If you only have a short amount of time to spend in the gorgeous French capital, make the most of your time with my itinerary for 4 days in Paris.
Paris is one of my favourite cities in the world and I’ve been there many times – more than a dozen at this point! My trips have ranged from one day in Paris to two weeks, and I know the city pretty well at this point. I’ve used that deep knowledge to devise an itinerary that covers the best of Paris in 4 days.
With this itinerary, you’ll see the most impressive Paris landmarks, admire priceless works of art, explore charming neighbourhoods – and, of course, eat delicious French cuisine. I’ll also show you a few places that are off the beaten path.
Read on for all the information and inspiration you need to book the perfect trip to Paris.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. These are links to products or experiences I recommend and if you were to buy something after clicking on them, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Any earnings go towards the upkeep of this blog, which I appreciate.
Table of Contents
FAQs For This Itinerary For 4 Days In Paris
Before, I get into the actual day-by-day itinerary, I know people have questions about spending 4 days in Paris, so let me answer these briefly, first.
Is 4 Days Enough To See Paris? / How Many Days In Paris Is Enough?
Look, I’m someone who loves Paris and keeps coming back several times a year – so for me, there is no number of days that is truly ‘enough’. It’s a big city with a rich history. Sometimes I re-do the same things; sometimes I discover new things. I feel like I’ll always be able to find delight in Paris, no matter how much time I’ve spent there.
That said, I don’t believe that there’s a minimum number of days, either. I have done several short trips when I spent only 1 or 2 days in Paris. My philosophy is if you only have x days in Paris, better to have that number of days than no days in Paris.
I created this itinerary for 4 days In Paris because 4 days is a good amount of time to experience the best of Paris. You can get a feel for the breadth of what the city has to offer. And it’s not too much time that you’ll tire of Paris if it isn’t to your liking (this happens – some people think Paris is overrated and Paris Syndrome is a real thing!).
And ultimately, if you like what you see in those 4 days in Paris, you can always come back for more, like I do.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Paris?
I’ve been to Paris in every season and my favourites are Spring and Autumn (Fall). In both of these ‘shoulder’ seasons, you do have the risk of rain, but I think the benefits outweigh the downsides.
Spring in Paris is glorious, especially in April and early May, when the city blooms: first flowers and cherry blossoms, then the trees burst into life with vibrant green leaves. This is the best season for exploring Paris’s many outdoor attractions and gorgeous parks.
Autumn in Paris is excellent too: in September and October, the weather can still be mild, making the city very walkable. And the leaves change to orange and red, so you see the city in a softer light.
Paris in winter is the quietest in terms of visitor numbers, and it can get pretty cold (definitely coats, scarves and gloves weather) – but I like this season too. In December, the Christmas festivities are really nice: there are pretty light displays and lots of cheerful Parisian Christmas Markets. And January, whilst being dark and cold, is your best chance for exploring without the crowds – though you might find opening hours can be reduced.
Summer in Paris is my least favourite season, and I’ve avoided it for years. It can be too hot to explore the city on foot. And in August, some businesses close as many Parisians take their holidays elsewhere.
Getting To Paris
If you’re travelling a long distance to Paris, you’ll probably fly in. Check Skyscanner for flight deals – that’s normally my go-to.
There are several airports around Paris, but Charles de Gaulle Airport is the main international one. From the airport, you can get into Paris by taxi (~45-60 minutes), train (RER B trains take about 35 mins to Chatelet) or Roissybus (which takes 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic).
If you’re travelling to Paris from a closer location, you might choose to take the train, seeing as Paris has high-speed connections to the UK, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Spain.
If you’re arriving by train, the main international train stations (Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est and Gare de Lyon) are all fairly central and connected to the Metro system.
How Much Money Do You Need For 4 Days In Paris?
It’s easy to spend a lot in Paris! There’s a lot to do, and it’s a popular place, so many attractions know they can price their tickets high and people will still pay it.
