36 Hours in Paris: Travel Itinerary

Paris is a city of wonders, where every corner reveals a new sight, a new flavor, a new culture. If you only have 36 hours to explore this magnificent metropolis, you'll want to make the most of it. Here's a possible itinerary for your 36-hour adventure in Paris.


8:00 AM

The Eiffel Tower

Begin your 36-hour adventure in Paris with a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. This wrought-iron masterpiece, designed by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World's Fair, stands as a symbol of France and an enduring emblem of Paris. Arriving early in the morning is a smart choice, as it allows you to beat the crowds and fully appreciate the tower's magnificence.

Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Iconic Eiffel Tower: Visit the Highlight of Paris
As you ascend to the observation deck, the city gradually unfolds beneath you. The panoramic views from the tower are nothing short of breathtaking. To make the most of your time, consider purchasing tickets in advance to skip the lines. You'll have the opportunity to see landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe, the Seine River winding through the city, and the sprawling urban landscape.

Late morning
10:00 AM

The Champs-Élysées

After your descent from the Eiffel Tower, take a leisurely stroll along the Champs-Élysées, one of the world's most renowned avenues. Lined with trees and prestigious boutiques, this grand thoroughfare exudes an air of elegance. At its western end, you'll find the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, a towering monument commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate his military victories.

The Arc de Triomphe itself is an imposing structure, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can climb to its top for another perspective of Paris. The view from here provides an excellent vantage point to appreciate the orderly arrangement of Parisian streets radiating from the arch.

Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Magnificent Arc de Triomphe – See Paris from Above

12:00 PM

Discover the French cuisine

By midday, you'll have worked up an appetite, so it's time to indulge in some delectable French cuisine. Paris is renowned for its culinary offerings, and you'll find many charming cafes and restaurants nearby. Consider trying quintessentially French dishes like croque-monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, or quiche Lorraine, a savory pastry filled with cheese, bacon, and eggs. Pair your meal with a glass of wine, and you'll savor the true essence of French dining.

1:30 PM

Le Marais

With your energy replenished, embark on a journey to the historic neighborhood of Le Marais. This district is a captivating blend of old-world charm and vibrant modernity. As you wander through its narrow, winding streets, you'll be surrounded by well-preserved medieval and Renaissance architecture.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Place des Vosges, a beautifully symmetrical square lined with elegant red-brick townhouses. It's one of the oldest squares in Paris and has a tranquil park at its center. You can relax here for a moment and soak in the atmosphere.
Le Marais is also known for its boutique shops and art galleries. Whether you're interested in fashion, antiques, or contemporary art, you're sure to find something that piques your interest in this eclectic neighborhood.

3:00 PM

The Notre Dame Cathedral and the Île de la Cité

The Notre Dame Cathedral and Île de la Cité are two of the most important and fascinating places to visit in Paris. They will give you a glimpse of the city’s past, present, and future. The cathedral has a rich history and a stunning Gothic architecture that will leave you in awe. You can admire its exterior features, such as the flying buttresses, the gargoyle and chimera statues, and the rose windows. You can also learn about its significance and its restoration project after the fire in 2019.

Self-Guided Audio Tour
Notre Dame de Paris Audio Tour – Outside the World's Greatest Gothic Church
The Île de la Cité is the oldest part of Paris and the birthplace of the city. It is a small island in the middle of the Seine river that has many attractions and charms. You can explore its historic sites, such as the Sainte Chapelle, the Conciergerie, and the Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation.

5:00 PM

The Seine River cruise

As the sun begins to set, it's time to experience the romance of Paris from a different perspective — a relaxing cruise along the Seine River. Many companies offer guided boat tours that provide both history and a unique view of the city's landmarks. The evening lights dancing on the water and the iconic architecture illuminated against the night sky create a magical atmosphere.

