It’s little wonder that Paris has become one of the world’s great cities to visit. Compared to many major European cities, the French capital was largely spared the destruction of the last world war.
This means the central heart of Paris is much as it was designed in the last two centuries, with great buildings on grand boulevards and atmospheric streets leading through bohemian quarters.
These intact historical areas deserve a leisurely wander, but many visitors are too busy ticking off major sights to actually get a ‘feel’ of Paris.
There are so many things for visitors to see and do, many spend a week just exploring the city. But is it possible to see the best of Paris in just one day?
If you plan carefully and concentrate on what is important for you, it’s possible to have one of the travel world’s great days in Paris.
Firstly, what are the must-see sights?
The distinctive pinnacle of the Eiffel Tower can be spotted all over the city. It builds anticipation for getting up close to the monumental 19th-century metal structure towering over the riverside gardens beneath it.
Do you need to join the queues for the elevator ride to the top? You must decide.
The view is stupendous, of course, but there are great city views from plenty of other city tower blocks and skyscrapers too. It’s not the view – but the size and shape of the 324-meter high Eiffel Tower that makes it special.
Instead, why not stroll around the formal riverside gardens beneath the tower and come back to look at it after dark when the lighting makes it seem magical and otherworldly. Try the view of the tower from the far side of the river.
Next up is one of the world’s most famous museums: The Louvre. The riverside buildings are grand and the entrance through a glass pyramid is spectacular.
But you could spend a week in the Museum. There are 38,000 exhibits. Most people join long queues for a brief crowded look at the most famous object on show, the Mona Lisa painting.
Decide whether that’s worth it to you. The image of course is readily available on your phone whenever you want – and you’ve seen it a million times before in your life.
Sitting at an outside table with a French coffee and getting a relaxed look at the outside of the Louvre Palace, the former Royal home, may be enough to satisfy your curiosity.
Notre Dame Cathedral
You won’t even have that choice to make at the next highlight. Notre Dame Cathedral has been closed for years, needing massive repairs after a devastating fire. You simply have to stroll past, admiring the twin-towered façade and the view from the far side of the river where artists sell their paintings in the street.
Champs Elysees & Arc de Triomphe
Two other areas deserve some of your single day adventure. Firstly, try walking along the famous tree-lined Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, surely the world’s most famous roundabout.
Then explore the more bohemian area to the north of the centre where the distinctive domed Montmartre church stands on a prominent hillside. The views here are as good as anywhere in Paris – they’re free and you won’t have to queue either.
The streets around Montmartre are full of pavement artists and buskers, quirky shops, cafes and bars. It’s a bit touristy but will give you more of a ‘feel’ of Paris than the big landmarks.
And then there are the other Parisian experiences that are worth trying to squeeze into your day.
Leisure Activities in Paris
What about a croque monsieur (cheese toastie) at a corner café? Don’t be put off by a snooty waiter; they’re all like that.
Savvy visitors take a trip to one of the glamorous Paris casinos at the Hippodrome or Longchamp. Casino gaming, both offline and online, is popular in many European countries and major cities like Paris.
Online casino gaming has become popular due to convenience, accessibility, and offers such as free spins on slots games by these providers operating across Europe. Thanks to online, tourists now have the option between relaxing in the hotel and playing online or dressing up and heading to an old-school casino venue when visiting Paris.
Admittedly games like roulette feel all the more special in a real casino in France where they were developed. Monte Carlo, particularly is the home of much of our gaming heritage.
For many years in the Victorian era, this was the only place in Europe where gaming was allowed. The rich and famous flocked to this tiny gilded outpost on the French Riviera.
The famous casino still stands on a rocky headland overlooking the millionaires’ yacht harbor and the sparkling blue Mediterranean. It might not boast the famous landmarks of Paris – but for any fans of gaming, a real-life historic casino has just as much atmosphere and appeal.
Why not take a boat trip down the Seine to get a different view of the city? How about a taxi trip over the cobbled streets of the Left Bank – stopping to look at all the glorious florists’ stalls?
You may need to ask a trusted local to help find a decent restaurant – not a tourist one. An authentic dinner in Paris should be a grand and memorable experience.
Don’t forget that visiting any European city is more about the atmosphere than the actual landmarks. Sip up the vibe from local institutions like cake shops in Vienna, tapas bars in Madrid and the casino in Monte Carlo.