Looking to spend one day in Paris but not exactly sure where to start? Yeah, not to worry because I totally get it.
After all, Paris is a truly magical city that is positively overflowing with iconic attractions like Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower.
Therefore, it can be difficult to know where to start when planning 24 hours in Paris.
Luckily for you, I’m a super savvy expert who know all about planning a trip to see Paris in a day.
Yeah, I’ve been traveling to Paris regularly for the past 6+ years and have perfected the art of planning a 1 day in Paris itinerary.
So, stop stressing and start living the one day in Paris itinerary of your dreams with this mega comprehensive post.
Because it really will contain everything you need to know about spending a glorious 24 hours in Paris.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
If you’re booking a trip right now then I IMPLORE you to get travel insurance – even if it’s not from me.
After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed.
Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especialy since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic.
Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.
Where to stay for One Day in Paris
I’ll get the bad news out of the way now. Paris is expensive and budget options in the center of the city are hard to come by.
However, the good news is that accommodation will be the largest spend of your 24 hours in Paris. Once it’s out of the way you can budget for the rest of your trip expenses.
However, there are affordable options when you dig a little deeper during your one day in Paris – which is exactly what I’ve done. So, here are my picks for where to stay in Paris regardless of your budget.
- Hotel Le Vert Galant (budget) – Situated in the 13th Arrondissement, this budget-friendly hotel is ideal for this 1 day in Paris travel itinerary. After all, the hotel has a homely atmosphere which is perpetuated through the cozy rooms and lush private garden. Rooms are also stylishly appointed with en suite bathrooms and tons of natural light. Best of all, the property restaurant dishes up delectable plats de jour and French wines.
- Hotel Des Arts Paris Montmartre (mid-range) – This funky hotel in the “village” of Montmartre has a boutique vibe about it. And the best rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that you can fling open for uninterrupted views amidst this hillock setting. With an emphasis on wellness, the hotel features a state-of-the-art gym, Swedish sauna, and spa facilities. Perfect if you’re hankering for a pampering session before starting your one day Paris itinerary.
- Dadou Paris (mid-range) – The highlight of this luxurious 4-star hotel near the Arc de Triomphe is an indoor whirlpool with a movie screen where you can unwind after a busy day pounding the Parisian streets. If that’s not enough there’s also a Hamman on-site. Contemporary rooms also feature kooky pieces of art and each unit is individually styled.
- Hotel Bel Ami (luxury) – This 5-star hotel is conveniently located for the first sight in this one day in Paris itinerary. Interiors are playful yet refined with an emphasis on comfort. Rooms and suites also come with supremely nifty things like espresso machines, posh toiletries, and fluffy bathrobes. All reservations come with the added perk of spa and fitness access too.
Tips for Getting Around and Saving Money During 1 Day in Paris
1. Plan ahead with skip-the-line tickets
Even if your 1 day in Paris is during the off-season, you should expect long lines at all of the city’s major attractions.
So, if you want to browse the collections at the Louvre or soak up the views from the Eiffel Tower, you are advised to reserve your tickets in advance.
2. Dress appropriately
It’s an understatement to say that the French capital is one of the most glamorous cities in the world. Therefore, it’s highly likely that you’ll want to don your finest clothes when blitzing around Paris in a day.
But when you’re dashing from landmark to landmark in a pair of heels that are giving you blisters – and a skirt that in hindsight was probably not designed for anything more strenuous than lifting a glass of wine – you might regret what you’ve added to your Paris packing list!
Also, because Paris is a city for walking and you’ll want to cram in visits to as many sights as possible, you’ll need to dress comfortably and practically.
So yeah, a beret still counts – especially if you visit during the cooler months and spend winter in Paris.
3. Walk as much as possible
Despite its immensity, the center of Paris is relatively walkable. Plus, when you walk around, you’ll get to admire the city’s tremendous historical architecture.
Therefore, this one day in Paris itinerary has been crafted so that you can walk as much as possible – rather than spending big bucks on public transportation.
