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Exploring Paris in 1 day - A detailed itinerary

Paris is a bucket-list destination for all the right reasons - a world-class arts scene, a storied past, monumental structures, delectable cuisine, and of course shopping! We will be upfront with you, Paris warrants at least a few days, but hey if it’s just 24 hours, let us help you make it the best 24 hours in Paris!

Disclaimers first. What we suggest initially may be cliched. But cliches in Paris are still worth every minute. But if you want less tourist-trodden paths, scroll to the ‘Mix it Up’ section. Our 24-hour itinerary is suggestive, feel free to tailor it to your interests, budget, and pace. Let’s head right in!

Now, navigating a new city can be a daunting task for a tourist. This is where Paris hop-on hop-off buses come in handy, saving you a ton of hassle and time. They cover transit to several attractions, permit unlimited hops, are inexpensive compared to cab rides, and will significantly reduce the stress of navigating public transport, which though efficient, needs some getting used to. If you have the time, a single loop onboard offers a good lay of the land. Secondly, invest in Paris city passes like Turbopass covering many attractions in one go. Buying combos also adds great monetary value. 

Recommended tickets: 

  • Big Bus: Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Optional Seine River Cruise
  • Tootbus: Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Seine River Cruise
  • Big Bus: 24/48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Paris + 1-Hour Seine River Cruise
  • Batobus: 24/48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Seine River Cruise Tour of Paris
  • Combo (Save 15%): Aerobus One-Way Tickets + 24/48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Paris
  • Combo (Save 5%): Guided Tour of 'Emily in Paris' Filming Spots + Big Bus 24-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Paris

Morning 8am to 11am

Start your day like the Parisians - with coffee and pastry

Wherever you are based, you can always find one of those quaint little bakeries or cafe terraces to grab your coffee, pastry and croissant, or quiche. Sitting outside the cafes around small tables facing the street, people-watching, and enjoying delicious bites is quintessentially Parisian, so you are off to an excellent start. Since our itinerary starts at the Louvre, we suggest finding a cafe nearby. 

Louvre Museum - Mona Lisa beckons, and when she does, you can’t resist!

  • Nearest hop-on hop-off bus stop: Louvre - Pont des Arts, 2 rue de l’Amiral de Coligny (Big Bus), Place du Carrousel (Tootbus), Quai de Louvre - Batobus Station - Louvre (Batobus)

Let's start the day early at 9am with the right dose of culture at the Louvre - the world’s largest and most-visited museum housing some of the classics like the ‘Mona Lisa’. Head over to the Denon wing for the ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’, ‘Liberty Leading the People’, and more. 

  • Opening hours of the Louvre: 9am - 6pm
  • Average time to spend at the Louvre: 2 hours 
  • Closed on: Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
  • Pro-tip: Ticket queues are infamously long. Invest in skip-the-line tickets.

Noon 12pm to 3:30pm

Île de la Cité - In search of the hunchback of Notre Dame…

  • Nearest hop-on hop-off bus stop: Notre Dame, 3, Rue Lagrange (outside souvenir shop, opposite park entrance) (Big Bus), Notre-Dame - Quartier Latin, Cloître Saint-Séverin (Tootbus), Quai de Montebello - Batobus - Notre-Dame  (Batobus) 

After exiting the Louvre, wait at the hop-on hop-off bus stop, and board the bus arriving at frequent intervals to reach Île de la Cité where sits the phenomenal Notre Dame Cathedral. There’s much to do on this island. Stroll around Notre Dame, and watch it slowly rise from the ashes of the devastating 2019 fires. Let this stroll along the Seine lead you to Sainte-Chapelle, where the huge stained glass windows filtering a purplish hue will give you your first wow moment! 

  • Opening hours of Sainte-Chapelle: 9am - 7pm 
  • Average time to spend in Sainte-Chapelle: 30 to 45 minutes 
  • Closed on: January 1, May 1, and December 25
  • Pro-tip: Be forewarned Saint Chappelle also has long queues, so purchase your skip-the-line tickets online, for time is of the essence. 

Centre Pompidou - First sight of Paris from above

  • Nearest hop-on hop-off bus stop: Notre Dame, 3, Rue Lagrange (outside souvenir shop, opposite park entrance) (Big Bus), Notre-Dame - Quartier Latin, Cloître Saint-Séverin (Tootbus), Quai de Montebello - Batobus - Notre-Dame  (Batobus) 

Cross over to the north of the island and head for the Centre Pompidou, an interesting and complex building inside and out. It houses the National Museum of Modern Art, among other things. Sure, you can check out the museum, but we suggest making your way to the observatory at the top for your first views of Paris from up above. Spot everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Sacre Couer. 

