How to Get to Paris & What to do in​ Paris for 4 days 

Oh, Paris…Who has not dreamed of Paris? You finally bought a flight ticket and cannot wait to jump on that plane. Congratulations! Not to bust your dream, though, planning a trip to Paris can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. 

Everyone who has been to Paris would agree that 4 days in Paris will not be enough. Paris is a HUGE metropolitan city with rich history and culture. The City of Light offers plenty of things to do – perhaps overwhelmingly too many. 

Here is my Paris itinerary for 4 days to include as many top things to do in Paris as possible while best utilizing Paris Museum Pass (more on that later). If you loathe tourist-crowded places, too bad. You simply cannot avoid that in Paris! But in this plan, I present a good balance of both popular sites that you gotta visit once in your lifetime and lesser-known local things to do.

This itinerary will surely tire you out yet help maximize your time during the stay. But with tips on how to take this itinerary as an example to customize yours, you should be able to create your perfect Paris itinerary. Let’s do this! 

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4 Days in Paris: This detailed Paris itinerary suggests the most efficient way to see the highlights of the city for first-time visitors | #paris #France #europetravel #ParisItinerary #paristhingstodo

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Paris Itinerary Summary

Day 1: Palais-Royal Garden  Louvre  Tuileries Garden  Place de la Concorde  Champs-Élysées  Arc de Triomphe  Seine River Cruise

Day 2: Notre Dame  Saint-Chapelle  Sacré-Cœur  Montmartre  Moulin Rouge

Day 3: Jardin de Trocadéro  Galerie Lafayette  St-Germain  La Grande Épicerie Eiffel Tower Champs de Mars

Day 4: Musée d’Orsay  Le Marais  Canal St. Martin

4 Days in Paris: This detailed Paris itinerary suggests the most efficient way to see the highlights of the city for first-time visitors | #paris #France #europetravel #ParisItinerary #paristhingstodo

How to Get to Paris

Charles de Gaulle to Paris

Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport is located outside of Paris in Roissy-en-France. You may opt for an RER B train from CDG airport to Gard du Nord in Paris (€11.40 one way), which takes about 30 minutes. At Gare du Nord, you can transfer by metro or bus to your final destination. (If your hotel is closer to Châtelet-les-Halles or Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame, you can also get off there.)

I found it challenging to drag and carry my luggage over the stairs out of metro stations and on the street. My poor husband took one luggage up one flight of stairs at a time while I watched for the other. Unfortunately, Paris is not the safest city to leave your luggage out of sight!

The best way to get from Charles de Gaulle to Paris is a private airport shuttle for its convenient door-to-door service. Especially for group (or family) travelers, it makes sense to hire private airport transport (Book: a group up to three or four passengers). You may also ask your hotel for an airport shuttle service to compare pricing.

Orly to Paris

Orly Airport does not offer direct train service to Paris. Take an airport shuttle called Orlyval to the RER B station at Antony. Transfer to an RER B train, which goes to Gare du Nord, Châtelet-les-Halles and Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame. The Orlyval + RER combo ticket costs €13.30. The total journey takes about 40 minutes and up.

For a more convenient and faster option, hire a private transfer from Orly airport to anywhere in Paris. It takes about 30 minutes.

Paris Travel Essentials

>> Paris City Pass: Consider getting tourist discount cards such as Paris Museum Pass or The Paris Pass. Not only do they save you money, but you can also skip the line on the most popular sites. That’s a huge time-saver! (READ>> Is Paris Museum Pass Worth It?)

>> SIM card: I used this Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM, which worked well throughout Europe without any hiccups. But if you have any trouble using it or need to recharge, you can walk into any Orange stores for help (so many in Paris!).

>> Wine Corkscrew: Yeah, I know it is an unusual item for travel. But if you plan to drink wine in France (and you should!), bring a simple, reliable corkscrew yourself. (I hate when a cheap grocery store corkscrew breaks the cork!) Believe me, it will come in handy when you go on a picnic as this itinerary suggests.

Day 1 of 4 Days in Paris: Louvre, Champs-Élysées & Arc de Triomphe

 

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1:  Palais-Royal Garden | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

Black and white stripe columns in Palais-Royal Garden (Image Credit: Rach Teo from Unsplash)

Palais-Royal Garden

The Palais Royal and its garden were created by the Cardinal Richelieu in 1633 to house royal families until the construction of the Palace of Versailles.

Perhaps the most iconic Paris thing here is the Colonnes de Buren. Designed by artist Daniel Buren, 260 black and white striped octagonal columns stand in the courtyard.

We will visit Domain National du Palais-Royal as early as its opening at 8 am for the iconic Paris photo opportunity. Make it a quick stop before heading over to Louvre.

Admission: Free

Hour: 8 am – 10:30 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Louvre Museum - Louvre Pyramid | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #louvre

Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre)

​Your Paris trip would not be complete without taking a few snaps with Louvre Pyramid. Like the Eiffel Tower, it was controversial when it was being constructed. But now, no one questions that Louvre Pyramid is one of France’s most recognizable architectural icons.