And while you’ll sometimes need to use public transportation, all the details are provided for you below.
4. Choose where to eat in Paris carefully
When seeing the best of Paris in a day, you’ll naturally want to sample the best Parisian cuisine.
Therefore, this itinerary includes a ton of recommendations on where to eat and where to enjoy the best brunch in Paris.
However, if you stray from the route below or plan on spending an extended time in the French capital, prepare yourself and avoid tourist traps.
After all, busy areas near the major attractions are flooded with overpriced restaurants where the food is nothing to write home about and the service is meh.
So, try to sneak down local side streets if you’re after something more satisfactory or budget-friendly.
Especially since many Parisian restaurants offer set menus where you can get two or three courses for a reasonable price.
How to get to the Cty for Your 24 hours in Paris
Paris is served by two different airports: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Orly Airport (ORY).
Charles de Gaulle is the major international airport in Paris. It’s located 23 kilometers (14 miles) northeast of Paris and connects to the city center via the RER B Line. Expect the journey into the city to take around 30 minutes.
Orly Airport, in contrast, is actually closer to the city at a distance of 13 kilometers (8 miles) south of Paris.
However, the journey from the airport is a bit more of a hassle since you’ll need to travel to Antony station in order to hop on the RER B Line. Again, this works out to be around a 30-minute journey.
For those traveling to Paris from London, the Eurostar is a hassle-free solution. The train departs from St Pancras Station frequently on a daily basis and takes around 2.5 hours to get to Paris.
You will then arrive at Paris Gare du Nord in the 10th arrondissement, where you can connect to your hotel via metro, bus, or taxi.
As Eurostar tickets tend to exceed what you’d pay for a flight with a budget airline, it pays to book in advance and shop around for deals.
How to Get Around Paris
As mentioned earlier, Paris is super walkable. Therefore, you can save tons of money by following this one day in Paris itinerary and getting around on foot as much as possible.
However, even when planning a quick visit, you’ll still need to use public transportation from time to time.
Fortunately for your feet, Paris is well outfitted with a fabulous metro (subway) system. In fact, 16 lines connect the arrondissements and neighborhoods with the center of the city.
Plus, the metro is affordable, easy to use, and a fast way to get around. And while paper tickets have been phased out over recent years, the best way to use the metro now is to purchase a pass.
After all, The Paris Visite travel pass grants visitors unlimited use of all metro, RER, tram, bus, and SNCF Transilien routes in the city.
Plus, these passes are valid for 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days and enable you to travel anywhere in central Paris (zones 1 to 3) or greater Paris (zones 1 to 5) too.
Prices start at 12 EUR for 1 day and increase as per the number of days required. So, feel free to purchase yours online or at RER stations in Paris.
If you need to take a taxi during your stay in Paris, make sure you have the Uber app downloaded. The ride-share app works in the city and is far cheaper than regular taxis.
The Ultimate One day in Paris Itinerary
And now over to the crux of this post.
Created with first-time visitors to Paris in mind, this itinerary takes you to all of the major sights and landmarks in Paris.
If you follow the itinerary as outlined below, you can walk between the majority of the points of interest with the occasional metro ride or Uber as needed.
When in Paris, eat as many croissants and crepes as humanly possible. And fortunately for you, you’ll be starting this one day in Paris itinerary in one of the most cafè-centric neighborhoods of all.
See, La Crème de Paris Notre-Dame is conveniently located near the first attraction on this itinerary (the clue is in the name!).
So, pick up a pastry or indulge in one of the signature crepes which are available in either savory or sweet varieties.
Also, do note that Saint-Michel Notre-Dame (Metro Line 4 or RER C Line) is the closest station to this breakfast cafè.
Address: 1 Quai Saint-Michel, 75005 Paris, France
Hours: Open daily from 8:00 to 12:00 am, with extended hours until 2:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Price: Croissants start at around €4.00 each.
How to Get There: Take line 10 to Cluny La Sorbonne station and walk from there.
2. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Stroll over the Pont au Double (or Petit Pont – both supply lovely views!) and in a couple of minutes, you’ll be at the first scenic stop on this 1 day in Paris itinerary.
See, Notre Dame Cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece that took almost two years to complete after work began in 1163.
The structure was then later subject to damage during the French Revolution which wasn’t addressed until after the publication of Victor Hugo’s immortal novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Sadly, Notre Dame was further devastated in 2019 by a horrific fire that shocked the world. And while efforts to restore the church are ongoing, at the time of writing, the interiors are still off-limits to visitors.
However, while exploring Paris in a day, it feels wrong to just pass this immortal place by. So, because a decent amount of scaffolding has been removed, steal a peek at the facade while you’re here.
There are also endless possibilities when it comes to photographing Notre Dame. At present, though, Square Jean XXIII remains inaccessible to tourists.
But, Pont au Double is the closest bridge and allows for a unique perspective of the towers.
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
Hours: N/A (closed as of now)
How to Get There: Take line 4 to Cité station and walk from there.
3. Ile de la Cite
Ile de la Cite is the islet within the River Seine upon which the Notre Dame Cathedral stands. It’s tiny – you can actually walk the length of it in 20 minutes. Yet, it’s teeming with historic sights and stunning viewpoints.
Plus, either end of Ile de la Cite is punctuated with leafy parks that offer photogenic vistas across the river.
Plus, the Place Louis Lépine features a flower market that has a cool atmosphere even if you’re not planning on picking up any flowers for your hotel room as you enjoy Paris in a day.
In total, eight bridges connect Ile de la Cite with the Left and Right banks of Paris – with the westernmost structure, Pont Neuf, being the most iconic.
In fact, it dates back to the late 1500s and is the oldest remaining bridge in the city of love! And while there are many things to do in this area, a real highlight of Ile de la Cite is Sainte Chapelle, the neighbor of Notre Dame.
Also an example of Gothic architecture, Sainte Chapelle was erected in seven years and served as a royal chapel.
Although there is an admission fee to enter, it’s worth it for the chance to ogle the stained glass windows.
Also, while Notre Dame is under restoration, Sainte Chapelle has become even busier. So, it’s advisable to pre-book your tickets now and to arrive as early as possible.
Address: 10 Bd du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: €11.50 for adults.
How to Get There: Take line 4 to Cité station and walk from there.
4. Shakespeare and Co.
The next item on the agenda is one for the bookworms out there who want to experience one of the coolest hidden gems in Paris.
See, Shakespeare and Co. is an iconic independent bookstore that opened in the Latin Quarter of Paris in 1951.
However, the original shop – where Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce spent their days – was located in Saint Germain.
That branch eventually closed as a result of World War II. Then when George Whitman opened the Shakespeare and Co. of today, he named it in honor of Syliva Beech’s OG bookstore.
As a result, Shakespeare and Co. is now bursting at the seams with new releases and pre-loved tomes. And ss well as French titles, they stock English-language books and host regular author events and signings.
If you forgot to pack a book for your 1 day in Paris, seize the moment to fix that oversight!
Pro Tip: This place sells some great totes and notebooks that easily make for some of the best souvenirs from Paris. it’s also a narrow winding place to be prepared to feel a bit claustrophobic.
Address: 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm and on Sundays from 12:30 pm to 8:00 pm.
Price: Free to look around.
How to Get There: Take line 10 to Maubert – Mutualité station and walk from there.
5. Le Jardin du Luxembourg
With a slightly heavier bag, you can tackle a 15-minute walk to your next sight by following Boulevard Saint-Michel.
Once here, you’ll find that Le Jardin du Luxembourg is a 17th-century garden. that is a pleasure to see.
Plus, until the French Revolution shook things up in town, entry was only permitted to royalty. Nowadays though, all are welcome.
And that’s awesome since this magical green space consists of flower plots, fountains, and stunning ponds. On a kookier note, there is a replica of the Statue of Liberty here too.