In general, I think the following is a useful guideline for what to budget for 4 days in Paris:
• Budget hotels: €75-150 per night
• Mid-range hotels €150-300 per night
• Luxury Hotels €400+ per night
• Lunch in a casual restaurant: €15-20
• Dinner in a bistro: €25-50
• Museums/landmarks: €10-30
In this itinerary for 4 days in Paris, I’ve included a mix of free or low-cost activities and some more pricey options – but you’ll be able to flex according to your own budget.
Where To Stay In Paris?
I’ve found that it’s best to book hotels in Paris in advance in order to give yourself the best possible choice and to avoid high charges.
Here are a few hotel options for your 4-day trip to Paris. I’ve stayed in all of these places myself in the last couple of years, and I recommend them (I’ve left out the places I stayed that I don’t recommend!).
La Finca Hôtel & Spa (previously the Hotel Auberge Flora) is in the vibrant Bastille area. It’s a good 3-star option. The rooms are snug but comfortable and well-equipped. I liked the cheerful bar downstairs and they offer a simple breakfast in the morning. I didn’t try the spa, though – I think they have added that since I stayed there.
In charming Montmartre, the Terrass” Hotel is an excellent 4-star hotel, which is close to the many attractions of Montmartre and also has wonderful views across Paris to the Eiffel Tower – from both its rooftop bar & restaurant and some rooms/suites.
Hôtel Diva Opéra is a centrally-located 4-star boutique hotel in Fauberg-Montmartre. It’s close to Boulevard Haussmann and the fancy department stores, like Galeries Lafayette, plus there are plenty of cafes in the vicinity, as well as several of the best covered passages in Paris.
If you want to indulge a little on this trip to Paris, I can also recommend the 5-star Hotel Regina Louvre, which is right next to the Louvre. The hotel is smart, luxurious and has great food. Some rooms have a view of the Eiffel Tower.
For more options, check Booking.com, which is my go-to site for hotels.
Getting Around Paris
I think Paris is very walkable, but it’s hard to see the best of Paris in 4 days without using the Metro a few times.
But don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to use (and much cheaper than taking taxis everywhere).
I use CityMapper to help me plan my routes across Paris – this clever, free app has all the public transport data in it and it will show you the best routes around the city, including walking, buses, trams, trains and the Metro.
Paris Metro Tips
When you use the Metro, remember to make a note of which line you need. And also note the final destination for that line – this will help you make sure you take the train that is going in the right direction because they don’t use ‘westbound’ or ‘uptown’ or anything like that.
Also, make sure you keep your ticket until you leave the metro. Even though you don’t need the ticket to exit the station, if you were stopped during a random ticket check and couldn’t produce the ticket you used to enter the metro, you would be charged a fine – and you don’t want that!
About This Itinerary For 4 Days In Paris
This is actually the second 4-day Paris itinerary I have written. I wrote one for solo travellers in this post on solo travel in Paris.
There are some similarities between the two, but I wrote this one from scratch, not looking at the first one (it had been a while since I wrote it, and I’ve been to Paris a couple more times since), so it is different.
Things to note about this itinerary for 4 days in Paris:
- It’s pretty busy! I have assumed you’ll want to make the most of only a few days in Paris, so I have created a fairly full itinerary, with several things to do in the mornings and afternoons each day.
- It involves a fair bit of walking. A large part of Paris’s appeal, for me, is in the beauty and discovery to be found in the streets. You’ll want comfortable shoes (no one wears fancy shoes in Paris anyway – that’s only in movies and on TV).
- I do suggest you use the Metro. I don’t think you can walk everywhere in Paris, so follow the tips I mention above for using the Metro.
- It’s all in Paris. There are some great day trips from Paris, including to the Palace of Versailles and Reims. But with only four days in Paris, I suggest you stick to the city.
