Ultimate One Day in Paris Itinerary - How to See Paris in a Day
Paris has always been one of our favorite cities in the world. From the first time we visited in 1999 to our most recent visit, Paris holds a special
Paris has always been one of our favorite cities in the world. From the first time we visited in 1999 to our most recent visit, Paris holds a special place in our hearts. For most people, just the thought of this enchanting destination makes their heart race. The mere mention of its name conjures up images of romantic walks along the Seine, the glittering Eiffel Tower, and the exquisite taste of a warm croissant.
But what if you only have one day to spend in the City of Lights? Don’t fret, because we’ve got you covered! In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through an unforgettable “one day in Paris itinerary” filled with elegance, eloquence, and plenty of those significant Paris attractions. From the awe-inspiring architecture of Notre Dame to the artistic treasures of the Louvre, we’ve meticulously crafted this itinerary to give you a taste of the best that Paris has to offer, all within a single, unforgettable day.
How To Have The Perfect One Day in Paris
Is it really possible to experience the magic of Paris in just one day? Absolutely! We know because did this exact Paris itinerary on our last visit. With some planning and a little bit of determination, you can make the most of your precious time in the French capital. Although a whirlwind trip, you can expect a rough cost of around 215 Euro per person for your one-day adventure.
As you start your Parisian adventure, remember to include must-see attractions like Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. Always remember that good planning is the key to making the most of your day in Paris. Now, let’s start with our Paris one-day itinerary and prepare to fall in love with this captivating city. If you do have more time in Paris, make sure to check out our comprehensive 3 Days in Paris: The Best Paris Itinerary for Your First Visit.
Planning Your One Day in Paris Itinerary
Let’s face it, it would take more than a day to see all the sights Paris offers. With numerous attractions, planning your one-day in Paris itinerary can feel overwhelming. Here, we’ll share some useful tips for optimizing your time in the city and tailoring your itinerary to your preferences. Whether you’re an art lover, a history buff, or simply want to soak in the city’s atmosphere, we’ve got something for everyone.
From using efficient transportation like the metro and RER trains to booking skip-the-line tickets for popular attractions, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your day in Paris. And don’t forget about the importance of strategic planning.
We have prioritized must-see sights when we laid out this itinerary. While doing so, we made sure to include some lesser-known gems in Paris too. By following these tips, you’ll be able to maximize your time in Paris and create lasting memories.
Essential Tips for Maximizing Your Time
How do you optimize your time in Paris? It’s straightforward: start your day early, utilize public transportation, and secure those skip-the-line tickets. By getting up and going early, you’ll have more time to take in the amazing Parisian cafes, shops, and sights, and you might even be able to fit in one more attraction or museum.
Make your travel around the city a breeze by utilizing the Paris Visit Travel Pass. This pass offers unlimited travel within designated zones, allowing you to explore the city and visit multiple attractions without having to buy individual tickets for each journey. And when it comes to visiting popular attractions, save time and avoid long queues by booking skip-the-line tickets in advance. Trust us, your future self will thank you!
Customizing Your Itinerary
Tailoring the itinerary to your preferences is one of the main factors for a successful one-day Paris trip. Are you a fan of art? Make sure to include a visit to the Louvre, or consider exploring the charming streets of the Latin Quarter. History buff? Don’t miss the French Revolution landmarks or The Conciergerie on Île de la Cité.
For those who want to experience the true Parisian atmosphere, consider adding a leisurely stroll along the Seine River or a visit to the picturesque Montmartre neighborhood to your itinerary. Whatever your interests, with a bit of planning and flexibility, you can create a personalized Parisian experience that you’ll cherish for years to come.
Morning: Île de la Cité and the Seine River
Start your day at Île de la Cité, the historical center of Paris, and appreciate the beauty of the Seine River. Your morning will be filled with visits to iconic landmarks like Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, and the Conciergerie.
Subsequently, unwind and rejuvenate in the scenic Luxembourg Gardens before having a delightful lunch in the enchanting Saint Germain neighborhood.
Dawn at Notre Dame
No visit to Paris would be complete without a visit to the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral. Even though it suffered a devastating fire in 2019, the cathedral continues to stand as a shining symbol of Paris’ resilience and is scheduled to reopen in 2024. It’s a must-see attraction on your one-day Paris itinerary.
Take a moment to admire the intricate architecture and imagine the rich history that unfolded within its walls. And while you can’t currently step inside due to ongoing restoration work, the exterior alone is worth the visit.
Good news for those planning future trips – the Notre Dame Cathedral is scheduled to reopen to the public on December 8, 2024. This date, chosen with great symbolic significance, aligns with the city’s goal to restore the cathedral in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. So, if you’re planning your visit around that time, you’ll have the privilege of stepping inside this iconic monument, witnessing its grandeur first-hand, and becoming a part of its rich history.
The Stained Glass Splendor of Sainte-Chapelle
Next up on our whirlwind tour of Paris, we’re heading to the absolutely jaw-dropping Sainte-Chapelle. This place is like stepping into a fairytale; I kid you not. It’s a Gothic architectural gem that’s positively brimming with some of the most stunning stained glass windows you’ve ever seen. Honestly, you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a kaleidoscope.