The glass pyramid was designed by legendary Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei in 1989. He built the 71-feet-tall geometrical structure using glass and stainless steel. 

Located in the heart of the court of Napoléon, the Louvre Pyramid is actually an entrance into the Louvre museum’s lower-ground exhibition area. Due to its popularity, this entrance gets crowded. So we won’t get in through here. For now, let’s appreciate the Pyramid and take some photos.

Hour: Thur/Sat/Sun/Mon 9 am – 6 pm, Wed/Fri 9 am – 9:45 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre

Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre)

Once a royal palace, the Louvre houses enormous universal collections of Greek, Eastern, Egyptian, Roman antiquities, and Islamic arts, ranging from the Middle Ages to 1848. In its eight departments, 35,000 arts are on display.

Of course, you cannot possibly see everything in Louvre in one day! So you need a game plan. You will need to have your checklist to make the most of your time. If you are not sure how to navigate this gigantic museum, follow this trail recommended by the museum.

I took a Western Arts History class in college. This helped me recognize the Louver’s treasures and why they are considered masterpieces. A few of them I recommend checking out:

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Louvre Museum | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #louvre

(Left) Aphrodite, “the Venus de Milo” | (Right) The Winged Victory of Samothrace, “Nike”

Aphrodite, “the Venus of Milo”: This ancient Greek sculpture is one of the most famous Venus statues depicting the ideal Greek beauty despite missing two arms. The sculpture highlights contrapposto (standing with the weight on one leg) and drapery flowing on the body.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, “Nike”: The Greek statue represents the goddess Nike standing on a ship. Its torso and wings were painstakingly restored from numerous marble fragments. The head and arms are still missing.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Louvre Museum, Mona Lisa | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #louvre

Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa – Don’t expect too much, though. My professor taught me to walk left and right in front of Mona Lisa to see if her eyes followed me. In reality, there is no way I could do that over cameras and cell phones of the crowd. It is a tiny painting, to begin with. Did you know it got famous only after it was stolen once?

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Louvre Museum - Delacroix | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #louvre

Liberty Leading the People – This painting by Eugène Delacroix commemorates the July Revolution of 1830. This large oil painting on canvas is a universal symbol of liberty and democracy.

La Belle Jardinière “Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist” – The painting by Italian Renaissance artist Raphael portrays Mary, Christ and a young John the Baptist. Note that three figures make the pyramid structure, with Mary being the focal point.

Beat the Crowd: The Wednesday and Friday late-night openings are currently suspended due to the pandemic. These late-night openings (until 9:45 pm) tend to attract fewer crowds. When it comes back, and you can plan your itinerary to accommodate the visit on Wednesday or Friday, it’s worth pushing it back to the evening.

Insider’s Tip: Although booking a time slot is mandatory, the Louvre is the world’s most-visited museum and will be crowded. Instead of entering through the super-crowded Pyramid, opt for an underground entrance via Carrousel du Louvre [Open Google Map]

Admission: Online €17 [Book tickets with an audio guide. Included in Paris Museum Pass]. At door €15.

Hours: 9 am – 6 pm Last entry 1 hour before closing. (Closed on Tuesdays, Jan. 1, May 1 and Dec. 25)

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Concorde

Louvre Guided Tours

Unless you want to study Louvre art collections in advance, I recommend joining a guided tour. Louvre Museum is enormous and crowded ALL THE TIME. Without knowing what to look for and appreciate it, you won’t enjoy your time or get much out of it.

>> This guided tour (fast-track admission included) explores the highlights of the Louvre with an expert for 2-3 hours.

>> Book a private live guide tour for your group to see the crown jewels of the Louvre at your pace.

>> Family travelers can appreciate the treasures of the Louvre in the most educational yet fun way with this private tour specially designed for kids.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Tuileries Garden | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries)

The Tuileries Garden was initially built as part of the Palais des Tuileries in 1564 by Queen Catherine de Medici. Its French formal garden style did not come alive until King Louis XIV’s famous gardener, André Le Nôtre, re-landscaped this enormous garden.

It is a large garden to stroll and people watch. There are some chairs to sit in front of the fountains. Free public toilettes are at one end near the Place de la Concorde.

If you can prepare sandwiches or snacks from Monoprix, you can eat lunch on one of the benches here. Or, the famous Angelina Paris [Open Google Map] is right on Rue de Rivoli. (Be sure to make a reservation.)

Admission: Free

Hours: April/May/Sept. 7 am – 9 pm, June/July/Aug. 7 am – 11 pm, or the rest 7:30 am – 7:30 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Tuileries or Concorde

Musée de l’Orangerie (Optional)

Located in the Tuileries Garden, the Musée de l’Orangerie is most known for the Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet. The modern art collection also includes Renoir, Cézanne, Modigliani, Matisse and Picasso masterpieces, ranging from impressionism to contemporary arts.

But if you have had enough with museums for today, maybe best to save the Musée de l’Orangerie for the next time. I personally was overwhelmed and dead-tired after my visit to Louvre. 

Admission: €12.50 [Book tickets here or Free with Paris Museum Pass] (book your time slot). 

