paris for a day: the first-timer’s guide

thewino1When it comes to Paris, the romantic and I are no rookies. As our favorite city, we’ve both been there more times than we can count– and with good reason. Who can resist Paris? My fiance (!!!), on the other hand, had never stepped foot in the City of Lights. A true, blue Parisian first-timer!

Naturally, this meant there was a A LOT I wanted him to see during #LTfrancais. Sadly, our trip was only three days long, and we had only one of those in my beloved Paris. Luckily, his bucket list was short: eat a baguette with every meal and drink a lot of wine. So, it was up the romantic and I to plan a twelve-hour crash course for our Paris beginner.

Step 1: Take a walk.

Paris has one of the best public transportation systems of any city I’ve ever visited. If you’re traveling all over the city, the metro is your cheapest and fastest option. However, with only twelve hours to see the city, we opted to hit the pavement. We stuck to the center-most arrondissements, starting on the right bank near L’Opera and weaving our way down past the Louvre. Here, we crossed over the Seine, and walked east along the river to the Notre Dame. Though a few of my favorite neighborhoods are further from the center of city, our Paris rookie appreciated the scenic walk along the Seine and the glimpses of many well-known Parisian landmarks.


Step 2: Stop for un cafe.

Even for non-coffee drinkers, stopping in a Parisian cafe is a must. We opted for one on the right bank, tucked away on a quite square and busy with a local crowd. No matter the weather, try to nab a table outside for an authentic French experience and prime people-watching. My fiance learned quickly that it doesn’t get much better than sitting at a Parisian sidewalk cafe, sipping coffee and enjoying a croque madame. Le sigh.


Step 3. Have a glass of wine. Have many, many glasses of wine.

After a few hours exploring the winding streets of the Left Bank, we came across a cute looking bar in St Germain that was screaming our names. We took a seat in the street-side nook of Chez Georges, where the bartender quickly brought us blankets to keep warm and filled our wine glasses with delicious French red wine all the way to the tippy tops. One glass turned into two glasses and then my fiance officially fell in love with Paris.


Step 4: Save the best for last.

No matter if it’s your first time in Paris or your tenth, there’s one sight that never ceases to amaze: La Tour. On our walk through the city, my fiance caught a few glimpses of the top of the Eiffel Tower, but I wanted to save the big reveal until the sun went down and it was lit up in all its glory. Towards the end of the night, we finally made our way over towards Trocadero– one of my favorite spots to sit and take in the Eiffel Tower’s beauty. When it came into view, all of us — rookies and veterans alike — stopped in our tracks to watch the sparkling Tower.

In true Lazy Travelers fashion, we kept our twelve hour crash course free of stress and expectations. We wandered the streets, stopped in for wine when we felt we wanted to (which may or may not have been a lot), and we successfully made my fiance fall in love with my favorite city in the world.

What would you do with twelve hours in Paris?


the wino




  1. ciableu
    December 9, 2013 / 10:51

    Great info! Can’t wait to go next September. We’ll have 5 days so I’ll need lots of info from you and the romantic.

    • December 9, 2013 / 13:16

      ohhh we can give days and days worth of recommendations. cant wait for you to go– you’re going to fall in love with paris!

  2. December 9, 2013 / 12:01

    The Eiffel Tower lighting up at night was definitely one of my favorite things about Paris and something I think everyone should see at least once in their lives. It is absolutely beautiful!
    Chanel @ La Viajera Morena recently posted..My Travel Pony ExperienceMy Profile

    • December 9, 2013 / 13:17

      it always stops me in my tracks, no matter how many times ive seen it! i dont think my fiance expected to find it as cool as he did! xo

  3. December 9, 2013 / 12:29

    12 hours… hmmm, vintage shops, lunch at Les Deux Magots, chocolat chaud in the afternoon, Champs-Elysees, Musee Carnavalet, red wine in the evening and dinner in Montmartre – phew… a lot of walking and metro-ing but soooo worth it! best wishes, Janine

    • December 9, 2013 / 13:17

      do wish we made it up to montmartre… next time for sure! xo

    • December 9, 2013 / 13:18

      thank you, darling! cant wait to follow along on your trip!!

  4. December 9, 2013 / 14:19

    Wow, a big congrats to the wino! Does the fiance get a cute name like The Hubs? What would I do with 12 hours in Paris? Walk, and sit, and walk some more. Just walking the streets of Paris is a wonderful experience. It’s made better by sitting at a cafe or two and enjoying lots of wine. I think you did it just right.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Four Non-London England Cities to VisitMy Profile

  5. carla
    December 11, 2013 / 01:15

    i wanna do this! the question is, when will i find myself in Paris again 🙂

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