How To Enjoy Paris In One Day – A Semi Walking Tour

I have been to Paris a few times. Once for only a day even. I honestly didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I know what you’re thinking: You didn’t love Paris?… WHAT?! It’s not that I don’t love Paris, I just didn’t like that day. I was on a school trip and we drove to what is supposedly the city of love for just one day.

We went to the Louvre (for those of you who don’t know: this museum hosts the Mona Lisa), we took a Bateau Muche ride on the Seine (transl.: we took a boat ride on the river) and we had an hour to walk up and down the Champs-Élysées (one of the main avenues in Paris). What I disliked most about this day was that I didn’t get a feel for the city’s character. It didn’t feel like I was in the most romantic city in the world.

When I think of Paris I think of croissants and coffee in a little café, eating crepes by the Eiffel tower and watching the sun go down with someone you love. I couldn’t believe how disappointing my school trip to Paris was (and then again, how many school trip are really that great?), so I decided to use the knowledge on Paris that I have gained since then and share with you how you actually can enjoy this beautiful city in just one day.

Whether you have a long layover at the airport, you are just traveling through by train, or you are planning to use the days you have there most effectively, here are my top tips on how to experience Paris to it’s full potential in just one day (note: if you are staying longer than just one day, you could definitely plan visits to other museums or busier sites on those other days). And because seeing the city on foot is one of the best ways to experience the sites here, this could really categorise as a semi-walking tour. PS: It’s also budget friendly. Phew, that was a long intro.

Now then, let’s get straight to business:

enjoy paris eiffel tower

WELCOME TO PARIS

One: the Metro & Notre Dame

Wherever you are arriving from, take Metro line no. 4 to Saint Michel Notre Dame (side note: if you haven’t had breakfast yet, grab a croissant or pastry  and coffee at Boulangerie Saint Michel, right around the corner). After that, head on over to our starting point:

La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. In other words: the big cathedral from the Disney movie “The Huntchback of Notre Dame”. While it may look beautiful from the inside, we won’t have time to take a look inside. Not only because it’s so big, but because no matter what day of the week or time of day it is, there always seems to be an endless line of people waiting to get in. If you really want to see it, plan to be in the city longer than just 12 hours.

Two: the River Seine & PONT NEUF

While this also counts as another attraction you can check off your list, it also doubles as our method of getting to the next major site. Head north-west towards Pont Neuf, the bridge that will lead you to the famous museum I was talking about. Cross the bridge and continue left onto a street named “Quai du Lourve” keep walking and you’ll get to the side entrance of the museum’s courtyard.

Three: Le Louvre

Another suggestion on my behalf: In order to experience this museum to it’s full potential, plan a WHOLE day to be there. This is an all or nothing sort of experience, which is why I wouldn’t recommend adding it to our one-day-itinerary, plus it’s super busy ALL THE TIME. The courtyard with it’s famous glass pyramid (also featured at the beginning of the movie Wonder Woman!!!) and the gardens (Jardin de Tuileries) belonging to the property are just as worth seeing as the interior of the museum.

paris louvre france one day

Four: Champs Élysée & ARC DE TRIUMPH

Once you’ve made your way through the jardin, you’ll reach the Place de la Concorde, one of the major squares in Paris. Cross it and you will reach the Champs Élysée. This major avenue will take you all the way up to the Arc de Triumph, the cities famous arch and round-a-bout. On your way up to the arch, I highly recommend stopping at the Häagen-Dazs ice-cream parlour. While this may not be French, it’s absolutely delicious (and no, this little treat is not so budget friendly). Also plan on making a few stops in the different stores along the way. They have everything from Disney to Louie Vuitton. Side note: you can climb up the Arc de Triumph, but again, it’s not as affordable and very busy. Stay tuned for my  special insider tip on how to get the best view of the city.

Five: Eiffel Tower

This next stop is probably the most visited attraction in the whole country. The Eiffel Tower. Start walking down Avenue Kléber from the Arc de Truimph to get to the famous landmark. I highly recommend getting a crepe or sandwhich or both for lunch and finding a bench to enjoy the view. Bienvenue a la France (Welcome to France). This is where it really hit me that I was in Paris. I honestly feel like there are no further words needed. Actually there are. Here is a little tip for you: don’t plan on going up the Eiffel tower because no 1 the lines are waaaaay too long, no 2 the entrance fee is waaaaay too expensive, and no 3 I have a hidden gem in Paris up my sleeve that I will share with you. I know, I know, I’ll tell you in juuust a second, but first take out your polaroid camera (if you haven’t already) and get some candid snaps of this iconic view.

Six: My hidden gem: LA Tour Monparnasse

paris tour montparnasse skyline

You’re probably thinking like: What on earth is that? I ain’t going on no tour. First off, it’s not actually a tour, it’s a tower. One of the highest buildings in the city… and it has a viewing platform. Why is it my hidden gem? Because it’s typically not as busy as the Eiffel Tower, it’s more affordable AND you actually have pictures of the city with the Eiffel Tower in it. And because you’ve made it this far in my post here’s another tip: plan to be there to watch the sun go down and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle for the first time that night. I now conclude: no words needed.

VIEW TOUR MONTPARNASSE

In order to get there, take a metro to Gare Montparnasse on line 6 from Passy or Bir Hakeim which are located close to the Eiffel Tower. After your visit, you can walk back to Gare Montparnasse which is one of the main train stations in the city. From there it will be easy to continue on your journey. If you still have time, you can always find a nice restaurant to experience an authentic French dinner. I recommend L’Atlantique because it’s close and also open until 2am, so there is no rush to get there.

This, dear traveling friends, concludes how I would spend just one day in the most romantic city in the world, because honestly it kind of is. Even if you only have 12 hours, it’s truly worth it! I hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas about what to do in this wonderful place.

