You can see a lot in Paris in 4 days. While the French capital definitely deserves more time than that (I recommend spending at least a week in Paris), this is still a decent amount of time to appreciate the city.
If it is your first time in the Ville Lumiere, your 4 days in Paris should definitely be spent exploring the most iconic attractions. However, those all require pre-advanced bookings as they work on a time-slot system. Following an itinerary is essential to maximize you time in the city.
Not a fan of planning? You are in good hands. In this post, I will explain how you can get the most out of Paris in such a short time, visiting the most famous places to visit in Paris, and even some lesser known ones. Continue reading for the best Paris itinerary – all you have to do is book your flights and hotel!
How To Use This Paris In 4 Days Itinerary
This itinerary is based on the assumption that you have at least 4 full days in Paris – which means sleeping there 5 nights. During that amount of time, you will be visiting some of the best museums in Paris; enjoy incredible views of the city; and be able to appreciate the atmosphere of the city.
You will need to have an early start and – since most attractions only allow a limited number of visitors – get tickets for the places you want to visit before you actually head there. As per this itinerary, you will visit attractions that are close one to the other on the same day, so that you minimize time spent commuting from one place to the other.
You will have to eat lunch on the go – perhaps at one of the best bakeries in Paris.
Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as there is quite a bit of walking to be done, but either way get a bulk of metro tickets once you get to town, so that you don’t have to fiddle with change any time you must hop on public transport.
Finally, if you are traveling from the other side of the world, plan some easy activity on your day of arrival. I usually recommend a guided food tour as that’s bound to keep you awake!
For a private food tour of Paris that has a flexible start time, click here.
For a gourmet food in Les Marais starting at 2:00 pm, click here.
Finally, let’s discover your Paris 4-days itinerary!
A Day By Day Itinerary To Visit Paris In 4 Days
Map of day one
You can see the map of your first day itinerary here. I only marked the itinerary all the way to Notre-Dame Cathedral, but did not include the Seine river cruise. Most cruises leave from near the Eiffel Tower (in which case you’ll have to make your way there to embark), but there are some that depart from the area of Notre Dame – pick one of those.
Once a fortress, the Louvre became an art gallery in the 1700s and from then on it started hosting some of finest paintings and sculptures in the world, including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
It would take you days to fully explore the gallery, but for the purpose of this itinerary plan to spend around 4 hours there. In fact, you may want to get a guide to take you around – so that you don’t have to worry about reading the map.
The Louvre is open every day but Tuesday, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. It’s closed on Tuesdays, on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. You need advanced bookings in order to visit.
You can get your Louvre ticket here.
For a selection of the best tours of the Louvre, click here.
Make sure to read my post How To Get Tickets To The Louvre.
Your second stop is the Palais-Royal. Once home of Cardinal Richelieu, who lived there until his death in 1642, the palace became property of Philippe II Duke of Orléans, who held the throne for Louis XV as he became king when he was only 5, in 1715. The palace currently houses the Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture. It’s a nice place to visit for photos thanks to an art installation of striped columns of various sizes.
Palais-Royal opens at 7:00 or 7:30 am depending on the season, and closes late. There is no admission fee.
You really won’t have much time to get inside this museum which houses the National Museum of Modern Art – Europe’s largest modern art museum. It houses the works of Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and more. Try to also pop by the lovely square right behind it.
The Centre Pompidou is open every day but Tuesday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. You can get your tickets in advance here.
At easy distance from Centre Pompidou, Les Marais is one of the most quaint and pleasant neighborhoods in Paris.You will find plenty of good restaurants, cafés, bakeries and bars, quaint streets, artists’ ateliers, boutiques even the Museum of French History.
A fire destroyed Notre-Dame in April 2019 and while restoration works are taking place you can’t really go inside. Yet, you can still admire it from the outside: it’s impressive.
