A Paris vacation is certainly a popular choice. As one of the most culturally diverse and important cities in the world, visitors are hard-pressed to do everything that they want, even if given a month to explore. Trying to experience as much as possible if you’re limited to one day in Paris is certainly a challenge, but it is possible. The trick is to create an itinerary that covers the essentials that you want to experience.
If you have 24-hours in Paris, then this guide is the ideal starting point, although you are well-advised to tailor your visit to your own interests. Paris has such a variety of attractions and experiences that trying to do it all in one day is impossible, but smart visitors will not want to miss out on these essentials.
The earlier you can start to explore on your trip to Paris, the better. You should start at the Notre Dame Cathedral, but remember to get there as early as possible. Grab some freshly baked pain aux chocolates to eat on the way! The queues for Notre Dame can get very long, very quickly. Get there early, and you’ll be able to explore the interior of the world-famous cathedral and even enjoy the views alongside the gargoyles.
The Latin Quarter
After filling up on the stunning cathedral, head to the other side of the river using the Pont St Michel. This will find you wandering the beautiful St Michel itself, which has been a hub for scholarship and intellectual pursuits for hundreds of years. Check out the Sorbonne University, and if you’re a book lover, you won’t want to miss the famous English language bookshop that is simply called Shakespeare.
Take to the Water
Your legs may be getting a little weary about now, so a sit down is definitely on the agenda. Luckily, heading back across the river will mean that you can relax on a cruise boat that makes its way up the Seine and allows for a lot of sightseeing.
These tours only last an hour, which means that they give you ample opportunity to relax and simply take in the sights without taking up too much of your day. You can depart from the boat tour right next to the Eiffel Tower, just in time for lunch.
The Eiffel Tower
No trip to Paris is going to be complete with getting close to one of the most recognizable sights in the world. Don’t worry too much about getting in a queue in order to get the famous view, unless that’s something that’s on your bucket list. Instead, take a slow stroll around the Champs de Mars and the Trocadero. It’s a good idea to get some lunch at this point, but remember to take your map. Some of the roads and alleys here can result in you wandering in circles, so pick your destination and aim for it.
Some Afternoon Culture
While you could take this opportunity to head to the Champs-Elysee area, where there are luxury shopping options, for culture vultures you’re far more likely to head to the Musée d’Orsay. Here, you’ll find works of art by everyone from Monet to Degas, and you could probably spend the rest of your day here. Try not to, as you can also squeeze in a quick trip to the Louvre. This will have to be a quick trip though, and if you don’t fancy a rushed tour, then you can spend some time relaxing in the Tuileries Gardens that are nearby. Rest your legs and enjoy the former royal gardens, which are filled with ponds and elegant landscaping.
A Paris Evening
Before you head off for dinner, take some time to stroll around the Centre Georges Pompidou. This is about as contemporary as Paris gets, and visitors are highly recommended to explore the areas. If you aren’t desperate for food yet, take a break in the Centre Pompidou and take the lift to the roof. This will give you a spectacular view of the city, and the lobby itself is well worth seeing as well.
Late Nights in Paris
While you are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding somewhere to eat in Paris, you would be wise to visit Marais. This is where you’ll find the locals, with the tight passages and old-style architecture making it feel as if you could be wandering Paris a hundred years ago. Find the restaurants that appeal to your tastes, and then have another stroll to find a late night drink. This can be tricky over the weekends, but well worth the experience.
Paris is an extraordinary city, and a Paris vacation can be life-changing. If you’re limited by time, don’t try and do everything. There are a thousand and one things to do and places to see, and trying to do them all is impossible. Narrow down your favorites, and your one day in Paris could be one of the memories that last the rest of your life.