Paris, “The City of Love” also known as “The City of Lights” has a lot to offer and much more hidden gems to discover. A day won’t be enough to unravel this wonderful city and experience its charm and magic. But, would it be possible to tour Paris in a day?
Nothing’s impossible for a hungry traveler, of course, you can! Though you might not be able to savor every bit of the city, there’s a sure-fire way to explore the famous spots and experience different French activities all in ONE DAY, which I will share with you.
Before Anything Else..
Make sure you have already decided and planned the following itineraries you choose to follow. Though I will give you some examples below for a worthwhile tour, it’s still all up to you. Try to breakdown the attractions and experiences that you believe are “doable” in one day.
Prepare your outfit accurately according to the current season. Gear up when its winter time or
Get a Breezy Dress in the Summer.
What’s most important is you are in comfortable clothing during the day so you can last a full day of touring. You can’t be feeling uncomfortable just because you feel too cold or warm because of the wrong outfit. It will surely ruin the most amazing trip ahead of you.
Bring a Map!
Google maps can’t be reliable sometimes especially if you are just using a cheap internet data bundle. Don’t risk getting lost. Learn to use the map just like the old times and navigate your way to your destination.
I know I said not to get lost, but it happens. If you ever will, it’s okay. Its when you’re lost, when you learn most about yourself and others.
But when in doubt, ask the locals. English speakers might be hard to find but trust me, French locals are really helpful, Don’t be intimidated.
Decide whether to take a hop on hop off bus or walk your way.
Both options are pretty fun but here’s my suggestion. If it’s summer, I’ll do the hop on hop off bus, instead of walking under the heat and suffer sunburn.
It is also during the summer where tons of tourists flock the city, so they might as well beat them by doing the bus to hit all of your top destinations in a splash.
For fall, autumn and winter, I suggest walking. It’s a good exercise and you will no longer feel the cold as you delight your eyes by the wonderful views of the city. Just make sure to gear up to protect yourself from the cold. And lastly..don’t forget to bring your umbrella!
Breakfast in Paris
Start the day right and wake up early to head experience some french local breakfast. What we did, we actually woke up as early as 6:00am to catch the freshest bread and pastries in the bakery.
Or better yet, head to cafes for a breakfast combo offering that they have. Here are my breakfast spots suggestions:
The Hardware Societe Paris
Located at 10 Rue Lamarck along with Montmartre’s bustling neighborhood, this top-notch Aussie-inspired breakfast or brunch place is a must-try.
Being in the top list, this Australian fusion of French cuisine lures the curious appetite of locals and tourists alike. They have a wide range of boulangeries, jams and coffees, plus a good breakfast deal of fewer than 15 euros.
Aux Arts Etc.Cafe Galerie d’Art
Located at 15 Quai de Montebello, all the artsy foodies out there will love this place, here’s a very artistic cafe just for you. They are famed for their amazing customer service and bountiful breakfast offerings.
Their eggs benedict is on top of the list that you should definitely try. While sipping your coffee, from the cafe, you will marvel at the architectural site of the Notre Dame.
Church Hopping in Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris and Sainte Chapelle
The last year 2019, sad news broke the hearts of the French people and tourists all over the world. The famed Notre Dame of Paris broke down by the fire.
However, this is not to encourage you but to give you some hope of its current restoration process. You can still admire its ruins. No matter how much damage it got from the fire, it is still a real beauty.
Not too far from Notre Dame, is the Sainte Chapelle, dubbed as the gem of Gothic Style. This stunning stained glass church was built for seven years to house precious Christian relics, including Christ’s crown of thorns, acquired by Saint Louis.
Its stained glass panes depict the same exact 1,113 scenes from both of the Old and New Testaments recounting the history of the world until the arrival of the relics in Paris.
Just right next to Sainte Chapelle, discover this splendid Gothic palace built by King Philip The Fair. This used to be a Royal residence for kings and queens which was then converted as a Palace of Justice.
The Kings of France abandoned the palace in the 14th century to move at the famed “The Louvre”. Some part of the palace was also converted into prison cells and revolutionary prison. The remarkable prisoner Marie-Antoinette was detained here during the French Revolution.
Go deep in history at the Pantheon
Located at the Latin Quarter of Paris, this impressive structure was first built as a church in 1758 dedicated to the Patron Saint of Paris, Genevieve.
After some time, it was later converted as a mausoleum for the remains of the most distinguished French citizens with the likes of the famous painters: Raphael and Annibale Carracci, composer Arcangelo Corelli and architect Baldassare Peruzzi.
You can enter here for free every European Heritage Days, which is on the third week of September.
Take a Break at the beautiful Le Jardin du Luxembourg
Not too far from the Pantheon, this beautiful garden is located at the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Built-in 1612 by Marie de’Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for her very own residence fit for a queen like her.
In this 23-hectare garden, you will not run out of the spot to choose to enjoy a quick break from all the walking or maybe take a lunch picnic while admiring the beauty of this garden.