Now, a little insider tip for you – try to get there early in the morning, like ten to fifteen minutes before they throw open the doors. Why, you ask? Well, it’s simple – you’ll beat the crowds and have the place more or less to yourself. Trust me, there’s nothing like having the time and space to fully soak in the beauty of this magnificent chapel without being jostled by other tourists. It’s a serene and utterly magical experience you won’t want to miss. We do suggest you book your tickets in advance so you can make the best use of your time.
Conciergerie: A Glimpse into French History
Extend your morning with a jaunt over to the Conciergerie, a piece of living history that’s a must-see. Now, this place isn’t just any old landmark. It’s got a story that’s as fascinating as its architecture. It started out as a royal palace and then turned into a prison during the French Revolution. Talk about a career change, right?
While you’re there, you’ll uncover the tales of the folks who were held captive within its walls. One of the big names? Marie Antoinette. Just imagine walking the same halls as the infamous queen. It’s like stepping back in time.
The building is a mix of medieval, Gothic, and French architectural styles, making it a real feast for the eyes. Every corner you turn, every stone you touch, it’s all part of the rich tapestry of French history. So take your time, soak it all in, and let the stories of the Conciergerie whisk you away on an unforgettable journey. Book your tickets in advance here.
Luxuriate in Luxembourg Gardens
After soaking in the rich history of Île de la Cité, it’s time to switch gears and head over to the Luxembourg Gardens. Just a 15-minute walk across the Pont Saint-Michel brings you to this tranquil oasis right smack in the middle of Paris, making the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
Tip: If you are a book lover, you can take a 5-minute detour and visit the Shakespeare and Company Book Store on the Left Bank. It has a wonderful history and you can grab a quick coffee at the cafe next door, or at Odette around the corner, before continuing your journey.
You know, one of our favorite things to do here is to take a leisurely stroll. I mean, with all the beautifully manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and majestic trees, it’s like stepping into a living postcard. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a puppet show at the Théâtre des Marionnettes – it’s a hit with the kids and the young at heart.
But you know what? Sometimes, there’s nothing better than spreading out a blanket and having a picnic right there on the grass. Just imagine, munching on some cheese and baguette, sipping a coffee, and watching the world go by – it’s pure bliss. It’s one of our favorite things to do in Paris.
And then, of course, there are the fountains. Oh, the fountains! They’re the perfect spot to kick back, relax, and maybe even do a bit of people-watching. You’ll see locals reading, artists sketching, and tourists like us soaking up the atmosphere. It’s truly a slice of Parisian life. Luxembourg Gardens are a treasured gem in the heart of the city, and they’re definitely worth a visit on your one day in Paris.
Lunch At a Cafe in Saint Germain
As your morning escapades draw to a close, it’s time to reward yourself with a scrumptious lunch at one of the many charming cafes nestled in the heart of Saint Germain. This quintessential Parisian neighborhood is brimming with culinary delights that will make your taste buds dance with joy.
One of my personal favorites is Café de Flore, an iconic spot known for its superb French cuisine. Here, you can indulge in a classic Croque Monsieur or a delectable Quiche Lorraine, all while soaking in the café’s timeless charm. Trust me, the ambiance alone is worth the visit.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more contemporary, I’d recommend giving Semilla a try. This modern bistro offers an array of innovative dishes that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. The duck breast with honey and lavender is a real treat, and their wine selection is second to none.
With your appetite satisfied and your energy restored, you’ll be ready to embark on an afternoon filled with art, iconic landmarks, and the undeniable allure of Paris during your day trip.
Artistic Afternoon: Art And Icons
Your afternoon in Paris is set aside for art and notable landmarks. Begin with a visit to the world-renowned Louvre Museum, home to masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
Next, take in the stunning views from Trocadéro Gardens before ascending the Eiffel Tower for an unforgettable experience. As the sun begins to set, prepare to be captivated by the twinkling lights of the City of Love.
It took us a couple of visits to make it to make it to the Louvre, but I suggest you don’t wait. Even if you are not an art lover, this place will leave you spellbound. It’s the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris. You can’t visit Paris and not step foot into this grand institution. It’s like going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum, or visiting New York and not seeing the Statue of Liberty.
Of course, this isn’t just any museum. It’s a treasure trove of thousands of works of art, each telling a story that spans centuries and civilizations. You’ll come face-to-face with the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, stand in awe of the majestic Venus de Milo, and lose yourself in countless other masterpieces.
But here’s a little tip for you – to save time make sure to get a skip-the-line ticket. The lines can get outrageously long, and you don’t want to waste your precious time in Paris standing in a queue.
And while you’re there, don’t forget to plan your route. The Louvre is massive, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So, decide beforehand which works you absolutely must see.
Quick Tip: Remember, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. We learned this the hard way on our third trip to Paris, so make sure you plan accordingly. The Louvre, with its vast collection and stunning architecture, is more than just a museum. It’s an experience, an adventure into the annals of art and civilization. And I promise you, it will be one of the highlights of your day in Paris.
