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Paris for a day? Ouf. It’s certainly not ideal but if one day in Paris is all you have, then this one day in Paris itinerary will lead you to some of its most famous landmarks, and give you a taste of the city’s vibrant culture.
Of course, the world-famous Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral are included! Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, Paris never fails to amaze and delight, even in one day!
So, put on your walking shoes, grab your camera, and get ready to experience the magic of Paris in this one day itinerary!
Planning Your Trip to Paris? (Or Further A Field Since You Are Only In Paris For 1 Day)
Book your airline tickets with my favourite platform, Skyscanner.
Book a transfer from Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport with Welcome Pick Ups.
Reserve a car (not for Paris) but for a road trip in France
Reserve train tickets for further travels in Europe with Trainline (my go-to)
Where To Stay In Paris:
Check out these 13 Affordable Hotels in Paris
Near Ile de la Cité: The Hotel Bourg Tibourg in the Marais. Find other Boutique hotels in the Marais.
Near the Arc de Triomphe: The stylish 4-star Hotel Keppler
With an Eiffel Tower View: This 3-star Hotel with excellent reviews
Near the Louvre: The charming 4-star Relais du Louvre
Banks Of The Seine: UNESCO World Heritage Site
You might be surprised to find out that Paris only has one UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Rives de la Seine or the Banks of the Seine is recognized by UNESCO for its historical significance and exceptional architecture and includes many of Paris’s most famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum.
The Banks of the Seine encompasses a 2.8 mile/ 4.5-kilometre stretch of the Seine River, and on this one day in Paris itinerary, we will be passing by many of the highlights!
Paris In A Day: Ile de la Cité
Let’s start right in the heart of Paris.
Ile de la Cite is a small island located in the heart of Paris and is considered the historical centre of the city. It is home to many of Paris’s most iconic landmarks, including the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.
The 5 Essential Sights On Ile de la Cité
1. Notre Dame Cathedral: Currently undergoing restoration after the devastating fire in 2019, one can still admire its stunning Gothic architecture and view all the displayed panels detailing the fire and the restoration. The magnificent spire, added by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, is supposed to reappear in 2023 and the Cathedral is set to reopen in 2024.
2. Sainte-Chapelle: Built in the 13th century, this stunning Gothic chapel’s most notable feature is its incredible stained glass windows. To best appreciate Sainte-Chapelle, it is necessary to buy a ticket and enter. You won’t regret it. Buy your skip the line tickets here.
3. The Conciergerie: Stroll past this magnificent building with its turrets and marvel at its history. A royal palace until the 14th century, the Conciergerie became a prison during the French Revolution. The most famous prisoner of the Conciergerie was Marie Antoinette, the queen of France, who was held here before her execution in 1793.
4. Place Dauphine: Located on the western tip of the Île de la Cité in Paris, Place Dauphine is a picturesque square that exudes charm and history. Stop at one of the cafés and watch a game of pétanque.
5. Pont Neuf: Pont Neuf, or “New Bridge,” is the oldest standing bridge in Paris. Linger a little and enjoy the spectacular views over the Seine. Don’t miss the famous macarons (faces) that adorn the sides of the bridge.
Read More: 25 Essential Paris Travel Tips. If you like getting off the beaten path, here are 25 hidden gems in Paris. Really want to explore secret Paris? There are over 60 secret spots in my eBook, Paris for the Curious Stroller.
Paris Highlights Close To Ile de la Cité
If you want to wander a little off the set itinerary, here are a few suggestions:
- Ile Saint-Louis: Île Saint-Louis, connected to Île de la Cité by the famous Pont Saint-Louis, is a charming island with beautiful 17th-century architecture, quaint cafes, boutiques, and artisanal shops that offer a glimpse into traditional Parisian life. Don’t miss the famous ice cream shop, Berthillon. A 5 minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral.
Pop into the Latin Quarter
- Shakespeare and Company: Shakespeare and Company is a legendary independent bookstore that has been attracting book lovers and literary enthusiasts for nearly a century. A 3-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral.
- Odette’s: Odette’s is famous for its melt-in-your-mouth delicate cream puffs. It’s in an adorable building too! A 4-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral.
Stroll Into Saint Germain des Prés
- From Pont Neuf, take rue Guénégaud to rue Mazarine. Turn right onto lively rue de Buci where you will find a convivial atmosphere among all the cafés. Follow rue de Buci to rue de Seine, a narrow street full of Parisian boutiques and art dealers. Stop at the historic café La Palette, a popular spot for artists and intellectuals since the early 20th century. Follow rue de Seine back to the Seine River. Pont Neuf to rue de Buci is a 7 minute walk. Rue de Buci, back down rue de Seine to the Pont des Arts is another 7 minutes. Don’t forget to add time for dilly-dallying.
Head to the Right Bank
- La Samaritaine: La Samaritaine is a historic department store which first opened in 1870 and after a decade-long renovation reopened in 2021. Have a quick peek in this upscale department store to get a sense of Paris fashion and luxury. A 3-minute walk from Pont Neuf.
One Day In Paris Itinerary: Walk The Banks Of The Seine
- Pont des Arts: also known as the “Bridge of Arts,” is a pedestrian bridge spanning the Seine River. Also known as the “love locks” bridge, as for years couples from around the world attached padlocks to its railings as a symbol of their devotion to one another. Forbidden now as the weight of the locks was damaging the bridge, people still flock to Pont des Arts, for stunning views of the Seine, the Eiffel Tower and Ile de la Cité. Maybe you’ll luck out and see artists sketching or musicians entertaining.