River Seine Cruise
A cruise alone the Seine is the perfect way to end a day of exploration. The views throughout the cruise are splendid – you will see Notre-Dame, the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Pont Alexandre and the Eiffel Tower in all its glory. There are all sorts of cruises available for purchase. Some are diner cruises; others include a glass of champagne; some cruises come with a guide and some with just an audio-guide. There even are some which are literally like a hop-on hop-off service.
Most cruises depart from the Eiffel Tower, but there are some that leave from near Notre-Dame. Try to book one of those, as it will be much easier for you!
You can book your Seine River cruise here or here.
Make sure to also read my post How To Pick The Best Seine River Cruise In Paris.
Map of day two
To see the map of your day 2 itinerary, click here. If you want to get sunset or evening views of the Eiffel Tower and from the Eiffel Tower, walk this itinerary the other way around and start from the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel right behind the Louvre.
Can you really go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower? I don’t think so! This is one of the most iconic attractions in the world. Built in 1889 for the World Expo, it measures 324 meters (1063 feet) and until 2004 it was the tallest building in France. It currently holds the record for the highest man made observation deck in Europe, at 276 meters (905.5 feet).
For the purpose of this itinerary, either get the earliest possible access to the Eiffel Tower, or one of the last ones if you walk the itinerary in reverse. Factor in around 2 hours for your visit.
Until August 29, 2021, the Eiffel Tower will be open daily from 9:30 am to 11:45 pm. The ticket office closes at 10:30 pm. Stairs are open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
You can get your ticket here.
Check out my full guide on visiting the Eiffel Tower.
Champ de Mars
Open 24/7 and 100% free to access, Champ de Mars park was first opened in 1780, next to the École Militaire. It’s a lovely place for a picnic during sunny days, and a great vantage point for views of the Eiffel Tower.
On the other side of the river from the Eiffel Tower, you will reach the Trocadéro – another place to get marvelous views of the tower.
If you are planning to climb the Eiffel Tower in the morning, you may want to push yourself out of bed early enough to get to the Trocadero in time for sunrise. It’s beautifully empty at that time of day, and you’ll have plenty of excellent photo opportunities.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is located on Place de l’Etoile at one end of the Champs-Elysées, where it was erected to celebrate war victories and to pay homage to the many people who died during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Not only it is a beautiful sight itself, and one of the symbols of Paris, but the views from the terrace are impressive and span all the way to la Défense, the modern side of Paris.
The Arc de Triomphe is open daily from 10:00 am to 10:30 or 11:00 pm depending on the season. It is closed on 1 January, 1 May, 8 May (morning), 14 July, 11 November (morning) and 25 December. You can get tickets here or here.
Depending on the time you decide to visit the Eiffel Tower, you can walk the entire length of the Champs-Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde. This large boulevard is lined with nice boutiques, luxury stores, restaurants, cafés and movie theaters, including the Lido.
Place de la Concorde
Paris’ largest square was built in 1772, when it was known as Place Louis XV. It name was changed to Place de la Révolution during the revolution. During those times, executions of persons such as King Louis XVI and his wife Queen Marie Antoinette took place there. At the center of the square you will see a fountain dating back to the time of Louis-Philippe and an obelisk that was taken from the entrance of Luxor Temple in Egypt.
Located at the end of the Champs-Elysées and right after Place de la Concorde, Tuileries Garden is a must visit park – if only have time for one park during your 4 days in Paris, this is the one you should pick. Landscaped by Vaux-le-Vicomte – the same person who designed the gardens of Versailles – it is a gorgeous place to walk around and relax on sunny days.
You can also walk from the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, right behind the Louvre.
The park is open every day from 7:00 or 7:30 am to 7:30, 9:00 or 11:00 pm depending on the season.
Musée de l’Orangerie is located on the southwest corner of the garden. If you care to visit, the museum is open every day but Tuesday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm with last admissions at 5:15 pm. If you want to go, get your tickets in advance here.
Map of day five
You can see the map of your day 3 itinerary here. My tip is to head to the Moulin Rouge as early as possible – take the metro and get off at Blanche. From there, walk to the Sacre-Coeur and then walk around Montmartre. Then take the metro to Père Lachaise.
