If you never been in France before it’s hard to beat Paris! It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world and certainly one of the crowning jewels of French architecture, charm and culture. A couple days there would fly by quickly. So much is accessible on foot which is why people end up walking so much in Paris (even though it has one of the best subway systems in the world). Be cautioned – it is impossible to “see” Paris in one visit! We recommend you choose what is of primary interest to you.
For lodging, we would recommend the area from Le Marais (4th arrondissement- rue Vieille du Temple, but even as far east as the Place des Voges) to the 6th and 7th arrondissement (Boulevard St Germain, Bd St Michel, all the way to the Luxembourg gardens).
Looking for hotel recommendations? Find a list with suggestions in Paris and throughout France here.
Our Favorite Museums
Check the museums’ websites for hours and late-night openings:
- Musee d’Orsay – Our staff favorite is the impressionist wing!
- Musee de l’Orangerie (check out the Tuileries gardens)
- Musee Rodin
- Musee Jacquemart-André
- Musee du Vin, if you are a wine lover.
- Jeu de Paume
Wait, what about Le Louvre, La Tour Eiffel and Le Champs-Élysées?
These are extremely popular places but with that popularity comes a touristy feel and crowds. If you want to visit these spots, be sure to be patient or plan well. The Louvre is daunting in size, so if you’d like to visit, make sure to pick what you’d like to cover during your visit. Yes, the famous La Tour Eiffel is iconic but it might be too long of a wait if you don’t have a lot of time. Finally, the Champs-Élysées is really just a fancy street with fancy shops, so you might want to do something else.
What should I see and do?
- Monmartre and Sacré-Cœur for some stunning views of the city without having to climb the Eiffel tower.
If you go in the morning, you will have the views to yourself, before the crowds arrive. In the evening, sit on the steps of Sacré-Cœur, enjoy street musicians, street performers and locals.
- Buy baguettes, stinky cheese, and some fruit and enjoy a great lunch picnic in one of the numerous lush parks Paris has to offer.
- Take a run, or a leisurely walk around town and incorporate the banks of the Seine, Luxembourg Gardens, and Champs de Mars
- Rue Cler:
Enjoy this pedestrian-only street with a variety of shops, markets, restaurants, cafes, etc. You may stock up for your picnic here!
- Marche de la place d’Aligre:
Known to be one of the best indoor markets in the city.
- Catacombs of Paris
See the stained glass windows
- Shakespeare and Co is said to be a great (English language) bookshop. Paris seems to be a destination for bibliophiles, though, so there are plenty of unique bookstores to choose from to peruse and browse.
- Take a break and sit in an outdoor café and watch the city go by to feel the ambiance.
- See the La Tour Eiffel – but from a distance lit up at night! A truly special sight.
If your hotel is in any of the arrondissements listed under Lodging above, you will be right around these sights, which in itself will make for a good couple days of sight-seeing:
- Notre Dame
- Hotel de Ville
- La Tour St Jacques
- The Latin Quarter (rue de la Huchette)
- Odeon district (rue de l’Odeon)
- Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe (rue des Quatre Vents)
- Place St Sulpice