It started off so smoothly – you arrived into the city, you checked into the hostel and you’re ready to hit the big city. But there’s one problem – you’ve got no idea what to do! You’re suddenly faced with the prospect of your quick city break becoming 36 hours of you wandering aimlessly in an unfamiliar city. Now, it’s not that there’s nothing here, quite the opposite in fact. You’ve just got so much choice that you don’t know where to start and you don’t want to waste a minute of your time here. Well, never fear – we’ve come up with the perfect plan for 36 hours in Paris that will cover the main sights but still leave you wanting to come back for more!
Midday (1st day) – Montmartre & the Sacré-Coeur
Time to step out of the hostel and meet the city. Where first? That will of course be the Montmartre area, based in the north of the city. Head down to your nearest metro station (unless your hostel is based in Montmartre) and make your way towards Abbesses. In Montmartre, take your time to wander around for a bit and acclimatize to the sounds of the city. While you’re strolling, keep an eye out for the red windmill of the Moulin Rouge, which is located in this area. When you’re ready, head towards Sacré-Coeur Basilica, an impressive church based at the top of the Butte Montmartre, and make your way up. At the top of the basilica is a tower offering some of the best views of Paris – alternatively the views at the bottom of the basilica are pretty impressive as well.
Evening (1st day) – Jardin de Luxembourg
You’ve got a busy day ahead of you the next day, so perhaps a lighter evening is in order. If you’re still in the Montmartre region and the weather is good, then I would recommend heading back up to Sacré-Coeur with a bottle of wine or some beers and watching the city of Paris light up as the sun goes down. After that you can head back down to Boulevard de Clichy and experience the neon lights and the hustle and bustle of one of the “liveliest” night time areas of Paris.
If you fancy seeing a different area, then why not head to Jardin de Luxembourg (closing time depends on the season) and check out one of the loveliest parks in Paris. If you’re feeling brave you can try and challenge someone to a game of chess, otherwise you can try and find all 106 statues that live in the park.
After that, it’s time to head back to the hostel and get some sleep – it’s a busy day tomorrow!
Morning (2nd day) – Paris tour
Good morning! Hopefully you’re well rested because you’ve got an action packed day ahead of you. After grabbing breakfast in your hostel (or stopping off at a boulangerie) it’s time to make your way to your free walking tour. Walking tours are fantastic ways of seeing a lot of sights and learning a bit about the history of the city. They’re present in most European cities these days and Paris is no exception. This will take about 2 – 2.5 hours depending on the tour. Make sure you’re on time and prebook if you have to!
Midday (2nd day) – Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower & Champs Elysées
Number one on the list of most visitors to Paris is the of course the Musée du Louvre, which is understandable. However, many people say that you need at least a day to tackle that magnificent gallery, which we just don’t have! So, to get your arts and culture fix, we recommend you head over to the Musée d’Orsay. Located just on the other side of the river from the Louvre, it contains enough works to keep you busy for a couple of hours. Plus, you can see works from Vincent Van Gogh and Monet in one visit, which isn’t to be sniffed at!
After this it’s time to jump on a metro and head over to arguably the most famous sight in Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Whether you fancy climbing it or just want to get a dozen selfies in front, it’s worth going to see. Also worth a look while you’re in that region is the Statue of Liberty, the original that the New York one was based on. It’s just a 10-15 minutes walk down the Seine from the tower.
If you’ve still got the energy, then get on the metro again and make your way to Charles de Gaulle Etoile, where you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe. Here you’ll of course find the monument itself, but also the tomb of the unknown soldier and one of the craziest traffic areas in France. Make sure to take a moment to watch the cars and motorbikes weave in and out of each other’s path and just be glad you’re not driving! You can buy tickets to go to the top of the Arc as well, but if you’re under 26 and an EU citizen it’s free!
Evening (2nd day) – rue Montorgueil
It’s your final night in Paris, so let’s splash out a bit and get some dinner. Head down to Rue Montorgueil to find a whole heap of restaurants – which one you go to is your choice! Whether it’s snails, steak or salad, you won’t go wrong in this area. After this, we’re leaving it to you to decide – if you’ve got to be up early the next day then you may want to try either Sacré-Coeur or Jardin du Luxembourg, otherwise you can try and find one of Paris’ rooftop bars (Nuba and Le Perchoir Marais are examples) and party the night away!