Travel Diaries

Perfecting a Weekend in Paris

by Jen Campbell of Green Wedding Shoes

There is so much truth to that popular Audrey Hepburn quote, “Paris is always a good idea.” For those planning a stopover in Paris as part of a larger European trip or maybe just a long weekend, the question is, what do you do if you only have 48 hours? My family and I did just this a few weeks ago and planned out a perfect two-day Paris travel diary.

With each visit I make here, I fall more in love with the city. One of my favorite things about being here is that you don’t need to plan every minute of every day, rather you can simply wander around, get a bit lost and discover a new part of the city just a beautiful and charming as the parts you’ve already visited. Seriously, Paris, how do you do it? But I have my favourites, and this is how I chose to spend my 48 hours.

Eiffel Tower car in Paris Maison Albar Paris Hotel Celine street view

For this trip, we wanted a hotel with a central location and chose the boutique hotel, Maison Albar Paris Hotel Celine. As soon as we landed at CDG, we took the metro to the Châtelet – Les Halles stop. It’s about a 40-minute ride with a 10-minute walk to the hotel—super easy! The Maison Albar Paris Hotel Celine has a fun Art Deco vibe and our room had the perfect Parisian balcony for taking in the city views each morning with a cup of coffee. After, we’d venture down to the hotel’s restaurant, Odette, for a lovely breakfast with your choice of eggs, pastries, yogurt, fruit, juice and, of course, coffee—a great and relaxing way to start each day. Since this was a short trip we didn’t have time to take advantage of their spa, but we peeked in and it looked very relaxing.

Notre Dame cherry blossoms in Paris Notre Dame cherry blossoms in Paris

For our first excusion, we walked over to Notre Dame—it’s about 15 minutes from the hotel.  Notre Dame is a must for every trip here. This time was pretty magical as there were about 10 giant cherry trees in bloom on one side of the cathedral which made it ethereal. The line to go inside was pretty long but moved fast. The interior is truly something to see—especially the stained glass.

Seine River View

After walking through Notre Dame, cross back over the Seine and walk along the Seine heading west. You’ll want to head towards Ladurée Paris Bonaparte. This bakery carries my favorite macarons in Paris. There are so many flavors to choose from, so pick an assortment since they have unique flavors here. My fave is the blackcurrant violet. Next stroll down the block and stop by Josephine Bakery to pick up some baguette sandwiches and more pastries. I highly recommend the strawberry cheesecake and the ham and cheese baguette. Then keep walking down Rue de l’Université until you arrive at the Esplanade des Invalides (the lawn by the Eiffel Tower). While walking be sure to pop into a shop and pick up a bottle of wine (be sure to ask for paper cups too). Once you arrive at the Esplanade des Invalides sit down, enjoy the view and a picnic lunch. There is really nothing better! Don’t forget to snap some photos. It will all feel like a dream.

Eiffel Tower and carousel

Follow that up with a walk under the Eiffel Tower to snap more photos. It’s the Eiffel Tower afterall and photos don’t get old here. Cross the river to the Trocadéro Gardens side where you’ll see two vintage carousels, and take a ride, because, well, when else would you ride a carousel by the Eiffel Tower? After the ride, head to Framboise Crêperie, which is just a 10 minute walk from the Trocadéro Gardens side of the tower. Try one of their sweet crepes—I’d recommend either Nutella or the Salted Caramel—along with a cappuccino and sit and enjoy the setting.

From here, take a cab to Papadoom Kitchen for some amazing Indian food. The decor and vibe here is top notch, and the food and cocktails are so good. I’d recommend the butter chicken and chicken korma for dinner and the Bombay Sunrise to drink. Then take a stroll back to the Maison Albar Paris Hotel Celine, while maybe stopping for another drink at one of the many sidewalk cafes.

Sacre Coeur view Montmartre

On the second morning, we took a 15-minute metro ride to Montmartre. In this area, it feels like you’re stepping back in time a bit. Walk around Painter’s Square and watch the painters, enjoy the street musicians, find the pink house (La Maison Rose), grab a baguette sandwich from La Galette des Moulins and enjoy some wine in one of the many cafes. Then walk over to Sacré-Cœur for amazing views of Paris.

Left Bank street views Ferris wheel garden

After spending the morning here, walk to two of my favorite gardens in Paris. You’ll stumble across The Palais Royal first and this one also has some fun photo opps with Daniel Buren’s striped columns in the courtyard. Then make your way to the Jardin des Tuileries. These gardens are quite large and also have a bunch of cafes spread throughout, so this is the perfect spot to relax with another glass of wine.

Eiffel Tower Paris Eiffel Tower Paris in the Spring

Next, take a leisurely stroll over to Rue Montorgueil. This is a market street with lots of cute cafés, restaurants, bakeries and more. There are lots of great options for dinner and drinks, plus it’s just a short walk back to the Maison Albar Paris Hotel Celine.

Yes, you’ll have walked a lot but it’s the best way to see and experience Paris. Naturally, remember to bring good walking shoes, a thirst for wine and an appetite for croissants.