4-day Paris itinerary: how to see the best of Paris in four days

Two-day Paris itineraries seem to be very popular but there’s only so much you can see in just a weekend. So, either you miss out on a lot of things to do in Paris or your program will be so full that you won’t be able to stop and smell the roses… or should I say the croissants? We’ve personally been to Paris over a dozen times and still haven’t seen all its gems. That’s why we’d recommend you to spend at least three days in Paris, preferably even four. It will allow you to visit the classic Paris monuments and museums but also to take in the atmosphere and eat plenty of macarons. Here’s our take on what to do in Paris on a 4-day Paris itinerary.

Eiffel Tower views from the Rue De l'Université

Map of this Paris 4 day itinerary

We’ve created a map featuring all things to do in Paris as mentioned in this article. It will help you visualize the itinerary and decide which highlights you want to experience when visiting Paris.

Day 1: Classic Paris itinerary

Eiffel tower & Champs de Mars

You either love it or hate it but however you feel about the Eiffel tower, it’s an iconic Paris monument and the symbol of the City of Lights. Since it’s also the most visited Parisian sites, there’s no escaping the crowds. And if you or your travel companions insist on actually visiting then the best thing to do is to plan your visit way beforehand. You can buy your tickets with timeslot via this site. Or you could take your chances and test your patience by buying your ticket on the spot.

One of our earlier visits to Paris was an impromptu mother-daughter trip so booking in advance was no longer an option. My then 5-year-old was begging to go on the tower, no matter the wait so, we had to queue and queue and queue… Until we realized we were waiting in the wrong line, the one for the stairway access. That would have been pretty challenging with a little one. Chaos was complete at the esplanade and the different points of access not clearly indicated. There was only one thing left to do: beg. With exaggerated puppy eyes, both of us, I explained our situation to some visitors who were pretty close to the entrance in the right waiting line and politely asked if we could cut the line there. They gave us a break for which I’ll be forever thankful. The esplanade is currently undergoing being redesigned which should make it a lot clearer for visitors where to wait.

The Eiffel tower in ParisWould I recommend visiting? Actually not, but I’m sure my little girl would disagree. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the Eiffel tower however it does have its place in the Paris skyline. If you watch the skyline from the Eiffel tower then Paris just doesn’t look the same to me.

Little girl on her way to the platform of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

The Champs de Mars is the greenspace in between the Eiffel tower and the Military School. It can be great for picnicking however it did suffer from the heat last summer and was plagued by wasps.

Les Invalides

The Dôme des Invalides is a must-see Paris monument and one that’s easy to locate thanks to its shimmering golden dome. The Hôtel National des Invalides was built in the 17th century under Louis XIV and served as a hospital for veterans. Today it is part of the Musée de l’Armée or Military Museum and houses the tomb of Napoleon I.

Musée Rodin

We’re no fans of huge museums but prefer admiring art in an intimate and personal setting. That’s why the Rodin Museum is one of our favorites. The famous French sculpture’s collection of statues and drawings is housed in the Hôtel Biron, a gorgeous mansion in the heart of Paris where Auguste Rodin actually lived. Part of the collection, including the famous statue The Thinker, can be admired in the enchanting garden behind the mansion. This museum is a true gem and a must when visiting Paris.

Lunch suggestion: Garance

We can highly recommend restaurant Garance, a fresh and delicious farm to table concept. Click here to check out this restaurant’s TripAdvisor reviews.

Musée d’Orsay

Housed in one of the most impressive buildings in Paris, the former Gare d’Orsay railway station, you’ll find the Orsay Museum. The collection of impressionist art it presents is unrivaled. You’ll find paintings of Monet, Cézanne, Degas and Manet to name a few.

The Clock at the Orsay Museum in Paris

Pont Alexandre III

Cross the Seine on the iconic bridge that connects the Rive Gauche or Right Bank and the Rive Droite or Right Bank while enjoying the gorgeous views.

Two sisters posing at Pont Alexandre III, a landmark that cannot be missed during a 4-day Paris itinerary because of the Eiffel Tower views

Arc de Triomphe

Enjoy an afternoon stroll along the famous Champs -Élysées until you reach the Place de l’Étoile, where you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe. It’s a symbol of victory, honoring the soldiers who fought for France. The Memorial Flame burns at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
Climb the 384 steps and admire the view over the City of Lights. Or witness the eternal flame being relit at 6.30 pm every evening.

