Paris in 1 day: What to do in Paris in one day

When I was studying abroad in Lille, France, I was constantly visiting Paris for 1 day to show the city to friends who visited me. Paris has so many beautiful places to visit and you need several days to visit it thoroughly. However, if you don’t have several days to spare, I recommend following along because I am going to list the must-see places in Paris. I must warn you, you’ll probably walk till your feet bleed but it’ll all be worth it. 

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Table of contents

One day in Paris itinerary

Are you ready to get to know the best of Paris?

1. Eiffel Tower and Place du Trocadéro

I recommend starting your trip in Paris by visiting its most iconic monument: the Eiffel Tower. Trocadero Square offers some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower. Once you leave the metro station (Trocadero) full of enthusiasm and desire, you still have to walk a few meters to see it. It increases the wow-factor by ten once you finally get to see the tower. Once you leave the “Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine” behind, and enter the square, you finally get to see the incredible Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Honestly, the view is breathtaking even if you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower several times already!

After enjoying the view and taking some photos, you should head down the stairs and cross the Trocadero Gardens and then cross the Pont d’lena. Continue a few meters and you will have the tower above your head. If there isn’t a long line, I recommend going up to the observatory at the top of the tower. The panoramic view of Paris is incredible. 

EIFFEL TOWER SCHEDULE

The Eiffel Tower is open from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. (9:00 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. from June 21 to September 2). On July 14th (French National Day) it is closed.

EIFFEL TOWER TICKET PRICE

– Elevator ticket to the 2nd floor: Adults: $17 / Youth (12 – 24 years): $9 / Children (4 – 11 years): $5 / Children under 4 years: Free

– Ticket of stairs to the 2nd floor: Adults: $10 / Youth (12 – 24 years): $5 / Children (4 – 11 years): $3 / Children under 4 years: Free

– Elevator ticket to the top: Adults: $27 / Youth (12 – 24 years): $14 / Children (4 – 11 years): $7 / Children under 4 years: Free

– Stair ticket + elevator to the top: Adults: $20 / Youth (12 – 24 years): $10 / Children (4 – 11 years): $6 / Children under 4 years: Free

TIPS FOR VISITING THE EIFFEL TOWER

Buy your tickets in advance. I recommend this especially if you don’t have a lot of time in Paris, as you will save time. If you are going to be in Paris for more than 1 day, it is better that you buy the tickets at the place which will give you the opportunity to determine if the weather is good. 

– Take the stairs! You can go up to the 2nd floor. You won’t have to wait in line for the elevator and admission is cheaper. There are 670 steps, so you get some exercise on the way as well!

– If you have time, visit the Eiffel Tower both during the day and at night. Seeing it lighten up is a totally different and magical experience. If you don’t have a lot of time to go twice, consider going at the end of your one day trip to Paris to enjoy the sunset.

– If you want, you can book a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower.

Once you’ve visited the Eiffel Tower, head across Champ de Mars and take the metro at École Militaire.

paris in 1 day
Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro

2. Arc de Triomphe and Champs Élysées, must-visit places in Paris in one day

Going to Arc de Triomphe is very simple. You take line 8 at École Militaire to Concorde and transfer to line 1 to Charles de Gaulle-Étoile. In case you didn’t know, going up to the Arc de Triomphe is also possible and the views are very beautiful. There is always a long line and many steps to get to the top (but hey, you can burn the crêpes and waffles you’ve eaten during the visit!).

ARC DE TRIOMPHE HOURS OF OPERATION

Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (from April 1 to September 30 until 11 p.m.). It is closed on December 25th and January 1st. It is also closed on the morning of May 1 and 8, July 14 and November 11.

ARC DE TRIOMPHE TICKET PRICE

If you want to go up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, you have to buy a ticket. These are the prices:

– Standard rate: around $12.
– Free for people under 18 years of age and young people (18 – 25 years old) from the EU or EEA.

After your visit, you can head down to Champs Elysées. If you’ve gone to Paris wanting to go on a spending spree, this is probably one of the best areas in the city to go shopping. There are both luxury stores and more normal stores.

There is also many cafeteria-patisseries and fast food restaurants. I recommend going to Paul. It is a franchise with stores all throughout France and other countries but the products are good. Be sure to try the Beignets filled with chocolate or Nutella; so delicious!

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Arc de Triomphe

3. Place de la Concorde and Louvre Museum

Once you’ve crossed Champs Elysées, you will arrive at Place de la Concorde. Did you know that it is the second largest square in France after Place Des Quinconces (Bordeaux)? There are many chairs scattered around the fountains where you can sit and relax. This garden is an ideal place to sit and give your feet some rest.

After visiting the garden, you will arrive at the grandiose Louvre Museum. Warning! There is always a long line to enter but if you are a bit lucky, you may not have to wait long and have the chance to visit the museum. If you make it inside, I recommend that you go directly to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace.

LOUVRE MUSEUM HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday: from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday: from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. It closes on Tuesdays.

