/ / Paris In A Day: How to Spend One Day In Paris (+ Maps & Tips)

Paris In A Day: How to Spend One Day In Paris (+ Maps & Tips)

Traveling to France but you only have one day in Paris? This post will give you a detailed itinerary on how to see Paris in a day and get the most out of your short visit.

Paris is a fantastic city! It’s so beautiful that it would be a shame not to spend several days there!

But if you are just in Paris for 1 day, on a budget, have a stopover or for some other reason you can’t spend more time in the French capital, then this post will help you prepare the perfect visit to make the most out of your Parisian trip!

Poems about France

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In this Paris 1 day itinerary, there is something for everyone! From museums, historical monuments, shopping, nice strolls, French coffee, to French food! You will inevitably find satisfaction and see so much even if you’re just spending 24 hours in Paris.

To get the most out of your one day in Paris, you’ll need to wake up early, be able to fit as much as possible in the 24 hours, and be ready to walk since most of the Paris attractions are not far from each other.

But before we look at the things to see in Paris in a day, you’ll need where to stay, and here are my expert suggestions.

Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips

Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)  

Psst… Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more. If you’re considering travel insurance for your trip, check out World Nomads.

Where To Stay When Visiting Paris for a Day

Hôtel Eiffel Turenne in Paris

Budget Accommodation

Generator Hostel: If you’re traveling to Paris on budget, then the Generator hostel in the 10th. Arrondissement is the best choice for you. It offers many amenities and offers stunning views. Book your stay at Generator from here.

City Inn Paris: It is cheap and perfectly located. Book your stay at City Inn Paris from here.

Mid-range Accommodation

Hôtel Paris La Fayette: It has nice rooms and friendly staff. Book a room at this hotel from here.

Hôtel Eiffel Turenne: This is the best hotel if you want to stay near the Eiffel Tower on a mid-range budget. You can book a room at this hotel from here.

Shangri-La Paris is one of the Best Hotels with Eiffel Tower View in Paris

Luxury Accommodation

Shangri-La Hotel, Paris: This hotel commands luxury in every aspect and it also offers stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. You can book your stay at this hotel from here.

Hôtel Raphael: This is the perfect hotel if you want to stay near the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe without compromising on luxury. You can book a room at this hotel from here.

You can also check out other hotels in Paris with Eiffel Tower views or these Paris hotels near the Louvre if you want to stay near the famous museum. But if you prefer an apartment rental, check out my list of the best Airbnbs with Eiffel Tower views.

Psst… Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more. If you’re considering travel insurance for your trip, check out World Nomads.

How to spend one day in Paris: The perfect Paris one day itinerary

Heads up: This is quite a long and detailed itinerary! If you want a summary, I have one at the end of this guide but if you don’t want to plan any of this on your own, I have also included a summary itinerary with specific tours that will take you through all the highlights of Paris in a day. Now let’s dive in!

paris one day itinerary

Step 1: Enjoy A sunrise at the Trocadero

To make the most of your one day trip to Paris, leave your hotel before dawn! Put on your best walking shoes and head to the Trocadero for a memorable sunrise in front of Paris’ most emblematic monument!

To be more accurate, go to the esplanade of the Trocadero (Trocadero square). This gigantic balcony offers unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower and it is one of the best places to watch a sunrise in Paris. It is indeed the ideal place to enjoy the first lights of the day embracing the Iron Lady.

The terraces and gardens shape a gentle slope bordered by walnut trees and the century-old hazel trees offer a breathtaking view of the large basin of the Trocadero gardens.

Trocadéro Square is one of the best places to watch a sunrise in Paris

From here, you will get panoramic views of the Pont d’Iéna in the foreground, the Fountain of Warsaw, the Eiffel Tower, and the grand Champ-de-Mars, with a vast open-air garden at the foot of the tower in the background!

The place offers a lot of sitting areas, so I recommend preparing a picnic breakfast to make the most of the moment!

From the Palais de Chaillot square, the sun will rise on the left side of the tower, so if you move slightly to the right of the square you will be able to get the sun in the very middle of the tower’s heart!

The best part about visiting the Trocadero square at sunrise is that there will be few people, so you can take as many photos of the Iron lady as you wish as this is one of the best spots to take photos of the Eiffel Tower.

Step 2: Get an Upclose look at the Eiffel Tower From Champs de Mars

Geting an upclose look at the Eiffel Tower from Champs De Mars is one of the things to do in one day in Paris

Once you have admired the sunrise, go down the stairs, and cross Pont Iéna. This bridge, listed as a historical monument and decorated with four large statues of knights, is the first bridge built in tribute to Napoleon’s victory in Iéna in 1806.

