Pretending walk through all the wonderful sights of Paris in just one weekend is simply impossible, but thanks to that Paris has various recreational facilities in the field of culture, shopping or nightlife, you can take a great tour only by choosing the best spots in Paris and knowing in advance what to see in Paris in a weekend.
The first time I was in Paris was in 1996, and since then I have visited the French capital so often, in fact, in a few weeks we will go back after a trip through Normandy, again traveling with Pau (our cute Yorkie).
Discover what to see in Paris in a weekend
It all depends on the season you go to Paris, but if you want to know what to see in Paris in a weekend, you will probably arrive in the Friday afternoon, and considering the transfer to the hotel and the accommodation there, is not much time to tour that day. Although I recommend you to be brave and take a beautiful first impression of the city of light, and let this be with the bright on the Eiffel Tower, if it is not too late do not hesitate to take the Metropolitain to the Trocadero station to have a sight that you will remember your whole life.
Nothing better than starting your trip with this visit. A place where it can be seen the tower from a distance as well as the gardens of the Champs de Mars. Down there you can have access to buy the tickets to enter the Eiffel Tower even for the day next, there are different options on tickets depending on the height or level at which you want to go up, the most recommended is the third level which is precisely where the best views are.
By then it will be already time for dinner, so if you want to discover what to see in Paris in a weekend, a highly recommended place for dinner is the Latin Quarter, to reach this Neighborhood, you have to take a RER that goes from the Champs de Mars to Saint-Michel / Notre Dame, once you are there, you will know where you need to go. Prices in this area are very reasonable, and they have a very nice atmosphere and typical French restaurants.
After dinner, you can have a drink or if you prefer, you can take a tour where the monuments are, they are illuminated. From the Latin Quarter you can also walk to Notre Dame by only crossing one of the bridges of the Seine, that’s a perfect plan for Paris in a weekend.
What to see in Paris in a weekend: Day 1
To begin the first day in our “Paris in a weekend“, you can visit Les Invalides, a church where Napoleon is buried. Right next to this church is the Rodin Museum, which we recommend you to visit, the sculptor’s works are located in the garden of the museum, this must be in your list about what to see in Paris in a weekend.
Crossing the forecourt of the church Les Invalides, you will reach the Alexandre III Bridge, which is considered as the most attractive in Paris, continuing straight, you will find the Petit Palais, you can enter for free on it and enjoy its beautiful decoration, the most interesting part is the courtyard.
If you continue walking along the Churchill Avenue, you will reach the Champs Elysees from where you can see the famous Triumphal Arch, you can get closer to it, and on the way you can enjoy a delicious coffee in one of the terraces or admire the showcases that are out there.
Some people think that the views from the Arc de Triomphe are better than the Eiffel Tower’s, so I strongly recommend you to go up to the top.
Then, going back to the Champs Elysees, you need to walk about half an hour to get the obelisk of Luxor, which is located on the Place de la Concorde, where you can take the road to the church of the Madeleine, to reach the Rue Royale, which is where the best stores in Paris are, after visiting the church, you will have to go back a bit to walk down the Rue Saint Honore, where you can reach the Place Vendome located on the left side, in this square you can find a replica of Trajan’s column that is in Rome.
Continuing along the square, you’ll have to take the right side, to reach the Louvre Museum, but before that, you have to go through the Tuileries Gardens, you should include these place in the tour of what to see in Paris in a weekend.
Surely you will spend a lot of time inside the Louvre enjoying each of its galleries. I recommend having the entrance tickets in advance and avoiding the long queues that there is always at the entrance if you don’t want to speand all your “Paris in a weekend” in just one single place.
When you leave the museum, try to do it on the north side so you can head towards the Avenue de l’Opéra which was built by Napoleon III in order to have better access between the Louvre and the Palais Garnier, today is the new Opera building.
Around this building, you will find the boulevard Haussman where there are quite affordable stores like Galeries Lafayette or the Printemps, Galeries Lafayette deserve a visit it just to see its beautiful dome.
For dinner I recommend you visiting the Place du Tertre, which is also known as Painters Square, prices are affordable and is a quiet place.
What to see in Paris in a weekend: Day 2
To enjoy the second day in our “Paris in a weekend“, I personally recommend starting for a visit to Notre Dame, and if you want to enter to the towers, there surely will be a very long queue, so you better go there early, a good time would be at 9:45 am.
Then I recommend you go to the Place Louis Lépine, across the square from Notre Dame, this place is a market where there are plants and flowers stalls, and on Sundays, they also stalls with birds, this is another example of what to see in Paris in a weekend.
A place you cannot miss in Paris is the Pantheon, which is located on the Rue Soufflot, to get there, you need to go to the Boulevard du Palais, then cross the bridge Saint Michel, which will take you directly to the Latin Quarter, that I recommended for dinner on the arrival day, walking down the Boulevard Saint-Michel, you can get to the Rue Soufflot.
On the same Boulevard you can find the gardens of Luxembourg, which are considered the most attractive in Paris. For lunch, we recommend you continue on the same Boulevard Saint-Michel, along the Seine, and you will find great places to eat, with a great vibrant atmosphere.
After that, if you still have time in Paris in a Weekend, you can visit the Orsay Museum, in order to get there you only have to continue walking through the south edge of the river Seine. These are only suggestions to visit in Paris, but there are a lot more places such as the Quai Branly Museum, Palace of Versailles, the Catacombs of Paris, etc.
A great place you cannot miss in Paris in a weekend is the Montmartre neighborhood where the beautiful and picturesque Basilica of the Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) stands out from the Paris skyline. At the base of the neighborhood you will find lot of shops, restaurants and the famous cabratt Molin Rouge. At the top of the hill, there are too many tourists, but it is possible to feel the atmosphere of the bohemian neighborhood of Paris where the artists look for their inspiration
As you can see, go to Paris in a weekend can be tiring, but definitely well worth doing.
When we have overnight in Paris in a weekend or longer, we have always stayed at the Hôtel de NELL Paris, both for its location in the quiet area, for its quality in facilities and rooms and also because pets are more than welcome, because we travel through Europe with dog.
I suggest you to read my other article: “Things to avoid as a tourist in Paris” HERE (in Spanish, but you can change the language with the flags on top).
If you are driving from the UK or another country and you are also traveling with pets, you may be also interested to read this article: “Traveling from London to Paris by car and with dog” HERE (this article is also in Spanish but you can translate it using the language flags on top)
Paris in a weekend is just a good time to get the best of the French Capital, because for sure you will get back to Paris in future many times.