Are you looking for the ultimate 4 days in Paris itinerary? 4 days in Paris is the perfect amount of time to explore the City of Light. I was in Paris celebrating my daughter’s #25 birthday and best-of Paris was certainly crammed into my short time there. My visit was so extraordinary that I want to show you how to have the same experience when you decide to plan your own Ultimate 4 days in Paris itinerary!
Getting to Paris has never been easier or more convenient. However, depending on where you call home on our planet, it can make for a long travel day or night. If you are taking a long international flight, check out my guide to surviving overnight flights.
For that simple reason, arrival day to Paris is not considered as Day 1 of the Ultimate Four Days In Paris Itinerary. On arrival day whether you arrive by plane, train, automobile or bus, I’d suggest to keep it low key. Take the rest of the day to recoup from the long travel, rest to get caught up on lost sleep, hydrate, possibly explore the neighborhood where you are staying a bit, and have a nourishing dinner. Feel free to change up my following suggestions from day to day to make the Ultimate 4 Days In Paris itinerary tailored to your specific needs during the time you are visiting Paris.
The Ultimate 4 Days In Paris Itinerary
Table of Contents
Day 1: Begin your 4 Days in Paris by exploring the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River
Stop 1: Visit The Eiffel Tower
One of the most popular attractions in Paris is the iconic Eiffel Tower. It is one of the very first places most people visit, including me, when in Paris. The Tower is 1,063 feet tall and remains one of the tallest structures in Paris. It was originally constructed as the gateway to the 1889 World’s Fair held in Paris.
Of course, you want to explore the Eiffel Tower, so set aside plenty of time during your first of 4 days in Paris to do so. If panoramic vistas of the Seine River and the city of Paris interest you, then visiting the Eiffel Tower is for you. You may climb up to her elevation levels, or even to the top, but that is 1,665 steps. Up for the challenge? My daughters actually walked up to the second level on a past trip to Paris and it was quite a lot of walking so proceed at your own risk!
If you don’t want to walk up, you may ride up in the elevator which most people choose to do. Be aware, lines are extremely long from morning till night, most days, and you will be far better off purchasing tickets before you arrive. There are even “skip the lines” options or you can visit Paris in winter for fewer tourists. Walking alongside and even under the Eiffel Tower is a very memorable thing to do, to get a perspective of just how large the monument is.
To photograph lasting memories of the Eiffel Tower during 4 days in Paris stroll across the street to the merry-go-round, (there’s a souvenir stand there!) or walk across the Seine River to the Trocadero Palace, built into the side of a hill, which affords EPIC shots of the Eiffel Tower.
Stop 2: Explore The Seine River
Since you are so close at the Eiffel Tower, the next thing to do in Paris is to explore the banks of the Seine River. There are long and lovely promenades to walk and people watching is a fun thing to do. During my visit, I ran along the River Seine and admired the architecture on the buildings and bridges I ran past.
Another way to explore the River Seine, and learn more about the lovely city of Paris during your 4 days in Paris, is to take a Seine River Cruise. A narrated cruise is like having your own personal tour guide, for a fraction of the cost. My cruise lasted an hour and covered a lot of Parisian history and architecture, and was definitely enjoyable and I learned so much. It was a cold and windy afternoon when I cruised the River Seine, so I chose to sit inside where it was warm. The floor to ceiling glass windows provided ample views for me to oooh and ahhh as we passed many major landmarks. Most of the passengers chose to sit outside on the top level of the boat to have the best, unobstructed views for their picture taking.
Stop 3: End Your Day At The Rue Cler Market
End your first day in Paris by exploring Rue Cler – Paris’ most well-known street market. Located in the 7th arrondissement, it truly is a paradise to explore. The best part about the Rue Cler market is that it isn’t overrun by tourists so you will get a glimpse into the Parisian local life. It is open every day but Monday. You will find many restaurants to choose from, along with food markets, bars, pastry shops and more. I admit I visited the gelato shop on the Rue Cler, many an evening!
The Rue Cler market, visiting the Eiffel Tower, and Seine River boat ride offer plenty to keep you busy on your first of four days in Paris!
Day 2: Visit the World-Renowned Louvre Art Museum And The Seine At Sunset
Stop 1: Take In Art At The Louvre
No trip to Paris would be complete without visiting the famous Louvre Art Museum located within the Louvre Palace, to view its most precious paintings and artifacts. Start your second day in Paris off by visiting this famous art museum. I would recommend going early if you want to spend a lot of time. I arrived around 12 noon and was there until 7 pm. The museum isn’t always open late so make sure you know its operating hours before you decide when to arrive and which day to visit.
In 2017 the Louvre was the most visited art museum in the world. You will most likely enter the museum through its main entrance, the Louvre Pyramid, one of Paris’ major landmarks. While purchasing your tickets in advance is ALWAYS prudent, my family and I did not do so, and we did not experience long lines of frustrated tourists when we purchased our entry tickets on site the morning of our visit.
