I had thought two weeks in Paris was going to be plenty of time to see everything on my list but boy was I wrong. Paris is a dense, exciting city with so much history and culture, I could have spent two years here and still not seen everything the city has to offer. From food to art and architecture, there’s enough to keep anyone busy. Each day was perfect starting with some hearty chocolate or almond croissants, and of course some amazing espresso. Check out how I spent two weeks in Paris.
Day 1: Arrive in Paris early in the morning. Head in for a nap then explore the city! Check out the Eiffel Tower and grab some crepes or a baguette and sit in the park to enjoy the people watching and that you are in France! Then head over to the Arc de Triomphe. It’s worth it to head to the top, and see some of the most spectacular views in the city. End your day meandering the Champs Elysses, get some shopping in, and grab a bite to eat!
Day 2: Start the morning at the Notre Dame. Take your time to explore this massive church with so much history, and get your fix of rose windows. Don’t miss out on the smaller church only a short walk from Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle. This chapel is made almost entirely of stained glass, and is truly a marvel. After seeing the churches, cross the Seine and explore Saint Germain de Pres. This adorable neighborhood has great shopping and beautiful buildings. Grab lunch at la Relais de l’Entrecote, known for their steak frites, and then head over to Cafe de Flore for some afternoon coffee. This historic cafe was frequented by artists and writers throughout history. End day two by taking a boat tour down the Seinne on Bateaux Mouches. You’ll have a chance to learn about the history of the city. Taking the tour at night was not part of our original plans, but it ended up being a highlight.
Day 3: Start the morning at the Musee d’Orsay. This museum is in the most beautiful building that used to be a train station, and contains more contemporary works than the Louvre, dating from the mid to late 1800’s and on. Some of the highlights included art by Rodin, Van Gogh, and Monet. After the Musee d’Orsay, grab some lunch from Las du Falafel. This quaint restaurant was rumored to have some of the best falafel in the world and I can say it did not disappoint. The pita sandwich was massive and incredible. The next stop on the day is a Macaron making class at Le Foodist. Such a fun way to experience the culture!
Day 4: Get on the train and head a little outside of Paris to Versailles. This lavish home of Louis XIV is a marvel to see. Start your day with the audioguide of the palace. The audioguide here was a great way to make sure you’re getting all the history as you explore the palace. Then grab lunch from Angelina’s (the Onion Soup was incredible) before heading out to explore the garden. The gardens are absolutely spectacular, and we really enjoyed renting a little row boat and exploring the canals. After that walk down the estate to see the Hamlet and the home of Marie Antoinette. The Hamlet was one of the cutest buildings I’ve ever seen and should not be missed. Be prepared for a full, exhausting day that is filled with everything golden. On our way back from the Louvre. we stopped in the local bread, cheese, meat, and wine shop to make our own charcuterie board!
Day 5: The Louvre. I did not believe going into my day at the Louvre that it cannot be done in one day. I always believe that you can do anything, but here I was wrong. Be prepared not to see everything in one day. This impressive collection spans three wings, and we walked a total of 8 miles through the building. It was quite crowded around the most famous pieces like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but beyond that it was surprisingly intimate. While you shouldn’t miss these masterpieces, I found I enjoyed the other halls more. My highlights were the Italian Paintings, the Classical art, and Napoleon’s apartments, as well as the frequent snack breaks at Pauls, a famous bread and sandwich shop (thank you to whoever made ham and butter sandwiches a thing). Two pro tips for you: Check online that the exhibits you are most excited for are open on the day you are visiting. I was most excited about the Egyptian art and was devastated to find out it was closed on Fridays. I also wouldn’t recommend the audio guide, unless you are only focused on one wing. There is so much content provided through the Gameboy guides, that it takes way too much time to get through the exhibits.
Day 6: This was Saturday and this was our relaxing day! We had an extended lunch with some of my boyfriend’s family, explored the mall, and napped. After a full week of activities, this was a very necessary day of rest. Saturday night, we went to the cutest restaurant in Saint Germain, Les Antiquaries, and then headed to see a classical concert in the church of Saint Germain, which was a highlight of the week for me!
Day 7-10: Take a holiday from your holiday! We chose to visit Tours, the heart of the wine and chateaux region of the Loire Valley, and we rented a car, but you are a very accessible train ride to many other beautiful cities like Chartres, Orleans, Rouen, Lyon, Bordeaux, and more.
Day 10: Arrive back in Paris. After a long drive from Tours, we wanted nothing more than a cafe, and we spent the afternoon at Laduree! I couldn’t decide on only one dessert, so I decided on three. I was devastated to realize that their macarons were still infinitely better than the ones we had made in our class, but was happily full of tea and pastries, and enjoyed people watching on the Champs Elyses. One thing that I also discovered, and this is likely blasphemy, but I think Laduree had my favorite fries in all of France.
Day 11: This was our last full day in Paris, and we wanted to enjoy it! This was the day we tried a Michelin Star restaurant. There are so many Michelin restaurants in Paris be sure to do your research in advance and book a reservation! We were on somewhat of a budget, so we started with searching best AND most affordable restaurants, and discovered many of the top restaurants do cheaper versions of their full menu for lunch, so this was perfect! Dining in a Michelin restaurant is definitely an experience. After lunch, we headed up to Sacre Coeur, the last of the beautiful churches on my list. The area around Sacre Coeur called Montmarte probably had the best souvenir shopping in the city, and although touristy was worth seeing. We wrapped up with a dinner of Raclette staying in. It wasn’t hard to say yes to melted cheese and meat!
Day 12: Sadly head home, but pick up some last minute Laduree in the airport!