Yes, it’s absolutely possible to explore Paris in one day.
If you find yourself in Paris, and you literally only have one day to go exploring, here are my tips for a successful day of exploring such an incredible city in one day.
A few years back, I was staying in London with my dad. At last minute we decided to go spend the day in Paris. This meant, a six o’clock in the morning train ride to the rue de Maubeuge station – but what an incredible day we had when we went.
I’m sharing our strategic plan used for the day, to ensure we saw everything we could (whilst beating the crowds) in Paris. And, although by the end of it we were absolutely exhausted; especially because we had a 9pm train ride same day back to London, we still had the best experience ever.
If you are already staying in Paris, then this plan probably will be void; unless of course Paris is a quick stopover for you between travels. I say that, as we literally crammed all that we could into one day, knowing we would have to be leaving the city at at least 7pm, in order to make the train back to London.
If you are travelling from London however, then follow this guide and you will no doubt have an incredible day as we did.
Wear VERY comfortable shoes. This self-constructed tour is all on foot. Why? Well, when you arrive on Paris and see all the traffic, you will understand why, the best way to see and do everything in one day, is most definitely by foot.
If you are training from London (or even if you are stayed the night in Paris the previous day) start your day as early as possible. If you want to beat the crowds you will need this in order to fit everything else in the day. Our day started just after 7am (I think), once we arrived into Paris from London.
Go straight to the Eiffel Tower. A visit to the Eiffel Tower of course is a must to do in Paris. And I highly recommend you take a trip up the elevator to the top. to do this, you need to be there as one of the first people when the tour starts. The crowds in Paris are one of the worst I have EVER seen.
We were the third group of people to go up, and we enjoyed our first coffee of the day (with a donut of course) looking out at the views on top of the Eiffel Tower. Not a bad way to start the morning.
Depending on where you are located in Paris, you can either walk there or catch a taxi. If it’s first thing in the morning, the traffic is moderate. But if you are happy to take a walk and grab breakfast on the way, I highly recommend this, as there is plenty to see along the way.
Head to the Lourve and beat the mid morning crowds. Crowds do start early at the Lourve, so depending on your schedule I would either go here right after the Eiffel Tower, or if you are staying a night in Paris, then go here last. There is a lot to see in the Lourve and it is easy to lose track of time.
As we had a 9pm train, we went there next, right after the Eiffel Tower, so we could beat the mid morning crowds and spent at least an hour seeing the most important stuff, like the Egyptian antiquities and of course the Mona Lisa.
Take a walk along the famous Pont des Arts Bridge over the River Seine and head straight to the Notre Dame. Now depending on the time of day you have now arrived at the Notre Dame and then time of year you have gone to Paris, there may already be a very long crowd.
Generally the crowd moves fairly quick, as the church keeps the people moving in order for everyone to get a chance to see inside. By the time we got there, there was a very long que, but it flowed quick enough for me to do a quick swing through the church and take a few pics.
My dad had already been inside on a previous trip, so he opted to stay outside. PS: it really is worth it. So make up your own mind, depending on the length of the que.
Take a walk along the River Seine and enjoy everything this incredible river has to offer. From the buskers to the artists selling their work and the hundred of cafes dotted along the river; which make a great spot to grab a bite to eat. Because, by now, you would have worked up quite the appetite after all that crammed exploring and walking.
Don’t forget to top up on your water too, you’re going to need it as there are still plenty of things to see and do in Paris.
Once you have walked along the river, head straight to the Pont Alexandre III bridge and take a stroll along the bridge making tracks towards the L’Arc de Triomphe. Depending the time of the year you have travelled to Paris, either the light is starting to fade by now or you have plenty of sun left.
We travelled to Paris in the winter, so the sun starting fading fairly quickly. Which was fine, as we began to see a spectacular side of the city, all lit up with pretty lights. Including the Eiffel Tower; which if you look online, looks amazing at night.
Insider Tip: If you have enough energy and willing to do it, Paris has opened up the doors to the inside of the L’Arc. There are 284 steps to the top, which wind around and around – but so worth it. When you get to the top, you can see all of Paris and the site is beautiful. Especially at night.
Depending on what time you have left, you may be able to now fit some time in to go see the Eiffel Tower at night; if you haven’t already. Grab a baquette on the way with a nice coffee (or other preferred drink) and sit in the gardens below (and surrounds) of the Eiffel Tower and relax a little after a very long day of cramming everything you can in one day in Paris. It’s a magical way to end the day.
And remember, this day of explorations isn’t limited by what I have mentioned. I saw so much in between all these iconic places to visit. There are a maze of backstreets in between all the above mentioned locations; which are beautiful to explore and take photos.
So do also take the time to do this if you can. And just remember, it is entirely possible to explore this incredible city in one day.