48 Hours in Paris: Travel Itinerary

Paris is a stunning city that offers a rich and diverse array of attractions and experiences. The capital of France has something for everyone — from the majestic monuments and museums that showcase its glorious past to the chic boutiques and cafes that reflect its contemporary flair. This article will help you plan your perfect 48-hour trip to Paris, featuring some of the most popular and impressive sights you can't miss.


8:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Explore the Eiffel Tower

Your day begins with a visit to one of the world's most iconic landmarks, the magnificent Eiffel Tower. Designed by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World's Fair), this iron lattice tower stands 1,063 feet tall. To make the most of your visit and avoid long lines, arrive early, ideally, as soon as it opens. You have two options for reaching the top: taking the elevator or climbing the stairs. The elevator ride offers comfort and speed, while the stairs offer a more immersive experience.

Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Iconic Eiffel Tower: Visit the Highlight of Paris
Once at the top, you'll be treated to spectacular panoramic views of Paris. You'll see the Seine River winding through the city, the Louvre Museum, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre, and the sprawling cityscape stretching to the horizon. You can also spot other famous landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe, the Grand Palais, and the Notre Dame Cathedral from different angles. The Eiffel Tower is an architectural marvel and an essential Parisian experience. Don't forget to take some amazing photos, enjoy a croissant or a coffee at the cafe, or visit the museum or exhibition to learn more about the history and construction of the tower.

Late morning
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Try a Seine River cruise

After descending from the Eiffel Tower, take a leisurely stroll along the Seine River. The banks of the Seine are dotted with picturesque bridges and charming boulevards. You can purchase tickets for a Seine River cruise, a delightful way to admire some of Paris's most famous landmarks. These cruises typically last about an hour, offering unobstructed views of iconic sights like the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Louvre. Your guide will share fascinating stories and historical insights as you glide along the tranquil waters. The gentle breeze and soothing ambiance make this a relaxing experience, and it's an excellent opportunity to capture stunning photographs of the cityscape.

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Discover Le Marais

By now, you've likely worked up an appetite, and Paris is known for its culinary excellence. Head to the historic Le Marais district for a delectable lunch. Le Marais is renowned for its diverse dining scene, offering everything from traditional French bistros to international cuisine. You'll find charming cafes and bistros nestled along cobblestone streets, creating a quintessentially Parisian ambiance. Be sure to try classic French dishes like escargot, coq au vin, or a croque-monsieur paired with a glass of local wine. As you savor your meal, soak in the relaxed atmosphere of this trendy neighborhood.

3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Marvel at the Notre Dame Cathedral

With your appetite satisfied, make your way to the heart of Paris, the Île de la Cité. Here, you'll discover the awe-inspiring Notre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. This cathedral, with its intricate façade and stunning stained glass windows, is a symbol of Paris and has played a central role in the city's history. Take your time exploring the exterior with the impressive rose windows. Notre Dame's location on the Île de la Cité means you can also explore this historic island, home to charming squares, quaint shops, and the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle, known for its stunning stained glass.

Late afternoon
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Delve into art and history at the Louvre

As the day progresses, it's time to delve into the world of art and history at the Louvre Museum. The Louvre is one of the largest and most renowned art museums globally, housing an extensive collection of artworks spanning centuries and civilizations. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to Renaissance masterpieces, the museum's treasures are virtually limitless. To make the most of your time, consider booking your tickets online in advance to skip the lines. Inside, you'll have the opportunity to see Leonardo da Vinci's iconic Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and countless other works of art. The Louvre's grand architecture and beautiful courtyards are also worth exploring. Even if you're not an art enthusiast, the Louvre offers a remarkable journey through human creativity and history.
Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Louvre Museum: Masterpieces of Civilization

8:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Dine with a view

As the day transitions into the evening, treat yourself to a memorable dinner experience with a view. Paris offers a wealth of options for dining with a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower. There are several restaurants situated within the tower itself, each offering a unique culinary experience. Alternatively, you can choose a restaurant along the Seine River, providing a romantic atmosphere with the illuminated Eiffel Tower in the distance. Watching the tower light up at night, especially at the hour when it sparkles with thousands of lights, is a magical way to end your first day in Paris.

10:30 PM – 11:30 PM

Experience the Seine River night cruise

Before calling it a night, consider taking a Seine River night cruise. These cruises are a captivating way to witness the City of Lights in all its glory. The illuminated landmarks along the riverbanks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre, create a breathtaking spectacle. Many tour operators offer nighttime cruises with commentary in multiple languages, enhancing your understanding of the city's history and architecture. The tranquil ambiance of the river and the dazzling lights of Paris make this a memorable and romantic experience.

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9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Discover Montmartre

Start your second day in Paris by immersing yourself in the charming and artistic neighborhood of Montmartre. This historic hilltop district has been a haven for artists, writers, and creatives for centuries and still retains its unique Bohemian atmosphere. Your first stop is the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, a stunning white-domed church at the city's highest point. As you enter the basilica, you'll be amazed by its ornate interior, featuring remarkable mosaics and an impressive organ. From the basilica steps, you'll also enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Paris, where you can see the layout of the city and its landmarks.
Self-Guided Audio Tour
Artistic Montmartre: In Search for Inspiration

Late morning
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Wander through Montmartre's streets

After admiring the Sacré-Cœur, wander through the charming streets of Montmartre, where you'll find artistic history and character at every corner. Montmartre was home to famous artists like Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, who lived and worked in this neighborhood. You can still feel the spirit of creativity in its narrow alleys and colorful buildings. Don't miss Place du Tertre, a lively square where artists display their work and offer to draw your portrait or caricature as a souvenir. You'll also find plenty of street art and murals that add to Montmartre's Bohemian charm.

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Enjoy a delicious meal in Le Village

For lunch, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of Montmartre's cozy bistros or cafes. Le Village, as the locals call it, offers a wide range of dining options, from traditional French cuisine to international flavors. Try a classic dish like boeuf bourguignon or coq au vin paired with a glass of local wine. You'll love the artistic ambiance and relaxed atmosphere of Montmartre, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal and watch the world go by.

3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Admire the Champs-Élysées

After lunch, head to one of Paris's most famous avenues, the Champs-Élysées. This grand boulevard is renowned for its high-end shops, theaters, and cafes. It's a perfect place for shopping, window-shopping, or simply soaking up the Parisian lifestyle. As you walk along the tree-lined avenue, you'll pass by iconic landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe at its western end and the Place de la Concorde at its eastern end. You'll also find many boutiques, including flagship stores for renowned French brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. The Champs-Élysées is a vibrant and lively area that showcases the spirit of Paris.

Late afternoon
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe

As you continue your stroll along the Champs-Élysées, you'll reach the magnificent Arc de Triomphe. This iconic arch was commissioned by Napoleon after his victory at Austerlitz and stands as a symbol of France's military glory. You can visit the monument and even climb to the top for stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. The Arc de Triomphe is also a prime location for taking memorable photos, especially at sunset when the golden light bathes the city.
Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Magnificent Arc de Triomphe – See Paris from Above

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Savor a meal with a view

For your final evening in Paris, treat yourself to another dining experience with a view. While there are many options for this, one of the most popular is the restaurant located within the Eiffel Tower itself. Reservations here are highly recommended, and you can choose between the 58 Tour Eiffel on the first level or the Michelin-starred Jules Verne on the second level. Both offer exquisite dining with unparalleled vistas of the city. Alternatively, you can opt for a restaurant along the Seine River to enjoy the enchanting ambiance as you savor your meal. Dining with the illuminated Eiffel Tower as your backdrop is a truly romantic and memorable way to conclude your Parisian adventure.

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