ULTIMATE 1 DAY IN PARIS ITINERARY
Paris is a must-see city for any traveller interested in seeing the gorgeous architecture first-hand, exploring the sophisticated French culture, indulging in the food, and taking advantage of the city’s many photo ops. Although Paris deserves at least a few days, it is certainly possible to craft the perfect 1 day in Paris itinerary.
Compared to any other European city, Paris has an array of attractions that simply can’t be ignored.
Aside from the recognizable Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Champs Elysse, the city boasts more historical sites than any other.
Plus who can forget the irresistible French patisserie and delicate cuisine?
I visited Paris for the first time on a Topdeck tour and we had only 1 full day to explore the city on our own. And not to toot my own horn or anything but my best mate and I covered a lot of ground with our strategic itinerary and careful planning.
I left after 1 day in Paris feeling like I accomplished a lot! I had seen many world-famous attractions and got a very small taste of the food and culture. However, I still had a yearning to explore beyond the tourist attractions, actually to dive into day-to-day life. But unfortunately, this just isn’t possible in 1 day.
So if you’re not keen on the tourist attractions and instead want to experience the real Paris, this post may not be for you and you should consider staying for at least 2 weeks.
Just to preface, all prices mentioned below are in AUD, since I am an Aussie.
DO YOU HAVE THESE ITEMS FOR YOUR TRIP?
✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner
➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on Discovercars
✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads
➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com
✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours
Here’s a quick sneak peek of what this plan has in store during your 1 day in Paris, for quick reference!
- French Patisserie Breakfast
- Louvre Museum
- Stroll through the Tuileries Gardens
- Place de la Concorde
- The Pont Alexandre III
- Window shop down the Champs-Élysées
- Arc de Triomphe
- Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
- Sunset River Cruise
Taking a day trip from London to Paris? Check out my guide on how to get to and from Paris!
1 day in Paris map
Who doesn’t love a map to visualise how you are going to conquer this epic Paris in 1 day?!
I’ve made your life easy by creating a visual map that you can simply adjust to remove or add any other additional sites you want to see!
The map also gives you an outline of the best route to take for the below 1 day in Paris itinerary recommendations!
Save this map to your phone or go old school and print a copy off before you head out.
Is 1 day in Paris enough?
Let’s be honest, 1 day in Paris is not much time to explore all that is on offer in the French capital.
BUT…with a strategic itinerary, you can get around to the most popular attractions that make Paris the special city it is.
Personally, I much prefer slower travel so I can truly immerse myself in the culture and get around to the less travelled hidden gems. But sometimes you do have 1-day stopovers and you need to make the most of them!
So in summary, no 1 day in Paris is not enough. But with this itinerary, you will leave feeling like you have scraped the surface and will be satisfied knowing you have seen world-renowned attractions.
Best time of year to have 1 day in Paris?
So you’ve decided you want to go to Paris, but when should you go?
The good news is that no matter what time of the year you visit, you’ll find plenty of spectacular things to do and fascinating attractions to see.
Although each season and each month has pros and cons including budget, weather, and local events, generally Summer (June – August) and Autumn (September – November) are your best bet.
While the summertime is quite warm and crowded, the major pro is that the days are exceptional. The sun doesn’t set until after 10 p.m! This is exactly what you want to go exploring Paris in 1 day!
Although major attractions stay open all year, except for major holidays, it is important to note that during August some shops, Michelin-starred bistros, galleries, and boutiques will close as Parisians leave for holidays.
Best way to get around Paris
To explore Paris in 1 day, you need to think carefully about how you are going to get around. The last thing you want is to waste time trying to navigate the best way to get around and money!
Below are the best ways I have found to get around and how I managed to navigate them.
One of the best ways to get around Paris is by walking. When I visited Paris in July the weather was bearable to spend most of the day on foot. I ended up walking 16.2km or 23,000 steps (see the evidence below)!
Paris is a walkable city. If you combine it with catching the metro or jumping on a bus for longer journeys and resting your feet, you will end up seeing a lot more beyond just the destinations.
I think it’s important to walk at a slower pace and take in the streets, architecture and people-watch the locals. It’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey! Cheesy, but very true!
Paris metro is the fastest way of getting around the city. The underground system has 16 interconnected lines and is also connected to the express train RER.
A metro station will be labeled with a large “M”. Most stations will have a large metro map at the entrance and at the platform. Alternatively, you can check out the map here.
For only 1 day in Paris, I would just buy individual tickets as you go at the train station. Make sure to note the zone to which you want to travel to ensure you buy the appropriately priced ticket.
If you are staying for longer, check out the weekly or monthly travel cards: Paris Visite and Passe Navigo.
Like many other major cities these days there are lots of electric scooter (and bike) options.
The perfect in-between walking and taking public transport!
Just ensure you wear a helmet please and thank you!
Hop on hop off buses
As with many other major cities that attract thousands of tourists, hop-on and hop-off buses are in no shortage.
Hop on and hop off buses are a great way to get around to major attractions for free or for really cheap! Plus you’ll also get to learn some of the city’s history.
