Here’s How My Family Spent One Day In Paris

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Our family is embarking on a Mediterranean adventure this month, and our first stop is Paris! The Raleigh airport has direct overnight flights to Charles du Gaulle airport in Paris, so connecting through the City of Love made perfect sense. And since we’re passing through, why not stay overnight?

We spent one day and night in Paris, which is clearly not enough, but it was the perfect sampler on our way to our next destination.

The Eiffel Tower stands tall against a blue sky with scattered clouds, surrounded by green trees at its base, creating an unforgettable sight for anyone spending one day in Paris.

If you have a similar idea in mind, here is where we stayed, what we did, where we ate, and the activities we booked ahead of time.

Where to Stay in Paris

Our hotel was booked with points, so I needed to choose a Hyatt property. Since this was a late addition to our trip, the hotels right in the city were full.

We decided on the Hyatt House near the airport since we only had one day to wander around, and it worked out great! We were in the family suite, which has room for four people, but we did have to request a rollaway bed.

A modern studio apartment reminiscent of one day in Paris features a kitchenette with wooden cabinets, a dining area with red chairs, and a living space with a beige couch. A bedroom is visible through an open door.
Image Credit:

The commute from the hotel to the city center takes 30-60 minutes, depending on the type of transportation you use. We decided to take an Uber to go directly to our first stop. It took us about an hour to arrive in the morning but only about 35 minutes to return that night.

If you travel solo or as a couple, the bus/train combo might be more cost-effective, but it takes a little longer.

The Hyatt House room we booked was a spacious one-bedroom suite. It also included free breakfast, which many of the other options do not. That made up for the longer commute, and it allowed us to sleep in the next day since we didn’t have as far to go to get to the airport.

The bed was comfortable, and the boys slept on the couch and a rollaway bed we requested in the living room. We were exhausted, so anything would have been great, but we appreciated the extra space.

croissants and muffins on a breakfast buffet

The breakfast was delicious! If you have stayed in a Hyatt House or Hyatt Place in the US, you are likely used to eggs, bacon, hash browns, and various cereals.

Here, they had similar offerings, adding warm apple pastries, melt-in-your-mouth croissants, yogurt, cheese, and veggies. My youngest is a Nutella lover, and he was super happy to see this giant bottle waiting for him to top his pancakes.

Large Nutella jar with a spoon, displayed on a wooden stand in a kitchen setting reminiscent of one day in Paris. Counter with various condiments and a basket in the background.

If I had planned more in advance, I would have loved to stay at the Park Hyatt or Hotel du Louvre, but I have no regrets. Plus, these would have been much more costly!

With Paris hosting the Olympics later this summer, I was happy to spend a day there before it gets super busy.

What to Do in One Day in Paris

Since none of us have been to Paris (in the past 25 years, anyway), I wanted to hit as many hot spots as we could, given our short time.

A family of four stands together on a grassy area with an ornate historical building and the Eiffel Tower visible in the background under a partly cloudy sky, capturing the essence of one day in Paris.

Of course, there was no way to do it all, so we had to pick and choose. A big part of experiencing a new city, especially in Europe, is simply walking around. So, that’s what we did!

The Louvre

Since our timing was short, we decided on one museum—it had to be The Louvre! Of course, we had to see the Mona Lisa, but I was particularly excited about the Venus de Milo because we would learn more about her later in the trip.

A person stands in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris, pointing towards the glass pyramid under cloudy skies, capturing a memorable moment from one day in Paris.
A framed painting of the Mona Lisa displayed on a dark wall evokes the charm of one day in Paris. The subject is a woman with long hair, a faint smile, and folded hands. The background features a serene landscape.

We spent a good chunk of time exploring and taking photos. This is one of those places where you can get lost on purpose. There is just so much history around every corner.

That said, it’s also easy to get lost by accident. I had a really hard time getting my bearings and felt like we were going in circles a few times. But we figured it out and saw a lot!

Here are our favorites, listed by family member.

I loved it all, but I was most excited to see Venus de Milo. Although there were crowds, they did a great job of ensuring you could see it from all angles.

One day in Paris, a crowd observes the armless, ancient Greek statue of Venus de Milo displayed in a museum with marble walls and arched ceilings.

Jerry really loved all the ceilings. Why did we stop doing this? They really are incredible.

A highly ornate ceiling with gold detailing, classical sculptures, and intricate paintings depicting various classical figures and scenes transports you to a moment that feels like one day in Paris.

Oscar liked the giant pillars like this one. It was massive.

A large stone column capital featuring two bull figures back to back, displayed in a museum setting with a high vaulted ceiling—an architectural marvel you'll only encounter one day in Paris.

Calvin enjoyed seeing the many, many sculptures.