- Quite a few activities are outdoors, so if your weather forecast is very rainy or cold, you might want to check my post about Paris in winter, which has ideas of things to do in Paris when the weather is bad.
- Book attractions in advance: in order to guarantee you can do them, you will want to book some of the popular activities in advance. I’ll circle back to what these are at the end.
Itinerary For 4 Days In Paris – In A Nutshell
OK, here’s a very high-level overview of what I recommend in this itinerary for 4 days in Paris:
Day 1: Eiffel Tower & The Sights Of The Seine – including Notre-Dame cathedral and Musée d’Orsay.
Day 2: The Intellectual Left Bank – including Saint-Germain, Jardin du Luxembourg & the Latin Quarter.
Day 3: Shopping, Gold Leaf & Cobble Streets – covered passages, Les Grands Magasins, Palais Garnier & Montmartre.
Day 4: Grand Old Paris – Le Marais, the Louvre, Petit Palais and Arc de Triomphe for a showstopper finale.
Itinerary For 4 Days In Paris – in Detail
Now, let’s get into the details of this epic itinerary for 4 days in Paris.
Day 1 – Eiffel Tower & The Sights Of The Seine
I suggest you focus on the major sights around the Seine on your first day in Paris. This does make this a rather expensive day, as there are several attractions to pay for. But the later days in this itinerary are cheaper, don’t worry!
We’re going to start with the Eiffel Tower, because, well, you just have to. It’s the law in Paris, I think.
But before actually climbing the tower, I suggest you start with a view of it.
Start as early in the day as you can and take the Metro to Trocadéro, which is an elevated plaza, with a sweeping view of Paris, dominated by the Eiffel Tower. It’s a popular, but spot, but the light is just gorgeous at sunrise.
Once you’ve had your fill of the view, take down the steps to the right of the fountains and wander down the path towards the Eiffel Tower. If you come to Paris in Spring, you’ll have the added bonus of cherry blossoms in bloom. In fact, this is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower
Cross the Seine at Pont d’Iéna and head to the tower to get a proper look.
The Eiffel Tower is the most recognisable and enduring icon of Paris, so it’s funny to think that there was opposition to it when it was first built in 1889. One derisory commentator called it a ‘truly tragic street lamp’!
It was built for the 1889 World’s Fair and at 330 meters high, it set a record as the world’s highest monument.
If you want to go up the tower, you’ll want to book tickets in advance and can choose between various options including climbing the stairs, summit access and a guided tour. I’ve done the stair-climb to the first level and also the view from the summit, which is pretty cool (but can be chilly!).
If you prefer to stay on the ground, the Champs de Mars gardens around the tower offer plenty of different vantage points. There’s also a classic photo op spot on Rue de l’Université.
Seine Boat Tour – Batobus
Once you’ve had your fill of iron towers, head back towards the river because your next activity is a boat ride on the Seine!
There are lots of different kinds of Seine River tours available, and I’ve done a few. The one I recommend for this itinerary is Batobus Paris – because it’s good value for money and really flexible.
Batobus is kind of like a river bus. The way it works is there are boats continually making a circuit of the river, stopping at various points along the way. If you have a ticket, you can hop on and hop off as many times as you like, for as long as your ticket is valid (tickets are for 1 day or 2 days).
I recommend you buy a one-day Batobus pass, which you can do online via Get Your Guide, and start by taking the boat from the Eiffel Tower stop to Notre Dame. This stretch of the route takes you past some stunning landmarks along the Seine, including Pont Alexandre III, Musée d’Orsay, Institut de France and Pont Neuf.
It will take about 45 minutes from the Eiffel Tower to get to Notre Dame – and heads up, there are no toilets on board. But don’t worry, there is a good (though not free, it costs €2) place to use the loo when you get to Notre Dame.
Read more about what you can see at each of the nine Batobus Paris stops.
Cathedral de Notre Dame
Paris’s most famous church is in the heart of the old part of Paris: Île de la Cité the largest island in the Seine.