A few more steps and you’ll finally be at the Eiffel Tower, the symbol of Paris. The Eiffel Tower was named after its brilliant architect Gustave Eiffel and it has dominated the Parisian landscape since 1889.

Its construction which took over a period of 2 years was a real challenge from an architectural point of view. While it was initially destined to remain for only about twenty years, its immense popular success saved it from destruction!

Unfortunately, recent public security measures against terrorist attacks now prevent people from walking freely under the tower without buying a ticket and going through security checks.

Since you only have one day in Paris, I advise you not to climb the tower because it is rather long, moreover if you left at dawn to watch the sunrise, you will probably have to wait for the opening time at 9:30 am.

However, if you feel compelled to wait and climb the tower, make sure that you buy this skip-the-line entry ticket to avoid the long queues.

But don’t worry! If you want to have a view of the rooftops of Paris, continue reading this 1 day in Paris itinerary and you will not be disappointed!

You can continue your walk, and take the small paths that cross the gardens of Champs de Mars, one of the largest parks in Paris.

Each corner of this large park offers a unique view of the Eiffel Tower. Walk up to the end of the garden to the “Wall for Peace” erected in March 2000, in front of the Military Academy.

Geting an upclose look at the Eiffel Tower from Champs De Mars is one of the things to do in one day in Paris

Once you reach the end of the park, turn right and go to the “La Motte-Picquet Grenelle” metro station, and head to Arc de Triomphe; the next stop of the day!

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit: 2 hours
Distance covered by foot: 2 kilometers
Price: Free of charge.

If you didn’t have breakfast during sunrise or if you want to take a little gourmet break before the next stage, I recommend the Kozy Paris (79 Avenue Bosquet) or Le Royale restaurant (212 Rue de Grenelle) which are both very close to the gardens of the Champs de Mars and ideal for breakfast.

Related post: Things to know before visiting the Eiffel Tower

Step 3: Climb The Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris

Once in the “La Motte Picquet Grenelle” station, jump into the subway to reach the “Charles De Gaulle-Etoile” station via line 6.

If you don’t know how to take the metro in Paris, don’t worry everything is explained in my previous post about visiting Paris for the first time.

Allow 15 minutes by metro to reach your destinations. The special feature of this route is to be mostly aerial!

Keep your camera in hand because the crossing of the Seine on the viaduct above the Bir-Hakeim bridge is particularly aesthetic and offers another point of view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine before going underground again.

Once you arrive, leave the station and be prepared to be astonished! You’ll be right in front of the majestic Arc de Triomphe“!

View of Paris from Arc de Triomphe
View of Paris from Arc de Triomphe

This vast French landmark, erected in honor of the soldiers who died in action during Napoleon’s wars commands respect and admiration.

Under the arch, a flame burns continuously honoring the tomb of an unidentified soldier. Many sculptures, bas-reliefs, and inscriptions can be admired from its square on the pedestals of the monuments.

This landmark witnesses popular events such as the arrival of the Tour de France cycling race every year or more dramatic historical events such as the remembrance of Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

This place of paramount importance for Parisians at both the historical and political levels is undoubtedly worth a visit.

Climbing the Arc De Triomphe is one of the things to do in Paris in one day
Climbing the Arc De Triomphe is one of the things to do in Paris in one day

Take the underpass to reach the colossus (do not cross the road that surrounds it as pedestrians are forbidden here and it is very risky. But rather take the underground!).

Access to the square is free, so let yourself be enchanted by the imposing stature of the building, read the markings, and admire the carvings on the walls.

You can purchase tickets on-site for access, although you may have to queue. But to avoid the queue, I advise you to purchase this skip-the-line ticket in advance.

Once you have your ticket in hand, start the climb! At the end of the 280 steps, you’ll finally reach the balcony. This view is simply exceptional and, in my opinion, the most beautiful view of Paris.

arc de Triomphe is one of the best places to visit in Paris

The name of this square, the Place de l’étoile (literally star square) takes on its full meaning as you admire the convergence of the 12 avenues that run through the capital.

From here, you’ll have a 360-degree view of Paris from the business district of La Défense, the Eiffel Tower, and the Montmartre hilltop to the Sacré Coeur!

The view on the avenues also offers a good overview of what can be the traffic in Paris. For the record, Place de l’Etoile is one of the most chaotic squares in Paris and many Parisians think that you are not a real driver until you have crossed it from end to end!

Of course, it is also the ideal place to admire “the most beautiful avenue in the world”, the Avenue des Champs Elysées! But to make sure you don’t miss anything, I suggest you go and have a look! It’s our next step.

