Trying to make the best of 48 hours in Paris, France? As I am sure you know Paris, France is one of Europe’s top travel destinations. Paris has been drawing visitors for centuries, and just last year (2018) Paris hosted over 40 million tourists. This beautiful French city has an abundance of wonderful things to see and do. For example, Paris has hundreds of historic monuments, exquisite cuisine and beautiful architecture that can be found on just about every block.
Just this year Kevin and I had the privilege of traveling to Paris. We spent 48 hours in the French capital before moving on to numerous other European cities. Though we were only there for 48 hours, we fell in love with the beauty of the city and want to share how you too can make the best out of 48 hours in Paris, France.
Below are our recommendations for how to spend 48 hours in Paris, France.
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Located in Paris is one of the most well-known structures in the world, the Eiffel Tower. Standing at 1,063 feet tall, the Eiffel Tower is truly the heart of the city. Originally constructed in 1889 as the entrance to the World’s Fair, the tower today has become the most-visited paid monument in the world.
The Eiffel Tower is made up of three levels. On the first level is The 58 Eiffel Tour, a restaurant offering French cuisine, various buffets selling hot and cold treats and a few small shops. The second floor is home to the famous Jules Verne, a restaurant offering guests top of the line contemporary French gastronomic cuisine, various buffets similar to the first level, The Macaron Bar which sells freshly made macarons, and several shops. Finally, on the third level of the Eiffel Tower, is The Champagne Bar and breathtaking views of the city!
Kevin and I choose not to go to the top of the tower because I believe that the best views in Paris contain the Eiffel Tower. Therefore we chose to wander around the city and take as many photos of the Eiffel Tower rather than go to the top to see the views of the city.
Tickets for the Eiffel Tower can be purchased online and range in price depending on your destination. To go to the summit, or third-floor, tickets are 25,50 euros per person. To go up to the summit using the lift and stairs tickets are 19,40 euros. Finally, to access the second floor, tickets can be purchased for 16,30 euros for the lift and 10,20 euros to use the stairs.
Protip: Note these prices are for adults, for a full pricing breakdown see below.
The carousel is located in front of the Eiffel Tower and next to Pont d’Iéna. It is found on your way to or from the famous Trocadero Steps and Gardens.
Protip: For those of you hoping to get all the great photos, you’ll want to visit all of these places.
Our recommendation: Take this photo at night with a slow shutter speed. At night, the carousel is lit up and the cars on Pont d’Iéna will have their lights on allowing you to blur the cars and the spinning carousel!
The Eiffel Tower from Rue de l’Université has quickly become one of the most Instagramable views of the tower! I mean could it get any better than the Eiffel Tower and a quaint little Paris backstreet?
Located just next to the Eiffel Tower exit, this location is easy to find. Make sure to arrive early though, because there are always people stopping to try to get the perfect picture.
Allée des Refuzniks is located in the gardens to the northwest of the Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars. This spot offers wonderful views of the tower from quaint park benches.
It is best to go to allée des Refuzniks in the fall when the leaves are changing. The Eiffel Tower looks beautiful with the red and yellow leaves framing it.
Easily the most photographed spot of the Eiffel Tower. The Trocadéro Gardens and Steps are located just across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower itself. Here you will find the grand staircases and Warsaw Fountains at the forefront of photos with the beautiful Eiffel Tower in the background. You simply cannot miss this photo spot!
Our recommendation: Go at SUNRISE! Sunset at the Trocadéro Gardens and Steps is full of hundreds to thousands of people depending on the time of the year you visit. If the Warsaw Fountains are on, be sure to include them in your photograph. If they are off, use the pool to reflect the Eiffel Tower. Lastly, take photos on the Trocadéro steps, they are sure to turn out perfect!
Protip: Want to hang out near the Eiffel Tower during the day? Enjoy a picnic at the Trocadéro Gardens or at Champ de Mars.
