Your First Day in Paris

An Itinerary to Get Started in the City of Light

Author: The Traveling Professor/Sunday, July 28, 2013/Categories: Paris

Rate this article:

Your First Day in Paris

Here is an itinerary that will get you started on the right foot when you come to Paris for the first time.  It will help familiarize you with the city and you will get to see some great sites right away.   You will: 

·         Use the metro

·         Get a general idea of the layout of the city

·         Visit Notre Dame Cathedral

·         Walk along the Seine to the Tuileries Garden past the Louvre

·         View the Eiffel Tower, Musée Beaux Arts, Musée d’Orsay.

·         Cross the Seine and walk through St. Germain des Pres and the Latin Quarter.

·         Have your first Paris café experience.


Most international flights land in the morning at CDG airport.  Try to take care of some business at the airport.   You can withdraw some euro from the ATM.   You can also pick up your Museum Pass at the tourist information booth at gate 5 in terminals 2C,  2D, and  at  gate 2F.   

You may or may not have jet lag, but in any case, adrenaline will sustain your excitement on your first day.   Get over to your hotel, check in and drop your luggage.  You’ll then have at least half a day to get a general familiarization of the layout and transportation system of this wonderful city.

The best place to start your tour of Paris is right smack in the middle of Paris in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral.   It is truly the center of Paris and France as indicated by the brass “Paris Point Zero” marker, the point from which all distances in France are measured.

To get to Notre Dame, get on the metro (see the section on “Transportation”) and head towards the “Cite” metro stop.   As you climb out of the underground, you will be a bit disoriented.  However, some short steps one way or another you will recognize the towers of Notre Dame. 

Walk in the direction of the towers to the plaza in front of the Cathedral.  It  is known as the “Parvis”.   As you stand on the Parvis facing away from the cathedral, you will notice that you are on an island.   On your left across the river is the left bank where the Latin Quarter is.  On your right is the right bank of course.

Take a visit inside the cathedral.   There is no admission charge.   When you leave walk away from Notre Dame and cross the first bridge to your left, Petit Pont.   You are now on the left bank.   Walk along the Seine.   You will see the “bouqinistes” selling their ancient books and magazines from their metal stands.  It’s a great photo op.  Walk down past the Pont St. Michel along the Seine.  The next bridge is Pont Neuf.   As you cross over it, you will have a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower.  By the way at this point you can walk down the stairs to the point of Ile de la Cite and take one of the Bateaux Vedettes du Pont-Neuf which is a boat ride that provides an absolutely lovely tour up and down the Seine.  I suggest it to give your weary legs a rest and relax and enjoy the cruise.

Otherwise, you can continue your walk until you get to the right bank.  Make a left and continue walking down the Seine.   The massive Musée de Louvre greets you on your right.  Keep walking past the Pont des Arts, Pont du Carrousel, and  Pont Royal.   On your left you will pass the Musée Beaux Arts.  On your right will be the Tuilleries Gardens.  

Cross the Seine again at the next footbridge.   Again, you will get a spectacular look at the Eiffel Tower.  After you cross the Seine make a left.  You will pass the Musée d’Orsay and walk back towards Notre Dame.

When you get back to Petit Pont, carefully cross the street and look for the Café Petit Pont.  It’s the perfect spot for a café and a lovely view of Notre Dame.


Number of views (3828)/Comments ()