Notre Dame was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and renovated significantly in the 19th Century (after it faced calls to be demolished, which thankfully were overruled). It remains one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Paris.
The cathedral was, unfortunately, heavily damaged by fire in 2019 and has been under reconstruction since then. It is due to re-open in 2024.
Until then, you can admire it from the outside – there’s a ramped seating area at Parvis Notre Dame – Place Jean-Paul II, where you’ll also find Point Zero, a marker for the exact point from which distances in France are measured from Paris.
You can also see an exhibition about the cathedral’s 19th-century restoration in the Archaeological Crypt museum, which is underground next to Notre Dame. This museum also contains some remains from the Roman settlement of Lutetia, which pre-dated Paris.
For lunch, I suggest grabbing a crêpe from one of the food stalls near Notre Dame – there’s always one there and the crêpes and delicious and filling.
There are plenty of restaurants just across the river on the left bank, but so many of them look like tourist traps and have bad online ratings – so I tend to avoid them.
There’s also another Gothic church you can visit nearby: Sainte-Chapelle. This church was built in 1248 to house the relic of Christ’s Crown of Thorns and is known for its spectacular stained-glass windows.
If there’s one church in Paris that you go inside, make it this one: the interior is just stunning! There are just two parts to the chapel, so it doesn’t take long to view. The tall colourful windows and star-strewn midnight blue ceiling are really something special.
Seine Boat Tour Continues – Batobus
If you want, from here, you could wander into the Left Bank and explore a little of the old part of Paris, the Latin Quarter. But I suggest you do that another day – and instead, make the most of your Batobus ticket by getting back on a boat.
Because the Batobus route is like a very elongated circle, if you catch another boat at Notre Dame, it will continue in the direction you were going before, east toward Jardins des Plantes stop, where it will turn around, and head back down the river, this time staying close to the right bank.
Along this stretch of the river, look out for Île Saint-Louis, the medieval towers of the Conciergerie and The Louvre.
To get to your next stop, Musée d’Orsay, you can stay on the boat even after it gets to the Eiffel Tower and turns around – and then get off right at the Musée d’Orsay stop. This stretch of the Batobus route should take about an hour and 25 minutes.
Or, an alternative is you could get off at the Louvre stop, and then cross the river on Pont Royal to get to Musée d’Orsay on foot. This option takes only 40 minutes on the Batobus, plus a ten-minute walk.
This might be my favourite art gallery in Paris!
I love its architecture. The Musée d’Orsay building was originally designed to be a train station – which makes sense when you see its cavernous atrium with an arched ceiling and ornate clock. The clock window on the top floor is also pretty special.
And I really love the top floor collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, including works by Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. There are so many treasures here.
After you’re done at the Museum, you might be ready for some rich French food for dinner.
I don’t know anywhere near Musee D’Orsay, but one of the best traditional French restaurants I have tried in Paris is Les Philosophes.
If you’re in Paris in summer, when the last river bus departs at 9:30 pm, you’ll be able to get to Les Philosophes by Batobus (getting off at Hôtel de Ville stop), followed by a walk.
It’s a cute little place with a classic menu. I went full-on indulgence when I ate here: French onion soup to start, followed by Boeuf Bourguignon and Crème Brûlée to finish. When in France, right?
Day 2 – The Intellectual Left Bank
Day 2 of your itinerary for 4 days in Paris has fewer paid-for attractions and more walking, as you explore the intellectual Left Bank of Paris – ‘where Paris learned to think’.
Jardin Du Luxembourg
Start your day by having a peaceful wander in one of the nicest parks in Paris: Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement. If you want a breakfast pastry to take with you, there are several options on rue de Fleuris.
Highlights of Jardin Du Luxembourg to look out for:
- Luxembourg Palace, once a royal palace and home to the mother of King Louis XIII Marie de’ Medici, is now used by the French government for the Senat (though you can still do tours of the palace).
