PARIS IN A DAY: A ONE DAY PARIS BEST ITINERARY
We love Paris, it’s one of our favourite cities in Europe. And, ideally, we’d love for you to visit it for as long as possible! Still, we know that’s not always possible, and you might only have a short amount of time to see the city. The good news is that whilst having a few days to explore Paris is wonderful, it’s also possible to see many of the highlights of Paris in a day. And in this post, that’s just what we’re going to help you do.
You May Also Want To Read: HOW TO SPEND 2 DAYS IN PARIS: THE PERFECT PARIS ITINERARY
We’ve put together this post to help you get the most out of your 1 day in Paris. It’s going to take you to the highlights of the city – everything you’re going to want to see, even on a 24 hour timetable.
As well as a step by step itinerary, we’re also going to share some tips for getting around efficiently, saving money in Paris, tips on where to stay if you’re here overnight, and the fastest way to get to and from the major Paris airports, if you’re arriving by plane. Let’s get started.
Paris in a Day: Itinerary
1. Notre Dame
One of the world’s most recognizable cathedrals, the twin towered Notre Dame and her flying buttresses have been impressing visitors to Paris for centuries, and it also opens relatively early, meaning that if you don’t mind an earlier start, this is a good starting point!
2. The Louvre
From Notre Dame to the Louvre Museum, our next stop for our day in Paris, it’s either an 18 minute walk, or around 13 minutes if you take Metro line 7.
You can buy these online individually, or you can take advantage of a Paris City Pass, a Paris Pass, or the Paris Museum Pass, all of which include skip the line access to the Louvre as well as a number of other attractions.
From culture to consumerism! The Champs-Élysées is the most famous shopping street to Paris, particularly for luxury items. It’s over a mile long and is home to everything from car brands to clothing stores to French macaroon shops.
From the Louvre we’d suggest you take the metro to the Champs-Élysées stop. Metro Line 1 runs direct between the Louvre and the Champs-Élysées. Alternatively you can walk on a lovely stroll that will take you through the Tuileries Gardens, across the Place du Concord, and up the full length of the Champs-Élysées, but this walk will take around 45 minutes.
4. Arc de Triomphe
Today, the Arc de Triomphe stands alongside the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre as a must-visit location in Paris. You can admire it from the outside for free, but my suggestion would be to pay the entry fee and to go to the top. From here, you get stunning views across the city. Twelve roads radiate out from the arch, including the Champs-Élysées, and from the top you can see the majority of the highlights of Paris.
You can purchase tickets on site for access, although you may have to queue. You can also purchase a skip the line ticket online, and the Paris City Pass includes a 20% discount for this ticket (you need to book this in advance to get the discount).
5. Eiffel Tower
You can’t really avoid seeing the Eiffel Tower when you visit Paris, and a visit to this huge wrought iron tower is a definite must for your day in Paris!
Almost every time we visit Paris we visit the Eiffel Tower, and we are always awed by just how big it is. As a visitor, you can go nearly to the top – the very top observation platform is 276 metres above the ground, making it the highest publicaly accessible observation deck in Europe.
That said, if this is your first visit to Paris, we do recommend that you go up inside the tower. There are three floors that you can visit, and the first two levels even have restaurants. If it’s near a meal time, this is certainly a unique place to get a meal whilst you’re in Paris!
The Eiffel Tower is definitely one of the most popular attractions in Paris, and if you want to go up it, it’s very much worth planning a little in advance. The on-site ticket lines get very long, so you definitely want to book in advance.
Getting to the Eiffel Tower from the Louvre will involve either a half hour walk, a 20 minute metro ride (line 6), or a 15 minute bus ride.
6. Seine River Cruise
There are a wide variety of Seine Cruise options available, from shorter cruises of around an hour to ninety minutes, as well as longer cruises that feature a meal.
Our recommendation for a Eiffel Tower departure is a cruise with Bateaux Parisiens. You can save an extra 1 euro off your cruise ticket price for any trips departing from the Eiffel Tower by booking your ticket online here.
7. Tour Montparnasse
This is a wonderful spot for watching the sunset over the Paris, and experiencing the city turning into the “City of Light”, as all the street lights come on and the daylight fades through dusk into night. It’s also open late, so you can come up here relatively late into the evening to enjoy the view.
The Tour Montparnasse is next to Gare Montparnasse, from where you can get the bus to Orly Airport, or take the Metro / RER out to Charles De Gaulle.
There’s an entry fee for visiting, and you can either buy your tickets in person, or you can buy skip the line tickets in advance. Free skip the line entry is included for holders of the Paris City Pass and the Paris Pass.
Map for Spending A Day in Paris
Here’s a map of the attractions to give you an idea of how it all fits together. As you can see, the route forms a rough circle, and sticks to central Paris, making it easier to get around. You can also see this map here on Google Maps.
How to Get Around Paris
Paris is an easy city to get around. For much of this itinerary you will be able to travel by foot, and then you can use public transport for any slightly longer trips. The Metro network is easy to use, and there are also buses.
In terms of tickets, you can buy a single ticket which is valid on Zones 1 and 2 (this includes everywhere on our itinerary) for €1.90, and with this you can travel on either the bus, metro or RER (suburban railway). A better deal though is to buy a pack of ten tickets, known as a Carnet. This currently costs €16.
It’s also possible to buy a ticket that is valid for a whole day. This is called a Paris Visite Pass, and costs €13.20. Depending on your situation, this may or may not be better value. For example, if there are two of you, we think a pack of ten tickets will cover the majority of your transport for a day in Paris, giving you five rides each.