My personal opinion is that no trip to Paris is long enough. You’ll always be left wanting to see more, taste more, experience more. But a long weekend in Paris is ideal to whet your appetite for all the city has to offer. And there’s plenty you can fit into a four day long weekend – and as someone who travels to Paris often, I’m here to share recommendations for how to spend a long weekend in Paris.
How to Spend a Long Weekend in Paris
What I love about a long weekend in Paris is that you really work to maximize your time. You can hit up a variety of world class sites and museums but you can also spend plenty of time wandering, eating and soaking up the city. There’s no shortage of things to do and spending a long weekend in Paris can make you appreciate the beauty and charm of what is considered the most romantic city in the world.
My favorite part of Paris is Le Marais and I love to head there for a relaxed day as I battle a bit of jet lag. Le Marais is a historic district and is home to many spots of historical importance. It spreads across parts of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.
Fuel up with caffeine at Ob La Di. This tiny place is the perfect spot to have your first coffee in a bright spot with beautifully tiled floors. Stroll aimlessly afterwards and take in the many beautiful doors and charming streets in Le Marais.
Arrive early to the Picasso Museum to beat the crowds then enjoy the newly renovated museum. (Opens at 10:30).
Shop in the Marais. Favorite stores not to be missed include Kerzon for the best candles, Claudie Pierlot for feminine French clothing, FrenchTrotters, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Merci, Mariage Frères, OFR Bookshop and Papier Tigre. And don’t miss visiting nearby Place des Vosges which is the oldest planned square in Paris and was built by Henri IV in the 17th century.
I love the stroll from Le Marais to Ile Saint Louis. You’ll cross the Seine and can easily wander the quaint streets of this charming island. Then stop at Berthillion for the world’s best ice cream (raspberry + chocolate is my favorite combo) and then head over to Ile de la Cite, stopping to snap a photo and marvel at Notre Dame. If you’re a book lover, pop over to Shakespeare & Company – one of the most famous bookstores in the world.
Then don’t miss the tucked away Place Dauphine. It’s one of my favorite hidden jewels in the city.
Visit the Palais Royal and the accompanying gardens. It’s so striking as the sun starts to set. Then if you need an afternoon pick me up visit the tucked away Cafe Kitsune and enjoy it by the garden’s fountain.
Pop into Galerie Vivienne, built in 1823, it is one of the most iconic covered arcades in Paris.
Line up for Frenchie Bar a Vin before it opens at 6:30 to ensure you get a table. It is one of my favorite restaurants in Paris.
After dinner stroll to Experimental Cocktail Club where the bartender can make you a custom cocktail with all your favorite mixings.
Petit Dejeuner at Cafe Marlette.
Visit the Louvre (buy your tickets in advance or consider purchasing “skip the line tickets”) and plan in advance what you’d like to see so you can make the most of your visit. I typically spend two hours in the museum but if you’ve never been before allow for more time! You may also want to consider a private guided tour to make the best of your visit. Planning to see the Mona Lisa? Be prepared to wait!
Picnic in the Tuileries gardens. Picnics in the grand Parisian parks are not to be missed. I recommend visiting any local boulangerie for sandwiches and treats and beverages and then setting up in whatever spot suits you!
Pop into L’Orangerie – a small but beautiful museum. Monet’s striking and massive waterlily paintings are on display here and will take your breath away. You can walk the Champs Elysees after all the way up to the Arc de Triomphe. Feeling fit? Climb the hundreds of stairs at the arc for beautiful views of Paris.
Head West to get one of the best views of the Tour Eiffel from Avenue de Camoens. Get another more traditional view by stopping by the nearby Trocadero afterwards.
Have dinner at Les Cocottes. It’s classic French food in a modern setting.
Stroll to the Champs de Mars to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night.
Saint Germaine is my other favorite neighborhood and I always spend time there when I go to Paris. It’s the first neighborhood I remember falling in love with when I was little so it always brings back fond memories.
Visit the famed Luxembourg Gardens. Going early in the morning or late afternoon are my favorite times to stroll this stunning park.
