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Paris Guide: What To Do With Just One Day

Paris is a magical city. It’s where our August catalog and final Roshambo film were shot, and I can’t stop daydreaming about being back in that beautiful place, floating through the cobblestone streets. I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to Paris twice so far – each time for just a few days. If I only had one day to spend in Paris, here’s what I would do. Let me know what you’d add to this!

8 am: Head to the market.


Girl in Paris

Photos by Dutch Simpson

Wake up and get an early start to your day. Leave your hotel or hostel by foot and start exploring. Head to a farmers market (like all the locals do) to pick up breakfast and interact with Parisians! Markets are everywhere, but on Sunday mornings you can find an all-organic food market at the Marché Raspail in the 6th arrondissement, and on Saturdays you’ll find one at Batignolles in the 17th. Find a body of water, plop down, and enjoy your breakfast.

Tip: I’ve always heard that the French can be quite rude when interacting with Americans, but I’ve never experienced it. I speak the language very poorly, but I’ve found that as long as I greet the person in French and at least try to express myself in the language before switching to English, they seem to appreciate it!

10 am: Rent a bike.

Girl with bike

Bikes are an awesome way to get around, and to get to know the city. You can rent them all over the place using Vélib’, which is one of the biggest bike-sharing programs in the world. Vélib’ is extremely convenient because it allows you to drop off your bike at any available station – even if it’s on the totally opposite end of the city. Hop on and head to your next destination!

11 am: Go vintage shopping.

Vintage purse, brick wall

I can never go to a new city without checking out the thrift scene. When I was in Paris, I hit up Free’P’Star (I love that it sounds like “Free People”) on Rue de Rivoli, and it was quite the experience. It’s a tiny, cluttered thrift shop that’s overflowing with merchandise, as well as people. I got this awesome bag for just a few Euros. I use it all the time and still get compliments! Check out Conde Naste Traveler’s guide to vintage shopping in Paris for more options.

1 pm: Treat yourself to lunch.

Girl by Paris fountain


Photos by Dutch Simspon

Paris is filled with incredible cafes and restaurants. Find one with outdoor seating and sit down for a nice lunch. What I found entertaining about Paris is that, when sitting outside at a café together, locals will face the street instead of one another. This is so they can people-watch! Be like a Parisian and do the same. And, since you’re in Paris, you must be sure to try escargot. It’s absolutely delicious.

3 pm: Explore a garden or two.


Girl at fountain

There are lots of gorgeous gardens in Paris. I spent an afternoon in the wonderful Jardin de Plantes, which is the main botanical garden in all of France. There are lots and lots of beautiful, lesser-known gardens, too. You can find a list of almost 50 here – even still, there are many more. Just wander around and you’ll be sure to stumble upon plenty.

6 pm: Pick up a baguette, some brie, and a bottle of wine.

Paris Baguette

Something that kind of surprised me about Paris is that people really do walk around carrying baguettes! They’re absolutely delicious, so I suggest you do the same. Don’t forget some brie for the bread – and a bottle of wine to pair with it.

Tip: Get your baguette from a boulangerie, which bakes the bread there, as opposed to a dépôt de pain, which also sells bread, but doesn’t make it there.

Bonus tip: Make sure you bring your own corkscrew. My friend and I spent what seemed like hours searching for someone who could help us open our wine – but it was great because we ending up hanging out with our wine-opening friends for quite some time!

7 pm: Picnic by the Eiffel Tower – at night.

Eiffel Tower night

Photo by Dutch Simpson

You can’t go to Paris without seeing La Tour Eiffel. My advice is to skip the daytime madness and see it at night. Take your bread, cheese, and wine, and post up on a blanket in the grass across the way. You’ll have an incredible view of the tower – which lights up at night – and a much more relaxed experience.

9 pm: Get dolled up.

Boots and purse

It’s nighttime in Paris and you’re going out! This city is filled with some of the best-dressed people — and you’re one of them. Go put on your chicest Free People dress and those excellent vintage ankle boots you just picked up today. Don’t forget the red lipstick.

10:30 pm: Time to party.


Paris is overflowing with nightlife, but you only have one night. How do you decide where to spend it?! Instead of picking out specific bars and lounges, I suggest choosing a district that appeals to you, like the trendy Oberkampf or authentic Belleville, and hitting up a bunch of places within that district. Go here for a great overview of the top Paris nightlife districts.

What would you do with just one day in Paris?

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Charlotte -August 6, 2013, 7:50AM

Great post Brigette! I’m actually moving from London to Paris in September, so scared/excited! Here are some of my favourite places: Xx

Victoria -August 6, 2013, 8:49AM

I just got back from living in Paris for a few months, and spent a ridiculous amount of time at Free’P’star! That place is seriously the best. There are also some amazing thrift/vintage places up in Montmartre, and that windy, old-world neighborhood was our favorite place to go at night. We’d start by hiking up to the top to watch the sun go down over the city near Sacre Coeur, and then walk a little ways back down to go to our favorite bars for dinner/drinks. I love that neighborhood – it’s like walking around in the movie Amelie.

If anyone has more than a day, then I have to recommend Giverny. Visiting Monet’s garden was like a pilgrimage for me, and it did not disappoint – so beautiful.

meg -August 6, 2013, 8:58AM

I would be down with some bread, cheese, and wine!

Juliette Laura -August 6, 2013, 9:25AM

You are making me miss Paris! Ha, I went last year, and only had 4 days! So sort of similar!

xo, Juliette Laura

Dani -August 6, 2013, 10:05AM

I could spend the entire day in the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen and be perfectly happy. It is the largest antique and flea market in the world, and covers 7 acres. Absolutely beautiful and breathtaking one-of-a-kind finds and adventures can be had. Some of my most cherished possessions were found there <3


Katherine -August 6, 2013, 11:41AM

I recently went to Paris this summer and my favorite place by far was the Musee Marmottan. It was filled with incredible Monet paintings, plus it is in a really cute neighborhood.

Julia -August 6, 2013, 12:43PM

I absolutely love the youtube video you made about this! May I ask, what kind of camera did you use? You’re an inspiration! Keep em coming

fp brigette -August 6, 2013, 2:22PM

Thanks Julia!! Some of those shots were taken with a FlipCam, but the better-looking ones were shot with my travel buddy’s Canon 5D Mark II.. he had a really good lens on it — not sure what kind, though!

Naomi -August 6, 2013, 8:15PM

Brigette, I love this & am totally using all of these tips when I go!

Katie -August 9, 2013, 9:46PM

Parc Monceau in the 8th arrondissement is my favorite park in Paris! It’s a great place for a Sunday picnic with your friends.

Youth Inventers -August 28, 2013, 10:37AM

hmmm……..just thinking !

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