- Medici Fountain, a monumental fountain built in 1630.
- Grand Bassin: the central pond, which has lots of metal chairs around it, which are perfect for lounging.
- Queens of France: many white marble statues of historical queens of France are set against the trees, facing into the basin.
- A bandstand, that sometimes has live performances
- Flower gardens, mainly in the west and south-west
- A miniature version of the Statue of Liberty that is in New York City
- Tennis courts & basketball courts
Whilst there’s a lot here that is unequivocally beautiful, what I like most about this park is how it feels like part of the community. When I first came here, I sat on a bench and watched some people play tennis. And on my most recent visit to Paris, I loved seeing the people practise Tai Chi under the trees in the mornings. It has a very chill vibe.
After exploring Luxembourg Gardens, head north towards Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
On the way along Rue Bonaparte, you’ll pass the impressively large and oddly uneven church Église Saint-Sulpice.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is known best for the intellectuals who gathered here in the 1950s and 60s. At that time, this neighbourhood became a hub for writers, filmmakers, musicians and thinkers, including philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut.
Here you’ll also find Paris’s oldest church, Eglise de Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It dates from the 6th century and was once a crypt for the kings of France. The church contains the tomb of René Descartes, an important 17th-century philosopher, scientist and mathematician.
Grab lunch at one of the iconic Saint-Germain cafés, where those intellectuals would meet and debate: Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore.
Heads up: they’re pricey and you might need to queue for a table, but they’re such classic Parisian cafes, I think it’s worth it.
After lunch, wander east and into the Latin Quarter. I promised we’d come back to it, didn’t it?
On the way, pop your head into Cr du Commerce Saint-André, one of the oldest covered passages of Paris, where you can still see the original cobblestones – now very uneven.
The Latin Quarter takes its name from the language taught in schools here in the middle ages and it is one of the oldest districts in the city.
Take your time exploring this area during the afternoon, stopping in cafes as often as you need (it’s the Parisian way).
Take your pick from the Latin Quarter highlights, which include:
- Rue du Chat Qui Pêche is the narrowest street in Paris and a reminder of how Paris’s streets used to be before the widespread Haussmann redesign
- Near the river, there are some very quaint establishments including Shakespeare & Company bookshop, Abbey Bookshop and Odette Café, which has a great view of Notre Dame.
- Square René Viviani is a cute square near Shakespeare & Company
- Sorbonne University, which was founded in the 13th century
- Panthéon – a huge, imposing church that houses the remains of author Victor Hugo
- Arab World Institute – an exhibition of Arabic culture, housed in a modern building with attractive decorative windows
- Grand Mosque of Paris, which you can tour to enjoy the tiled gardens.
- Jardin des Plantes – extensive and impressive botanical gardens near the Natural History museum (Grande galerie de l’évolution). This garden a good place to chill if your feet need a rest. It’s also another good place to see cherry blossoms in Paris in April.
- Collège des Bernardins – a bright airy example of Gothic architecture
- Rue Mouffetard – a long road that dates from Roman times, with lots of great places to eat along it
There’s a great restaurant at the end of Rue Mouffetard and I really enjoyed my food there. Cave La Bourgogne has a rustic wooden interior and a simple but delicious menu. I had salmon, served with rice – the fish was tender, sweet and delicious.
Day 3 – Shopping, Gold Leaf & Cobble Streets
Day 3 of this itinerary for 4 days in Paris will give you a flavour of two historical ways to shop in Paris: the covered passages of early-mid the 19th century and the grands magasins (department stores) that became popular in the late 19th Century. We’ll also visit the ostentatious Paris Opera and explore the villagey cobbled streets of Montmartre.
And on the shopping thing: if you want to shop, you can. But if you’re not interested, that’s also fine: the main attraction for me is actually the architecture of these stores.
The covered passages of Paris are one of my favourite features of the city – so much so that I have visited every single one! I feel like this makes me qualified to recommend visiting a couple of them during your trip.