Want to wind down after a long day of sightseeing? Head over the Champ de Mars for a picnic dinner and wine while the sun sets. This is another can’t miss photo opportunity. Yes, the Eiffel Tower is gorgeous during all times of the day but there is something magical about seeing it light up at night.
Not only is the walk along the Seine River relaxing and beautiful but it also offers amazing views of the Eiffel Tower. One of Kevin and my favorite spots along the Seine River to view the Eiffel Tower is Pont Alexandre III.
Pont Alexandre III is the arch bridge that connects the Champs-Élysées quarter with the Invalides and Eiffel Tower. This bridge is considered the most extravagant bridge in the city and classified as a historic monument; a great place for a photograph if you ask us!
After visiting the Eiffel Tower enjoy a romantic walk along the Seine River. Regardless of the time of the year, the Seine River boasts beautiful views of the city.
The Seine River is a 482-mile long commercial waterway that winds its way through the middle of Paris, France. Though the Seine River is used for commercial shipping many locals also offer cruises on the Seine River throughout the day and night. That being said, there are a number of cruises offered at a variety of different prices.
Protip: Though we did not book a cruise ourselves we heard very good things about the sunset dinner cruise by Bateaux Parisiens!
From the Seine River wander down Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Champs-Élysées is approximately 1.1-miles long and is easily one of the most well-known streets in Paris. Home to amazing cafes and shops, Champs-Élysées is truly a sight to be seen.
In addition to must-see shops and cafes, this tree-lined road leads right to the breathtaking Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe is arguably the second most famous monument in Paris. First used in 1836 by Louis Philippe, the French King, who dedicated the arc to the Empire and armies of the Revolution. In 1921, an unknown soldier was buried at the base of the arc and now everyday fire is lit at the base of the arc in remembrance of him.
The Arc de Triomphe also contains a beautiful city viewpoint. Every day from 10:00 am to 10:30 or 11:00 pm this viewpoint is open to the public. Though the viewpoint is open to the public is does cost a small fee of 12,00 euros.
Next head over to the largest art museum in Europe and Paris’ most famous museum, The Louvre. Famous for being home to Da Vinci’s masterpiece the ‘Mona Lisa’, The Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects on display. Tickets to The Louvre cost 15,00 euros per person and can be purchased at the door or online.
Protip: Museums in Paris are closed on Tuesdays. Therefore every Tuesday The Louvre is closed, so plan your trip accordingly.
Want to see The Louvre but not interested in going inside? We recommend visiting on a Tuesday when it is closed and during sunset. On Tuesdays, there are fewer people around allowing you to get the perfect photograph. Additionally, we recommend going at sunset when The Louvre reflects the colors in the sky.
Just past The Louvre Museum is Notre- Dame. Unfortunately, when Kevin and I visited Paris it was not long after the famous cathedral caught fire. That being said, Notre Dame was temporarily closed and we could only view it from the outside and from a considerable distance since the city is working on repairing the damages.
Before the fire on April 15, 2019, the cathedral was open daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm for visitors to view both the inside and outside gardens of the cathedral. Hopefully, once Notre Dame is repaired it will open daily again for visitors.
Located around Sorbonne, the oldest university in Paris, and on the other side of the Seine River from Notre Dame and The Louvre Museum is Paris’ Latin Quarter. Latin Quarter is full of quaint cafes, bookstores such as Shakespeare & Company, the National Museum of Natural History, the Pantheon and more. Hours can be spent walking around this beautiful area and taking in all the sites.
We have listed some of our favorite places in Latin Quarter for you below:
Odette is a famous Parisian pastry shop that makes out of this world cream puffs. Known for being the best cream puffs in Paris, Odette serves cream puffs towers, cream puff boxes, and luxury cream puff boxes all ranging in price depending on size. In addition to delicious cream puffs, Odette also offers a quaint sitting area just outside the shop where people can enjoy their coffee and sweet treats.