After your art-filled adventure at the Louvre, your next stop is the Trocadéro Gardens. It is about a 50-minute stroll through some of the most beautiful scenes in Paris. As you exit the Louvre, head straight through the Jardins de Tuileries and past the Place De la Concorde before continuing along the Right Bank of the Seine and arriving at Trocadéro Gardens.
I remember the first time we set foot in these gardens, the stunning view of the Eiffel Tower simply blew us away. It really is one of the best vantage points in the city. The gardens themselves are a slice of tranquility in the heart of the city making it a perfect place to relax, catch your breath, and soak in the awe-inspiring sight of the iconic Eiffel Tower standing tall against the Parisian skyline.
As you wander through the beautifully landscaped gardens, you’ll come across charming fountains that add to the serene atmosphere. I recall spending a good chunk of time just sitting by one of these fountains, watching the water dance in the sunlight, with the Eiffel Tower in the backdrop – it was nothing short of magical.
And let’s not forget about the photo opportunities. With the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop, every photo you take here is bound to be postcard-worthy. So, make sure you have your camera ready to capture those picture-perfect moments.
Iconic Views: Ascend the Eiffel Tower
If you’re in Paris and don’t visit the Eiffel Tower, did you even really go to Paris? I mean, this towering beauty is the city’s most iconic landmark. It’s the postcard image of Paris that we all have in our minds. So, trust me when I say you just can’t miss it!
The three different levels of the Eiffel Tower each offer a unique view of the city. It’s a beautiful sight looking over the rooftops, the winding Seine, and the bustling streets. It’s like you’re seeing Paris through a whole new lens. It’s this bird’s eye view that lets you truly appreciate the city’s beauty, its charm, and its very essence.
And here’s a little tip from someone who’s been there and done that: consider booking a timed-entry ticket in advance. It’s a lifesaver. You’ll avoid the long queues and just waltz right in like you own the place. Plus, it secures your spot, so you don’t have to worry about missing out.
Evening Elegance: Seine River Cruise
As the day gradually gives way to the evening, it’s time for a classy, unforgettable Seine River cruise. It is something out of a storybook; you’re gliding smoothly along the serene waters, the glittering lights of the city reflecting off the surface, creating a magical, almost surreal atmosphere.
You’re taking in the stunning, illuminated landmarks – the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower – each one more breathtaking than the last. Plus, the city at night is a sight to behold, and seeing it from the river is an experience that’s nothing short of extraordinary.
There are a variety of cruise options available, so you can choose the perfect experience that suits your mood and budget. If you’re looking for a simple, laid-back sightseeing cruise, you’ve got it. But if you want to splurge a little, how about a luxurious dinner cruise complete with fine dining?
Whichever one you choose, it’s the perfect way to wrap up your day in Paris, a city that’s as enchanting as it is unforgettable.
Twilight at Place de la Concorde and Champs-Élysées
As night starts to take hold, retrace your steps back to the Place de la Concorde, the largest public square in Paris. It is impressive especially at twilight when the city lights start to sparkle. Trust me, this is where you want to be when the city transitions from day to night. You can practically feel the energy of Parisian life pulsating around you.
From the square, take a stroll along the world-famous Champs-Élysées, the runway of Paris, flaunting the city’s style and elegance. The avenue is lined with shops that could easily burn a hole in your pocket, but hey, you’re in Paris! Whether you’re window shopping or going on a splurge, it’s all part of the experience.
It’s not all about shopping on the Champs-Élysées. It is also home to some of Paris’ most iconic landmarks. So, keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready, you never know what you’ll stumble upon next.
As your day in Paris winds down, make your way to the nearby Champ de Mars. It’s one of my favorite spots in the city. There’s something incredibly peaceful about sitting in the park, watching the world go by, and just taking it all in. It’s the perfect ending to your one day in Paris.
Paris by Night: The Illuminated Arc de Triomphe
Observe the lit-up Arc de Triomphe at night, a genuinely enchanting sight that will leave you breathless. This iconic monument, which celebrates and pays tribute to those who fought and passed away for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, is an unforgettable experience lit up against the night sky.
Please take a moment to appreciate the intricate details of the arch and pay respects to the Unknown Soldier.
Culinary Conclusion: Dinner and Optional Cabaret
If you didn’t opt for a dinner cruise on the Seine, it’s time to indulge in some fine dining and trust me, Paris knows how to do food. From traditional French cuisine to inventive fusion dishes, this city is a foodie’s dream come true.
My personal favorite is ‘Le Comptoir du Relais‘. This charming bistro in the Saint-Germain neighborhood is always buzzing with locals and tourists alike. The menu changes daily, but you can always count on delicious, hearty dishes that will leave you craving more.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more upscale, ‘L’Ambroisie‘ in the Notre Dame area is a must-try. This Michelin three-star restaurant serves some of the most exquisite French cuisine you’ll ever taste. The setting is elegant, the service is top-notch, and the food is simply out of this world. Just be prepared to pay for it