I have always wondered how long you actually need in order to properly visit a city. Usually I would calculate around 3 days but then I spent 1 day in Paris and by the end of it I felt as if I had seen most of what I should have seen. I guess the extra days count for in depth museum visits (especially the Louvre) but otherwise most of the sites can be seen in one day. Here is a little guide I have put together to visit the magical city of Paris in one day.
For me, breakfast is the most important meal of the day (and for those who know me, they also know it is my favorite meal of the day and I could live off having breakfast 3 times a day). Therefore I always take great care into choosing where to eat in the morning before my long day of walking around. Most important is the source of energy you need if you are about to tackle a 10 Hour day of exploring a city under the sun. Located in the Marais quarter, Season is a great place to start the day, as they have various options that include matcha bowls and açai bowls which are great for providing energy. Furthermore they have numerous smoothies and fresh juices which are also great sources of energy and needless to say delicious and refreshing. If you fancy something more "normal" than these superfood bowls then why not try their banana tartines - gluten free bread, honey & almond purée, chopped banana and raisins? or their caramel pancakes ? For a slightly healthier option you can go for their muesli, fresh bircher or avocado on toast.
For more information, check out their menu here
Location: 1 rue Dupuis
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 8.30AM - 1AM / Sunday 8.30 AM - 7PM
From here you walk down to Rue de Bretagne, turn left and then turn right at Rue Virile du Temple. The road will become Rue du Pont-Louis Philippe and you will finally reach the seine river. You cross Pont Louis Philippe and cross the île saint Louis. Walk over Pont Saint Louis and you will find yourself on île de la cité. Walking up Rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame will give you a fantastic perspective of the cathedral. You will reach Place Jean-Paul II which is the square from where you will have a full-frontal view of the Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame is one of the most architecturally stunning cathedrals in Europe. It was started in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII and took around 200 years to be completed. The cathedral one of the first in the world to use the flying buttress which is a specific lateral support given to the walls. Furthermore, the outside of the noter-dame is embellished with gargoyles and individually crafted statues. Inside the cathedral there are several important artefacts including the seventeenth century organ, the 10 church bells and the magnificent stained glass windows which are a symbol of French gothic Rayonnant style.
From the Notre-Dame its time to venture towards one of the most important art museum's in Europe: the Louvre. From the cathedral you turn right and cross over Pont D'Arcole and turn left. From here you will get a wonderful riverside view of the Palais de Justice (photo below).
If you continue walking straight on you will finally reach the museum. The entrance is on Rue de l'Amiral de Colingy. You cross the Palais du Louvre before reaching the Pyramid. Classified as the World's largest museum it would be a sin to come to Paris and not spend some time at least admiring its beauty. The Palais du Louvre is home to various historical objects dating since the 4.000 BC with Egyptian antics ranging to the nineteenth century with ceramics and stained glass. You will also find 35.000 works of art including Leonardo da Vinci's Monalisa. If you come to Paris for longer than 24 hours then no doubt book your ticket in advance here and take a few hours to explore this museum. But bare in mind you will need a good 5-6 hours including queueing time to visit the whole museum which is why if you are only here for 24 hours then I wouldn't recommend or you will not have enough time to see the rest.
From the Louvre, head over to Place Vendôme by walking up Rue Saint Honoré and turning right into the square. It is such a beautiful square that today holds the most prestigious luxury boutiques, mainly jewellery including Chanel, Dior, Van Cleef, Cartier and the Ritz Hotel. An example of neoclassical architecture reflecting the eighteenth century style of Louis XIV himself alongside Place de la Concorde, L'École Militaire.
From Place Vendôme, make your way towards the Opera Garner, one of Paris' most majestic buildings inside and out by waking up Rue de la Paix. The main attraction is the Staircase (Grand Escalier) made of marble and a thirty-metre-high vault. Also discover the backstage areas, the library-museum, the foyers and the costume exhibition.
To book your tickets click on their website: https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/visits/palais-garnier/individuals-2/information-and-booking
Open Everyday from 10AM-4.30PM.
