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The best of Paris in a day

The best of Paris in a day

Can you really do Paris in a day? Well of course you won’t see everything but with this guide you’ll be able to see the main spots that make this city famous in less than 24 hours. So let’s go!

8.30am- Ok I know it’s early, but we’ve got lots of things to see people! Start off your morning at the Arc de Triomphe. It is one of the most famous monuments in Paris and stands at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It was built between 1806 and 1836 upon instructions from Napoleon to make “a column dedicated to the glory of the Grand Armee”.

Arc de Triumphe

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I also rests beneath the Arc. The slab above carries the inscription, “Here lies a French soldier who died for his fatherland 1914-1918”. The Arc is simply stunning to see in person, the details of the statues and ceiling are really beautiful. Even better you don’t have to pay to see the monument and it will only take you about half an hour to take a proper look around and read the plaques.

Arc de Triumphe

9.00am- After visiting the Arc, take the metro (Paris undergound/subway) to St-Michel Notre Dame on the blue line and visit the Notre Dame Cathedral. It is the most famous Gothic church from the Middle Ages and is distinguished for its size, antiquity, and architectural interest…it also featured in the Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (had to get that in there!).

Outside Notre Dame

The Cathedral is fascinating, even just being outside looking up admiring the details in the architecture is amazing. Inside, it’s even more impressive with a 13th Century organ and original gothic architecture, 10 large original bells, two towers with breath-taking views over central Paris and the Seine and archaeological crypts that protect historical ruins.

It’s only €8.50 to go in and will take you about an hour (including time for taking your pictures outside).

Notre Dame

10.30am- After Notre Dame Cathedral, take the metro and get off at Champ de Mars/ Tour Eiffel on the RER C line and head over to the one and only, Eiffel Tower.

Under the Tower

Known locally as La Dame de fer, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognised landmarks in the world. Built originally as a temporary structure for the World’s Fair in 1900, it still stands over 100 years later!

On the day I went it was in February and absolutely freezing! Despite the chance of longer queues, I would advise visiting Paris when the weather is nicer. My view from the Eiffel Tower was constructed by a great deal of mist. boo!

Also something you don’t expect when visiting the Eiffel Tower is that the lift to get to the top is really rickety and a little unnerving, it also goes up slightly on it’s side which is an odd experience!

Eiffel Tower

12.00/12.30pm- After looking round at the view and checking out the tower, stop off for lunch and a glass of french wine before you head down. It’s another perspective on Paris as well as taking a break before your next stop.

It’s €9.00 to get in and with lunch will take you about 2- 3 hours (although if you have a misty day like me, you might not last as long out in the elements!).

Looking out from the Eiffel Tower restaurant

2.30pm- After your rest bite, it’s time to head off to the Louvre, take the metro and get off at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre station (line 1).

Pyramid at the Louvre

3.00pm- The Louvre is absolutely huge! It’s a must-visit in Paris for its huge breadth of art and historical artefacts. Originally built as a palace, it’s now the most visited art gallery in the world with a staggering 9.7 million visitors a year.

Astonishingly, I was a little disappointed by the big star of the Louvre- the Mona Lisa. There was a great deal of hype and there were many other paintings there more poignant and beautiful in the museum than this (sorry Leonardo!).

However something that positively won’t disappoint you is the Egyptian section. The Louvre houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian antiquities after the Cairo Museum. It is also one of the best balanced of the world’s great collections with masterpieces from every period.


6.00pm- If you’re not a museum person you may do an hour or two and be ready to go however it shuts at 6pm most days so you have plenty of time if you do want to have a proper look around.

Entrance to the Louvre is €9.00. If you head there after 6pm on a Wednesday or Friday, entrance is reduced to just €6.00 and the museum is open until 9.45pm. Entrance is free for under 26s on Friday evenings as well.

And that is it my friends! After 6pm have a stroll down the River Seine and find a nice place to have dinner (Paris has fantastic food) or head back to your hotel to get ready for a night on the tiles. I’ll make sure to cover nightlife in another post.

Is there anything you would add to your perfect day in Paris? Comment below :)

Mel x

About the author

Hi, I’m Mel! The adventure-seeking vegan travel blogger behind Footsteps on the Globe. On this blog you'll find my latest adventures, travel inspiration as well as tips and tricks on how to be vegan around the world. You don’t have to give up being vegan to follow your travel dreams and I’m here to show you how!