Paris, La Ville Lumière, always takes my breath away and is most certainly always a fabulous destination for a break. I have been earlier in the year and had written up my top things to do in a weekend in the city of light here.
This post is inspired by my most recent trip, which was so relaxing and wonderful, and so I decided to write out a little itinerary of what to do when you have 36 hours in Paris.
My number one nugget of advice would be to book any restaurants you fancy dining at well in advance! We got really lucky on this trip but I would strongly advise booking prior to travelling.
Catch an early Eurostar to Gare du Nord
I love the Eurostar and it is my preferred choice of travel when visiting Paris. It is so quick, easy, comfortable and convenient and you arrived at Gard du Nord, from where it is so easy to get to anywhere in Paris, either by metro or an uber.
We bought some croissants and snacks and time just whizzed by and before we knew it we had arrived.
I would recommend getting the earliest possible train you can as even if you feel sleepy, as you get an entire day in Paris so it is totally worth it. Our train was at 5:40am.
Once you have arrived, if you prefer travelling by metro, you can buy a 2 day pass from the ticket office. The metro is so simple to use.
Check in to your hotel
In order to get rid of your luggage and freshen up, check in as soon as possible to your hotel. I have stayed at the Westin Paris Vendôme and Le Dokhans on two separate trips. Both locations are excellent, but for this particular itinerary I am basing it on the Westin Paris Vendôme, as the location was probably the best in Paris! Right in the first arrondissement, literally right in the middle of Paris.
Walk through the Jardin des Tuileries
Right opposite the hotel is the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries, where you can walk through and enjoy the pretty plants and flowers, sit by the fountains and just admire the views.
With a map in hand, I would recommend walking towards the direction of the Eiffel tower, a long walk, but a fabulous one on a nice sunny day. If you prefer not to walk, I would recommend getting an uber or metro to Trocadero.
From here you can admire the Eiffel Tower before making a stop for lunch.
Have lunch at a classic French Bistro
I would highly recommend having lunch in a french bistro – you are in Paris after all so got to act Parisian!
On this trip we visited a bistro called Les Marches, found on 5 rue de la Manutention, 75116 Paris, France. Not only was the service fantastic, we thoroughly enjoyed the food and wine.
It was a little hidden away from the tourist traps and very authentic food.
For an alternative lunch spot, I would also recommend Ducale Café on 110 rue Lauriston which had the most immense French Onion Soup ever.
Arc de Triomphe and Champs Élysées
After a leisurely lunch, map in hand, head towards Arc de Triomphe, and from there you can walk down Champs Élysées, for a little shopping. All the designer stores can be found here, as well as some cafes and tea houses.
Purchase some Macarons
You need to get your hands on Macarons when in Paris, and my absolute favourite are from Pierre Hermé. Whilst on Champs Élysées, pop into a store called Publicis on 133 avenue des Champs Elysées and you will go crazy at the flavours available!
After a few hours wandering around, head back to your hotel and get ready for dinner. Try not to scoff all the Macarons like we did!
Dinner at Le Dali, Le Meurice
I loved loved loved the food at Le Dali, in the super grand Le Meurice hotel, on rue de Rivoli and highly recommend having dinner there. It is literally round the corner from the Westin Paris, on rue de Rivoli.
Highlights for me, amongst the incredible food, was definitely the dessert by pastry chef Cédric Grolet.
After dinner, head to a suitable viewing point of the Eiffel tower because you are in for a treat. We were lucky enough to have a view from our room but no matter where you are it is just as spectacular.
The Eiffel Tower at night
As gorgeous as the Eiffel Tower is in bright sunlight, nothing beats the evening view.
If you are patient and wait till the clock turns on the hour, you are in for a real treat.
For 5 minutes, there will be gorgeous golden twinkling flashes of light, which just adds to the magical experience of being in Paris.
A Parisian breakfast at Angelina
Set your alarm and get to Angelina just before 9am, and reward yourself with the signature chocolat chaud.
It is divine! Treat yourself to a Parisian breakfast in the gorgeous tea house too and start your day right. Croissants, Pain au chocolat and breads are the best way to kick off your second day in Paris!
Stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries
After breakfast, cross the road and take the scenic route through the Jardin des Tuileries, but this time head towards the Louvre.
It is up to you if you want to spend time going inside or simply want to admire the architecture from outside.
After marvelling at the Louvre, head towards Palais Royal.
Palais Royal and pretty gardens
My favourite metro station entry lies just before Palais Royal, in all its glory! It is called Metro Palais Royal Musée du Louvre and is super quirky!
Once at Palais Royal, you can see Daniel Buren’s striped columns in the courtyard, which I absolutely adore.
Wander through the courtyard and the most serene gardens await, away from the crazy hustle and bustle of the nearby Louvre.
After a little bit of tranquillity in the gardens, I would suggest heading to the Westin Paris for their brunch!
The Westin Paris Brunch at Le First restaurant
Inside a restaurant which is stunning and reminds me of a French boudoir, is the most insanely amazing brunch buffet. You have such a vast choice of savoury and sweet items to choose from, as well as freshly squeezed juice combinations made to your specification, coupled with glasses of bubbles. Surely the best way to spend a lazy Sunday brunch in Paris!
Notre-Dame de Paris
After brunch, check out of your hotel, and head to the Notre-Dame de Paris, which is a gorgeous cathedral. We took an uber in the interest of saving time.
There are benches in the vicinity so you can relax there for a while, or a myriad of cafes outside, should you choose to have a cheeky crepe or glass of wine.
On a street nearby, there are usually some buskers performing, and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the kerb and watching them.
Gare Du Nord for the return trip
Once you have spent some time here, I would recommend heading to Gare du Nord well in advance of your Eurostar back as it is a little slow and takes ages to get through!
For information, we took the 5:15pm Eurostar back to London so we were back in London at a reasonable time.
And there you have a plan for 36 hours in Paris!
I made a short video about my weekend which you can watch here: