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“An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Paris is the capital and largest city in France and many think it is one of the most influential cities in Europe. The architecture is incredible. The scenery is beautiful. The food is phenomenal! Paris is romantic! With so many museums, attractions, and beautiful parks and gardens, some may want to visit Paris forever. But what if you can only visit Paris in 4 days? We’ve put together the perfect 4 days in Paris itinerary, with maps and our best tips- so you can make the most of your four days in Paris
Paris 4-day Itinerary – Our Proposal
Here’s an overview of this Paris Itinerary 4 days:
- Day 1 in Paris – Cité and Seine’s Right Bank, visiting Notre Dame (from outside), Le Marais, Montmartre, and Moulin Rouge
- Day 2 in Paris – Paris Right Bank, visiting the Louvre, the Tuileries Garden, Place Vendôme, Opéra, and La Villette
- Day 3 in Paris – Day Trip from Paris (we suggest Versailles)
- Day 4 in Paris – Paris Left Bank, visiting the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Eiffel Tower, and the Seine River.
This four days in Paris Itinerary considers three days in Paris and a one day trip from Paris to explore the city’s surroundings. Each day in Paris is concentrated around a specific area in Paris Right Bank or Paris Left Bank so the transportation (or walking) time between the different sights is optimized.
This Paris 4-day itinerary comes with 3 different maps, one for each day spent in Paris and with the suggested points of interest.
You will also hear about the Arrondissements of Paris. The Paris Arrondissements are the Districts of Paris and there are 20 in total. We recommend reading our Paris by Arrondissement Guide to learn what to see and do by Arrondissement.
4 Days in Paris, Day 1: Cité & Paris Right Bank
Notre Dame | Ile de la Cité | Le Marais | Montmartre | Moulin Rouge
In Paris, you may hear about Paris’ Left Bank (Paris Rive Gauche) and Paris’ Right Bank (Paris Rive Droite). To get your bearings in Paris is very easy: when facing the Seine River downstream, the river’s northern bank is to the right, and the river’s southern bank is to the left.
The isle that you can see in the middle of the Seine River is named Ile de la Cité. This tiny island was the cradle of the Roman city Lutetia and the heart of Medieval Paris. Indeed, the first Royal Palace and the city’s main religious and institutional buildings were on this island. Ile de la Cité is the starting point of your four day Paris itinerary.
1. NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL (FROM OUTSIDE)
Start with a coffee at Ile de la Cité, the heart of Paris. From metro Cité head to Notre Dame Cathedral.
Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) is one of the main tourist sights in Paris and a jewel of Gothic Architecture. The city began to build Notre Dame in the 13th century and the works ended in the 15th century.
During the French Revolution, Notre Dame was badly damaged and in the 19th century, it was the subject of a big restoration lead by the architect Viollet-Le-Duc. It was Viollet-Le-Duc who added the cathedral famous spire.
Notre Dame was seriously damaged during a terrible fire last April 2019. Some parts like the roof and the spire were destroyed forever but the main facade with its twin towers was saved and the cathedral’s treasures recovered. Because of the big damages, the cathedral and its towers are close to the public until further notice.
You can still admire Notre Dame’s main facade with its fine proportions and beautiful sculptures. Notre Dame de Paris is dedicated to Our Lady of Paris who is represented on the huge rose-window on the main facade. The 28 sculptures below Our Lady of Paris represent the Kings of Judah and Israel, the ancestors of Christ. These “royal sculptures” lost their heads during the French Revolution and what you can see today are just reproductions.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS:
» Notre Dame opening hours: closed to the public until further notice
» Notre Dame Towers opening hours: closed to the public until further notice
After a short stop to admire Notre Dame Cathedral, you may consider visiting other historical sights on Ile de la Cité. The most popular sights near Notre Dame are the Archaeological Crypt, the Sainte Chapelle, and the Conciergerie. Which one interests you most?
» The Archaeological Crypt, just located in front of Notre Dame, is one of our favorite sites of Paris Underground. This museum was built around the Roman remains of former Lutetia, including some streets, part of Lutetia’s walls, and Roman baths. Visitors can learn about the history of Lutetia, from the Celtic settlement named Parisii to Roman times. There’s also a part of the first river port of the Seine. The Archaeological Crypt is a very interesting, exciting visit!
