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How to Spend 24 Hours in Paris

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Paris is without a doubt one of the most incredible cities in the world, but first-time visitors can end up leaving with the wrong impression if they get caught in the standard tourist traps. That’s why we’re going to show you how to spend a perfect day in the City of Lights that doesn’t involve long lines. Lace up your most comfortable walking shoes, because we’re going to be covering a lot of ground!
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How to Spend 24 Hours in Paris



Paris is without a doubt one of the most incredible cities in the world, but first-time visitors can end up leaving with the wrong impression if they get caught in the standard tourist traps. That’s why we’re going to show you how to spend a perfect day in the City of Lights that doesn’t involve long lines. Lace up your most comfortable walking shoes, because we’re going to be covering a lot of ground!


Hard as it is, we won’t be focusing on food for this video, but foodies should be sure check out our delicious video on How to Eat Your Way Through Paris.


One of the reasons visiting Paris is so challenging is (and this is a good problem!) because of the sheer wealth of things to do in this large metropolis. The first thing you have to know this Paris is a city best explored on foot; walking the historic streets, you’ll undoubtedly come across many delights that won’t be found in many guidebooks. If you’re travelling a little further however, it’s important to become familiar with the city’s Metro system. There are Metro spots near pretty much everything you’d want to see, and you’ll be able to get around quickly because the transit system is so well-developed.


Now if you’ve never been to Paris before, you’re probably going to want to see at least some of the city’s best-known attractions, but the key here is avoiding the crowds. Our recommendation, if you want to visit Notre Dame Cathedral, is to go first thing in the morning, before it has time to get truly packed.


Grab a café au lait to fuel your morning adventures, and just a short walk away, you’ll find the beautiful Île Saint-Louis, one of a duo of natural islands in the Seine. Be sure to take some time to wander around this tiny, picturesque island in the 4th arrondissement.


After that, take a stroll to the Jardins du Luxembourg, which are about a half-hour’s walk away. If you haven’t had a full breakfast yet, this is the perfect place to sit back with a chocolatine or croissant from one of the nearby bakeshops and just watch Parisians taking their morning constitutionals or racing their sailboats in the basin. You can also marvel at the 17th-century Luxembourg Palace, which presides over the park.


Then it’s time to hop on the metro and head over to the Marais district. This neighborhood is right in the center of the action but is far less popular with tourists than many of the other central areas of the city. Take your time walking down the city streets, popping into tiny art galleries. There is also great shopping to be had in this area, and you definitely won’t be seeing the same high street stores that you can find at home. The area’s hôtel particuliers (private mansions or townhouses) have been converted into a wide variety of different establishments, and you can feel the history here everywhere you go. This is a great place to grab lunch before moving on. You won’t lack for choice.


Now, while the Louvre might top any list of must-see attractions in Paris, we’re going to make a potentially controversial recommendation and say that if you’ve only got one day in this city, you could skip going inside. Of course, you could wait in a long line just to pop in and see the Mona Lisa alongside hordes of tourists, but anyone who has done that will let you know it might not be worth it. If you have a few days in the city, you must absolutely dedicate time to seeing all the incredible works on display here, but for our purposes, let’s just admire the exterior, and of course, the famous pyramid.


Walk just a couple of minutes to the nearby Palais Royal, which offers up an interesting (and controversial) juxtaposition of modern art and classic architecture with Daniel Buren’s ‘80s art installation, Les Deux Plateaux.


The logical next step is to take a leisurely walk through the Tuileries Gardens, which are the epitome of what you probably imagine when you think of Paris. The perfectly-manicured French gardens are extremely distinctive, and the vintage carnival rides which run in the warmer months will make you feel like you’re in the Paris of another era.


You’ll slowly make your way to the end of the gardens and reach the famed Champs-Élysées. Now, a word of caution here. This street is one of the most famous in the world, and for good reason. But you don’t have to sit down for a meal here or do any shopping. You’ve probably got a Sephora and a Disney Store at home. Fast food restaurants and tourist shops have overrun this once grand street, so just as you might with Times Square, it’s best to make your way through quickly on your way to your next stop.


Equally famous but much more worthy of your time is the Arc de Triomphe. Most tourists will pay and be willing to wait in line for a ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but far less popular is the view from the top of this monument. The thing is, you don’t actually get to see the Eiffel Tower from the Eiffel Tower, but the panorama you get here is simply spectacular.


And indeed, after taking one of Paris’s lovely bridges across the Seine from the Arc de Triomphe, you’ll find yourself at the famed Eiffel Tower, perhaps the most well-known attraction in the entire world. Instead of paying an entrance fee, we recommend you take it in from the lawns of Champs de Mars after dark. Pick yourself up a baguette, some cheese and some wine, and enjoy Paris in the most cliche, yet awesome, way possible. The hourly light show that takes place after dark may not be the most popular with locals, but we can’t deny that it really fills you with the magic of the city.


Of course, 24 hours is only enough to merely scratch the surface of what Paris has to offer. Don’t worry, we’ll head back soon! Au revoir!



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