During my study abroad experience, we were constantly moving around and would only stay in each city in a few days. With just two days in Paris, I was determined to knock out all the best sites. Here’s how to conquer Paris in 48 hours.
Day One: Notre Dame, Versailles, and the Eiffel Tower
In the morning we headed to Notre Dame. This building is absolutely stunning, and the best part? Free entry. The line may look daunting but it moves quickly and is totally worth the wait. Plus, a great way to make time go quicker while you’re in line is to grab a crepe to eat while you wait. For you “Hunchback of Notre Dame” fans, you can finally fulfill your childhood dream of seeing where Quasimodo lives! After basking in the glory of Notre Dame, we hit up one of the many cafés around the church and grabbed a quick lunch (I suggest a croque-monsieur).
After lunch, we headed to the RER, the above-ground train, to head to Versailles. The train costs about seven euros for the round trip and the ride is about 20 minutes. There are very detailed maps in the station so you know which train to get on and Versailles is the last stop. If you want to tour the palace at Versailles, plan on spending another 15 euros. But, the garden at Versailles is free entry. I paid to tour the palace and it was absolutely breathtaking, but if you are trying to save money, there is plenty to do in just the gardens. We spent the rest of our afternoon touring around Versailles until it closes around 6:00 PM.
We then headed back into the heart of Paris for our last stop of the day, the iconic Eiffel Tower. In front of the Eiffel tower is a large field where you can sit, eat, drink and watch the tower light up at night. We stopped at a grocery store, grabbed some food and set up camp to watch the show. Starting at ten o’clock, the tower sparkles for five minutes and it looks gorgeous. It repeats this every hour until midnight.
Day Two: The Louvre and The Arc de Triomphe
The next morning we headed to The Louvre, the world’s largest museum. The cost of the visit was included in our program costs, but tickets are typically around 15 euros. This museum is huge and you can spend hours upon hours there. The most famous painting in this museum though is easily The Mona Lisa. You have to wait a few minutes to get to the front but it’s totally worth it.
The last big Paris icon is the Arc de Triumph. Due to time restrictions we could not make it to see this landmark, but if you have time left after The Louvre, it is just a short metro ride away. It is located in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle and is at the end of the Champs-Elyees. The Arc honors those who have fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Under the arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
There is obviously so much else to see in Paris, but when you only have 48 hours you have to make the best of it! If you have more time, you can check out the many other museums, cafés and shopping areas, but if you only have a short period of time, I suggest these five places. This guide should hopefully be helpful if you are studying abroad in another city and just want to head over to Paris for the weekend. Happy travels!
This post was written by Aliza McAndrew, who is studying abroad this summer with AIFS on our European Art and Architecture traveling program.