Trips ‘n Travels: France: Paris in a day – The classic itinerary

Tour Eifel + carrousel

Last week you could read some tips on how to plan a daytrip in Paris. This was the first of three blogposts about spending a day in Paris.

In this second post I give you an itinerary which covers the highlights… bon voyage!
So… how to spend 12 hours in Paris and get the most out of it? That’s not so difficult… just follow this itinerary and I promise you you’ll have seen the highlights!
Do you want something different? Next week I will give you an alternative itinereray… stay tuned!
1.Arriving in Paris


When I go to Paris for a day, I travel with Slangen Reizen, a Dutch bus company.

On arrival in Paris, the bus does a small city tour (which actually isn’t necessary for me, but oh well…) before dropping us off at the Bateaux Mouches. This is a very central location, which is superb for a daytrip!
Normally we’re in Paris between 10 and 11 am and we usually leave between 9 and 10 pm, which gives us about 11 to 12 hours to explore the city… why don’t you join me and read on?!

2. A morning stroll

Now it may be tempting to walk towards the Eiffel Tower as you see it standing tall and proud in the distance… but at this time of day, the Eiffel Tower is extremely busy.

Anyway… when you’re in Paris for just 12 hours, don’t waste your time queueing to get on top of ‘La Dame de Paris’, leave that for another time, when you can spend more time in Paris.

Just walk towards Pont des Invalides, cross the bridge and then take the stairs down so you walk next to the river Seine. Walk towards the Pont Alexandre III and go up the stairs again. Cross the Pont Alexandre III.


The Pont Alexandre III is a deck arch bridge over the river Seine. It is an ornate, extravagant bridge, which is classified as a French historical monument. Take your time to coss it and enjoy the views on both sides!

Pont Alexandre III at day, with Les Invalides in the distance.
Pont Alexandre III by night.

When you look back, you see les Invalides, a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments concerning the military history of France.

When you have crossed the Pont Alexandre III, just go straigth ahead towards the Avenue Winston Churchill. You walk between the Grand Palais  and the Petit Palais.

Grand Palais

The Grand Palais is a large historic site. In this complex is an exhibition hall and a museum. The Petit Palais houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts.


Walk towards the Champs-Elysées. In the distance, you can see the Arc de Triomphe (picture above) on your left. But you go right towards Place de la Concorde. You can walk on the Champs-Elyséee itself or in the park next to it.

Place de la Concorde is actually a very busy roundabouton on which you can see an Egyptian obelisk. This obelisk (picture below) once marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple and was donated by the Egyptian government.


You’re near the Jardins des Tuileries now. Enter them and enjoy a stroll down these extensive public gardens. Sit down for a minute or two on one of the many typical garden chairs, soak up some sun and rest those feet for a little while.

Did you know you’ve only walked for about 3 kilometres? I bet it seems so much more 🙂

Jardin des Tuileries in fall colours. In the distance you can see Musée d’Orsay.


At the end of the Jardins des Tuileries, you walk through the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. This arch resembles the Arc de Triomphe, which is twice as big.

Arc de triomphe in Jardin des Tuileries
L’Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

You’re now in front of the Louvre. Enjoy this massive building, the glass pyramid and walk around the vast square in front of one of the biggest museums of the world. Unfortunately you won’t have time to visit the museum!


I bet you’re hungry by now… but just a bit more patience… I’ve got an absolutely fabulous restaurant in mind!

When you have walked around the Louvre, walk towards the Palais Royal. The inner courtyard contains ‘Les Colonnes de Buren’, a site-specific art piece by Daniel Buren.

Garden of Palais Royal
In front of the Palais Royal

Stroll around the courtyard a bit, enjoy the architecture and then walk towards Rue de Rivoli. The Rue de Rivoli is known for the famous arcaded facades that extend for almost a mile.

3.Lunch at Kong

Walk further away from the Louvre until you see the Rue du Pont Neuf and towards number 1 to Restaurant Kong. I haven’t been there yet, but it is definitely on my list!

