My husband and I will be in Paris for only a day and are wondering what the "must sees" are. I realize 24 hrs is not near enough time to experience Paris but we will take what we can get! We are thinking the Eiffel Tower and The Lourve?
If those are must sees for you, then by all means. However, with only 24 hours I wouldn't spend it waiting in line. Go some place where you get a good view of the Eiffel Tower - perhaps a Seine Cruise (only an hour). Stroll along the Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis, have a nice lunch (Le Petit Chatelet is on the Left Bank and has a great view of Notre Dame). After lunch, a walk through Luxembourg Gardens, and a stroll through St. Germain. Rick's Pocket Guide of Paris should give you some ideas. Believe me, you will want to go back.
Since it is unlikely you will be awake all 24 hours, skip the Lourve and follow Carolyn's ideas. Just go with the flow and absorb the street scenes. After that, believe me, you'll find a way to get back for a longer visit.
For us, short time means no museums as they can absorb enormous amounts of time. With 24 hours you just want an overall taste. This is time when the bus on/off bus can be useful.
I agree with the above. Paris has some magnificent museums but with so little time I'd stay outside as much as possible. Both the tower and the Louvre will cost you time waiting in lines. Think about places like Notre Dame (maybe a short line to get inside but not much), Arc de Triomphe, Luxembourg and Tuileries Gardens, Eiffel Tower from the outside (you can see it from most anywhere but a close-up view is something else), Seine cruise, lots of strolling and café-sitting. A hop-on-hop-off bus can get you to major sights and show you a lot of city along the way.
If you really want a bird's-eye view, consider taking the stairs up to the first or second level of Eiffel Tower. Or the Tour Montparnasse with short or no lines and a fast elevator.
If you like Impressionist art, then you could go to the Orsay museum. It's much more manageable than the Louvre in terms of size. You could see some great art and then wander along the Seine up towards Notre Dame and the Ile St. Louis or walk across the river to the Tuileries Garden for a cocktail. Definitely explore the city at night too - it takes on an entirely different feel. Enjoy your day in Paris!
Something like this on your own for the main sights of Paris in one day would be easy, maybe tiring, but definitely exhilarating ...
Buy one carnet (pron. "car-nay") of 10 individual metro tickets - you will need 5 each for the day.
--From your hotel take the Metro, ending on Line 8 (light purple) to Ecole Militaire
0900 Eiffel Tower (start here - book an early ascent)
--From Champ de Mars | Tour Eiffel take RER C (yellow) to St Michel | Notre Dame
1100 Notre Dame
--From Hotel de Ville take Metro Line 1 (yellow) to Charles de Gaulle | Etoile
1400 Arc de Triomphe & Champs Elysees (don't linger - walk down a bit, cross, and walk back)
--From Charles de Gaulle | Etoile take Metro Line 1 (yellow) to Concorde
1500 Walk Place de la Concorde - Madeleine - Opera - Place Vendome -Tuileries
1600 The Louvre (hopefully you can plan for a Wednesday or Friday when closing is 2145)
2200 1 hour Seine cruise with Vedettes du Pont Neuf http://vedettesdupontneuf.com/cruises/
-- Access the Metro with Line 7 (pink) at Pont Neuf to return to your hotel
Thanks everyone! This was extremely helpful!!
If you have not been to Paris before - you might enjoy the hop-on/Hop-off bus. There are several companies.
I happened to have taken the "Big Bus" and it took a little over an hour, maybe 2 to ride around Paris to all the
places to see and a great narrative to go along with it.
I also rode the #69 bus across the city from the Eiffel Tower to Père Lachaise Cemetery.
These are both "doable" in one day and of course I really recommend the River Cruise (I went at night) and boarded
at the pier just down the stairs and across the street from the base of the Eiffel Tower.
Hope you have a wonderful 24 hours in Paris.
Note: my experience is going into museums and galleries was that I waited in long lines to go through security, and then work with mobs of people inside the places.
See also Rick's itinerary suggestion at http://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/paris-itinerary. Day 1 includes an afternoon at the Louvre, but you can make substitutions.
Pick one neighborhood to sample and enjoy. Paris can't be seen in 24 days nevertheless 24 hours. I like the 6th - try Luxembourg Gardens, Saint Germain des Pres Abbey, Delacroix Museum and then find a cafe in Rue du Buci order some drinks and pray to the heavens for another day.