You’ve got one day in Paris. How are you going to spend it? Well… you could fill a shopper with as much cheese and wine as you can muster and head to one of the many glorious parks. But, heavenly as that would be, your inner explorer would practically explode from Parisian FOMO. Naturally, we’ve got more than a recommendation or two for 24 hours in Paris. We’ve combined food stops, must see landmarks and a handful of unexpected items to keep you on your travel toes. After all, if you’ve only got a few hours spare, you’ll want your Paris 1 day itinerary to be memorable.
Up bright and early? Catch the sunrise. Lustrous skies over some of the world’s most famous landmarks aren’t a bad start to the day. You’ll want to head for the Louvre. With a good couple of hours until it opens, you can snap your ideal Louvre pic – minus the crowds. If you’ve got your heart set on seeing the Mona Lisa, pop back at 9am sharp to be the first in front of the ever popular, beguiling portrait.
For now, the only places opening up are the city’s patisseries – do grab a croissant if the doors are open – and Paris’ street markets. Time to take advantage of the easy bike hire Paris has dotted around the place. Hop on a Velib and choose your market. Our pick would be Marché d’Aligre for the ‘Paris in a nutshell’ experience and the chance to grab some fairly priced seasonal fruit snacks. When you’ve browsed your socks off, hop back on a Velib and cycle along the south side of the Seine to our recommended brunch spot. Your route will take you past the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Musee D’Orsay. Though, 25 minutes of pedalling might sound tiring – it’s quicker than the Metro.
Where to eat Brunch
We’ve rolled out the full three courses in our Paris itinerary, but a great time saver is to load up on a hearty brunch that’ll tide you over ’til dinner. With only one day in Paris, Monsieur Bleu is the place to do it. Their brunch menu veers from pancakes and mimosas to steak, frites and Champagne. Naturally there are the brunch essentials – avocado toast is practically a legal requirement – and some very tempting petite pain aux raisins. But… why this spot? Book the right seat and you’ll get uninterrupted Eiffel Tower scenes. Cast an eye over Monsieur Bleu’s interior too. They’ve gone to a lot of effort to get the place looking suitably glam.
After brunch you could stroll to the Trocadero – but we’re going to throw in a curveball. You’re headed underground. Nip round to the Palais de Tokyo and by all means browse their modern art in the main building, but the real deal is in the bowels of the building. There’s a whole network of subterranean street art waiting to be seen. Yes, you’ll miss the Arc de Triomphe – but this is far more impressive.
Where to eat Lunch
If you grabbed breakfast at Marché d’Aligre and skipped brunch, you’ll be angling for something more than a couple of macarons and a swig of wine. Your choices are frankly mind boggling. And, while you could grab a more than decent bowl of ramen or even nip in a fast food chain, we’ll point you towards something suitably Parisian. It doesn’t get much better than Le Bouillion Chartier. 120 years ago they set out to feed Paris simply and affordably. 50 million meals later and they’re still cranking out high quality French classics at laughably low prices. We’ll not spoil this one too much, other than to say, picture an upscale, vintage bistro from Paris’ golden era – and you’ll not be disappointed.
So far the day’s been fairly non-stop – so we’re going to dial it back a notch and suggest walking off your lunch with a potter around some shops. If that’s got your alarm bells ringing, trust us, these aren’t just any old retail outlets. First stop, À la Mère de Famille, the oldest chocolate factory in the city. Just a three minute stroll from lunch, this is their original store front. But it’s not just chocolate, there’s a choice of childhood favourite sweets, marshmallows, caramels, candied apples and some Parisian candies. Don’t leave without a jar of their chocolate spread.
Next hop on the Metro or stroll to Galeries Lafayette. Quite possibly the chicest shopping mall we’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s a mall, yes, it’s vast – but you’re here for the stained glass dome, opera-style balconies and otherworldly retail setting. If you’ve some spare time, you’re in the 9th arrondissement. Run wild or just mooch about. It’s a lovely spot to see how 19th century Paris
Where to eat Dinner
With only one day in Paris, you’ve not really got time to undergo the level of gumshoe gourmand digging needed to uncover a local secret. So we’ll let you in on ours. Back on the Metro again, this time to the Pont de l’Alma stop, near the Eiffel Tower. You’re heading for Café Constant. Christian Constant is the owner – known to Parisians for his stints on various culinary TV shows. The modest looking cafe wouldn’t register with tourists. But locals also know Christian’s bagged himself a Michelin star at his nearby restaurant. By all means go there, but for delicious, high end meals at reasonable prices, this is a winner. Try the cassoulet, followed by the chocolate tart.
Your 24 hours in Paris may be coming to an end, but we’re not done with you yet. If you’ve got the stamina for it, and a head for heights, we’re popping you back on that Metro. Your stop is the Montparnasse Tower. Yes, you could shimmy up the Eiffel Tower – but the queues here are shorter – and, controversially, the views are better. You can see the entirety of the City of Lights from the roof. You can’t get another 360° view like it in Paris. Vertigo suitably activated? No problem, scurry down the stairs to the 56th floor for a seat at the bar, where you’ll still get a great skyline vista. Managed to stay on the roof? Grab a telescope … but look up. On a clear night you might just get a look at Saturn.
Whether you’re searching for upscale bistros or Grand Magasins, Paris is your playground with the Orbzii app. Download it now to Dream, Plan and Book your trip to the City of Lights.