If you're looking to hit the major sites of Paris without waiting in long lines and to explore a new angle of the city, our one day Paris itinerary is for you. We have created this itinerary for those who are short on time and wish to see the highlights of Paris in a day.
1 Day Paris Itinerary Overview
A Day in Paris
Morning: Breakfast at a Parisian Cafe
We started our morning off at a cafe close to our hotel and enjoyed an oven fresh baguette with butter, orange juice and a cappuccino. Grab a seat outside, face the street and watch the world go by.
Daytime: Walk the Promenade Plantée & see the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro
We walked the Promenade Plantée, a 4.7 km elevated parkway through the city, which we think is one of the best kept secrets in Paris. We started at the metro Bel Air entrance point and ended at Bastille. The walk is a quiet break from the busy streets with locals out for runs and wonderful shade.
We continued to Île Saint-Louis, an island on the Seine river filled with boutiques, cafes and restaurants. We stopped for lunch and some delicious gelato.
From there we waded through the hoards of people at the famous Notre Dame cathedral. Although very touristy, you must see the architecture of the church from the flying buttresses to the creepy gargoyles on the side. The gargoyles have two purposes. First, to project rainwater away from the building and second, to protect the church from evil or harmful spirits.
Next, we hopped on the metro to Trocadéro for one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower day or night. It's the same view as the famous picture of Hitler posing with the tower after occupying Paris in 1940.
Evening: People watch at Montmartre & keep the night going at Le China
After admiring the Eiffel tower, we hopped back on the subway to Montmarte. The large hill in Paris was formerly a bohemian district home to every type of creative artist in the 19th and 20th century. Picasso, Monet, and Vincent van Gogh lived and painted here! Today it's touristy, but it has a lot of charm you don't want to miss.
We climbed up the stairs and walked through the cobblestone streets in the former artists' district. We found the perfect seat at an outdoor cafe to drink Aperol Spritz and eat dinner and relax. It's the perfect people watching spot. Try a game when you see a tour guide holding up their flag: "What country is the tour group is from?".
Once finished, we caught a view of the glimmering Eiffel Tower on our way back down the steps. We jumped on the subway and got off at Bastille to keep the night going at Le China, a hip locals spot.
The Le China lounge is dim inside with red lights and a sexy vibe. People are well dressed here and the cocktails are immaculate. Upstairs is more relaxed with midcentury cocktail piano, while downstairs gets a bit more lively. We also nibbled on an order of delicious chicken spring rolls and could not stop ourselves from ordering another.
If you're looking for a way to see Paris, the people living there and the people visiting there, this is the way to do it. No museums required.
Planning a trip to France? Check out our Cap-Ferret travel itinerary of France's chic and relaxed beach town.
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