Hours: 9 am – 6 pm (Closed on Tuesdays.)

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Concorde

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Place de la Concorde | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in Paris. This 18th-century plaza is adorned with beautiful fountains, statues and an Egyptian obelisk. 

During the French Revolution, notable public executions took place, where King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and Maximilien Robespierre were guillotined.

The plaza’s centerpiece is the 3,300-year-old Luxor Obelisk, given by Egypt in 1829 as a diplomatic gift. It is called Luxor Obelisk because it once marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple.

Hours: 24 hours

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Concorde

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1:  Pont Alexandre III | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

(Image Credit: Hannah Reding from Unsplash)

Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III is an ostentatious bridge named after a Russian czar that connects the Invalides on the Left Bank and the Grand Palais and Petit Palais on the Right Bank. It is the most symbolic and ornate bridge in Paris, boasting gilt bronze sculptures of winged horses. Enjoy the impressive view of the Eiffel Tower and the city over the Seine. This is also a great starting point to walk towards the Avenue de Champs-Élyées. 

Admission: Free

Hours: 24 hours

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Invalides

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Champs-Élysées  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #champselysees

Frankly, I enjoyed the luxury vibe more than shopping on Champs-Élysées.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

The Champs-Élysées is the most luxurious and grandeur avenue in Paris, if not in the world. This pedestrian-only road stretches two kilometers from Place de la Concorde to Arc de Triomphe. The area is lined with high-end restaurants, luxury boutiques, iconic flagship stores (Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Guerlain, Ferrari, Mont-Blanc, etc.) and clubs. 

While super commercialized and extremely touristy, you just have to get a taste of it at least once in your lifetime. I did not spot any limited editions you cannot find somewhere else, so I recommend soaking up the atmosphere instead of shopping. 

Admission: Free

Hours: 24 hours

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Depending on from which point you want to start walking: Concorde, Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George V, Charles de Gaulle – Étoile

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Arc de Triomphe | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #arcdetriomphe

A stunning view of Paris from the rooftop terrace!

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe is another iconic architecture built to commemorate the victory of Napoleon’s Great Army against the Austro-Russian troops in 1805 (a.k.a. the Battle of Austerlitz). Since Napoleon I ordered, it took 30 years to complete in 1836. Although his army could not march through it on their return to Paris, Napoleon’s ash did upon its return from Saint Helena in 1840.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Arc de Triomphe | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #arcdetriomphe

Fun Facts about Arc de Triomphe:

  • The national monument is engraved with the names of battles and Generals from wars fought by France during the Revolution and the First Empire. (See the left photo above.)
  • On the ground, the inscriptions commemorate recent events such as the proclamation of the Republic on September 4, 1870.
  • The eternal flame has been rekindled every day at 6:30 pm since it was first lit on November 11, 1923.

Located in the center of the Place de l’Étoile, the terrace showcases the spectacular 360-degree view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower. Note: You need to go up the spiral staircases! (See the right photo above)

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Arc de Triomphe  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #arcdetriomphe

There is a long line of people standing in the median to snap a shot with Arc in the background. A photographer (or your tripod) needs to be in the middle of the road to get the entire architecture. Watch out for oncoming cars around the rotary. You can also go to the other side to capture photos without the crowd.

Admission: €13 [Book tickets here. Included in Paris Museum Pass] Booking a time slot not required.

Hours: 10 am – 10:30 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Charles de Gaulle – Étoile

Dinner Options near the Arc de Triomphe

I failed to make a reservation at any of these restaurants. That said, if you want to have a nice sit-down dinner with a romantic view, do your diligence and book as soon as you know the date.

  • L’Oiseau Blanc [Open Google Map]: A Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant with a rooftop terrace.
  • Terrasse de l’hôtel Raphael [Open Google Map]: A rooftop garden serving all-day snacks, cocktails, and champagne with a panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Open April through September. Book your stay at Hôtel Raphael >>
Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 1: Seine River Cruise | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #seineriver

Seine River Cruise in the Evening

Perhaps the most romantic way to end your first day in Paris is to see the City of Light on the Seine River. Simply hop on an evening cruise from a dock near the Eiffel Tower. Admire the Eiffel Tower light show and enjoy the most iconic sights of Paris on a cruise.

Admission: [Book Seine River Cruise with Dinner. Included in The Paris Pass.]

Hours: 12 – 9 pm

Location: Port de la Bourdonnais [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Pont de l’Alma or École Militaire

Alternative Neighborhood Walking Tours

>> This Paris highlight tour takes you to all Day 1 stops plus Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. This is a great way to explore Paris if you want to see Paris in a limited time.

>> Join this affordable private tour with a local guide to customize your itinerary.

>> For those who do not want to walk, you can consider an e-bike or Segway tour.

Day 2 of 4 Days in Paris: Île de la Cité & Montmartre

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Île de la Cité - Notre Dame de Paris  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #notredame

Île de la Cité: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is a 13th-century Gothic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement. While it is often simply referred to as Notre Dame, it is one of many Notre-Dame cathedrals scattered all over France.

