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One of the most visited cities in europe it is sometimes hard not to be overwhelmed. The key to spending 48 hours in Paris is planning ahead. Plan which major attractions are a must and build in some time for the more off-beat side of Paris.
Day 1 Morning
The Louvre is obviously the best known museum in paris but I would start with the Musee d’Orsay. A beautiful former railway station and now home to an amazing collection of art. Featuring an array of impressionist art from Monet, Van Gough and Renoir. As well as sculptures and art from throughout history. Spend a couple of hours absorbing the wonderful sights of the museum then grab a morning snack or early lunch at he restaurant on the second floor. The temporary exhibitions are always worth a view.
A ten minute walk and across the Seine brings you to the Louvre pyramids. A great instagram shot if you can avoid the crowds. Although mine wasn’t so great. If you do want to go into the Louvre don’t use the main entrance as its always busy. There is a entrance in the Carousel du Louvre underground shopping mall found just off Rue de Rivoli.
Place de la Concorde
Take a walk past the Arc de Triomphe Carrousel and through the Jardins des Tuileries to arrive at the Place de la Concorde. Home to the 3,300+ year old Luxor Obelisk since 1836. The Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris and features two fountains. One representing the seas and the other representing the rivers.
One of the most luxurious hotels to spend 48 hours in Paris, Hotel de Crillon, is situated on the corner of Place de la Concorde. Although our budget doesn’t quite stretch that far yet!
Leaving the Place de la Concorde to the North West (or right as you look at the Seine). You arrive at the foot of the Champs-Elysee. Described as the worlds most beautiful avenue. Lined with restaurants, luxury boutiques, nightclubs and all the major fashion brands its another Paris “must see”. Take your time to stroll up and do a little window shopping and grab some lunch.
Day 1 Afternoon
Arc de Triomphe
After lunch a walk further up the Champs-Elysee brings you to the Arc de Triomphe. A monument to the armies of the revolution and burial site of the unknown soldier. Accessible by all with lifts to the terrace the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe is one of the best you will see of Paris. Once you have your fill of the amazing views take a slow walk down Avenue Kieber to Palais du Chaillot for that iconic view over the Trocadero Gardens of the Eiffel Tower with the Champ de Mars behind it.
The one that everyone comes to Paris to see. An amazing feat of engineering. Named after the engineer who’s company built the structure, Gustav Eiffel. And stood as the tallest man made structure for 41 years after its completion. But in my opinion viewing from the outside is the best option for this tourist attraction, who wants a landscape picture of Paris that doesn’t feature the Eiffel Tower? you could of course want to become one of the 7 million people a year who ascend the towers 3 floors.
As the day draws to a close head for the Montparnasse Tower. Probably best to get a bus as its been a long day of walking. Either grab a light meal in one of the bistro’s or creperies, frequented by famous artists and writers in years gone past, around the tower or visit the 360 cafe in the tower itself. Before ascending to the observation deck for the stunning panoramic views of a lit up Paris. Time it right and watch the Eiffel Tower Sparkle – The first 5 minutes of every hour after dusk.
Palace of Versailles
Get up early and jump on a train out to the Palace of Versailles. Get off at Versailles Château Rive Gauche which is the closest station to King Louis XIV’s 17th Century palace. Almost destroyed in the French Revolution this Chateau is a beautiful structure with amazing gardens. Get an audio tour and enjoy walking around the Golden Palace and its gardens. After spending a couple of hours exploring get some food from one of the eateries in the grounds, or venture just outside to one of the many Restaurants. Try Le Sept for some great food and wine. Then get back on a train to Paris and visit Montmarte.
A large hill in the 18th arrondissement. Montmarte is a village in the heart of Paris. Cobbled streets wind their way up the hill towards the Sacre-Coeur. Or get the funicular if the walk up is a bit too much. The view from Butte Montmarte gives you a full panorama of Paris. Entering the Sacre-Coeur for some more stunning architecture and religious relics and art. On your way up (or down) enjoy the narrow streets and keep an eye out for the street artists and bohemian architecture. The area away from the Sacre-Coeur is as varied as you will find in Paris. From kitch boutiques, cafes to sex shops and off beat museums there is definitely something for everyone.
Finish the day with a champagne filled evening of cabaret at the famous red windmill. Enjoy dinner and dancing girls (and boys) of the fantastic shows at the Moulin Rouge – booking in advance is advised as tourists do like to visit.
Chris is a Number cruncher by work day, seeker of new experiences by weekend – always looking to spend 48 hours somewhere! Seen 4 continents, 26 countries and 100’s of city’s hoping to add a few more each year.