The good thing about having lunch in this restaurant is, that it is situated on the 5th floor of a Hausmann building. The views are spectacular so you kill two birds with one stone… you get to see paris from above ànd you get to have lunch in one of the trendiest restaurants in the French capital. Mind, it’s not a cheap restaurant… Oh… and I also advise you to make a reservation well in advance!

Take your time. You’ve had a long and tiresome morning so you better enjoy that well deserved lunch! I bet it’s probably around 3 o’clock when you leave the restaurant. Time for an afternoon walk, don’t you think?!

4.An afternoon stroll and a river cruise

Hôtel de Ville

When leaving Kong restaurant, walk towards the town hall, or Hôtel de Ville as it is called. This building was reconstructed in the 19th century and it houses the city’s local administration.

Not far from Hôtel de Ville, is Centre Pompidou. It is a complex building, designed in high-tech architecture. Youc an find a public library, the National Museum of Modern Art and a centre for music an acoustic research.

In the square before the Centre Pompidou are often street artists so take a bit of time to enjoy their performances!

Centre Pompidou

Now go towards the Seine, crossing the Pont d’Arcole. Walk straight ahead, until you’re at the square in front of the Notre Dame. Here you probably see a large queue… but as you’re only here for a couple of hours I’m afraid, you can’t join that queue to get a peek inside this gem of French gothic architecture…

Your feet are probably killing you by now… but one more effort before you can rest them once again!
Ile de la Cité - Place Dauphine

Walk past the Préfecture de Police, Sainte-Chapelle, the cosy Place Dauphine (picture above) towards Square du Vert Galant. This place is situated on the edge of Ile de la Cité and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the Seine!

Near the Square du Vert Galant, you can board a river boat from Bateaux Vedettes du Pont Neuf. I’d advise you to book tickets in advance. The river cruise lasts about one hour and you get to see Paris seen from the river Seine, whilst allowing your feet some rest. During this cruise, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to see the Eiffel Tower as the cruise will take you this far and then back.


5.An evening walk… and two options to end a perfect day!

Still a few hours in Paris by now…time for a stroll on the left bank of the Seine, or Rive Gauche as the French call it. Enjoy the little book stalls and perhaps you’ll find some interesting stuff or a souvenir which is just that bit different.

(picture from 10 years ago with my first digital camera so VERY poor quality…)

Walk towards Musée d’Orsay. The museum will probably be closed by now, but this building is still a sight to see, even when you can’t have a peek inside! This used to be a train station until 1939. It now is a museum of French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art.

Musée d’Orsay in the background.

I now give you two options to end your day trip. If you’ve still got the energy, you can walk up towards the Eiffel Tower and see this magnificent building from up close.

This is one of my favourite pics of my daughter Elizabeth and me… what a lovely day we had!

Another option is to walk towards Buddha Bar, which is situated near Place de la Concorde. It is a trendy bar/restaurant.  You probably won’t have time to have diner, but you can have some drinks and very tasty tapas! The perfect way to end a very tiring but very rewarding day in Paris…

Drinks and tapas at Buddha Bar… anyone 🙂

After the Buddha Bar, make your way towards where the bus will pick you up. You can enjoy Place de la Concorde at night by then!


When I travel with Slangen Reizen, the bus picks us up at the Bateaux Mouches. I make sure that I’m there in time. It will be dark by now and if you’re lucky, you’ll see the light spectacle on the Eiffel Tower, which is shown on the hour.

Tour Eifel

Now I didn’t actually include somewhere to have diner. When I go to Paris for just a day, I usually have a longer lunch (like the one I recommended at Kong). During the late afternoon I keep my eyes open for a bakery or somewhere I can buy a baguette which I eat on the bus during the way home.

I hope I gave you plenty of inspiration and tips for a daytrip to Paris… now onto the bus, eat that baguette, take your pillow and blanky and hopefully you’ll get some sleep on the way home 🙂

Love, Kathleen

Place de la Concorde

5 thoughts on “Trips ‘n Travels: France: Paris in a day – The classic itinerary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.