Victor Hugo’s historical novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” is set in this church. This medieval cathedral is also known for its bold and graceful architecture featuring ribbed vaults, flying buttresses and gargoyles. It stores priceless artifacts and religious relics, such as the holy crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ, the cross on which Jesus was crucified, the 2000-year-old archaeological crypt, etc.

Since the mass fire on April 15, 2019, Notre-Dame de Paris has been closed for restoration until further notice. Before the unfortunate incident, the church was open (free of charge) to the public, and visitors could climb up the tower to see the view of Paris with gargoyles (at an additional fee).

Nevertheless, you can still visit the site to take photos outside and tour the crypt. After all, how can you say you have been to Paris without visiting this iconic site?

Admission: €9 for Crypt [Book tour here. Tour included in The Paris Pass]

Hour: Indoor is temporarily closed.

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame

>> Alternative Tours: The Île de la Cité guided tour explores places like Notre-Dame and St. Severin Church. Or meet a neighborhood group tour for Notre Dame.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Île de la Cité - Point Zero  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

Île de la Cité: Point Zéro

Point Zéro des Routes de France is the center of Paris in Notre Dame square. This is a geographic marker from which the distance from Paris to all other places is measured. 

Apparently, there are many rituals people like to follow here. Some throw coins to make a wish, while others kiss a loved one above the plate for eternal love. I want to believe that I will one day return to Paris if I take a photo of my feet on the plate. 

It is a surprisingly low profile on the ground in a crowded square. It is super easy to miss if you don’t look for it. So look down!  

Admission: Free

Hours: 24 hours

Location: [Open Google Map]

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Au Vieux Paris d’Acorle  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #frenchcafe #frenchfood

Lunch: Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole

Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole is a pretty cute cafe in a 16th-century townhouse near the Notre-Dame. Its purple chairs and cascading Wisteria vines on the exterior wall immediately captured my eyes. (Wisteria blooms in April!) The small restaurant is filled with antiques creating an inviting atmosphere. It has decent food at a reasonable price.

Hours: 12-2:30 pm, 6:30-9:30 pm (Wed only open for dinner)

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame

Le Saint-Regis [Open Google Map] is another nearby brasserie if you are looking for more options. Or, just a hop over the Seine river is also a cute neighborhood you can explore. You can grab a seat at Le Petit Châtelet [Open Google Map], a French bistro with classic dishes.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Berthillon Ice Cream  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #frenchdesserts #frenchfood

For desserts, Berthillon Ice Cream [Open Google Map] is supposedly the best ice cream in Paris. But I have to say, it was just ok for me.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Odette Paris  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #frenchdesserts #frenchfood

I recommend Odette [Open Google Map], a quaint pastry shop with a desirable terrace. Its colorful cream choux puffs are delightful. Its terrace is also an excellent place to rest your tired feet. Bonus, I witnessed a French wedding in the church across the street.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Île de la Cité - Saint-Chapelle  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #SaintChapelle

Île de la Cité: Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle is a gorgeous 13th-century Gothic chapel. While the ground floor might not impress you with souvenir stalls, wait until you go upstairs. Wowza! You will be mesmerized by 1,113 stunning stained-glass windows depicting biblical scenes and a rose window. (I got goosebumps!!)

Louis IX was a bit obsessed and bought a lot of Christian relics from the emperor of the East Roma. He built Sainte-Chapelle in the Palais de la Cité to house the relics of the Passion of Christ, including the crown of Jesus.

Insider’s Tip: Paris Museum Pass doesn’t technically get you a no-queue privilege here. I stayed in line for 30 minutes with everyone else before passing the security line outside the building. Once I got in, I skipped the ticket line with the pass.

Admission: €18.50 for Sainte-Chapelle & Conciergerie [Book tickets here. Included in Paris Museum Pass]

Hour: April – Sept. 9 am – 7 pm, Oct – March 9 am – 5 pm (Closed on May 1, Dec. 25 & Jan. 1)

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Île de la Cité - Palace of Justice  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #conciergerie

Conciergerie locates below the Palais de Justice.

Île de la Cité: Conciergerie

Right next to the Sainte-Chapelle is the Conciergerie. It is a Gothic riverside fortress and palace built by King Philip the Fair. In the 14th century, it was converted into prison cells.  

During the French Revolution, it became the central prison. After Louis XVI was executed, Marie-Antoinette was locked up here alone and said to have aged so fast from the stress that her blonde hair turned silver in less than 3 months. 

Admission: €18.50 for Sainte-Chapelle & Conciergerie [Book tickets here. Included in Paris Museum Pass]

Hour: 9:30 am – 6 pm (Closed on May 1, Dec. 25)

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Île de la Cité - Clock Tower  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #conciergerie

Île de la Cité: Clock Tower

Clock Tower (Tour de l’Horloge du Palais de la Cité) is the first public clock in Paris, installed in 1370, to help people be aware of the time. This elaborate clock is on the corner of the Palais de la Cité on the Boulevard du Palais. Two prominent figures in the frame represent Law and Justice. 

Admission: Free

Hour: 24 hours

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Montmartre  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Montmartre

I’m posing with a parked bike on the hilltop of Montmartre. But I had to climb up some steep stairs to get here!

