How To Spend One Day In Paris

How to spend one day in Paris, France without missing out on anything!

As a typical college student with limited time and funds, I often find myself embarking on short trips that allow me to travel Europe without detracting from schoolwork or my job.

While I usually leave at least two full days to explore a new city, I set a new personal record for a short vacation by spending only one day in Paris.

Prior to the trip, I was worried that I would feel overwhelmed by having such a short time to experience one of the world’s most famous cities.

But I think I made the most of my time in France’s stunning cosmopolitan capital!

paris france travel europe

Overnight Bus to Paris

We took an overnight bus to Paris to save money and time.

Though we arrived in Paris exhausted and disoriented, we were thrilled to have the entire day to explore.

We found a super cheap bus ticket from London to Paris with Ouibus. Highly recommend!

The bus was comfortable and dark. I feel like I blinked and we were in Paris!

paris france europe

Where To Stay For One Night In Paris

The key is finding a cheap hostel that is centrally located.

Then you can easily make it to and from the airport and stay close to all the Paris attractions.

We stayed at BVJ Opera-Montmarte and it was perfect. It cost 25 Euros a night, which isn’t that cheap but it’s standard for Paris.

Check out this hostel and other Paris hostels on Hostelworld!

After we checked into our hostel and ate the delicious free breakfast, we set out to see as much of the city as possible.

To save money and time, we stashed baguettes and apples from the hostel breakfast in our bags in order to sustain ourselves for the day.

An important thing to know as a traveler on a budget: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE FOOD!

One Day In Paris: Best Attractions and Things To Do

Here are the highlights of Paris that we were determined to see before the end of the day.

These are all within walking distance of each other, so we didn’t need to take public transport or worry too much about navigation.

This was a quick and easy one-day sightseeing tour of Paris, and it was awesome.

Here are the Paris attractions we went to in order.

1. The Louvre Museum

Tempted to go inside the famous and gigantic museum, we didn’t want to sacrifice too much time because the line was so long.

But admiring the Louvre Palace from the outside was breathtaking enough.

We also had way too much fun taking stereotypical tourist pictures with the Louvre Pyramids.

paris france travel Louvre

2. The Love Lock Bridge

This famous Paris landmark is just a bridge smothered in colorful padlocks.

Whether the locks are stuck on there by lovers or friends, it is a nice symbol of partnership in the city.

The beauty of the Seine River surrounding the spot is lovely as well.

3. Notre Dame Cathedral

Again, the desire to save time stopped us from waiting in the absurdly long line to venture inside the famous cathedral.

But the outside of Notre Dame Cathedral was stunning.

The booming ring of the cathedral’s many bells also chased away any traces of tiredness that we may have still had, so that’s a plus.

paris france travel notre dame

4. Luxembourg Palace and Gardens

During our one day in Paris, this enormous and regal palace was a great place to stop.

We strolled through the gardens and relaxed in the grass.

It’s centrally located, and you can stay as long as you want here!

 travel palace gardens

5. Eiffel Tower

As an image that I’ve seen countless times in pictures, this famous structure surpassed all of my expectations.

The sheer size of the tower and the detail of the wrought iron bars left me in awe.

We didn’t wait in line to visit the top, yet again. But we ate some baguettes in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower and it was amazing.

paris france travel Eiffel Tower

6. Arc De Triomphe

Unlike the Eiffel Tower, this landmark appeared exactly how I had imagined based on pictures I’ve seen.

It was undoubtedly beautiful but did not totally amaze me.

arc de triomphe

7. Avenue des Champs-Élysées

As a chaotic boulevard crowded with consumerism, the gorgeous lights and chic window displays made this overwhelming street exciting and vibrant.

This area definitely helped ‘The City of Lights’ live up to its name.

paris nightlife

8. Eiffel Tower Part 2

Venturing back to the famous landmark, we were lucky enough to capture the magic of the Eiffel Tower at night.

Speaking of ‘The City of Lights’, the golden structure represented the king of all the lights as it towered over the city and cut through the darkness of the night sky.

paris france travel Eiffel Tower

Other Tips For One Day In Paris

  • Try not to rush too much. Half the beauty of Paris lies in the streets, not the major landmarks. Sit in a cafe for a bit and just observe your surroundings and people-watch.
  • We didn’t actually devote much time to eating, but we did make it a priority to try croissants and macarons to see if they were better in France than the USA. Which they were obviously, so I highly recommend you do the same!
  • One day in Paris is short, but it’s better than zero days! Just soak in as much as you can and try to fit Paris into your future travels again one day!
  • If you’re thinking of traveling to France, visit to see if you need a visa!
  • Check out my article about travel insurance in case you need some advice for how to get insured for your travels. Or just head to Squaremouth Insurance to get coverage, which is my favorite travel insurance company.

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For more budget travel articles around Europe, check out:

10 Reasons To Visit Porto, Portugal

How I Lived in Portugal for One Month and Only Spent 200 Euros

10 Incredible Things To Do In Interlaken, Switzerland

6 Things To Do In Berlin, Germany On A Budget

Travel Hacks For Europe

12 Best Things To See In Barcelona, Spain

10 Reasons To Visit Cologne, Germany


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