Headed to Paris for the first time but only have a limited time in the French capital? We always recommend staying longer if you can, but if you only have one day in Paris it can be difficult to know how to see all the highlights. In this great one-day itinerary, we help you see the best of Paris in a day.
Pro Tip: Planning what to do on your trip to Paris? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re in the city. Check out our guide to Paris for more planning resources, our top Paris tours for a memorable trip, and the best things to do in Paris.
How To See Paris in a Day with Itinerary
Many consider Paris to be the most beautiful city in the world. It has a long history of amazing art and delicious food. As one of the most visited locations on Earth, with tens of millions of visitors each year, visiting the City of Light is a no-brainer.
With so much to see and do, however, it’s hard to know how to spend your time when you only have a limited time in Paris. This suggested itinerary starts at 8:45 am and ends at 8:45 pm and aims to help you see the best of Paris in a Day.
Arrival: 8:45 am
Many say it’s best to visit the Louvre in the morning when there are likely to be fewer people inside. It’s a massive museum, so you won’t be able to see everything in one day. If you’re in Paris only for the weekend, you probably want to limit your visit to about 2 to 3 hours.
This will give you enough time to visit the Louvre’s main attractions like the Mona Lisa, Nike, Liberty Leading the People, and the Coronation of Napoleon paintings.
One of the best ways to see these highlights while also avoiding the lines is with a group tour. See our collection of Louvre guided tours.
Address: Rue de Rivoli | Hours: Mon, Thurs, Sat, and Sun: 9 am – 6 pm; Wed and Fri: 9 am – 10 pm
Lunch on Île Saint-Louis
Arrival: 12:15 pm
Head to the river Sienne and, facing the river with Louvre at your back, take the main road left onto Quai de Louvres. Walk past the island where Notre Dame is located and Île Saint-Louis is next.
Île Saint-Louis is less about the restaurants and more about the experience. If you get warm weather and a bit of sun, this is an amazing little place to sit outside and take it slow.
It will only take 20 minutes on foot from the Louvre. It’s a buzzing little island and very close to your next destination, Notre Dame. Here are some possible lunch spot recommendations. These two are probably where I would go and they are across the street from each other.
La Brasserie de I’lsle Saint-Louis: €€ | Views—Decent reviews, lots of outdoor seating, and good ambiance.
Le Flore en I’Île: €€€ | Traditional Cuisine—Great reviews, slightly more expensive, and great outdoor seating and ambiance.
Address: Île Saint-Louis
Arrival: 1:30 pm
Your next stop is Île de la Cité, just a 5-minute walk from Île Saint-Louis. You’ll be able to see Notre Dame from where you are, so no sweat.
It’s the birthplace of Paris and has been a part of the city for over 2,000 years. Notre Dame is located here and is easily the most famous church in France.
The damage caused by a tragic fire in April 2019 means that visitors cannot go inside, but its stunning French Gothic architecture can still be appreciated from the outside.
There are also a number of other famous Parisian spots nearby. Head to Sainte-Chapelle to view the most incredible stained-glass windows in a gothic church. Check out Shakespeare and Company, an English bookstore across the street frequented by famous authors like Ernest Hemingway.
You can also enjoy a view of the Seine river from the oldest standing bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf. Finally, check out Hôtel de Ville on your way to the metro. It’s Paris’ main city hall and the architecture is amazing.
Popular Paris Tours
Not ready to book a tour? Find out if Paris tours are worth it.
Arrival: 2:30 pm
Located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, between Notre Dame (your last stop) and the Eiffel Tower (your next stop), the Luxembourg Gardens is about a 15 to 20-minute walk from Notre Dame.
This is an excellent opportunity to sit down and take a snooze or walk around for a bit. Like all things Parisian, the gardens are curated to perfection.
You could substitute this with another monument or must-see district, but for me, travel is about feeling connected to a city and appreciating it. It’s not only about taking photos in front of cool monuments.
Jardin du Luxembourg, as it is called in French, is a great way to mix in the main attractions with a beautiful relaxing setting.
Address: Le Jardin du Luxembourg | Hours: 7:30 am – 9:30 pm or 8:15 am – 4:30 pm, depending on the season.
Arrival: 4 pm
I’m not a big bus person so I would hop on a scooter from here to the Eiffel Tower, which would take about 10 minutes. If that’s not your thing, take the bus 82 from Luxembourg to Champs de Mars. Get off when you feel you’re close enough to the tower.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most famous monuments for a reason. It’s breathtaking from both up close and afar. Trocadéro offers one of the best views from a beautiful platform about a half mile away.
From there, you can walk across Pont d’Iéna to see it up close. And, while it may seem obvious that the Eiffel Tower lights up at night, did you know that every evening the Eiffel Tower twinkles for five minutes every hour on the hour?
If you want a beautiful nighttime view of the Eiffel Tower and Paris, as well as skip-the-line tickets, consider joining our Eiffel Tower night tour and Seine river cruise to really experience the romance of Paris.
Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France | Hours: 9:30 am – 11:45 pm
Arrival: 5:45 pm
Your final stop of the day is a delicious dinner back in Le Marais. You can get there on bus 69, which will take about 40 minutes. The route is beautiful and goes back past all your new favorite sights: the Seine, the Louvre, and Notre Dame.
Parisians tend to eat late and many places don’t start serving dinner until around 7 pm, so you have plenty of time to grab a glass of amazing French wine.
There are so many delicious options for dinner and drinks that it may be hard to choose. You can read our best restaurants in Le Marais article, but below you’ll find a list of my favorite places.
Pupetta: €€ | Italian Cuisine—If you need a break from French food, come here for the pizza and tiramisu.
Les Philosophes: €€ | Classic French Fare—Visitors love the onion soup at this comfy bistro and its lovely terrace.
Miznon: €€ | Mediterranean Street Food—A hidden gem where people come for the beef bourguignon pita and roasted cauliflower.
Au Petit Fer a Cheval: €€ | French Cuisine—This is a great place to enjoy French comfort food and have a drink.
For an unforgettable exploration of French cuisine, check out our Le Marais Food Tour—it’s a great way to learn about local food culture and have an enjoyable evening.
Address: Le Marais neighborhood
Take A Paris In A Day Tour
If you’re only in Paris for a short time but want to be sure you hit all the highlights, check out our full-day Paris in a Day Tour. It includes sights like with Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame. You don’t have to worry about the details, standing in line, or transport. We take care of it all, so you can sit back and enjoy Paris.