What to do in Paris in one day

Paris is known as the city of lights and the city of love, and it’s time for you to find out why. On this Paris day trip you’ll stay in a romantic, Baroque-style Hotel Caron De Beaumarchais that will only be the beginning of your romance with this city. From the bohemian and artistic neighborhoods of Le Marais, Montmartre, and South Pigalle to popular landmarks like the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Arc de Triomphe, this city will woo you. Seeing the Eiffel Tower will really seal the deal, and it will be a memory that your heart revisits again and again

You’ll discover Paris’s sweetness at delicious and colorful cafes like Au Petit Versailles Du Marais and Café Laduree on Champs Elysees. There will be many opportunities to photograph your new romance as you walk by beautiful spots like the Louvre Pyramid and the Sacré Coeur Basilica. Let Paris treat you to indulgent meals at Chez Denise and Chez Plumeau in Montmartre. End this dreamy day by being dazzled at the always-sexy Moulin Rouge, have a laid-back drink with your friends at Le Mansart and partying the night away in the classy Club Carmen. Paris will pursue and entice you with its sparkling beauty. You’re sure to leave this city deeply in love.

09:00 – Stay in the Elegant and Cozy Hotel Caron De Beaumarchais in Le Marais

Hotel Caron De Beaumarchais is a beautiful Baroque-style boutique hotel in central Paris. Stepping into the charming lobby is like walking into 18th-century France with all its chandeliers and plush, floral furniture. The hotel will truly set the tone for your Paris day trip. Bobby is the resident Scottish terrier, who makes an appearance every once in a while and adds to the homey and one-of-a-kind quality of this lovely establishment. The hotel is named for Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais who lived on the same street. He was a famous watchmaker, musician, spy, and of course playwright in 18th-century Paris

The staff is very welcoming and happy to help you with any questions you may have. On your arrival they will offer you hot coffee and warm milk, immediately putting you at ease. The hotel could also be a museum because it is decorated with pieces like Naderman Harp, a pianoforte from 1792, and old copies of Beaumarchais’ famous plays. Have a look around and converse with the people at the front desk who will be happy to talk to you about anything at all, from directions to your next destination to 18th-century Parisian history

The rooms are quaint and elegant with lovely French windows that open out onto your own patio, which often can offer a lovely view over the streets of Paris. There are fresh flowers on the bedside table and an intricate chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It’s peaceful and amorous. You will feel like French royalty staying in the Hotel Caron De Beaumarchais. Everything about it sings with the romance of 18th-century Paris. After settling in, you will be ready and in the mood to explore the city of love  // Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais – 12 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004 Paris

09:30 – Call Yourself a Bohemian Artist in Le Marais and Beaubourg neighborhoods

Bourgeois-Bohéme, the French equivalent of hipster, is a term you may want to remember as you stroll from the Hotel Caron De Beaumarchais into the neighborhoods of Le Marais and Beaubourg. Le Marais was historically the aristocratic district of Paris. Nowadays it is the main locale for art galleries, fashion houses, and vegan restaurants. It has become known for its liberality and free-spiritedness

This area is also a remnant of the past as it has the largest number of pre-revolutionary buildings in all of Paris. Many of the streets are the well-kept originals, winding back into a maze of alleyways. This is the Paris of long ago, from before Napoleon’s arrival, which changed the landscape and history forever. Le Marais has since been remade several times over, creating multiple personalities that add to the complicated beauty of this historic and bohemian French quarter. Relish in the beauty of these cobblestone streets as you walk toward Le Marais’ artistic neighbor Beaubourg

Beaubourg is famous for the Centre Pompidou museum of modern art. The iconic, high-tech, museum building appears as if it has been built from inside out with its colorful tubes and pipes running all along the outside of the building. It is an intriguing structure to observe. There is a futuristic aspect to it, a stark contrast to antiquated streets you just came from. Sit by the fountain and have a look at the unique sculptures coming up out of the water. Here in Beaubourg, you can also find interesting murals painted on building walls that add to the imaginative ambience of the neighborhood. By now you’ve probably come to realize that Paris is a city caught up in a deep appreciation for all kinds of art  // Le Marais – 75003 Paris // Beaubourg – 75004 Paris

10:30 – Drown in a Sea of Pastries at the unique Café Au Petit Versailles Du Marais

Now it’s time to wander over to a sweet little Parisian café called Au Petit Versailles Du Marais. This darling place is sure to charm. You’ll find this café on a cozy street corner in Les Marais. It has gorgeous pastoral murals painted on either side of the wooden entrance and large windows through which you’ll notice bright, dangling chandeliers illuminating a lovely selection of French pastries. Feel yourself being drawn in by the smells, warmth, and allure of this hidden gem of a café

