How to spend one day in Paris: The best 24 hour Paris Itinerary

A 24 hour Paris Itinerary? Is there such a thing? There are a lot of travellers that have stop overs in Paris or are short on time and it is more common than you think to spend just 24 hours in Paris.

Lucky for those of you who are looking for a day in Paris itinerary you can fit an awful lot in to those 24 hours!

Pinterest Graphic - A 24 hour Paris itinerary

Getting to Paris

Airport

If you fly into Paris you will land at either Charles De Gaulle or Orly Airport. Both of these airports are located roughly 45 minutes from the center of Paris via taxi or Uber. Obviously, this does depend on traffic.

Taxis are readily available from both airports, however, they are quite expensive (it is Paris after all!). Taxis from Orly will cost roughly 25 euros and from Charles De Gaulle will be around 50 euro. There is a 30% surcharge between 7 pm and 6 am and a charge of 1.50 euro per suit case.

A much cheaper option, although a more time consuming option, is to take public transport.

From Charles De Gaulle, trains run from 5:30 am until midnight every 15 minutes from the airport and go to Gare du Nord, Chatelet Les Halles and Luxembourg train stations.

From Orly airport there is a shuttle bus which will take you from the airport to the train station. The train then runs from 5:30 am until 11 pm and leaves every 15 minutes. The train goes from the airport to Gare d’Austrelits, St Michel/Notre Dame and Invalides stations.

If you are flying with Air France they do provide a bus service to and from both airports.

The Eiffel Tower surrounded by autumn leaves

Train

If you are travelling around Europe by train (or at least to Paris by train) you will most likely arrive in to Gare d’Nord. The Euro star from London arrives to Gare d’Nord and the train station is pretty centeral.

From Gare d’Nord it is quite easy to find the metro and head to your accommodation or the first stop on your 24 hour Paris Itinerary.

Drive

The roads in Paris are relatively easy to navigate, especially if you have Google Maps. If you do not have your own car, you can hire a car from most European cities and towns.

London is a four and a half hour drive to Paris via the Eurotunnel, Amsterdam is located 5 hours from Paris and Brussels is located 3 hours from Paris.

Getting around Paris

One of the best ways to get around Paris, is to walk. By walking you will find so many hidden gems and pretty little streets that you wouldn’t notice if you were to wizz by on a bus or in a car.

However, Paris is a very big city and if you are visiting Paris in a day you are likely going to try and fit in as much as possible.

Another option for getting around Paris in one day, is to rent a bike.

If you are travelling and do not have your own bike, hiring a bike through Velib is a popular and cheaper way to go.

The are more than 1,800 stations around the city for you to collect or drop off a bike. When hiring a bike, the first half is free. If you can pick up and drop off your bike within half an hour you will not pay anything, once you have returned your bike you can take out another bike.

Storing your luggage

If you in Paris just for the day and not staying the night you can find plenty of luggage storage options around Paris.

Stasher Luggage storage is a fantastic option, it costs 6€ per day per bag and each item is insured up to 1,000€. You can store your bags at quite a few train stations including Gare d’Nord, Gare Montparnasse, Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare de l’Est and Gare de Lyon.

Both airports also have Stasher Luggage storage facilities. So if you have a stop over, you don’t have to take your luggage into Paris with you.

Where to stay in Paris for one night

If you are in Paris for one night you will want to maximize your time. I suggest you stay near the train station. Staying by the train station will be handy if you are leaving Paris by train or if you are heading back to the airport.

Gare d’Nord:

Hotel:
Le Matissia: is a cross between a hotel and an apartment and contain apartments from one bedroom apartments to penthouse suites. Le Matissia is located less than 1km from Gare d’Nord.

Hostel:
Vintage Paris Gare du Nord by Hiphophostels is situated 500m from the Gare du Nord train station and a 15 minute walk from Montmartre. Each room has a private bathroom which is a huge bonus when staying in a hostel!

Gare d’Austrelitz

Hotel: CitizenM Gare d’Lyon is perfect as it is located right near Gare d’Austrelitz and Gare d’Lyon. Continental breakfasts are also provided at the hotel and all rooms are provided with free movies (not that you will have time of course!) and iPads which control the rooms.

Hostel: Oops! Latin quarter by Hiphophostels is a little walk from Gare d’Austrelitz approximately 1.2km. All rooms are fitted with private bathrooms, although the rooms are quite small, so bring too much luggage!