In the early to mid-19th century, many covered passages were built in Paris as a more pleasant shopping experience for wealthy patrons than the dirty Paris streets. These passages couverts were pedestrian walkways with shops and cafes, protected from the elements by vaulted ceilings, typically made of iron and glass.
By around 1850, there were over 150 of them, but then the ambitious Haussmann redesign of Paris came and the creation of new boulevards and mansion buildings destroyed many of them.
I suggest a visit to 2-3 of my favourite covered passages: Passages Verdeau, Jouffroy and Panoramas run on from one another, so you could enjoy them one after the other.
All three have an old-world charm and contain quaint independent shops and cafes. They also each have a slight speciality: Passage Verdeau for art shops & rare books; Passage Jouffroy for rare books and prints and Passage des Panoramas for vintage stamps and other collectable shops.
For more info on each of them (and all the other covered passages), check my comprehensive guide to the best covered passages of Paris.
It’s a 10-15 minute walk from Passage des Panoramas to Palais Garnier (also called Opéra Garnier), one of the grandest, most ostentatious buildings in Paris. It’s impressive from the outside, displayed proudly at the end of Avenue de l’Opéra.
But the real treat is the interior, which has elegant twisting staircases, ornate balconies, mosaics and an intensely opulent Grand Foyer. This long hall is festooned with painted panels, chandeliers and gold leaf.
Palais Garnier is a working opera house, so you could have the full experience by going to an opera performance. However, you can also do self-guided or guided tours of the Palais Garnier interior during the day.
It’s very cool to explore this historic, opera house, which was built in 1875 and is perhaps most famous for being the setting of The Phantom of the Opera.
Palais Garnier is just across the street from your next stop: another showpiece of fancy Paris interior architecture: Galeries Lafayette.
There are several old department stores (or grands magasins) in Paris and Galeries Lafayette is the most interesting, in my opinion. There are a lot of luxury and designer brands on sale here, so you could do some shopping if that is your thing. However, the reason I have recommended a visit here is its two main attractions: the stained-glass cupola and the rooftop terrace.
Galeries Lafayette’s colourful and ornate cupula is just amazing – it’s so extravagant! Stand in the middle of the cosmetics floor and look up to get a good view. Or find one of the balconies on the 1st or 2nd floor to appreciate the balconies that ring the atrium.
And the rooftop terrace is one of the best free things to do in Paris: it has views of the Opera House, Boulevard Haussmann and, across the slate-grey rooftops, the Eiffel Tower.
For lunch, I’m going to suggest another department store, one which neighbours Galeries Lafayette: Au Printemps. Galeries Lafayette does have a canteen on the floor below the rooftop terrace, but neither the food nor the experience is very good, in my opinion.
Printemps has a couple of restaurants on the 8th floor of the menswear building with views and terrace access. I ate at La Reine Mer, which specialises in fish and seafood. Next door, there’s Regain, which has a meat-focused menu.
Whichever you choose, do go out onto the terrace, which wraps around the building. I love how close it is to the ornate blue and gold domes and the views down Boulevard Haussmann.
After lunch jump on the Metro to Anvers, to spend the afternoon in Montmartre.
It’s a popular place and tends to have crowds of tourists almost year-round (unless you’re in Paris in winter). But there’s a reason why it’s so popular: it’s really gorgeous! For that reason, I think it’s worth a visit, even if it feels touristy in the most central areas.
I suggest you stay here all afternoon, so you can take your time, stopping for drinks in cafes when you feel like it.
To help you explore the best of Montmartre, including some of the lesser-visited spots, I have created a free self-guided walking tour of Montmartre. This gives a manageable route that will take you to the main sights and prettiest streets, highlighting things to do along the way, plus places to eat.