Go for Lunch like a French Local
If you don’t feel like picnicking and wanted to go all out to spend a few bucks for a good french lunch, here are some good spots for you to try:
- Angelina Paris – just inside the corners of Luxembourg gardens, this place offers a lovely breakfast and lunch offerings since 1903. Their specialty is hot chocolate and their decadent sweets, a perfect pairing to replenish all the energy you need.
- La Cuisine de Philippe – a few steps from the previous restaurant, is a classy and quaint restaurant that serves all of your French favorites. They offer specials of the day at a decent price that can fill your hunger. Their lobster and souffle are a must-try!
- La Parisienne Madame – if you’re in a time crunch and just want food on the go, then here’s a treat for you. Still, near the Luxembourg gardens, their offerings are also quite competitive for the palate. A good selection of french sandwiches, fresh bread, cookies, and cakes will satisfy your taste buds. You can easily eat these goodies on your way to your next itinerary.
Shake off the calories and hit “The Louvre”
In less than 30 minutes, depending on your pace, of course, you will reach this famed museum. Just make sure you have reserved yourself a “skip the line” ticket to get rid of the long line of tourists who were also trying to see this famous landmark.
Spend an hour or two marveling on the most famous art displays from the world’s most renowned artists with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.
Do a cheat trip by riding the Seine River Cruise
What can be the easiest way to explore the city and cheat your way out? Well, ride a cruise for an hour. A lot of company boat tours offers a tour to the river, just choose wisely.
A knowledgeable tour guide will walk you through the amazing landmarks around the river, without having to get off and walk through them. Make sure your eyes won’t skip any of those famous landmarks. This cruise will surely give you a picturesque view of the “Eiffel Tower”.
Pay Tribute to the Fallen Heroes of Arc de Triomphe
I’m pretty sure the cruise has recharged your remaining energy, take advantage while it lasts! Head to one of the famous monuments in France, Arc de Triomphe.
Also near Eiffel Tower, this historical monument was built between 1806 and 1836 to honor the fallen soldiers during the French revolution.
If you still have more time, go inside the museum and learn more about its meaningful history. If you’re tight with time, you can still enjoy its view from the outside and take a perfect selfie.
Snack on Street Crepes
One thing you’ll notice in the streets of Paris is the huge number of Crepe street vendors. They have a huge selection of flavors to choose from for an affordable price.
Their crepes are very good and a nice ending of your hectic afternoon. You can also pair it with a good coffee from one of those cafes near Arc de Triomphe. Just take a pick.
Visit Van Gogh’s Old Apartment
Just like any other tourist spots, Van Gogh’s old abode can get packed, too no matter the season. So be sure you have your tickets with you ahead of time.
From Arc de Triomphe, take the metro like a local and head to the district of Montmartre. A private guided walking tour will welcome you to give you a glimpse of the life and history of this most renowned artist.
Chill at Montmartre
Right after a worthwhile tour from Van Gogh’s old apartment, take a good break by sipping a drink to end your tour at the bustling district of Montmartre.
Tons of bars and pubs are lined up to entertain your thirsty self. It’s not too bad to reward yourself for a long day of sightseeing. Here are some good bars to drink at:
- Le Proibido – just a few meters from Van Gogh’s apartment is this high rating bar that offers a wide array of beers, liquor and best choice of wines.
- Chez Camille – is a cozy spot with a charming touch of its interior design that lures lots of locals and even tourists to get a tasty drink before grabbing dinner.
- Le Cave doe Abbesses – specializes in wine, you can never go wrong with this place. Whether you like it red and dry or sweet and smooth, they got it down for you.
End your day with an Authentic French Dinner
You can’t leave Paris and end it without a classic dinner at a french restaurant. Montmartre has a lot of restaurants to choose from with impressive ratings from its regulars and first-time diners. Here are the top spots you could choose from:
- Le Restaurant Montmartre – Offers an exceptional dining experience and delectable wines, this place will surely end your day with a memorable note. Take on with their specialties featuring their baked goat in cheese and honey sauce.
- La Bascule – This restaurant has a modern fusion and a mixture of authentic French cuisine. With its trendy vibe, younger fanatics flock in this famous spot. They are famous for their burgers and tasty fries on the side.
- Le Vachet et la Cuisinier – and last but not the least is my top one out of all the restaurants in Montmartre, by far the best in Paris. Make sure to not skip this restaurant or you’ll regret it. I have tasted the best veal and lamb steak here cooked to perfection. Their wine selections are also good to pair with your meal.
Before you call it a day, enjoy the night scene of Paris with its colorful street lights and walk on its old but cute cobbled streets. The day for you might be already over but the city never sleeps.
This might be quite a lot but I can assure you that when you are already there, the tour is surprisingly EASY. Do not worry too much and just enjoy the day that you have to spare in the beautiful city of Paris. Anyway, you are in Paris, you are lucky!