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit: 1h 30
Distance covered on foot: Just the climb!
Price: Arc-de-Triomphe entrance ticket: 13€.

Step 4: Stroll The Champs Elysées

The mythical avenue of the capital, the Champs Elysées is one of the most beautiful streets in Paris.

Located between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde, a stroll along its immense sidewalks will allow you to discover luxury brands, the most prominent restaurants, palaces, prestigious places to go out (Lido, Queen, Theatres…) cafés, and other chic bistros.

It is logically one of the most crowded places in the city and ideally one of the places to visit in Paris in one day.

The avenue is 2.5kms long, so it will take you between 30 to 50 minutes to walk the avenue down according to your walking pace and of course not forgetting the many stop-overs in the different stores!

window shopping at Champs-Élysées is one of the fun things to do in Paris

This avenue is so important in the history of Paris that Bastille Day, the French national holiday, is officially celebrated here.

Going down the Champs Elysées to the Place de la Concorde is a guilty pleasure as tourists often forget its historical importance and devote themselves solely to shopping.

This is understandable because it is the temple of consumerism! All the biggest brands have their own shops and everything pushes you to go on a shopping spree!

If you are not too much of a window-shopper, or just simply on a budget, I still advise you to walk a few minutes down the avenue to have a glimpse of it and then get into the “George V” metro station on line 1, direction “Château De Vincennes” until the station “Champs Élysées Clemenceau“, our next stop.

Champs Elysées paris in a day tour

For those who wish to walk, simply start from the Arc de Triomphe and head towards Place de la Concorde.

Walk along the avenue until you see the “Jardins des Champs-Élysées” on your left and the “Grand Palais” on your right, then turn right to Avenue Winston Churchill to get to the next step!

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit: 1 hour on foot, 20 minutes by subway.
Distance covered on foot: 2 Km if you decide to walk the whole avenue, 500 meters if you take the metro.
Price: Free unless you succumb to the sirens of shopping!

Related post: Easy day trips from Paris by train

Step 5: Visit The Grand Palais, Alexander III Bridge, and the Hotel des Invalides.

Going down Churchill avenue towards Pont Alexandre III, you will find yourself in one of the most grandiose and impressive places in Paris.

On your right is the Grand Palais, on your left is his little sister Le Petit Palais, and on the banks of the Seine, the statue of Churchill faces the magnificent Pont Alexandre III with the massive Hotel des Invalides as a focal point.

The Grand Palais is an iconic monument in Paris that was built in 1900 for the World Fair. It is characterized by its large glass dome flanked by the French flag.

Dedicated to the glory of art, science, and refinement, the building itself is an architectural feat.

Visiting the Grand Palais is one of the things to do in Paris for a day.
Grand Palais

Recognizable by its immense nave 240 m wide (the largest in Europe) made of glass, steel, and iron, this unique building now houses a multitude of very diverse events from the most prestigious to the most unusual, art exhibitions, museums, and even a movie theater!

Take a walk around to appreciate its architectural grandeur, every nook and cranny is a treat for pictures! If you love art, a tour of one of the temporary exhibitions will delight you.

The exhibition themes are diverse and varied, so there is definitely something for everyone. Check the official website, and book your tickets online to avoid queues because they can be very long!

Once your visit is finished, head towards the River Seine to cross over the Pont Alexandre III. Paris has many bridges which are all beautiful but this one is by far my favorite because of its architecture and location.

Pont Alexandre III is one of the best photo spots in Paris
Pont Alexandre III

At its end lie four huge 17-meter high sculptures with winged horses representing art, science, commerce, and industry respectively.

This grandiloquent bridge named in honor of the renowned Russian Tsar Alexander III connects the 7th and 8th arrondissements. It is a message of peace and a symbol of harmony between Russia and France.

In addition to being stunning thanks to its antique sculptures and candelabra, the bridge offers a unique view over the Seine and the Eiffel Tower!

At the very end of the bridge stands the huge Hotel des Invalides. Don’t trust its name because this place is not a hotel at all!

Les Invalides things to see in Paris in a day.
Les Invalides

This huge complex of historic buildings is, in fact, a place dedicated to the military memory of France, housing a museum, a mausoleum, various monuments, and even a retirement home for former soldiers.

The name “Hotel des Invalides” was chosen because the building was initially built for all officers and soldiers maimed by the wars during the reign of Louis XIV in 1670.

If you are a military art enthusiast and the history of the various French wars, then this museum is for you. To have priority access to the museum, make sure you buy this online ticket from here beforehand.

For the others, I suggest you explore the surroundings. Then go back and cross the Seine again and move on to the next step of your visit!

