Our one-week trip to Paris was an unforgettable experience filled with fun exhibitions, great outings and delicious food. After our trip Andy asked me if I had only one day in Paris how would I spend it. Only one day in a city as big and as diverse as Paris is an impossible task I said to him.
Later that day a friend asked me the same question. She wanted to know what I would recommend to someone who only had one day to spend in Paris. So it got me thinking. If I could squeeze all of my favorite Paris experiences into just one day, this is how I would tackle it. I would begin in the first arrondissement. This posh district in the heart of Paris is where you will find the Louvre and all the impressive buildings that go with it.
Definitely start the day with a flaky croissant or perhaps two. We were fortunate to have our pick of amazing patisseries. Before window-shopping along the rue Saint Honoré, or raiding the fresh food markets on the rue Montorgueil. Enjoy breakfast at Claus – La Table du Petit-Déjeuner, which is nestled in a narrow shopfront with a plush upstairs area. The food is delicious, the service is excellent and the prices are affordable.
After a delicious breakfast walk down Rue Saint-Honoré where Luxury boutiques line the street. Every major fashion house has a store on Rue Saint-Honoré. Even if you can’t afford shopping here, the window displays are fabulous and a lot of fun to window shop.
You can also catch a glimpse of the famous Place Vendôme.
If you are a chocolate aficionado like me, you cannot skip Angelina. Stop here to refuel.
This famous tearoom “built a reputation as a place of sophistication and indulgence”. It also has the reputation of serving the best hot chocolate in Paris and it definitely lives up to it. If there is a line outside take my advice and get the hot chocolate and pastry to go.
If you have more than one day in Paris I would highly recommend having breakfast here at least once. You have to try the truffle omelet, smoked salmon benedict or the French toast with caramel syrup. Simply delish. Remember calories don’t count on vacay. Eating at Angelina costs a pretty penny. But as you can tell from the smile on my face it is worth the once in a lifetime experience.
Don’t forget to buy a bottle of hot chocolate to take home. You will regret it if you don’t.
Sip your heavenly hot chocolate and enjoy your walk to Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement. Rue Montorgueil is a few blocks away from Les Halles — the former wholesale food market for all of Paris. Paris is a fantasy food destination. It’s many markets are a key source for fresh ingredients and a stamping ground for the country’s finest producers.
If you are tired of walking rent a bicycle. Renting a bicycle is easy and they are available everywhere including hotels. There are designated bicycle lanes and I felt safe riding on the streets.
Be warned the sights and smells in the market will make you hungry. So grab a picnic and head to the most picturesque spot in the city – Jardin des Tuileries. Enjoy your picnic in this beautifully manicured formal garden that was created by Catherine de Medici in 1564.
The gardens separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde. This is a cultural walking place and picnic area for Parisians and tourists. You can also admire the works of Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie, which is located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to the Place de la Concorde.
In June and August you can enjoy candy floss (cotton candy), rides and thrills at the Fête des Tuileries.
Dine at Chef Yannick Lahopgnou’s latest restaurant Zébulon, where you can enjoy exotic flavor combinations in a boutique setting OR try Verjus. You will love the cheese course and wine pairing at Verjus is excellent. This restaurant owned by ex-pats boasts a delicious seasonal tasting menu that will not break the bank. We regret not taking any food pictures. We could not restrain ourselves from digging in as soon as our meals appeared.
Paris is divided into twenty arrondissements. If you only have one day in Paris explore two surrounding arrondissements because you don’t want to spend a lot of time traveling from one area to the next. You will just have to make another trip to explore more of this beautiful city of love.
Photo Credit: Andrew Swaine