Paris in a day
If you want to visit Paris in a day, there are several landmarks book that you just can’t miss! You probably already know which ones you absolutely want to see but I’m still giving you some suggestions to make sure you get to live the best of Paris!
To only have one day in Paris to see it all can be quite a challenge, but it is not impossible! At the end of the day, you will be exhausted! To visit Paris in a day requires a lot of walking and patience. But it is definitely worth it! The Eiffel Tower, the Arc of Triumph, the Champs Élysées, the Louvre Museum, the Orsay Museum, are just a few of all the best landmarks of Paris. If you properly organize your day, you will be able to see all of them as well as many others!
In the morning
At 8 AM
You are spending just one day in Paris, so you have to make the most of it! The best way to start your day is by eating a huge and delicious French breakfast! Parisians love to buy some bread – the baguette – fresh out of the oven, slice it and toast it. Then, they spread either jam or butter on it. To go with the toasts, Parisians love a hot drink, such as coffee or tea. They also love a glass of orange juice to enhance the flavour of bread. If you’re not really into toasts and bread, you will thoroughly enjoy our pastries! Our croissants and pains au chocolat are to die for and are an excellent alternative to the baguette!
You will find plenty of bakeries and pastry shops all around Paris for you to get the best pains au chocolat and croissants for your breakfast! I think you will love reading this article about the French breakfast. Then if you want to know where to find some of the best places to buy your baguette and your pastries, check this article. Also, don’t hesitate to join our food tour, if you want to try the traditional French breakfast specialties in the company of a local who will share you all the best tips and informations! Note that Discover Walks also offers a vegetarian and gluten-free food tour!
And if you want to sit and people-watching while eating your typical French breakfast, you can go to Rue Cler. It’s very close to the Eiffel Tower, our first stop of the day! The Rue Cler is one of the most authentic market street in Paris. There are many Parisian cafés, tiny local shops and the fact that it is a car-free pedestrian area makes it even more special!
At 9 AM
Our first stop of the day is the Eiffel Tower! Because I’m pretty sure that, for you, coming to Paris without being face to face with the Eiffel Tower would be unthinkable! To see the Eiffel Tower has been in your bucket list forever and now is the time to make it happen. You don’t want to miss this chance and it’s quite understandable!
So, the Eiffel Tower has to be the first landmark you see! It’s the most iconic monument of Paris, so you really have to get there early in the morning to avoid the crowd! The monument opens at 9.30 PM but, to be honest, if you want to see the most of Paris in a day, you either should have your pre-booked tickets to the Eiffel Tower or, use the stairs to climb up to the first floor, otherwise it should take quite some time. I stronly recommend you to read this article if you need further information about the Eiffel Tower and want to make sure you enjoy it as much as possible.
The Eiffel Tower was built in 1888 by architect Gustave Eiffel and stands since the Paris World Exhibition in 1889. Once you will be face to face with the most iconic monument of Paris, you will be impressed by its size and greatness, it even might bring tears to your eyes.
At 10 AM
After seeing the impressive Eiffel Tower, I suggest you to head towards the Place de la Concorde. If you take public transports, you will get there in fifteen minutes. You have to take the line C of the RER, which is Paris high speed train service, from the Champs de Mars – Tour Eiffel station to the Invalides station. On foot, you will spend about thirty minutes to get there. You will get to see the Invalides on your way to the Place de la Concorde. The Invalides is a great monument. It used to be an hospital and a retirement home for the war veterans but it now hosts many museums and monuments related to the French military history. Within it, you will also find some tombs of important figures that marked French military history, such as Napoleon Bonaparte!
Then, head to the Place de la Concorde, the Concorde Square. It is one of the main squares of Paris’ Right Bank. It is particularly distinguishable by the ancient Egyptian obelisk that stands in its centre. It is on this square that you will see the historical axis of Paris. Some of the Parisian landmarks are perfectly aligned. You should also know that it was on this square that King Louis XVI was executed during the French revolution in 1793!
Then, you can cross the Jardin des Tuileries to get to the Musée du Louvre, the Louvre Museum. The Jardin des Tuileries is actually the oldest garden of Paris. It is located between the Louvre Museum and the Concorde Square. Its construction was ordered by Catherine de Médicis, a French queen. The Jardin des Tuileries got its name from the tile factories that stood there in the past. The way the garden looks now is known as “jardin à la française“, it is based on symmetry, order and long perspectives! The garden was designed by André Le Nôtre, a landscape architect. He’s also the man who designed the garden of the palace of Versailles!
At 11 AM
To visit Paris in a day is quite a challenge, but you most definitely have to visit the Louvre Museum! It is the most famous museum and it is also one of the biggest museums in the world! It has so many different historical pieces of art. Whenever one comes to Paris, going to the Louvre Museum is a must! There’s always one or two masterpieces we cannot afford to miss! For instance, if the Mona Lisa is one of your priorities, you will enjoy this article.
You can read this article. It will give you some tips about the best way to visit the museum. But in a few words, you should know that you definitely have to avoid the Pyramid entrance to get inside the Louvre Museum. The waiting line by this entrance lasts forever! Trying going in by the entrance of Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre metro station (on line 1), or the one at the 99, Rivoli Street. Also, buying your tickets in advance is a great idea! And if you want to save even more time, take a look at the museum map before coming in. You will go exactly where to head for! You can check the map on the museum website.