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit: 30 Minutes. Allow at least 2 more hours if you visit the Grand Palais.
Distance covered by foot: 1.5 km
Price: between 15€ and 20€ depending on the Grand Palais exhibitions

Step 6: Explore The Seine river banks, Place de la Concorde, and the Tuileries Garden

Once you have crossed the bridge, turn right to follow the quays of the river Seine. This short walk along the banks will allow you to enjoy the quiet life of the French River in a calm environment and protected from road traffic.

This little walk under beautiful chestnut trees is called “Promenade du Cours de la Reine“.

Created under the command of Queen Mary de Medici during the 17th century, you can admire a number of equestrian statues including the one that honors Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America.

Continue your walk until the end of the alley to reach the Place de la Concorde which is the largest square in Paris with more than 8 hectares! Each side of the square is decorated with a statue representing the eight most important cities of France.

Place de la Concorde is one of the famous monuments in Paris
Fountain at Place de la Concorde

It is surrounded by two huge fountains and has in its center the famous Obelisk of Luxor imported from Egypt and over 3,300 years old! Can you imagine that! More than 20 meters high, it was offered to France by Egypt in 1831.

Go for a walk around the Obelisk and look at your feet! On the ground, you’ll see engraved Roman numerals arranged in a very precise way.

The shadow created by the obelisk can be used to give the time of the day making this place the largest sundial in the world!

The square is full of historical significance, formerly known as the revolution square. It is at this place that many people were beheaded during the French revolution, including King Louis XVI himself.

Jardin des Tuileries is one of the best parks to visit in Paris.
Jardin des Tuileries

The square is surrounded by architectural splendor. To the north, you will find the very unique Madeleine Chruch.

On the opposite side to the south of the square, you can admire (right after the bridge) the Palais Bourbon, an 18th-century building that has a major role in French politics as this is where members of parliament gather.

From here, continue your journey East to the fabulous Jardin des Tuileries. The Tuileries garden is one of the most beautiful Parisian gardens and also the oldest of all.

What was originally an Italian garden commissioned by Catherine de Médicis is today a place of relaxation and exoticism, but also a place of culture.

You will find several museums such as Le musée de l’Orangerie dedicated to modern art, le Jeu de Paume for contemporary art, and, a little further on, the Louvre Museum.

Arranged in a French-style garden and classified as a UNESCO Site, it is a real pleasure to stroll along its wide alleys under the shade of tall trees.

Like all good French gardens, the symmetry, the vanishing lines, and long perspectives make this place very aesthetic.

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is one of the most instagrammable places in Paris
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

For those who are hungry, read the following section for some restaurant suggestions. For others, continue to walk through the garden from west to east until you reach the small but adorable Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.

The triumphal arch, much smaller than the one in the Champs Elysée might seem to have fallen from the sky as it sits in the middle of nowhere.

Beyond its delicate character due to the pink marble and precious materials that compose its decoration, this unique location contributes to its charm. The last vestiges of the Palais des Tuileries now disappeared, it offers a gateway to our next stop, the Louvre Museum!

Related post: Romantic things to do in Paris

Step 7: Enjoy a meal on a Lunch Break

Croque Monsieur is one of the famous foods in Paris
Croque Monsieur — one of the famous foods in Paris

If you have followed this Paris in a day itinerary since the beginning, it should be past noon now and you’re probably starting to feel hungry.

There are so many good restaurants and bars in Paris that it can be difficult to make a choice! I have selected two of them for you in the vicinity of the Jardin des Tuileries.

The Happy Cafe (214 Rue de Rivoli)

This small creperie offers delicious homemade products and organic crepes to die for! It does not provide seating but rather take away meals only.

It’s not a big problem since it is only a stone’s throw away from the Tuileries garden. So I recommend you order a good crepe and have a seat in the garden!

The place is appreciated by the locals since it’s cheap, very practical, the staff is very friendly and the prices are attractive for such a touristic place.

Tuileries garden paris

Le restaurant de la Cordonnerie (20 rue Saint Roch)

If you wish to have lunch in a more traditional restaurant, this is the place for you. La Cordonnerie is one of the capital’s most popular restaurants thanks to its French charm.

The typical French and traditional dishes served there are hearty and delicious. The prices are favorable too and the owners, Yvette and Claude, are adorable!

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit: 30/40 Minutes.
Distance covered by foot: 2km
Price: Free, between 20 and 40€ for lunch.

Step 8: Visit The Louvre Museum

If you’re looking for what to do in Paris for one day, then visiting the Louvre Museum is one of them. It is not only the largest museum in France but also one of the most famous landmarks in Europe.