Montmartre: Rue de l’Abreuvoir & Place du Tertre

Montmartre is an artsy and bohemian neighborhood up on the hill in the northern 18th arrondissement. It is home to artists and revolutionaries who have played an essential part in the history of Paris. This particular area of Paris has inspired Picasso, Dalí, Van Gogh, and many other artists.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Montmartre - Place du Tertre  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Montmartre

I suggest starting at Lamarck – Caulaincourt (Take the metro at Châtelet, transfer at Madeleine to Line 12). Pass sculptures like Buste de Dalida [Open Google Map], a statue of French music icon Dalida. Take a famous Rue de l’Abreuvoir [Open Google Map], where Emily in Paris was also filmed. See that pink house, La Maison Rose [Open Google Map]. Then you will soon reach Place du Tertre [Open Google Map], where artists offer portraits and artworks for sale.

Insider’s Tip: Climbing up the stairs is too challenging for you? Take funicular [Open Google Map] directly to the top to reach the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. In this case, you will have to skip most of the Montmartre spots. Metro card also works for a funicular.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Montmartre - Sacré Cœur  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Montmartre

Montmartre: Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

On the hilltop of Montmartre, you will eventually reach a white-dome church — Sacré-Cœur Basilica (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris)! The church is recognized for its Roman-Byzantine style. Inside, the ceiling features the most giant mosaic in France at about 480 square meters.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Montmartre - Sacré Cœur  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Montmartre

This place has one of the best panoramic views of Paris from the highest hill in the city.

Insider’s Tip: Stay alert in Montmartre. I have heard many stories of scams, threatened soliciting, etc., happening in this area.

Admission: Free

Hours: 6 am – 10:30 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Montmartre - Love Wall  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Montmartre

Montmartre: Wall of Love

Head down the hill in the direction of Abbesses Metro Station. Wall of Love (Le Mur des Je t’aime) is a mural with “I love you” written in many different languages. Make a pit stop here. It’s fun to find your own language. 

Admission: Free

Hours: 8 am – 5:30 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Montmartre - Van Gogh House  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Montmartre

Montmartre: Van Gogh House

Walk 10 more minutes, and you can easily recognize a vibrant blue door of Van Gogh House. This is an apartment Van Gogh used to live and work with his brother Theo from 1886 to 1888. You can’t go in, but it is exciting to see the area that inspired master artists like Van Gogh. 

Location: [Open Google Map]

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 2: Montmartre - Moulin Rouge  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Montmartre

Montmartre: Moulin Rouge

Your self-guided tour of Montmartre ends at Moulin Rouge. Its bright red decor and windmill at the bottom of Montmartre are so eye-catching that you cannot miss them!

The famous 19th-century cabaret theater features a dance performance and dinner. It is the most popular cabaret show in Paris. Book the dinner show at the Moulin Rouge or just with Champagne

Admission: Varies per time and season.

Hours: Martinées 1 pm & 2:45 pm| Evening 7 pm, 9 pm & 11 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Blanche

Alternative Tours: 

>> Check out Sacré-Coeur & Montmartre group or private walking tours.

>> Follow a Montmartre foodie trail for a cheese & wine experience while visiting key tourist sites in Montmartre.

Day 3 of 4 Days in Paris: Eiffel Tower & St-Germain

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: Jardin de Trocadéro  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #EiffelTower

Jardins du Trocadéro

Jardins du Trocadéro is a large public park built in 1937 in the upscale residential area of Paris 16th arrondissement. The garden is beautifully decorated with lush trees, sculptures and a water-jetting fountain. But it is most well-known for its unobstructed direct view of the Eiffel Tower.

Be there before 8 am to get the best shot with no crowd. Have the park and the view of the Eiffel Tower all to yourself.

Insider’s Tip: Go to Cafe du Trocadero [Open Google Map] for breakfast or Carette [Open Google Map] for crêpe and macaroons.

 

Admission: Free

Hours: 24 hours

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Trocadéro          

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: Galerie Lafayette  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #frencharchitecture

Galerie Lafayette Haussmann

Galerie Lafayette Haussmann is a century-old department store with a steel-frame art nouveau glass dome. Even if you don’t mean to shop (but why wouldn’t you?), its architectural beauty makes it impossible to skip this place! 

By law, French department stores and shops must hold two major sales a year: one in January and the other in July. So if you happen to travel at this time, chi ching, you might score a deal!  

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: Galerie Lafayette Rooftop Terrace  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

Another reason the Galerie Lafayette Haussmann is a must-stop? Head up to La Terrasse (8th floor, 10 am – 8 pm, free access) for a magnificent view of Paris with Opéra Garnier, the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Cœur and Notre Dame. 

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: Galerie Lafayette Food Court  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

There is a fancy outdoor terrace restaurant you can dine in, as well as an indoor food court where you can grab a decent lunch and wine.  

Interesting facts: The department stores are separated by women and men. I mean not by the floor but in separate buildings. Imagine the size of the collections?

