07 Aug The Best Of Paris in One Day: an Ideal Itinerary
You are spending only a day in Paris and you want to make the most out of it? Read this and you will get the itinerary of the best places to see and to capture! I am a Parisian and a photographer so I made sure to share my best tips with you for the Best Of Paris in one day!
There is no better way to start your day in Paris than to see the sun rising with the Eiffel Tower as a background! The best spot for this is located in Place du Trocadéro, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. This forecourt offers the most amazing view of the Iron Lady! To complete the panorama, you will find gardens and terraces and a lovely carousel.
If you want to get closer to the Eiffel Tower in the garden of the Champs de Mars, you can go down the stairs and take the Pont d’Iena, over the River Seine. It will take you only 10 min by walk.
How to access Trocadero? Metro Station Trocadéro (line 6 or 9).
Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées
The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is a national symbol built in 1836 and dedicated to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire. It is located at the top of the Champs-Élysées, at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle (or Place de l’Étoile). Arc de Triomphe is one of the most familiar and impressive landmarks of Paris with its exceptional dimensions (about 50 m high, 45 m long and 22 m wide)! Be aware that this place is the meeting point of 12 avenues, which makes it a very busy and congested area…
From Arc de Triomphe, you can then head to the Champs-Élysées: “the world’s most beautiful avenue”! This 2km long avenue is the perfect place to stroll by day or by night, offering a wide variety of stores (luxury boutiques, French brands, flagships stores or more affordable ready-to-wear brands), cafés and restaurants, cinemas, music halls or night-clubs. You should find there everything you need!
How to access Arc de Triomphe? Metro Station Charles de Gaulle Étoile, Metro line 1, 2 or 6 and RER A. You can also walk from Trocadero (around 25 min).
How to access the Champs-Élysées? Metro stations Charles de Gaulle Étoile, Georges V (line 1), Franklin D. Roosevelt (line 1 and 9), Champs Élysées Clemenceau (line 1 and 13) and Concorde (line 1, 8 and 12).
Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III is definitely the most elegant bridge of Paris and one of my favorite! It was built for the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) of 1900. You will love its Art Nouveau Style: it is classified as a French monument historique since 1975! It’s a good area to wander and to watch the sunset with a beautiful view over the Seine river, the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides and the Grand and Petit Palais.
How to access Pont Alexandre III? Metro station Invalides (line 8 and 13 and RER C) or Champs Élysées Clemenceau (line 1 and 13) . You can also walk from the Champs Élysées (around 20 min).
Grand Palais and Petit Palais
On your way between the Champs-Élysées and the Pont Alexandre III, there are two palaces for fine arts facing each other in Avenue Winston Churchill: the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais. They were both built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900. The central entrance of the Petit Palais is THE most stunning door of Paris! My secret tip: if you want to capture it, make sure to come before or after opening hours (before 9:00, after 19:00), or on Mondays as it’s closed.
How to access Grand and Petit Palais? Metro station Champs Élysées Clemenceau (line 1 and 13) . You can also walk from Champs Élysées (around 20 min).
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde is the largest square in the Capital, located at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées and close to the Tuileries Garden. It was the site of many notable public executions during the French Revolution. Fortunately those times are over and you can admire there two magnificent fountains on the theme of rivers and seas. They are amazing at sunrise and sunset! At the center of the place, the Luxor Obelisk is standing with its 23 meter high. This impressive column decorated with hieroglyphics is over 3,000 years old. It was originally situated outside of Luxor Temple in Egypt!
How to access Place de la Concorde? Metro station Concorde (line 1, 8 and 12). There is 30 min walk between Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde.
Jardin des Tuileries
The Tuileries Gardens separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde. They were created in 1564 and re-designed by André Le Nôtre, the famous gardener of King Louis XIV. They are one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris: a great place to walk or relax on of the chairs available. My secret tip: I recommend to sit close to the fountain at sunset!
How to access Tuileries Gardens? Metro station Concorde (line 1, 8 and 12) or Tuileries (line 1). It is only 5 min walk from Place de la Concorde.