Inside you’ll find beautiful, old-style French décor that you may not even notice once your senses are caught up in the overwhelming number of incredible pastries. This is Paris after all, so you can expect the sweets to be seemingly endless and of course delicious. This is an essential part of any Paris day trip. The selection at Café Au Petit Versailles Du Marais is no exception. Allow your eyes to wander from macarons in every color to Parisian flan, pain au chocolat, and éclairs. Order as many as you please. Satisfy your chocolate cravings or opt instead for a fruit tart or have both! Don’t forget the coffee. This café also has wonderful warm drink options to accompany your sweet French pastry. You won’t be disappointed by this delightful, picturesque Paris patisserie

Once you have your pastries securely in hand, find a seat outside, weather permitting. The tables on the outside of Café Au Petit Versailles Du Marais are a wonderful place to sit and take in the neighborhood atmosphere along with your sweets. People watching in Le Marais is a real treat. The resident artists and bohemians add an eccentric touch to your experience, and there are lots of local colors so enjoy your surroundings as well as your pastries  // Au Petit Versailles du Marais – 1 rue Tiron, 75004 Paris

11:00 – Be Enchanted by History at the Notre-Dame Cathedral and Fall in Love at the Pont Des Arts

Now that you have your sugar rush, it’s time to see the historic and regal Paris landmark, the Notre-Dame Cathedral. This elegant Catholic Cathedral sits on the Seine. It is famous for its French Gothic Architecture. It is one of the first buildings in the world to ever use flying buttresses in its design. There are also many statues carved into the structure, the most well-known of which are the gargoyles. Notre-Dame is a long-standing symbol of Paris. Most of its construction occurred during the 12th and 13th centuries, and it was finally finished in 1345. As you walk up to the cathedral’s breathtaking façade, let yourself be caught up in the beauty and history

Inside the Notre-Dame Cathedral are many artifacts echoing back to various times in Paris’s history. There are various pieces of medieval artwork, furniture, and other valuable items on display within the church. This is also a great place to see the intricate stained glass windows up close. Once you’ve had a wander about the church head back outside to walk along the Seine to Pont Des Arts, which is where you’ll find those famous love locks attached to the Parisian walking bridge

Paris is known as the city of love, and visitors to the Pont Des Arts really took this to heart and have attached padlocks with their names carved into them onto the grate at the side of the bridge. The key is then thrown into the Seine as a gesture of the unbreakable nature of true love. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to attach your own lock, because the Paris mayor’s office has discouraged the tradition due to structural insecurity; but you don’t need a padlock to fall in love with Paris. Simply look out over the Seine into the heart of Paris and let it enchant and woo you  // Notre-Dame Cathedral – Parvis Notre-Dame, 75004 Paris

12:30 – Indulge in Savory French Dishes at the popular Chez Denise a La Tour Montlhéry

The lovely walk along the Seine is sure to have worked up your appetite so head over to the Chez Denise a La Tour Montlhéry for lunch. This restaurant has a quirky past to it. It sits on the outskirts of the old Les Halles, the original open-air, fresh food market of Paris. The restaurant used to be a place where the local market workers would come to eat inexpensive, delicious food during their breaks. The market is long gone, but the restaurant remains with that same vibrant atmosphere still intact. Now it is a place where locals and tourists alike come to enjoy the wonderful environment, company and of course, the incredible food

Chez Denise a La Tour Montlhéry is a delightfully classic French bistro that will satisfy your every craving. The waiters and customers have a rapport that feels familiar and homey, like you are a French local stopping in at your favorite lunch spot. The tables are covered with red and white-checkered tablecloths, and the waiter will pull the table out from the wall so that you can slide into your seat. Chez Denise is the kind of place where you have a chat about your day with the couple at the table next to you. It’s a cozy, friendly and romantic restaurant that is classically French

The chalkboard menu has various meat-centered entrees, that all sound incredible, so ask the waiter for his opinion if you’re having trouble deciding. Order a savory dish like the Coq-au-Vin (roast chicken in wine) or Pied de Porc Griffé (roast pork foot), and don’t forget a few glasses of French wine to wash it all down. The hearty portions and flavorful meals will leave you happy and full. Chez Denise offers a unique Parisian warmth that you will be thankful to have experienced  // Restaurant Chez Denise – 5 Rue des Prouvaires, 75001 Paris

14:00 – Stop at the Louvre Pyramid, Stroll the Champ Elysees and Catch the View from the Arc De Triomphe