Also, note the Palais du Luxembourg in the northmost corner of the park. This former royal residence is now the seat of the French senate.
And while the gardens are free to all, if you want a tour of the palace interior, you’ll need to keep an eye on the website since open days are extremely limited.
Pro Tip: Art lovers spending more than 1 day in Paris might want to return and visit the Musée du Luxembourg.
Address: 75006 Paris, France
Hours: Opens daily between 7.30 am and 8.15 am and closes daily between 4.30 pm and 9.30 pm depending on the season.
How to Get There: Take line 10/4 to Odeon station and walk from there.
Seeing as you’re cramming a lot of sights into your 24 hours in Paris itinerary, make today’s lunch a quick one.
So, stop by La Cuisine de Philippe, which is located just a couple of minutes away from the northern entrance to the Luxembourg Gardens.
This intimate eatery specializes in soufflé and it’s a tough choice between a classic cheese or dark chocolate variation. In fact, you might have to order two (Go on, live a little. You deserve it)!
If you’re not wild about soufflé then the restaurant also offers a comprehensive menu of other delectable French specialties.
Address: 25 Rue Servandoni, 75006 Paris, France
Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm and again from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
Price: They offer a starter, main course, dessert, and one glass of wine pre-fixe menu for just €23 per person.
How to Get There: Take line 10/4 to Odeon station and walk from there.
7. Jardin des Tuileries
As time is of the essence when exploring the highlights of Paris in a day, hop on the metro at Rennes. Line 12 (green) will drop you off at Concorde where you’ll find the Jardin des Tuileries.
Catherine de Medici commissioned the Tuileries Garden in 1564 as a setting in which to host lavish banquets and garden parties.
And, believe it or not, this green space is actually situated atop the former site of a tile factory – a fact that goes a long way towards explaining the origins of this garden’s name.
Then, the gardener André Le Nôtre eventually re-landscaped the gardens in 1664 in the same French formal style that you’ll see today.
Also, following the French Revolution, the gardens were opened to the public. As a result, this space is brimming over with floral displays, ponds, fountains, and sculptures as well as art installations.
Meanwhile, the Musée de l’Orangerie in the western quarter of the gardens exhibits the works of Claude Monet.
Additionally, the landscape of the Jardin des Tuileries changes drastically with the season. So, this botanical oasis is truly spectacular during spring when the flowers are in bloom and in fall when the foliage comes alive with vibrant red and orange hues.
Plus, be sure to remember that the Jardin des Tuileries sits adjacent to the Place de la Concorde.
It’s actually largest public square in Paris and is marked by its Egyptian obelisk that dates back over 3,000 years.
Ans if you take the metro as detailed above, make sure to spare 5 minutes to take in the sights and crane your neck at the obelisk.
Address: Pl. de la Concorde, 75001 Paris, France
Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take line 1/8/12 to Concorde and walk from there.
8. Musée du Louvre
Gradually wander your way eastwards through the Jardin de Tuileries and you’ll soon feast your eyes upon the next attraction on this one day in Paris itinerary.
And it’s a magical one since the Louvre is easily the most famous museum on the planet!
Truth be told, when you’ve only got 24 hours in Paris squeezing a trip to the world’s largest art museum is a tad challenging.
After all, it houses somewhere in the region of 380,000 artifacts and over 30,000 masterpieces of art.
However, you should at least pause to survey the pyramids and take in the facade.
See, the main building was established in the late 12th century as a palace and military facility.
Then, It wasn’t until 1793 that the museum was founded. Meanwhile, despite their legendary status, the pyramids are still relatively new – recently added in 1987 by the Chinese-American architect, I. M. Pei.
Now, visiting the Louvre realistically warrants a half-day. But even as part of a quick visit, you can swing by and check out the likes of the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and Liberty Leading the People.
Per usual, book your skip-the-line ticket in advance to avoid long lines!
Pro Tip: Arrive early since it will take some time to go through security, even if you already have a ticket.
The Louvre also has extended hours until 9:45 pm on Wednesday and Friday nights. And while they’re currently suspended, this is a great time to visit – especially if you only have one day in Paris.
Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Hours: Open Wednesday through Monday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Price: €15 for on-site tickets and €17 for tickets purchased online.
How to Get There: Take line 1 to Louvre – Rivoli station and walk from there.
9. Palais Garnier
The opera house Palais Garnier is a marvel that is often skipped on typical Paris itineraries.
But for anyone who loves beautiful architecture, this gem should be included as part of your Paris trip.
Because while admring the facade is one thing, you’ll be truly astounded once you step inside and see the staircase, carvings, and frescoes that adorn the halls here.
In fact, the internal decor of Palais Garnier features the busts of some of the most famous figures from the world of opera, as well as mythological figures, and allegorical sculptures.
So, regardless of whether you’re an opera aficionado, theater luvvie, or simply appreciate the finer things in life – this building is sure to impress you.
And while you can visit independently with a multimedia audio guide, the professionally guided tour is the best way to uncover the history of this intriguing building that was inaugurated at the request of Napoleon III.
It’s also easy to walk here from the Musée du Louvre to the Palais Garnier. In fact, it’ll take you 20 minutes when following Avenue de l’Opera.
Also feel free to speed the process up by taking Line 7 (orange) from Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre and alighting at Opèra.
Address: Pl. de l’Opéra, 75009 Paris, France
Hours: Open daily between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Price: Tickets are €14 per person.
How to Get There: Take lines 3/7/8 to Opéra station and walk from there.
10. See the Eiffel Tower
Got the feeling something was missing from your one day in Paris Itinerary?
All in good time – because the Eiffel Tower is the perfect spot to round off your day in Paris. Also check the sunset times associated with your trip dates and aim to arrive at the monument just in time for golden hour.
As it takes an hour to walk to the tower from the Palais Garnier, it makes sense to hop on the metro.
So, take Line 8 (yellow) from Opera and alight at La Motte – Picquet Grenell. You’ll be at the base of the tower in under 10 minutes flat.
You could also use the 30-minute journey to brush up on your trivia. See, construction started on the Eiffel Tower in 1887 and it took two years to complete the landmark that registers at a neck-tilting height of 330 meters (1,083 feet).
Although it was erected to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution, the tower wasn’t warmly received and it took decades to earn its status as an emblem of romance.
In particular, the green Champ de Mars provides stellar views of the tower. For a different perspective though, you can wander over the Pont d’Iéna.
There is also an elevator on hand to whisk you up to the summit of the tower. If you’re traveling to Paris on a budget then you can hitch a lift to the second floor and then walk the rest of the way.
Once at the top, you’ll see the streets and lights of Paris unfold beneath you. Also, be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid insane lines.
Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Av. Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am to 10:30 pm.
Price: Tickets for adult summit visits start at €26.80
How to Get There: Take line 6/9 to Trocadéro station and walk from there.
La fin! Well, almost. Because after a jam-packed 1 day in Paris you’ve earned yourself a French feast.
So, if you’re ravenous and want to eat dinner near the Eiffel Tower, head to Au Bon Accueil.
Considering that it’s a 5-minute walk from the landmark, the prices are reasonable, the food is fantastic, and the service is exemplary.
The menu is subject to change per season but you can expect a choice of decadent pates, steak and tartare mains, and classic French desserts.
However, the views of the Iron Lady from the sidewalk terrace are worth a visit alone!
But, if you really want to make more of a night of it, head to Montemarte. This hilly Left Bank neighborhood is where you’ll find the Sacre Couer and Moulin Rouge.
It’s also known for its fabulous restaurants and nightlife that spills out onto the streets.
Immortalized in the movie Amelie, cafè des Deux Moulins is the place to dine or drink wine late into the night -esepcially if you want to visit one of the most famous cafes in Paris.
Or, at least, sample the famous crème brulée in Montmartre.
Alternatively, you can head to La Taverne de Montmartre where traditional snails and steak take the top spot on a sumptuous menu filled with French cuisine.