Hours: 10 am – 8 pm. Sunday 11 am – 8 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Chaussée d’Antin — La Fayette

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: St-Germain  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

A gorgeous cafe and eye-catching artworks in the streets of Saint Germain

Quartier Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Now let’s head to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the quarters in the 6th arrondissement. This area is centered around the city’s oldest church, the former Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. In the late 19th to early 20th centuries, many famous artists and writers lived in this cultural heritage neighborhood.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: Le Procope, a traditional 1600s French brasserie   | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #frenchfood #frenchgourmet #frenchcafe

The quarter is dotted with famous, historical restaurants frequented by artists, authors and intellectuals. If you are interested in dining at the same place with Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, or Albert Camus, grab a meal or drink at one of these restaurants:

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: Le Procope, a traditional 1600s French brasserie   | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #frenchfood #frenchgourmet #frenchcafe

Some classic French gourmet we had at Le Procope, including French onion soup, escargot, coq au vin and steak

St-Germain is also known for art galleries, antique stores, theaters and shopping. Check out Decathlon [Open Google Map] for affordable athletic goods. For duty-free French beauty shopping, head over to CityPharma [Open Google Map]. Anyone with a sweet tooth will be in heaven at Pierre Hermé [Open Google Map] or Ladurée [Open Google Map]. Luxembourg Garden [Open Google Map] is also in this neighborhood.

>> Alternative Tours: Don’t know where to stop by? Gobble your way around with the St-Germain food tour!

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: La Grande Épicerie de Paris   | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #frenchfood #frenchgourmet

La Grande Épicerie de Paris 

Le Bon Marché [Open Google Map] is an upscale department store for high-fashion labels in St Germain. But its gourmet market across the street would win the heart of the foodies. (And this stop is kind of important for this itinerary.)

La Grande Épicerie de Paris is a high-end gourmet grocery store and the foodie’s heaven. This market is the true epitome of French gastronomy, and you simply cannot miss it.

This multi-floor supermarket is very well organized by section. But due to its expansive selections, allow yourself to explore at least two hours here. You can find cheese, cured meats, yogurt, foie gras, caviar, chocolates and sweets, jams and spread, truffle everything (oil, mayo, etc.), fruits and fresh produce, ethnic food, baked goods, the salad, and other ready to eat food, a wide selection of wines, and waters of the world.

Let’s grab a bottle of wine and packable dinner for our picnic. But feel free to get some edible souvenirs for home, too, like jams and chestnut spread.

Hours: 8:30 am – 9 pm, Sunday 10 am – 8 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Sèvres

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: The Eiffel Tower  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower (Optional)

Opened in 1889 for the World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) is one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. It has become the iconic symbol of Paris and France that doesn’t require any further introduction.

I personally prefer to appreciate the Eiffel Tower from a distance rather than climb it up. But going up the Eiffel Tower is a super popular activity on many tourists’ bucket lists. So I included it here as an option.

With a whopping 7 million visitors a year, you can only imagine it will get crowded. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of booking your tour in advance. Also, unless you plan to challenge yourself to climb up a 330-meter (1,083 ft) tower by stairs, sign up for elevator access.

Interesting Facts: When Germany occupied France, the French resistance cut the elevator cables. Hence, the Nazis had to climb the stairs to hoist their flag on top.

On the 2nd floor, enjoy the city view of the Louvre, Notre Dame, and other landmarks. This is where you find the souvenir shops, the Michelin-starred restaurant Jules Verne, and Pierre Hermé macaroon bar. (Book Eiffel Tower 2nd floor by elevator here >>)

The Summit features a panoramic view of Paris from 276-meter (906 feet) above the ground. Grab a glass of bubbly at the Champagne Bar. Check out the secret apartment where Gustave Eiffel hosted VIP parties. (Book Eiffel Tower direct access to Summit by elevator here >>)

Do you want the whole shebang? You can visit the 2nd floor, the Summit, Champs de Mars (our next stop), and Jardin du Trocadero (our first stop) with an all-in-one Eiffel Tower Tour here.

Note: Children under 18 or EU residents under 26 do not receive free access to the Eiffel Tower. Only children under 4 get free access.

Admission for 2nd floor (by elevator): €17.10, Age 12-24: €8.60, Age 4-11 & Disability: €4.30

Admission for Summit (by elevator): €26.80, Age 12-24: €13.40, Age 4-11 & Disability: €6.70

Hours: May 5 – June 17 9:30am – 10:45 pm, The rest 9 am – 11:45 pm

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Bir-Hakeim or Champ-de-Mars Tour-Eiffel (RER)

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 3: Champs de Mars  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #EiffelTower

Champs de Mars

Can you really get enough of the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Probably not. Good news. We will have a very romantic Parisian picnic at Champs de Mars.

Champs de Mars is a landscaped park with an expansive lawn where the Eiffel Tower is. Grab a seat (it’s good to have a towel or blanket) and have a picnic while waiting for the Eiffel Tower illumination. The Eiffel Tower sparkles every evening from sunset to 1 am. It is so magical and romantic that your tired eyes will wide open!