Visit the Musee D’Orsay when it opens and take in the grandeur that is the old train station and the incredible Impressionist wing.
Head to Marché Raspail if your days align (check operating hours before you go!) and pick up items for lunch or dinner.
Visit the Rodin Museum. This is one of my favorite museums as it is in an old home that’s been beautifully restored. You’ll also get access to the gardens which also feature many works of Rodin’s.
Visit Le Bon Marche. This department store is worth marveling at. Don’t miss the food hall across the street of the same name. It is amazing and the perfect spot to pick up some sweet and savory souvenirs.
Score a Seine River Cruise ticket on one of the famed Bateaux Mouches. You can purchase a ticket right near the Eiffel Tower and enjoy a view of the beautiful La Tour following your boat ride.
Head to Montmartre! If you’re up for a bit of a wait for breakfast, head to Hardware Societe otherwise grab breakfast at a local boulangerie (Pain Pain is a personal favorite) or corner cafe.
Visit the famed Sacre Coeur cathedral and take in the views out front. Look out far enough and you’ll see views of the Eiffel Tower!
Wander! Montmartre is one of the most unique and beautiful neighborhoods to get lost in in Paris. Wear comfortable shoes – there are lots of hills and cobblestones!
Try your hand at lunch at one of the new gastronomy-forward spots opening in the neighborhood.
If you’re up for an adventure, head to Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen to look for treasures at this famed flea market. Be sure to check operating hours before you go!
Have a nightcap at Lulu White.
Heading to Paris? Book Paris, Perfected with me and get customized recommendations based on your travel preferences to make your next trip to Paris the best one yet.
Where to Stay in Paris
I want to quickly caveat that I think staying in a Parisian apartment is a lovely choice for longer stays but when I do that I prefer to work with a smaller company like Paris Perfect Rentals or Haven in Paris because their level of service is far superior to what you get with Airbnb. The AirBnB situation in Paris has gotten rather out of control and units with proper beds and a good address can run you pretty much what you’d pay for with a hotel so I’d caution you to consider that when doing research.
With Paris, Perfected I can offer even more hotel and more personalized apartment recommendations along with discounts as well when you book your trip with me.
This boutique hotel in Paris’ 1st arrondissement is my all time favorite and has been for years. I’ve stayed here multiple times and always had a great experience. (And have heard from several readers who have loved it as well – YAY!) It has all the modern amenities you would want and the property is cozy, charming and so chic. With touches like heated towel bars (oh.my.god do I need one of these in my next home! Makes getting out of the shower a divine experience), the most delicious in-room petit dejeuner, great closet space, free WiFi, comfortable beds, kind staff and even a wine and cheese hour in the afternoon. The best part? The location. It is tucked away on a quaint street and is walking distance to the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Palais Royal, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps and so many other sites. I cannot recommend the Hôtel Thérèse enough.
Just a short drive away from their sister property Hotel Therese and located in the 9eme, Hotel Adele & Jules is tucked away on a little alley and offers wonderful service and rooms with beautiful details like pink headboards (!) and beautifully tiled tubs. (I took a bath every night while staying there #heaven!) You are around the corner from L’Apartement Sezane and a short walk from all the shopping your heart could desire at Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. (More on where to shop in Paris here.)
This property only just opened in the Fall of 2018 and I stayed there for my birthday weekend in June 2019. I absolutely loved this hotel. The room is spacious and cozy (the bed was so comfortable!). And the bathroom was one of the largest I’ve ever had in a European hotel. Isn’t it beautiful, too? Above and beyond the room, the hotel is extremely focused on wellness. You can book massages and facials at the hotel and they even have heat baths. A steam room, and a salt wall which can promote better breathing and healing.
Truly the lower level of this hotel is like a sanctuary! I’d love to go back and take advantage of all of the treatments they offer! It is meant to be modern yet elegant. Another thing I loved? It is literally right around the corner from the Arc de Triomphe! There’s also a big Metro station right there with loads of train options. So I was able to zip over to any neighborhood seamlessly. If interested in booking there, you can use code FLANONS for 10% off your stay.
. . .
What would you do on a long weekend in Paris?