If you really want to skip the logistics of planning your 1-day itinerary and want to learn more about the places you are visiting consider taking a walking tour or arranging a local tour guide.
Although I haven’t done this in Paris, I have experienced a private walking tour in New York. On the first day of our trip to the Big Apple, our local tour guide took us to a mix of obvious attractions and local secret spots. He gave us tips only a local would know such as how to frequent the subway, where to order coffee, when to move a car for the street sweepers, and what places are overrated and can be skipped from our itineraries.
Overall, I think tour guides can be an excellent way to explore the best of a city and delegate the logistics of travel planning.
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1 day in Paris itinerary
Let’s now dive into my recommended itinerary for 1 day in Paris.
Heads up, this 1 day in Paris itinerary is not a leisurely itinerary –that’s just not possible with only one day in Paris – so be sure to wear your best walking shoes, bring a water bottle and some snacks to keep you going!
Stop 1: Devour some French patisserie
Start your day off right with a high-end, hand-crafted pastry from BO&MIE Louvre-Rivoli. Grab a seat near the window to enjoy your Pain au chocolat and coffee whilst people-watching.
Now you can tick off indulging in French patisserie from your bucket list!
Stop 2: Louvre Museum
Take a short 200m stroll from BO&MIE Louvre-Rivoli to the Louvre for your next destination. The Louvre Museum opens at 9 am sharp and is closed on Tuesdays. If you are visiting on a Tuesday I think it is still worth a visit to enjoy the outside of the museum and a short walk through Tuileries Garden.
Entry costs €15 and can be purchased when you arrive. There can be a long line so I suggest arriving a bit before 9 am. I think it is definitely worth a visit since it has some of the best collections of artwork in the world and allows you to immerse yourself in French history.
When in the Louvre keep an eye out for the following famous pieces and artists:
- The Mona Lisa by Leonard da Vinci – don’t be surprised if you are underwhelmed. It was a lot smaller than I expected and getting a good look is tough as it often has swarms of visitors.
- The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault
- Venus de Milo statue
- Liberty Leading The People By Eugène Delacroix
- Portrait Of Louis XIV By Hyacinthe Rigaud
Stop 3: Place de la Concorde
Next up take a 15-minute walk from the Louvre to Place de la Concorde through the beautiful Tuileries Garden. The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located in the heart of Paris and makes for a beautiful stroll.
Place de la Concorde is situated at the end of the Champs-Elysées and is the second-largest square in France.
Originally known for having been an execution site during the French Revolution in which Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette (among others) were guillotined. Whether you are interested in the history or admiring the bronze fountains and ancient obelisk, it’s worth the stop.
Stop 4: The Pont Alexandre III
This next stop I recommend on your 1 day in Paris is a bridge I stumbled across on my trip and was truly in awe of the extravagant gold-plated gilded winged horse statues.
Just take an 8-minute walk from Place de la Concorde to the Pont Alexandre III.
The Pont Alexandre is a fantastic stop for getting gorgeous photos. From the bridge, you can enjoy sweeping views of the Eiffel Tower of the Seine.
It is a majestic spot to pause and soak in the moment.
Stop 5: Champs-Élysées
The next stop is a bigger walk at around 1.8km but, don’t worry because it’s time for a bite to eat and perhaps something to drink!
In 20-30 minutes you will arrive at the center of the Champs-Élysées.
Champs-Élysées is a famous avenue in Paris, France. It is known for its shops, cafes, theaters, and monuments. The avenue runs for 1.9 kilometers from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Paris.
Take a leisurely stroll along the avenue and admire the beautiful architecture, fountains, and gardens. Stop by one of the many luxury boutiques and flagship stores along the avenue, such as Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, and Cartier, or stick to window shopping.
And by now I’m sure you’re pretty hungry and ready for a break. Enjoy a meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants on the Champs-Élysées, ranging from casual to fine dining.
Dine in a Michelin-star restaurant such as Yannick Alléno or settle into somewhere more low-key such as Le Chatet du 8ème, a cozy crêperie
Stop 6: Arc de Triomphe
When you get to the end of Champs-Élysées you will find the Arc de Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe is a famous monument located in Paris, France, and it is definitely worth a visit.
The monument serves as a memorial to the soldiers who fought and died for France during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars and is the site of several important national events, such as the annual Bastille Day military parade. It is an impressive architectural masterpiece, standing 50 meters tall and featuring intricate carvings, sculptures, and reliefs.
Climb up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for panoramic views of Paris including the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, and the surrounding neighborhoods. The view is particularly stunning at sunset.
Overall, the Arc de Triomphe is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Paris, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and beauty.
Stop 7: Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
Next up, take a 30-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower or take the 6 metro from Bir-Hakeim station to Charles de Gaulle Etoile station.
Having a picnic by the Eiffel Tower is a quintessential Parisian experience, and there are many countless reasons why I have added it to your itinerary.
Firstly, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, and having a picnic in its shadow offers a stunning and unforgettable view. Whether you’re sitting on the Champ de Mars or across the Seine, you can enjoy the sight of this magnificent structure towering above you.