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Dinner suggestion: Signature Montmartre

Hop on metro 2 direction Nation from Charles de Gaulle Etoile to Anvers and you’ll find this gem in a privileged location.The dishes are just as artistic as the Montmartre area and they’re packed with flavor. Click here to check out this restaurant’s TripAdvisor reviews.

An alternative could be restaurant l’Arcane, uphill Montmartre, where you can let the chef surprise you with the menu of the day. Click here to check out this restaurant’s TripAdvisor reviews.

Montmartre with Sacré-Cœur, Place du Tertre & Moulin Rouge

Time for an evening stroll around Montmartre. The climb is steep but oh so rewarding. Or you could take the funicular all the way up to the Sacré-Cœur and take in the views of the City of Lights. If you want to get an even better view (and you have some energy left), then take the 300 steps to the Dome. The entrance located outside the basilica on the left. Closing time is 8 pm from May to September and 5 pm from October to April. We haven’t made it up there yet, unfortunately, but we hope to do so next time we’re visiting Paris.

The Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre should be included in your 4-day Paris itineraryNow make your way through the cobblestone streets behind the Sacré-Cœur to watch the artists at the open-air art gallery Palce du Tertre. Highly touristic but still a must-see in Paris. There’s plenty of little streets to explore, including the Rue de l’Abreuvoir, where you’ll find the famous pink house, or the uber-charming Place Dalida. When it’s time to go home, you could opt to take the metro at the stop called Blanche to see the Moulin Rouge.

Day 2: Chic Paris itinerary

The Louvre Museum

Start the second day of your 4-day Paris itinerary with a visit to one of the world’s most renowned museums: The Louvre. Again, it’s recommended to buy your ticket beforehand to avoid queuing. You also want to make sure that you decide on which collection to visit before your arrival. The museum is so vast that you could easily spend all day there but, when you’re spending 4 days in Paris, that’s just not an option. That’s why we’d recommend to admire one collection and follow one thematic trail such as, for example, Masterpieces, In Search of Ideal Beauty. When the visit’s over, take your time to take in the views outside of the Louvre.

Tuileries Garden

This majestic garden is located just across from the Louvre and stretches to the he Place de la Concorde. It’s a lovely place to stroll and relax.

Little girl lounging at Jardin des Tuileries during an exhausting four days in Paris

Lunch suggestion: The Westin Paris

Why have lunch at a hotel while you have all these Parisian restaurants in the area, right? Well, just have look at The Westin Paris’ Summer Terrace or the Winter Garden (same spot, different season) and you’ll understand our obsession. Make sure to check it out when you visit Paris and head straight to the table with swings.
Click here to check out this restaurant’s TripAdvisor reviews.

A Lunch table with swings the Westin Paris summer terrace during a 4-day trip to Paris
A Lunch table with swings the Westin Paris summer terrace during a 4-day trip to Paris
Lunch at the Westin Paris summer terrace during a 4-day trip to Paris
Lunch at the Westin Paris summer terrace during a 4-day trip to Paris

Treat from Ladurée

Heaven is located a little down the street, across from The Westin. And by heaven, I mean Ladurée, the iconic macaron brand. This is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting Paris. Don’t you just love-love-love the colors? These little ladies sure do!

Two little girls waiting in front of a Laduree store in Paris
Two little girls mouthwatering at the macarons at Laduree in Paris

La Madeleine

The Eglise de la Madeleine, or Madeleine church, was designed as a Greek temple to honor the victory of Napoleon’s army. It is often the scene for classical music concerts.

Treat at Fauchon

Be prepared to eat (and shop) your heart out since Fauchon is the epitomy of fine delicatessen and pastry. Indulge in one of the delicious eclairs, or two, or three… You get the idea.

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Shopping

Macarons and eclairs, all in one afternoon? Time for some exercise, Parisian style: shopping. When you’re at the Boulevard Haussmann, you’re literally surrounded by department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

Palais Garnier

One of our favorite buildings in Paris is the Palais Garnier, breathing grandeur and opulence. The monumental staircase, chandeliers and mosaics are gorgeous and impressive. Attending an opera or ballet in the Palais Garnier performance ranks highly on our bucket list. Be prepared to spend some time in the gift shop as well, especially when you’re traveling with a little girl.