The Louvre is famous for many things most of which includes the art inside it, however arguably one of the most famous objects at the Louvre is the glass pyramid. The largest pyramid stands in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace. Three smaller pyramids surround it. As you walk into this courtyard you’ll find many tourists doing the very thing that you’ve come here to do: take the perfect picture of the Louvre pyramid. Don’t be shy. Stand on top of one of the square stone boxes and situate yourself so that it looks as if your finger is tapping the top of the pyramid. It’s one of the quintessential Paris photos

From the Louvre, have a quick walk and make your way over to the Champs Élysées. This famous boulevard has been nicknamed by the French as “la plus belle avenue du monde” or “the most beautiful avenue in the world”, and it truly is magnificent. The wide boulevard stretches from the golden Obelisk of Luxor in the east to the incredible Arc de Triomphe in the west. Stroll down the tree-lined walkway toward the Arc and enter into the bustle of the city

One of the most famous Parisian monuments is the Arc de Triomphe, which rises regally from the west side of the Champs Elysées. This incredible Arc was built in honor of those who fought and died protecting France during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The names of all the French victories are carved into the Arc, and within the underground vault is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Climb the 284 steps to the top for views of Paris that will leave your heart racing. This view is a favorite among visitors. It offers you an incredible perspective of the streets of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, so take a minute to enjoy it  // Louvre Pyramid – 75001 Paris // Champs Elysees – 75008 Paris // Arc de Triomphe – 75008 Paris

16:00 – Indulge in a Rainbow of Sweets at the renowned Café Laduree on the Champs Elysees

After walking up and down all those steps, you’ve earned yourself a sweet stop at another of Paris’s beautiful patisseries. Café Laduree is an elaborate and grand tearoom on the Champs Elysees. Decorated with ornate green and gold, this is exquisite spot to duck in for a sweet and a cup of tea. Upon stepping inside, you will be greeted by twinkling lights, classical music and sophisticated French décor. The have a colorful selection of sweets that taste as good as they look, so look around and choose carefully

Café Laduree is known for having an assortment of perfect macarons in a wide array of colors and flavors. Select a combination of hues to create a rainbow of sugary treats to enjoy this afternoon. They also have a large range of delectable cakes, beautifully displayed for you to choose from. The chocolate is sure to be delicious as is the strawberry, and all the rest for that matter. Take your time and order as much or as little as you like. Café Laduree also boasts a varied assortment of exotic teas. You can order several different kinds and you will feel as though you are taking a quick tour of the world through your warm drink

This café pays attention to detail both in their décor and in the food and drinks that they offer. Your every need will be looked after. At Café Laduree, the staff will make sure your order is perfectly satisfying to the eyes and the mouth. Find a pleasant table to sit at and take a moment to savor the niceties of this chic and classy café. You are sure to be pleased with the beautiful experience that Café Laduree will offer. It is flawlessly French, uniquely sophisticated and deliciously exquisite  // Cafe Laduree – 75 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris

17:00 – Feel on Top of the World as You Admire Paris from the Eiffel Tower

You’ve finally come to the pinnacle of all the Paris landmarks, the Eiffel Tower. Though not as old as much of Paris’s other famous spots, the Eiffel Tower is definitely the most popular and the most photographed. If you go to Paris but didn’t go to the Eiffel tower, does it even count? Walk along the green space and get up close and personal with the structure built in 1889 as the entrance to the World’s Fair. You’ll feel tiny as look up at the intricate details that make up this incredible, one-of-a-kind landmark

The Eiffel tower is lovely when enjoyed from a distance, but nothing compares to the view it offers at the top. It is one of the tallest manmade structures in the world, so it practically guarantees amazing sights. Take the lift up to the top and once you’re there don’t be afraid to look down to where you came from. The tourists look like ants from where you now stand. The city stretches out before you as far as the can see. This view of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower will make you feel like you are on top of the world so take in that feeling as you take in the view

Once the view of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower has filled your eyes to the brim, make the descent back down to the ground below. Take a few more pictures of one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. You will probably want one from every angle. You can never get too much of the tower. Its grandiose is incomparable, but isn’t that true of all of Paris? Seeing and climbing the Eiffel Tower is the part of your Paris day trip that will stay locked in your memory forever  // Eiffel Tower – 75007 Paris

