Paris as a city is hard to fathom in one day. There is so much of history in this ‘City of Love’ to see and experience but yes it can be done. I landed in Paris early morning and had a whole day to explore with an itinerary in hand. I do like to set off on my own and break away from the monotony. It wasn’t like what I’d planned to do in a day was set in stone.
The moment you land in Paris, buy a carnet which is a set of 10 tickets. The pack of 10 tickets are valid for 10 journeys across whole of the city be it on the Tram, Metro or Bus (exception being the route from Airport to City).
Paris’s charm lies in it’s boulangeries and cafes. Absolutely a must do in Paris is to sit in a Parisian Café, order a croissant or pain au chocolat and observe the city while sipping on coffee. Almost everyone in Paris has a dog, preferably small size and smoking is almost fashionable.
As I was staying in Gare du Nord, my first stop was the Sacré-Cœur Basilica & Montmartre. Entry to the church is free and the area is buzzing with tourists and peddlers. It’s hard not to be wowed by the intricate mosaic artworks and ornate ceiling dome. A little walk down the Place du Tertre is the Moulin Rouge which I skipped as I was short of time.
My next stop was the spectacular Notre Dame and is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Memorized in the famous Victor Hugo novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, this cathedral is nothing short of grand. The entry to the Notre Dame cathedral is free although a climb up the tower costs € 8.50. The lines may hold you back but they move really quick. You can be in and out in 20-30 minutes. Once I entered, the breathtaking glasswork were the ones which impressed me.
Now off was I to the Place de la Concorde and The Louvre. Home to a massive collection of artworks and home to the most famous painting in the world, The Mona Lisa. You’ll have no time to visit the Louvre and should keep it for another trip. On a minimum if you have to rush through the Louvre, it’ll take about 3 hours. While admiring every painting and appreciating the art takes over 7 hours. The Louvre outside is nonetheless impressive and presents a lot of photo opportunities with the Pyramid.
The Place de la Concorde is the heart of French Revolution. It was here that around 2,500 people were guillotined which included King Louis XV, Marie Antoinette among others. Also take time to note the hieroglyphics on the Luxor Obelisk which had been presented to the French by the Egyptian Government in the 19th Century and is almost 3,300 years old.
From here on you can choose to either go towards the Arc de Triomphe & Les Champs-Élysées and then do the Eiffel Tower or only the latter. I chose to do only the Eiffel Tower as I’d just landed after a 10-hour journey and been walking around the entire day. It was almost nearing sundown and as they say the Eiffel follows you everywhere when in Paris. As I made a walk from The Louvre towards the Eiffel through the Tuileries Garden, there were many sights to behold.
It’s impossible to not be wowed by the magnanimity of the Eiffel Tower. Popped open a bottle of wine as the sun set. The Eiffel flickers every hour post 7 PM for 5 minutes. Such beautiful scenes of people kissing to mark their love for each other, I must have seen at least 3 people propose under the tower and one with mariachi band playing. There no denying that Paris is the city of love.
I’ll still reiterate when I say that Paris is impossible to do in a day but I think this post covers the most famous attractions. But if there is one thing which is a must-do is sit in a Parisian Café and gorge on delicious desserts.