People entering an ornate room decorated with classical statues of women in a grand historical building, reminiscent of something one might experience during an unforgettable day in Paris.


We decided to grab some small bites at the museum from the cafe Paul. It was delicious and so much better than the museum food I’m accustomed to.

A woman orders at a bakery counter while three staff members in white uniforms and hats assist customers behind the counter. The bakery sign above reads "Paul" with "Patisseries," "Sandwiches," and "Viennoiseries," evoking the charm of one day in Paris.

Oscar had two croissants, Jerry grabbed a slice of pizza, and I split a turkey baguette with Calvin. We didn’t have a specific plan, and it was fun to try different things.


As we left the Louvre, we enjoyed the gardens before walking by the river to Sainte Chappelle. I have loved stained glass my whole life, so there was no way I was missing out on Sainte Chappelle!

This church, built in 1248, is unbelievable. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the Louvre, so it was easily accessible to us. Each of the shapes in the glass depict a story from the Bible. It’s said to have every bible story!

Interior of a Gothic-style chapel featuring high arched ceilings, intricate stained glass windows, ornate carvings, and elaborate chandeliers—reminiscent of what you might see during one day in Paris.

Entrance for adults was 13EUR each, and the boys were free because they were under 18. As a Disney parent whose 15 and 12-year-olds are already considered “adults” when it comes to tickets, I appreciate Europe for letting kids be kids!

It took us about 30 minutes to walk through the church and see what we wanted to see. Those windows! Le sigh.


We took the metro over to Champs-Élysées because there was a restaurant I was hoping to try.

We arrived at about 5:30 pm and discovered they weren’t open until 7 pm. We were pretty exhausted and hungry, so we found another option nearby, Cafe L’Estel, which was delightful!

Facade of a multi-story building with ornate balconies, shutters, and a red awning reading "L'Estel." People are sitting at tables in front of the building, soaking in the charm as if it were just another day in Paris.

Eiffel Tower

After dinner, it was finally time to see the Iron Lady. We walked through the streets of Paris, peering into windows and enjoying the sights until she came into view.

A man and a woman stand together hugging in front of a lush green garden with the Eiffel Tower in the background, capturing their one day in Paris on a clear day.

We decided not to go up the tower on this day, and I’m glad. We had several wonderful vantage points to see it, and that was enough for this visit.

Seine River Cruise

At this point, our energy levels were definitely winding down. It was the perfect time for a relaxing river cruise on the Seine. I thought this was a great way to see more of the city without adding more walking.

I have no regrets, but one thing I didn’t realize is that this was a there-and-back cruise, meaning we saw the same things twice. I think I would do a one-way cruise if I had it to do again.

A stone arch bridge spans a river with boats underneath. The sky is cloudy with a hint of sunset, casting a warm glow on the horizon as if capturing one day in Paris. Buildings and trees line the waterfront, completing the picturesque scene.

It was so cool to hear about Paris and see it from this angle. There is just something about water that makes everything more beautiful.

A group of people posing in front of the Eiffel Tower on a sunny day, with scattered clouds in the sky, enjoying their one day in Paris.

Notre Dame

We saw Notre Dame from the river cruise since the inside is still closed to tourists. Still, I wanted to see it, and it is so beautiful.

Gothic cathedral with scaffolding, featuring a tall spire, intricate facade, and two towers, under a partly cloudy sky—one day in Paris you won't forget.

The good news is the rehab will be done soon, and they hope to reopen by the end of the year. As if I need a reason to plan a trip back right?

Back to the Hotel

After the cruise, we caught an Uber back to the hotel. It was a fabulous day, and I am so glad we did it! After all that, we were ready for a good night’s sleep and the chance to sleep in before heading back to the airport.

What We Booked in Advance in Paris

Because we only had one day, I wanted to book a few things to ensure we had a schedule. Plus, many places require you to select a time in advance, so it was necessary.

Sainte-Chappelle – Since we had to book a time, I grabbed our tickets for this church in advance. The kids get in for free, so it was under 30EUR for all of us. We did not end up making it on time, but we decided to try anyway and they let us in with our tickets.

People gather around the glass pyramid entrance of the Louvre Museum in Paris on a sunny day with scattered clouds, making the most of their one day in Paris.

The Louvre – This was our number one activity, so I booked it for midday. I wanted to be sure we had time to get there in case of flight delays and still have plenty of time to browse around.

Seine River Cruise – This is actually the first thing I booked because I knew it would provide a great overview of Paris. The cool thing about this river cruise through Paris is you can hop on at any time of day, so I knew we could fit it in where we had time.

Map of Our Day

Once we got into the city, we spent the day on foot. Here is a map of many stops on our route to give you an idea of the area we covered.

After this taste of Paris, I can see why people love it here. I hope to return one day soon!

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to

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