What does not make this picnic not so romantic is people consistently soliciting cheap Eiffel Tower key chains and low-quality wines. But if you already got everything you need, you just say no thanks and turn away.

Insider’s Tip: If you skipped La Grand Epicerie de Paris above, there is a Carrefour City nearby [Open Google Map].

Admission: Free

Hours: 24 hours

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: École Militaire

>> Alternative Tours: If you instead take the Eiffel Tower tour to the Summit and evening cruise on the same day, skip Champs de Mars and join this combo tour.

Day 4 of 4 Days in Paris: Orsay, Le Marais & Canal St. Martin

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Musée d’Orsay  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Orsay

Musée d’Orsay

If you are a fan of Impressionist art, Musée d’Orsay is the place you do not want to miss. The museum has the largest collection of famous Impressionist paintings by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, Cézanne and Seurat. It also houses western arts from 1848 to 1914.

The museum had been converted from an abandoned train station in 1986. Its unique beauty is credited to keeping the original architectural details. 

Compared to Louvre or Notre Dame, the crowd level is much more manageable. But I recommend visiting early in the morning, getting an audio guide and map to plan out your visit. 

Insider’s Tip: Start from Level 5 – the crown jewel of this museum – and make your way down.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Musée d’Orsay  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Orsay

Head straight to Level 5 to beat the crowd to capture an Instagram-worthy silhouette shot of the famous clock. The clock is all the way back in front of a souvenir shop.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Musée d’Orsay  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Orsay

The museum map indicates the most critical art collections and their locations.

On Level 5, take your time to enjoy all the impressionist & Neo-impressionist collections and Rodin’s sculptures, including:

  • Manet: Lunchoen on the Grass, Olympia
  • Monet: La Rue Montorgueil
  • Degas: Ballet l’étoile
  • Renoir: Danse á la Ville

Don’t miss Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait and Starry Night over the Rhône and Gauguin on Level 2. Check out Millet, Courbet, Bazille, Pompon and Delacroix on Level 0.

If you want to eat lunch here, Orsay Museum has beautiful restaurants on the 2nd, 4th and 5th floors.

Admission: €16. After 6 pm €12  [Book tickets here. Included in Paris Museum Pass]

Hours: 9:30 am – 6 pm. Thursdays open until 9:45 pm (Closed on Mondays, May 1 & Dec. 25.)

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: Solférino or Musée d’Orsay (RER)

>> Alternative Tours: Book a 2-hour private guided tour of Musée d’Orsay 

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Le Marais - Rue de Rosier  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Marais

Le Marais

In the 4th arrondissement, Le Marais (South Marais) is a charming historic neighborhood dotted with boutiques and art galleries. Explore Paris’ hippest fashion, LGBTQ scene and Jewish Quarter.

The district is also home to many heritage museums in the 17th/18th-century mansions, such as Musée Picasso Paris [Open Google Map] and Maison de Victor Hugo [Open Google Map]. It is also considered a gay district with many LGBTQ-friendly restaurants, gay bars and clubs.

For this itinerary, I suggest you explore from south to north.

Hôtel de Ville [Open Google Map; metro station: Hôtel de Ville] is the city hall of Paris located near the Seine Riverbank. It is more than an administrative center as it regularly hosts art exhibits. And the Neo-Renaissance building is gorgeous to just look. Not far away from here is Rue de Barres [Open Google Map], one of the prettiest streets in Paris with the 14th-century houses.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Le Marais  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Marais

I had a delicious shawarma platter for lunch at L’as du Fallafel.

Head to the Rue de Rosier [Open Google Map], the epicenter of the Parisian Jewish community with Kosher restaurants and pretty little shops. L’as du Fallafel [Open Google Map] is a Middle Eastern restaurant with delicious shawarma, kebabs and falafels. Swing by the Rosiers-Joseph Migneret Garden [Open Google Map], a small community garden tucked between historic mansions.

You may also want to check out Place des Vosges [Open Google Map]. It is the oldest planned square in Paris, built by Henri IV in 1612. The small park is surrounded by lush trees, red brick houses, little shops and cafes.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Le Marais  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Marais

There are so many boutique shops in this area. Whichever catches your eyes, you can go in. One of the shops I went to is Merci [Open Google Map], a trendy 3-story boutique and coffee shop. You will find a collection of clothes, shoes, kitchen, and interior items. The concept is similar to Anthropologie – not cheap but hip designs.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Le Marais - Marché des Enfants Rouges  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo #Marais

Finally, I recommend checking out Marché des Enfants Rouges [Open Google Map]. It is a covered market in the alleyways lined with restaurants, cheese shops, fruit and vegetable sellers, etc. You can grab quick bites and drinks or buy fresh produce.

>> Alternative Tours: Explore the historic Le Marais on an e-bike or munch on French delicacies with Le Marais Food Walking Tour

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Du Pain et des Idées - Escargot pastry  | #paris #france #europetravel #frenchpastry #frenchgourmet

Du Pain et des Idées

Between Le Marais and the next destination, there is a very famous traditional French boulangerie I highly recommend you try: Du Pain et des Idées. This award-winning bakery has won the heart of picky Parisians since 1875. Luckily, my hotel was nearby, so I religiously visited this bakery during my stay. Try their signature pain des amis and different flavored escargot pastries.   