Another option will be to stay near where your last stop is for the day. In this one day in Paris Itinerary your last stop will be at the Moulin Rouge so the accommodation listed below is near the Moulin Rouge.

Hotel: Best Western Plus Hôtel Littéraire Marcel Aymé is perfect if you are ending your night at the Moulin Rouge, it is only 350m, so an easy walk and a 10-minute walk from the  Sacré Coeur.

Hostel: Le Montclair Montmartre by River, Paris is located just below  Sacré Coeur, however, there are a lot of stairs between you and Sacré Coeur! The hostel is about a 10 minute walk from the Moulin Rouge. The rooms have private bathrooms and again, are quite small but there is plenty of room for your luggage.

Here is your quick guide to a 24 hour Paris itinerary

Is this your first time visiting Paris?

Check out this guide on visiting Paris for the first time to get the most out of your trip or this guide if you’re visiting Paris solo for the first time.

Watch the sunrise with a croissant at the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower with a garden in front of the Eiffel Tower

A 24 hour Paris Itinerary would not be complete without a visit to one of the most famous landmarks in Europe, the Eiffel Tower. One of the best times to visit is at sunset.

Even on a cloudy day it is a great time to get a great view of the Eiffel Tower and often there are less tourists around at this time of day.

I recommend going passed a bakery on your way to the Eiffel tower and pick up a croissant or even a cake if you like cakes early in the morning. Sitting in front of the Eiffel tower in the peace and quiet is an amazing experience.

Go for a walk around  Île de la Cité 

An old cathedral on a river bank

Île de la Cité is one of the two remaining natural islands in the river Seine. Île de la Cité is also home to the world famous flower market and of course along the Seine you will find Bouquinistes. These are book sellers that sell used and antique books as well as painting and today, some tourist souvenirs.

One of the main reasons people head to the Île de la Cité is to the iconic Notre Dame. The Notre Dame Cathedral is free to visit and a must on your one day in Paris itinerary.

There are often long lines but unlike other attractions these lines move pretty quickly. When visiting the Notre Dame you must see the Crown of Thorns and admire the Gothic Architecture.

Sadly, the Notre Dame was destroyed by fire on 15th of April 2019. At the time of writing this, construction is expected to be complete by 2024.

Enjoy a picnic for lunch

An old double story building with grass and bright flowers outside

One of the best things to do in Paris for one day, is to visit a supermarket, stock up on some amazing cheese, meat and of course a bread stick, and then head to a park or the banks of the Seine and enjoy a picnic.

Don’t forget to purchase a bottle of delicious French wine on your travels to enjoy with your lunch. Two amazing places to enjoy a picnic are Luxembourg gardens or the Tuileries

Explore Montmartre

Two people strolling the streets of montmartre

Montmartre is on of the coolest districts in Paris and again, a must on your 24hrs in Paris itinerary.

One of the most obvious and famous sites in Montmartre is Sacré-Coeur. It is free to visit the Basilica and entry is available from 6 am and 10:30 pm. If you would like to climb the dome you need to enter to the left of the Basilica but be warned there are 300 steps to climb.

At the front of Sacré-Coeur you will get on of the best views across Paris! At night time you can get a glimpse of the Eiffel Towers light show!

You also need to check out the Sinking House of Paris – although it is more of an optical illusion than an acutal sinking house. Place du Tertre or artists square is a great place to hang out, catch the artists at work on sit in one of the cafes with a drink and soak up the atmosphere.

I would leave Montmartre to the end of the day as it is easy to lose track of time wandering around the cobblestone streets, eating crepes and exploring the shops.

Dinner in Montmartre

I recommend having dinner in Montmartre on your way to the Moulin Rouge unless you would like to have dinner at the Moulin Rouge.

If you didn’t have a picnic at lunch you might like to do that and sit on the steps of the Sacré-Coeur and enjoy the view and the atmosphere. Even in winter its nice to sit on the steps at night time (just make sure you rug up!).

On the off chance that it is snowing in Paris, this is the perfect place to see the snow.

If you would prefer to eat in a restaurant or cafe I recommend Le Café de la Poste as is a great local place and uses ingredients from local fish mongers, bakers and patisserie. As for an added bonus it is reasonably priced.

Another good option (especially if you like meat) is Sacrée Fleur. The name Sacrée Fleur, is a tribute to the sacred cow and you will notice that is a prominent feature on the menu. Once again, the prices on the menu are relatively good.