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is only half the size and of the famous one Place de l’Etoile and less known. But it is nonetheless amazing with its 29 meter height! Its very easy to find it between the Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre Museum.
It is interesting to note that this arc is aligned with what we call the Historical Axis of Paris. The Historical Axis (or Voie Triomphale, “triumphal way”), is a line of monuments and famous buildings that extends from the centre of Paris to the west. The Louvre Pyramids, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, the Obelisk of the place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile, and the Grande Arche of la Défense are on the same axis.
How to access Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel? Metro station Palais Royal Musée du Louvre (line 1 and 7). It is located at 5 min walk from Tuileries Gardens and from the Louvre museum.
The Louvre Museum
I guess there is no need to introduce the Louvre museum: the largest and the most visited museum in the world! My secret tip: even if you do not have enough time to visit the museum, you can admire the exteriors and it’s free!
The big pyramid built in the 1980s is the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. It has the exact same proportions as the Great Pyramid of Giza! The modern glass structure forms a nice contrast with the historic facades of the Louvre, and has become a landmark in its own! It is surrounded by three smaller pyramids. And there is a fifth pyramid: the inverted pyramid. It is an upside down, suspended pyramid, visible from underground when you use the Carrousel entrance to the Louvre.
How to access The Louvre Museum? Metro station Palais Royal Musée du Louvre (line 1 and 7). It is only 5 min walk from the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and 10 min walk from the center of the Tuileries Gardens.
Hotel de Ville
Despite the name, Hotel de Ville is not an hotel but the Town Hall of Paris! It has been the headquarters of the municipality of Paris since 1357. On top of housing the local administration and the Mayor of Paris, it also serves as a venue for large receptions. The architecture is stunning, that’s why I added it to my reco for the best of Paris in one day!
If you are lucky, you will find a carousel on the square in front of the building. It is set up for events and special occasions (like the Holiday) and is absolutely lovely!
How to access Hotel de Ville? Metro station Hotel de Ville (line 1 and 11). From the Louvre museum, you have 15 min walk to get there.
Notre Dame Cathedral
If you want to see the best of Paris in one day, you cannot leave without having seen the facade of Notre Dame Cathedral! The famous Notre Dame de Paris is a magnificent example of medieval French Gothic architecture. It is one the prefered landmark of the Parisians and of the French people! After the terrible fire that devastated it on the 15th of April 2019, it is now under renovation for at least 5 years. Therefore you cannot access the interior and the front square at the moment.
Nevertheless you can still admire the 2 front towers from the surroundings so do not hesitate to pass by! My secret tip: there are a few typically Parisian open-air bookshops along the banks of the river Seine close to Notre Dame that you might like to see as well. They are called “les bouquinistes“.
How to access Notre Dame Cathedral? Metro Station Hotel de Ville (line 1 and 11) or Metro Station Cité (line 40. From Hotel de Ville it’s a 7 min walk.
Sunset and Light show at the Eiffel Tower
At the end of the day, I would recommend you to go back to the Eiffel Tower area to enjoy the sunset and the light show.
Every night, from sunset to 1am (2am in summer), the Eiffel tower is sparkling for 5 minutes every hour at the beginning of the hour. It’s absolutely magical, even for someone that lives in Paris since ages!
Great news: it’s completely free! My secret tip: you can admire it from many places: from Place du Trocadero, from any spot along the Seine river between Ile de la Cite and the Pont d’Iena, from a boat on the river Seine if you take a cruise, from the Pont Neuf bridge,…
A nice way to end your day in Paris!
This was my recommended itinerary to see the Best Of Paris in One Day! I am sure you will love Paris, this city is so exceptional!
If you are spending more time in Paris, you can also take a look at the following articles:
If you are looking for places to eat in Paris, check my other foodie articles:
- Best Brunch and Breakfast in Paris
- Best Places to enjoy a Dessert in Paris
- Vegan and Gluten Free Restaurants in Paris
And of course do not hesitate to reach out to me in the comments below or by email if you have any questions! I wish you an amazing trip to Paris!