After passing through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, standing proudly in front of you are the famous glass Pyramids, inaugurated in 1989 which also serve as the main entrance to the Museum.

Originally built to be used as a fortress in the 12th century before becoming a Royal residence for the King and eventually abandoned, the Louvre Museum is today the largest art museum in Europe and on the planet, the most visited in the world, and probably one of the most beautiful!

It houses more than 35,000 works of art, paintings, and sculptures, including the world-famous Mona Lisa by Da Vinci and the Venus de Milo.

Louvre museum facts
Louvre museum

As you can guess, the museum is big, very big! Because of its vastness and richness, it is very easy to get lost and forget about time.

As you only have a day in Paris, I advise you not to take a ticket to visit it. It will be absolutely impossible for you to see everything and even if you make yourself a tailor-made route, it will be more like a race against the clock than a pleasant visit.

But don’t worry, because you’re still going to get a kick out of it. You are standing in the Napoleon courtyard where the immense glass pyramid stands.

It is made of 800 pieces of diamond-shaped glass weighing more than 95 tons, its modernity and audacity contrast with the classicism of the surrounding.

Mona Lisa Painting in the Louvre Museum
Mona Lisa Painting

Framed by four reflecting pools, it is perfectly aligned with the arches of the buildings facing it.

Walk around, have fun spotting perspective games from the “passages”, these corridors and arch threads that provide a perfect frame for your photos.

Walk along the pyramid and the Napoleon courtyard to enjoy the beauty of the area and then continue eastwards towards the smaller but equally interesting “Cour carré”. The enclosed courtyard is filled with amazing detail and great historical details.

From here you can admire the Lescot wing, the oldest remaining facade of the Louvre.

Louvre museum view

Continue to progress eastward to leave the museum premises through Rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, then take a right towards the quayside to reach the next stop!

Psst… If visiting the Louvre museum has been on your Paris bucket list forever and you can’t miss it even if you just have one day in Paris, then you can still visit it but since its very big, the shortest time you can spend there is 2 hours and you’d have seen just the bare minimum.

You can choose to spend the entire afternoon there and end your 1 day in Paris itinerary there. The best way to make the most of your visit is to purchase this skip-the-line ticket that comes with an audio guide to void wasting time in queues.

Alternatively, you can book this 2-3 hours Louvre guided tour that will show you the highlights of the museum so that you don’t miss out on the famous objects.

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit: 20/30 Minutes if you don’t enter the museum
Distance covered by foot: 1km
Price: Free of charge if you don’t visit the museum

If you choose not to visit the Louvre Museum, then continue with this Paris in a day itinerary.

But if you visit the Louvre, by the time you leave, it’s likely to be the end of the day, so you can skip to the last section of this Paris 1 day itinerary and end your day with a Seine cruise.

Step 9: Explore The Île de la Cité and Notre Dame Cathedral

Once you leave the Louvre Palace, walk along the quays for a few hundred meters and take right to the Pont Neuf.

Literally translated as “New Bridge” in English! One could not find a more misleading name because it is, in fact, the oldest bridge in Paris!

Far from just being a farce, it was named so because it was indeed the very first stone bridge in the city to ever have been built.

The structure consists of two bridges on piers separated by the equestrian statue of Henry IV and the molded cornices rest on consoles decorated with mascarons.

Once you have crossed the bridge, you’ll now be on the Ile de la Cité. Formerly called Lutèce, the Île de la Cité is the oldest district in Paris and one of only two islands in the French capital.

For centuries, this island was the neuralgic center of Paris due to its essential geographical position. Many monuments, squares, and streets have preserved traces of this glorious past.

Pont Neuf (new bridge)
Pont Neuf

Head to the courthouse. Formerly known as the Palais de la Cité, the courthouse was a residence of the Kings of France just like many other monuments in Paris.

Walk along the Conciergerie which was a major detention center during the French Revolution and home of the revolutionary court, then follow the Quai de l’Horloge.

Here, you will encounter many towers; the Bonbec Tower, Caesar’s Tower, the Silver Tower, and Clock Tower.

The last one is by far the most interesting since it is the oldest public clock in Paris! Entirely restored in 2012, it was commissioned by King Charles V in 1370.

Continue along the quayside with the Seine on your left then turn onto Rue d’Arcole, walk down it from end to end, and finally reach the highlight of the visit, the courtyard of the fabulous Notre Dame Cathedral!

The Conciergerie is one of the things to add to your 1 day in Paris itinerary.
The Conciergerie

Europe’s most visited monument with 20 million visitors, the construction of this immense Gothic cathedral lasted more than two centuries.

Its towers, 69 meters high and its arrow pointing at 96, made the cathedral the highest monument in Paris until the appearance of the Eiffel Tower.

