- Day ½ - Arriving in Paris and Seeing Le Eiffel Tower
- Day 1 - Diving Into French History: Visiting Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and the Paris Aquarium
- Day 2 – Enjoying Crepes and Exploring Montparnasse
- Paris in 2 Days: A Little Tip on Lodging for Large Families
- Full List of Budgeting Ideas for Taming Paris in 2 Days
Paris is the city of lights, love, croissants, and the famed Eiffel Tower. Here, you’ll encounter other of their most famous attractions like the Louvre Museum and Pantheon. With French bakeries beckoning at every corner, it isn’t easy to turn down a trip to this stunning location.
A few years ago, my family and I traveled to this magical city as part of a 2 week, 4 country tour of Europe. During the pandemic, much of the world has changed, including travel requirements. So we’ve updated our post to help you and your family experience Paris in 2 days safely including information on closures, current requirements, and tips to stay healthy while traveling.
Currently, it is advised against traveling to France. However, if you decide to anyway, Covid vaccines (both doses) are now necessary when traveling outside of the US. Upon arrival in France, masks are required indoors and in most outdoor locations.
If you’re planning to travel later in 2022, travel requirements may change. Always check your local government’s website for the most up-to-date information.
Day ½ - Arriving in Paris and Seeing Le Eiffel Tower
We used the Channel Tunnel (also called the “Chunnel”) train to get from London to Paris. As we were already exploring Europe, this was the easiest way to get our whole family from one location to the next. The Chunnel is a marvel providing a direct route between the two major cities by traveling under the sea. The actual time below the ocean is only about 20 minutes making the experience even more amazing to think about the ingenuity it took to build.
Taking a late morning train ride enabled us to arrive early in the afternoon – just in time to witness a street brawl on the street outside the Paris Gare du Nord station! Couldn’t tell exactly what the argument was about, but apparently the French use some of the same expletives we Americans do when in a heated discussion. What a great start to our first moments in Paris!
Paris in 2 Days – Current Intercountry Travel
There are quite a few requirements when using the Chunnel or any travel method to enter France. First, reservations are required 24 hours ahead of time. While it’s not currently required to be vaccinated to travel to France, unvaccinated travelers will only be able to enter the country for “a compelling reason.” This exemption generally includes students in France, health professionals, diplomats, and those married to a French citizen. There are a few other exemptions, though they will not apply to most travelers.
Other requirements to enter the country include:
- Sworn statement noting no Corona symptoms
- Travel certificate to France
- Negative Covid test for anyone over 12 years of age
- Essential details for each passenger, including the address of accommodations
- 10-day quarantine (or 2-day quarantine if another negative test is received at this time)
Thankfully, the experience improved from there as we hopped on an Uber to our Airbnb. Our apartment was situated just off a main street near a host of restaurants and theater. It was similar to many apartment complexes with small, dark lobbies matched with smaller elevators that have seen a few years. However, upon entering the room, we were more than pleased with the modern decor and two showers! The parents were again regulated to the pull out couch in the family room, but oh well.
The day was nearly over by this point, and it was time to head to the Eiffel Tower while enjoying new sites along the way. I’ve found that one of the best ways to explore new areas is by walking around without worrying about going to specific destinations. This method lets you see more stunning landmarks and sights that you might not otherwise see if you’re hustling between attractions.
We arrived at the Eiffel Tower in time to see the stunning sunset behind the famous landmark. We, of course, stayed until 10 pm to view the tower glittering in the night.
Day 1 - Diving Into French History: Visiting Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and the Paris Aquarium
The Arc de Triomphe on Champs-Elysees is a stunning monument that is a must-see for anyone visiting Paris. When you see it in person, you’ll likely recognize it from multiple popular movies.
Afterward, we headed out to catch our Seine River cruise, which included a 5-course lunch with various French cuisine. If you have picky eaters, this may not be the best option. However, our children luckily enjoyed the food served on the cruise. If you elect to take a river cruise with an auditory tour, you’ll need to bring a set of headphones. Masks are required during the entire cruise.
Following lunch, we decided to take time exploring Champ de Mars, a park near the Eiffel Tower. We also spent time at the Paris Aquarium to break from the summer heat. If you have older kids, you may want to consider visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral for French gothic architecture or strolling around Place de la Concorde. While we didn’t explore the Notre Dame de Paris or the public square, these are popular stops for many who visit Paris.