Why not book a ticket to see the opera or a play? Click here to find out more: https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/ticketing
From the opera, walk towards Galleries Lafayette situated in Place Diaghilev (just behind the Opera). Galleries Lafayette is one of the biggest shopping malls alongside le Bon Marché in Paris. Have a look inside if you fancy, if not then walk down to Place de la Concorde, another example of eighteenth century neoclassical architecture in Paris. You turn left down Rue Tronchet and keep on walking straight down, past l'Eglise de la Madeleine and follow down Rue Royale until you reach Place de la Concorde. This square was named Place de la Révolution during the French Revolution of 1789 and the revolutionary government at the time set up a guillotine that was used for executions for example the execution of King Louis XVI and Queen Mary Antoniette.
Time to head over for some Lunch in the area of Boulevard Saint-Germain. In this area there are a two very important cafés to bare in mind such as Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots that have the reputation of being the favorite meeting place of many literary figures and intellectual élite of the city. Furthermore, Saint-Germain was the center of the existentialism movement associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. This area is also important for its popularity amongst philosophers, authors and musicians after the second world war. To Reach this area you simply cross Pont de la Concorde and on your left hand side there is Boulevard Saint-Germain.
After hours and hours of walking around you must be looking forward to a delicious lunch. I would recommend trying out Alcazar in Boulevard Saint-Germain. The interior is gorgeous and the food is beautifully presented. It is a slightly expensive restaurant however for lunch they have a special menu with lower prices which is a great opportunity to try high quality authentic french food without spending a lot. For 24 Euros you can chose one of their main courses such as salmon tataki, mushroom ravioli, beef burger, fish fillet and chicken breast and for 5 euros extra you can opt to add a starter or a desert. We opted for a Ceviche de bar served with Coconut milk and as a main dish the Suprême de Volaille fermière du gers, which is all a fancy way to say grilled chicken breast with mushrooms and a mushroom sauce (which I asked to put on the side). The food was cooked to perfection and to our surprise the bill was less than expected so all was well. I also suggest to book this restaurant as it is generally fully booked: https://www.alcazar.fr
I have also heard great things about Brunch here at Alcazar so if you have the opportunity then I recommend you try it out, it sounds delicious and sure is on my to do list for when I return to Paris.
After Lunch walk towards Champ Mars crossing through Invalides. From Alcazar turn right down Rue Mazarine and then turn right at Boulevard Saint-Germain. Keep on walking and turn left down Rue Saint-Guillaume and right at Rue de Grenelle. Keep on walking and you will stand facing the complex Hôtel des Invalides. This complex is made up of numerous buildings including Musée de L'armée des Invalides and Cathedral de Saint Louis des Invalides. Hotel des Invalides, a symbolic monument of Paris that relates to the military history of France. It was once a hospital and a home for retired war veterans however today holds a museum and Inside the cathedral there are some tombs of the war hero, notably that of Napoleon Bonaparte.
From les invalides walk towards Champ-de-Mars to get a beautiful perspective of the Eiffel Tower. Only a twenty minute walk you simply cross down Rue de Grenelle and straight into Champ-de-Mars.
However in my opinion, the best view of the Eiffel Tower is from Trocadero. Simply keep walking straight through the park and under the Eiffel Tower. You cross Pont d'Iéna and up the steps to Trocadero.
After having seen Paris' most famous landmark and one of the worlds most interesting pieces of architecture it's time to venture towards the Arc de Triomphe. One fun fact about the Eiffel tower is that it's hight can sometimes vary in cm's according to the external temperature due to the expansion of the metal.
To reach the Arc de Triomphe you simply need to walk down Avenue Kléber. Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the construction of the Arc de triumph in 1806. On the arch, the names of those who fought and died in the revolutionary and the napoleon wars are engraved as a way to honour them.
The Arc de Triomphe is the end of Avenue des Champs Elysées, one of the most important streets in the world. Since the eighteenth century he Avenue symbolises fashion as many stores opened on the street. This avenue is the home to many military parades including the victory of German troops in 1871, allied victory parade of WW1 in 1919 and the annual Bastille day parade on the 14th July. It is also home to the final stage of the Tour de France since 1975.
Located on 24 Avenue George V is Yeels, a refined boutique restaurant serving high quality Parisian food. Yeels is a restaurant that turns into a nightclub after dinner, transforming your night into singing and dancing. The interior of the place is very elegant and chic, with a large staircase leading to the lower floor restaurant and low lighting to create an intimate ambiance. The menu is varied, and you can opt for things such as salmon and tuna tartars, tempura, foie gras, pizza with truffle, fillet steak, dover sole with red pepper sauce (which is what I opted for and it was so delicate and delicious) or my personal favorite: black cod. Don't forget to book a table: https://yeeels.com