If you are a traveller on a schedule or you are just curious about what other insights I can give you, click here for my post on How to enjoy just one day in NYC.

I’m always looking for new sights to see and experience. If you only had one day in this beautiful city, where would you go? Have you been to the Tour Montparnasse viewing platform? What did you think? I can’t wait to hear, so let me know!

See you soon, Sophie

How To Enjoy Just One Day In The Big Apple

New York City, The Big Apple, will always have a special place in my heart. From the first moment of having my coffee in Manhattan, to the last moment of seeing the lights glisten in the distance from the plane window, I knew I would always want to come back. Again and again. It is for this reason that I want to give you a simple guide on how to experience this wonderful city, even if you only have just one day. I promise you: it will be worth it.

manhattan bridge new york

Although taking an Uber or the subway is a great way of getting to and from different locations faster, walking will allow you to experience (almost) everything there is to see and enjoy in NYC at your own pace. (Note: If you are arriving from any of the many airports, I highly recommend taking an Uber to get into the city. Taking the subway would be a huge waste of time considering we don’t have many hours to spare.) Without any further a do, here is how I would spend just one day in New York City:

One: Columbus Circle & Central Park

Have your Uber drop you off at W 58th Street and 8th Ave, essentially Columbus Circle with a little less traffic. If you want to get breakfast, there is a huge number of cafés and coffee shops to choose from, but oddly, I absolutely love the Starbucks coffee in New York. It tastes different… in the best way possible. I usually also grab an oatmeal raisin cookie and am on my way (but maybe that’s just me). Venture east taking one or two of the walking paths through Central Park to get to 5th Avenue. If you wanted to, you could even stop at “The Pond” and enjoy your coffee and cookie there; depending on how early you arrived and how much time you have.

TWO: 5th avenue & Rockefeller center

From the corner of W 59th and 5th Avenue, head south towards Rockefeller Center. You will have a million and one things to see on this walk alone. Be sure to have your camera ready and your outfit on fleek. Stores and buildings you will see include: Tiffany and Co., The Trump Tower, Apple, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and a large number of other designer brands. Keep walking, past E 50th and 5th, look right and you will have arrived at Rockefeller Plaza.

new york central park top of the rock

If you are planning ahead, I highly recommend buying tickets to the Top of the Rock in advance. Select your time of entry and pay ahead of time in order to skip the long lines and get to the top as fast as possible. If you have never heard of this attraction, please keep reading.

Yes, I know the Empire State Building is THE building to go up when in NYC, but A. it’s A LOT more expensive, B. it has WAY longer lines, and C. you don’t actually have the Empire State Building in the pictures you are taking. The Top of the Rock offers a great alternative and a solution to all of the above issues. By no means don’t never go up the Empire State Building, just do it when your budget and time allow you to.

THREE: TIMES SQUARE

Although this attraction is tourist heavy, it is a must see when visiting NYC, especially for first-time visitors. After your visit at the top of the rock, continue south on 5th and head west (turn right) on W 46th Street. It will lead you right to the center of the famous and ever flashy Times Square. Give yourself some time to take it all in.

A New York City Insider Tip:

Have you ever wondered what it would take to be on one of the big billboards? Fame and success? Well yes, but you could also just walk into American Eagle, talk to one of the employees and ask them about your 15 seconds of fame. Take a picture in front of their screen, enter your name and email, exit the store and what for 5-15 minutes to see your face show up on the big screen for the whole world to see. It will show up a few times, that way you can get different angles of your grand appearance. You’re welcome!

If you are feeling a little lunchy, then consider getting a snack or sandwich at Tonic Times Square. It’s a fun sports bar and restaurant that serves great food and delicious New York Cheesecake. You could also opt to have a really expensive hot dog or even just some street food, which according to New Yorkers is really really good. Whatever you are feeling for.

FOUR: GRAND CENTRAL STATION & EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

Continue south again, this time on 7th and turn left on W 42nd Street. If you want, you can stop at the New York Public Library on your way to Grand Central Terminal. Once arrived at the train station, make sure you get a good shot of the famous clock and ceiling. To get to the Empire State building, head south on Park Ave. You’ll start getting a great view of the high rise once you get to E 34th Street. The glory of New York City!

FIVE: STATEN ISLAND FERRY & STATUE OF LIBERTY

Now would be the best time to take an Uber. We are heading all the way to the pier to take the Staten Island Ferry and get a little closer to the Statue of Liberty. This ferry is 100% free. When boarding, make sure you are on the right side of the boat to get the best view. Once you arrive at Staten Island, just hop on to the next ferry heading back to Manhattan and get your second close up sighting of Lady Liberty.

manhattan view staten island ferry new york city one world trade center

SIX: SUBWAY & BROOKLYN BRIDGE

After you get back to Manhattan, take the subway to Brooklyn. While I believe that walking is essential to embracing this city, what’s a visit to the concrete jungle without taking the subway and not being able to understand the conductor? On your walk to the subway station, stop at the Charging Bull of Wall St. From the Whitehall Ferry Station, head back north on Whitehall St. It’s only a 5 minute walk. Just 10 more minutes up Broadway to get on an A or C train to Brooklyn Bridge/High Street from Fulton Street.

If you are ready for some dinner, there are is great diner just a little south of High street/Brooklyn Bridge Station that is open 24 hours on weekends. They have everything from omelettes to pies and other goodies. To walk off those calories (not that you haven’t already today!!!) walk back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge. Our last and final attraction on our one day endeavour of the city that truly does not sleep.

From there, either take the subway or an Uber to wherever you are headed next. I prefer the latter, since it’s safe, affordable and easy. I hope this helps you plan your day in New York City.

What is on your must-see list if you only had one day in the Empire City? I can’t wait to hear!

Sophie