» The Conciergerie was the Kings of France’s former Palace until the 14th century. When the Kings of France moved, this medieval palace was turned into the Palace of Justice and Prison. The Conciergerie has an amazing medieval hall (Salle des Gens d’Armes), unique in its style. During the French Revolution, The Conciergerie hosted Queen Marie Antoinette before her way to the guillotine.
» The Sainte Chapelle was built in the 13th century as a private chapel for King Saint Louis. This gothic-style chapel is famous for its awesome and tall stained glass windows, which depict 1,113 famous scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
TIP: Save money and time! Get the combo ticket Conciergerie + Sainte Chapelle with skip-the-line access
Ile de la Cité is the perfect place for a quick sandwich or a picnic on the Seine River’s banks. We recommend heading to Square du Vert Galant, Ile de la Cité’s pointy end. From there, you can see the Seine boats cruising the river up and down.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS:
» The Sainte Chapelle opens every day, from 9 am to 5 pm in the winter and from 9 am to 7 pm during the summer.
» The Conciergerie opens every day, from 9.30 am to 6 pm
» The Archaeological Crypt is closed until further notice
3. EXPLORE LE MARAIS
After lunch, it’s coffee time and there’s no better place for a good coffee than in a Parisian cafe at Le Marais. Take one of the three bridges which connect Ile de La Cité with Paris Right Bank.
Historically, Paris’ Right Bank was the center of banking and trade, the place of the new Royal Palace (the Louvre), and where nobility had their mansions. The Right Bank was a synonym of elegance and sophistication.
On the Right Bank, take rue de Rivoli and head east: you are entering Le Marais, one of the most beautiful areas in Paris. Le Marais is a historical area – part in Paris 3 and part in Paris 4 – well known for its elegant mansions, cute cafes, and art galleries. Le Marais’ main sights include Place des Vosges, the National Archives, and the Carnevalet Museum. You can read more about Le Marais in our Paris 3 and Paris 4 guides.
TIP: Le Marais has many secluded gardens, perfect for a break in the shade.
Wander around the iconic neighborhood of Montmartre (Paris 18) 2-3 hours before sunset. We suggest arriving at the metro station Anvers (line 12). From there, head to Sacré Coeur, the starting point of our Stories of Montmartre Walking Tour which covers the main sights of this picturesque area of Paris.
Remember that Montmartre is a hilly neighborhood, with many steps between the lowest streets around Abbesses and the Sacré Coeur. Take it easy, perhaps with a wine break on your way.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: climb up to Sacré Coeur’s dome for amazing panoramic views of Paris! The access to the dome is from outside the basilica, on the left side.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
» The Sacré Coeur is open every day from 6 am to 10.30 pm. The entrance is free.
» The Dome is open every day from 9.30 am to 8.30 pm depending on the season. To climb up the dome there are 300 stairs without lift.
» Beware of pickpockets in Montmartre, especially around the Sacré Coeur. An anti-theft backpack or an anti-theft shoulder bag is always a good idea in Montmartre.
Evening at Montmartre or Moulin Rouge Cabaret Show
For your first night in Paris, we recommend the Moulin Rouge for a night of music, can-can, and lots of bubbles. The Moulin Rouge is one of the most iconic cabarets in Paris, which is why it is always full. For the Moulin Rouge you may want to book your tickets well in advance.
6. EVENING AT MONTMARTRE
If you are not interested in cabarets, Montmartre by night can be a good alternative, especially in the summer. There are many great places to have a nice dinner, especially if you stay out of the most touristy streets around Sacré Coeur.
When the weather is good, you can end your day in a rooftop bar for a cocktail or two. There are two great rooftop bars in Paris 18: Terrass Rooftop Bar, and La Machine du Moulin Rouge.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
» Terrass Rooftop Bar is located at 12 Rue Joseph de Maistre. Closest metro stations are Place de Clichy (lines 2 and 13) and Abbesses (line 12)
» La Machine du Moulin Rouge is located on the top of the iconic cabaret, at 90 Boulevard de Clichy. The closest metro station near Moulin Rouge is Blanche, line 2
4 Days in Pars, Day 2: Paris Right Bank
Louvre Museum | Tuileries Garden | Place Vendôme | Opéra Garnier | La Villette
When spending 3 – 4 days in Paris, you might have time for one big museum in Paris, either the Louvre Museum or Orsay Museum. We recommend the Louvre.
