Weekend in Paris. It is a dream for many travellers. Young lovers come here for a romantic getaway, art-lovers are attracted by impressive collection in the Louvre, gourmets want to try snails and frogs. Paris attractions seem to be countless. So what is the perfect plan for a weekend in Paris? This guide will help you plan your trip 🙂
Check also this practical post: Paris Trip Planner: All You Need To Know
You can also download this itinerary for a weekend in Paris in an editable Excel file. It’s a useful travel planner I designed for myself and I’m happy to share with you 🙂 You will also get access to my Secret Travel Resources Database with all other extra materials I made.
Weekend in Paris: What to do?
Table of Contents
- Weekend in Paris: What to do?
- Weekend in Paris: Day 1
- Weekend in Paris: Day 2
- Weekend in Paris: additional attractions
- Where to stay in Paris for a weekend?
Weekend in Paris: Day 1
Start your trip with the most famous things to do in Paris, travel directly to the Eiffel Tower. The closest metro stations are Bir-Hakeim (line 6), Trocadero (line 6 and 9) and RER C train station called Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel. Check my practical post for more information on Paris public transportation:
When you think of Paris attractions, it is the first thing that comes to your mind. Eiffel Tower, the Iron Lady 🙂 Designed by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate 100th anniversary of French Revolution. It was also supposed to be a symbol of economic and technological power of France.
Nowadays, thousands of tourists visit it every day. No matter if you spend 36 hours in Paris, a weekend in Paris, a few hours or a few weeks, you can’t miss it. On the tower, you can visit three viewing platforms. You can reach all of them by lift and two first by stairs.
If you plan to climb up the tower and see Paris landmarks from above, make sure to book your ticket and be there in advance. Queues to the Eiffel Tower are huge and if you buy your ticket online, you’ll skip some. Not all though – you’ll still need to wait for security check. Hard to get mad about that, we all have heard about attacks that took place in Paris. But do plan a bit more time.
The Eiffel Tower is impressive and when I saw it for the first time, I felt slightly surreal. I’ve seen it so many times in pictures and it turns out, it actually exists 🙂 Personally I don’t recommend you to go up the Tower just for the sake of it. You can find better viewing points in Paris. dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower 🙂 The price is great – you won’t eat much cheaper in other restaurants in Paris. And trust me, nothing beats this location and experience 🙂
Esplanade du Trocadero
If you’re thinking what to do in Paris, don’t miss Esplanade du Trocadero. It’s a square between two sides of Chaillot Palace, on the other side of the river Seine than the Eiffel Tower.
Each Paris guide will recommend you to go there to see a great view at the tower. Visiting it in the morning results in the sun shining right in your face. This can make taking photos a bigger challenge – but if you try, you can capture great frames 🙂 I hope my photo will be an inspiration for you, you can also check some tips for shooting against the light here.
If you want better light and you have enough time during your Paris mini break, come back here in the evening.
Anyway, it’s a great spot at all times of the day 🙂
Arc de Triomphe
This is another spot you need to see during your trip to Paris. The Arch was built to commemorate soldiers who died for France during French revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The Arch is covered by beautiful reliefs. Under the arch you can see the tomb of an unknown soldier. Moreover, you can climb the arch and see beautiful panorama of the city from there.
If you visit Paris on a budget and you can afford just one viewing point, choose this one.
I think Arc de Triomphe is a much better viewing point than the Eiffel Tower – you can see all most famous Paris attractions, the Tower included, you can see how symmetrical the city is, you see Montmartre hill and modern arch in La Defense.
Highly recommended! It’s worth booking your ticket in advance, I mentioned it here >>
During your Paris holidays, don’t miss the most famous street in the city. Back in XVIIth century there was nothing but fields here. Then, a road was built through them and slowly it evolved to a meeting place for French aristocracy living in and visiting Paris. Nowadays, tourists coming for weekend trips to Paris can see restaurants, fancy shops – and also contrasts.
