By Georgia Bird – 22nd June 2023
So you’re thinking of visiting Paris for a weekend? We have the perfect itinerary for you!
When planning a trip to Paris, it can be quite overwhelming to decide how to make the most of your time.
This itinerary will outline what you need to see, do, and eat that will get everyone back home rushing to book their own trip to Paris.
Having been to Paris 5 times, I can confidently say I can weigh in on how best to spread your time. I only wish I could go back to being a tourist in Paris for the very first time all over again!
Keep reading to ensure you get the perfect weekend break out of Paris: The City of Love.
Table Of Contents
- Trip Overview and Itinerary
- Where To Stay For The Weekend
- Getting Around Paris
- Frequently Asked Questions
Paris For A Weekend: Trip Overview
Paris is full of history, art, and delicious food, and it is crucial that you experience a little bit of everything during your trip.
We have detailed out the perfect Paris weekend break of dreams, right down to where you should stay, and eat.
Paris Itinerary Day One: Montmartre and Moulin Rouge
Day one will ensure that you make the most out of your time in Paris, whilst still taking into account that you may still be getting over that initial travel exhaustion.
Montmartre is known as the “painter’s neighborhood” of Paris, a nod to its colorful, village atmosphere. The cobblestone streets are endless, and it is a great place to start exploring Paris.
The Sacre-Coeur Basilica is open all year round, and is also free to enter.
The first stop of your weekend in Paris will be the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur, where you will see a panoramic view of the city.
There are 300 steps up to the summit of the Basilica; therefore it is essential you start your morning off by enjoying some food from one of the many local patisseries in the area.
Perhaps a Croissant or a Pain Au Chocolat?
If the 300 steps do not sound like your ideal morning of fun, there is also a Funicular you can use which costs around €2 for a single trip.
It is quite easy to spend an hour or two wandering around here, and it has a more laid back feel than the rest of Paris.
There are several Metro and bus stops in the area; Anvers is the closest Metro station to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. The closest bus stop is Utrillo.
Montmartre is bursting with energy and history; it can be a maze, and you may walk past some buildings with an interesting story without even realizing. Paris is full of hidden historical gems.
There are many walking tours in Montmartre who use professional tour guides to take you on a 2 hour walking tour through the streets, taking you on a journey into the Paris’ past.
The best part? Many of these are FREE, and will just be courtesy to give a tip to the guide at the end of your tour. Walkative offers a great free tour, so we recommend utilizing these- especially if you are on a budget.
After your tour, it is time to enjoy some of the many local cafe’s in the area. If you enjoy art, there is an artist’s market in the main square with several places to eat framing the market.
Now it is time to let your hair down and enjoy the most famous cabaret in the world- Moulin Rouge.
Be prepared for beautiful costumes, jaw dropping acrobatic acts, and foot-tapping music as you allow yourself to be immersed in the spectacle that is this show.
Depending on the ticket you book, your ticket can include a meal and half a bottle of champagne, so it is the perfect opportunity for a great (and unique) night out.
There are three shows a day, and run for around two hours so bear this in mind as you will have to travel through Paris to get back to your hotel quite late.
Paris Itinerary Day Two: A Day Around The Tower
Without a doubt, the reason most people want to go to Paris is to see the famous Eiffel Tower. The area around the tower is full of things to do; on this day, you will explore some of those.
Champs de Mars/Tour Eiffel is the closest Metro station to the Eiffel Tower.
However, Line 6 offers an unbeatable view of the tower as it crosses the Seine, between stations Passy and Bir-Hakeim.
What better way to recover from your late night at the cabaret than a relaxing cruise along the River Seine? This is a must do when you are in Paris.
For just €17 per person, you can hop aboard and sit on the outdoor deck of Bateaux Mouches sightseeing cruise.
As you make your way along the 1 hour journey, you will go past landmarks such as the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the cruise embarks right across from the Eiffel Tower. All the gems of Paris.
There are several food stands for you to stock up on hot chocolate, churros, or a crepe- then you can embark, and put your feet up and relax!
You’ve disembarked your cruise and caught glimpses of the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
You now have two options:
Option 1: Stroll along the Seine for around 45 minutes to the Louvre, then a further 15 minutes to the Notre Dame Cathedral.
This budget friendly option is great if you do not want to rely on public transport, and instead prefer to make your own way to the sights.
This means you can stop along the way as you walk along the picturesque riverside.
Instead, you may wish to spend the money on Skip-the-line Louvre tickets.
Option 2: You can make your way round on an Open Top Bus Tour which will take you to all the most famous monuments in Paris!