During the second day of this 4 days in Paris itinerary, we keep exploring the Right Bank of the Seine River. The day starts with the visit to the Louvre Museum, in Paris 1. Built as a Royal Palace for the Kings of France, the Louvre Palace is today one of the most visited museums in the world and one of the main Paris tourist attractions.
The Louvre is a huge museum and you could use all your 4-day trip to Paris to explore its galleries and rooms. We recommend spending at least 2 hours at the Louvre to admire its top artworks.
We strongly recommend buying tickets online to ensure entry to the museum. Online tickets are for a specific date and access hour (access within half an hour of the time shown on the ticket). Check here how to skip the longest lines in Paris and the Louvre. During the high season in Paris, some time slots – and even some dates – are sold out very fast so we recommend buying the Louvre tickets well in advance.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
» The Louvre Museum opens from Wednesday to Monday from 9 am to 6 am. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the Louvre opens until 10 pm.
After your visit to the Louvre Museum, it’s a good idea to get some fresh air in one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris.
The Tuileries Gardens was built in the 16th century on the site of ancient tileries that gave it its name. The current layout still keeps the spirit of André Le Notre’s design, the same landscape designer than Versailles Gardens and the Gardens of Château de Chantilly
You can just walk around the Tuileries Gardens without any specific direction. The two guinguettes located inside the park are great for a coffee + quick snack.
MATE IT SPECIAL: Learn about the most famous garden in Paris whilst having fun with the Treasure Hunt at the Tuileries Gardens.
3. PLACE VENDÔME
Let’s leave the Tuileries Gardens to visit a little bit of the Haussmanian Paris. You can take rue Castiglione which starts at rue de Rivoli, in the north of the Tuileries Gardens. At the end of rue Castiglione, there’s the elegant Place Vendôme, considered one of the most beautiful squares in Paris (and in the world!). Place Vendôme hosts some of the most exclusive luxury jewelry shops and international hotels in Paris.
The square is dominated by the Vendôme Column, commissioned by Napoleon I to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz. The guy on the top of the Vendôme Column is Napoleon I himself. Admire the architecture of the buildings around and soak up its special atmosphere.
The next stop of this Paris itinerary is the Opéra Garnier, at the end of Avenue de l’Opéra. Also known as Palais Garnier or Opéra de Paris, this magnificent building was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III as part of his reconstruction of Paris. The building was designed by the architect Charles Garnier and it is considered a masterpiece of Neo-Baroque Architecture.
The Opera’s interiors are richly decorated, the history of its construction is fascinating plus there’s still the shade of the phantom of the Opera around. We strongly recommend visiting the Opéra de Garnier inside.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: we recommend the Opéra Garnier Night Tour, starting at 5.30 pm, which includes the legends and visit to the Phantom’s box seat in the opera.
If you are not interested in visiting the Opera building you can take a stroll along Boulevard Haussmann to admire some of the best Haussmanian architecture and some fancy shopping. On this boulevard, there’s Galeries Lafayette, with beautiful Art Déco interiors.
An Evening at Bassin de la Villette
This part of Paris along Canal de l’Ourcq does not see many tourists, has a more local feeling, plus it is cool!
Bassin de la Villette, located in north-east of the city (Paris 19), was a former port during the era of industrialization of rivers and waterways for transport trade in Paris. Highly known for its commercial and industrial purpose, it is is now a lively hub of cultural and leisure activities by the canal.
Bassin de la Villette is a great place for strolling, having a picnic by the canal in the summer, or stopping over at one of the many bars or restaurants.
If it is the apéritif time, do like the locals and choose one of the cute bars by the canal for a drink or two. Some bars also propose “planches” with different kinds of cheese and cold cuts which can do the job for a casual dinner.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: rent a self-drive electric boat to explore Canal de l’Ourcq from the water. It does not require any permit plus it is fun!
4 Days in Paris, Day 3: Versailles
After two days exploring Paris, we recommend taking a day trip out of the city to see a little bit more of what the French countryside has to offer.
We propose to visit Versailles Palace and Gardens, located at only 40 minutes from Paris by train. Check out our Versailles Quick Guide.
But of course, there are many other interesting day tours from Paris! Have a look at the most popular day trips from Paris, with interesting proposals like Château de Chantilly or Monet’s Garden in Giverny.