Little girl admiring the ceiling of the Palais Garnier while visiting Paris
If you’re not quite done splurging, then you can take a final shopping spree by taking a small detour to the Place des Victoires on your way to the next stop.

Palais Royal

Often overlooked but, in our opinion, an essential stop for anyone visiting Paris is the Palais Royal. It is linked to some important names throughout history, such as the Cardinal Richelieu (who lived their), Molière (who performed in the Théâtre du Palais-Royal) and the Duc d’Orléans. Today, the Palais Royal still houses the Comédie Fançaise and serves as one of the prime locations of the Paris Fashion Week.

Little girl sitting on a pillar at the Palais Royal, a must-see Paris attractionThe Cour d’Honneur or Courtyard showcases the black and white striped Colonnes de Buren, designed by artist Daniel Buren. The Galerie d’Orléans leads to the Palace’s intimate garden, the Jardin du Palais Royal.

Lantern at the courtyard of the Palais Royal in Paris

The Seine & The Pont des Arts

Enjoy an evening stroll along the Seine while soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying the stunning views of Ile de la Cité.

Father and daughter taking a stroll along the Seine during their four days in ParisThe Pont des Arts used to be full of locks but those have been removed for safety reasons. Glass has been added now to discourage fixing new locks. Put if you’re creative, you’ll be able to find a spot near, for example, a lamp post. We were lucky enough to see the original heavily locked bridge during a previous Paris visit.

Little girl reading the names on the locks at the Pont des Arts in Paris

Dinner suggestion: MuMi

Named after NYC’s Museum Mile, restaurant MuMi offers a refined cuisine with a touch of Asian flavors for a very reasonable price. It’s been on our list for some time but we haven’t made it there yet. Click here to check out this restaurant’s TripAdvisor reviews.

Day 3: Authentic Paris itinerary

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

The abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is the oldest church in all of Paris and still the beating heart of this neighborhood. Quaint boutiques, lively cafés, art galleries and antique shops dot the charming streets.

Quartier Latin

Make your way to the Jardin du Luxembourg or Luxemburg Garden, admire the monumental Medici fountain and smell the orchids and the roses.

The Luxembourg Garden in ParisEnd your stroll on the northeast side of the park and step into the Quartier Latin or Latin Quarter. This is student territory, an informal yet uber-charming neighborhood around the Sorbonne university. Bohemian Paris at its best, a gathering place for students, artists and writers. It’s also home to the Pantheon, where the remains of Victor Hugo, Voltaire and other great minds are kept.

Treat at Un Dimanche à Paris

Time for a treat. Un Dimanche à Paris has built up quite a reputation when it comes to the a sumptuous chocolat chaud or hot chocolate. Click here to check out this restaurant’s TripAdvisor reviews.

Conciergerie & Sainte Chapelle

This is by far our favorite part of the Ile de la Cité, thanks to the impressive architecture surrounding the lovely flower market. This tiny island in the heart of Paris actually used to be an entire royal residence. In spring, the cherry blossoms add some magic to the Ile de la Cité.
The Sainte Chapelle, once housing the most exclusive relics of Christianity, is well worth a visit. Follow the spiral staircase and you’ll soon be admiring the 5 stained glass windows showing 1 113 scenes from the bible’s old and the new testament. The detailing is incredible.

The stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle in ParisThe Conciergerie is the place where Marie Antoinette and hundreds of other enemies were imprisoned during the French Revolution. You can visit the dungeon where the Queen was held captive as well as the he Hall of the Soldiers where the employees used to dine.

Notre Dame Cathedral

This gothic cathedral has been witnessing almost 7 centuries of Parisian history and stands proudly in the city’s epicenter. And you can take that quite literally, since it’s the point 0 for the calculation of road distances in Paris.

Little girls posing in front of the Notre Dame in Paris
Entrance to the Notre Dame is free since it’s still a church. There is, however, a small fee for visitors to the towers and the treasury. And you need some patience too, especially of you want to take all 387 steps to the gargoyles.

 

Treat at Berthillon

A classic on every Paris itinerary, this tea house is most renowned for its delicious ice cream. Do take note that it’s closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and during peak summer season.
It’s located on the charming Saint-Louis en l’ile which is connected to the Ile de la Cité by a pedestrian bridge. This is such a lovely little place for a pleasant stroll.