18:30 – Bask in the spiritual Beauty of Sacré-Coeur Montmartre Basilica

You have probably already spotted Sacré-Coeur Montmartre Basilica by now. It’s that massive, regal church on the top of the hill known as Montmartre. This beautiful Catholic Church is the crowning glory of the neighborhood and yet another glorious spot to see an incredible view of Paris. Climb up the stairs or take the funicular (railway) to the top of the hill. Once you arrive, gaze out over Paris and have a look at the informative signs pointing out which landmarks you are seeing. Sit for a while and enjoy Paris as it spreads out before you

As you turn your back to Paris and your face to the Basilica, notice the lovely details on the front of the cathedral. This is another of Paris’s beautiful churches. The Sacré-Coeur was built at the end of the 19th century and was consecrated upon the end of World War I. The Basilica was dedicated to honor the 58,000 individuals who lost their lives in the war. Inside the church you will find a number of beautiful mosaics including one called Christ in Majesty, which is particularly stunning. Wander through the massive structure admiring the art, or sit on one of the pews and partake in the reverent beauty of the space surrounding you

After you admired the inside of the church, have a wander around the surrounding streets of the Sacré Coeur. Montmartre is the old artistic neighborhood, and there are still many art studios and quaint shops hidden within its cobbled streets. You will find that you can’t escape the shadow of the Sacré Coeur as it stands to watch over the winding roads of Paris. Get lost in the old streets or make your way back to the Basilica’s steps to see the view of Paris one more time  // Sacre-Coeur Basilica – 35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris

19:30 – Enjoy a Romantic French Dinner at Chez Plumeau in Artistic Montmartre

After descending from some of the highest points in Paris, hop over to the restaurant Chez Plumeau in the Montmartre district. Montmartre is known for the Basilica you just came from and also for being the old stomping grounds of famous early 20th century artists. Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso were all known to have studios in the area. As you walk through this trendy quarter you can imagine that Monet is painting his water lilies just a few blocks away. The quaint restaurant fits right into the dreamy, artistic atmosphere of the neighborhood. As you enter, you’ll walk onto a cozy wood patio nestled under a canopy of leafy vines. What a lovely spot to enjoy a nice French dinner

The staff will seat you kindly and help you with the menu. They serve a variety of fantastic French entrees. Ask the waiter for his opinion on what to order or for an English translation of the menu written on the chalkboard. Don’t worry; it’s nearly impossible to make a wrong choice at this scrumptious little dinner spot. Enjoy your food with a bottle of Rosé or another wonderful wine. When you’re done with your main course, treat yourself to a lovely dessert and espresso. No need to rush through this meal, take your time and enjoy it

As the sun begins to go down, twinkling rope lights will come on like magic, making everything from the food to the streets seem like part of a romantic Parisian film. Experience the beauty of the clinking glasses, the low buzz of friendly conversation and the soft French music playing in the background. At Chez Plumeau dinner will be exquisite and memorable, just like the rest of Paris  // Chez Plumeau – 4 Place du Calvaire, 75018 Paris

21:00 – Take in a Dazzling Show at the Exciting and Sexy Moulin Rouge

The magic of your Paris day trip continues as you head from your dinner in Montmartre to the famous Moulin Rouge in Pigalle. This renowned cabaret has become very well known in part because of the fun Baz Luhrmann film of the same name. Now it’s time for you to experience the real thing for yourself. As you come upon this historic entertainment venue, you’ll be awestruck by the bright red, orange and yellow lights, and of course that gorgeous spinning windmill, that all pull at your attention and let you know that you have found a place of wonder and excitement

The Moulin Rouge was built in 1889 and it was the pinnacle of Paris entertainment during the early 19th century. It’s popularity was due in large part to the auditorium’s incredible architecture, which made it possible to have those rapid and exciting changes in décor that its shows have become known for. It has hosted famous singers like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and well-known dancers including Ginger Rogers and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The spirit of entertainment and vibrancy is alive and well at the Moulin Rouge

This notorious spot is the birthplace of the can-can, and it’s a safe bet that you’ll get to witness this legendary, high-energy dance with your own eyes. On any night of the week, there is a fun and sexy show for you to see. The fabulous Moulin Rouge performers are a superb spectacle and a staple of Paris. There are fast-paced dances and high-energy music, not to mention costumes of bedazzled leotards and brightly colored feather headpieces. You won’t know what to turn your attention to, which is exactly the point at the Moulin Rouge. It’s a feast for the eyes  // Le Moulin Rouge – 82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris

22:30 – Play Table Football and Chill with Your Friends at Le Mansart Bar in South Pigalle