Another good option is to visit one of the picturesque small towns near Paris, there are many well worth a day trip!
4 Days in Paris, Day 4: Paris Left Bank
The Latin Quarter | Panthéon | Luxembourg Gardens | Saint-Germain-des-Pres | Eiffel Tower | Seine Cruise
During the last day of this 4 days in Paris itinerary, we are going to cross the Seine River and explore its Left Bank, and more specifically the 5th, 6th and 7th Arrondissements of Paris.
Historically the Left Bank, and more especially Paris 6 and Paris 5, was the bohemian part of Paris and the focus of the intellectual and religious life in the city. All the first universities, La Sorbonne included, and monasteries were located in Paris 5 and Paris 6.
It was also the Paris of the Roaring Twenties, the headquarters of Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, or F. Scott Fitzgerald just to name a few until the painters and artists decided to move to Montmartre because it was cheaper.
Quick off your day with a coffee at Quartier Latin (Paris 5), the heart of the university life in Paris.
Paris 5 is also where the Roman city (IC AD) was born. It is believed that Lutetia’s Roman Forum, the center of religious and civil life during the Roman times, was located at current rue Soufflot whilst today’s rue Saint Jacques was the former Cardo Maximus and one of the two main streets in Roman times.
Other interesting Roman remains still visible in today’s Paris are Les Arènes de Lutèce (amphitheater for different kinds of shows) and the Roman Baths of Cluny Museum.
2. THE PANTHÉON
Unless you want to visit the Roman remains, you can start your walking tour with the Panthéon, one of the most famous landmarks in Paris. The Panthéon, built in Neoclassical style, is today a mausoleum dedicated to the most illustrious citizens of France (Les Grandes Hommes), where you can see the tombs of people like Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Louis Braille, or Soufflot, its architect. Marie Curie was the first woman interred in the Panthéon on her own merits in the Pantheon (1995).
The Panthéon was also the place where Foucault demonstrated in 1851 the rotation of the Earth by hanging a 67-meter long pendulum from the central dome (Foucault’s pendulum). Today, visitors can see a replica of this famous pendulum still hanging from the dome to commemorate this achievement.
MAKE IT SPECIAL: don’t miss the views from the Panthéon’s dome! Referred to as the “Balcony of Paris” the dome offers amazing 360-degree views of Paris.
Around the Panthéon, the list of interesting sights includes the first universities of Paris, like the famous Sorbonne, the Collège de France, and the church of Saint Étienne-du-Mont. If you are interested in visiting more of the 5th Arrondissement of Paris, we recommend checking our article about Paris 5 and the Latin Quarter.
USEFUL INFO & TIPS
» You can reach the Panthéon by metro from Jussieu metro station (lines 7 and 10) if you want to see Les Arènes de Luthèce or from Cardinal Lemoine metro station (line 10) if you want to go straight to the Panthéon.
» The Panthéon of Paris is open every day from 10 am to 6.30 pm. Entrance ticket costs 9€
» The access to the Panthéon’s dome is open from April to October. Ticket to the dome is the Panthéon ticket + 2€
» Les Arènes de Lutèce is located at 49 Rue Monge. It is open from 8 am or 9 am to 6 pm /7.30 pm or 8.30 pm depending on the season. Free entry.
» Cluny Museum is located at 28 rue du Sommerard. It is open from Wednesday to Monday from 9.15 am to 5.45 pm. Ticket price is 5€.
After visiting the Panthéon let’s head to Luxembourg Gardens, at the end of rue Soufflot. The Palace and Luxembourg Gardens were built for Queen Marie de Médicis, the widow of King Henri IV.
Today the Palace hosts the French Senate and it is open to the public only during special occasions. The Luxembourg Gardens, instead, is one of the most popular parks in the city and one of the top sights of Paris Left Bank. Don’t miss the octagonal pond, the music kiosk or the Médicis Fountain considered one of the most romantic places in Paris. If the weather is good, the Luxembourg Gardens is the perfect place for a picnic on the grass.
Let’s head to the fancy Saint Germain des Près, one of the fanciest neighborhoods of Paris Rive Gauche. You can go from Luxembourg Gardens to Saint Germain-des-Prés by taking avenue Bonaparte, which limits the park on the west (10 minutes walk).