But before looking up to the sky, look down at the ground, on the square in front of the cathedral lies the “Point zéro des routes de France“.

This ground-inlaid rosette represents kilometer point 0 of all roads leaving the capital, which is used as a reference for calculating distances to other cities in France.

Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the things to add to your 1 day in Paris itinerary.
Notre Dame Cathedral

Sadly, there is some bad news! Since the terrible fire of April 2019 that devastated the historic roof, the cathedral and its surroundings have been completely closed off to visitors!

It is only from a distance that you will be able to appreciate the beauty of the building as it recovers. However, it remains an essential visit to the city’s island even if even you’re just in Paris for a day.

Jump over the Seine ( well, use one of the 4 bridges that connect the island to the left bank) to reach our next stop.

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit: 1 hour.
Distance covered by foot: 1.5 km
Price: Free of charge

 Related post: Mistakes to avoid while traveling in Paris

Step 10: Explore The Latin Quarter

You are currently back on the left bank you left after visiting the Eiffel Tower. You are now in the Latin Quarter straddling the 5th and 6th arrondissements.

Very appreciated by its inhabitants and intellectual heart of the city, Parisians, students, and tourists cross paths all year round in the many cute Parisian cafés and restaurants of the district, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

The district is teeming with schools and universities of all kinds, which is why it finds its name as a Latin district, referring to the language used by teachers in the past.

Before entering the heart of the district, walk along the quays of Seine (Quai de la Tournelle) because, in my opinion, this is where you will get the most beautiful view of the cathedral, with the seine and the historic bridges in the forefront.

View of Notre Dame from Quai de la Tournelle
View of Notre Dame from Quai de la Tournelle

As everywhere in Paris, many monuments dot this district, including the Cluny Museum with its ancient thermal baths and the stunning Pantheon.

The Cluny Museum, located in the hotel of the same name, is dedicated to the Middle Ages.

Rare witness of the medieval period in Paris, it now houses a rich collection of stained glass windows, casts, and tapestries as well as the famous “Lady with the Unicorn”.

In the basement of the museum are the thermal baths of Lutetia, vestiges of the Roman Empire dating from the 1st and 2nd centuries!

I recommend the visit because it is done quite quickly and waiting times are usually pretty short. To avoid any queues, remember to book your tickets online on the museum’s official website.

The Pantheon in Paris

Once you have completed your visit to the museum, continue your ascent of the Mont Sainte-Geneviève (it is a bit exaggerated since it is actually just a small hill that rises 23m above sea level and not a mountain) to the magnificent Pantheon.

The ancient church has been transformed into a monumental mausoleum protecting the remains of the greatest figures in the history of France.

Under its dome are some of the great names in literature, art, politics, and science that have made the country’s history such as Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Pierre, Marie Curie, and more.

The pantheon also houses the “Foucault pendulum“, a scientific experiment conducted in 1851 by his inventor of the same name which demonstrated the rotation of the earth in space.

Voltaire is one of the famous writers of France.
Voltaire’s tomb in the Panthéon, Paris.

Step 11: Grab something to eat (Optional)

Snack time shouldn’t be far now, and that’s good because the Latin Quarter is full of places to eat a bite, I’ve selected two of them for you.

The Tea caddy (14 rue Saint Julien le Pauvre)

With its distinguished and British atmosphere in a wooded and chic setting, it is the oldest tea room in Paris!

You can enjoy many teas from all over the world as well as many delicious English pastries. The prices are correct there without being cheap either.

french facts about food

A. Lacroix Patissier (11 Quai de Montebello)

Don’t miss this cozy tea room, friendly scaled, serving good hot drinks and exquisite pastries with a neat presentation.

Have a look at the famous French macaroons; they are delicious! Accompany your pastry with a wonderful roasted coffee. The address is very popular and the prices are slightly high.

There is so much to see in the Latin Quarter since it’s probably one of the most authentic Parisian districts! To reach the next stop, find any metro station on line 10, I recommend the station Cluny – La Sorbonne because it is beautifully decorated.

Take the direction towards Boulogne Pont de Saint-Cloud then switch to the station Sèvres-Babylone to Front Populaire on line 12 and get off at Pigalle!

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit:: 2 hours.
Distance covered by foot: 2km
Price: between 5 and 9€ for the museum

Step 12: Enjoy the Charms of Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know I’ve talked about Montmartre a lot in my previous articles like in the hidden gems in Paris post or in the best places to visit in Paris post.

The Montmartre district holds a special place in my heart but also in the hearts of many tourists and locals alike!

