A Perfect Weekend in Paris

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Advisor - Nicole Mosher
Curated By

Nicole Mosher

  • Paris

  • Active Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Sightseeing

  • History

  • Local Food

Eiffel tower as seen from city canal.
Curator’s statement

Paris has felt like a second home to me since the moment I arrived for my first visit in 2013. I am always drawn back by the memories of days spent in museums and the nightly neighborhood strolls. As I have visited the city several times, this is how I would pass the perfect weekend in Paris.

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Overview of Day 1

A cruise in canal in front of Eiffel Tower.

It’s your first day and you have jet lag, but it's Paris! I suggest walking around the neighborhood you are staying in. Enjoy the architecture and the sounds of Paris. In the evening, take a Seine cruise. There are many options, some serve dinner or champagne, others are just a ride. I used Bateaux Mouches. Whichever you choose, sit back and enjoy seeing all the landmarks around the river lit up at night. This will also give you a sense of place. Once you disembark the boat, it will be the perfect time to go see the Eiffel Tower in all her glory, sparkling at night.

If you are not eating dinner on the cruise, I suggest Le Recamier for souffle. If you are looking for something sweet, grab a caramel crepe from the kiosk below the Eiffel Tower, on the bridge. For a less crowded spot to take a photo, cross the bridge under the Eiffel Tower to the opposite side of the river. Take a left and find the little staircase that will lead you down to the riverbank. At the bottom of these stairs, you get a great shot of the bridge and the tower.

Overview of Day 2

A building with pillars with board saying Cour D'Appel.

On day two, take time to leisurely stroll around Le Marais. This is the historic Jewish district of Paris. Start at the Musee du Carnavalet to learn about the history of the city and gain a whole new appreciation for this marvelous place. When you are ready for lunch, you have many options in this neighborhood. Fabula is the wonderful restaurant in the courtyard of Musee du Carnavalet. For something a little touristy, check the line at L’AS du Falafel, sometimes the wait is very long. My choice would be Café Breizh, which serves a variety of sweet and savory crepes and galettes. Save room for dessert, because the best bakery in the city is just around the corner. Au Petit Versailles du Marais is sublime; get the Caramel Royale if it is available, it is the best pastry I’ve ever eaten, but a café éclair is a great second option. You can also find the best cookies in town at Cookidiction, get some to take with you for later.

Now that you’ve had sustenance, a few steps down the road from the bakery is the oldest house in Paris. It is Medieval and unique compared to everything around it. Next, make your way to the Memorial de la Shoah to learn about the history of the Holocaust. This is a very well-done and informative museum on the topic. After, walk toward Hotel du Ville to see this amazing architecture and then cross the bridge in front to go onto the islands.

Even though you cannot go inside because of continued construction, Notre Dame should be your next stop. The façade is still intact and just as beautiful as it has always been. There is a wall of information about how the landmark is being reconstructed after the fire. Then you have the Palais du Justice and the Conciergerie to see from the outside is fine. The Conciergerie is where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before her death. I suggest going inside Saint-Chapelle to see the most beautiful display of stained glass I have ever seen. If you can handle more sweets the best ice cream in the city is from Berthillon; there are many locations on the islands to get their product but the salon du thé on Ile Saint-Louis is a treat if you can go inside and take a table. Now is the perfect chance to browse for a book at Shakespeare & Company. Then finish off your day strolling around the Latin Quarter. When it is time for dinner, I suggest trying the steak au poivre at Le Relais de l’Entrecote or the steakhouse Clover Grill.

Overview of Day 3

An off white building with domes during day time.

Spend your next day in Montmartre. Take in the grandeur of Sacre Coeur. Visit the cafes, have a bite at whichever one seems most appealing. After you are satisfied with how much of the neighborhood you have explored, make your way to see Moulin Rouge. Whether you catch a show, this would require you to come back in the evening, or just see the building, it is an icon of the city.

Next, visit the 17th arrondissement. Parc Monceau is the most beautiful park in Paris, in my opinion. If you are ready for another meal while you are in this area, I suggest visiting Au Soleil Levant and having sushi and brochettes. This puts the Arc du Triomphe very close. The view from the rooftop is fantastic. From here you can stroll down the Champs Elysees and possibly do some shopping or just imagine the grandeur of the parades that have taken place on this road. If you are finding that now is the time you are ready for a meal, I suggest getting off this road as the restaurants are very touristy and sadly not as good as elsewhere in the city.

Overview of Day 4

A building with two golden statues on top.

It’s your last day, so see the best museums of the city today. Start at Palais Garnier, the interior is even more grand than the exterior. Then for lunch, stop into Galeries Lafayette. It is often busy, but it has a wide variety of options and should satisfy the tastes of everyone in your group. If you’re looking for a more formal dining experience, I suggest making reservations at Nonos in Hotel du Crillon. Next, you will make your way to Place de la Concorde. Here you can see the chaos of Paris' traffic, but also you will find Les Jardin des Tuileries and Musee de l’Orangerie. Pop into the museum to see Monet’s water lilies collection. It is awe inspiring. Take a walk through the garden and you will end at the Louvre. If you have limited time, I suggest skipping this massive museum and going to my favorite instead, Musee d’Orsay. This will continue your journey of the impressionist painters, but there is so much more there.

From here, I would suggest two options: head to the undefined Musee Rodin if you haven’t seen enough museums today or stroll the along the Seine. For dinner, I suggest Aprege, this three Michelin starred restaurant is sure to impress. This is also the perfect opportunity to see the Eiffel Tower one last time before you head home.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, The Best Sites & Lights of Paris.

Advisor - Nicole Mosher

Travel Advisor

Nicole Mosher

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Paris.