Montmartre highlights you’ll discover on my walking tour include:
- Basilica of Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, the most elegant church in Paris
- Place du Terte, the buzzing heart of Montmartre
- La Maison Rose, arguably the most instagrammable café in Paris
- Rue de l’Abreuvoir, one of the prettiest streets in Paris
- Vigne du Clos Montmartre – a vineyard in Paris!
- Musée de Montmartre, a small museum in a historic building with lovely gardens – definitely worth a visit
- Moulin de la Galette, the setting for a famous Renoir painting and home to one of the remaining Montmartre windmills (moulins)
- Rue Lepic, which winds around Montmartre
- Le Consulat – another cute, historic cafe
- Escalier du Calvaire – one of the many stairways around the butte of Montmartre (exploring Montmartre can be strenuous!)
- The Wall of Love, a modern monument to love
- Cimetiere de Montmartre, where impressionist painter Edgar Degas, writers Emile Zola and Alexandre Dumas and the film director François Truffaut are entombed
For dinner, I recommend La Boite aux Lettres on Rue Lepic – this small and unpretentious bistro has an innovative menu with a focus on seasonal produce. If you can’t get a table here, Moulin de la Galette has pretty good traditional French food.
After dinner, if you fancy it, consider catching a film at the retro Montmartre cinema, Studio 28 cinema. If you don’t speak French, look for English language films marked ‘VOST’, which means they’re in their original language, with subtitles in French.
Day 4 – Grand Old Paris
If you’ve followed this itinerary for 4 days in Paris, you will have seen a lot of Paris by now, but I’ve some goodies for the last day, including a pretty special end to your trip.
You might have heard of Le Marais, which was once an aristocratic district of Paris and where you’ll find many buildings of historic and architectural importance.
These days, it’s a rather chic neighbourhood, where you might find boutiques, art galleries and cocktail bars.
I’m going to suggest a few spots to look out for, including one museum to visit, starting on the east side of the area and heading west.
Place des Vosges
Place Des Vosges was inaugurated in 1612 with a grand celebration of the engagement of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria.
The square itself has fountains, lawns, trees and a statue of Louis XIII on horseback in the middle. It was originally a place for the nobility to walk and socialise – to see and be seen. These days, it’s a lovely spot to picnic or play petanque.
I think what makes it so attractive is the handsome buildings that surround it: all built to the same design, with red brick walls and blue slate rooves. Porticoes run all the way around, creating a cool sheltered walkway, where you’ll find some restaurants and cafes.
Musée Carnavalet is a really great museum for anyone interested in the history of Paris because its extensive collections chart the story of Paris from antiquity to this century.
They have ancient relics, sumptuous room sets from the 17th and 18th centuries and detailed documentation of the French Revolution and the various republics & empires. And Carnavalet Museum is free!
I think it would be too much to try to see the entire exhibition, though. I have too much else in store for you today! So I suggest you pick a couple of areas you’re interested in and spend around an hour here.
Rue des Rosiers
Rue des Rosiers is a charming narrow street in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and is a great place to get some low-cost but hearty falafel from one of the many vendors.
Hôtel de Ville
Hôtel de Ville is the City Hall of Paris and has been since 1357 (although the current building was rebuilt in the 19th century). The architectural style is that classic French Renaissance style, inspired by the Châteaux of the Loire Valley. It has those recognisable steeply sloped rooves, a spire and fancy chimneys.
For lunch, I recommend Le Georges, a smart modern restaurant on the top of the Pompidou Centre, with southward views of Paris. I really enjoyed some icy strawberry and tomato soup, followed by pasta here on one warm September day in Paris.
For your final afternoon in Paris, I suggest the Musée du Louvre, which you can get to by walking or grabbing the Metro from Hôtel de Ville station to Palais-Royal – Musée du Louvre.
A museum since 1793, Musée du Louvre is the world’s most-visited museum and home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. But it has so much more than that: the museum owns more than 600,000 objects over thousands of years of history and it can take hours to explore thoroughly.