This will allow you to see as much as the city as possible whilst relaxing on an open top bus. Tickets start from €41 each, and can include various entry tickets if the option is selected. It also has an audio tour, and wi-fi for you to use whilst you are onboard.
There is the option to have 24 or 48 hour tickets, so you may prefer to use this method to get around rather than regular public transport.
As the day passes on, and you find yourself becoming peckish, we recommend stopping by Bal De La Marine which sits on the riverside right next to the Tower.
They offer seafood, pizza, and many french dishes, and it is the ideal place to refuel before your next activity.
As the sun begins to set, it is time to make your way up the tower. This will give you uninterrupted views of Paris, and it is the perfect activity that you must do at least once whilst in Paris.
Make sure you sufficient battery in your camera, as the photo opportunities are endless!
Book a ticket with summit access via the elevator to make sure you are not too tired to admire the beauty once you reach the top!
We recommend booking in advance as it runs like a well oiled machine and is consistently fully booked.
You can purchase stair access to Level 2 on the day for half the price, but keep in mind that there are 674 steps!
Once you have touched back on the ground, now is your chance to walk around the park that surrounds the tower.
Every hour on the hour between 5pm and 10pm, the Tower illuminates its 20,000 lamps to captivate Paris with a light show. The walk around will take around 30 minutes, and is completely flat; perfect for a romantic stroll.
Paris Itinerary Day Three: A Taste Of Paris
Day 1 and 2 have shown you some of the most famous sites that you have to see when in Paris; today is going to expand on this with a few unique experiences…and a sprinkle of dark tourism!
Prepare yourselves to descend under the streets of Paris. Ensure you only bring a small bag, a coat, and some comfortable shoes!
Denfert-Rochereau is the closest Metro station to the Catacombs, which is Metro line 4 or 6.
Your final morning in Paris will be spent at one of the most absurdly interesting sites in Europe.
The Catacombs are situated 20m under the bustling streets of Paris, and so you will take 131 steps down into the tunnels.
The general access is not guided, and so you must stick to the paths laid out for you. You can, however, pay extra and have a Catacombs guided tour where you will also get access to tunnels closed off to the general public.
The tunnels and remains are so well preserved; please remember it is a place of rest for thousands of people, so respect must be shown at all times.
There are 112 steep steps to be climbed up on your exit, and the total time spent here will be 1-2 hours.
A complete juxtaposition to your morning spent underground, your afternoon will be filled with sweet treats as you take part in a Macaron making class!
Led by an expert instructor, this 1.5-hour masterclass will show you how to make France’s most famous delicacy, right on the Champs-Elysees.
Take them to go, then make your way down to Jardin Des Tuileries to sit and enjoy them picnic style. Don’t forget to window shop all the luxury fashion brands as you go!
Your evening will continue within the 8th Arrondissement of Paris, at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte.
This restaurant is unique in that its single course menu consists of a Walnut Salad, and a sirloin steak, secret sauce, and french fries!
They will keep your plate topped up throughout the night, and reviews are raving for this so ensure you have booked beforehand.
Once you are sufficiently fed, if you still feel you have a few hours left that you want to spend exploring, there is a fun way to get around the area.
E-Scooters are lined up in the street, and can be a great way to ride around whilst soaking up the last of the Parisian air before you head home.
Make sure you make an Instagram-worthy photo shoot with the Arc De Triomph as your back drop!
If you have an extra day- why not check out our post on
How To Get To Disneyland Paris From The Eiffel Tower!
Or The ULTIMATE Guide To Luxury Shopping In Paris.
Where To Stay For A Weekend In Paris
So the question is: where is the best place to stay when in Paris for a weekend?
The activities are plentiful, and dotted around the city. Below we have hand picked a range of hotels depending on budgets which would mesh perfectly with this itinerary.
Situated a few minutes walk from Gare Du Nord, and only 1km from Sacre-Coeur Basilica, Hotel Metropol is ideal for those wanting a budget hotel. This hotel could be described as “Romantic Style” due to it’s traditional Parisian windows.
Aparthotel Adagio Paris Centre Tour Eiffel is a short 15 minute walk straight to the Eiffel Tower. Some rooms are lucky enough to have a view of the Tower, and so it is worth emailing them in advance to request this! This is an apartment, with a full kitchen included.
Overlooking the beautiful Champs-Elysees, Paris Marriott Champs-Elysees Hotel is the definition of luxury. If you want to be in the fashion heart of Paris, this is the hotel to stay in.
