72 Hours in Paris: What You Need to Do

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Short on time but want to explore Paris? We’ve got you covered.

This guide is split into different areas, so you can tick off plenty of places in one day, but without feeling like you’re rushing through them.

We’ve kept things flexible and fun. There’s no set structure — you can pick and choose everything you want to see, and customize your plans to suit you.

Here’s what you need to do when you have 72 hours in Paris.

Left Bank

Home of the historic, artistic and scholarly Paris, the Left Bank and the Quartier Latin are an artists paradise. Back in the day it was the home for famous painters and writers such as Picasso, Matisse and Hemingway because that part of the city was cheap to live in (not anymore!).

Today, left bank is famous for its high-end apartments, restaurants and shops. Walk down the Boulevard Saint Germain des Pres and see where the rich and glamorous live and dine. And of course, do not forget to see the gorgeous Sorbonne university in the Latin Quarter.

Those who prefer impressionist and expressionist art will enjoy browsing the Musée D’Orsay, where you can see work by Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh.

Musée D’Orsay overlooking the Seine river

Avid readers need to pay a visit to Shakespeare and Company, the bookstore where writers such as Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. There, you’ll find new and second-hand books for sale, as well as a free library.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without a stop at its most famous, recognisable landmark — the Eiffel Tower. At 324 metres high, it stands out against the city skyline, with visitors able to reach 276 metres (the height of the top viewing platform). Note though, that reaching the top might take hours (because of long lines) so many people skip that part and view the iron lady from distance instead.

La Tour Eiffel

Ile de La Cité

Ile de La Cité separates Paris’ Left Bank and Right Bank. It’s also where you’ll find Notre-Dame Cathedral, an awe-inspiring example of gothic architecture. Keep an eye out for all the details, including the beautiful stained-glass windows and the gargoyle statues.

Notre-Dame de Paris

Right Bank

The right bank isn’t empty of artistic charm either. Fans of classical art need to head to the Louvre, which houses Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa.

Top tip: The museum is enormous, so it’s worth picking a couple of wings rather than trying to see everything. You’ll be able to take it all in much more.

If you’re in need of some fresh air after your tour of the Louvre, make your way to the Tuileries. These beautiful gardens offer plenty of space for you to stroll around and relax.

Jardin des Tuileries

People interested in modern and contemporary art should check out Centre Pompidou. It’s worth making a stop at the Pompidou Centre to admire its unique structure alone. If you venture inside, you’ll find a library, a music centre, and a museum, the Musée National d’Art Moderne, which is the national museum for the modern art of France, displaying the second-largest collection of modern and contemporary art in the world.

If you can’t visit a new place without indulging in some shopping, you’ll be delighted by the charm of Champs-Élysées, where luxury shops, high street stores, and cafés are all located (make sure you try some traditional food while you’re there — 1Cover’s Secret Traveller even named French cheese one of its foods worth travelling the world for). And don’t forget to climb the Arc De Triomphe, which stands at the western end of the avenue.

Arc de Triomphe

For a completely different (but just as breathtaking) view, stop at the Sacré-Coeur. You’ll need to climb several steps to reach the Roman Catholic church and basilica, but you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Paris.

Enjoy your short stay in Paris!

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