It’s best to reserve tickets in advance, and I’ve heard the lines are much shorter if you go into the lower level, inside the pyramid. I haven’t tested this myself, though – it’s been a while since I went into the Louvre, although I visit the impressive ground on most of my visits to Paris.
The main Renaissance buildings, which were once a royal palace, are suitably grand and stately; the glass pyramid is such an innovative contrast.
Jardin Des Tuileries And Beyond
After the Louvre, or instead, if you don’t fancy exploring it, carry on heading west towards your final stop the Arc De Triomphe, which you want to reach an hour before sunset.
If you have time and energy, there are a few places of interest along the way, including:
- Jardin des Tuileries – an extensive park with walkways, ponds and views of several iconic landmarks in Paris: the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, the obelisk at Place de la Concord and, in the distance, the Eiffel Tower.
- Musée De l’Orangerie is a small art gallery primarily home to several of Monet’s largest Water Lilies paintings. You can find it at the western end of Tuileries Gardens
- Place de Concorde – it has fancy street lamps and an Egyptian obelisk in the centre. But it’s still very busy with cars and hard to admire if I’m being honest!
- Petit Palais is a lovely gallery – and another free one. I feel like the romantic Beaux-Arts-style architecture is even more impressive than the art, though.
- Champs-Élysées – known for being the main shopping street in Paris, you might want to have a look at it before or after the Arc De Triomphe. It’s not among the best places in Paris, though, in my opinion.
If you prefer, or if you’re running out of time, you could get the Metro instead of walking this stretch – line 1 goes from the Louvre to Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station in a few stops.
Arc De Triomphe
The reason I say you should get here an hour before sunset is your final stop is the viewing platform on top of the Arc De Triomphe, that impressive monument installed by Napoleon to honour those who died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
It’s a great thing to do in Paris at any time, but it’s extra special to see the sunset over Paris, to watch the skies change and then to see the city lights come on. And of course, the best part is when the Eiffel Tower sparkles, which it does for 5 minutes every hour.
What a great way to end this itinerary for 4 days in Paris!
But we’re not finished: you still need to eat! The only restaurant I have been to near the Arc De Triomphe is a very fancy, very expensive fine dining restaurant in the Hotel Peninsula: L’Oiseau Blanc.
If you don’t mind splashing some serious cash (I’m not exaggerating, the prices made my jaw drop), this is a great way to spend your final evening in Paris. The meal I had here was exquisite.
If not, there are plenty of more affordable places to eat in the lively Bastille area (which means jumping back on the Metro first), including Café des Anges and Le Pure Café, which featured in the movie Before Sunset.
Map: Itinerary For 4 Days In Paris
Here is a map of all the wonderful things I recommend you do in this itinerary for 4 days in Paris, organised by day. I’ve also marked the places to eat as well:
How To Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each one. If you click the star next to the map’s title, it will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu, go to ‘Your Places’ or ‘Saved’, then click Maps and you will see this map in your list.
REMINDER: if you want to follow this itinerary, I recommend booking the following in advance:
Accommodation – check availability and prices on Booking.com
Eiffel Tower – book Eiffel Tower tickets on Get Your Guide
Batobus hop-on-hop-off river bus – Book Batobus tickets on Get Your Guide
Musée D’Orsay – book Musée D’Orsay tickets on Get Your Guide
Palais Garnier (Opera House) – book Palais Garnier self-guided tickets on Viator
Musée Du Louvre – book Louvre tickets on Get Your Guide
Arc De Triomphe Rooftop – book Arc De Triomphe tickets on Get Your Guide
The Last Word
I hope this itinerary has inspired you with ideas and a plan to experience the best of Paris in just four days.
If you’re planning your first time in Paris, check out my guide to visiting Paris for the first time, including tips on things you should know about Paris.
And if you have a romantic trip in mind, get some ideas of things to do in Paris for couples.
Finally, if you want to get off the beaten path in Paris, I have plenty of ideas for that too!