After the exciting performances at the Moulin Rouge head over to the bar at Le Mansart in South Pigalle for some good beer and chill vibes. This trendy French bar is popular among the younger artsy crowd that lives around this neighborhood, and for good reason. Le Mansart has a friendly, laid-back atmosphere perfect for any night of the week. The décor is lovely and interesting and the large round bar in the center has a wide selection of beer from all over the world. This is a great spot for spending time with your friends as well as hanging out with dozens of what we can call Paris’s coolest young hipsters

Choosing a drink can be a daunting task, but ask any of the bartenders or one of your fellow customers for recommendations on the best beers or mixed drinks to order. Once you have your drink in hand head over to play a game of table football. There are likely already some stylish Parisian young people at the table competing intensely with each other, so offer to play the winner and start a tournament while making some fun new friends. Le Mansart is a place for enjoying this Paris neighborhood’s laid-back community

Grab another beer from the bar and then wander outside to reminisce about the day you spent with your friends and enjoy the night air. Paris nights are when the real fun begins. So take a few minutes to watch as the well-dressed locals take to the streets of South Pigalle, heading to various bars, clubs, and parties. Lucky for you, you’re in on the fun. Le Mansart makes you feel like a real Parisian while you sit back and appreciate the moment at this hip neighborhood bar  // Le Mansart – 1 Rue Mansart, 75009 Paris

23:59 – Be Hypnotized by Paris’s Stylish Nightlife at the singular Club Carmen

Now that you’ve had some time to chill out with your friends for a while, it’s time to turn up the volume and head out for a night of Paris partying at Club Carmen. The club is housed in a decadent French building that dates back to 1875, and it has that ethereal late-night Paris magic to it. There are sparkling crystal lights, ornate columns and high ceilings with large frescoes molded onto them. The recent owners, who turned this space into the exciting club you’re now in, have added Renaissance style furniture with plush red velvet included whenever possible. This is a club that has attitude and certainly a unique French style

Dancing is the order of the night at Club Carmen. Their DJs and live music lineup do not disappoint. Get ready to party in style in a room full of the classiest young Parisians. Before you know you have been pulled into music as the warm red lights create a hypnotic sensation. The room is alive with movement from the group of VIPs dancing by the bar to the couple talking animatedly on a vintage loveseat in the corner. Welcome to the Carmen, you are truly partying in style at this elite club

Paris knows how to party and Club Carmen stays open until 4 am to accommodate those with the greatest stamina. There’s also an excellent menu of creative cocktails to choose from, so if you need a break, grab a drink and find a seat on one of the many vintage chairs or couches found in various corners of the club. Soak in your surroundings at the end of your unforgettable Paris day trip. This is a city to fall in love with, and after a day like this you’re heart has surely been stolen  // Le Carmen – 34 Rue Duperré, 75009 Paris

We mapped out your day trip in Paris

Each highlight of your day trip is numbered, simply follow the guide

What you should know about Paris

City highlights, food & drinks, expressions, weather, how to get there and how to get around

With a thriving culture of the arts and known for its fabulous architecture, Paris is a city you won’t want to pass up on your travels. During a day trip in Paris, tour iconic monuments of Paris, from the beautiful Eiffel Tower to the famous art museum, Le Louvre. Embark on a walking tour along the river or into the heart of Paris. Dance your feet off at one of Paris’s many nightclubs or wander into a local cocktail club or pub for a quick drink. Meander down Paris’s cobblestone streets and visit an open-air market for fresh baked goods

Stop by the Eiffel Tower for a must-have photo and venture into Le Louvre to immerse yourself in Paris’s rich art history. See the show at the Moulin Rouge, take on architecture or experience an opera performance at the Palais Garnier

During your Paris day trips, take advantage of their delicious food. Crepes are an indulgent treat and can be stuffed with jam, cheese, vegetables, hazelnut, and more. Macaroons are also a great treat to cure any sweet cravings

Before you head out on your adventure, brush up on your French! “Bonjour” (Bohn-zhoor), means “hello”, “S’il vous plait” (Seal voo play) is French for “Please”, and “Merci” (Mare-see) means “Thank you”. Manners are everything in Paris

In the spring, expect afternoon rains and mild temperatures. The busy summer season has sunshine and rain. Autumn brings crisp air and temperatures in the 40s. If traveling in winter, look out, Paris has frigid weather down to 0

The most inexpensive and quickest way to get to the city center from the airport is by RER B (blue) train line, which costs around 9 Euros one way. You can also travel by bus for around 9.25 Euros or by taxi for a hefty 50 Euros

Take advantage of Paris’s excellent public transportation systems and buy a bus or train pass to explore the city. The metro runs every few minutes. Walking is another great option. Avoid driving at all costs; traffic is heavy in the city

Feeling adventurous? Have a look at these city guides