Saint-Germain-des-Prés was born in the 12th century as a rural village around the powerful Saint Germain Abbey. After the Second World War and already part of the city of Paris, Saint Germain became a center of intellectual and cultural life, with many small printers and bookshops.
The cafes of Saint Germain were a common meeting place for these intellectuals, being Café Procope (considered the oldest cafe in Paris), Café de Flore, or Café Les Deux Magots the most popular ones.
Americans visiting Paris will be interested to know that the Treaty of Paris between Britain and the United States, which ended the American Revolution and granted the U.S. its independence, was signed on 3 September 1783 at the Hotel d’York in Saint-Germain (56 rue Jacob).
Saint Germain-des-Prés is a picturesque area to explore, and it is also famous also for its pastries and chocolate tours.
Evening at the Eiffel Tower with Seine River Boat Tour
We have kept the visit to the Eiffel Tower and a night cruise along the Seine River for your last evening in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower is best visited at night when the golden floodlights come on. Once the Eiffel Tower is lit up, it sparkles during the first five minutes of every hour and it is very cool to see from Champ de Mars or Trocadéro Gardens.
Finish your Paris in four days itinerary with a Seine night cruise with dinner to admire Paris’ historical monuments lit up: the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, the Conciergerie, and more. There are different Seine river cruises, click here to compare the best Seine Cruises. Cruises usually come with or without dinner and they are a great way to end your trip to Paris.
Other Things to Do in Paris in 4 Days
» If you are not that interested in the Louvre Museum, you can exchange it for a visit to the Orsay Museum.
» What to see in Paris in 4 days if it is pouring down? We have you covered with the best things to do in Paris during rainy days.
Where to Sleep During your Four Days in Paris?
If you haven’t decided where to sleep in Paris yet, check out our suggestions below:
Booking.com is the best site for booking hotels in Paris. They have good rates and a huge selection of hotels of all kinds plus it is possible to cancel for free if in the end, you cannot make it to Paris.
HOTEL WITH EIFFEL TOWER VIEWS
If you can afford it, why not treating yourself with the pleasure of waking up with an amazing Eiffel Tower balcony view? Some of Paris’ top luxury hotels, well known for its great facilities and amazing interiors, come also with the best views of Eiffel Tower, especially beautiful during its night show.
HOTELS AT LE MARAIS
Le Marais is a beautiful area to stay in Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris for the first time. It is beautiful, central, and there are plenty of bar and restaurant options around.
LE PAVILLON DE LA REINE & SPA, Paris 3, $$$$
Le Pavillon de la Reine is a luxury hotel & spa located at Place des Vosges in the Marais. The rooms are individually decorated and very spacious. Facilities include a spa, fitness center, and hammam. Its beautiful secluded garden is perfect to end your day with a drink.
HOTEL DU PETIT MOULIN, Paris 3, $$$
Located at the heart of Marais and entirely designed by Christian Lacroix, this hotel offers the best combination history + design. Guests can use complimentary bicycles and enjoy free access to the spa at Hotel Pavillon de la Reine, a 10-min walk away.
HOTEL JOSEPHINE BONAPARTE, Paris 4, $$$$
Located in Le Marais, in a former convent, Hotel de Joséphine is inspired by Napoleon’s wife, Joséphine de Bonaparte. Its unique decorated rooms are elegant and romantic and its cozy saloons are the perfect place for a last glass of champagne.
HOTELS AT LE QUARTIER LATIN
If you prefer to stay in the Left Bank, Le Quartier Latin is a central and lively area with many bars and restaurants nearby plus you are never far from the Luxemboug Gardens. Prices in Le Quartier Latin are slightly cheaper than in Saint- Germain.
HOTEL LA LANTERNE; Paris 5, $$$$
Hotel La Lanterne has an excellent location (between Notre Dame and Luxembourg Gardens), attractive rooms, and some great facilities like a spa, pool, or a private garden. Perfect to finish your exploring days in a more relaxing way.
OBSERVATOIRE LUXEMBOURG: Paris 5, $$$
Located close to Luxembourg Gardens, we find its design pretty cool. But of course, it is not all about decoration: the hotel’s comfortable rooms, French Brasserie, modern facilities, and cool staff are the perfect combination for a great stay in Paris.
We hope that you enjoyed this Paris in 4 days itinerary. Ready to explore Paris in 4 days? Don’t forget to pin this post for later!
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