A day. That’s all you have to challenge yourself to see as much of what the city has to offer as you can. With so much to see, should you try to prioritise just a couple of things to see in depth, or do you try and rush to see many places? This day need not be rushed at all as you can still enjoy your postcard Paris and appreciate what you see and not just let it pass by. So what do I mean by postcard Paris? Well it is an adventure to uncover the tourist sites you most often see being talked about or shown through other people’s trips out to the capital. Through this guide, I hope you will feel inspired in how to best view the city in a day, and learn a little about the history of the places you’re going to. In future, there will be other Paris in a day guides with different themes being released so keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks if you’re planning a short city break to the capital.
Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre
So where to start in order to take advantage of the time you have? Well my first suggestion would be to first go visit the Sacré-Cœur in the morning, which is only a short walk from the metro stations Anvers or Abbesses. It is a beautiful piece of religious history, and with it being a cathedral, it is free entry to all and open from 6am until 10:30pm. Fun little fact, as the most modern cathedral in Paris, it is only just over a 100 years old as it was completed in 1914, and wow what a landmark site it has become. It also provides a fantastic view of the city as it is up high on butte Montmartre, which is a great way to get those overlooking city shots. There is also the option of paying to go up the basilica, which is a total of 300 steps but do note that there is no lift! Alternatively just enjoy the views both inside and out and then head on over to Montmartre – a quaint little village within the heart of Paris.
Montmartre is a very popular spot to be in and you will find plenty of locals waiting and willing to draw a portrait or caricature of you. There are also many small restaurants if you’re looking for a bite to eat and in particular Place du Tertre is a square where lots of people go to visit. However, do make note that because of its popularity, this is a very tourist crowd area and seats can fill up quickly for surrounding restaurants. Actually my favourite place to grab a bite to eat here is just off Place du Tertre and down some steps. La Taverne de Montmartre is a very cosy place to go and tends not to be so busy so I suggest making this your go to place if you’re looking for lunch. I’ve had some great snails there before – delish!
Other places of note within this area if you have the time are the Dalí Museum and the Paroisse Saint-Pierre de Montmartre, which are also very wonderful places that I’ve been to many a time. After your morning in the Montmartre area it’s time to head to your afternoon destination.
Louvre and Tuileries Leading To Place De La Concorde
After a lunch or short break, head on over to the Louvre very easily by getting the metro from Montmartre. I would suggest taking the metro 12 from Abbesses, and switching over at Concorde to get the metro 1 to Palais Royal Musée du Louvre. From there it is a short walk through the Tuileries to the iconic glass structure of the louvre which also happens to be your entrance. Don’t worry if there is a queue for bag check, it actually goes reasonably fast and once you’re inside the building there are no more queues to worry about. Now my suggestion is to have had lunch before you enter inside as the Louvre is massive and takes a while to get around. Personally I’ve never been able to see it all even with a full day there, so really plan out what exhibits you want to see and where to go see them. For me, I’ve always been a fan of statues and there are statues by Michelangelo that can be found in the Louvre. The small Africa exhibit is also great to see if you want a quiet area away from the crowd of tourists, but do note it is a fair walk to get to from the main entrance area. Now of course the Mona Lisa is there to be seen, and I won’t say much more beyond you need to get up close and battle your way through a tide of cameras. All in all you could spend at least 2 hours here if not more just seeing all the works of art on offer. It is a great museum and worth every penny – though if you’re a European national under 26 you get free entry! Free entry is also available to all tourists on Bastille day and on the first Saturday of each month, the museum is also open from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. and admission is free for all visitors.
After checking out the Louvre, head back up top for a walk through the gardens and make your way to Place De La Concorde where you can see the Egyptian Obelisk. Standing 23 metres high, this ancient obelisk originally stood at the entrance to the Luxor Temple which was supposedly a place of rejuvenating kingship. Actually, Alexander the Great was said to be crowned at this temple. What a fun fact! Anyway, the obelisk depicts hieroglyphs exalting Ramses II, and was built approximately 1400 BC.
Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe
From here, you have two options really depending on how much time you have left for your day trip. I would recommend first continuing along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to take in the sites and make your way to the Arc de Triomphe. As a fun fact, you can climb up the arch. There are some great views from up here of the city which you’ll see on the Uncover Our World Instagram feed within the next couple weeks. The arch also owes its history to Napoleon who ordered it to be built in 1806.
A short metro ride from Kléber (a station near the Arc) and you can bring yourself to Trocadero station, which is a short walk to the Eiffel Tower. The gardens of Trocadero also present the best view of the tower, and if by now it is night time, you’ll be able to see the lights display put on. Fun fact here, the lights display is actually copyrighted and therefore you can’t post the videos you take of it… how unfair! Anyway in the area around the gardens you can also take your pics of trying to hold the tower to share with friends and family – a must do tourist activity! And then of course, just walk over the bridge, maybe grabbing a Crepe on the way, and you’ll find yourself under the tower where you can purchase your tickets to climb up. If you’re looking for picture perfect camera shots, then climb up the tower just before the golden hour (40 minutes before sunset) for wondrous ‘golden’ shots of the city, and stay for the beauty of sunset as the sun dips beyond the horizon. A perfect end to a day in postcard Paris. Wouldn’t you agree?
Thank you for reading and I hope this guide for a Postcard Day Out in Paris will prove to be useful to you. In future weeks I will be discussing alternate days out so do subscribe for those as well. Do you agree with these postcard choices? Any you would add to the list? Comment down below : )
Editor: Leonardo Buter
Uncover Our World