When you’re planning for 2 days in Paris it can be difficult to know where to start. A visit to the City of Light should always include certain staples.
View of Paris with the Eiffel Tower
When you’re planning for 2 days in Paris it can be difficult to know where to start. But no matter how short your trip is, a visit to the City of Light should always include certain staples. With Musement’s historic Paris Tour, you can enjoy a one-day guided visit of three fabulous city favorites: the hallowed halls of the Louvre Museum, the funky Montmartre neighborhood and the Gothic icon, Notre Dame. After hitting these major highlights on your first full day in the city, you can spend the second meandering through the Orsay Museum or picnicking and people-watching in and around the Tuileries Garden.
The Louvre Museum
Louvre at night
First things first: before getting lost in the Louvre, purchase a Paris pass to get the most bang for your buck in the Paris museums. The Louvre tour will take you to most of the museum’s masterpieces, from the Mona Lisa to the Venus de Milo, but in a city like Paris, your art itinerary can’t end there. With the Paris pass, you’re granted free entry—without queuing!—to over 60 Paris museums and monuments. After getting your feet wet with all the canonical works in the Louvre, from the Romantic icon Raft of the Medusa to Ingres’ orientalized Grande Odalisque, you can spend your second day marveling at Manet in the Orsay Museum, snapping pictures at the magnificent Arc de Triomphe or admiring the sculptures at the Rodin Museum, dedicated to the life and legacy of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, perhaps best known for his oft-imitated work The Thinker.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris Photo: Flickr user RuiPereira
Notre Dame by night / Photo: Flickr user RuiPereira[/caption] Despite what Disney (or Victor Hugo) might have you believe, there’s far more to this masterpiece of French Gothic architecture than hidden hunchbacks in the bell tower. But you shouldn’t have trouble resisting the urge to break into song Quasimodo-style: the church’s stunning interior will silence you. Construction on Notre Dame began in 1163, following the design of Bishop Maurice de Sully. The structure can accommodate up to 6,000 worshippers and visitors. Beyond the gigantic, gorgeous nave and chapels, you could spend hours admiring the rose windows and the striking precision on the church’s façade. The three main portals are remarkably ornate, but you'll notice that they're slightly asymmetrical—an intentional move to prevent architectural monotony. On the sides of the building, take note of the flying buttresses: this is a type of arched exterior support that became a staple of Gothic architecture, but Notre Dame was among the first buildings to employ the technique. The best views of the flying buttresses and how they function are from the nearest bridge that crosses the Seine, or from square Jean XXIII, a tiny, tranquil park just behind Notre Dame.
Montmartre and More
The Sacré-Cœur in the heart of Montmartre
Making the most of your 2 days in Paris is all about choosing which attractions are must-sees for you personally. If you want to do some serious shopping or just soak up the glamour of Paris’s most famous street, you’ve got to saunter down the Champs-Élysées. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re a vintage junkie or averse to tourist crowds, you’ll want to wander the eclectic neighborhood of Montmartre instead. One of Paris’s best little corners of culture, the neighborhood was the setting of such charming films as Amélie, which tells the story of a whimsical French do-gooder determined to make life better for the people around her, and Moulin Rouge, which exaggeratedly builds on the neighborhood’s status as the heady hangout of artists and performers in the time of Toulouse-Lautrec. The tour will take you through the neighborhood’s village-like streets and you’ll get to explore Place du Tertre, the old stomping grounds of broke bohemian artists like Picasso and Van Gogh. After the guided visit, if you’re on the hunt for the city’s hippest boutiques, skip the tacky tourist shops sprinkled around the Sacré Coeur and instead wind your way through the neighborhood’s storied side streets. When you need a moment to catch your breath, take a seat in one of the neighborhood cafes or slip into one of the pews at the Sacré Coeur and marvel at its giant apse mosaic, which is one of the largest in the world.