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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? As part of our Best Paris Itineraries collection, we’ve put together the perfect 4 days in Paris itinerary -with maps and lots of tips- so you can make the most of your time in the City of Lights.
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What to do in Paris for 4 days – Our Proposal
Here’s an overview of this 4 Days in Paris Itinerary
- Day 1 in Paris – Cité and Right Bank
- Day 2 in Paris – Right Bank
- Day 3 in Paris – Day Trip from Paris (we suggest Versailles)
- Day 4 in Paris – Left Bank
This Paris Itinerary 4 days considers three days in Paris and a one-day side 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.
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.
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.
Our four days in Paris itinerary comes with 3 different maps, one for each day spent in Paris and with our suggested points of interest. These Paris Maps are very easy to use:
- the green spots on the map are for the first day in Paris
- the blue spots on the map are for the second day in Paris
- the red spots on the map are for the fourth day in Paris.
All the sights marked in bold here in the text appear in the Maps of Paris. Dark green, dark blue, and dark red spots are the activities that we suggest to do in Paris at night. For your convenience, the map can be zoomed in and zoomed out.
4 DAYS IN PARIS, DAY 1: CITÉ & PARIS RIGHT BANK
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 Paris 4-day itinerary.
~ MORNING ~
Notre Dame and Ile de la Cité
Begin with a coffee at Ile de la Cité, the heart of Paris. From metro Cité head to Notre Dame Cathedral.
Just in front of Notre Dame’s main façade, there is a metallic plaque on the pavement which usually has some tourists around taking pictures. This plaque indicates France’s km 0 and all the French roads, including the French roads overseas, are measured from this point. We could not think of a better point to start this Paris in four days itinerary 🙂
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 XIII century and the works ended in the XV century.
During the French Revolution, Notre Dame was badly damaged and in the XIX 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.
As most of you know, Notre Dame was badly 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.
» The closest metro station to Ile de la Cité is Cité, line 4
Explore other sights on Ile de la Cité
After a short stop to admire Notre Dame Cathedral, you can consider visiting other historical sights at Ile de la Cité. The most popular sights near Notre Dame are the Archaeological Crypt, the Sainte Chapelle, and the Conciergerie. Which one do you prefer to visit?
» 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 XIV 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 XIII 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.
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.
» You can find all the sights mentioned in the description on the Google Map.
» The Crypte Archéologique opens from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm
» 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
~ AFTERNOON ~
Get lost at 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. It was also where the King of France and the nobility lived so ti was also 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 (hôtels particuliers) cute cafes, and art galleries. Le Marais’ main sights include Place des Vosges, the National Archives and Carnevalet Museum (closed for renovation, expected re-opening by the end of 2019). You can read more about Le Marais and its hidden gems in our Paris 3 and Paris 4 guides.
TIP: try to find Le Marais’ secret gardens, quiet and peaceful corners perfect for a break in the shade
Up to Montmartre!
Wander around the iconic neighborhood of Montmartre (Paris 18) 2-3 hours before sunset. The metro station Abbesses (line 12) is a good starting point to explore Montmartre.
Not far from Place des Abesses there are beautiful sights around like the Wall of Love, Saint Jean de Montmartre Church, the picturesque rue Lepic or Le Consulat.
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.
» Metro Abbesses can be reached with line 12
» The Wall of Love is located just behind the metro station Abesses, at Square Jehan Rictus.
» The Sacré Coeur is open every day from 6 am to 10.30 pm. The entrance is free.
~ EVENING ~
Montmartre is a good area 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. Two of our favorite rooftop bars in Paris, Terrass Rooftop Bar, and La Machine du Moulin Rouge are located in Paris 18.
If you are coming to Paris in the winter, or the weather is not good, head to 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. Perhaps you may want to book your tickets well in advance.
» 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 PARIS, DAY 2: PARIS RIGHT BANK
When spending 3 – 4 days in Paris, you might have time for only of the two most important museums in the city. Choose either the Louvre or Orsay Museum, depending on what you prefer to see. We recommend the Louvre.
~ MORNING ~
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 four days in 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). You can check here how to skip the longest lines in Paris and the Louvre. During the high season in Paris, some time slots and even dates are sold out very fast so we recommend buying the Louvre tickets well in advance.