To be able to absorb all the beauty of the Louvre Art Museum, give yourself plenty of time on the second day of your 4 days in Paris. It is suggested no less than half of a day, but longer would permit you to enjoy the artwork and artifacts of 8 curated departments. You can stroll the entire museum alone enjoying what the Louvre has to offer as I did, or you can participate in a guided tour. There is even a Louvre Museum phone app that can be quite helpful. I did not know about the phone app when we visited the Louvre Museum but will be sure to use it the next time I go.
One unforgettable highlight of the Louvre was seeing The Mona Lisa. I could not get very close to the painting as she is protected by guards, and under glass, but close enough to snap a few pictures and gaze at DaVinci’s masterpiece. The second highlight was seeing Venus De Milo,(Aphrodite) the famous ancient Greek statue missing her arms. There were no guards, nor was she surrounded by glass. She was ready for up close pictures and lots of them from the many visitors, including me. If you are hungry or thirsty, there is a restaurant in the Louvre for you to take a break and rest your feet and your back.
Stop 2: Eat Dinner At A Cafe Along The Seine And Wander Local Streets
To end your evening, exploring the River Seine, in the 2nd arrondissement, where the Louvre Art Museum is located, is a wise choice. An evening dinner overlooking the River Seine enjoying French cuisine would be unforgettable. Strolling to local pastry shops for macarons or macaroons, or eclairs is a delightful way to end your second of 4 days in Paris.
It could hypothetically take years to get through the Louvre, so if you only have four days in Paris I highly recommend taking an entire day to visit the Louvre and then spend a relaxing evening on the Seine so you really get the most out of the experience.
Day 3: Explore Paris By Bicycle And Do Not Miss The Champs-Elysees
Stop 1: Visit The Champs-Elysees By Bike
Bike riding is very popular in European cities, and Paris is no exception. During your 4 days in Paris itinerary, begin your third day by renting a bike at one of the numerous Velib bike stations. They are everywhere so you do not have to return your bike to the exact location where you rented it. Head out to the fashionable Avenue des Champs-Elysees to visit one of the most well-known avenues in the world. And some of richest real estate on the planet! Upscale and not-so-upscale shops and cafes and restaurants dot the Champs Elysees on both sides of the street.
Stop 2: Go Up Inside The Arc de Triomphe
The Avenue des Champs-Elysees ends at the Arc de Triomphe, another of the famous monuments of Paris, a very short bike ride away. The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France. And there is a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located there with an eternal flame which commemorates the war dead who were never identified.
Did you know you can walk and tour inside the Arc de Triomphe? Did you know there is an observation deck on the top of the Arc de Triomphe? I did not either! The climb to the top was relatively difficult because there were so many stairs, but it wasn’t impossible! There is not an elevator to the top so unfortunately anyone wheelchair bound or the infirm, or those unable to climb steep steps, will not be able to participate. Please be aware of this fact when planning your trip to the Ard de Triomphe.
Along the way, there are drawings, explanations, and photographs of French war history as it relates specifically to the Arc de Triomphe. Once outside on the top observation deck, you will be generously rewarded with glorious views of the Eiffel Tower, and be able to see the twelve radiating avenues that originate at the Arc. The epic views of the city of Paris are definitely unforgettable.
Stop 3: Make Time To See The Moulin Rouge
Next up, grab a bike from another Velib bike station and ride to the iconic Moulin Rouge, the most famous cabaret in the world. World class international stars such as Frank Sinatra and Elton John loved this venue and it is the center of many movies throughout history!
It was fun to visit this iconic club, and you may choose to return later for dinner and to watch the dazzling show. There is a dress code, so while riding a bicycle through Paris would not be the time to stop and eat and drink and feast your eyes at the Moulin Rouge. If you want to go to a show at the Moulin Rouge, make sure to budget time in your 4 days in Paris itinerary and be sure to dress properly!
Stop 4: Visit One Of The Many Rooftop Bars In Paris
End your day of bike riding around Paris by exploring one of the many trendy rooftop bars Paris has to offer! Depending on the vibe you are looking for you are sure to find a local spot that appeals to you, possibly one where tourists and locals alike mingle.
Day 4 In Paris: Discover Gothic Cathedrals Around The City
Stop 1: Start The Day At Notre Dame
The last day of your 4 days in Paris itinerary is all about architecture! Three cultural, political and religious Parisian icons stand out. The most well-recognized cathedral in the world is Notre-Dame de Paris! (Our Lady of Paris.) She is recognized worldwide as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture anywhere. Her history is spectacular and it took hundreds of years to construct her. I have read and watched the Hunchback Of Notre Dame my whole life so having the opportunity to visit the church in person was really quite the wonderful experience!