Getting Around Paris
We have already covered a few ways in which you can get around Paris. The most important question is: how much does it actually cost to get around Paris for an entire weekend?
Open Top Bus Tours
Prices for this can vary depending on what options you choose, are entry tickets included, and the duration of your ticket.
You can generally expect to pay at least €41 per person, and are limited to their schedule and stops.
They usually have around 10 stops on their routes, and these will be the main tourist sights.
Although Paris is generally safe, pick-pocketing does occur. When on public transport keep your backpack on your front, and don’t leave valuables in your pockets.
Find out exactly how to stay safe in Paris in our blog:
>Is Paris Safe For Tourists In 2023?<
Metro/RER- Paris Visite Card
The best, easiest, and fastest way to make sure you see all of Paris during your weekend break is to use the Metro.
Many locals use it, tourists use it, even celebrities have been known to use it, and for good reason! It is fast paced, cheap, and covers every corner of the city.
Paris Metro works in zones. If you land at Charles De Gaulle Airport (zone 5), ensure you purchase a zone 1-5 Paris Visite Card for 3 days which will set you back just shy of 60eur per person.
This may sound a bit pricey, however this will cover all your transport including your airport transfers into the city!
These can be purchased from any of the machines in the airport which, very helpfully, have multiple language options, and English speaking attendants to assist.
> Read More On How To Get Around Paris <
Visiting Paris: FAQs
Below are some thoughts you may have when booking your city break.
How much does a weekend in Paris cost?
A popular British idiom is: “how long is a piece of string?” meaning it’s difficult to answer this question as there are so many factors.
It depends entirely on your budget: there are handfuls of activities that you can do in Paris for free, but there are also activities which cost quite a bit as they are so popular.
Places like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre etc don’t exactly require you to enter, so if you have the money then it is easy to spend without realizing!
In January 2022 we spent €500 for a weekend in Paris, including all our food, transport, flights, and hotel. We did this by just booking all the free activities, eating at fast food places, and only using the Metro.
In contrast to this, in July 2022 we returned to Paris and spent almost €1000 on all the tours, eating out at restaurants, and staying in an apartment near the Tower.
As long as you pre-plan, and try to pre-book as much as you can, you can experience Paris on any budget that you have.
Is it worth going to Paris for a weekend?
Absolutely! A weekend in Paris is the perfect amount of time to have a completely fulfilled experience without missing out.
Our itinerary above will give you a taste of everything Paris has to offer, without exhausting all your options if you were ever to return.
What Currency Do They Use In Paris?
France uses the Euro (€) for their currency. Many places offer a “Card Only” option due to Coronavirus, so it is recommended to take a mixture of both cash and card.
Revolut cards are a handy option to have as they allow you to spend abroad, fee free. It will also automatically exchange your home currency into the resident currency of the country you are in.
This is very helpful if you are travelling through Europe, as not all places have the same currency.
What month is best to go to Paris?
Again, Paris is beautiful all year round so it would be entirely dependent on which weather you prefer!
To avoid the rain, and avoid not being able to see the views from the Sacre-Couer and the Eiffel Tower, we recommend going anytime between May-September.
This being said, when we went in January we absolutely loved it. There are plenty of indoor activities to do even in the worst of weathers.
Planning a European Road Trip? You May Also Like:
> Venice In November: The Best Things To See And Do 2023
>21 Romantic Ideas For Your Trip To Venice, Italy
What area is best to stay in Paris?
If you are looking for classic, romantic hotels in Paris; Montmartre is the place to stay.
This is also the alternative neighborhood of Paris, so for any art lovers this is the perfect location for you.
To be within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, the 15th arr. is an ideal location.
The crime rate is low, and the tourist attractions are all close by.
For the Louvre, Notre Dame, or Champs-Elysees, the 8th arr. or the Latin Quarter will be where you need to look.
This is the more Gothic area of Paris, with it’s dark buildings and old architecture.
Every area in Paris has its perks, but the above are just some landmarks for you to keep in mind!
> See Our List Of The 11 BEST 1st Arrondissement Hotels <
Conclusion: Paris For A Weekend
Paris is a beautiful city, which really represents the true heart of Western Europe. It has so much to offer, which we hope you will see on your city break weekend.
No matter what your budget, you will leave Paris with memories to last a lifetime, and a strong desire to return.
So grab your passport, get your camera ready, and make sure to take this perfect itinerary with you to have your best holiday yet!
Bon Voyage, and we hope you enjoy your trip to Paris.
At time of writing, there are currently no Coronavirus measures limiting tourists to enter France. This is in accordance with the information provided on gov.uk.