After your visit to the Louvre Museum and all this walking, you will be starving and you will probably feel a little tired. So, it will be time for you to have lunch! Head for the Ile de la Cité, the City Island. It is the heart of Paris! You can book a free (tip only) walking tour in Notre-Dame and the heart of Paris here!
In the area around the Notre Dame, you have many small places that are very nice to visit, and mostly unknown from the tourists. Located at 24, rue Chanoinesse, there is one of the oldest restaurants established in 1594 named “Au Vieux Paris“. Located at 4 rue de la Colombe, I recommend you “La Reserve de Quasimodo“. The atmosphere is very pleasant, they both serve good food and good wine! For the vegans and vegetarians among you, I can suggest the restaurant “Le Grenier de Notre-Dame”, located at 18, rue de la Bûcherie. The dishes are creative and tasty, the desserts are delicious! This restaurant is definitely a must-try!
In the afternoon
At 1 PM
After lunch, the Notre Dame Cathedral will be just around the corner. Have a look at the cathedral frontage. The main doorway in the centre represents the Last Judgment. All the details are so impressive. Also, don’t hesitate to enter the cathedral even if, at first glance, the queue is huge. It won’t actually take long, because the entrance is free! My favourite part of the inside of the cathedral are the stained-glasses! They are simply amazing! If you want to learn a lot more about the Notre Dame Cathedral but also about the area surrounding it, I strongly advise you to join our free (tip only) walking tour, at 1 pm.
At 2.30 PM
You can then go to the Latin Quarter. Parisian love this area, they spend hours taking walks in this neighborhood, enjoying each others company in cafés or in the Luxembourg garden.
The Latin Quarter is very popular and loved by its inhabitants. All the most fun but also the most intellectual parisians are found in this area. It is a very young area despite its years of existence. The most famous highlights are the Sorbonne University, the Pantheon, the Luxembourg garden! To visit the Latin Quarter really is a must if you want to understand the Parisian lifestyle! You should know that a free tip only walking tour of this area starts everyday at 2.30 pm by the horse statue in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral!
At 4 PM
Le Marais is a very fun district and it actually is the most convivial one in Paris! You get to see a lot of communities, such as the Jewish community, the Chinese community, and the LBGT community. Also, the architecture of Le Marais district is very different from what we are used to see in the other parts of Paris with the typical Haussmann buildings. The fact that it is so different, architecturally speaking, makes people think that they are in a Parisian hidden gem. From top quality fashion products to the most original vintage clothes, a true fashion lover has to shop in this area. All the fashion stores in Le Marais are excellent. All the Parisians, men and women, shop there. As you walk the area, try to pay attention, you will also find many street art works on the walls!
>> Here is my top 10 fashion stores in Le Marais, if you’re interested.
>> The “a walk in the Marais neighborhood” is a great article that will introduce you to some of the best places of the area.
>> Check our article about the best streets in Le Marais.
>> While walking the neighborhood, you will find many art pieces on the walls. Read our article about Paris street art.
The atmosphere of Le Marais is pretty unique and awesome! I’m sure you’ll love it!
At 5.30 PM
After visiting Le Marais, I’d suggest you to go to Montmartre. You can take the metro line 8 on the Saint-Sébastien – Froissart station to Madeleine-Tronchet station. On this station, you have to switch lines and take the line 12, go to Pigalle metro station. You will reach the bottom of the Montmartre hill.
Whenever one hears about Montmartre, they associate it with the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. But there’s so much more about Montmartre. Its narrow alleys, its windmills, its little details, its soul are some of the things that make Montmartre so unique. As you walk uphill to reach the top, you will find many little surprises along the way! I often hear people say Montmartre is one of the main reasons they want to come back to Paris! So, if you get to visit Paris in a day, make sure you come to Montmartre!
At 7 PM
You must be exhausted, but if you still have some time and energy, go to the Montparnasse Tower for the greatest Paris photo ever! As the sun sets and Paris lights are slowly getting lit, it will be a great opportunity to take the most amazing picture of the city without the ugly Montparnasse Tower in it!
The tower closes at 10.30 pm, so I’ll leave it up to you if you rather go there before or after dinner!
You’ve walked all day and now you just want to sit at a table, eat a huge plate and talk about all the magnificent things you’ve seen all day! So my suggestion is to go for a traditional French dish! The “steak-frites” is one of the most traditional French dishes. Plus, steak-frites is always a safe bet. But in Paris, it’s quite a big deal because we even have a restaurant that only serves this dish. At Relais de l’Entrecôte, located at 20 rue Saint-Benoît in the Saint-Germain neighborhood, you won’t be handed a menu. The waiter just needs to know how cooked you like your meat. Enjoy a delicious beef steak and the most delicious and the crispiest fries!
In Paris, you will also find many vegan restaurants. Some of my favorites are gathered in this article! Check which one is closest to your way back to the hotel!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my article about visiting Paris in a day! But, above all, I hope you’ll manage to see everything you want to in Paris! Your day will be pretty exhausting but I’m sure you will fall in love with our wonderful city and that you will want to come again! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information or some guidance about anything! See you soon in Paris!