The inside of Notre Dame is quite beautiful and the church can get very busy. Although the line may look long, you will get through it relatively quickly so don’t worry! Once inside, the glorious stained glass rose window is one of the highlights of visiting Notre Dame, as is her gargoyles. There is a generous Mass schedule at Notre-Dame de Paris if you are interested in attending, as well as a souvenir section to purchase religious articles.
You can also go up inside one of the bell towers, although it is a separate entry and a separate entry fee. In order to go up in one of the towers, you must walk around outside to the left side of the church [when facing it from outside] to a small door and entry area. A visit to Notre Dame is a must-see during your four days in Paris!
Stop 2: Marvel At The Stained Glass At Sainte-Chapelle
Within close walking distance from Notre-Dame de Paris is the dazzling Sainte-Chapelle, a MUST SEE during any 4 days in Paris itinerary! It is one of the lesser known churches in Paris and since it is so near Notre Dame, many people just visit Notre Dame and skip this extremely exquisite church, because they are not aware of it.
Sainte-Chapelle’s upper level has over 1,000 striking and gleaming stained glass windows which tell the story of the Bible. Arranged across 15 main windows, the stained glass panes display over 1,000 scenes from the Old and New Bible. The bottom level of the structure is very plain because back in its day it was for staff and servants of the resident French king. Only the king and his advisors were permitted into the royal chapel on the second level.
You will enter the building from the bottom level which resembles a basement. You will think this area is pretty, but prepare yourself because that isn’t even the main chapel. Once you climb up the stairs to the second story, you will be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the stained glass windows appearing before you. There are pamphlets available in many languages explaining each of the 15 panels, and the panes of stained glass contained in them. Upstairs there is also a sumptuous rose stained glass window at Sainte-Chapelle which describes the Book of Revelation through its stained glass panels.
I would recommend budgeting at least 60 minutes to visit this church. It isn’t very big and is contained in one room, but you want to be sure you have enough time to see and process everything!
Stop 3: Drop Into A Cafe For A Crepe And Coffee
The island where Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle is located is full of wonderful cafes with plenty of outdoor seating. Before you move on to your next stop, take a few moments to wander the streets and explore the island. Grab a coffee and try out a French crepe and relax in the afternoon. This is the perfect time to eat lunch before moving on to the next stop. If you want to dine like a real Parisian, make sure to sit outside, even if it is in the winter!
Stop 4: Visit Montmartre And Sacre-Coeur
After you finish your lunch near Notre Dame, hop on the Paris subway and head up to the Montmartre district. It is located in the same vicinity as the Moulin Rouge, where you explored by bike on Day 3. Montmartre is a super cute and artistic part of Paris and a great place to explore on foot.
Located at the summit of Montmartre, the highest point of Paris is the Basicila of the Sacred Heart, Sacre-Coeur, with the style being described as Rome-Byzantine. It is not as “fancy” nor does it display as much excess as other styles of architecture in the area. Because the church sits atop a hill, there are MANY steps to climb to the top. It isn’t quite as bad as the walk to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, so if you did that this will be a relatively easy climb for you.
That being said, there is an incline railway to catch if climbing is too daunting or there are elderly in your group. Because of the height, the top of Montmartre affords exceptional views of Paris and her communities and her most famous monuments. The inside of the church is unique, but the view is easily the best part! You will be able to see all of Paris in one panoramic view.
Montmartre is a popular location, and back at the bottom of the hill in front of the basilica you will find streets bustling with people, both locals and tourists alike, as well as an abundance of souvenir shops and restaurants. This is an excellent opportunity to pick up some special mementos to have or bring home to your loved ones, as the prices in the neighborhood are reasonable. This is the perfect place to cap off your 4 days in Paris itinerary as you will be able to find great souvenirs, from Parisian coffee and tea to shirts, hats, and mugs, all at a much more affordable price than other areas in the city!
How To Get To Paris To Begin Your 4 Days In Paris Itinerary
There are many ways to get to Paris, France, depending on where you are coming from. Charles de Gaulle International Airport is the largest and busiest and closest to the Paris City Center. It is the most popular airport for international flights arriving from all over the globe. A little farther out is Paris Orly Airport, the second most frequently-used airport. Once you land in France, you will have many options on how to get to Paris. You can rent a taxi, hire an Uber driver, or take the train (public transportation) which would definitely be your most affordable option. The Parisian trains are very clean, as well as all the train stations. You can purchase tickets right at the airport. The ticket machines are located right when you exit the secure section of the airport. Please be advised, there are lots of steps involved with the Parisian metro system. So if you or a member of your party is infirm, or in a wheelchair, you will probably need to make other transportation arrangements.
