Travel Guide: What to do in 48 Hours in Paris
Paris. My favorite city on earth. A city known for it's beautiful Haussaman buildings, endless cafés, rich history, and I suppose the famed "snobbish" Parisians. I've been to Paris a total of three times in the last 4 years, clearly I can't get enough of this place. It's gotten to the point where it's a city I can never skip over if I'm headed to Europe. Yeah, I know, it sounds cliché -- but I'll always be in love with Paris.
The longest I've stayed in Paris was two weeks, which was last December 2016. The shortest was 4 days in 2013. A lot of people have asked me if it's worth staying more than two days in the city, and my answer is always, "Two days anywhere will never be truly enough." but I understand that not everyone, not even myself, has the luxury of traveling for extensive amounts of time.
The Paris Museum Pass gives you access to over 60 museums and monuments, in and outside Paris, including the most famous and top attractions like The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Chateau de Versailles, etc. I wouldn't say this pass is necessary for everyone out there planning to visit Paris. At the end of the day, it still varies per person and their travel style. Last December 2016, I actually used this very same pass for touring around Paris and visiting the museums and monuments I didn't get to the last two times I had visited. I was able to make the most of the pass and actually found it to be worth it.
If you're still unsure, I've decided to go ahead and create a sample itinerary of what you can do in Paris under 48 hours. So, here we go!
8:00 AM Wake up. Maybe snooze for 5 more minutes. Or not. Shower & get ready for your first day in Paris.
9:00 AM You're out the door, ready to head to your first destination. Don't forget your pass, your camera, and other important things like a copy of your passport.
9:30 AM Stop by a local boulangerie for some fresh croissants or a Parisien. Don't forget your manners and say "Bonjour!" when you enter and "Merci!" when you leave. Eat your breakfast as you go on to your next destination.
10:00 - 11:30 Make your way to the Arc de Triomphe for a beautiful 360 view of Paris
12:00 PM Head down and have lunch along Avenue des Champs-Elysees. Try famous French dishes like escargot or steak tartare. (Yes, escargot is actually snails while steak tartare is carefully prepared raw beef. I've tried both myself. They're not bad. Raw beef tastes like salmon sashimi.)
1:30 PM Make your way to Musee l'Orangerie to view the beautiful works of famous artists like Monet
3:30 PM Walk over to Jardin de Luxembourg. Have a nice picnic under the warm sun, sit on the green chairs and read a book, or people watch. Just take a break and enjoy what Paris has to offer.
5:00 PM Make your way to the famous Shakespeare & Co bookstore. If you're a book lover, this is a must! If not, that's fine too. Walk around the area and just explore, or have some coffee at the new Shakespeare & Co cafe next door.
6:00 PM Visit Notre Dame Cathedral, which is right across Shakespeare & Co.
7:00 PM Have a nice dinner. You can go for restaurants or head on over to a local grocery and pick up some ready made food. This is usually what I would do.
8:00 PM Make your way to Trocadero for the best viewing point of the Eiffel Tower, especially at night, when it sparkles every first five minutes of the hour. It's mesmerizing.
9:00 PM Head back to your hotel for a good night's rest, because you'll be starting early the next day.
7:00 AM Wake-up, don't press that snooze button. Get ready for your morning travel to the outter part of Paris where Chateau de Fontainebleu is located.
8:00 AM Be at Gare de Lyon station and buy a ticket for Avon-Fontainebleu.
9:30 AM Spend two hours in Chateau de Fontainebleu and immerse yourself in Napolean history. While Chateau de Versailles is more famous, I find Chateau de Fontainebleu a lot less crowded with much better displays and preserved history. If you dislike crowds, then this is the obvious choice for you. A lot of the times, Gab and I had the place completely to ourselves!
11:30 AM If you didn't pack your own lunch (I usually do), you can walk out of the chateau grounds and find a nearby restaurant to grab a meal.
2:00 PM Head back to Paris after lunch and make your way to Musee d'Orsay for more history and art
4:00 PM Visit the Conciergerie, the first royal King's palace where 14th century gothic rooms still remain. This is where Marie Antoinette stayed before being beheaded.
6:00 PM Have an early dinner
7:30 PM Make your way to Musee du Louvre, this is the best time to go because most people will be out for dinner or have already visited earlier in the day. My tip for visiting Paris's largest museum: do research and pick out the exhibitions you're most interested in seeing and start there. Trust me.
A 48 hour Paris Museum Pass costs around €48. In my sample itinerary we've visited 6 places in total that required a fee:
1. Arc de Triomphe (€ 12)
2. Musée de l'Orangerie (€ 9)
3. Chateau de Fontainebleu (€ 11)
4. Musée d'Orsay (€ 12)
5. Conciergerie (€9)
5. Musée du Louvre (€ 15)
Total of: € 68.00
With the Paris Museum Pass, you would save at least €20! That 20 euros can buy you 2 full meals in Paris. So is the museum pass worth it? Definitely, especially if you know how to manage your time and you're okay with following a set itinerary. Not to mention, the pass allows you fast access into these monuments and museums, which means you get to skip the long lines and enter right on through! Money & time saver in one ;-)
I hope my little guide has helped you plan out or decide what to do when you visit Paris. If you've got questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments sections below. I'd love to hear from you and what you think of this post or how you think it could be better!