On the way back from Strasbourg, we had a short layover in Paris before our flight. Our train arrived around 10:00 am and we only had about 3.5 hours before we needed to leave for the airport. Even though this was a very short layover in Paris, we still managed to have a few quintessential Parisian experiences. Of course, you could spend years in Paris and not see it all! I usually spend the most time in Le Marais and Saint Germain when I visit Paris, but we only had time to visit old favorites in one. With only a few hours in the Saint Germain area, here’s how to spend a layover in Paris.
10:00 – Transportation – Begin your layover in Paris
Take the metro to the Saint-Germain-des-Pres stop (about 40 minutes from the train stations, but a little longer from the airports). Once you arrive, make a beeline to a café.
10:45 – Coffee at a Café
Have your morning coffee and croissant at Le Bonaparte or Café de Flore. I really love the patios at both of these cafes. I could sit here for hours and people watch. Both are excellent choices for a glass of rosé in the afternoon as well.
11:15 – Power Shop
Drop into a few shops to get some special souvenirs. Ladurée and Pierre Hermé are two excellent pastry shops that make those little delightful macarons. Mogador is the signature flavor of passion fruit and milk chocolate at Pierre Hermé, and it’s not to be missed.
If you have the focus and determination, you can run into CityPharma. And, I mean run. You could easily get lost in this discount cosmetics store for HOURS trying to find the fountain of youth. Navigating the crowded aisles of French potions, creams and serums can be quick though. Research one or two items ahead of time (Caudalie is always my go-to), get in and get out.
Shop the Post
11:45 – Lunch
There are tons of restaurants in this area, but I chose the quaint creperie Candelma. Get the 15 euro lunch special that includes a drink, a savory crepe and a sweet one for dessert!
12:30 – See a Few Sights
How much you can see here will really depend on how time you have and your priorities. Place Dauphine, the Notre Dame Cathedral and Shakespeare & Co are all within a 10 minute walk. If you’ve never been to Paris before and haven’t seen the Eiffel Tower, you can cross the Pont Neuf here and see the top of it from the bridge.
1:30 – Say, “Au revoir” to your layover in Paris
I almost always take public transportation, but since we had so little time we opted for an Uber to the airport. An Uber actually ended up being only a little more expensive. It’s about 12 euro per person to get to the airport, and the Uber was only 35 euro. Alternatively, you could also use the Saint-Michel metro/RER station to get to the airport.
We had two carry ons and my dog, Alfie. So, while it wasn’t ideal to do this itinerary with luggage, it is 100% doable. If you are doing a round trip from the airport, be sure to research storage if you’re luggage isn’t being held.
Find it all marked on the map below: