Ten things to do in Paris in three hours or less

  • 06th November 2015

Recently we sent two travellers from Bristol to Paris. The one flying with bmi regional arrived two hours and forty five minutes before the one changing in London for the Eurostar (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AK35DZ9HHk).

The next question is, what could our race winner have done with that extra time? Here are ten suggestions of things to do in Paris that will take you less than three hours:

1 – Hop on a bus and see Paris. With the Big Bus Paris tour you can get on and off as much as your schedule allows (http://eng.bigbustours.com/paris/home.html). The route takes in iconic landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral

2 – You could argue that 2-3 hours isn’t enough to do the Louvre justice, but you could stop off in the Tuileries Gardens and grab a bite to eat at the La Terasse de Pomone, where you have views of the Orsay Museum as well as the Louvre itself (http://www.louvre.fr/en/la-terrasse-de-pomone)

3 – Pay a visit to the Sainte Chapelle, a masterpiece of Flamboyant Gothic architecture built by Saint Louis in the heart of the Palais de la Cité on the Ile de la Cité in Paris. Discover its unique stained glass windows rendering the air iridescent with light and colour (http://sainte-chapelle.monuments-nationaux.fr/)

Sainte Chapelle

4 – Indulge in some people-watching. Social network Foursquare has a list of 15 perfect Paris places to do that, including cafes Les Philosophes and Cafe de Flore (https://foursquare.com/top-places/paris/best-places-people-watching)

Cafe de Flore

5 – Take a walking tour. If you are in Paris on a Tuesday morning, Paris Walks will take you on a walk of the Old Marais Quarter. On Wednesdays, the tour covers the Village of Montmarte. The walks take approximately two hours (http://www.paris-walks.com/winter-walks.html)


6 – Visit the Catacombs of Paris. Walk underneath the French Capital in underground tunnels made with the bones of six million Parisians. In addition to offering Paris cycling tours, Blue Bike Tours will take you around the Catacombs in 1.5 hours (http://www.bluebiketours.com/paris/paris-catacombs-tour). You could use the remaining time to get a drink to steady your nerves after the experience!

7 – Before your flight back, you could take a look at the new ‘Aeroville’ shopping mall, near Paris CDG Airport (http://en.aeroville.com/W/do/centre/accueil). Aeroville has a mix of high street fashion brands, restaurants and cinemas.

8 – Visit an outdoor market. The Paris Paree blog has a list of different Paris markets, including the Marche Bastille, which it calls “probably the most tourist friendly farmers’ market in Paris.” Buy some picnic supplies and then head to the nearby Place de Vosges park (http://www.parisparee.com/5-farmers-markets-you-should-explore-in-paris/)

9 – Two hours is enough to do a boat loop of the Seine taking in the major sights. Buy a ticket from Batobus, if you think you’ll be visiting Paris more often you can even buy an annual pass (http://www.batobus.com/en/timetables.html)

10 – Instead of following the mass of tourists and descending on the Ile de la Cite (home of Notre Dame), go to the Ile Saint Louis, which About Travel describes “as if someone dropped a small French village into the center of Paris.” (http://gofrance.about.com/od/paris/a/ilesaintlouis.htm). While there visit the Berthillon Ice Cream Parlour, which Time Out gives a full five stars (http://www.timeout.com/paris/en/shopping/berthillon#tab_panel_2)

Ice cream

To book your Bristol to Paris flights go to www.flybmi.com. And take a look at some of the special Weekend Wonder fares, making a Paris city break even more affordable!

Image credits via Flickr / Creative Commons
Montmartre – Lake Lou
Paris Catacombs – Ray Beaulieu
Berthillion ice cream – Robert Douglass

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