My first time in Paris was me visiting with my dad for a quick day and a half.

We went out first thing in the morning with no major plans, except to find the best gelato in the city.

Unfortunately, my cousin who suggested they’d had the absolute best gelato in Paris, couldn’t remember the name of the place. They only knew it sat on a small island.

Dad and I started our day with lots of pastries and then a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower. 

We assumed it would be the perfect vantage point for finding this no-name island.

Turns out there are a few river islands in the “City of Lights”, so we picked a direction where we saw a few islands and departed the tower.

Long story short, we spent the entire day walking around the city looking for this gelato island. 

Along the way, we conveniently ended up seeing almost all the major tourist sights before finally finding the gelato after an hour of walking around in the rain.

The motto of the story is that there’s too much to see and experience during a quick visit, you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to do everything.

Instead, pick one of two things you cannot live without doing (for us it was gelato), then focus on those experiences.

With a little luck, you’ll end up seeing more than you would have running around with a sight-seeing list.

If you want the perfect combination of culture, sight-seeing, and food, this is everything you must know for the best 24 hours in Paris.

Things to Do Early Morning in Paris

Breakfast

Paris Breakfast

I believe when you’re in Paris every breakfast should include lots of pain au chocolat, croissants, and coffee.

Some of the best spots to grab breakfast in Paris are:

The Louvre

Louvre Paris

After an early breakfast, head to the Louvre. It’s best to arrive right when they open so you can experience the artwork without a massive amount of people ruining the views.

Obviously, the major attraction is the Mona Lisa, but just be ready to be a tad disappointed. It’s a masterpiece that’s much smaller than you’ve ever imagined.

I recommend checking out the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace

They’re two of the most famous statues in the world, and more impressive than the Mona Lisa.

Stroll Along the Seine

Seine Paris

Once you’re out of the museum, it’s a short walk over to the banks of the Seine. 

This is my favorite area to wander down. There’s plenty of people watching, beautiful views, and adorable houseboats. 

It’s also a prime picnic location during the warmer months. 

Bertillon

gelato paris

While you’re walking along the Seine, you’ll spot a little island called Île Saint-Louis with Notre Dame prominently featured on its edge. 

Right across the little bridge, you’ll find Berthillon gelato. 

This is the gelato that my dad and I spent all day trying to track down. It’s delicious, and the perfect sugary pick-me-up treat to fuel the walking you’ll be doing.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Paris

You probably know that Notre Dame is still being rebuilt, after the devastating 2019 fire. 

But, just because you can’t go inside, it doesn’t mean you should skip the building altogether. 

Luckily they could save a portion of the historic site which is absolutely worth gazing at. 

Plus, they have a ton of artwork sent from all over the world that’s displayed along the construction wall.

Things to Do During the Afternoon in Paris

Old Marais District

Old Marius Paris

This district is a must while you’re in town, it’s got tons of medieval era streets with boutiques, chic wine bars, bakeries, and art galleries.

The architecture in this area is really old (like actually medieval) and stunning. You’ll absolutely want to shop for souvenirs and take some cool shots around this part of town.

Lunch

lunch paris

I fully believe in taking every opportunity to eat while in Paris

This is one city that you shouldn’t skip meals in!

These are some of the best spots to indulge in delicious food:

If it’s a beautiful day and you’re feeling especially Parisian, plan and picnic along the edge of the Seine. Just pick up some baguettes, wine, cheese, and fruit to fit right in with the locals.

Montmartre

Montmartre Paris

Montmartre is one of my favorite neighborhoods to wander around. 

I love walking off lunch in the old cemetery there. I know it sounds like a strange idea, but trust me, the cemetery is super old and pretty famous. 

Speaking of famous, you can stroll by the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur and check out the nightclub district. 

Things to Do at Night in Paris

Sunset at Trocadero

Trocodero Paris

Trocadero is one of my favorite spots in this magical city. It’s a giant square that’s perfectly positioned across from the Eiffel Tower. 

This is the spot a lot of Instagrammers take those epic shots of themselves with the tower in the background. 

If you want a similar photo, sunset is the best time to get the sky in all its pink and orange glory.

Just be patient, you’ll likely have to take turns with the many tourists and bloggers wanting to snag the perfect picture there. 

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower Paris

After Trocadero, head over to the most iconic building in the city, the Eiffel Tower. 

I recommend buying your pass ahead of time, though you’ll likely still end up in a bit of line to get to the top.

Ideally, you’ll time it just right, so you’ll get to see the skyline of Paris as the sun finishes setting, and the city comes alive with all its lights glowing below. 

If you’re really loving the view and want to continue being touristy, you can book a dinner reservation to dine at the Eiffel Tower’s restaurant, 58 Tour Eiffel

It’s a prime spot to watch couples getting engaged. 

Dinner

Escargot Paris

There’s no shortage of fabulous restaurants in Paris. You might even consider it the culinary center of the world… assuming you’re not a picky eater.

Some of the best places to check out are:

Cocktails

Cocktails Paris

What’s a night out without some cocktails?

I believe every night out should end with drinks amongst the locals. 

These are some of my favorite spots to grab libations:

Wrapping Up 24 hours in Paris

Pierre Herme Paris

During your last hours in the “City of Lights”, I urge you to eat as many pastries and macarons as humanly possible. 

I always bring at least a dozen Pierre Herme macarons home with me after every visit. If I’m lucky, I’ll have about a half dozen left after I snack on them throughout the long flight home. 

Last Advice

ALLY TOWER PHOTO 1

Even if it’s just for a quick 24 hours, Paris is one of my favorite cities to visit. 

Don’t rush through the city trying to see it all. The city has a way of giving you the perfect experience you didn’t even know you needed.

Some of my favorite memories are days where I got lost wandering the city and stumbling upon local gems.

Let the city work its magic and you’ll have the perfect 24 hours in Paris.

Have you been to Paris before? Let me know in the comments what your ideal day in Paris looks like!


Check out some of these popular tours while you’re in Paris!

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