The City of Light, The City of Love, La Dame de Fer (The Iron Lady)… France’s enticing capital city has earned itself many nicknames, but whatever you call it, you can’t deny that Paris is a charmer.
And for that reason, it’s a city that so many of us dream of visiting. But can Paris be done in a day? It might seem impossible, but our 1 day itinerary for Paris will help you chart your course for the perfect 24 hours in this enchanting city.
Is one day in Paris enough?
Paris takes the crown as the world’s most powerful city destination with a Travel & Tourism sector worth almost $36BN USD in 2022, in terms of direct GDP contribution to the city.
France’s sprawling and cosmopolitan capital is a world renowned hub for cuisine, history, and the arts, so much so that it was ranked the world’s most powerful tourism destination by the World Travel & Tourism Council in 2023.
Home to so many iconic landmarks—from the Eiffel Tower, to the Louvre, to the Arc de Triomphe, and Versailles (just outside of the city, technically)—and streets that are bursting with enough bistros and cafes to keep your palette curious for months. With all there is to do and see in Paris, could one day in Paris possibly be enough?
Ideally—and honestly—no. In a perfect world, you’d dedicate at least a few days to seeing both Paris and the surrounding areas such as Versailles and Champagne. But if you only have a day in Paris, fear not, because we’ve put together a one day in Paris itinerary that makes it possible to see this city in 24 hours or less.
To achieve your perfect day in Paris, you’ll want to establish base camp in a neighborhood that’s both appealing and centrally located.
So if you’re wondering where to stay for one day in Paris, here’s a list of the best quartiers to call your home for a day: Le Marais, Montmartre, Les Halles, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Champs-Élysées, and South Pigalle.
You’ll also want to visit at a time when the weather and ambiance of the city suits you. April through October are probably best; the winter can get quite cold in Paris, but Christmastime is charming, especially if you’re interested in Christmas markets. In that case, be sure to visit the Champs-Elysées Christmas market, a sprawling and famous market in the heart of Paris.
With timing and accommodation sorted, it’s time to set off on your 1 day in Paris. No need to take any taxis, because this one day in Paris walking itinerary is ideal for budget travelers, designed with walking and public transportation in mind. Now, let’s jump into our recommendations for things to do in Paris in a day.
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Overview Of 1 Day In Paris Itinerary
- Parisian breakfast
- Eiffel Tower
- Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées
- Palais Garnier
- Jardins de Tuileries
- Musee du Louvre
- Le Marais
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- Dinner in the Latin Quarter
- Parisian nightlife
1 Day in Paris
Let us kick off your 1 day in Paris itinerary with a classic French breakfast to fuel you up for the day ahead. French breakfasts are typically a well rounded assortment of meat, cheese, bread, fruit, eggs, coffee, and juice.
It’s not difficult to find a cafe or bistro that serves breakfast; just look for signs out front that say “dejeuner” or “petit dejeuner”, usually with a price next to it. Chances are, your hotel probably offers a breakfast package for a few euros as well.
Depending on which neighborhood you’ve opted to reside in, the following breakfast options are always a solid choice:
- Cafe Marlette (Montmartre)
- Café des Deux Moulins (Montmartre)
- Jozi Cafe (Latin Quarter)
- Zia (Eiffel Tower)
After indulging in breakfast the Parisian way, it’s time to head to our first stop of your 1 day in Paris itinerary: The Eiffel Tower. A landmark so recognizable, so indicative of both Paris and French culture generally, it really needs no explanation.
For so many people, seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time in person is a surreal experience. You might even well up with tears a little bit as you stand face-to-face with this iconic and emblematic symbol of the City of LIght.
Or… all romance aside, you honestly might be a bit bothered by the crowds of tourists and vendors at the base of the tower, and that’s okay, too–it can get really crowded here.
So to snap the absolute best photos of the Eiffel Tower and escape the crowds, we recommend two vantage points nearby: the Champ de Mars, an expansive green space that flanks the tower on its southeast side; and the Place du Trocadero, an elevated plaza across the River Seine offering unobstructed Eiffel Tower views.
Here are a few pro tips when visiting the Eiffel Tower, an absolute must when visiting Paris for the day. First, if you have the time, consider lounging along the Champ de Mars with a picnic; you can grab provisions from the Franprix supermarket located just outside the base of the tower.
Next, for even more unforgettable Eiffel Tower views, consider coming back at night when the illuminated tower glows golden against the backdrop of the night sky.
Try to time your evening visit so you’re there on the hour mark to catch the hourly twinkling night show. Last on our list of pro tips is to consider signing up for a champagne toast at the top of the tower.
Yes, it’s touristy, but the experience of ascending the Eiffel Tower via elevator and ogling down at Paris below with champagne in hand is worth the price tag.
