24hrsinParis BLOG

24 Hours in Paris

by Liz Deslauriers

June 29, 2022

4 minute read

Whenever I get that old familiar longing to see Paris but it’s far from reach, I turn to Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris – the film is a total love letter to Paris through an American’s eyes. You’ll see just from watching the first five minutes that the city is actually the movie’s main character. It’s billed as a romantic comedy, but as the protagonist takes long walks at night in search of inspiration and stumbles back in time for a delightful sojourn through Paris “in its heyday” with 1920s Hemmingway and friends, at its heart, the film’s only real romance is with Paris itself. And that’s the point.

In real life, even a single day in Paris is enough to absorb its magnetic charm and fall in love with the City of Light. If it so happens that your travels take you through this romantic capital for only a brief encounter, get ready to do some starry-eyed strolling like my friend, Gil (from Midnight in Paris), and feel the city’s heartbeat beside iconic landmarks and wandering neighbourhoods.

A Stroll Along the Seine

Make time for a stroll along the Seine River. Its historical and cultural significance made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Walk over picturesque bridges, admire surrounding architecture, and perhaps pick up a few items from a café to enjoy a picnic on the banks. With more time, a river cruise along the Seine offers a unique perspective of Paris’s landmarks as well as the chance to relax while drinking in the views.

Musée du Louvre

The Louvre, a former royal palace turned public treasure trove of the world’s finest art, may be best known for housing the Mona Lisa, but you could spend hours upon hours exploring its vast collections. If you can carve out even a couple of hours to experience this wonder, be sure to reserve tickets. Or just take it in from the outside, viewing the iconic glass pyramids or strolling adjacent Tuileries Garden – once a royal family playground, now a public park.

Montmartre Café Scene and Sacré-Coeur

In the inviting bohemian neighbourhood of Montmartre, take in a café or two, soak in the artistic atmosphere while wandering cobblestoned streets, and climb the picturesque steps for amazing city views from the terrace of the hill-perched basilica, Sacré-Coeur.

Beside the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is visible throughout Paris, of course, but be sure to get up close. Take the elevator to its viewing platform for a full view of beautiful Paris all around you, or even indulge in an elevated dining experience at its restaurant. At night, from wherever you are in the city, look for its sparkling lights reminding you of the city’s magic.

The French Cabaret

Does the lit-up windmill of Moulin Rouge come to mind when you think of Paris at night? If not, there’s another film recommendation for you! Catch dinner and a show at one of Paris’s famed cabarets. Take your pick of venues where the champagne flows and can-can legs kick in this staple of Paris nightlife.

Now, with just 24 hours, you will have to make some tough choices. My advice to you is to pick just a handful of your must-sees and spend enough time there to feel truly Parisian. If you could spend a week in Paris, our Spotlight in Paris tour delivers on all of these experiences and more – from dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower to a Seine River cruise, plus free time to do more of Paris your way.

Note: Whether you’re a fan of Midnight in Paris or not, I highly recommend a Paris-inspired movie night as part of your pre-trip prep or just to travel vicariously.

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