Paris is neatly bisected by the Seine River, which is convenient for visitors staying for two days. Spend one day discovering the highlights of the Left Bank—home to the Latin Quarter and renowned for its bohemian reputation—and the next exploring the dynamic and eclectic Right Bank. Here’s how to maximize your 48 hours in the City of Light.
Day 1: Discover Paris’ Left Bank
Morning: Ease into the day with a coffee and croissant at a local bakery, then head to one of Paris’ elegant green spaces. The Luxembourg Garden, with its accompanying palace and formal gardens, is one of the city’s most popular parks. Alternatively, find a comfortable perch on a hop-on hop-off bus tour and watch the world go by.
Afternoon: Visit the Left Bank’s banner museums. Save time with skip-the-line access to the Musée d’Orsay, or book a tour of the macabre Paris Catacombs. A walking tour of the Latin Quarter is another good way to get acquainted with essential cultural stops such as the Panthéon and the much-mythologized Shakespeare & Company bookstore.
Night: The Eiffel Tower may well be the crown jewel of the Left Bank. Book nighttime tickets to see the whole of Paris illuminated after dark and add a reservation at one of the tower’s elegant restaurants to take care of dinner too.
Day 2: Explore the Right Bank’s Charms
Morning: Book a walking tour of the Right Bank, which offers plenty of on-foot sightseeing opportunities. Discover the Marais—once the city’s Jewish district and now home to trendy designer boutiques—or window-shop on the Champs-Élysées.
Afternoon: Trade boulevards for galleries and spend the afternoon exploring other world-class museums. A guided highlights tour of the Louvre, the world’s largest art museum, is perfect for short-term visitors. Alternatively, visit the modern Centre Pompidou, known for its boundary-pushing exhibitions, or the Picasso Museum (Musée Picasso), an homage to the cubist master.
Night: Spend the final hours of your Paris stay in the hilltop Montmartre neighborhood. Admire the white facade of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, and then turn to watch the sunset over the city. End your stay on a festive note with tickets to the Moulin Rouge for dinner, Champagne, and a cabaret show.