If you have any interest in cream puffs we definitely recommend trying some from Odette!
Located right next to the Seine River in an area also popular for being a book-lovers dream is Shakespeare & Company. Opened by George Whitman in 1951, Shakespeare & Company has been a meeting place for both writers and readers for years. Recently it even hosted its first literary festival!
If your interested in checking this place out we recommend going early. It gets quite crowded in the afternoon and evening.
Galeries Lafayette is a common French department store chain. Though Galeries Lafayette is similar to department stores seen in the states and other European cities, it does differ slightly. On the roof of Galeries Lafayette is a beautiful cafe as well as 360-degree views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower.
Our recommendation: Go for sunset. Enjoy Happy Hour and appetizers at the cafe while taking in the breathtaking views of the city!
Just in front of Galeries Lafayette is Opéra Garnier. Opéra Garnier is a historic 1,979-seat opera house located close to the city center of Paris, France. This opera house offers both self-guided and guided tours of the beautiful historic building.
The self-guided tour is generally 14,00 euros per person, 12,00 euros when outside exhibition periods. The guided tour is a little more expensive depending on the time of the day you wish to visit. To visit Opéra Garnier after hours it is 21,00 euros per person. To visit the house during the day it is 17,00 euros per person.
Protip: Guided tours are an hour and 20 minutes so plan accordingly if this is something you are interested in.
Unfortunately, when Kevin and I visited, Opéra Garnier was closed. However, there was a very talented street performer at the base of the stairs that we listened to for a bit!
If you are interested in additional views of the city be sure to check out Sacre-Coeur. Sacre-Coeur, or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, is located on the northern border of Paris in close proximity to Moulin Rouge.
Although Sacre-Coeur offers tours throughout the day, it is still a working church offering mass daily. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is open daily from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm and entrance is free to the public.
Located atop Sacre-Coeur is a dome that offers beautiful 360-degree views of the city and Eiffel Tower. To get to the top of the dome, 300-steps must be climbed from the base of the Basilica. The dome is open daily from 8.30 am to 8:00 pm from May to September and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from October to April.
Though the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is free there is a small fee if you chose to go to the top of the dome.
While you are in the area, go see a show at Moulin Rouge. Commonly considered the birthplace of the dance we call today the Can-Can, Moulin Rouge was first opened in 1889. Though the original building burnt down in 1915, Moulin Rouge is still marked today by the red windmill located atop its roof.
Moulin Rouge offers shows daily ranging in price from 87,00 euros to 420,00 euros per person. The ticket price depends on which ticket is purchased. For example, you can purchase the ticket to receive champagne or a full three-course meal during the show!
Montmartre is a small town located in Paris where both Sacre-Coeur and Moulin Rouge are located. Montmartre is known for being the town on the hill and is famous for also being Paris’ ‘nightclub district’. If you have extra time we definitely recommend wandering around this area at night since it is full of fun nightlife and young adults “taking on the town.”
Montmartre is also home to The Sinking House of Montmartre which has recently become a popular photo spot in the Instagram population.
Protip: If you have a third day to spend in Paris Kevin and I recommend visiting the Palace of Versailles located just outside the city.
Treize Bakery is a must if you are looking for a go-to brunch/lunch spot in Paris. Located in the Latin Quarter, Treize Bakery offers vegan and vegetarian options while providing guests with alternating seasonal menus throughout the year.
Treize Bakery offers top of the line brunch options such as pancakes with spiced apple butter and Treize Benedict that are quite delicious. Some of our favorite lunch options include grilled apple, bacon, and aged cheddar salad and bacon and veggie quiche. In addition to brunch and lunch, Treize Bakery also serves up delicious coffee and hot chocolate while also offering guests a delicious dessert bar with carrot cake, berries and cream cake, banana bread, and more.
Can’t make it there in the morning, not to worry! Every Friday Treize Bakery has live music from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm. During live music Fridays, Treize serves delicious tapas and offers guests 5,00 euro Happy Hour pints!
