Paris postcards

When I lived in Geneva, Switzerland, Paris was a short TGV (high speed train) ride away. Paris became like a second home to me.  Whether it was a shopping trip, a day out with the girls or taking in the sights, I would feel a frisson of energy run through me every time I stepped off the train. I still get the same feeling when my feet touch French soil and more so in Paris. I am sure that my  Paris highlights sightseeing guide will help you to make the most out of your visit.

 

 

PONT ALEXANDER III AND THE EIFFEL TOWER
PONT ALEXANDER III AND THE EIFFEL TOWER

 

Over Christmas my husband (Steve) and I had another opportunity to visit. It was his first time in Paris and we had an action packed visit. We needed to see the Paris highlights in just 2 days. It was fabulous to be able to show him around a city I know well and love. We arrived on a beautiful crisp clear morning and after checking into our hotel we set off on a marathon walk. Paris is a wonderful city to walk through. Around every corner there is beauty that takes my breath away. According to the app on Steve’s phone we walked 21km! It didn’t feel like it though, as we stopped for hot chocolate, croissants, lunch and of course a couple of glasses of wine along the way as one does when in Paris!

 

 

Montmartre
Montmartre

 

My Paris Highlights Sightseeing Guide

 

Day 1

 

Musée d’Orsay

 

You need to choose a museum today. It’s between either the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay whose main focus is on Impressionist art. If you choose the Musée d’Orsay then head to the fifth floor for the most recognisable works of art.

An advance purchase cost is €12 and gives you access through a door reserved for specifically for holders of these tickets.

 

The Louvre

 

If the Louvre is your choice then you need to remember that it is the largest art museum in the world so it is impossible to see it all in one day. This is where a bit of research comes in useful in deciding what you most would like to see before you go.

The best entrance is the Porte des Lions, in the south western wing just before the Jardin de Tuileries. This is never as busy as the entrance through the pyramid, although when we went the queue was only about 20 minutes through the pyramid. Entering through the pyramid has a certain mystical charm but if you are pressed for time use the other door.

Advance purchase ticket cost is €17

 

 

INSIDE THE PYRAMID AT THE LOUVRE
INSIDE THE PYRAMID AT THE LOUVRE

Tips

  • Allow at least 3 hours for a visit
  • Both audio guides and independent guides are available at an extra cost, or you could download a guide to your phone.
  • Check the website for opening times, free days and discounts available
  • There are restaurants and cafes to take a break, but these are usually really busy.

 

After your visit you will probably want to relax for a while to regroup. There is a mall under the Louvre, the Carousel du Louvre where you will find a great food court. You will be able to get delicious French food at affordable prices. If your kids need a McDonalds there’s one here as well as a Starbucks. After you have recharged your batteries head to the next main attraction.

 

The Eiffel Tower

 

There is something magical about the Eiffel tower. Whether it is wreathed in mist or lit up like a Christmas tree you can’t help but to be drawn to it. Wherever you are it dominates the skyline and gives you a great perspective of just how big it really is!

Obviously this area is a tourist trap and there are loads of vendors trying to sell you all kinds of cheap rubbish. Just be firm and maybe try a “non merci” and they will leave you alone.

Once again you can book your tickets in advance- purchase cost is €17. Either print them out or save them to your phone.

 

There are restaurants and a champagne bar in the Eiffel tower but you should book these in advance either for lunch or dinner. We were lucky enough to have Christmas lunch in the 58 Tour Eiffel and while the food was not spectacular it was delicious. The views were breath-taking and certainly made for a memorable Xmas lunch.

 

Tips

  • As it gets dark the Eiffel Tower is light up and the lights twinkle for the first five minutes of each hour so keep an eye on your watch.
  • If you’re taking the Métro, get out at the Trocadéro stop. Although it is further to walk the views are spectacular.
  • Shoot a video in the glass lift on the way up, not only for the views but the iron work as well.

 

EIFFEL TOWER AT SUNSET
EIFFEL TOWER AT SUNSET

 

 

The Seine

 

The banks of the river are fabulous to stroll along. After your visit to the Eiffel Tower head back towards the Louvre taking in the sights. If time allows hop onto one of the bateaux mouches located very close to the Pont de l’Alma for a wonderful trip down the river. The cruise takes 45 min from memory and costs around €13.50. It is really interesting to see the Parisian history along the banks of the river. Be prepared for some fabulous instagrammable moments. Brunch, Lunch and dinner cruises are also available.

 

THE CONCIERGE SEEN FROM THE BATEAUX MOUCHES
THE CONCIERGE SEEN FROM THE BATEAUX MOUCHES

 

 

Don’t miss my public transport guide to the attractions for my Paris highlights sightseeing guide (below)

 

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Paris highlights sightseeing guide
Paris in just 2 days

 

 

My Paris Highlights Sightseeing Guide

 

 Day 2

 

Montmartre

 

Start the morning off in the most Bohemian neighbourhood in Paris. A walk through Montmartre is like stepping back in time. The streets are cobbled and pretty with history surrounding your every step. This was the home of many famous artists over the years. Included amongst these was Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Matisse and Toulouse- Lautrec to name but a few and copies of their most famous works are plentiful in the surrounding shops.

Make your way up the hill to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica located on the hill which is the highest point of the city. Construction begun in 1875 and it was finally completed and consecrated in 1919. If you don’t want to walk the hill, you can use the funicular.  Details of tickets and prices are available on the funicular website, but you can also use a regular metro ticket

 

 

Sacré-Cœur Basilica Paris
Sacré-Cœur Basilica Paris

 

Once you have finished visiting the Sacré-Cœur walk around the corner to the Place du Tertre. This is a great spot to sit in any of the many cafes and watch the world pass by. It is also a fabulous way to take in the artists at work in the square.

