A day in Paris

We’ve been taking some time to create our One Day In series and Paris was the next obvious choice. You can take a day trip to Paris from London, Brussels, Amsterdam and other areas in France. I personally have been to the City of Lights 3 times before, and it’s a place I constantly dream of getting back to. While I highly encourage more than 1 day in this dreamy city, if that’s all you have – check out our perfect itinerary.

Chances are you’ll be arriving by train to Paris Gare du Nord Station. While here, I recommend purchasing some metro tickets. If you enjoy walking and the weather looks good, you should only need 4 tickets for this itinerary and can by them individually each time (1.90 euro). If you’re traveling with someone, or want to skip on some walking – you can also purchase a book of 10 single ride tickets for 16 euros.

Louvre

Your first move of the morning will be to take the Metro (line 7) to Palais Royal Musée du Louvre, which will take about 20 minutes. While the Louvre is no place to spend all your time if you’ve only got one day – it is worth seeing from the outside, since it’s an iconic site in the city of Paris!

  • Cost: Free to visit from outside (€15 to enter museum)
  • More Information: The Louvre
  • Estimated time needed: 30 minutes – 1 hour (outside)

Notre Dame

From the Louvre, set off in the direction of Notre Dame Cathedral. The walk is very scenic and will take you about 20 minutes. You’ll cross over the Seine River and soak in some Parisian architecture along the way. While you still cannot visit the inside of Notre Dame, due to the damaging fire that happened in 2019, you can admire its beauty from the outside.

  • Cost: Free
  • Estimated time needed: 15-30 minutes

Luxembourg Gardens

If you’ve got the stamina, another 20 minutes from Notre Dame you can make your way towards Luxembourg Gardens. The Palace and Gardens here were built in 1612 but are used today for the French Senate. En route, grab a fresh baguette to enjoy in the park!

  • Cost: Free
  • Estimated time needed: 15-30 minutes

Panthéon & Latin Quarter

Only 10 minutes from Luxembourg Gardens, you’ll find the Panthéon. Modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, it is the final resting place for Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Rousseau. If you have more time, it’s worth going in but for this day in Paris only – it’s simply a stop as you make your way around the city! From here, you’ll continue down the cobblestoned streets of the Latin Quarter for lunch!

  • Cost: Free to view from the outside (€7 to enter)
  • More Information: Panthéon Tickets
  • Estimated time needed: 15-30 minutes (outside)

Lunch at Le Vieux Bistrot

Le Vieux Bistrot

Only 8 minutes from the Panthéon on foot, you’ll come across a small and quaint restaurant called Le Vieux Bistrot. It is arguably my favorite restaurant in the world. Not only is it home to incredible dishes, but the prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is charming. It’s a great spot to rest your feet from a busy morning exploring some famous sites in Paris and enjoy a delicious lunch! (May I recommend the fondue or beef bourguignon?)

Arc de Triomphe

Now that you’ve been well fed, it’s time to make your way to the metro (line 7, then switch to line 1) and head 30 minutes to the other side of the city to see the Arc de Triomphe! Upon arrival, I recommend going to the top for a great 360 view of the city. From here you can spot the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur Basilica & more.

  • Cost: Free to view from the outside / €10 to enter & climb to the top
  • Reserve spots online here: Arc de Triomphe Tickets
  • Estimated time needed: 1 – 1.5 hours

Eiffel Tower

Fifteen minutes by metro (line 6) from the Arc de Triomphe, you’ll make your way to Trocadéro to see the Eiffel Tower. I love popping out at this metro stop because at first you think – where is the Eiffel Tower, I don’t see it!? And then you turn a corner to the most picture, perfect view. If time permits, this is a great place to bring a bottle of wine, some cheese or macarons to enjoy while you soak it all in. However – if you didn’t have a chance to pick anything up, make your way down towards the base of the Eiffel Tower to a crepe stand for an afternoon snack! I love saving the Eiffel Tower for later in the day because it’s one of the places people are most excited to see so the anticipation builds!

  • Cost: Free to view from outside / €17 to go to top
  • More Information: Eiffel Tower Tickets
  • Estimated time needed: 1 hour

Seine River Cruise

View from the Boat

From Trocadéro, head down towards the base of the Eiffel Tower. Along the Seine River you’ll see various boat tour companies lined up. Most typically they offer a one hour cruise, with information about the sites as you go up the river. If you can time it up right, the boat will be docking just as the Eiffel Tower sparkles for the first time that night.

Musée d’Orsay

Considering you’re only in Paris for a day, and will need to get back to catch a train – I recommend hopping on the metro (RER C to RER B) for 30 minutes to get back to Gare du Nord. If you happen to have an overnight Stopover, and have a little extra time in the City of Lights you may want to switch a few things around. Feel free to enter the Louvre, the Panthéon or even a different museum (for example, the Musée d’Orsay) and save the Arc de Triomphe for after the River cruise. If you can catch the Eiffel Tower light show a second time from the top of the Arc, it’s a great way to end your night in Paris!

View from the Arc de Triomphe

Paris is a picture perfect city, and if you’re able to spare more than a day: do it! But if you can’t swing it, hopefully this itinerary will allow you to hit some of the most iconic sites this place has to offer.

Au revoir, Amanda

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