The final stop for the day was the Louvre Museum. This location is a must for anyone visiting Paris. Here, you’ll see great works of art like the Mona Lisa in person. While you can do a self-guided tour, I recommend purchasing a tour with a guide if your budget allows it. Having experienced both options, I can say that we learned much more about the history of the art this way.
Like the previous attractions, Covid precautions have been put in place at the Louvre. Anyone over the age of six is required to wear a mask. Anyone over the age of twelve must have proof of vaccination or a negative covid test. Also, time slots need to be booked before arriving at the museum.
Day 2 – Enjoying Crepes and Exploring Montparnasse
With such a jam-packed day one in Paris, we made an effort to have a more relaxing day two which meant sleeping in and heading out in search of crepes. Watching the effort that goes into creating each crepe gives one a new appreciation for this food. Trying the local specialties is a must in Paris, especially since its cuisine is highly regarded.
Montparnasse was next on the list. This tower offers incredible views of Paris from a bird’s eye view. Budding photographers, like my son, will enjoy this experience. Even our daughter, who is afraid of heights, braved the tower with success. Like most other attractions, masks are required in the tower along with proof of vaccination or a negative covid test. It’s also mandatory to use hand sanitizer upon entering.
The day’s final activities included leisurely strolling around the city and making it to the Eiffel Tower for one last viewing.
Paris in 2 Days: A Little Tip on Lodging for Large Families
Traveling to Paris is already pricey. Traveling to Paris with a large family makes things more complicated, especially budget-wise. Below are some updated tips regarding accommodations to help keep some extra money in your wallet.
Find Inclusive Airbnbs or Hotels
If your budget is tight, having an Airbnb or hotel that includes breakfast can save some money. While breakfast is generally a lighter meal and more affordable than lunch or dinner, every little bit helps. As mentioned previously, check through what is included in your stay as you may find other necessities like toilet paper are not included. If other items like these are excluded, then the free breakfast offer might not keep your budget down all that much.
In regard to health/cleaning protocols, Airbnb has not made extensive changes to its policies. Ensure you have chosen a location that offers flexible cancellations if you get sick or that you get exposed to Covid and can’t make the trip. Airbnb has made it easier to filter for stays with less strict last-minute cancellation policies. Other Airbnb changes include higher cleaning requirements for accommodations, and guests/hosts are expected to follow local rules on masking and distancing for each stay.
Check Alternative Accommodations
While we parents had to sleep on the pull-out couch for our stay in Paris, it was more cost-effective than renting a hotel room. Consider doing an apartment swap with another family (if you’re comfortable) for longer stays. Another alternative is renting a room at a hostel. Some hostels include whole rooms available for families which offer kitchens. Having a space to do cooking is an excellent way to save money as you won’t have to pay for as many meals out. This tip is especially helpful for larger families as food bills can rack up fast.
Full List of Budgeting Ideas for Taming Paris in 2 Days
The most budget-friendly option for lodging is still Airbnb. Keep in mind; location will tie into the cost of accommodations. If you don’t mind staying out of the main city area, you can save a few extra dollars as we did.
During our last trip, we were able to stay within our transportation budget by using public transport even with a few snafus. Create your own Paris itinerary map to make it easier to plan your destinations out each day. Otherwise, you’ll be zipping back and forth, causing extra transportation costs. The Paris Visite pass is also an excellent way to travel; with this pass, you can travel an unlimited number of times on the subway and bus. Choose between a 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, or 5-day option.
I still stand by eating light for breakfast like the locals do to save money. A few other money-saving tips for mealtime include avoiding sparkling water or sodas as they are pricey here. Opt to eat out instead of dining in, as the price is generally a little bit lower.
Plan out your excursions ahead of time to aid in budgeting, as this is one area where costs can rise quickly. Once you have a budget in mind, plan out which locations you want to pay for tours. Paid tours offer some of the best information. However, they are also quite pricey.
We stick by having the kids earn their souvenir money. This tip helps with budgeting both for you and the kids. Even still, it’s easy to get suckered into a few purchases too many. We went over budget slightly on our last trip in this area.
The above recommendations will enable you to stay within budget while seeing everything Paris has to offer. Now that you’re packed full of information on current Covid regulations, budgeting tips, and itinerary ideas, it’s time to head to Paris!