- The Bouquinistes: The bouquinistes of Paris are a unique and beloved feature of the city’s cultural landscape. These open-air booksellers can be found along the Seine River, selling everything from vintage postcards to antique books and prints. It’s a tradition that dates back to the 16th century.
One Day In Paris Itinerary: The Louvre
The Louvre is one of the most iconic and famous museums in the world. Originally built as a fortress in the 12th century, it was transformed into a palace for the French monarchs in the 16th century, before being converted into a museum in 1793.
You’ll have to decide if you are going to take the time to enter the Louvre or simply admire it from the outside. For some art lovers, seeing the Mona Lisa is a must on a trip to Paris, even if only in Paris for a day. Others will wait to visit the Louvre during a longer stay in Paris.
There’s no quick popping into the Louvre. Count on a minimum of 2 hours, even with your mandatory reserved timed-entrance ticket. Get your ticket here.
The pyramid at the Louvre is an iconic symbol of the Louvre. Designed by renowned Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, the pyramid was completed in 1989 and serves as the main entrance to the museum. The pyramid is surrounded by three smaller pyramids and sits adjacent to the historic Louvre Palace. Stop by to admire its unique beauty and design.
One Day In Paris Itinerary: The Palais Royal
Have you seen photos of the black and white columns in Paris? Only a 4 minute walk from the Louvre, The Deux Plateaux, also known as the Colonnes de Buren, is a contemporary art installation located in the courtyard of the Palais Royal.
It was created by the French artist Daniel Buren in 1986 and features a series of black and white striped columns of varying heights. Pop by and have some fun with the camera!
The Palais Royal is a stunning palace from the 17th century that served as a royal residence until the French Revolution. The stunning architecture and beautiful gardens of the Palais Royal are well worth a visit. Grab a coffee at Bonjour Palais Royal and sit by the central fountain on an iconic green metal chair. Yup! You’re in Paris!
One Day In Paris Itinerary Tips: Now you’ll need to backtrack towards the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens. (a 4- 6 minute walk)
One Day In Paris Itinerary: The Tuileries Gardens
The Jardin des Tuileries is a breathtaking public garden featuring a stunning array of sculptures, fountains, and meticulously maintained gardens. These oldest public gardens in Paris were first created in the 16th century by Catherine de Medici.
Take a few minutes to admire the flowers, the fountains, the view of the Eiffel Tower, and then stroll the walkways towards the Place de la Concorde.
Paris Highlights Close To Tuileries Gardens
- The Musée d’Orsay: housed in a grand Beaux-Arts railway station that was originally built in 1900, the Musée d’Orsay is the second most visited museum in Paris. Art lovers may choose to pop in here but beware. The collections are rather seductive and it will need a minimum of 2 hours. Buy your reserved entrance time ticket or simply choose to admire the stunning building on your 1 day in Paris. A 4 minute walk from the Tuileries Gardens.
- Angelina: The legendary tea room and pâtisserie serving its famous hot chocolate is super close. The tea room’s Belle Epoque decor is charming. A 1 minute walk from the Tuileries Gardens.
One Day In Paris Itinerary: Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde is a famous public square known for its iconic Obelisk of Luxor, which was gifted to France by Egypt in the early 19th century. The square is also home to two stunning fountains, which are adorned with sculptures of mythical creatures and figures. The square has been the site of many important events throughout history, including the execution of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution, and the famous July Revolution of 1830.
One Day In Paris Itinerary Tips: You’re now facing straight up the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe!
One Day In Paris Itinerary: The Champs Elysées
The Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world. The street has been a symbol of Parisian elegance and sophistication for over a century, attracting tourists from all over the world. The Champs-Élysées is particularly famous for its shopping, with many high-end boutiques and designer stores calling the street home.
Paris For One Day Tip: Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe is a 30-minute walk. You may want to take Métro Line 1 (6 minutes) depending on your time.
One Day In Paris Itinerary: Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris. Commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 to honour the French army, the arc was completed in 1836. If you are choosing not to climb the Eiffel Tower, the panoramic view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe is fabulous and includes the Eiffel Tower. Reserve your ticket here to climb the 284 steps!
Paris For One Day Tips: From the Arc de Triomphe, take Metro Line 6 to Trocadéro
Place du Trocadéro
Place du Trocadéro is best known for its stunning views of the Eiffel Tower, which can be seen from across the Seine River. Linger here and marvel at the Eiffel Tower. There are plenty of great photo opportunities. Then wander towards the Seine River and cross the Pont d’Iena to the Eiffel Tower.
One Day In Paris Itinerary: Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, Standing at a height of 1063 feet/324 meters, the tower was completed in 1889. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for stunning panoramic views of Paris, or simply admire the tower’s iconic silhouette from afar.
One Day In Paris Itinerary Tips: Book your tickets to ascend the Eiffel Tower here. The Eiffel Tower glitters on the hour every hour for 5 minutes. Don’t miss this!
The Seine River Cruise
Taking a one-hour Seine River cruise is an unforgettable highlight of the one day in Paris itinerary. I suggest an evening tour, especially at dusk, to admire Paris’s famous monuments lit up! The dock is found near the Eiffel Tower, so plan accordingly. Book your Seine River Cruise tickets.
I hope you enjoy seeing these unforgettable sights on this one day in Paris itinerary.
Until next time,
More Travel Info
Gastronomy In Paris
In Paris for one day? Here are some top French food tips:
Where to find the best croissant in Paris is essential reading!
Which Pâtisseries in Paris to try.
How To Eat A Baguette Like the French.
Have you tried these French cheeses?
Thanks for sharing these great ideas! I look forward to experiencing some of them in May !!!