There are so many hidden treasures in this neighborhood that it deserves an article of its own and a whole day just to discover them! But by following this one day in Paris itinerary, I think you will get a good glimpse of it.

Your visit to the district should begin at the Pigalle metro station, follow the sulfurous boulevard de Clichy to the west until you reach the famous Moulin Rouge, this cabaret alone sums up the spirit of the district.

moulin rouge is one of the Paris bucket list places
Moulin Rouge

Café-concert and dancing, it now presents a magazine where the French-cancan performs in all its glory. The Moulin Rouge is particularly fascinating to Parisians and tourists alike. Bold and unique, it is ideal to start a visit to the neighborhood.

Take rue Lepic to the north, go past the “wall of I love you” until you reach Place Emile Goudeau, from where you can visit the old art studio used by famous painters such as Braque or Picasso.

Continue north by the pretty stairs of rue de la Mire to reach rue Lepic again and the “Moulin d’la Galette” made famous by Renoir, which is today the last vestige of the 30 mills that once overlooked Montmartre.

Go around via Avenue Junot where old Roman ruins are still visible to reach the vineyards of Montmartre; the only vineyard in Paris where the famous Vin de Montmartre is made! Be sure to continue until you see the famous Pink house, La Maison Rose. The whole area is perfectly picturesque and ideal for a stroll.

Having the wall of love is one of the reasons why Paris is the city of love
I love you wall

Continue your journey to Place du Tertre, the most famous square in Montmartre where street artists perform and small bistros and cafés are many and varied, as well as superb art galleries.

Explore the surroundings and especially the beautiful street of Le Calvaire which looks like it comes straight out of a classic painting!

The visit obviously ends with the unmissable Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This magnificent basilica, built to honor the divine protection of the capital, is erected on Montmartre hill and overlooks the city.

Construction began in 1875 and was completed in 1912. It quickly became one of the most important places of worship in Paris and an unmissable place of pilgrimage.

Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur steps and garden

Built in white stone (from the same quarry as the stones of the Alexandre III bridge), they are the characteristic of being self-cleaning in rainy weather! This explains why the sacred heart radiates forever and ever.

Facing the parvis, you’ll have this impregnable feeling of having Paris at your feet! Once in the basilica, you’ll be welcomed by the largest mosaic in France.

If you still have some energy, feel free to climb the 300 steps that separate you from the dome to experience an even more impressive view of the capital!

paris trip in a day

Time to get some rest! You can enjoy the relaxing and soothing atmosphere of the place and appreciate the beautiful sunset.

Due to its elevated position, the Sacred Heart is perhaps the most ideal place to contemplate the sunset over the city. Sit on the steps of the stairs in front of the basilica and feast your eyes.

It’s a very popular place for sundowners, so you surely won’t be alone since the atmosphere is friendly and with a little luck, some musicians might join the party!

what to see in paris in one day

Time spent on this visit: 2 hours on foot + 25 min by metro.
Distance covered by foot: 3km
Price: 6€ to climb the Sacré-Coeur

Step 13: Enjoy Dinner in Paris (Optional)

Drinking wine at lunch time is one of the fun facts about french food

After such a busy day in Paris, there is nothing better than celebrating with a great meal! There is no need to travel too far because the district of Montmartre is full of good restaurants. Here are some of them.

Where To Have Dinner And Go Out?

Restaurant Miroir (94 rue des Martyrs) (Update: It is now permanently closed)

Typical Parisian bistro, the setting is very friendly and the products are fresh. The menu is regularly updated, which is always a good sign! Cozy restaurant, friendly service, and economical meal for high quality on the plate. Enjoy your meal!

Restaurant Le Poulbot (3 rue Poulbot)

At this restaurant, you can taste a succulent and authentic cuisine in a very Parisian atmosphere. It offers a wide selection of traditional beers and a carefully selected wine list.

And if you’re not completely exhausted yet (I don’t know how you do it after such a long day!), here are some nice places to party:

Le Bar à Bulles (90 Boulevard de Clichy)

This bar/garden is perched on the roof of the Moulin Rouge! Located on the first floor of the club “La Machine du Moulin Rouge”, this bar is a little gem. The atmosphere is relaxed and its bohemian and cozy decoration is very agreeable.

Marlusse and Lapin (14 rue Germain Pilon)

This bar has an improbable name and is a true UFO. The atmosphere created by its owners is totally out of control! Everything is very festive, especially at nightfall.

The cocktails are delicious and, rare things for the area, the prices are reasonable! This bar will not suit everyone but at least has the strength to be authentic and unique!