  • Opening hours of Centre Pompidou Musuem: 11am - 9pm 
  • Average time to spend at the Centre Pompidou observation deck: 20 to 30 minutes 
  • Closed on: Tuesdays and May 1
  • Pro-tip: The observation deck alone doesn’t require a ticket. Just head to the fifth floor via escalators.

A sit-down meal and a leisurely stroll to recharge

  • Nearest hop-on hop-off bus stop: Notre Dame, 3, Rue Lagrange (outside souvenir shop, opposite park entrance) (Big Bus), Notre-Dame - Quartier Latin, Cloître Saint-Séverin (Tootbus), Quai de Montebello - Batobus - Notre-Dame  (Batobus) 

Time to sit down for a fine French lunch. You will find plenty of economical and fine-dining restaurants and cafes in the Latin Quater, Le Marais, or Île de la Cité. Afterward, you could walk off lunch at the vibrant Le Marais neighborhood with numerous unique and budget-friendly shopping options. Get some baguettes, pastries, cheese, or fruits from here as we need them later in the day. Book lovers can explore the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore. 

Evening 4pm to 8pm 

Champs-Elysees - Ride along one of the world’s best avenue

  • Nearest hop-on hop-off bus stop: Champs-Elysées, 156, avenue des Champs-Elysées (facing the Arc de Triomphe) (Big Bus), Champs-Elysées - Lido, Avenue des Champs-Élysées (Tootbus), Port de Champs-Elysées - Batobus - Place de la Concorde (Batobus) 

Once you have explored the island to your heart’s fill, wait for your hop-on hop-off bus at the Notre Dame stop and ride for about 30 minutes along the Champs-Elysees to reach Arc de Triomphe. Commissioned by Napolean, Arc de Triomphe is a much-visited war memorial, and the 2-kilometer Champs-Elysées leading up to it is arguably the world’s most beautiful avenue. You can engage in a luxurious shopping spree here or window shop and stroll the avenue dotted with many historical landmarks. You can head up the Arc for a beautiful and unique perspective of the Champs-Elysees, but since queues are long and time is little, it’s best to just explore the Arc from outside. 

  • Opening hours of Arc de Triomphe: 10am - 11pm
  • Average time to spend at Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees: 2 hours
  • Arc de Triomphe closed on: January 1, May 1, May 8 (morning), July 14 (morning), November 11 (morning), and December 25

Eiffel Tower - No Parisian journey is complete without a visit to the Iron Lady!

  • Nearest hop-on hop-off bus stop: Tour Eiffel, Quai Branly, Entrée 2 Tour Eiffel (at the north pillar of the Eiffel Tower) (Big Bus), Tour Eiffel, Allée des Refuzniks (Tootbus), Port de la Bourdonnais - Batobus Station - Tour Eiffel (Batobus) 

After your stroll down the Champs-Elysees, make your way back to the hop-on hop-off bus stop and catch the next bus to the one and only Eiffel Tower, the most recognizable icon of France. One that lights up and sparkles at night forging an image that will last a lifetime.

If you had grabbed some light eats at the Latin Quater or Le Marais, now is when you source them out for a little picnic. After all, it is not every day that you get to snack with the Eiffel Tower as a view. Take a breather because like we said, a lot of enjoying Paris is sitting down with a croissant or au la chocolat and just people-watching.

  • Average time to spend around Eiffel Tower: 1 hour

Seine - a muse, a lifeforce

You would have crossed the Seine River multiple times on your trip by now, but now it's time to see Paris from the waters. Starting from the Eiffel Tower, the cruise takes you around the Louvre, Notre Dame, and several other landmarks. Anticipate a romantic setting that is just as serene, and watch Paris unfold before you. Sunset is magical from the waters and you should reach back in time for the Eiffel being lit up.

  • Average cruise duration: 1 hour
  • Pro-tip: Club your hop-on hop-off pass with the cruise for cost-effectiveness. Skip this cruise if you had chosen the Batobus Hop-on hop-off boat service.

Recommended tickets:

  • Big Bus: Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Optional Seine River Cruise
  • Tootbus: Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Seine River Cruise
  • Big Bus: 24/48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour of Paris + 1-Hour Seine River Cruise

You could call it a night here and head back to the station, airport, or hotel, but if you still have some late night time to kill, head over to Montmartre.

Late night 9pm to 12am 

Montmartre - a brilliant end to an eventful day

This late-night rendezvous in the picturesque neighborhood of Montmartre is optional and will depend on your interests and level of tiredness. The highest point of Paris, Montmartre was once the home of famous artists like Picasso, Monet, van Gogh, and others and to this day is flocked with portrait artists on the street. And be forewarned it is quite packed with tourists, but you will understand the allure soon enough. 