If you will be arriving in Paris for your 4 days in Paris from other European countries, there are high-speed trains that arrive and depart frequently from all over Europe to Paris on a daily basis. The main train stations you can access are Gare du Nord, Gare de I’Est or Gare de Lyon. If you reside in other parts of France, you may decide to drive to Paris as another option.
How To Get Around Paris During Your 4 Days In Paris Itinerary
Paris is so very easy to navigate around. If you are able and up to it, I’d suggest walking. Paris is a visually beautiful city, and there’s much to see and absorb, which you could/would miss if you were not walking. Make sure you leave ample time to arrive at your destination and wear sturdy comfortable walking shoes.
The metro train system is very extensive in Paris, and probably the best transportation option you have. It’s fast, it’s cheap. And it arrives and departs frequently. You can purchase tickets at every station and a bundle of ten tickets costs less than a single ticket. As I mentioned above, the metro is not an option for the wheelchair-bound or those unable to walk long distances or climb up and down stairs frequently.
There are also city buses and trains to consider when doing your 4 days in Paris itinerary. And you always have the option to get a taxi or hire an Uber driver. Of course, if you drove to Paris using your own personal automobile, that is always an option for you, but beware, the streets of Paris are very crowded.
Packing Tips For Your 4 Days In Paris Itinerary
Use these useful packing tips when packing for your 4 days in Paris itinerary:
Make sure to remain hydrated during your trip. Bring your own water bottle, and refill it often. Staying hydrated will give you more energy and boost your immune system, which in turn will be stronger to battle those germs you might encounter. I always use this Bobble water bottle with filter whenever I travel. It is the perfect size to fit into a pocket or backpack. It is small enough not to add bulk or weight. The filter ensures I have safe water to drink wherever I happen to fill my Bobble bottle.
Have a handy backpack/daypack with you. You will want a place to store snacks, an extra sweater (or a pair of gloves or a hat depending on the time of year your 4 days in Paris itinerary is), phone and phone charger etc. This waterproof and lightweight daypack would be ideal to hold all of your incidentals for a daylong sightseeing trip in Paris. One of its biggest advantages is that it folds up into a little pouch, which will help a lot when packing for your four days in Paris. It is very affordable and comes in a variety of colors to choose from. This Columbia Daypack Backpack is another great option. And it comes in great colors as well.
Bring sturdy shoes because you will be walking a lot! Whether you take the metro, buses, trains or taxis, you will be walking more than usual during your 4 days in Paris itinerary. (Think, the Louvre Art Museum! ) I always bring a pair of sneakers when I travel. They are sturdy and comfortable for when I both run and walk. These Brooks Women’s Glycerine 15 sneakers are similar to mine. Most everyone is familiar with the Sketchers brand and these Sketcher’s high fashion sneakers are a bit less expensive, but still have the support you need keep your feet happy! Plus they come in many fashionable colors for you to choose from.
Bring a lightweight scarf/shawl. Everyone in Europe, men and women alike, rock scarves! Not only will the right scarf act as an accessory to your outfit, it can be used as an additional layering piece to keep you warm, or a cover to protect you from the sun when it is warm out. This lightweight sunscreen shawl scarf would definitely be a great addition to any wardrobe, as would be this fashion flowers print shawl or this solid fashion colored scarf would all be wonderful options to take on your trip when going on your 4 days in Paris itinerary.
Quick Tips For Your 4 Days In Paris Itinerary
Here are some quick tips and tricks, combined with the ones above, which will make your 4 Days in Paris more enjoyable.
Remember, always stay hydrated! Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it often. You will be taking care of your health, and saving numerous disposable water bottles from being sent to the landfill.
Do not worry about the language barrier. I know only a very few basic French words and had absolutely NO difficulties when I visited Paris. The French in Paris know a few English words and you will be able to communicate enough to make your wishes known. You can even use a translator app on your phone to assist with your communications.
Call your credit card company and verify if your credit card does or does not have foreign transaction fees attached to it. If it does, inquire about applying for a credit card that does not charge you a small fee every time you use it when out of your home country.
When you visit an ATM in Paris, make sure it is in the same network with your bank so you are not charged transaction fees every time you withdraw cash. Also, consider withdrawing larger amounts of cash, in order to limit the transaction fees.
Buy advanced tickets to attractions whenever possible. First off, usually tickets purchased in advance online are often less expensive. Secondly, when you purchase tickets for the monuments and art museums suggested in the 4 days in Paris itinerary, you will have a schedule planned out and more able to pace yourself when you know the plans for every day of your trip.
Four days in Paris is a long enough time to get to know the City of Lights and marvel at all she has to offer: rich history, monuments and museums, street markets and cafes, and pastry shops you will visit many times (I did!). Your ultimate 4 days in Paris itinerary has mapped out for you many of the highlights Paris has to offer.
Have you ever been to Paris? What was your favorite thing to do? What would be your #1 recommendation for a first-time visitor? Please comment below.
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