Famous for the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Cathedral Notre Dame; Paris is versatile, charming and there are endless discoveries to be made. If you want to experience the capital of France but don't have too much time, I have some good tips on how to accommodate the highlights of the city in one day.
Off to the city of love!
As the Parisian subway network is very well developed, you can go almost everywhere by metro. Therefore my tip first of all: Get a day ticket before your first trip, you will save a lot of money and can also choose your hotel according to your preferences.
Let's go, Bonjour Paris! The French don't attach too much importance to breakfast, which is why the "Petit Déjeuner" is rather sparse in most hotels and accommodations. Instead, buy a freshly baked croissant and a deliciously scented café à emporter in the Boulangerie on the way and enjoy your "breakfast" in the Parc du Champs de Mars, which is located directly in front of the Eiffel Tower. What better way to start the day in Paris than with "croissants" and coffee and a view of the Eiffel Tower? Directly on the spot you can of course visit the landmark of France. As it already opens at 9 am, you are at the right place at the right time and avoid the long queues. As the tallest building in Paris, it still dominates the cityscape today and is one of the most visited landmarks in the world with around seven million paying visitors per year.
If climbing the tower is too expensive for you, we recommend another Paris landmark. Just three metro stations away, not far from Charles de Gaulle station, is the majestic Arc de Triomphe, which also offers a wonderful view over Paris - and as a bonus: your panoramic picture includes the Eiffel Tower.
From here, you can stroll along the world-famous Champs-Élysées in a relaxed manner and, if you feel like it, get rid of your money in expensive shops. Whether Louis Vuitton, Sephora or the fan shop of Paris St. Germain - everything your heart desires is offered here.
At the end of the almost two kilometre long boulevard you reach the Place de la Concorde with the obelisk and its golden tip. How about a selfie for a change - the obelisk and you?
Now I recommend a walk through the "Jardin des Tuileries"; especially in early summer it smells wonderful and it blooms in all colours. Take a break and watch the children, who love to play with the sailboats at the big fountain pool and let them glide over the water.
At the end of the extensive park, the world-famous Le Louvre art museum awaits you in the former residence of the French kings, the Palais du Louvre. The museum is the most visited museum in the world with about ten million visitors per year. However, if you have little time available, save the museum for your second visit to the city of love. After all, you want to look at the Mona Lisa in peace and quiet and not rush past her in stress.
Whether with or without a visit to Mona Lisa - after two more metro stations and a short walk you have already reached the Île de la Cité and home of Quasimodo. Here stands the famous cathedral of Notre Dame, which unfortunately suffered heavy damage after a major fire in April 2019 and is not accessible until further notice. A souvenir photo is nevertheless mandatory!
If your stomach is upset, this is the logical consequence of your morning activities. Lunch is calling. How about the best falafels in Paris? Near Notre Dame is the Jewish quarter Marais and with it the famous Rue de Rosiers. Here, at "L'as du Fallafel", you can buy deliciously filled pita breads at a reasonable price and let yourself be tasted. If you prefer to try the French cuisine instead, there are plenty of small restaurants around. The brave among you can try snails - alternatively, a sandwich from the baker will do.
Freshly fortified, you continue to the Galeries Lafayette. This traditional seven-storey department store chain with its sparkling, glittering architecture - spanned by a huge glass dome - is also worth a visit for people with a small purse.
As a sweet temptation for in-between, buy some world-famous macarons at "Ladurée", the traditional macaron manufacturer. Salt caramel, chocolate, mint or pomme tatin - every flavour wants to be tasted. By the way, they are also ideal as souvenirs for those who stayed at home.
The cemetery Cimetière de Montmartre is beautifully laid out and is the perfect place to pause for a moment after the hustle and bustle in the gallery and let the peace and quiet take effect. It can be reached by bus. An avenue of maple trees, lime trees and chestnut trees as well as numerous benches invite you to linger. Famous personalities have been buried here - such as physicist Ampère, writer Heinrich Heine or philosopher Foucault.
Two metro stations further and 237 steps higher and all of Paris is literally at your feet. The whitewashed Sacré-Coeur Basilica is majestically enthroned and offers an unforgettable view over the whole of Paris. If you don't feel like climbing up the steps, you can use the cable car as an alternative. Not only the Basilica itself is worth a visit, with a little planning you can also attend a concert in the cathedral. In the meantime the sun should be low on the horizon. Enjoy the unique view and the sunset. And if you have a little more patience - with the arrival of dusk the Eiffel Tower is bathed in glittering light for 5 minutes every full hour.
Your feet hurt and you feel hungry, but you want to experience more of Paris: Combine your dinner with a boat trip on the Seine. As the sights pass by, you can enjoy a delicious 3-course menu. For those who want to end the evening in a relaxed manner, there are numerous bars along the riverbank waiting to treat themselves to a glass of French wine, or even more romantically: alternatively, you can buy a bottle and glass in the small supermarket, sit down on the riverbank and listen to the musicians that are to be found everywhere.
For those who prefer it colourful and shrill, a visit to the probably most famous variety theatre of the city, the Moulin Rouge, is recommended. Around the famous red windmill in the Montmartre district there are also numerous bars and bistros waiting for your visit. Or you can visit the hip and trendy district on Rue Oberkampf. Here, especially for young people, there are a variety of hip bars and clubs where you can dance until dawn. Bonne nuit - or will it soon be bonjour again? - Paris!
That'll get you there:
by train www.tgv-lyria.com
It'll get you around:
Gastro tip with boat:
How long am I supposed to go:
3 - 4 days, it also works in 24h ;-)
Best travel time:
all year round
Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Basilica Sacré-Cœur, Le Louvre, Arc de Triomphe with Champs-Elysees and...
Dumont Travel Paperback Paris