How to See Paris in Two Days: Food & Culture

Visiting Paris is an experience of a lifetime. But can you really see Paris in two days? Yes, as long as you have an organized itinerary and a plan, you can enjoy the best of Paris.

My 2 day Paris travel itinerary is based on several years of visiting Paris and a thorough knowledge of the city. I’ve included a mix of food recommendations and culture in my itinerary because I believe in enjoying both no matter how long or short the trip.

And because you’ve come to Baker Street Society (which is all about the best desserts and Paris travel), you know there will be some delicious food recommendations along the way!

Eiffel Tower in Paris

Day 1 in Paris: The Left Bank (Rive Gauche)

The Morning

7:30 am: Begin the Day with a Parisian Pastry

Absolutely a must! Wake up, get ready, and visit a boulangerie. I have a few favorite spots for pastries on the left bank. When I plan a trip, I try to visit the boulangeries that are either near my hotel or near the first stop of the day.

Don’t take a metro 30 minutes across the city for a pastry and then another 45 minutes to your destination. If you had a week, sure, this would be fine. But not when you want to see Paris in two days.

La Maison D'Isabelle for breakfast pastries- Paris in two days itinerary
La Maison D’Isabelle

I highly recommend ordering a pastry at La Maison D’Isabelle and Boulangerie Parisienne. Both bakeries are near the first destination of the day. Personally, I’d recommend stopping at La Maison D’Isabelle to order a pain au chocolat, brioche, or kouign amann.

8:00 am: Eat at Luxembourg Gardens

Once you have your pastry, walk 14 minutes from La Maison D’Isabelle to Luxembourg Gardens. Luxembourg is a must for me on every trip (even the short trips). There’s no other park in Paris like it, and “park” seems like an understatement because Luxembourg Gardens is magnificent.

Things to See in Luxembourg Gardens:

The Statue of Liberty (there are 5 small Statues of Liberty in Paris), La Fountain de Medicini, the flowers and garden areas, the gorgeously groomed trees and shrubs, and the “pond” in the center where children push sailboats around.

Fountain at Luxembourg Gardens - Paris in two days itinerary
Medici Fountain at Luxembourg Gardens

Pull up one of the green chairs (not the angled-back chairs, trust me), eat your pastry, and watch the little sailboats floating on the water. It’s a very Parisian moment to experience and enjoy.

Once you finish your pastry, walk around the gardens to soak in the culture, beauty, and solitude.

9:00 am: Walk to Musée d’Orsay

Visit the Orsay next as it’s an easy walk from Luxembourg Gardens. Leave the park by 9 am, and make your way to the museum so you get there in time for the doors to open at 9:30 am (open every day except Monday).

If I had to choose between the Orsay and the Louvre (having done both), I would choose the Orsay. The art collections are easy to view without getting lost in the museum.

Plan about 90 minutes for the Orsay so you can see everything without feeling rushed. If you like to spend more time looking at each painting and art piece, give yourself two hours total.

The Orsay is perfect for your visit if you like romantic and impressionistic art. You’ll see several classic paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir, to name a few. In addition, the clock in the Orsay Museum is worth seeing! It’s a giant clock at the top of the museum. As you look through the glass clock, you will see a breathtaking view of Paris, including Sacré-Cœur.

11:30 am: La Grande Epicerie for Lunch & Snack

I would never plan two days in Paris or any number of days in the city without visiting La Grande Epicerie (but that’s probably the baker and foodie in me!).

From Luxembourg Gardens, walk 13 minutes to La Grande Epicerie where you will enter food heaven! 30,000 beautiful square feet of delicious French pastries, butter, chocolate, and all the iconic French foods you can imagine.

apple tarts at La Grande Epicerie -Paris in two days itinerary
Tarts at La Grande Epicerie

While at La Grande Epicerie, pick up lunch for a picnic at the Eiffel Tower.

Option one: Pick up bread, cheese, meat, fruit, wine or drinks, and utensils.

Option two: Buy pre-made sandwiches and drinks.

Either option works well for an Eiffel Tower picnic.

12:30 Metro 10 to Eiffel Tower

Get onto metro line 10 at Babylone -Sevres (by La Grande Épicerie) to La Motte Piquet-Grenelle, and ride to the Eiffel Tower (only 15 minutes including walking and metro).

12:45 pm: Picnic at Eiffel Tower on Champ de Mars

Exit the métro, and walk to the Champ de Mars grassy area in front of the Eiffel Tower. It’s only lunchtime, and you’re already at attraction number 4 for the day (yes, La Grande Epicerie counts as a major attraction)!

Sitting near La Tour Eiffel for a picnic is a beautiful and unforgettable experience, so soak it in! Take pictures, enjoy your lunch, and don’t rush off quite yet. Part of the Parisian experience is sitting and relaxing.