See the famed Moulin Rouge

The moulin rouge at night time

I feel as though I have said this a lot already in this post but a 24 hour itinerary Paris would be incomplete without seeing a show a the Moulin Rouge.

Not only is the show iconic but so is the building and the Windmill on top of the Moulin Rouge.

You should book your tickets in advance to make sure you do not miss out. It wasn’t until my third trip to Paris that I was able to get tickets to the Moulin Rouge.

When purchasing your tickets you have a few options, you are able to having dinner before the evening show if you would like. However, the Moulin Rouge is not cheap! I do recommend wen you book your tickets that you choose the champagne option. You cannot visit France and not enjoy some real champagne.

Well, that brings us to the end of your 24 hours in Paris itinerary! What did you think of the itinerary? Is there anything you would add to the Paris in 24 hours itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.

FAQs: Paris in 24 hours

What can you do in 24 hours in Paris?

There are plenty of things you can do with one day in Paris. Most people prefer to check off some bucket list items during a 24 hour layover in Paris.

Watch the sunrise with a croissant at the Eiffel Tower
Go for a walk around Île de la Cité and the Notre Dame
Enjoy a picnic for lunch in a Parisian garden
Explore Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge

Is 1 day in Paris enough?

There is so much to do in Paris that you may never see it all. However, you will be able to see fair bit of “classic” Paris and to get a good idea of what the city has to offer.

Is one night it Paris worth it?

Absolutely! My philosophy is that any time in Paris is better than no time. One night will most likely give you two half days which is enough time to see some of the major sights like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre and the Champs-Élysées.

With one night in Paris you will also be a able to fit in a show at the Moulin Rouge and a nice dinner in a French restaurant or a picnic under the Eiffel Tower.

Do you have more than 24 hours in Paris? Check out the best 3 days in Paris Itinerary

Fiona xoxo

Here are my favourite travel resources for planning travel like a pro:

Flights: To find the best flights I always search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. For even cheaper flights, fly mid week and pack in a carry on!

Accommodation: I always use booking.com (I love their price match and flexible cancellation policies) or Airbnb (if I want a little more space) to book trip. If you prefer hostels, I suggest Hostelworld.

If you are new to Airbnb you can get an awesome discount using this link

Tours: While I prefer to travel independently, I do love doing some tours once I’m in a destination. It is a great way to find out history, hidden gems, taste local food and get a local insight into your destination. I always use Viator to book my tours.

Train Travel: If you are planning on taking the train in Europe, I cannot recommend the Eurail enough! Check out The Ultimate Guide to the Eurail Pass to find out why

Car Hire: Planning an epic road trip across the US or through Europe, or anywhere! Check out DiscoverCar, they are my go to for car hire all over the world!

Luggage Storage: Some times when we are travelling our check in and check out times don’t match with our departure times so we have to put our luggage into storage. Stasher Luggage Storage is the biggest Luggage Storage Network across the UK, France and Germany

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A pinterest graphic for a 24 hour Paris itinerary

My BEST Travel Resources

Here are my favourite travel resources for planning travel like a pro

Flights: To find the best flights I always search on Google Flights or Skyscanner. For even cheaper flights, fly mid week and pack in a carry on!

Accommodation: I always use booking.com (I love their price match and flexible cancellation policies) or Airbnb (if I want a little more space) to book trip. If you prefer hostels, I suggest Hostelworld.

If you are new to Airbnb you can get an awesome discount using this link

Travel Insurance: After a few hairy moments on my travels, I ALWAYS purchase travel insurance. It may seem like a big cost now, but if the worst happens, it will save you a lot of money and heartache. I personally use World Nomads (and love them!), but I recommend that you do some research to find the insurance company that suits your needs.

Tours: While I prefer to travel independently, I do love doing some tours once I’m in a destination. It is a great way to find out history, hidden gems, taste local food and get a local insight into your destination. I always use Viator to book my tours.

Train Travel: If you are planning on taking the train in Europe, I cannot recommend the Eurail enough! Check out The Ultimate Guide to the Eurail Pass to find out why

Car Hire: Planning an epic road trip across the US or through Europe, or anywhere! Check out Europcar, they are my go to for car hire all over the world!

Luggage Storage: Some times when we are travelling our check in and check out times don’t match with our departure times so we have to put our luggage into storage. Stasher Luggage Storage is the biggest Luggage Storage Network across the UK, France and Germany

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