 

 

ARTISTS IN PLACE DU TERTRE
ARTISTS IN PLACE DU TERTRE

 

 

After your break take a walk down the hill via Rue Lepic one of the most picturesque streets in Montmartre. This road was made famous by the film Amélie. At the bottom of Rue Lepic you will find the Moulin Rouge. The Moulin Rouge is more than a 100 years old and is said to have invented French Cancan. It is still the home of a good party!

 

MOULIN ROUGE PARIS
MOULIN ROUGE PARIS

 

 

Notre Dame Cathedral

 

The next stop is Notre-Dame one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. It is a beautiful example of French Gothic architecture. Don’t miss the gargoyles peering down at you. (The word gargoyle means throat and comes from the Middle English and Old French languages). They were originally built as water spouts to deflect rainwater but later once pipes were installed they became ornamental.

 

GARGOYLES NOTRE DAME PARIS
GARGOYLES NOTRE DAME PARIS

 

 

Place de la Concorde

 

Make your way to the Place de la Concorde for a ride on the big wheel for some stunning views of the city. During the revolution this was where the guillotine was sited. Some of the most famous victims were King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and the leader of the revolution Robespierre. Cross the square for a stroll along one of the most famous roads in the world.

 

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE
PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

 

 

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

 

At the start of your walk up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées look to the right of the Place de la Concorde along Rue Royale for views of La Madeleine. The Madeleine Church was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon‘s army.

 

LA MADELEINE PARIS
LA MADELEINE PARIS

 

 

About half way up the Champs-Élysées look to the left, for a view of The Grand Palais one of the most iconic Parisian monuments. It was built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, and it is recognizable by its large glass dome flanked by the French flag. There are often amazing exhibition here.

 

GRAND PALAIS PARIS
GRAND PALAIS PARIS

 

Heading up the last part of the Champs-Élysées the historic Arc de Triomphe dominates the view. Don’t miss the tomb of the Unknown Soldier buried at the base of the arch in 1921. The flame of remembrance is lit every day at 18h30.There is also a viewing platform at the top that can be reached either by stairs or elevator.

After your action packed day the cafés, restaurants and the glittering lights of the Champs-Élysées will be calling. Just remember that most of them are expensive and tourist traps, but for me the view is worth the price. It’s something you have to do. If you would prefer more affordable restaurants and bars head back a couple of roads off the main drag.

 

 

FOUQUETS PARIS
FOUQUETS PARIS

 

 

These sights are just the tip of the iceberg. Paris has so much to offer. No matter how many times I visit I always find something new to see and I am sure that you as well. Paris is a city to easily fall in love with. It casts a spell over you drawing you back time and time again and I am sure that you also will be drawn back for another visit.

 

 

Infographic for public transport for my Paris Highlights Sightseeing Guide attractions.

 

Paris highlights sightseeing guide using public transport
Paris Highlights Sightseeing Guide using public transport

 

 

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Paris highlights and easy infographic
Paris highlights

Paris Highlights Sightseeing Guide : In Just 2 Days
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18 thoughts on “Paris Highlights Sightseeing Guide : In Just 2 Days

  1. That looks like 2 very busy days! We would love to spend a week just in Louvre. There’s so much to see. For someone with a time crunch, this looks like a great plan. Thank you for the tips, especially with the bus numbers.

    1. Glad you find the infographic useful. Wherever we go lack of time always seems to be an issues!

  2. Paris has been on my list. Not sure when will I visit but I know it will going to happen sooner or later. Hoping for it. Thank you for sharing this 2-day itinerary. This might come handy when the time comes.

  3. I have blogger friends who are currently spamming my Facebook feed with their Paris photos. They are obviously enjoying their time and I am so envious! I wish I were part of that trip, Paris has always been a dream destination of mine. I wanna see every spot that you featured here especially Monmarte. Didn’t you meet a mishap though? My friends got robbed while taking a stroll in Paris.

    1. Hi Marge, No, no problems with pickpockets, but I am aware that Paris is full of them especially in the tourist areas. I was in Prague a few weeks ago and a friend was pickpocketed on the funicular. It happens all over sadly.Montmartre has a special magic about it. If you visit it’s a good idea to stay in the area for the complete boho Parisian experience.

  4. Paris is a place I just can’t wait to get to and it’s been on my radar for a long time. It’s so great that you managed to fit virtually all of her most famous spots into a 2 day itinerary. This is a really good guide that I would like to use as we plan the trip although we will stay longer to also enjoy and get to know the place a bit.

    1. Thanks Nicole. I am lucky enough to know Paris really well, so it does make it easier to plan the details of a jam packed guide.

  5. Paris has so much to cover. We recently were there for almost one day and a half. All we could do is a river cruise, eiffel tower and next day Louver Museum. You managed to cover almost all the important highlights of Paris in a day

    1. Yes, it was a bit of a run around, but when you have limited time you always have to make the most of it. I almost always get on the plane exhausted, but that helps me to sleep especially on long journeys! 🙂

  6. This is one of the best Paris short itineraries. You covered the best of the best with time for good food. Lucky for your husband, you know this city well.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Joan. Paris is not the same unless you find time to indulge in as many of the foodie treats as possible!

    1. Pleasure! It helps that you can use the same ticket on the busses that you use for the Metro as well.

  7. This is a very timely post as my friend is really in need of a Paris reference. I will share with him this post! Thanks! The tips about each site and some hacks are awesome!!!!

  8. Paris is really high on my bucket list and I hope to visit it soon. Your 2-day itinerary is really going to be helpful and thanks for the details and information about public transport.

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