Can a city as big and beautiful as Paris be explored in a day?
Sure! If you know where you’re going, that is.
If you’re short on time in the city of lights, we’ve got the perfect itinerary for you to explore the best of Paris in a day! From visiting the top Paris landmarks to squeezing in a few quintessential Parisian experiences into your day.
Paris in a day itinerary
When we say you can explore Paris in a day, we mean visiting the most popular landmarks in the city. Many of them are within easy commuting distance and can be visited within a few hours—you just need to know what order to visit them in!
First off, start your day early by going for a morning walk along the city streets and look for a quaint French café for breakfast. A typical French breakfast is light and fairly simple—and usually something sweet! To make the most of your day in Paris, opt for a coffee/tea and a delicious pastry of your choice.
Check out our guide on Paris for Beginners: Where and What to Eat, See or Do
After breakfast, it’s time to head out for a Paris in a day tour.
If you’re visiting Paris in Winter, make sure to watch our video below for some secret winter tips:
Here are the top landmarks and tourist sites to check out on your day tour of Paris:
Start your Paris in a day tour at Montmarte, a large hill in the 18th arrondissement (here’s our guide on the Paris arrondissements). This charming quarter (near Abbesses Metro station) is famous for being a square of artists and for the Sacré-Coeur Church.
You’ll find many open-air art galleries and museums with works from Renoir, Picasso, Dalí, and Toulouse Lautrec.
2. See the Opéra Garnier and Place Vendôme
Opéra Garnier and the Place Vendôme are about a 10-minute walk from each other. Opéra Garnier is a 19th-century theater art architecture. You can visit the 1,979-seat opera house for a guided tour inside to witness the beautiful masterpiece.
Place Vendôme is one of the city’s most famous squares. It currently houses famous high-end stores, such as Dior, Chanel or Cartier.
3. The Louvre
The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world and one of the most popular and iconic landmarks in the city. It is the home of some of the best-known works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
If you have the time, you can visit the Louvre, but waiting times are often long.
Here is a tip for you and how you get into the Louvre museum quicker.
A great option is to visit the Louvre with a quality tour guide. You’ll get into the museum quicker, as a certified tour guide can skip the line with you. On top you will get great explanations and you can ask your own questions about the different art, which you’ll see.
The Louvre is huge and you could spend the whole day here. Or you could choose the 2 hour guided Louvre highlights tour, which will include the iconic masterpieces such as the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory, The Da Vinci paintings and many more treasures of the number one museum of France.
For a full Art experience of Paris, you could also combine the Louvre tour with the Orsay Museum to learn more about the evolution of Western Paintings from 1200 to Renaissance to Impressionism to 1950.
So, if you’re only exploring Paris in a day, then you might only have time to walk about the outside and take a few classic photos. But if you are into art, and you don’t want to miss the Mona Lisa, then a highlight tour with a guide is the right choice.
4. Notre-Dame Cathedral
While the Notre-Dame Cathedral is still under renovation after the 2019 fire, you can still see the iconic Cathedral from the outside.
5. Les Invalides
Another popular landmark, Les Invalides was built in 1670 to 1676 as a place of retirement for French war veterans. Today, it contains museums and monuments relating to the military history of France.
6. Pont Alexandre III and the Grand Palais
The Pont Alexandre III is a deck arch bridge over the Seine of Paris. It connects the Invalides with the Champs-Elysées and is one of the most ornate, extravagant bridges in the city.
The bridge leads to Grand Palais on the right bank. Grand Palais is a historic site, exhibition hall and museum complex located at the Champs-Élysées.
7. The Champs-Elysées Avenue
The Champs-Elysées Avenue is a 1.9-kilometre avenue running between the Place de la Concorde in the east and the Place Charles de Gaulle in the west, where the Arc de Triomphe is located. This famous street is known for its cafes and luxury shops. A stroll down the Champs-Elysées is a must for all first-time visitors to Paris.
8. Eiffel Tower
What better way to end your day than visiting the Eiffel Tower? Whether you just see the bottom area to witness the grand tower up close or choose to go up to the top, you can’t leave the city without a classic selfie with the Eiffel Tower.
Don’t forget to eat
While doing your Paris in a day tour, lookout for a classic Parisian restaurant to stop at for lunch. Or, look for a quaint bakery to pick up a few goodies for a picnic if the weather is good. Check out our guide on food in Paris for some inspiration.
After your day of exploring, you’ll be hungry. Trendy restaurants in the city often require reservations weeks, if not months in advance. So, unless you planned to trip in advance, you may be better off strolling along the city streets looking for restaurants with an open table (hopefully a good one!)
Save the hassle of getting around on your own and book a car tour
Tour Guide Paris has partnered up with a driver called Sam to deliver high-end car tours in the city of lights. The four-hour tour is in a Mercedes car (Class V: 6 seats / Class E or Class S: 2 seats) and includes the driver and a tour guide to take you to all the above-listed landmarks and sightseeing spots.
Travelling around the city by car isn’t easy with the eco-friendly laws in the city, and many roads are closed off and only accessible to taxis and delivery vehicles. Luckily, Sam has a special Taxi + VTC license that allows you to navigate the streets of historic Paris and see the Louvre and other historical attractions.
Book your Paris car tour with Sam.