48 Hours in Paris - Highlights Itinerary with a Local Twist

Paris is so overdone, right? It is the absolute on-the-beaten-track destination and you might be tempted to avoid it for this reason. Of course, we all know the city for its incredible sights but let me tell you: there is SO much more to it.

I’ve been alternating regularly between Paris and other destinations all over the world for a few years now and I always love coming back. There is so much to discover during 48 hours in Paris: the city’s architecture is awesome and there are so many mysterious secret spots I’ve uncovered here.

Paris might not strike you as a wellness destination or a place for digital nomads either. Let me tell you, it is and I’ve got you! I’ve included a few places that will show you what your life could be if you packed your bags and decided to live in Paris for a few months. I truly believe that travel is a lifestyle and Paris is the absolute city for enjoying life in a sustainable way for you and others, so most of the places I recommend have a positive impact.

There will still be champagne, a view of the Eiffel Tower and Michelin-starred dining involved, just with a twist: this two days in Paris itinerary will be at local places with affordable prices.

Whether it is your first time or your thousandth, you will love my fully walkable recommended 48 hours in Paris itinerary packed with fun activities that will make you discover local life and want to move to Paris!

Day 1: Morning – Classics with a Twist

Start your 48 hours in Paris with some serious food-shopping at the Saint Germain market. Take some time to walk under the gorgeous arcades before entering and starting your breakfast shopping. Buy fresh seasonal produce and don’t forget the cheese! You can then walk up to the Luxembourg garden and have a little picnic there.

After your breakfast, take some time to walk around the timeless Saint Germain des Près neighborhood and observe the architecture. Check out the Ralph Lauren shop and restaurant in a beautiful city mansion and maybe stop for coffee in their gorgeous courtyard.

Grab a bottle in Dilettantes an awesome shop specializing in growers’ Champagne from small producers, with a lot of organic options. Check the schedule and see if there’s a degustation going on with the Champagne-makers. Prices are way lower than in other stores with tastings at around 15 euros. Champagne should be an everyday treat during your 48 hours in Paris!

For lunch, go to Baieta, a Michelin-starred restaurant where you can try some delicious Mediterranean cuisine. The lunch menu is only 29 euros and changes regularly.

Day 1: Afternoon – Local Hangouts

Walk north passing through the Ile de la Cité and stopping to check out Passage du Grand Cerf, an old indoor shopping street. You can take a coffee break at Blackburn, in Strasbourg Saint-Denis, one of my favorite places to get work done and people watch. There are many other closed streets to explore on your way there, most of which have specialties from Indian restaurants to tailored textiles…

When you arrive in the République area, take a stroll along the Canal Saint-Martin, looking at the colorful shops and cafes. At the end of your walk, stop by Cafe Mareva for some delicious gluten-free waffles. I personally love their “all-day brunch, everyday” concept.

Next up on my 48 hours in Paris itinerary is what I think to be one of the best views of Paris, I have a 100% success rate when bringing people there. The Belvédère de Belleville is super off-the-beaten-path AND has a view on the Eiffel Tower. You’ll also experience France’s rich multicultural heritage by exploring the Belleville area that is currently going through a creative renewal, making for a young and hip environment.

Day 1: Evening – Organic Wine and a Surprising Night Out.

Åke is a neighborhood high-quality small producer organic wine shop turned gastronomic restaurant. Trust the owner and tell him what you feel like drinking today. Order a few small dishes to share with your table.

End your first of two days in Paris with a drink at le Comptoir Géneral, a very very original space that will make you feel like you are not in Paris anymore. Explore the many different rooms, find some second-hand clothes, or just hang out in their relaxing tropical garden.

Day 2: Morning – Mindful Paris Morning

At the Southwestern corner of Place des Vosges there is a discrete door that will lead you to Hotel de Sully, a 17th-century private mansion. Take this secret passage to notice what others don’t usually see and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the gardens. It is the ideal place to start your day with a bit of journaling, reading or meditating.

It’s then time to get moving and try something different on your 48 hours in Paris at Le Tigre Marais, with a fun and accessible yoga class. You will love the beautifully decorated space and natural light. You’ll leave feeling fully restored from your week or yesterday’s night out. On your way out, stop by Wild and the Moon in the same building for a healthy bite or drink that will make you feel as good as it tastes.

This area North of le Marais is really great for walking around, especially not too late in the morning. For lunch, go to Big Love Caffe, preferably just when it opens to avoid a potential line. You will love the fresh products and delicious buckwheat pizza. I love their cute decor with an open kitchen and wooden shelves with Italian products. It’s a 48 hours in Paris must-do!

Day 2: Afternoon – Art and Secrets Streets

On the very busy rue de Rivoli, nestled between a few big brand shops is hidden a very interesting cultural space. Le 59 is a free-entrance, open artist-workshop on several floors. Use some of your 48 hours in Paris to check out the contemporary Paris art scene.

This medieval house is the oldest in Paris and could be easily overlooked in this quiet street. It was built by rumored alchemist Nicolas Flamel in 1407 to accommodate the homeless. You probably have heard of him from Harry Potter: he was a philanthropist and the legend says he turned metal into gold in this house!

Le Passage de l’Ancre is one of Paris’ most secret closed streets (“passage”). It will bring you back in time with its colorful windows and old shop signs. Don’t be fooled by its cute Instagram-worthy look, it has a dark history: The Jewish textile workers who settled in the 1930s were deported in a Nazi-directed raid during World War 2. The passage was forgotten about after that, only to be renovated in the late 1990s.

Day 2: Evening – More Food and a Hidden Bar

End your 48 hours in Paris by going to the 11th arrondissement for its lively and hip food scene, make a reservation at Au Passage (Passage saint Sébastien) to try delicious French cuisine. End your night with a cocktail at Candelaria, a hidden bar behind a taco restaurant.

I hope you enjoyed your 48 hours in Paris and you could see what your life would be like if you actually lived there. Paris is currently going through a total renewal. I’ve talked about the food scene (of course) where you can find more organic or allergy-friendly options but there’s also the workout scene with new studios opening regularly and the entrepreneurship community that is just booming at the moment. Paris is becoming more livable with a lot of bike paths in the city and community gardens and it is surprisingly quite unexplored!

Did I convince you to pack your bags and come live in Paris? What other tips do you love in Paris? Let me know in the comments. You can also connect with me directly on my Instagram.

Related reading:
Use our guide to taking a day trip to the Loire Valley Castles
Check out the best ski resorts near Paris

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You have only 48 hours in Paris? There's a lot to see but by following our two days in Paris itinerary you'll see all the highlights but with a local twist!

You have only 48 hours in Paris? There's a lot to see but by following our two days in Paris itinerary you'll see all the highlights but with a local twist!

About the Author: Lucile is a Registered Yoga Teacher and Mindfulness Coach. She focuses on mindful habit building for people aspiring to build a business while traveling. She gives concrete resources on her blog. She believes that travel is a lifestyle that needs to be sustainable for ourselves and the planet.

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