Paris, I love you! A few months ago, we were in London and decided on a spur of the moment excursion. We took the Eurostar train for the 2+ hour journey. We arrived at Gare du Nord station in Paris about 10am, which was perfect. My MIL being your typical mom, had thoughtfully packed fresh Mortadella, buffalo mozzarella and other cold cuts. We ate quickly at the station and spent the next few hours roaming around Paris via the Metro. It was a lot of fun revisiting places and she loved it, as it was her first time. Here are some images from places we saw our very full day in Paris that l think should be included in your Paris itinerary for a day.
Paris, being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world has a lot of scam artists, so it is very important that you keep your wits about you. Most likely you will run into one of the more popular scams. The “I think you lost this ring trick”. Some guy comes up to you with a fake ring and swears they saw it drop from your bag or something. They engage you in conversation while another picks your pocket, or they try to get you to take the ring, and give them a finder’s fee or something. I swear, sometimes l am tempted to just grab the ring, throw it under a bus, then watch their reaction.. :-). I’m sure the ring is cheap enough, but maybe if enough people do this, they might stop. The other popular on is the “baby”. A woman slips, and throws the baby at you (more likely a doll wrapped up). You instinctively reach to save the baby while her accomplice grabs your bag and they take off. Somebody does that to me, and that baby is going to fall :-). These to me, are the top things to see in Paris in a day to get a good feel for the city, and wet your appetite for more. Reason to come back? :-)
Paris in a day from London: (Best Things to See in Paris)
Located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. A public garden that was created by Catherine de Medici. Built as an Italian Renaissance garden, it features fountains, labyrinth and even a grotto. There are some of the most amazing statues as well including some by Rodin, a few risque ones too. It’s a wonderful place to get a glimpse of Parisian life and to have a picnic. Definitely one of the places to visit in Paris in one day. It’s so pretty.
Paris Opera House:
Founded in 1669 by Louis XIV. Roughly 370 performances a year with quite a high percentage of the attendees being foreign visitors, it is quite a draw and just gorgeous. Degas has quite a few paintings depicting dancers at this very famous opera house.
The world’s largest and definitely the most famous museum. It is also in the 1st Arrondissment. It is the third most visited museum in the world, getting over 7 million per year. It’s not unusual to have lines with over 4 hour waits. I suggest booking in advance or going with a tour to skip the lines. It was definitely not on our agenda to see the interior. Did you know it was originally built as a fortress? Since we only had one day in Paris, we couldn’t have toured the Louvre. You would need a whole day for that by itself. Take your photos and move on.
Notre Dame Cathedral:
The medieval cathedral in the 4th Arrondissment. One of the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. The gargoyles are stupendous. I always think of “the bells! the bells!!” from the old movies with Quasimodo. Worth peeking inside. Since this is a small one day in Paris guide and you don’t have a lot of time, you might just take pictures and move on.
Protect your trip with the best travel insurance.
Printemps Department Store:
No day trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to this incredibly humongous and world famous store. It literally means “big store” and you can find everything your heart desires, from clothing to accessories. You get awesome views of the city from the top so make sure to stop for some refreshment at the tea room. Look up at one of the most intricate and amazing ceilings ever.
I don’t think there’s anything new l could tell you about this most famous icon of Paris. We did not climb it as the line was too long. It is about 80 stories tall, the tallest in Paris and was designed by Gustave Eiffel. There are three levels for visitors, with restaurants on two of them. Despite our many visits to Paris, we have yet to go up. I hate lines and you can get views of Paris from surrounding places. Consider a Big Bus experience if you prefer a more hands off experience.
One place that l wish we had visited was Sacre Couer Basilica because l know she would have enjoyed seeing it. With such limited time though, it just wasn’t feasible. Make sure and check when the last train leaves from Paris to London so you have plenty of time, otherwise you might end up with two days in Paris! :-).
We caught the last train back to London later that evening. Luckily, we had thought ahead, and asked the same mini cab driver who dropped us off to pick us up. He was more than happy to as his shift was already over, and it was just extra money for him. My mother-in-law went back to Rome on Sunday. It was a great introduction to Paris for her, and hopefully sometime soon, we can go back for a longer visit. Our day in Paris was absolutely spectacular. Sometimes, getting little bites of a city rejuvenates you. It wet my MIL’s appetite for more travel.
Pin it for later:
Have you visited Paris before? Was it a day trip like ours? Any suggestions on what else to do on a “Paris in a day” visit?