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Is there anything more romantic than a weekend in Paris? Paris known as the city of love and once you walk along the Seine it is easy to see why. The city is full of life with its pedestrian friendly avenues and sidewalk cafes. But you don’t have to be in love or in a relationship to appreciate this historic city. If you have a weekend in Paris, you will want to plan your time carefully as there is much to see and do (and of course, eat).
The first tip I will give you is to invest in the Paris Pass. It is the best way to save money when you are planning to see several things in this magical city, plus it keeps you from having to stand in many different queues. You’ll get entry to more than 60 museums & attractions. It also gives you a day on the Hop on Hop Off Bus which you know I love. And since you probably don’t have a car, it will also save you on transportation throughout Paris.
What to see, do & eat when you have a Weekend in Paris
Arc de Triomphe. Standing at the crossroads of 12 grand avenues, the Arc de Triomphe is a wonderful way to view Paris from above. Climb the winding staircase and you will get an idyllic view of Champs Élysées and the Eiffel Tower.
Built as a war memorial during the reign of Napoleon, you will find the names of general and wars fought engraved on the inside and at the top of the arc. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I rests beneath the Arc.
Eiffel Tower. Constructed as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. The tower has three different levels for you to go up & each with a different price. The first two levels have restaurants and the top level has the highest observation deck in Paris. You can walk up to the first & second level or take a lift all the way to the top!
Be sure to get your tickets to the Eiffel Tower in advance so you don’t spend ALL DAY waiting in the line. While you can go all the way to the top, views from the second level are amazing and way less expensive.
Ponts de Art. On your way to the Louvre, be sure to take a moment and walk across the Seine and take in the view. This pedestrian bridge was known as the Love Lock Bridge because lovers would place a lock along the bridge, throwing the key into the Seine, to signify their eternal love. Apparently this caused great strain on the bridge due to the weight of all the locks and in 2015, the locks were removed. Louvre. Sitting along the banks of the Seine is one of the most magnificent art galleries in the world. The Louvre has everything from Egyptian artifacts to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. It is enormous and you will want to spend the better part of the day here alone.
No, you won’t be able to see everything there is to see, but in a half day, you can see a lot of art. Do not wait to get tickets at the door. You will want to avoid the line, so purchase your tickets to the Louvre in advance. Entrance is FREE the first Sunday of the month from October through March. Children under 18 and for young adults from the European Union under 26 are free every day.
Tuileries Garden. Once the royal garden, this beautiful open space is just adjacent to the Louvre and the perfect spot to sit and enjoy all that is Paris. You’ll find sculptures, ponds, fountains and beautiful flowers everywhere you look. With all the hustle & bustle that is Paris, the gardens are a nice way to decompress and relax!
l’Orangerie. If you are a fan of Monet, this is the museum for you! This museum is dedicated to Impressionism and features the best collection of such art. Here you will see Monet’s Water Lilies like you have never seen before along with other masterpieces by such artists as Cézanne, Renoir and Matisse. Tickets to l’Orangerie are relatively cheap, but you will want to purchase them before you go to avoid the line.Notre Dame Cathedral. This beautiful French Gothic Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It houses some of Catholicism’s most important relics: The Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified, and one of the Holy Nails used for the Crucifixion. The exterior of the church is it’s own work of art with 28 statues representing the monarchs of Judea and Israel. You will also find Gargoyles adorning the facade which is typical of the French Gothic period.
Inside the church, are stunning stained glass windows. The most notable of these are the three rose windows that face North, South and West in the cathedral. There are two towers in Notre Dam. The climb up is 387 steps, but once you are at the top you will have a great view of Paris.
You can choose to visit Notre Dame on your own or purchase a guided tour. The benefit of a guided tour is that you are walked through with someone who is knowledgeable on all aspects of the site and can give you details on things you might not know to look for.
Shakespeare Company Bookshop. Just down from Notre Dame Cathedral is the Shakespeare Company. Famous as a meeting place for authors during the 20th century, you might have found James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, or even F.Scott Fitzgerald there any given day. Crêperie du Cloître. You cannot spend a weekend in Paris and not have Crepes. If you are near Notre Dame and in the mood for something sweet or savory, head to Crêperie du Cloître.
We had both the Ham & Cheese and Nutella and Banana. Delicious!
Sainte Chapelle. This cathedral was constructed in the 13th century at the time of King Louis IX to serve as a chapel for the royal palace and meant to hold precious relics (that are now at Notre Dame). It too is French Gothic and has one of the most extensive 13th-century stained glass collections anywhere. It is one of my all time favorite chapels in the world!
Looking for other things to do in Paris? Find out what else you can see when you only have 2 days in Paris.