Last Updated on 13th September 2018 by Sophie Nadeau
There’s an awful lot you can pack into the short span of one day in Paris. So even if you’re only planning a layover in the city of love, then don’t feel like you have to miss out on the top attractions (read: architecture, food, wine and plenty of coffee). Here’s your quick guide on how to spend 24 hours in Paris:
See the Sunrise at Trocadéro
If you want a great view of the Eiffel Tower, head to Trocadéro for sunrise. The early timing will ensure that you’ll be there before every other tourist and, even on a not-so-great weather day, the Eiffel Tower is still pretty special. After all, if there’s one thing you see in Paris, make sure it’s this!
Sip on an espresso in a café
Wake yourself up properly following that early start with a nice hote coffee to start the day! And besides, what could be more Parisian than sitting in front of a café, sipping on an espresso and watching the world go by?
Long wide boulevards, and cafés spilling out in abundance can be found in the 1st arrondissement of the city, which is near where you’ll want to start your exploration for this one day in Paris.
When selecting your hot beverage, just be sure to order your coffee like a Parisian if you want that ‘true French experience’ (no milk and no sugar!). Looking for suggestions for cafés to visit? Then here’s my guide to the Cutest Parisian Cafés the city has to offer!
Morning: Head to Île de la Cité to Explore!
After your quick wake-me-up, hop on the metro and head to Île de la Cité to check out the world-famous flower market, wander along the Seine and, of course, check out the iconic Notre Dame! A visit to the world-famous Cathedral is free and is one of the must see-things you should do during your one day in Paris itinerary. Plus, despite the look of the long queues, it never takes more than 20 minutes to get in!
While inside, you can see the Crown of Thorns (a relic the city of Paris purchased for more than it cost to build Sainte Chapelle) and some amazing Gothic Architecture. You’ll also find the Gravestone Courtyard and Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole nearby.
Lunch time: Wander around Le Marais…
As the chicest arrondissement in Paris, a wander around Le Marais is well worth it… If only to say that you’ve been there! It’s here you’ll find places such as the oldest public planned square in the city (Place des Vosges) and the best macarons in Paris (Carette,25 Place des Vosges).
Plus, a wander around Le Marais is just a short ten-minute walk from Île de la Cité, meaning you won’t lose too much time on transport! Other highlights of this former swamp (‘Le Marais’ actually means the Swamp) include Hôtel de Ville (the city’s town hall), Musée La Carnavalet (a museum dedicated to all things medieval Paris) and some of the best dining the city has to offer.
If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, then there are plenty of cafés en terrace. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little lighter, then head to Rue des Rosiers for the best falafel Paris (and perhaps Europe) has to offer… (L’As du Fallafel,34 Rue des Rosiers)
Afternoon: See the real Montmartre
After your stroll around Le Marais around lunch time, hop onto the Metro and hop off at Montmartre. Here, you’ll spend the afternoon exploring one of the coolest districts in the city… A district which you definitely shouldn’t miss, even if you can only spend 24 hours in Paris!
Home to the likes of the Sacré-Coeur and the Sinking House of Paris, it’s no secret that Montmartre has quickly become one of my favourite districts of the city to explore. And once there, it’s not hard to see why. The area has a completely different vibe to the rest of the city.
Of course, you should see the Parvis de Sacré-Coeur, Place du Tertre (where all the Montmartre artists are located) and the Love Wall. Oh, and due to Montmartre’s position at the top of one of the highest hills in Paris, the view across the rest of the city is well worth a look!
But once you’ve seen the more ‘touristic’ destinations, make sure to step off the beaten path and explore the rest of what the district has to offer. There’s a House Museum which was the former residence of Renoir, a secret Vineyard and the prettiest street in Paris (Place Dalida), to name but a few places to see.
Pick up some dinner in Montmartre
When in Paris, do as the Parisians do. Right? Enjoy a traditional French meal in Montmartre after your afternoon exploring, where the locals really hang out. After your exploration of Montmartre, I recommend sipping on some aperitifs
When it comes to a meal in Montmartre, I highly recommend Le Refuge des Fondus (17 Rue des Trois Frères). Wine is served in baby bottles and fresh fondue comes accompanied by all the accouterments you would expect.
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So there you have it: how to spend 24 hours in Paris. What else would you do with 24 hours in the city of love? Let me know in the comments below!