How to spend 12 hours in Paris

Paris city birds eye view

Family March theme

12 hours in Paris

A month or so ago I booked myself and my mum a day trip to Paris. We’re both very busy ladies, so instead of committing to a couple of days away, we decided to bite the bullet and do Paris in 12 hours. Yep, you heard that right, we travelled to and from Paris in the space of 24 hours.

I was quite surprised by just how much we fit into our day in Paris, so I thought I would put together a little guide of what exactly you can get done if you’re only in the city for a day…

Basilica sacre-coeur cathedral Paris panoramic view Basilica

Start your day at the Sacré-Cœur

If, like I did, you’re taking the Eurostar to Paris (and arriving at Gare du Nord) the Sacré-Cœur is the perfect place to start your day trip!

Located just 15-20 minutes from Gare du Nord on the Metro (I advise picking up a Metro map and a day travel card before you attempt getting around, otherwise it can be quite confusing), you can begin your day with a view of the whole city from the base of the Sacré-Cœur. The church is also beautiful and taking the time to look around it is definitely worth it.

sculpture Louvre gardens fountain Louvre gardens Hand sculpture Louvre

Walk from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe

Yes, this is quite a long walk, but it’s a really beautiful way to get a feel for Paris and see some of the well-known sites.

The Louvre was closed on the day we visited, but as I have been before I wasn’t too bothered. Instead, we spent our time wandering through the gardens, snapping photos of the beautiful sculptures and chatting about life.

Once we arrived at the base of the Champs-Élysées we were ready for a spot of shopping. Interestingly, the Champs-Élysées has one of the largest Sephora stores in the world, so I insisted we pay a visit to it and I ended up finding some interesting new beauty products to try!

Washington Post restaurant Champs-Élysées Baked pasta dish Paris

Discover a bistro

After lots of shopping we were both VERY hungry so we set about finding a nice French bistro to have our lunch in. We basically just had a scout round the streets off of the Champs-Élysées until we found a restaurant we wanted to stop in.

We decided to have a bigger lunch than usual, so we wouldn’t have to stop for food again during our day in Paris. We each had a glass of white wine and I opted for a baked pasta dish while my mum went for a peppered steak.

Both of our meals were delicious and the hour or so we spent in the restaurant was the perfect break from our shopping and sightseeing!

Eiffel Tower view Eiffel Tower selfie

Reach the top of the Eiffel Tower

This was a bit of an impromptu decision, but I’m so glad we did it! To travel right to the top of Eiffel Tower cost us each just €13, which in my opinion is such a bargain.

We climbed the stairs as far up as we could and the views from the top were truly incredible. If it’s your first trip to Paris, I highly recommend doing the Eiffel Tower as it truly is an experience to climb it and get such amazing views of the city.

Notre Dame cathedral

Fit in a quick trip to Notre-Dame

We thought we wouldn’t have time to do much else after our trip up the Eiffel Tower, but luckily, as we had to go past it on our way back to the station, we managed to also have a quick look around Notre-Dame.

The cathedral is truly beautiful, and there’s so much history to it that it is really worth having a look around if you haven’t previously.

After we finished up at Notre-Dame, it was time to head back to Gare du Nord and hop on the Eurostar back home! For us, 12 hours in Paris was more than enough and doing the city in just one day made it all just that little bit more exciting. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what I got up to and my recommendations.

  • This looks fabulous, I’m so dying to go – might take myself on a little weekend visit one of these days! x

    • DippyWrites

      You really should, it’s such a beautiful city, I can’t wait to go back!

  • I love Paris. Still regretting the fact I did not move there for Uni, such a wasted opportunity 🙂

    • DippyWrites

      Ahh definitely visit soon, it’s such a beautiful city!

  • Lovely! I’m love to go away to Paris for the weekend but if I can visit Paris is less that 24 or 12 hours then that’s even better!


    • DippyWrites

      You really should, it’s such a beautiful city and there’s so much to do!