How to get here: Transportation to the Eiffel Tower depends on where you started your day. By public transit, there are several metro stations located conveniently nearby: École Militaire (line 8), La Motte – Picquet Grenelle (lines 6, 8, 10), and Trocadéro (lines 6, 8).
Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées
After the Eiffel Tower, we head to another emblematic Parisian attraction, the Arc de Triomphe. Built to commemorate Napoleon’s military victories around the world, the Arc de Triomphe (“Triumph Arch”) has been featured in movies and pop culture for decades and is often imitated around the world.
Towering over a busy roadway that gives way to the high end shopping street Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe is a must while in Paris for the day, especially since a visit there is quick and convenient.
With the imposing Arc in your rear view mirror, take a stroll down the famed Champs-Élysées and take in the grandeur of designer shops and fine restaurants. Keep strolling until you reach the Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau metro station, and from here, we’ll head to our next stop.
How to get here: By public transit, take the line 6 metro from the Trocadéro station to the Kléber station, and from there, the Arc de Triomphe is a short walk. Alternatively, the Arc de Triomphe is roughly a 30 minute walk from Trocadéro.
Step off the metro and into Montmartre, a cozy, hilly, cobblestone lined quartier that exudes the Paris of old—the Paris of artists, intellectuals, flagrants, and bohemians.
This is the Paris of Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso, and the Paris where F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway would steal away to find inspiration for their writing.
Montmartre is home to the fabled Moulin Rouge, which was once a dazzling cabaret with extravagant nightly entertainment and parties, characterized by its unmistakable windmill facade.
Today, Montmartre’s history as a hotbed for intellectuals and bohemians persists, to some extent, at least. Still one of the most popular districts for the arts and entertainment, the Montmartre of today is trendy, clean, safe, and frequented by both tourists and locals alike.
There’s much to see and do among the winding streets of Montmartre, but because time is of the essence on your one day in Paris, we’re here to help you narrow it down. With limited time, The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre, Place du Tertre, and The Moulin Rouge are your must-see sights while on a quick day trip to Montmartre.
If time permits, spend an hour or so wandering the streets of this fascinating neighborhood without an agenda—you won’t regret it.
At this point, you’ve done a decent amount of sightseeing and walking, so let’s break for lunch. Breizh Cafe’s Montmartre location is a reliable spot for sweet and savory crepes; Crêperie Brocéliande, Bouillon Pigalle, and La Marmite are also great options.
After lunch, let’s depart the cozy village vibes of Montmartre and return to the grandeur of Paris proper, where the Palau’s Garnier is your next stop. This ornate opera house was once the scene of grand entertainment and parties.
Today, the opera house no longer plays host to Paris’ aristocracy, but today it operates as an opera house for the masses as well as a museum during the day.
Time permitting, you may opt to buy a ticket and take a walk around this impressive, gold adorned building that houses so much history.
Jardins de Tuileries
A pleasant walk away from the Palais Garnier are the Jardins de Tuileries, a sprawling urban park on the banks of the Seine. Once part of the Tuileries Palace and reserved for use by the public family, these expansive gardens are now a public oasis in the heart of Paris.
The Tuileries Gardens are home to the popular Musée de l’Orangerie, several outdoor restaurants and cafés, and ponds and water fountains where you can sprawl out and relax.
How to get here: The best way to get here is to walk. From the Palais Garnier, walk south along the Rue de la Paix for about 15 minutes until you reach the gardens. You can’t miss them.
Musee du Louvre
Paris is home to many impressive museums, but the Louvre is arguably the most renowned of them all. The Louvre has over 35,000 exhibits and would take several hours to walk through without ever stopping, or 65 days if you stopped to see everything.
It’s a behemoth of a museum—art lovers will say a comprehensive visit warrants multiple days—but its most famous exhibit by far is the Mona Lisa.
Fair warning: A visit to the Louvre isn’t quick, and it isn’t super cheap (€15 – €17 euros), so you’ll want to think carefully about whether or not going inside makes sense while in Paris for just one day. A lot of people tend to take a tour so ensure they get to see the main highlights of the museum.
If time and budget don’t permit, the Louvre’s outer facade is a work of art in its own right. The famed glass pyramid—designed by I. M. Pei. to serve as a reminder of the vast Egyptian exhibits in the museum—is a favorite photo spot among tourists.
You, too, should try to take the token Louvre pyramid photo, when you pose at such an angle that it gives the illusion you’re touching the tip of the pyramid with one finger.
How to get here: The best way to get to the Louvre is to walk. The museum is located at the east side of the Gardens of Tuileries, so getting here is a quick and easy walk in the park (literally).
After snapping a signature Louvre photo, let’s head to Le Marais, one of central Paris’ most desirable neighborhoods for both locals and tourists alike.
