get to the Rue des Capucines. Welcome to chic Paris: designer boutiques displaying resplendent shop windows galore! In two words, fancy schmancy!

Pop into Au Petit Vêndome (8 rue des Capucines), where Parisians flock during lunchtime to get the city’s yummiest jambon-beurre sandwich for only 3,60€. Enjoy it with a glass of Saint-Pourçain at the counter, or get it to go to devour it while admiring to the magnificent façade of the Madeleine nearby.

2:00 PM An Afternoon at the Louvre

Don’t start your Louvre visit without grabbing a museum plan (available at the entrance). Take a minute to set your priorities right. It would take days to visit all three immense wings of the museum. There are also leaflets to help you plan a guided visit.

7:00 PM Pique-nique on the Ile de la Cité

Give your brain a well-deserved break and go relax on the banks of the Seine. Fill your pick-nick baskets at one of the supermarkets on Rue Rivoli or take a detour to Rue Coquillere where you’ll find one of the best boulangeries in the neighborhood (Les Soeurs Sucrés, open Mon-Fri 7am-8pm) as well as a wonderful wine shop a little farther down (Des Mets et des Vins, open Tues-Sat 10am-8pm) and let the knowledgeable shopkeeper, Fred, advise you. Access the island from the Pont-Neuf and bag a spot on the waterfront. It is on the Ile de la Cité that the first Roman settlers founded Lutece, their ancient name for Paris. Today, Parisians flock to the island to unwind on sun drenched days. On the other end of, where Notre-Dame is located, things tend to get more lively at night, as students often organize get-togethers and street-artists offer entertainment on the riverbank.

Day 2 Meet the Parisians

10:00 AM Breakfast in St. Germain

Bask in the memory of famous French thinkers and writers in Saint-Germain-des-Près. This former intellectual haven has turned into a glamour zone teeming with designer boutiques and haute-de-gamme art galleries. Nonetheless, you could still bump into a big name in literature, politics, or journalism, although these chances have become increasingly rare. Whatever you do, stay clear of the mythical Café de Flore—the rude waiters and outrageous prices will disappoint even the most optimistic tourist.

12:00 PMLunch in the Jardin du Luxembourg

You’ll find the alluring garden a bit to the south of Boulevard Saint-German between the senate building and the Pantheon. Groups of mingling students and wide-eyed tourists pervade the paths around the flower beds and fountains. The residents of the quartier are also known to seek refuge among the shadowy and sinous paths on the garden’s west-end. Enjoy a crêpe at the Buvettes des Marionnetes or grab a sandwich at a nearby bakery (Rue Vavin or Rue Lhomond).

2:00PM An afternoon of trendy shopping

What’s a visit to Paris without an afternoon spent boutique-hopping? If you’re into vintage and independent designers check out the Marais or the vicinity of Etienne-Marcel. Access to a bigger budget? Head to Les Galeries Lafayette or check out the exclusive L’Éclaireur or Sandrine Phillipe’s very edgy boutique both on Rue Hérold.

7:00 PM Diner @ Canal Saint Martin

Already your last night in Paris! You could keep it traditional and catch Montmartre during sunset, or you could trek over to the Canal St. Martin. Dine at Vivant (43 Rue des Petites Écuries, reservation recommended) for a sophisticated, market fresh meal. Have a drink in one of the trendy bars along the canal (Chez Prune at 36 Rue Beaurepaire for example), or make yourself comfortable on the bank and enjoy the colorful, young atmosphere.

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