Walk along this famous street and observe people and places. If you want to have a cheap weekend in Paris – don’t stop for coffees and croissants here. Either grab some cheaper and better ones around the corner – or even better, check the local experiences you can have via Eatwith. 🙂
Place de la Concorde and Tuileries Garden
You will end your walk along Champs Elysees on Place de la Concorde. During French revolution it was called “Revolution square” and a guillotine was located here. It executed over 1300 people – king Louis XVI included. Current name was used with hope that times of terror will never return.
Currently, one of interesting things in Paris on Place de la Concorde is a giant Egyptian obelisk which once marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple. Egyptian government gave it to France in 19th century.
Between Place de la Concorde and Louvre, you will also see Tuileries Garden, which is another place to see during your Paris weekend getaway.
The Louvre Museum
When you wonder what to see during your Paris weekend break, include the Louvre museum even if you don’t have enough time to visit this huge place inside. From the outside it is impressive too. It’s a building of a king’s palace. In front of it you will see a huge glass pyramid, inspired by the Great Pyramid of Giza.
I think that tourists who are not huge art lovers and who come for short breaks to Paris should not go inside the Louvre. It’s a HUGE museum and you need to spend a few hours there. I’ve been to Paris twice and I haven’t been to Louvre – but I’ve been to the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg three times. Every time I spent 4 intense hours there and I’m still not sure if I saw everything. I recommend you to visit the Louvre only if you’re in Paris for 3 or more days. Or during your next trip 🙂
Planning a short trip to Paris, it’s worth checking out an interesting building of Centre Pompidou. Inside, you will find National Modern Art Museum.
The reason why it’s worth seeing it during your Paris vacation is that all pipes are installed outside. You can recognize what’s their purpose by their color. Blue are for air conditioning, yellow for electricity, red for communication and green for water supply.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Planning a weekend away in Paris, don’t forget about one of the most famous gothic cathedrals in the world. Notre Dame became famous mostly because of Victor Hugo’s novel – “Notre-Dame de Paris”, also known as The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The cathedral comes from the Middle Ages and its construction took 180 years.
The admission is free but you’ll need to wait in a queue for security control. That’s already normal during most city breaks, Paris pays huge attention to security after terrorist attacks which happened there.
EDIT: I was lucky enough to see the cathedral before the fire on the 15th April 2019. You need to check what it the cathedral’s condition currently. As far as I know, it is still possible to visit the inside.
This building of 59 floors is not recommended as one of the best places to see in Paris. On the contrary – in 2008 it was called the second ugliest building in the world.
But it’s not the tower itself that I recommend you to see – but the viewing platform on its 59th floor 🙂
From there you will have an awesome view over the city. I chose the time strategically, just before the sunset 🙂 It’s a great part of the weekend, Paris panorama right in front of you with soft light of the golden hour. But next time I’d come there even later when the illumination of the Eiffel Tower starts working.
Weekend in Paris: Day 2
Famous district of artists located on Montmartre hill is in the top 10 things to do in Paris. An impressive white Sacre Coeur Basilica dominates the area. It was built in 1914 and consecrated 5 years later after the war.
Except for the Basilica, walk around narrow streets of Montmartre and watch fascinating artisis on Place du Tertre. Many of them will encourage you to let them draw your portrait – which can be a great souvenir of your Paris getaways.
Even though Montmartre spins around tourists nowadays, I loved this place. The artists look like true individual souls… 🙂
Pigalle and Moulin Rouge
Trips to Paris, France wouldn’t be complete without one of the most famous red light districts – Pigalle 🙂 Some time ago you could visit numerous brothels there or book a hotel room for a few hours. Currently the district is full of sex shops and striptease places. You will also see famous theatre Moulin Rouge here. The theatre is famous for great dance shows. Can-can dance as we know it today was born there.