Le Marais with Centre Pompidou, Place des Vosges & Maison de Victor Hugo

Saving the best for last on this third out of four days in Paris: Le Marais, a slice of Jewish heritage. It’s a place where old and new coexist and where you’ll find art galleries, elegant boutiques, trendy restaurants.

If it’s modern art you’re looking to admire, then the Centre Georges Pompidou is where you need to go. The contemporary construction alone deserves a visit. Plus, it offers some pretty good views from the 6th floor, accessible by the escalator in the exterior transparent tube. Don’t forget to take a look at the Stravinsky fountain, the Centre Pompidou’s outdoor water sculpture.

Two girls admiring the Stravinsky fountain in ParisEnd the day at our favorite park, the picture-perfect Place des Vosges, named after the first region that paid taxes after the French Revolution. At n° 6 Place des Vosges you’ll find the Maison de Victor Hugo, where the author of Les Misérables lived for 16 years.

The Place des Vosges in Le Marais offers a welcome break when you visit Paris

Dinner suggestion: Dice Caffe

We love the soft-toned interior in this little restaurant, located just steps from the Place des Vosges. Click here to check out this restaurant’s TripAdvisor reviews.

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Day 4: Wider Paris itinerary

Palace of Versailles

On the final day of this 4-day Paris itinerary, we suggest to take a Paris to Versailles day trip. Versailles is located just outside of the City of Lights but it’s very easy to get there, either by public transportation or by car.

Visiting Versailles while the flowers are in full bloom makes for an unforgettable experienceOh, and while you’re there, you should try the afternoon tea at the Bar Galerie of the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace Versailles or at Alain Ducasse’s Ore.

Montparnasse Observation Deck

We end this 4-day Paris itinerary in style, with the most spectacular view of the Paris skyline from the Montparnasse Tower panoramic observation deck. All it takes is an elevator to the 56th floor and 3 sets of stairs. We would prefer this view over the one from the Eiffel tower anytime. The observation deck is open daily and you can visit until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday and until 10.30 pm on other days. It’s recommended to buy your tickets in advance.

Paris panorama from the Observation Deck at the Montparnasse tower, a great ending to any Paris itineraryIf you just can’t get enough of these views the you can opt to dine at the Le Ciel de Paris restaurant, at the 56th floor so just below the observation deck. No tickets required, just a dinner reservation. The food is good, not wow, so it’s up to you to decide if the views are worth the price tag.

 

Practical travel tips for visiting Paris in 4 days

Most museums close on either Monday (Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, Palace of Versailles) or Tuesday (The Louvre Museum and Centre Pompidou). Take that into account when you’re planning this four day itinerary in Paris. You can check the full schedule Several city passes are available for visiting Paris.

  • The Paris Passlib’ is the official pass of Paris. The 5-day version would be ideal for this 4 day Paris itinerary and includes a Paris museum pass, a Paris Visite public transport ticket for zones 1 to 3, a 1-hour boat cruise and 1-day sightseeing bus tour. Skip-the-line access to the Eiffel tower is optional. The fifth day of your Paris Passlib’ card allows you to get from or to the airport. This 5-day Paris Passlib’ is priced at €155 for adults, €90 for youth and €47 for children.
  • The Paris Pass offers the same plus access to additional attractions such as the Tour Montparnasse and the Opéra Garnier. It is priced at €196 for adults, €109 for youth and €47 for children.

Where to stay in Paris

With so many hotels to choose from, we’ll soon be adding a separate article on the blog with our selection of (boutique) hotels in Paris. So, stay tuned!

Two little girls jumping on the bed in a Deluxe Palace Family Room with garden view at the Trianon Palace Versailles, a Waldorf Astoria hotel

Put our Paris itinerary to the test

Well, there you have it, our take on how to spend four days in Paris. We’re pretty confident that his travel guide will be a solid starting point for anyone visiting this fabulous city for the first time. It includes all must-see Paris monuments and museums as well as the very best of things to do in Paris and beyond. Sure, you can stay even longer and add the Catacombes, the Jardin des Plantes, the Atelier des Lumières and the Fragonard museum to the list, but we’ll keep that for the next time you’ll be visiting Paris. Oh yes, there will be a next time, trust us. There’s just so much to see that we keep going back for more. We visit Paris about every year and the city never seizes to amaze us.

We can’t wait to find out what you think about this 4-day Paris itinerary. Any thoughts, suggestions, additions? The comment box is all yours!


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