There are some hip nightclubs for party lovers, burlesque shows, and cabaret like the Moulin Rouge for entertainment. You can also seek out the Mur des je t’aime or the ‘I Love You Wall’, where the words are written in about 250 languages, or Sinking House. Finally, settle on the steps of Sacré-Coeur, the brilliant white basilica, and enjoy beautiful views of Paris sparkling with lights. 

When it's time to leave, the Gare du Nord Station is within walking distance, so that you can make your way back easily. 

Mix it up!

Here are some suggestions to fit into the above itinerary because flexibility is cool, and people and interests are different. You can read about some less touristy things to do as well. 

  • After exploring  Île de la Cité, you could visit the Pantheon and from there head over to the catacombs of Paris. If visiting the Pantheon, it would be worthwhile to get the Big Bus: Paris Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour & Pantheon Entry Tickets
  • The Paris catacombs allow only 200 visitors at a time, so reserve ahead of time. It is an experience that is truly unique and haunting, not to mention a great way to beat the mid-day heat.  
  • Alternatively, you could also head northeast of the island and check out the charming neighborhoods of Le Marais & Rue des Rosiers where you can find pretty boutiques, vintage stores, and cafes. 
  • A little further away from Le Marais is the Père-Lachaise cemetery, where you could spend a quiet afternoon hunting down the final abodes of many famous people like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Edith Pilaf, and more.
  • If you want to do something unique but not quite touristy check out the uber-cool art gallery 59 Rivoli quite close to the island.
  • After doing your island tour, you could hop on the bus arriving at Notre Dame stop and get off at the Musée d’Orsay to spend your afternoon in the company of art. Musée d’Orsay is housed in a former train station and has some great artworks by Monet, Renoir, and van Gogh. Club this with a visit to Museum Rodin, a brisk walk away. 
  • Tip: If you want to see museums, get the Paris Museum pass. The TurboPass covers the museum pass, 60-plus attractions, a 24-hour hop-on hop-off tour, and a seine river cruise, making it the ideal pack for a hassle-free 24 hours in Paris. Check out Paris city cards.
  • After visiting the Eiffel, if you are up for a vibrant nightlife, there are a few alternatives to Montmartre as well. You could check out the neighborhoods of Bastille, the Latin Quarter, thronging with students, and Marais for a thriving LGBTQ-friendly community.



Book your Paris hop-on hop-off tickets

Big Bus: Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Optional Seine River Cruise
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Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
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€38.70
Tootbus: Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Seine River Cruise
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Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Audio guide
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from
€50.15
Big Bus: Paris Panoramic Night Bus Tour
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Flexible duration
Guided tour
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Tootbus: Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
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from
€38.25
Tootbus: Paris Night Bus Tour
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2 hr.
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from
€28.90
Tootbus: Paris Kids Guided Tour
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1 hr. 30 min.
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Big Bus: Paris Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour & Pantheon Entry Tickets
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Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Audio guide
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Frequently asked questions

What can I do in Paris in one day with kids?

There are plenty of things to do in Paris with kids. You could visit the many parks that dot the city like the Parc des Buttes Chaumont where kids will have a grand time. You could also plan a picnic in the parks along the Seine. In summer,  Paris Plages transforms the Seine riverbanks into temporary beaches with lots of activities for kids. Centre Pompidou also has a kids section. You could get your kids interested in Paris attractions with the Tootbus Kids Guided Tour.

What are some romantic things to do in Paris in 24 hours?

This list is obviously long for the City of Love. Our top recommendations would be a romantic dinner cruise on the Seine, a stroll along the banks of the Seine or Canal St Martin hand-in-hand visiting cafes, watching the open-air cinema with a picnic at La Villette park, visiting the Love Wall at Montmartre, and of course posing in front of the Eiffel Tower and waiting for it to light up.

Which are the top museums I can visit in Paris in a day?

If you wish to spend your day exploring just museums, get the Paris Museum Pass. You could do a full loop with the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and Musée Rodin. You could also throw in a few other galleries and historical monuments en route like the Picasso Museum, 59 Rivoli, Musée National d'Art Moderne, and Conciergerie.

Can I see Paris with a 7-hour layover?

Of course, you can. Take any of the Paris airport transfer services to the city and club it with a hop-on hop-off pass. Take a full loop on the hop-on hop-off bus which might last about 2 and a half hours to get a grand overview of the city. If time permits, you could even get down at one of the most iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower, and explore a bit.

How much does it cost to spend 1 day in Paris?

Frankly speaking, Paris is not cheap. A day's exploration in Paris can typically range from €100 to €300. These costs change significantly based on individual choices and lifestyle preferences. But you can up your money-saving game, with transit passes, hop-on hop-off Paris tours, and TurboPass.