What to do in 24 hours in Paris?
You are in transit in Ile-de-France, for a seminar or for a weekend. For the first time, you would really like to visit Paris in one day. You dream about it, yes there is so many nice places to visit in France !
Without any preparation, you suspect that it is complicated. And you’re right. And it’s no secret that you won’t see everything. Don’t panic! By choosing well, you can see a lot. Here’s a program of five unforgettable moments to get a taste of the City of Light and make the most of it.
9 am: a croissant and the Louvre Museum for breakfast
After a croissant near the Comédie-Française, Place Colette or Rue Saint-Honoré, cross the Rue de Rivoli and go through the Carrousel entrance to the Cour de la Pyramide. Welcome to the Louvre! The museum, former palace of the Kings of France, is huge. Don’t try to do everything, it’s impossible.
Choose a period presented in the museum or two or three works (the Mona Lisa, the Victory of Samothrace) and go straight there. This way you will spend two very intense hours in one of the greatest museums in the world. Remember to buy a ticket in advance.
11 am: Tuileries to Concorde
At the end of the morning, work up an appetite and walk through the Tuileries gardens towards the Concorde. Statues, ponds, flowerbeds: it’s a green bubble in the heart of the city, adored by Parisians and tourists alike.
Get out the panoramic camera. From the Tuileries balcony at the very end, high above the Place de la Concorde, you have one of the most beautiful views of Paris. Exiting through the Jeu de Paume room on the right, you can see a dozen emblematic places.
On the left, you can admire the National Assembly on the other side of the Seine, the Eiffel Tower in the visual extension of the Concorde Bridge. Then you see the Petit and Grand Palais, the Avenue des Champs Élysées behind the obelisk, the Crillon Palace and the Hôtel de la Marine on your right. Go down the few steps and take the metro.
1pm: Bohemian lunch in Montmartre
From the Abbesses metro station (line 12 direct from Concorde), you will taste the atmosphere of the picturesque and popular Paris, in the heart of the Montmartre district. Far from the grand avenues and luxury stores, life here resembles that of a village, that of the bohemian painters and musicians, the artisans and the cabarets, sung by Aznavour.
The greatest artists have lived here, from Picasso to Modigliani. Take the stairs (or the funicular) to the top of the hill to the Place du Tertre and the Sacré-Coeur basilica. It is the highest point of Paris and the panorama is breathtaking.
Go back down to the East and Château-Rouge and take the metro line 4 to Châtelet. Walk 200 meters to the quays of the Seine and cross to the Ile de la Cité.
5pm: on the Ile de la Cité for the light on the Seine
Another must-see. The Ile de la Cité is the heart of Paris, the original city, perhaps even the Gallic Lutetia. In the middle of the Seine, as an extension of the discreet Ile Saint-Louis, protected by the river, the first inhabitants settled there.
Today, it is one of the oldest districts of Paris, the one of the most beautiful private mansions, of the Notre-Dame cathedral, convalescent, of the place Dauphine, of the Sainte-Chapelle and of the Conciergerie. The late afternoon lights make it particularly beautiful and sitting on one of the benches of the quays to watch the “bateaux-mouches” go by is a very romantic moment.
9pm: evening in the Latin Quarter or in the Marais
For the evening, you have two options. The first one: go back to the right bank and go to the 4th arrondissement near the Place des Vosges in the very trendy Marais district. You can also go shopping in the designer boutiques there. The second option is to leave the Ile de la Cité by the Pont-Neuf on foot. You enter the very chic Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the famous left bank spirit, that of the intellectuals and students. It’s time to sit down at one of the most beautiful terraces of Parisian brasseries. Not to be missed.
To finish this crazy Parisian day, go along the Boulevard Saint-Germain and enter the Latin Quarter and its cobblestone streets, around the Sorbonne and the Pantheon for a lively evening.
You can also adapt this proposal. Why not remove one of the moments to lighten the program or replace it by a shopping session on Haussmann Boulevard? It’s up to you to live Paris as you wish!