Next up in our “24 Hours” series is the famous city of love, Paris. While I think we could all agree that only 24 hours here is nowhere near enough time, sometimes that’s all we get! Considering Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) airport is one of the biggest hubs in Europe, it’s very possible that Paris may be a layover city when flying longer international trips. So, without further ado, let’s explore the sights of Paris in 24 hours!
First thing first, where should you stay if you’ve only got one night in the city? Without a doubt, the best place for you to book your accommodation is in the 7th arrondissement. This is where the Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars are located, meaning that you’ll be within walking distance of this iconic, world-renowned structure! It’s also a great place to stay since it’s so easily connected to other major Paris attractions, such as the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, and the Pont Alexandre III. Of course, this kind of convenience comes at a price — think expensive hotels and lots of tourists. But hey, when all you’ve got is 24 hours, you’ve gotta pack in all that you can!
Everyone visits Paris for different reasons. Some visit for the architecture, some for the art museums, and others for the shopping! Within 24 hours, you can likely visit one museum, a few monuments and do some shopping. With over 100 museums in Paris, choosing just one is no easy task. Of course, the Louvre is the most famous, but I would argue that the Musée d’Orsay or Le Centre Pompidou are more impressive. If you’re into impressionist art, architecture and a killer view of Paris (including the glass pyramids of the Louvre), then the Musée d’Orsay is for you! If you prefer modern and contemporary art, multimedia and rotating exhibits, then you might like Le Centre Pompidou. Whichever you choose, I’d recommend doing that first thing in the morning to give yourself ample time before the crowds rush in!
After your museum visit, time for your 2nd café stop to recharge before hitting up the banks of the Seine river and the famous Pont Alexandre III. It’s a beautiful place to hang out as you see both sides of Paris (Left and Right Banks). From here, you can walk along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. Depending on how much you want to do with your day, you can either stay on the grounds and walk around or climb all the way up! Don’t worry — there’s an elevator to take you to the first and top levels, but you can definitely take the stairs to the first level if you prefer.
At this point, I’d recommend hopping in the metro and getting off at “Charles de Gaulle-Étoile”. You’ll be right in the middle of Place Charles de Gaulle, the famous square where 12 straight avenues meet, and of course, where the famous Arc de Triomphe is located. Personally, I think it’s one of the most impressive places in Paris! If I had to choose between going up the Eiffel Tower or going up the Arc de Triomphe, I would choose the latter every time!
If you’ve done everything on the itinerary up until this point, it’s likely the end of the afternoon and approaching 5pm. Time for a pick-me-up cocktail before tackling the hustle and bustle of the Champs Élysées! I’ve left shopping as the last item on the to-do list, as it’s something that can easily be done in an hour. If you’re someone who really loves shopping, you can easily spend the rest of your evening doing this as stores don’t close until 9 or 10pm.
Last but not least, I would 100% recommend a nighttime river cruise. Whether you take the meal option or not, seeing Paris at night is truly one of the most breathtaking (and romantic!) sights there is. This way you’ll be able to decide for yourself which is better — the Eiffel Tower during the day or lit up at night?
Written by: Sacha Vincent-Toskin