1. Book a free tour
If you want to get a good overview of the city, then one of the many free tours on offer is a good option for your first couple hours in the city. Free tours give a great introduction to top attractions, a bit of history and are often accompanied by the local guide’s tips and tricks for places to eat and things to see. Normally conducted on a tip basis they are budget friendly as you can decide how much you can afford to pay and what the tour was worth to you.
2. Choose your views
Paris’ main attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, are of course must dos for any visit here, although you don’t have to go to the top to enjoy their beauty. Forgoing this will save you precious time spent in queues. Notre-Dame is also a must see, however here a climb up her towers to see the famous gargoyles up close and marvel at the gigantic bells, are a highlight of visiting this famous cathedral. You will also be afforded fabulous views over the city to the Eiffel Tower.
3. Seek out some of the smaller attractions
If you love Notre-Dame’s beautiful stained glass rosettes then you need to also head to the smaller gothic church of Sainte Chapelle. A lesser known attraction, this church is relatively small and a visit doesn’t take long but is well worth it. The floor to ceiling stained glass windows found here really are a sight to behold!
4. Plan your tour of the Louvre
No visit to Paris is complete without stopping in at the Louvre, however art lovers will find enough here to keep them fascinated for the full 48 hours. Plan what you want to see and make a note of what room and section those items will be in. The place is an utter maze, so you will get lost. Be sure to pick up a map at the entrance and always make note of what floor you are on as the exhibits are grouped by country/period in history and separated onto specific floors.
5. Choose your accommodation wisely
Accommodation in Paris can be pricey, especially if you want to be within walking distance of the city’s main attractions. In order to get the most bang for your buck, be sure to book early and try visit out of season. Summer and weekends attract holiday makers from the UK and other parts of Europe and push the price up. If you stay in an area away from the tourist centre, be sure to pick somewhere close to a major metro station so that you can get around easily and quickly. The Grand Hôtel Français is one property that hits all of the above notes.
6. Pack a picnic
Like accommodation, eating out in the centre of Paris can be expensive. If you’re place has a kitchen then a better option would be to head out for a freshly baked baguette or some croissants, gorgeous local cheese and delicious salami or Parma ham, and create a masterpiece in the comfort of your room. Alternatively do the same, and take to the steps of Sacré-Cœur or the lawns in front of the Eiffel Tower for a cheap meal with one of the best views in town!
7. Easy eating-out
Craving a meal out but keeping a close eye on the wallet, then venture down to Rue de la Huchette which runs between Notre-Dame and the Fontaine Saint-Michel. The restaurants here are a bit touristy but do offer some great special deals – think a three course meal for only 10Euro.
8. Splash out
If you are looking for something truly special meal then a dinner cruise with Bateaux Mouches is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences you simply cannot pass up. You get to pass all of the city’s famous attractions, including Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower, while the city’s lights reflect on the water passing you by. All this is accompanied by a live violinist and piano player, a gorgeous traditional three course meal and real French champagne. And as this is all done after dark you won’t waste any of your precious daylight ours and can just kick back, relax and drink it all in.
9. After dark
Paris is known for its lively nightlife and world of burlesque. If you’re looking for a unique after dark experience you’ll remember forever, then head on down to the Moulin Rouge. The stuff of legends, the Moulin Rouge’s evening show offers two performances with the latest being running from 11pm for about 2 hours. This really gives you the opportunity to stretch your 48 hours in Paris to the max!