Looking for a cozy, intimate, amazing dinner, we recommend trying Chez Julien. Located across the Seine River from Notre Dame, Chez Julien serves some of the best French cuisine in Paris! Chez Julien uses seasonal ingredients and combines them with their passion for French cuisine to produce some of the best meals you will ever taste. Some of our favorite meals include the six-cheese ravioli with fresh black truffle and the seabass with mashed peas and fennel.
Additionally, if you are still hungry after dinner we recommend trying the lemon shortbread with fresh raspberries!
For all the vegans out there this is the spot for you! Hank Burger serves only the freshest and best vegan burgers in town. The vegetables used to make and top the delicious burgers are delivered daily creating the freshest meals possible. Though Hank Burger does qualify as fast food, the burgers themselves look and taste gourmet. Don’t believe me? Try for yourself, Hank Burger is open 365 days a year!
Comptoir Veggie is a delicious coffee shop located at 75 avenue Ledru Rollin in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. The coffee shop is 100% vegetable-based and serves the best peanut butter latte in town. We definitely recommend checking this out if you are nearby!
This restaurant serves amazing French cuisine in a warm, romantic, trendy atmosphere. Le Christine serves up everything from seafood to veal and pork and even offers vegetarian options such as chanterelle mushrooms for those looking for a meat substitute.
Protip: Book a reservation if this is a restaurant you want to check out, Le Christine fills up very quickly!
Arguably one the most Instagram worthy cafes in Paris is Café de Flore. Café de Flore is one of Paris’ longest-running cafes and is a popular spot for celebrities and wealthy Paris locals.
This cafe is open daily from 7:30 am until 1:30 am and serves some of the best food and coffee in the city. Located on Boulevard Saint-Germain, Café de Flore also finds itself in one of the most famous villages in the world!
Our recommendation: Try ‘Le Flore’, you will not be disappointed!
Located in the 9th arrondissement, Bouillon Chartier, also known as Chartier, has been a Parisian staple for over a century. Established in 1896, Chartier has been run on three key principles. One, provide a decent meal, two, price the meal reasonably, and three, provide customers with good service and it is safe to say with those three principles and only four owners later the restaurant is still as successful as when it opened!
Kevin and I definitely recommend Bouillon Chartier if you are looking for well-priced, mouth-watering, French cuisine!
Renoma Café is located on Avenue George V just a few blocks over from Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe making it a great place to stop while sightseeing. This modern and stylish cafe offers both indoor and outdoor seating while offering a variety of menu options for every palate. In addition to wonderful food options, Renoma Café also has an extensive cocktail section!
Food truck lovers out there this is for you! Le Camion Qui Fume is Paris’ 1st food truck, serving up only the best gourmet burgers! Founded in 2011, Le Camion Qui Fume has been a go-to spot for both locals and tourists ever since. Each burger is made with quality homemade products and the rolls/breads are freshly made every day by their artisan baker. We literally cannot rave about these burgers enough.
Our recommendations: Order the Bleu Burger and The Classique Burger, both are equally amazing! Still hungry? Order a side of their awesome fries!
If you’d like to learn more about how we save thousands of dollars traveling, then check out our Travel Secrets online course. This course goes into detail about how we got round-trip tickets to Europe for less than $50!
For those of you planning your next European adventure but not sure where to go let us help! There are so many extraordinary cities in Europe but why not explore the capital of France and one of the most visited cities in the world first?
Paris is full of historic buildings and monuments, mouth-watering cuisine, breathtaking architecture and so much more. Honestly, you could get lost wandering around the romantic streets of Paris and days could be spent just walking around this beautiful city.
Below are our recommendations for how to make the best out of 48-hours in Paris, France. We hope you find it helpful!
Have a comment or recommendation that we did not include. Please drop a comment below. We would love to hear from you and learn about additional things to do in this lovely city.