How to spend the day in Paris

A perfect day in Paris? This is what you need to do...
Don’t pack your itinerary too tight. You want time to wander. (Photo by Pedro Lastra/Unsplash)

Though it seems like a whole other lifetime, I recently had a day to myself in Paris. You might wonder what one desperate housewife does when given a free pass to explore the city the light?

Well, if you’re moi, you shop like mad, indulge in the most sinful desserts and try a treatment de beautie, to break up the day. Here’s how I spent my most recent six hours in Paris.

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Eating and shopping on Rue de Rivoli

I always head straight for the Rue de Rivoli. It runs beside the Jardin des Tuileries – near the Louvre. First up is an obligatory stop at Angelina, home to the most divinely, decadent hot chocolate.

It was noon and I hadn’t yet had breakfast, so an omelet filled stuffed with ham, emmental, mushrooms and tomato fit the bill nicely (with the chocolat chaud, of course).

They have a small gift shop, so I bought some hot chocolate powder and a foil wrapped chocolate coin for my daughter. Next time I visit, I’ll be sure to bring her with me. I can’t wait to experience the best things to do in Paris with kids like taking a cooking class or a river cruise.

How to spend the day in Paris
Worth the wait: hot chocolate at Cafe Angelina.

Then I pushed down Rue de Rivoli, looking for a way to connect with Rue St. Honore – possibly, the world’s most stylish street. I ventured down a side street and bumped into….

Pharmacy Swann
One of the world’s best drugstores is Pharmacie Swann

The best pharmacy in Paris

One of the most celebrated pharmacies in the city, Pharmacie Swann is small, but well stocked and has English speaking staff. Here you can load up on all your French must-haves.

For me, it was Bifane ACT, a skin soothing balm, wrinkle fighter Avibon and Citrate de Betine, the perfect antidote for the morning after the night before.

Alas, I wasn’t able to get Temesta – the famous French sleeping pill that works well for short naps. Apparently one needs a prescription for that. Maybe you should point that out the next time you recommend it, Natalia Vodianova!

From the pharmacy, I made a quick right down the Rue St. Honore and immediately found what I was looking for.

Darphin Institute Paris
This is where models and celebrities get their facials in Paris.

Getting a facial at the Darphin Institue, Paris

I’ve been a lover of facials for a long time and though it seemed frivolous and highly indulgent, I desperately wanted to get a treatment from a Parisian aesthetician.

So I strolled into the Darphin Institute and asked in my best Grade 12 French, if I could possibly get an appointment that day. I could!

With two hours until the blessed event, I walked around my old haunts – up to the elegant Opera house and around Place de la Madeleine. Here are a few of my favourite shops that I poked into.

Shopping around Place de la Madeleine

Kusmi tea
Reputed to be the world’s best detox tea.

Kusmi Tea is all the rage with the jet set. Too be honest, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. The tea’s alright, but I wouldn’t search it out again. It makes for a lovely gift. though.

Too many tourists hit Laduree nowadays...
Laduree, Paris

It’s so unfortunate that Laduree is now lined up out the door with tourists. I didn’t even bother getting a macaron this trip. Domage!

J Lo in Paris
That’s J Lo’s driver!

My first celebrity sighting! J.Lo and Casper (holding Emme), made a bee-line for their van after shopping at DSquared. Sadly, I only caught the back of J.Lo’s head (great hair) but I got a side view of Casper and can report that  boy is CUTE!

broom store
A shop selling only brooms and dusting equipment!

Naturellement, one can buy designer brooms in Paris. Tempting, but if purchased, people might expect me  to use it. Quelle horreur!

Desserts in Paris
So many calories, so little time.

And before departing, I may have nipped into one or two patisseries for a few provisions. Because you just never know what might happen on the Metro…

And speaking of the metro, it’s super easy to get around both within the city and striking out further afield. The Paris underground and it’s trains run so much more efficiently than they do in the U.K.

Know that it’s definitely worth budgeting extra time to do a few day trips from Paris to explore Monet’s Garden or even to Versailles for the day.

Have you been to Paris? What are your favourite haunts? If you’ve never been, do you want to go?

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one day paris itinerary

Want more tips on travel in France?

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About The Author

2 thoughts on “How to spend the day in Paris”

  1. Awww, thanks so much Dalyn. So glad you enjoyed the post. Let me know if you do go to Paris, and I’ll give you all my cards and other recs.

  2. Dalyn Sjogren

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your article and how you write! Mark and I want to go to Paris in the next year or two and this makes me want to go now! You remind me of a funnier, care free Carrie from Sex and the City!

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