While some cities can be easily explored in just one day, others are absolutely filled with treasures and gems to be discovered. Paris is this kind of city, where it seems each and every street corner holds its own unique story and piece of history. So, if you’ve only got 24 hours to visit the City of Lights, what are the best things to see and do?
TheUrbanRealist’s 24 hours in Paris Travel Guide will help you to make the most of your visit and ensure you don’t miss the hot spots.
Paris – A Top Destination for Tourists
Before we begin, why did we choose Paris as a hot destination? Currently, France is the most visited country in the entire world. In 2016, it welcomed 85 million tourists. They come from all over the world to visit and discover what the country has to offer. This rather massive amount of tourists is exactly why the tourism industry is so important to the economy, not just in Paris but for the entire country.
The industry employs roughly 500,000 people. In Paris, and the areas directly surrounding it, tourism accounts for more than 13% of its economy, which shows just how much of an impact it has. As for which tourists are flocking to the region, it’s mostly popular with the Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and the British.
1. Eiffel Tower – A Great Stepping Off Point
Obviously, no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. There is no point spending much time discussing this one because everyone understands just how beautiful and historic it is. Now, what you may not realize is that the Eiffel Tower can actually act as a great spot to start your day. It’s close to some of the most iconic landmarks, such as the Arc De Triomphe, the Seine, and the Champs-Elysées. Each of these is worth visiting, even if it’s just for a photo opportunity.
2. Palace of Versailles
This castle just so happens to be the largest in the entire world. Built in the 18th century it is a real pleasure to tour this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Orsay Museum
This “museum” is actually a railway station that was built at the turn of the century. It is found on the grounds of the Palais D’Orsay. The museum is home to a world renowned art and sculpture gallery with pieces from Monet, Delacroix, Van Gogh, Sisley, Renoir, and many more.
4. Louvre Museum
Again, this is another world-renowned art gallery that features thousands of modern and classic art pieces. This particular museum is the most visited art gallery in the entire world, with more than 380,000 objects found inside. If you wish to explore with a guide, the tours depart every 30 minutes in peak season, and then every 60 minutes during off-season.
5. Archaeological Crypt of Notre-Dame
This is a very unique activity to take part in while visiting Paris. In order to view the crypt, you’ll need to travel down under the streets of the city, 80m below the Notre Dame Cathedral. You’ll be able to explore Paris’ history dating back more than 2000 years. This can be tied in with a tour of Saint Chapelle and Centre Pompidou, and the Towers of Notre Dame.
6. Gourmet Chocolate Museum
Paris is known for its museums and art galleries, but here is one you may not have heard of: the Gourmet Chocolate Museum. A visit to this museum offers the perfect break in your tour and features the entire 4,000 year old history of chocolate and cocoa. You can even take in a demonstration of how chocolate is made, and then of course sample the goods.
7. Size Is in Your Corner
The one positive that can be said if you’ve only got a short time to visit is the fact that Paris itself isn’t a massive city. This means that technically, if you rushed, you’d be able to see all it has to offer but just in small snippets. Now, with that said it’s still a fairly large city. It has a population of around 12,100,000, which is smaller than London, but bigger than cities such as Moscow, Manchester, and Madrid.