A weekend is hardly enough time to explore Paris, but if it’s all you have to work with, then we will make the most of it! In order to understand the allure of Paris, you must explore the time-honored favorites, the historic elements, and the contemporary additions. All together they make up what we know as the spirit of Paris. Here’s the way to see it all in a short time, here’s your Paris Weekend Guide:
Paris Weekend Guide
Friday in Paris
Most international travelers will arrive to Paris by airplane, flying into either Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports. Book your airport transfer ahead of time to reduce the hassle of finding your way to the city. Piyo Cab is the quick and easy way to get from the airport to your hotel.
It’s only one weekend, so maybe you’re ready to splurge on your hotel. If so, then book your stay at Relais Christine. This hidden gem on the Left Bank is both cozy and exceptionally styled. You’ll feel you’ve found your French home here.
If you want to stay at a hotel with views of the Eiffel Tower, book your stay at Hotel Derby Alma. Wake up to views of the Eiffel Tower every morning here in the 7th Arrondissement, it’s like your Paris travel dreams come true!
And for those looking for a budget stay, try the Generator Hostel. This clean and contemporary hostel belies its name. There is a fully stocked bar, a relaxing patio, and plenty of space in the dorm rooms. It’s at the outer edge of the 10th Arrondissement, but accessible by train.
For your first evening in Paris, go for dinner at Le Bourguignon du Marias. Located in the classically charming Le Marais neighborhood, this restaurant offers classic French dishes to match. The outdoor tables are the perfect spot to enjoy escargots, foie gras, and of course, boeuf bourguignon, all while partaking in the favorite French pastime of watching the passersby.
Following dinner, take a look at the famous French jazz scene over at Le 38 Riv Jazz Club. The intimate underground vibes here are the perfect setting for the lineup of breakthrough jazz artists that perform each night. You won’t find anywhere else like it!
Finish off the evening with a nightcap at the unapologetically swanky Bar 228. Set in the luxurious Le Meurice hotel, Bar 228 gives patrons a peek back into 18th century Paris with its dark wood walls and murals that look they could belong in the Louvre instead of a bar. The head bartender has been here longer than I’ve been alive, and he’s seen some famous drinkers pass through this classy bar. Join the ranks by enjoying a cocktail here before you turn in for the night.
Saturday in Paris
Hopefully that nightcap doesn’t keep you out too late because your Saturday morning starts bright and early. In order to beat the crowds, queue up for the Louvre at the glass pyramid when it opens at 9am. Exploring the entirety of the Louvre’s over 72,000 square meters would take more than one weekend, let alone one morning. My strategy for approaching museums is to choose one or two sections to focus on, rather then trying to sample them all. It’s helpful to look at the museum’s offerings ahead of time to make a gameplan, but I would suggest trying to see the Islamic art exhibit, which is the museum’s newest collection, and the Italian paintings exhibit, which includes the Mona Lisa.
After you’ve had your fill of the Louvre, walk over to Claus, a trendy restaurant that specializes in breakfast foods that blend French country classics with modern flair. After you’ve had a bite to eat and a spot of coffee, take a walk through the Jardin des Tuileries. These gardens are an absolute treat, designed by King Louis XIV’s famous gardener in 1664. Before you leave the garden, stop in to the Musée de l’Orangerie and take a look at the featured Monet Water Lillies murals.
After a day full of museum visits, you can experience another quintessential Paris experience…shopping! From the Musée de l’Orangerie, continue walking towards the Champs Élysées, the city’s most famous shopping street. Walk along the Champs Élysées, all the way up to the Arc de Triomphe.
End the day with a lovely dinner at Café du Trocadero, an absolutely divine restaurant with the best views of the Eiffel Tower light show. The light show runs every hour after sundown, the tower glitters in a fanciful display of hundreds of lights. I could see the lights show a hundred times and still be enchanted by it!
Finish the evening with a drink at Fitzgerald, a chic and modern speakeasy with cocktails as cool as they get. Try the bar’s namesake cocktail and sip in the charming atmosphere.
Sunday in Paris
For your last day in Paris, it’s best to get an early start. The only way to get into the Notre-Dame Cathedral in a reasonable amount of time is to queue up at the opening time, 7:45am. Hope you didn’t have one too many at Fitzgerald last night!
Notre-Dame is the medieval Catholic cathedral built in the 12th century, whose imposing architecture has amazed visitors for hundreds of years. If it interests you, you can also stay for mass, which is an experience of a lifetime for any Catholic!
After your experience at the cathedral, walk over to the Place des Vosges and stop in for a coffee at Ma Bourgogne. This typical little Parisian café is the perfect spot to sit and people watch. The Place des Vosges is the city’s oldest planned square and on a clear morning the light in the square can transport you back to the Paris of days gone by.
When you’re good and caffeinated, take a stroll around the art galleries in the neighborhood. There are a number of nice galleries on Rue du Pas de la Mule, like Galerie du Marais, Galerie Vivendi, and Art Jingle. Continue on to a more established collection of contemporary art, at the Centre Pompidou. Even the building is a work of contemporary art! President Pompidou commissioned the creation of this space over 40 years ago and it continues today to be a living breathing space for the city’s many talented artists.
Walk a few blocks over to Aux Lyonnais, a restaurant that specializes in French cuisine from the Lyon region. The restaurant is almost as delicious as the food itself, and definitely worthy of a few photos of the classic French restaurant interior.
As your weekend in Paris draws to a close, make sure you have your Piyo Cab booked to get you back to the airport. And travel safely back home or on to your next destination!
This Paris Weekend Guide was brought to you by Piyo Cab, but all thoughts expressed here are, as always, my own. Check them out for your airport transfer and Disneyland transfer needs when you visit Paris!