Secondly, picnicking is a beloved French pastime, and having a picnic in Paris is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Pick up some fresh baguettes, cheese, and wine at a local market, and enjoy a simple yet delicious meal in a beautiful setting.
And lastly, eating out in Paris can be expensive, but having a picnic is a cost-effective way to enjoy a meal while taking in the city’s sights and sounds.
Make sure you also line up and travel up to the top. It’s a view you will never forget.
Stop 8: Sunset Seine River cruise
After your picnic, stroll down to the Seine river for a sunset cruise.
A sunset Seine cruise in Paris is a magical experience that allows you to see some of the most beautiful sights in Paris as the sun goes down.
The warm glow of the setting sun, combined with the twinkling lights of the city, creates a truly enchanting ambiance. Spot the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum from a unique unforgettable angle.
I’m sure you’ll also enjoy an activity that allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Rest your feet and skip the crowds and traffic. What a win!
Other attractions to sub in!
If any of the above doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, sub in one of these other popular attractions.
Or perhaps I’ve convinced you how great Paris is so you’ve decided to extend your trip for another day or so.
- Book a moulin rouge show
- Take a food tour
- Take a stroll through the Latin Quarter
- Check out the oldest stone bridge, Pont Neuf
- See Van Goug artwork at Musée D’orsay
- Roam around île de la cité
Where to stay for 1 day in Paris
You may or not be spending the night in Paris during your visit, but just in case, here are some recommendations and suggestions for booking your perfect accommodation.
Booking.com is my recommended site for booking mid-range and luxury hotels in Paris. What I love about Booking.com is they offer great discounts. And most of the time you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance. Plus by being loyal to one booking program you can accumulate points and earn rewards such as future discounts!
If you are on a tight budget or are just wanting to stay in a more social environment for meeting other travellers, hostels are your best bet. I always head straight to Hostel World when booking hostels as I have found they have the biggest range in one place and have very competitive rates.
Hotels with Eiffel Tower views
If you have the budget, why not treat yourself to waking up to views of the Eiffel tower? Not to mention the sparkle at night as you begin to wind down for the day with a beautiful glass of red. It’s only one night after all!
These hotels are very pricey as they come with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Below are probably some of the best value hotels you are going to find if you are after prime location and Eiffel tower views.
Luxury hotels range upwards of $2000 per night to give you some insight.
Located only a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel tower and the River Seine, the last stops of the day, this gorgeous hotel is perfect for unwinding after your long day exploring. The Eiffel Tower peers over the top of the hotel and can be enjoyed from some rooms. Starting at $340 per night this is a great option for those looking for a taste of luxury without the huge price tag.
✔️ Book your stay at Eiffel Petit Louvre
Citadines would be my personal pick as the studio room with Eiffel Tower views is extremely good value, for Paris that is. From $500 per night, you will walk into a contemporary-styled room with an equipped kitchen, private bathroom, and of course, double paneled windows that open up to reveal unbeatable views of the Eiffel Tower.
✔️ Book your stay at Citadines Tour Eiffel Tower
Cranking the luxury up a notch, Comtesse Hotel is a 19th-century building in a prime location for Eiffel Tower views. Only a 15-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, you know it won’t be far away when you finish your 1 day in Paris itinerary. The rooms are decked out in contemporary décor that is inspired by the literary salons from the 18th century.
Relax at a comfortable mid-range stay in the heart of Paris
The perfect in-between stay that is not going to break the bank but is also not a bunk bed in a room with 7 other strangers.
Located 1km from the Louvre, each room is individually decorated with unique, colourful art pieces. You will be amazed at how beautifully each room is styled.
✔️ Book your stay at Hôtel Victoria Châtelet
An eclectic hotel located just 500m from the Louvre! Perfect if you are staying the night before since the Louvre is our first stop. Each room is decorated like an artist’s studio so enjoy a unique one-of-a-kind experience.
This next hotel is also located right near the Louvre so you can roll out of bed and kick off your jam-packed day without having to commute. The hotel has bright modern decor with a french flare. A comfortable, yet reasonably priced place to relax and unwind.
✔️ Book your stay at Hotel Louvre Bon Enfants
Save some money and bunk at a hostel
Spend your money out enjoying the sites instead of on accommodation by staying in a hostel. Plus, you may even make a few friends.
I stayed in St Christopher’s on my first trip to Paris for 2 nights and had a great stay. It is located right near the train station so it’s easy to start your day and roll on home. The hostel beds have curtains which are a huge bonus in my books and there is a social sports bar on the ground floor where you socialise and score cheap drinks.
✔️ Book your stay at St Christopher’s Inn Gare du Nord
Are you travel-ready?
Now that you are ready to conquer your 1 day in Paris with your itinerary that you are super pumped about, let’s quickly cover the boring travel housekeeping.
Complete the following checklist to get yourself Paris-ready!
- Get a travel card to avoid excessive international fees
- Exchange some cash
- Download Google Maps offline
- Check your passport is not expired!
- Confirm Visa requirements
And that’s it for our guide to getting the most from 1 day in Paris! By following this itinerary you will get to see some of the best places in Paris in a very short amount of time.
Is Paris on your travel list? Would you visit Paris for just a day? Let me know in the comments below!