Hours: 7 am – 7:30 pm (Closed on Sundays.)

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: République

↡↡ Looking for hotels in Paris? Book Your Paris Hotel here↡↡

My Hotel for 4 Days in Paris #paris #france

Speaking of hotels, book your hotel way in advance! I was scrambled to find a hotel 3 weeks before my trip in panic mode because all decent hotels were booked. I ended up staying at Hôtel Beaurepaire Paris (Book here) near République metro station. The hotel is nothing fancy — no A/C, coffin-like elevator and narrow shower booth, which are common in Paris. But the airy, bright room is clean and comfortable. The neighborhood is also convenient with supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants/cafes, (of course, Du Pain et des Idées), and plenty of public transportation. The République is only one-stop away from Gare du Nord and a major transfer station with direct access to multiple lines. It was not the best hotel I stayed in; however, my experience was overall great!

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Canal St. Martin  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

Canal St. Martin

Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement is lined with chestnut trees and adorned with Venetian-style bridges. It is a nice little place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon/evening, hang out with friends or sit on the bench with your significant other.

I suggest you go picnic here, relax and imbibe in the romantic Paris vibe as much as possible on the last day of Paris. I brought a bottle of wine, fruits and other snacks for my picnic. I ordered Pink Flamingo Pizza nearby and sat at the bench to feast.

Paris Itinerary 4 Days | Day 4: Canal St. Martin  | #paris #france #europetravel #parisitinerary #paristhingstodo

Pink Flamingo has recently closed down. But this neighborhood has a vibrant food scene with lots of restaurant options:

  • Le Petit Cambodge [Open Google Map] with authentic SE Asian rice noodle soups
  • Le Comptoir Général [Open Google Map], a cafe/bar along the canal with a cozy, inviting ambiance
  • Siseng [Open Google Map] with Asian-influenced burgers, spring rolls and creative cocktails

Hours: 24 hours

Location: [Open Google Map]

Metro Station: République

Day 5: Day Trip to the Palace of Versailles

Day Trip from Paris: Château de Versailles | #versailles #Paris #europetravel #daytripfromparis

One extra day in Paris? I suggest visiting Château de Versailles. This is one of the top things to do in Paris; however, four days in Paris is too short to include a full-day trip to Versailles. 

If you are inclined to, you may take one day out from the 4-day itinerary above and replace it with Versailles. It spreads in a massive estate, and I experienced the worst line and crowds there. Be there early and allocate an entire day. For a self-tour, Palace of Versailles & Gardens entry tickets with an audio guide is €20. 

But like the Louvre, I strongly believe that Versailles is one of the places totally worth joining tours with an expert guide and transportation to/from Paris. These tours usually use a separate entrance from the crowds granting skip-the-line access. 

>> Versailles Palace & the Trianons Tour 

>> Palace & Gardens Skip-the-line Tour (optional Musical Gardens & Fountain Shows)

>> Versailles Tour by RER Train (optional Musical Gardens & Fountain Shows)

How to Plan Your Paris Itinerary

1. Start with Your Paris Bucket List.

Make a list of what you want to experience in Paris. There is no way one trip will cover all of them. But it helps to see the complete list to prioritize the places you want to visit this time and save others for the next time. Check your bucket list against my itinerary to see which needs to be adjusted.

2. Group them by geographical proximity.

Once you decide what to do in Paris in 4 days, look them up on Google Map to check the locations. This step is necessary to save your travel time within the city.

Paris is a planned city with 20 arrondissements (districts). Starting with the first arrondissement in the center, the number goes up clockwise in a circle outwardly, resembling a snail shell. Understanding this helps locate each location and group them together.

3. Check opening dates and hours.

The next step is to assign a group of daily activities on the day of the week. Opening days and hours vary by attraction. Some museums open in the late evenings on certain days of the week, attracting fewer crowds.

4. Consider purchasing Paris tourist cards.

Whether you get Paris Museum Pass or The Paris Pass, these tourist cards usually pay for themselves, bringing you good savings. Your itinerary can be grouped as pass days vs. non-pass days. To maximize your savings, try to keep pass days closely together so you can shorten the length of the pass validation dates (=saving money).

(READ>> Is Paris Museum Pass Worth It?)

5. Booking tickets and a time slot is now mandatory, not a recommendation!

Avoid wasting time in line. The rule of thumb is to purchase tickets and book every place you want to visit in advance. I find it absolutely necessary any season of the year in Paris. In fact, many Paris attractions now require you to book tickets and a time slot before you show up!

6. Check your eligibility for free admission.

Most of the Paris museums and historical places grant free admissions for those under the age of 18 or EU residents under 26. Booking a time slot is still required.

The first Sunday of each month is a free museum day at national museums. But personally, I would avoid the most visited museums like Louvre and the Orsay on this day, especially if you have the Museum Pass.

7. Finalize your plan.

Voila! Based on all these factors above, you should be able to have your customized itinerary.

 

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