There is so much to enjoy in Paris that you can visit several times and still not run out of things to do. We live an easy train trip away and get to visit a few times a year. But no matter what I plan for each trip, I always find myself looking up at the Eiffel Tower in all her glory. She never gets old. Just as Paris will never get old.
Visiting Paris even for a day is quite an enjoyable experience. This post will show you how to enjoy the Best of Paris in one day, from the Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
Start your Parisian day in the Latin Quarter at Place Saint-Michel. In this district, it is absolutely enjoyable to just stroll around, take in the sights, and even get a little lost.
Cross the Seine River to the Île de la Cité. On this island, which was where the original inhabitants of Paris lived, you will find the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. While you can’t tour the inside of the church due to repairs from the 2019 fire, the outside is a masterpiece of gargoyles and flying buttresses.
Cross over to the right bank of the Seine, and enter into the courtyard of the Louvre. Once a royal palace, the Louvre is now a museum that houses the Mona Lisa among its many treasures. One of the most striking buildings in Paris, the Louvre contrasts the old and the modern with it’s beautiful glass pyramid.
Continue walking toward the Tuileries Garden, but don’t miss the (lesser known) Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. You can look straight through it for an impressive view of the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Élysées. If you visit the top, you get beautiful views of the whole city.
Pass under the Arc to the Tuileries Garden. A walk through the Tuileries is so perfectly Parisian, you’ll want to take your time. With an ice cream stand, a few restaurants to choose from, and chairs around the water basins, it is a nice place to stop for a rest and do some people watching. Enjoy the many statues throughout the garden, and if you want to see more art, there are two museums in the Tuileries, one of which, Musée de l’Orangerie, exhibits Monet’s water lillies.
Once you have enjoyed the garden, continue to the obelisk at the Place de la Concorde. Considering that concorde means peace, it’s ironic that this was once the site of over a thousand guillotine executions, including King Louis XVI, his wife, Marie Antoinette, and leader of the French revolution, Robespierre. With that said, glance to your left and you will have a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower across the Seine River.
It is here that the road forks, so to speak. You have a choice: head left toward the Eiffel Tower, or go straight ahead along the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
I personally always continue straight ahead, and enjoy my walk down the Champs Élysées. (The Eiffel Tower will just have to wait for now.) One of the most beautiful and famous boulevards in the world, the Champs Élysées offers museums, shopping, and dining like nowhere else in Paris. I love stopping in at Ladurée to enjoy a treat in one of their beautifully decorated tea rooms or take some famous macarons to-go. If we are looking to eat a meal, we always stop at Café di Roma for it’s delicious, affordable Italian food. You will find all types of stores along the Champs Élysées from Louis Vuitton to Sephora, all with beautifully designed storefronts.
At the end of the Champs Élysées is THE Arc de Triomphe. From the top, you get stunning views of the whole city, including the Eiffel Tower. I recommend going up top around sunset. But at the street level, if you cross the Champs Élysées carefully at a crosswalk, you can stand in line in the median for the coolest photo opportunity ever.
Now, meander through the streets or take the metro to Trocadéro, where you will finally see the BEST view of the Eiffel Tower. I love sitting on the steps overlooking the Trocadéro Fountain as night approaches and the Eiffel Tower lights up and sparkles every hour. Gradually make your way across the river and come up close and even beneath the tower. I can tell you about the plethora of trinket sellers, the carousels, souvenir shops, and crepe stands. But those all pale in comparison to the beautiful tower looming in front of you.
I hope you enjoy your day in Paris. If you have more time, check out the Catacombs and Montmartre with the gorgeous Sacre Coeur.
I leave you with this: Paris is always a good idea!