LOUVRE MUSEUM TICKET PRICE

If you buy the ticket in the museum, the price is $16. If you buy it online it costs $19. Although the online ticket is a little more expensive, I highly recommend opting for this alternative since you will have to wait much less time in line. Sometimes you can wait hours. However, if you have the online entry, the maximum waiting time is approximately 30 minutes. You can buy tickets to the Louvre Museum here.

You can also book a guided tour of the Louvre Museum. It is the best option for those who really are into art, history and culture.

paris en 1 dia
What to see in Paris in 1 day

4. Notre Dame de Paris, a must see in your 1-day trip to Paris

You cannot miss Notre Dame during your day in Paris. It’s a 22-minute walk from Louvre Museum or you can also take the metro from Louvre-Rivoli to Cité (10 minutes). Be sure to enter this beautiful cathedral and even go to the top. The view of Paris from Notre Dame is my favorite.

I am aware that entering to every emblematic place is difficult in one day. I am giving you options, it is up to you to decide which places are worth your time entering.

NOTRE DAME DE PARIS HOURS OF OPERATION

Notre Dame is open every day of the year from 7:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. (7:15 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays). Tower Viewpoint: from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. from April 1 to September 30).

NOTRE DAME DE PARIS TICKET PRICE

Entering the cathedral is free. However, if you want to go up to the towers to get up close and personal with the gargoyles and enjoy the view, you have to pay an entrance fee of $11 (standard price). You can also do a guided tour of Notre Dame.

After visiting this famous cathedral, you can cross the Seine River and walk south for 10 minutes so you can get to the Pantheon in Paris. Its construction began in 1764 and ended in 1790. It became one of the first neoclassical monuments in the country.

paris in one day
Notre-Dame de Paris

5. Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, a must see in Paris in one day

If you decide not to visit the Pantheon, return to Cité metro station and head to Anvers (20 minute train ride). If you visited the Pantheon, take the metro at one of the nearby stations and also go to Anvers (25-30 minutes). Once you have arrived at Anvers, go up Carrer de Steinkerque to Place Louise Michel where you’ll be able to see the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the top.

From your position to the basilica there are no more and no less than 222 steps. So, take a breath and get ready to climb a lot of steps. Once you’ve arrived at the top you can enjoy the view of Paris and visit the interior of the basilica. Then, venture into the streets of Montmartre and enjoy a walk through the most bohemian neighborhood of Paris.

The basilica is open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is possible to take a guided tour of Sacre Coeur.

paris en 1 dia
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre
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Where to stay in Paris

If you’re staying a night in Paris and need a place to stay, you can take a look at the list below and find several great options for your next trip to Paris. I have stayed in all the hotels in Paris that I mention below:

CitizenM Paris Gare de Lyon. This hotel is very modern and in a great location. There are several bus stops nearby and a metro station. The rooms are very clean and roomy. Staying at this hotel is very convenient if you have to take a train at Gare de Lyon very early in the morning.

R. Kipling by Happyculture. This hotel is located near Moulin Rouge. The rooms are a small but well lit. My partner and I had a great experience at this hotel. 

Mercure Paris Opera Garnier. The location is very good. Breakfast is not included with the price of the room but I remember that it was very abundant. Of course, the rooms are somewhat small, but that is usually the case in Paris.

More affordable options. I have not stayed in the following hotels but I have been doing my research and these are three of the most popular and valued hostels in Paris: Generator Paris, Le Village Montmartre by Hiphophostels (located very close to Sacré-Coeur) and The Loft Boutique Hostel. All these hotels have private and shared rooms.

More places to visit in Paris

Visiting Paris in a day can be a challenge. In this post I did my best pointing out the must-see places in Paris if you are only visiting for one day. However, there are many more places and monuments to visit. In this link you’ll find 77 things to do in Paris (article coming soong!). Some must-see places are:

  • Boat ride on the Seine River 
  • Invalides
  • Garnier opera
  • Moulin rouge
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Church of the Madeleine
  • Orsay’s Museum
  • Pompidou Center
  • Luxembourg gardens
  • Catacombs of Paris
  • Bois de Boulogne
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Tips to visit Paris in a day

Visiting Paris in 1 day is not an easy task. Below, you’ll find a few tips to make your visit as pleasant and easy as possible:

Como visitar París en 1 día no es tarea fácil, te doy unos pequeños consejos para hacer tu visita lo más agradable y fácil posible:

– Download the Paris Metro app. It is the app that I use every time I travel to Paris because I don’t want to waste time getting lost in the metro. It’s very simple to use and works without an Internet connection.

– You are going to walk a lot so wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

– If you’re already familiar with French gastronomy and do not want to use your time to go to restaurants, I advise you to carry food and drinks in your backpack and eat as you get hungry. If you decide to eat at a restaurant, I recommend going to Bouillon Chartier. You will find traditional French food at a very good price.

– If your French isn’t very good, carry an English-French dictionary on your phone in case you need to ask someone for an address or any other matter.

– If you want to save some time walking but go around the city instead of taking the metro, you can use the public bicycles and move around Paris faster.

Do you think I should include other places in my Paris in one day guide? Do you want to suggest something, ask me any questions about Paris or tell me about your experience in the French capital? Feel free to leave a comment down below.

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