LAYOVER TRAVEL GUIDE
A short layover, a single day or a weekend trip, you can cram in so many amazing things into a single day in Paris. Whether you’re visiting in the summer or the winter, it really doesn’t make a difference, this is a year-round travel guide to Paris. A great way to see this city is by seeing it with a local; we met up with a local Parisian who showed us all the best spots to see on our short trip to Paris.
8 AM: SACRÉ-CŒUR
Start your day around 8 am at Sacré-Cœur, a minor basilica and a great place to start your morning because of its position on a hill, giving you a beautiful sunrise over Paris (if you’re here in winter like we were). Watching the sunrise while beating the crowds is a great way to start your day! Loic showed us a little area around the side of Sacré-cœur, a beautiful photo spot all to ourselves.
9:00 AM: RUE DES ABBESSES & LE GRENIER À PAIN
Wonder down the extremely beautiful Parisian street called Rue des Abbesses where the Amélie was filmed; it’s so picturesque. Visit Le Grenier à Pain, a traditional French bakery for breakfast. You’ll have a choice of the classics like croissants, other delicious pastries, baguettes, coffee, jams, and Nutella. For a light breakfast, we paid €6 for three people; overall pretty affordable, but you’re not getting a ton of food.
9:45 AM: SCOOTER RENTAL
After breakfast head to the nearest scooter rental and pick up your mode of transport for the day. We hired a 125cc scooter from Louer Une Moto for 38.5 euros ~ 44 USD for the day. You can also hire eBike’s, costing around 10 euros, but I’m not sure how much distance you would be able to cover. Hiring a scooter is a great way to cut through traffic if you know how to drive one. This is 100% my favorite thing to do in Paris. The rental company also provided gloves and a scooter blanket, so if it rains you stay warm and dry. If you only have one day in Paris don’t rent a car, you’ll spend half your day in traffic or trying to park it. If you're not comfortable on two wheels then take Ubers over taxis as they cost a lot more. Alternatively, download one of the many electric scooter apps, such as Lime and use these to get around; they are restricted in distance and speed, so you might not be able to see all the sights on this list.
10:00 AM: LOUVRE
Hop on your scooter and head straight to the Louvre to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. No matter what time of the day you visit here, it’ll be busy, but this time in the morning is definitely the quietest you’ll ever catch it - on average 15,000 people visit the Louvre every day. I’ve visited a few times before at different times of the day, and 10 am was definitely the best time to come. The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world, with 380,000 pieces of art. If you spent 30 seconds looking at each piece of art, it would take you 100 days to see all of it - not ideal when you’re only in Paris for one day!
The Louvre was actually a fortress built in the 1100s and later turned into a royal palace. From there, it became the museum you see today. The detail, the grandeur of it all, everywhere you turn, it’s remarkable. In the time we spent here, we only saw one side of the Louvre, it’s huge, so it’s worth knowing what you particularly want to see and head straight there!
The outside of the Louvre is just as beautiful, with the intricate palace details and the unique pyramid structure. You could easily spend an entire day here, and I highly recommend you do, if you have the time. If you’re reading this you probably don’t, so I suggest spending a few hours taking in the main sights.
12:15 PM: PONT DES ARTS - LOVE(LESS) BRIDGE
From the Louvre, take a 15-minute walk and back to Pont des Arts, right along the Seine River. This bridge used to be the love bridge where couples would come to attach a lock so their love would never fade. That was of course until they removed the chain-link fence because the locks were becoming dangerously heavy for the bridge to handle. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful walk along the riverfront.
12:45 PM: RUE CRÉMIEUX
Jump on your scooter and head to Rue Crémieux, if you’re into taking photos. It’s a pedestrian street where all the houses are painted in pastel colors. Similar to Portobello Road in London and a completely different look to the usual Parisian houses. The street is actually named after a lawyer, Adolphe Crémieux, who safeguarded Jewish human rights in France.
Just remember people live here, so try to be respectful.
2:00 PM: NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS
From Rue Crémieux, grab a baguette for lunch en route from a local store and head to Notre-Dame, one of the most popular tourist attractions. Unfortunately, in April, it encountered a huge fire, but it’s still very much worth a visit. We didn’t go inside with a tight travel day, but it’s absolutely beautiful to see from the outside - a great location to eat your baguettes!
2:30 PM: SCOOTER BY LES INVALIDES
Scooter towards Les Invalides; a museum and national monument. Les Invalides used to be a hospital for wounded soldiers. Napoleon, the former emperor of France and one of the most famous conquerors, very well known for going to war is buried here, in the Musee de l'Armee.
3:00 PM: CHAMPS ELYSEES
From Les Invalides, scooter to Champs Elysees, a beautiful shopping street leading to the Arc de Triomphe. To be honest, I've heard from many Parisians that this isn’t exactly a place they would come, but this blog is for people who want to see the highlights of Paris, even if they are somewhat more touristy highlights. It’s also a pretty impressive street, with the view of the Arc de Triomphe at the end.
3:45 PM: LADURÉE - FRENCH BAKERY
You can’t go to Paris and not have a macaron so make a stop at Ladurée. Macarons originate in Italy, but apparently, the Italian chef of queen Catherine De Medici introduced them to Paris. At the time, they were just like a single half of the macaron, similar to a cookie. Two nuns from Italy made them more popular and the Ladurée decided to see what happens when they made it into a sandwich-style cookie; that was where the French macaron was born.
The desserts in the Ladurée are amazing. We tried macarons, tarts, french toast, and hot chocolate, it was all so tasty! For the most part, this tour is pretty budget-friendly, but the Ladurée is definitely a little more on the pricey side. For the three of us with desserts and drinks, it came to 56 USD. Although, it’s definitely worth it for a bit of a break on this busy day and get a little energy back into you.
5:30 PM: EIFFEL TOWER
A must-visit for anyone heading to Paris is the Eiffel Tower; it’s particularly spectacular during sunset. Every evening from sunset to 1 am (2 am during the summer), the Eiffel Tower is lit up every hour on the hour for 5 minutes, it’s beautiful!
6:30 PM: DROP SCOOTER OFF
It's time to go drop off the scooter before the shop closes. Riding in Paris reminds me a lot of riding a bike in Bangkok, the bikes just flow with the traffic; it's a really fast, efficient and fun way to see the city. If you're comfortable on two wheels, I couldn’t recommend it more!
7:15 PM: DINNER AT ATELIER RAMEY
After a day full of sugary foods, visit Atelier Ramey for dinner. Loic recommended it to us, known for its homemade food, there’s not a huge selection but they do everything so well. If you’re staying in Montmartre or willing to travel and you don’t mind spending around 40 euros per person for an incredible three-course meal, then this is the place to do it.
That draws an end to a jam-packed day in Paris! Check out my 12 Hours in Paris vlog to see exactly how I explored this beautiful city for myself.
Let’s get lost in the next one!