|One Day in Paris, France|
|You can't see all of Paris in one day, but you can see a lot: top landmarks, churches and museums (like the Louvre). You can have a great lunch in a café or as a picnic, cruise on the Seine and more...but you must plan your day.|
Can you see all of Paris in one day?
What You Can See & Do
Well, no, but you can certainly see the Arc de Triomphe, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, Palais d l'Élysée, Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries, Musée du Louvre, Île de la Cité, Cathédrale de Notre-Dame, Place St-Michel, the back streets of the Left Bank (Quartier Latin) and, if you choose, a cruise on the River Seine, followed by a very good dinner in a simple bistro or elegant restaurant—not bad for only one day!
Consider taking a guided tour, which makes planning and transportation simple. If you'd rather do it yourself, consider buying a 1-day Paris Visite transit ticket for unlimited use of Paris's Métro, bus, tram, etc. systems. More...
Self-Guided Walking Tour
First, read our guide to the perfect Métro trip. This will save you lots of time, trouble and confusion.
Then, take the Métro to the Charles de Gaulle-Étoile station to start your walking tour. Leave the Métro station via Sortie 1 (Exit 1) and you'll emerge to view the gigantic Arc de Triomphe. Climb the 284 stairs (elevator/lift for handicapped only) to the top of the monument for a grand view of Paris so you can get the lay of the land. Look down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées toward the Place de la Concorde and Musée du Louvre because that's where you're headed.
Die-hard walkers may want to walk the whole way from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Élysées to the Louvre (3.4 km/2.1 miles), but the rest of us—and anyone short on time—will descend to the Métro station near the Arc de Triomphe and take Line 1 (Direction: Château de Vincennes) to the Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau station (3rd stop from the Arc).
St-Honoré & Place de la Concorde
Emerging from the Métro station, cross to the north side of the avenue and continue north on the Avenue de Marigny to the Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré and turn right (east).
St-Honoré is the highest-status sidestreet in Paris: you'll walk past the Palais de l'Élysée (the residence of France's president), several prominent embassies, shops selling the poshest goods, and a few of the city's top restaurants.
Tuileries & Louvre
From the Place de la Concorde, turn left (east) and stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries (Métro: Tuileries) to the Musée du Louvre in the vast Palais du Louvre (Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre). For your visit, choose a section of the museum, then only a few rooms in that section. This is one of the world's largest and finest museums, and it would take months to see it all. More...
If you plan to picnic, you can do it in the courtyard of the Louvre or, even better, continue a bit farther with this itinerary and cross the first part of the Pont Neuf bridge (Métro: Pont Neuf) to the Square du Vert Galant (look for the equestrian statue of King Henri IV on the Pont Neuf). The "square" is actually a shady non-square park at the western tip of the Île de la Cité (Métro: Cité) in the River Seine. More...
After lunch, walk southeast on the Île de la Cité along the Quai des Orfèvres to the Cathédrale de Notre Dame (Métro: Cité) open to visits most of the time. (To climb the towers, you must plan your visit. More...)
Then cross the Pont au Double to the Left Bank, turn right, and walk west along the river (Quai de Montebello and Quai de St-Michel) four blocks to the Place St-Michel. (Métro: St-Michel). This is an ideal spot for that feet-rest and pick-me-up as the cafés are plentiful and lively, with good people-watching possibilities.
Next, get lost in the Left Bank. Just pick a little street and walk down it. My favorite street for starting explorations, by the way, is Rue St-André-des-Arts, leading west out of Place St-Michel (map).
When you get lost and tired, say the magic word Métro and a savvy Parisian will point you toward the nearest station.
What? A day in Paris without an exhilarating trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower?
Yes. Unfortunately, the long wait to get to the top is probably not the best use of your valuable, short time in Paris. Besides, from the top of the Eiffel Tower you don't see...the Eiffel Tower! Here's the full story...
Another secret: the view from the Tour Montparnasse of the Eiffel Tower at dusk, when the tower is first illuminated, is simply breathtaking! (See the photo in the right column of this page.)
It's a perfect way to conclude your one precious day in Paris.