That’s it, for the next 48 hours, you’re in Paris!
So we’ve prepared a list of the essential, the hidden, the unusual, and the greedy. In short, it includes all that should not be missed during a short weekend in the capital!
You’re right in thinking that this list isn’t exhaustive, as there are a million things to do in Paris and you’d need a lifetime to cover them all. But it’s a start and, this way, you can leave the city happy to have seen a lot.
Where to sleep
First of all, you’re going to need a place to sleep. Because yes, your days (and nights!) will be full, but you’ll need a good night’s sleep in between! If you haven’t been able to find a kind friend to let you crash at theirs for the night then don’t panic, Paris overflows with hostels and hotels of all types.
To make your visit to the city as straightforward as possible, we recommend you stay in the 1-digit districts (from 1 to 9), even if we do love the bobo-trendy side of the 10th and 11th arrondissements.
And if you’re looking for a name, we recommend Hotel 1K. Located close to the Republic, it’s part of the list of affordable but trendy concept hotels, like Mamma Shelter or Hotel Amour. A place where, even living in Paris, we would love to spend the night.
How to get around
The metro is the probably the easiest means of transport in Paris, but don’t ignore the buses, as they give you the opportunity to view other parts of the city as you go from A to B. Although personally, we’re more of a fan of bikes and electric scooters. They’re easily available in the city and they give you the chance to breathe in the open air…providing you’re not afraid to ride with cars!
So now that we’ve got the logistics out of the way, we’ll start at the beginning of your extensive Things To Do list: the Marais and its surroundings! Stroll through the streets of the first four districts of Paris, including the islands and the old capital. With its narrow streets, cobblestones and churches, there’s certainly a lot to take in. And that’s before you’ve even wandered around the fancy shops and tourist restaurants.
While it might be becoming more tourist-y, the neighborhood doesn’t lack charm and includes the Notre Dame de Paris, the Quays of the Seine, the Pompidou Center, the Sainte Chapelle, the Town Hall, Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, and plenty of small streets. The best part? You can cover all of these all exclusively on foot!
Take the opportunity to grab breakfast in one of the best pastry shops in Paris in this area. It’s impossible to leave the capital without a croissant baked by one of our favorite pastry chefs.
Next up, we’ll cross the Seine to find ourselves in the Latin Quarter: it’s wider, there are more solemn streets, and it’s a side of the city that’s somehow more chic and more student-y at the same time. There are several choices available, depending on what you fancy: either queue up at a creperie to eat on the run, or venture into the new hyper-trendy spots of Paris: Beaupassage. Here you’ll find canteens and bakeries created by some of the greatest starred chefs. It’s definitely a place that’s worth seeing.
Next, we’ll stay on Rive Gauche for a tour of the art galleries (and there are so many) If the weather is nice, continue your afternoon with a stroll and a nap in the Luxembourg garden.
You must visit the unmissable Great Mosque of Paris, an absolutely sublime place of worship, which also has its small tea room. It’s an ideal spot to rest your feet while tasting some oriental pastries.
Dinner and evening
Now, we’re not too far from a very lively district of Paris: Place Monge and Rue Mouffetard! You’ll find a great choice of restaurants and it’s also one of the best places to head for a drink. As you walk parallel to the bars, you’ll find that each one is more filled than the last. From small terraces crammed with people to specialized beer bars, you’ll find something to suit every taste.
What’s a trip to Paris without seeing the iconic Eiffel Tower? Google Maps might tell you to get Line 6 of the metro but it’ll be closed all summer (two summers in a row, in fact). Instead, take the opportunity to go up to the Invalides to cross the bridge Alexandre III en route: it’s the most beautiful of Paris! We also suggest you go directly to…
Chez Marcel, in Montmartre, to be specific. From 10:00 to 19:00 (so there’s plenty of time to visit, no matter how much time you spend at the tower), Marcel offers fresh brunch at a reasonable price. There’s granola, porridge, eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, a full English breakfast, club sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, salads, halloumi, roasted potatoes and more. Go as authentic or as comforting as you like.
After you’ve stuffed yourselves silly at brunch, you can’t miss the street of Villa Leander, one of the prettiest in Paris. Retracing your steps, if you go up the street, you’ll come across the famous Rose House that seduces all tourists. There, you’ll be just a step away from the Place du Tertre. Follow the tiny streets to the wall of Je t’aime, through the pretty vineyards of Montmartre.
Finally, we’ll go back down to the 11th arrondissement to see the current exhibition at the Atelier des Lumières, rue Saint Maur. This immersive exhibition has been talked about for a long time in Paris and is highly regarded by many. The visit will take you between an hour and an hour and a half – the time to see the three projections. But pay attention here, as at the weekend they only take tickets that have been purchased in advance on their website.
After, it’s time to tour the bars of Oberkampf! Don’t worry about getting hungry, as the neighborhood is crammed with small restaurants with delicious menus and super fresh products. It’s an area loved by many.
And there you go! You should now be well-prepped to spend a good weekend in Paris! And if you’re looking for any further tips or inside knowledge, check out Secret Paris.
Also published on Medium.