» 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 XVI 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 Fountains 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.
~ AFTERNOON ~
From Place Vendôme to Opéra de Garnier
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 Vendôme Column is Napoleon I himself, posing like a Roman emperor. Admire the architecture of the Hotel Ritz and the other buildings around and soak up its special atmosphere.
The next stop of this walking tour is the Opéra de 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, you can read more about this tour here
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.
~ EVENING ~
A stroll along 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. A place full of life, 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 “apéro 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. Alternatively, you can rent a self-drive electric boat to explore Canal de l’Ourcq: it does not require any permit plus it is fun!
4 DAYS IN PARIS, DAY 3: DAY TRIP FROM PARIS
After two days exploring Paris, we recommend taking a day trip out of the city to see a little bit more of what the region of Ile de France has to offer.
We propose visiting Versailles Palace and Gardens, located at only 40 minutes by train from Paris. Read how to get the most out of your trip Paris – Versailles here.
If you prefer to visit a place with lesser crowds, have a look at our list of best day trips from Paris. The article proposes some picturesque small towns near Paris but also other famous places like Château de Chantilly in Hauts-de-France region or Monet’s Garden in Giverny (Normandy region).
4 DAYS IN PARIS, DAY 4: PARIS LEFT BANK
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 La Rive Gauche, and 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 painters and artists moved to Montmartre.
~ MORNING ~
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.
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.
TIP: 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, some interesting sights include the first universities of Paris, like the famous Sorbonne, or 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.
» 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 host 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.
~ AFTERNOON ~
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 XIIth 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, bookshops and with the presence of writers and artists.
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).
Unfortunately, Saint Germain was deeply transformed by the tourism industry and art galleries, luxury boutiques and hotels have replaced universities, printers, and most of the small cafes. However, Saint Germain-des-Près is still a picturesque area to explore, also famous also for its pastries and chocolate tours.
~ EVENING ~
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 Trocadero Gardens. In 2019 the Iron Lady turns 130 years and some celebrations will take place all year round. You can check if there’s something interesting going on during your 4 day trip to Paris here.
As the Grand Finale, we recommend a Seine night cruise to admire Paris’ historical monuments lit up: the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, the Conciergerie, and more. There are different Seine river cruises, you can compare the best Seine Cruises here. Cruises usually come with or without dinner and they are a great way to end your trip to Paris.
» Restaurant Les Ombres is located at 27 Quai Branly (Paris 7). Book your table in advance directly on their website
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
ALTERNATIVES TO THIS PARIS IN 4 DAYS ITINERARY
» If you are not that interested in the Louvre Museum, you can exchange it for a visit to the Orsay Museum.
» Looking for other things to do in Paris in 4 days? On our Paris Itineraries section, we have other self-guided walking tours around a specific subject. You can also find other ideas on our Paris Bucket List, with something for every taste.
» 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 4 DAY TRIP TO PARIS?
Where to sleep in Paris? If you want to visit Paris in 4 days and you have the budget, head to one of the best hotels with Eiffel Tower views or to one of the historic hotels in Paris for a unique experience in Paris.
Alternative, there are cute boutique hotels all around Paris. Some people prefer central hotels while other visitors prefer to stay in one of the districts of Paris less covered by their itineraries. Here are our suggestions on where to sleep during your Paris in four days trip:
- District of Paris: Paris 6
- Category: 4 stars
Excellent location in Saint Germain, between Luxembourg Gardens and Boulevard Saint Germain, Hotel Baume has clean, cozy and very spacious rooms and great customer service.
- District of Paris: Paris 3
- Category: 3 stars
Hotel Paris France is located in Paris 3 at just a few minutes walk from Le Marais. Built during La Belle Époque, the hotel still keeps beautiful common spaces from that period. Rooms are beautiful and spacious, with a contemporary design and the staff Staff is extra helpful, friendly and enthusiastic.
- District of Paris: Paris 9
- Category: 4 stars
Hotel de Seze is located in the 9th Arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Madelaine Church. The hotel’s design is really beautiful, especially in the rooms and suites. Hotel de Seze proposes its guests some interesting facilities like a fitness room and a beautiful hammam.
Did you like this 4 days in Paris itinerary! We wish you a great time during your four days in Paris!
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