Paris! I fell in love with this city almost instantly, and could have spent years here rather than a few days, like Tim and I did when we visited last May. I had tried not to daydream too thoroughly prior to going to Paris because I’d read mixed reviews online — people either absolutely love it or absolutely never want to visit again — and I wanted to be the judge of things for myself. So, besides whatever preconceived notions I had about the City of Lights, I was ready to be surprised.

And, like I said, I fell in love. I mean, it’s Paris. This place was everything I’d hoped for and more — Paris is just so unashamedly itself. However, we didn’t have a whole ton of time to spend here considering the sheer amount there is to do in Paris, so Tim and I had to budget our time accordingly. Enter: the Paris Museum Pass!

We each bought a two-day Paris Museum Pass for our first two days in the city and, though the pass offers access to more than 30 monuments and/or museums in the city of Paris alone, it’s tough to thoroughly explore and genuinely soak in more than a handful of these offerings in two day’s time. However, I feel Tim and I really stretched the benefits of our passes by being up to lots of walking, lots of Metro-taking, and two very long days out on the town. So, below are my top three recommendations for packing the must-see’s of Paris into two days with a Paris Museum Pass, as well as our “itinerary” for how we spent these two days with our passes. Jouir!

There is just so dang much to do in Paris that it could take you years to visit everywhere, let alone enjoy your time and actually let things sink. To make things less intimidating, visiting the Paris Museum Pass site’s page on which museums and monuments are discounted via the pass is a really good place to start.

My advice for choosing spots to visit in Paris is to pick places off this list that you absolutely can’t leave Paris without seeing, and add accordingly. Picking about 10 spots is a good number to divvy up between two days, especially if places are close together in the city. While you could potentially make it to far more than 10 museums or monuments over 48 hours, taking your time and enjoying things does actually take time. So unless you want to rush around Paris for these two days, start with 10 places on your must-see list.

Now that you’ve made your Paris must-see list, take out a map of the city and see where everything is. Pinning monuments and museums on Google Maps is super helpful for this, as you can see walking and Metro times between each place. Or, using the pre-made map on the Paris Museum Pass site is there, too.

Regardless, grouping geographically close places together will be really helpful for each of your two days so you can take in the sights as much as possible, rather than spending all your time getting from A to B. While spontaneous exploring is the funnest (and should be included in your trip!), visiting one museum on one side of the city, and then travelling to another one on the opposite side of Paris is just a waste of time when you only have two days to get the most out of a Paris Museum Pass. Group close things on your must-see list together on a map, and divvy them up between your two days. This will also come in handy to figure out whether it’s best to walk from A to B, or if it’d be better to take the Metro.

Woo hoo! By now you know which museums and monuments you’ll be visiting in Paris, and on which days too. The final step in making sure you get the most out of Paris with your two-day Paris Museum Pass is to research the places you’re visiting. What days is each place open? What are the hours they’re open? Can you skip the line with the Paris Museum Pass, or is that not included? Are there certain dress rules to abide by? For example, the Musee d’Orsay is closed on Mondays; the Musee du Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. All good questions to ask.

A good place to start is by googling the monument or museum you want to look into, and simply explore its website (if it has one). Browsing through the Paris Museum Pass site could give you helpful information regarding what’s included with your pass at each place, and if any exhibits are taking place during your stay. Looking up other people’s experiences (blogs) is also great for a first-hand account of things. Maybe you’ll discover information that makes you alter your initial plan a little bit — that’s okay! Way better to change it now than when you’re in the moment, rushing around a huge city like Paris.

And here’s how we spent our first two days in Paris with a Paris Museum Pass. I highly recommend following this little plan if you’re stuck not knowing where to start with your must-see list — we had a really memorable time.

– Picked up passes from the central Paris Tourist Office (25 rue des Pyramides, Paris 1st)
– Visited the Musee du Louvre
– Walked through the Jardin des Tuileries to the Musee de l’Orangerie
– Walked down the Champs-Elysess to go up the Arc de Triomphe for sunset

– (After approaching the Musee Picasso, only to find it was closed! Psych…) Visited the Musee d’Orsay and had lunch at The Café Campana
– Visited the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris and Sainte-Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite
– Went back to, and visited, the Musee Picasso
– Walked down the Champs-Elysess to go up the Arc de Triomphe during daylight (the views were too amazing to miss out on a second time)
– Sat and admired the Tour Eiffel (with cheese and baguettes in hand!) until it sparkled at 10 p.m. (This has nothing to do with the pass but was the perfect way to end our two days of exploration)