One day in Paris may not seem like enough. After all this is “La Ville Lumiére”, the City of Lights. Home of such iconic sights as the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. How can you possibly see all that makes this city one of the most desirable destinations in the world in just one day?
Rest assured it is possible. And by following this itinerary you won’t feel as though you missed out on any of the landmarks you’ve heard about, read about, dreamed about. Here is our itinerary for Top Things to Do In Paris If You Only Have One Day.
Begin With Notre Dame
There’s no better pastime in Paris than strolling along the Seine. In fact the French have a word to describe the art of strolling idly while you take in the sights and activities around you: flâneur
Enjoy your flâneur along the Seine and you’ll see many of the top sights in Paris. Begin at Notre Dame Cathedral.
This celebrated church was built in 1345 and is regarded as one of the finest examples of Gothic cathedrals in France. On April 15, 2019 tragedy struck as a fire destroyed much of the historic structure. Restoration is ongoing and intense but the stunning cathedral, including the stained glass rose windows, recognized throughout the world, is likely going to be open to tourists in the next few years.
Bridge Over the Seine to The Louvre
From Notre Dame stroll across the Pont Neuf Bridge, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine River. Construction on the bridge began in 1578 and the structure, 781 feet long and 72 feet (22 meters) wide, was the widest bridge at the time. The Pont Neuf Bridge was the first paved stone bridge, designed to protect pedestrians from mud.
When you cross over to this beautiful bridge you’ll be close to the Louvre Museum. You will want a two hours minimum to tour the Louvre. It is the world's largest art museum and is home to the Mona Lisa, perhaps the most famous artwork in history-at least the most easily recognized. It is very easy to get lost in the most amazing collection of sculptures, paintings and decorative arts so be aware and plan your time well. But please don’t miss Mona Lisa’s beguiling smile.
Beautiful Public Gardens
Next to the Louvre, along the Seine, you’ll find the Tuileries Garden. Created by Catherine de Medici as the gardens for the Tuileries Palace, this popular green space was made a public park after the French Revolution. The gardens were divided into six alleys and planted with lawns, clusters of trees, magnificent flowers, kitchen gardens and, of course, vineyards. Two of Paris famed garden architects, Pascal Crebier and Louis Benech are working to restore some of the earlier features of the gardens.
Avenue of Dreams
From the gardens it’s a short stroll to the Champs Élysées. Regarded as one of the most beautiful and most famous shopping avenues in the world, the Champs Élysées connects the Place de la Concorde with the Arc de Triomphe. You’ll recognize luxury brand names of everything from cars to clothing, but possibly the real treasures are to be found in the macaroon shops. The view along the Champs Élysées is so iconically famous it’s somewhat surreal.
The Eiffel Tower
You can’t go to Paris and not see the sight synonymous with the city itself-The Eiffel Tower. You’ll need to take the metro from the Arc de Triomphe. There’s no need to climb the Eiffel Tower to enjoy it. The best views can be had from the Champ de Mars Gardens or from the Trocadero across the Seine. Your best view is from the Trocadero Gardens and you can enjoy a crepe from a nearby vendor.
The Perfect Ending to A Perfect Day
You’ve done a lot of walking today so why not end your one day in Paris by treating yourself to a Seine River Cruise. You can board a cruise adjacent to the Eiffel Tower and you’ll see many of the landmarks of Paris illuminated in the twilight. Enjoy a classic French dinner and a glass of champagne as you meander along the famous Seine.
Although the best way to see Paris and soak in all you can is through le flâneur it does involve a fair amount of walking. You always have the option of metro rides should you tire or run short on time. But, please, by all means take the opportunity to see Paris in a day! You can do it and c’est merveilleux!
Here is a map to help you Navigate Paris in a day.