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48 hours in Paris - have a whirlwind romance with the city of light

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Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and its location at the heart of Europe and fantastic transport links make it the perfect place for a short break. Here’s an itinerary which breaks down the best way to see the main sights, along with some hidden gems, in just 48 hours.


5 p.m. – If you’ve arrived in Paris by train, you’ll already be at the Gare du Nord in the middle of town, ready to head out. If you’ve flown to Charles de Gaulle airport, your first adventure will be getting into the center of this enormous city.


The most reliable route into town is by train. The RER runs every 8 minutes from the airport, stopping at several major stations in town, where one can switch onto the Metro if necessary. Tickets cost €10 for adults, and the journey is just over 30 minutes.


Taxis can cost €150 or more, and often get stuck in traffic on the way into town. Several bus services also run from the airport, but face the same traffic problems as the taxis.

7 p.m. - When you’re settled in at the hotel, head west to the 6th arrondissement to begin your Paris trip at its most famous landmark – the Eiffel Tower. Once you’ve had your fill of selfies, cross the river and enjoy the Trocadero gardens beforevisiting the nearby Palais de Tokyo, a museum and exhibition space which is always full of weird and wonderful exhibits and events- ever tried an indoor gondola ride before?


9 p.m. – Now head for the 8th arrondissement on foot if you have the energy, or in a taxi if you don’t, making sure your driver takes you up past the Arc de Triomphe and down the Champs-Élysées. There’s no shortage of excellent restaurants in Paris and L’Epicure, with three Michelin stars, is one of the finest. If you want something a little more relaxed, O’Briezh is just down the block and does exceptional seafood - try the smoked eel with algae.



9 a.m. – Start your day bright and early at the Louvre. Beat the other tourists there and you’ll enjoy it twice as much. Next enjoy a stroll through the beautiful Tuileries gardens outside and inspect the magnificent obelisk in the Place de la Concorde at the far end.


1 p.m. – Now cross the Seine and head back east to the Musée d’Orsay, enjoying the view of the grand Roman portico of the Palais Bourbon as you go. Take a pit-stop at the excellent and inexpensive restaurant in the d’Orsay, before immersing yourself in the museum’s magnificent collection of Impressionist art.


3 p.m – When you’ve finished in the d’Orsay, continue your riverside wander down past the Pont des Arts, now sadly without its famous padlocks, and cross the venerable Pont Neuf to the Île de la Cité, the river island that is home to many of Paris’ finest buildings, including Notre-Dame. This great cathedral is not only fantastic to look at from the outside, but is also full of gorgeous stained glass windows and elegant carvings. The view from the top of the tower is also unmissable.


6 p.m. – For an unbeatable afternoon snack to raise your blood sugar, cross the little bridge to the Ile Saint-Louis, Paris’ other river island, and get an ice-cream at Berthillon - their super zesty blood orange sorbet has to be tasted to be believed.


9 p.m. – If you’ve got any energy left after all that, take Metro dance it off at Rex Club, one of Europe’s top underground nightclubs, which plays host to the world’s best DJs every weekend. The club is just a short metro ride away by the Bonne Nouvelle station.



9 a.m. – Start your Sunday with a trip to the Pompidou Center, the “inside-out” gallery designed by Renzo Piano. It’s full of fantastic modern art, from Magritte and Picasso to Dali and Kandinsky, and even has a great little café on the top floor where you can reward yourself with a croissant.


11 a.m. – Next is the Musée de la Chasse, a museum of “hunting and nature”. It’s full of spooky stuffed animals, great paintings and sculptures of the natural world and more. It’s been described as quirky, astonishing, strange and eclectic, and it makes a nice break from the more traditional museums and galleries in the city.


1 p.m. – You’re now in the heart of the Marais district, so enjoy the walk as you head towards the Place des Vosges. There are countless stunning buildings here, from the Hotel de Sully to the many synogogues in the area. Victor Hugo’s apartment, situated on the Place des Vosges itself, is also a fun place to check out, especially for fans of Les Miserables.


3 p.m. - Drop in to the famous Ma Bourgogne café to have a drink and enjoy its view from the corner of the Place des Vosges.


5 p.m. - No weekend in Paris would be complete without a trip up Montmartre hill to enjoy the splendid view from the steps of the beautiful Sacré Couer church at its summit, as the sun begins to set over the city.


If you have more time…

Paris is such a popular tourist destination partly because of the sheer number of sights to see. Here are some of the things to see if you find yourself with some extra time in the city:


Luxembourg Gardens – Tranquil gardens in the heart of the city with a boating lake.


Café de Flore – One of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite spots, this charming little café is the ideal place to stop for crepes.


Place Maubert – The Maubert market is a great experience, and the perfect spot to pick up a souvenir cheese.


Palace of Versailles – One of the most famously beautiful buildings in Europe, set in enormous gardens. Just a short train ride from central Paris.


Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle – Spacious open-plan Natural History museum with plenty to see and do.


Arab World Institute – France’s colonial connections with the Arab world make this a fascinating visit.


Catacombs of Paris – Filled with the remains of 6 million people, a visit to the catacombs is a morbid but enthralling experience.


Montparnasse Tower – Not a pretty building in itself, but one that offers unparalleled views as the only skyscraper in the city.


Rodin Museum – A must-see for any sculpture fan.


Shakespeare & Company – Famous English language bookshop a stone’s throw from Notre-Dame.


Location/contact details:

Day one

Eiffel Tower

Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France

0 892 70 12 39


Palais de Tokyo

13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France

01 81 97 35 88



112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, France

01 53 43 43 40



27/29 Rue de Penthièvre, 75008 Paris, France

01 42 56 27 32


Day two

Louvre Museum

75001 Paris, France

01 40 20 50 50


Musée d'Orsay

1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris, France

01 40 49 48 14



31 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île, 75004 Paris, France

01 43 54 31 61


Rex Club

5 Boulevard Poissonnière, 75002 Paris, France

01 42 36 10 96


Day three

The Centre Pompidou

Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France

01 44 78 12 33


Musée de la Chasse

62 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France

01 53 01 92 40


Sully Hotel

48 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris, France

01 42 78 49 32


Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France


Ma Bourgogne

19 Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France

01 42 78 44 64



35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France

01 53 41 89 00


Other tips

Luxembourg Gardens

6th arrondissement of Paris, 75006 Paris, France

01 42 34 23 62


Café de Flore

172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France

01 45 48 55 26


Place Maubert

Place Maubert, 75005 Paris, France

01 46 34 10 32


Palace of Versailles

Place d'Armes, 78000 Versailles, France

01 30 83 78 00


Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle

57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France

01 40 79 56 01


Arab World Institute

1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris, France

01 40 51 38 38


Catacombs of Paris

1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France

01 43 22 47 63


Montparnasse Tower

33 Avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris, France

01 45 38 52 56


Rodin Museum

79 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France

01 44 18 61 10


Shakespeare & Company

37 Rue de la Bûcherie

75005 Paris