Give yourself 45 – 60 minutes so you don’t miss the moment. You may only have two days in Paris, but you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of the experience. Enjoy it!

The Afternoon

2:00 pm: Saint-Germain-des-Près Pastry & Chocolate Walk

If you are a foodie, this will be a huge highlight of your two days in Paris, trust me! I take several different pastry walks every trip, and it never gets old.

Take metro line 10 from the Eiffel Tower to Saint-Germain, and exit at the Mabillon station. This will be your starting point.

As you begin your pastry crawl, take a few minutes to admire the beautiful Saint-Germain-des-Près Eglise (church). It’s historic and worth seeing.

Richart in Paris - Paris in two days itinerary

Pastry Walk Itinerary:

  1. Richart – stop here for the macarons!
  2. Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse – Try the passion fruit chocolate and praline. Both are to die for!
  3. Cyril Lignac Patisserie – Lignac makes the best lemon tart and is famous for his Equinoxe dessert.
  4. Patisserie Michalak – Get the mango entremet. Just do it. You can thank me later!
  5. Pierre Hermé – Try the macarons. I have yet to eat a better macaron anywhere.
  6. Patrick Roger – One of the best chocolatiers in the world. The flavors are exotic, so be prepared for some unusual flavors.
  7. Grom Gelato – This is one of the best shops for ice cream/gelato in the entire city.
  8. Fou de Patisserie— You can try several pastries from the best patisseries in Paris all in one shop.

Here is the map and route you will take. The walk takes 26 minutes starting at the metro station, so it’s very doable. Of course, the pastry crawl takes longer than 26 minutes because you need time at each shop. Plan 1 1/2 – 2 hours for this experience.

4:00 pm: Île de la Cité

Notre Dame Cathedral

After its reconstruction from the historic fire, Notre Dame will re-open on December 7, 2024. Depending on when you are visiting Paris may determine whether or not you can go inside.

If you are in Paris after the reopening, Notre Dame is well worth the stop! Visiting this historic cathedral is free, but it can also be very busy. If you want to read every plaque and piece of information about the church’s history, plan up to two hours.

notre dame paris still under construction
Notre Dame in 2023 still under construction

If you are like me though, you’ll read some of the information but not all, look at the beautiful statues and architecture, take pictures, and be on your way. Plan 45-60 for Notre-Dame for this shorter itinerary.

Since you are trying to see Paris in two days, the shorter time frame is better.

If you want more than two days in Paris, join me in 2025 for a week-long food and culture retreat! Learn more about my retreats here.

Sainte-Chapelle Church

Next, walk to Sainte-Chapelle, which is just eight minutes away. You’ll want to order tickets online in advance to save time ($21 at the time of this article), but it’s one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever visited. The stained glass with the light coming through is magical.

Sainte-Chapelle is smaller than Notre Dame, so you only need 30-45 minutes to enjoy everything the church offers.

6 pm: Wander Along the Seine

No trip to Paris is complete without a view of the beautiful River Seine. After finishing at one or both churches, meander along the sidewalks that line the Seine. You can do this for as long as you’d like! If the weather is nice, walk 45-60 minutes to see the beautiful buildings lining the river and the different bridges (Pont Alexander III is the prettiest!).

7 pm: Eat Dinner

In Paris, it’s wise to make dinner reservations. If you don’t, you may have a long wait or find many restaurants full for the evening.

Many restaurants open for dinner at 7 or 7:30 pm. In addition, you’ll find that restaurants keep different schedules. Some are open every day; others are open five days a week, and some restaurants only operate three days a week.

In addition, many restaurants are closed Sunday and/or Monday…or Tuesday…or Wednesday…you get the picture.

Check the restaurant schedule and make a reservation beforehand so you don’t have to stress about dinner when you are only in Paris for two days.

Recommended restaurants for dinner: Brasserie Vagenende, Bistrot des Augustins, Josephine Chez Dumonet, and Chez Fernand Christine

9:45 pm: River Cruise

End the day with a Seine River cruise. A river cruise is the ultimate way to get an overview of the city and a fantastic way to see the Eiffel Tower at night! Take your cruise at 9:30 or 9:45 pm so you can see the Tower light up and sparkle at 10 pm. The Eiffel Tower sparkles for five minutes on the hour, every hour, once it’s dark outside.

I prefer Vedettes du Pont Neuf for a river cruise, but do your research and choose the one that works best for you.

A river cruise costs less than $20 per person, is about one hour long, and will allow you to see Paris in a completely new way!

Here is a map itinerary for day one in Paris. The only things not included on the map are a restaurant for dinner and the pastry shops (included in the pastry walk map).