Step 14: Cruise on the Seine

cruising on Seine river is one of the best things to do while in Paris for a weekend

Instead of just sitting in one of the Parisian restaurants for dinner, you can hit 2 birds with one stone. Enjoy dinner while cruising on the Seine.

There is no better way to wind up your one day in Paris than cruising on the Seine. You’ll get to see Paris at night while taking in the views of the landmarks while they’re all lit up in the thick of the night.

However, there are so many seine cruises that it can be hard to choose which one to go for but as someone who has taken a number of them, I can confidently recommend this Seine river night cruise.

It comes with a 3- course dinner, so you don’t have to worry about looking for dinner after the cruise.

Pro tip* It gets really cold, so don’t forget to pack a jacket or a fleece to keep you warm.

If You’d Rather Not Plan Anything

Petit palais is one of the best free museums in Paris.
Petit Palais

If you want to see Paris in a day but don’t want to go through all the hustles of planning your day well to be able to see as much as possible, you can opt for guided tours.

The best part about guided tours is that everything is already planned for you from the beginning to the end. All you have to do is to show up. If that’s you, then these are tours I recommend plus a summary of how your day should be.

Step 1. Watch a Sunrise at the Trocadero

Step 2. Get an up-close look at the Eiffel Tower from Champs De Mars

Step 3. Climb the Arc De Triomphe. Buy this skip-the-line ticket in advance.

Step 4. Go on a guided walking tour of the Latin Quarter. This semi-private guided walking tour will take you through the Latin Quarter, Ile de la Cite and the Notre Dame area, Pantheon, and the Luxembourg Gardens. Lasting 2.5 hours, you’ll see a great deal of Paris from this tour.

Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the best best parks in Paris.
Jardin du Luxembourg

Step 5: Take a lunch break.

Step 6. Go on another walking tour of the major Parisian landmarks. Unlike the previous one, this guided walking tour takes you through all the major landmarks of Paris. From the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, Louvre museum to Pont Alexandre III, you’ll get to see all the monuments that make Paris what it is.

Step 7. Take a walking tour of Montmatre. Even if you’re in Paris for a day, you can’t afford to miss the beautiful neighborhood of Montmatre. I recommend taking this Montmatre guided tour to take you through all the major attractions in Montmartre including the Sacre Couer.

Step 7: Go on a Seine Cruise. By the time the previous tour ends, it will probably be night and there is no better way to wind down than on a seine cruise. I recommend going on this Seine cruise as it comes with a 3-course dinner so you won’t have to worry about booking a restaurant for dinner later.

Step 8: (Optional): Go on a guided night bike tour: If you’re still not worn out by all the walking, then you can sign up for this night bike riding tour to get a glimpse of Paris during the night when all the major landmarks are lit up.

Paris in 1 day itinerary Summary

Watching a sunrise at Trocadéro is one of the things to add to your Weekend in Paris itinerary

We have to agree, that was quite a lot to take in! If all that was overwhelming, here is a summary of things to do in Paris in a day.

  • Enjoy a Sunrise at the Trocadero
  • Get an up-close look at the Eiffel Tower from Champs De Mars
  • Climb the Arc De Triomphe
  • Stroll the Champs Elysées
  • Visit the Grand Palais, Alexander III Bridge, and the Hotel Des Invalides
  • Explore the Seine River banks, Place De La Concorde, and the Tuileries Garden
  • Enjoy a meal on a Lunch Break
  • Visit the Louvre Museum
  • Explore the Île De La Cité and Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Explore the Latin Quarter
  • Grab something to Eat
  • Enjoy the charms of Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur
  • Enjoy dinner in Paris
  • Cruise on the Seine

FAQs About Seeing Paris in 24 Hours

Carousel Sacre-Coeur is one of the Paris instagram spots

Is 1 day enough for Paris?

The simple answer is that 1 day is not enough for Paris but if that’s the only time you have, there is nothing wrong with trying to use it to see as much as possible.

What to do if you have a day in Paris?

Since there is so much to see and do in Paris, some of the places not to miss when you have just a day in Paris include; the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, and ofcourse the Seine river. If you follow my one day in Paris itinerary and are ready to walk, you’ll see a great deal of Paris.

Can you walk across Paris in a day?

Yes! Paris is a very walkable city and most of the attractions listed in my Paris in a day itinerary are not far from each other so you can easily walk. Just wear comfortable walking shoes and you’ll be set.

Final Thoughts On One day in Paris Itinerary

There you go! With this Paris one day itinerary, your 1 day in Paris will be filled up and you’ll get a glimpse of Paris without missing any important landmarks!

However, if you don’t want to organize and prepare everything yourself, you can also join a private sightseeing walking Tour and let yourself be guided by the wise advice of a tour guide!


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Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris

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