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A Quick Guide to Backpacking in Paris in 1 Day

Paris oozes culture, sophistication, and style. This is why it is so often the highlight of a trip around Europe. With so many monuments, museums, and old architecture to feast your eyes on, find it difficult to leave. That is until, perhaps, you have one look at your depleted bank account, Then you’ll probably be sprinting out of the city!

Although you could spend a lifetime exploring Paris, if you’re on a budget you’ll want to allocate 3-4 days. However, 1 day in Paris should give you enough time to see the highlights without eating into your cash too much.

Ok, so let’s have a look at the things you’d be a fool to miss on your itinerary:

Things to see in Paris


The Eiffel Tower:

The monument that symbolizes Paris, and France for that matter. You can’t go to Paris without paying a visit here. Queues can be long to get up it BUT fear not as you can book your time to climb the tower online now (check out their site, but don’t miss your spot or your ticket is worthless!).

Costs about $10 to get to the top of the ‘legs’ and $17 if you want to go from the bottom all the way to the summit. Also between dusk and 2am there’s an awesome 10 min lights show on the hour, every hour.


The Arc Du Triumph:

Another iconic Parisian sight, The Arc is located at the end of the Champs Elysee (see below) and splat in the middle Place Charles De Gaulle, it’s much larger than you think it’s going to be. It costs around $13 to go up (although if you’ve been up the Eiffel Tower, I’d save your money). It’s accessible by underground passage, if you try to cross on foot you will probably die, everything you heard about French drivers was true! After you’ve had enough, head down to the next stop…

Best sights in Paris

The Champs Elysee:

Join the hordes of tourists and wealthy Parisians whilst you waltz up and down the 2km stretch of upscale boutiques in one of Paris’s richest area. Then quickly remember you’re a backpacker, balk at the prices, take a couple of photos and make a hasty escape.

traveling in paris

The Louvre:

Overlooking the Siene and home to the Mona Lisa amongst other world famous sculptures and paintings. Reputedly the biggest museum in the world so prepare to get lost inside. Even if you’re not an art person, you’ll need at least few hours set aside for this visual feast. Entrance is free with EU passport, free on Sundays for everyone.

backpacking in paris

Sacre Coeur Basilica:

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris would be worth the 5 euro just to see the amazing architecture but inside, as you get reach the top, its Dome allows tourists amazing views of the entire city, it will take your breath away.

the view from sacre coeur

Notre Dame Cathedral:

Certainly one of the most beautiful and enchanting buildings in Paris and believe it or not but Notre Dame is France’s most visited attraction, beating the Eiffel tower, with 13m visitors each year and it’s easy to see why. If gothic architecture is your thing then you’ll in for a treat because this place is creepy (in a wonderful, historic way, obviously). The cathedral itself is free to enter but the tour costs $10 USD.

Notre Dame Cathedral

The Palace of Versailles:

This requires the 2nd day in Paris as it’s a a full-day trip from Paris itself. The Palace at Versailles is one of the most popular and magnificent attractions in all of France.

It served as the capital of France for over 100 years. Its inspiring architecture and beautiful gardens are an inspiring sight for tourists from all over the world. Visiting this awe-inspiring palace offers an insight into France’s incredible history.

backpacking in france

Accommodation in Paris:

Paris must be one of the most expensive cities in the world for accommodation so be ready to dig deep into that backpacking budget to find somewhere to lay your head each night however


Not cheap guys, even a dorm room will cost you upwards of $20 USD but they are normally pretty nice and most of them now have free wifi.


Finding nice accommodation in Paris is easy, just not cheap. Budget $100 a night for somewhere average.


Amazing, as you’d expect.

So push the boat out and order your snails and frog’s leg, enjoy some red wine. It’s all part of the experience of being in France. But only do it once or twice because you’ll be lucky to escape with less than a $50 bill in a restaurant in Paris. Eating in delis, supermarkets etc will save you a fortune and you can eat well for under $5 per day!


There is a great train/subway network called the metro in Paris. It’s quick, efficient and relatively cheap (about $2 a journey, or day passes for around $10). This will serve you well throughout your time here.

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11 thoughts on “A Quick Guide to Backpacking in Paris in 1 Day

  1. This is a really nice summary of cool things to do in Paris, thanks for that! I will be there by this weekend and I was looking for some ideas, escpecially the point about saving the entrance for Arc de Triompg is helpful!

    Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!

  2. The first time I went to Paris I spent 3 days there and the second time I was there for 4. It was ample time to squeeze in all of the places you mentioned (and then some). Both visits included a 1/2 day trip to Versailles.

    On my next visit I want to descend into the catacombs, I think that will be a really cool experience!

  3. I spent only two days in Paris and was able to do almost everything that people say you should do. Obviously, I missed a lot since I was winging it but I think missing things leaves one with a desire to go back.

    I would also add to the list: Pont Alexandre III, possibly the most beautiful bridge in the world; Pere Lachaise cemetary; and a walk around the Republique district.

    I stayed at Absolut hostel while they were doing renovations. The hostesses there were very friendly, welcoming and beautiful.

    1. hey fidel – wow, you really get around! Time restraints are a killer tho, but if you’re fast you can see a lot in a day or two. If possible, i try to travel with a one way ticket then i’m free to do what i want! 😛

  4. I used to have great dreams of visiting Paris and it all started after watching programs about it during the second world war. I will make it one day. Great suggestions of things to see.

    1. hey Nat – people always end up getting drawn to Paris at some stage – i’m sure it won’t be long until you’re there too 🙂

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