7:00 PM

The Latin Quarter

After your cruise, venture into the Latin Quarter for dinner. This historic neighborhood has a lively ambiance with its winding streets, charming cafes, and vibrant nightlife. Indulge in traditional French cuisine at a local bistro, and perhaps try escargots or coq au vin. A meal in the Latin Quarter is a delightful way to conclude your first day in Paris.

8:30 PM

The Louvre

As the night deepens, consider a visit to one of the world's most famous museums — the Louvre. On Fridays, the museum stays open late, allowing you to explore its vast collection of art and historical treasures in a less crowded setting.

The Louvre is a work of art in itself, housed within a grand palace. Among its countless treasures, you'll find the enigmatic Mona Lisa and the majestic Venus de Milo, along with a multitude of other priceless pieces from various eras and cultures. While you may not have time to see everything, the Louvre offers an unparalleled cultural experience.

Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Louvre Museum: Masterpieces of Civilization


8:00 AM

The Musée d'Orsay

Your second day in Paris begins with a visit to the Musée d'Orsay, a museum housed in a beautifully restored Beaux-Arts railway station. This museum is renowned for its unparalleled collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces. As you enter, you'll be greeted by works from legendary artists like Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, and Renoir.

Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Musée d’Orsay Tour: the Finest Collection of Impressionist Art

One of the highlights of the Musée d'Orsay is the vast gallery of Impressionist paintings. These pieces, characterized by their vibrant colors and innovative brushwork, provide a window into the 19th-century art scene and the birth of modern art. The museum also boasts an extensive collection of sculptures, decorative arts, and photography, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts.

Late morning
10:30 AM

The Luxembourg Garden

After indulging in the artistic wonders of the Musée d'Orsay, take a leisurely walk to the nearby Luxembourg Gardens. This serene oasis in the heart of Paris is the perfect place to unwind and soak in the city's ambiance. Stroll along tree-lined pathways, admire meticulously manicured gardens, and relax by the tranquil pond where children sail miniature boats.

The gardens are also home to the Palais du Luxembourg, which houses the French Senate. The palace's classical architecture and regal façade provide a picturesque backdrop for your morning explorations. Don't forget to visit the palace's inner courtyard, adorned with statues and fountains, creating a sense of timeless elegance.

12:00 PM

Parisian bakery

For a quintessentially Parisian experience, enjoy a relaxed lunch at a local café or bakery. Paris is renowned for its culinary traditions, and you can savor a freshly baked baguette sandwich or a quiche from a neighborhood boulangerie. Dining al fresco at a café is a great way to immerse yourself in the city's café culture and watch the world go by.

1:30 PM


With the sun overhead, continue your exploration of Paris by heading to the artistic neighborhood of Montmartre. This picturesque hilltop district has been a haven for artists, writers, and musicians for generations. As you ascend the hill, you'll encounter charming streets, quirky shops, and street artists capturing the spirit of the area.

Self-Guided Audio Tour
Artistic Montmartre: In Search for Inspiration
A highlight of Montmartre is the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur. This stunning white-domed church perched atop the highest point in Paris offers panoramic views of the city. The interior is equally impressive, with its intricate mosaics and serene ambiance. Whether you're interested in architecture, art, or simply enjoying breathtaking vistas, the Sacré-Cœur is a must-visit.

After exploring the basilica, meander through the village-like streets of Montmartre, where you can find a variety of artisan shops and cafés. Famous artists like Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec once frequented this area, and its bohemian spirit is still alive today.

5:30 PM

The Moulin Rouge

As the afternoon turns to evening, make your way to the lively area around the Moulin Rouge, one of Paris's most famous cabaret venues. While attending a show here is a memorable experience, even strolling around the neighborhood can be enjoyable. The Moulin Rouge itself, with its iconic red windmill, is a symbol of Parisian nightlife and entertainment.

This area of Pigalle is known for its vibrant atmosphere and is dotted with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. It's a great place to sample some French wine and cuisine while enjoying the bustling energy of the city after dark.

More things to do in Paris