Some places are better from the inside, not just outside. If I visit Paris again one day I will definitely consider going to a show in Moulin Rouge. If you have enough time to include it in your weekend in Paris, I’m sure you won’t regret. Tickets cost around 100 EUR. They are a bit less expensive via Get Your Guide here
The buildings’ original purpose was a hospital and retirement home for war veterans. Currently when you visit Paris, France, you can see the military museum there, as well as a church (Dome des Invalides). Napoleon is buried there.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Luxemburg Garden is one of beautiful parks in Paris, created for Marie de’ Medici. It was supposed to remind her of Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she came from. You can relax in the gardens, walk along cute alleys and see the Luxembourg Palace. If the weather is good, that’s a great answer to “what to see in Paris in 2 days”. A well-deserved moment of relax 🙂
La Defense is a modern, futuristic district. If you love modern architecture and you travel to Paris, France – that’s the place to see for you. The symbol of La Defense is La Grande Arche de La Defense. It stands in line with Arc de Triomphe.
Weekend in Paris: additional attractions
It’s not possible to see everything worth seeing during two days in Paris. However, if you have more time, like four days in Paris or you feel like replacing any of the above suggestions, consider the below, equally amazing options or these day trips from Paris.
Cruise on river Seine
If you’re planning a romantic weekend in Paris, an evening cruise along the river will be a great option. You can watch the most famous landmarks from different perspective and see the city light up for the night. This will make all getaways to Paris memorable.
Statue of Liberty
Did you know that one of the answers to “what to see in Paris, France” can be – Statue of Liberty? 🙂 The original Statue of Liberty in New York comes from France and was a gift to Americans in 1886 to celebrate 110 years of their Independence. You can see a four times smaller copy on an island on Seine in Paris.
Catacombs of Paris
Under Paris, there is a tunnel network of more than 500 km. Originally built for ancient stone mines, in 18th century people were buried here to avoid an epidemy of plague. In the tunnels you can see graffiti from 19th century which means Parisians visited the tunnels and organized events there. Victor Hugo placed the action of his novel Les Miserables here. A part of catacombs is open to visitors, the path is 2 km long.
The biggest and most famous cemetery in Paris with tombs of many famous people like Jim Morrison and Frederic Chopin. You can find a full list here.
Visiting Disneyland is a great idea on what to do in Paris with kids – even the big ones 🙂 Disneyland is an attraction park based on Disney movies. It’s located outside of Paris and you need one full day to visit it. I haven’t been there but I visited Universal Studios in Los Angeles and Europa Park during my visit in Alsace and I know that I’m exhausted after visiting such places 😉 Mostly because of queues which can get huge.
However, if you have time and your inner child feels it will be fun stuff to do in Paris – go for it 🙂
One of the most popular day trips from Paris is to the Palace of Versailles – a symbol of French absolute monarchy. In 17th century it became a principal royal residency and served as a capital of France (even though officially the capital was never moved from Paris). It’s located 50 km from Paris and you’ll need a full day to go there. Consider it if you want to spend a long weekend in Paris.
Where to stay in Paris for a weekend?
Hotel des Buttes Chaumont – we stayed in this comfortable hotel. It’s just a 15 minutes walk from Gare du Nord train station and the closest metro station is 2 minutes away. If you want to get tasty croissants for breakfast, you’ll find a great bakery right across the street 🙂 The room was clean and comfortable, met all our expectations. We had no problems to check-in after midnight, the reception works 24/7. It takes around 30 mins to get to the city center from there. I recommend this place if you’re looking for affordable hotel close to a metro station.
Hotel Cluny Sorbonne – perfect location, you can easily walk to some of the best sights of Paris, like Notre Dame or Louvre. Rooms are clean and cosy. It’s a perfect place for you if you like to live in the city center for a fairly affordable price.
Europe Hotel Paris Eiffel – a hotel located just 10-15 minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower. You can even see its top from some of the rooms 🙂 Rooms are nicely designed, the staff is friendly and helpful. It’s a place for you if you love to live in the best location possible 🙂
If you plan a weekend in Paris, I hope your itinerary is ready and you just have to pack your suitcase 🙂 Remember about this practical post which will help you with organization. If you also want to see other parts of France, check the articles below: