Paris. The city synonymous with lights, love, and old-world charm. While a weekend simply isn’t enough time, you can still have a divine trip to perhaps the most iconic city in the world.
Here are your must do’s for a fabulous weekend in Paris.
Climb the Eiffel Tower
The famous icon of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is obviously a must-do. I recommend going at both day and night for two completely different experiences. By day, climb up to the top for panoramic city views. The climb wasn’t bad at all and the elevator line is SO long so it is worth it! Bring a baguette and lay on the lawn for a true Parisian picnic. By night, revisit the Eiffel Tower as she is lit up and romantic! Bring a bottle of wine and snuggle up while you wait for the sparkles. It sparkles for 5 minutes, every hour on the hour, and is truly magical!
Tour the Louvre
Even if you’re not the museum going type, the Louvre is a must! The line is horrifically long but once you are inside it is worth it! Wander several floors and rooms to take in centuries old masterpieces. And of course you have to see the Mona Lisa! The portrait is much smaller than I expected but impressive nonetheless. I recommend getting the headsets. We love the audio headsets as they are self-guided so you can go at your own pace and choose what you want to hear. We are not art and history buffs by any means, but we spent hours in the Louvre marveling at the beautiful art.
Stand Under the Arc de Triomphe
Right in the middle of a traffic circle, the Arc de Triomphe is a famous Parisian monument. Located on the end of the Champs-Élysées, a street dedicated to high class shopping and dining, the landmark unites 12 avenues of Paris. Walk beneath the arch and realize how small you are in comparison to this architectural giant!
Eat Lunch on the Seine
Alongside the Eiffel Tower, the Seine is quintessential Paris! The river runs throughout the city and is a lovely spot for lunch. While Paris is dotted with dozens of riverside cafes, sometimes the BYOB lunch option is best for your experience (and budget!) Grab a baguette and a bottle of wine and enjoy France’s favorite river.
Dance in a Discotheque
We did little to no research on nightlife and just picked a place, named Le Duplex, that looked fun. It is your standard club, complete with cocktails, lights, and DJs. It didn’t compare to the craziness of Vegas but was fun for a night on the town!
Visit the Moulin Rouge
The historic red windmill draws the masses for nightly entertainment and risqué cabaret. Even if you don’t have time for a show, it still warrants a visit. Insider Tip: Watch the movie before you go, it is great!
Stroll Through the Streets of Montmarte
Montmarte is seriously a Parisian dream. Home to the famous Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, it is an adorable neighborhood tucked away with beret-wearing artists painting on every corner. Small cafes and art shops line the cobble stoned streets of this picturesque district of Paris.
Take in the View from the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur
The Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur is a beautiful building on top of a hill overlooking Montmarte and the rest of Paris. Visit on a clear day and you can see for miles. Go inside for a tour or simply lay in the lawn taking it all in.
Catch a Train at the Gare de Lyon
Or don’t. Even if you aren’t planning on taking the train, it is still such a beautiful train station to visit. Grab an espresso and people watch while the trains go by.
Try Macarons, Pâté and Foie Gras
Honestly, we don’t like French food. Like not even a little. But when in the belly of the beast you must try the local fare. We tried foie gras steps from the Arc de Triomphe and dined on pâté with locals and were still unimpressed. However the macarons at the Louvre were a delight! Do your palate a favor and try them all anyways, you don’t want your French food experience to be limited to fries.
Experience Notre Dame
Notre Dame is stunning inside and out. Admire the amazing architecture and stained glass while learning about its history. And yes, there are gargoyles.
Leave Your Mark on the Lock Bridge
How much more romantic does it get? Chaining your lover’s name to the side of a bridge with Notre Dame in the background is as charming as it sounds. The Pont des Arts is the famous Paris “lock bridge.” We bought a lock on site, scribbled our names, and threw the key in the Seine! I read these were taken down in 2015 (we visited in 2013), but as most trends come and go I’m sure another will pop up in its place. Check and see just in case!
Paris is simply fabulous in every way and there is a ton to see and do. But if like us, you have limited time, at least start with these highlights to see all this magical city has to offer.
For more information on France, grab this Lonely Planet guide book.
Inspired Recipe: Classic French Toast from Tastes Better From Scratch
Grant is the French Toast maker in our family and his is fabulous. Loosely based off this recipe, he usually subs coconut oil for butter. Simple and delicious, if French Toast counts as authentic French food then count us in!