Day 2 in Paris: The Right Bank (Rive Droite)

Splitting up the city by the right and left banks is a great way to see more of the city without running all around. Two days in Paris can be enough if you divide and conquer the city in the right way.

Day two focuses on the right bank, which has so much to offer.

7:30 am: Get Breakfast

Before beginning the day, you need breakfast! Stop at Bo&Mie near the Louvre and get a pastry. The raspberry croissants are SO good.

Bo&Mie boulangerie in Paris

8:30 am: See the Louvre and Tuileries

The Tuileries are iconic gardens in Paris, so stroll through them on your way to the Louvre. Next, walk around the courtyard of the Louvre to see the glass pyramid and magnificent palace that houses the art.

The Louvre is definitely a must-visit museum, but save it for a longer visit to Paris.

9:30 am: Sacré-Cœur & Montmartre

After seeing the Louvre, take metro line 4 (Chatelet to Chateau Rouge) to Montmartre to explore the area in the morning. Many places are closed during the early morning hours, so I typically choose activities that don’t involve going inside.

Sacré-cœur basilica in Paris -Paris in two days itinerary

Sacré-Cœur is perfect for this because you will see the basilica from the outside. Once there, you can see this iconic church along with the “sinking” house to the right of the basilica (when facing the church).

Wander the streets, get a street crepe, and visit Place du Tertre, the Artist Square. You could spend all day here, but 1-2 hours is enough to see the major attractions.

11:00 am Rue des Martyrs

After finishing in Montmartre, walk down Rue des Martyrs to the Opera District (9th arrondissement). Rue des Martyrs is a must if you are a foodie! Several food shops along this street are worth visiting, including La Meringaie and La Chambre aux Confitures.

11:30 am: Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

I don’t know why I waited so long to visit Galeries Lafayette. It wasn’t until my 5th trip that I finally went to this palace of a department store, and my only regret was not visiting on a previous trip.

Even if you don’t care about shopping, go inside to see the glass dome. From there, go to the top floor and take the flight of stairs to the rooftop. From here, you can see a magnificent view of Paris!

Inside Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
Dome in Galeries Lafayette

12:30 pm: La Maison Gourmet

After shopping and exploring for an hour, walk next door to La Maison Gourmet, Galeries Lafayette food hall. This place is a dream for dessert and pastry lovers. They also have several food options inside, making it the perfect stop at lunchtime.

You can order something quick like pizza, or sit at one of the small restaurants inside the food hall and eat.

After eating, go down the escalator to the basement or lower level of the store to buy chocolate, treats, and snacks.

1:30 pm: Palais Garnier

Galeries Lafayette is just a few minutes from the famous opera house in Paris, so go! Walk to Palais Garnier (buy tickets ahead of time), and take a self-guided tour. You can easily experience Opera Garnier in 45-60 minutes. It’s absolutely gorgeous and historic. If you don’t want to go inside, at least walk by to see it.

interior of palais garnier -Paris in two days itinerary
Palais Garnier

3:00 pm: Le Marais

One of my favorite areas in the entire city! Visit Le Marais for a truly Parisian experience. The Marais (in my opinion) is the prettiest neighborhood in Paris. If you only have two days in Paris, don’t miss this neighborhood! I have never been to Paris without spending part of a day here.

What to do? Wander.

Stop at Jacques Genin, Une Glace à Paris, and Edwart Chocolatier for sweets. Explore the boutique stores and thrift shops, and sit at Place des Vosges for a few minutes, as it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the district.

Pretty Le Marais Street
Street in Le Marais

5:30 pm: Les Halles

The day is almost over, but there’s still time to see more of Paris. Within Les Halles, go to Rue Montorgeuil and E. Dehillerin.

On Rue Montorgeuil, visit Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris This is one of the best patisseries in the city! Order a St. Honoré, a fruit tart, or an éclair. Everything here is amazing.

Afterward, wander down the street and stop at various shops, like A. Simon (a personal favorite).

From here, go to E. Dehillerin, where you will be in cookware heaven. This store was Julia Child’s favorite place for cookware, and you’ll understand why when you visit.

Here is the itinerary for day two in Paris, excluding dinner and the Arc de Triomphe (because your route will vary depending on where you go for dinner).

7 pm: Enjoy Dinner

Have dinner at a fabulous restaurant on the right bank. Good choices include Via Emilia, Le Soufflé, Bistrot Instinct, and Cafe de la Païx.

9 pm: Arc de Triomphe

End your two days in Paris with a trip to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Since the Arc isn’t close to the other attractions, this will require a metro ride.

Plan ahead, reserve tickets and a time in advance, and walk to the top for one last unforgettable view of the city. After seeing Paris in two days, this is the perfect way to end a magical experience.

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