Formerly home to Paris’ Jewish quarter, the Le Marais of today is an upscale, trendy quarter where you can still find authentic French Jewish boulangeries and patisseries to this day.
Be sure to stop by Sacha Finkelsztajn – La Boutique Jaune or Korcarz for traditional French Jewish treats. Take your snacks on the go, and pop in and out of the trendy shops that characterize modern Le Marais.
How to get here: From the Louvre, Le Marais is approximately a 20 minute walk, and it’s quite pleasant. For a slightly shorter trip, take the line 1 metro from the Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre stop to the Hôtel de Ville stop, and from there, you’ll find yourself in Le Marais in just a few minutes.
Notre Dame Cathedral
On an island in the middle of the Seine, known as the Île de la Cité, is the world famous Notre Dame Cathedral. The cathedral itself is deeply rooted in the history of Paris.
It’s the setting for Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame; it was widely contested during the French Revolution and both World Wars; and it is the most visited monument in all of Paris.
While the cathedral is undoubtedly a popular pilgrimage site for Catholics, its impressive architecture and fascinating history make it a worthwhile stop for any and all visitors to Paris.
How to get here: Walking is best. From Le Marais, the cathedral is a pleasant 15 minute walk away. Simply walk south towards the Île de la Cité and cross the Seine at the Pont au Change bridge.
Dinner in the Latin Quarter
With your visit to France’s flagship cathedral complete, the sightseeing portion of our itinerary comes to a close, and it’s time to embark on a classic Parisian night out.
To kick off your night in Paris, we head just south of the Notre Dame Cathedral and across the River Seine to the Latin Quarter, a lively student hub known for its affordable food and party scene.
The Latin Quarter is teeming with budget friendly bistros and bars, so it won’t be hard to find an authentic place to eat or imbibe here. Some of our favorites include Le Coup de Torchon, Au Petit Bistrot, and Bistrot L’Estrapade, but there are plenty of options in the neighborhood.
How to get here: From the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Latin Quarter is an easy walk across the Seine. Simply cross the St. Michael’s Bridge, and you’ll find yourself in the heart of the quarter.
Once properly refueled from your bistro dinner, why not indulge in some classic Parisian nightlife? Since you’re already in the Latin Quarter, that’s a great spot to stick around and grab a few drinks.
Head over to the Fontaine Place De La Contrescarpe, a lively square with a fountain in the middle, surrounded by several bars and cafés.
For less of a student focused vibe, opt for La Nouvelle Seine, a bar on a boat in the Seine River that hosts nightly entertainment. Alternatively, for the ultimate tourist experience, opt for a burlesque show at the famed Moulin Rouge.
And that’s a wrap! We hope this itinerary helped you achieve the perfect day in Paris, and that you felt like 1 day in Paris was enough to get your feet wet with all that this amazing city has to offer.
Recommended tours in Paris for 1 day
- Paris Eiffel Tower Guided Climb Tour by Stairs
- Louvre Museum Paris Exclusive Guided Tour With Reserved Entry
- Paris Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours
- Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Lunch & Sightseeing Cruise
- Montmartre Hill Sweet & Savory French Gourmet Food & Wine Tasting Tour
- Paris City Sightseeing Half Day Segway Guided Tour
- Montmartre Walking Tour: Paris’ Best Art, Culture and Food
- Louvre Museum Guided Tour (Reserved Entry Included!) – Semi-Private 8ppl Max
- Skip-the-Line: Paris Catacombs Tour with VIP Access to Restricted Areas
- See 30+ Top Paris Sights with a Fun Guide (Walking & Metro Tour)
- Tuktuk in Paris © Private City Tour with Pick Up
- Paris Local Districts and Stories Off the Beaten Track Guided Bike Tour
- Paris by Night City of Lights Sightseeing Guided Bike Tour
- Le Marais Paris The Original District Food and Wine Tasting Tour
FAQ for 1 day in Paris?
What can I do in one day in Paris?
Wondering if is it worth going to Paris for a day? One day in Paris can have a variety of things to do! Whether you’re interested in taking a stroll along the Seine, visiting the iconic Eiffel Tower, seeing some of the incredible artwork at the Louvre, or dining at one of the city’s renowned restaurants, there is something for everyone.
What is the best way to get around Paris?
The best way to get around Paris is by taking public transportation! There are an extensive number of metro stations and bus routes available across the city that will get you to your destination quickly and easily. You can also rent bicycles or take a taxi if needed.
Are there any interesting attractions nearby?
If you have some extra time while visiting Paris, there are plenty of attractions that are worth checking out! The Palace of Versailles is only 30 minutes away from the city centre and offers stunning gardens and royal residences. DisneyLand Paris is also nearby and provides hours of entertainment for families with children.
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