If you want to see a show at the Moulin Rouge, start at the cemetery and visit Montmartre in the afternoon.
You can only really see the Moulin Rouge from the outside, unless you decide to see a show. Yet, this is one of the most iconic places in Paris, in the heart of Pigalle and at a stone’s throw from Montmartre – not to mention the birthplace of the can-can dance. So you should a least pop in to take a look.
If you want to see the show, get your tickets here.
This is one of the most unique looking churches in Paris – a Romano-Byzantine basilica on top of a hill from where you can enjoy splendid views. The church was built around 1875. Guided visits of the church are usually included in tours of Montmartre (see more below).
There is no way you can skip Montmartre when visiting Paris! This is one of the most charming neighborhoods in the French capital. Picture low houses, quaint looking cafés and shops and that bohemian look that will make you love it. The area became popular with artists in the 19th century, when the likes of Monet, Renoir, Modigliani and even Van Gogh moved there.
It’s a fairly easy area to explore, but if you want to get a good background opt for a guided tour such as this one or this one.
Make sure to read my post The Best Things To Do In Montmartre.
This cemetery was opened in the early 1800s. It hosts the graves of famous people such as singer Edith Piaf or Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, and writers such as Balzac and Oscar Wilde. It’s a cool, unique place to visit!
The cemetery opens between 8:00 and 8:30 am and closes between 5:30 and 6:00 pm depending on the season. Admission free, but you may be better off paying for a guided tour: it’s such a large place that you can easily get lost. You can book your visit here.
Day 4 – Option 1
Map of day 4
You can download a map of your day 4 itinerary here. You only really need to use public transportation to get to the Musee d’Orsay and to move from there to Shakespeare and Company (it’s a 2 km – 1.2 miles – distance in case you want to walk).
If you happen walk this itinerary on a Thursday, start from the Catacombs and finish at the Musee d’Orsay as it closes at 9:45 pm on Thursdays.
If you have 4 days in Paris, you have enough time to visit two museums. If you love impressionist art definitely go to Musee d’Orsay to admire the works of (among others) Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh and many more. The building is enough to make you want to visit: it once was a train station (Gare D’Orsay, built for the universal expo) later on renovated to house the museum.
Make sure to be there as soon as it opens, and factor in a minimum of 2 hours for your visit. In case there is a special exhibit (check the official website of the museum to verify that), factor in some extra time.
The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, except on Thursdays when it closes at 9:45 pm. It is closed on Mondays. You need to reserve a time slot and get your ticket in advance for your visit. You can do it here.
Make sure to read my guide to visiting Musée d’Orsay.
Shakespeare and Company
As you walk to the Pantheon, stop by Shakespeare and Company, a lovely, quaint, independent anglophone bookstore in the heart of the Latin Quarter. It was opened in 1951 and since then became a meeting point for English speaking writers and readers. The building used to be a 17th century monastery.
You can look at books, walk around the shop and attend one of workshops and seminars (though I doubt you will have time if you are visiting Paris in 4 days only) and even pet the resident cat – if she lets you.
Located on Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Pantheon is a mausoleum where France’s most notable people such as Rousseau, Voltaire, Marie Curie, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo and Émile Zola are buried. Built between 1758 and 1790, it was originally a church.
The Pantheon is open every day from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm. You can get tickets here.
Luxembourg Gardens are on the way between the Pantheon to Montparnasse Tower. Built upon orders of Maria de’ Medici at the beginning of the 17th century, the park houses a palace currently the seat of the French Senate. It’s a lovely place to relax, catch a bit of local action, and breathe some fresh air in the summer. Make sure to catch a glimpse of the statues of 20 French queens and Medici’s fountain.
Montparnasse neighborhood is a nice one to explore, but if you only are visiting Paris in 4 days you won’t really have time to explore it. However, you should definitely go up Montparnasse Tower. Built in the early 1970s and currently Paris’ second highest building with its 210 meters (689 feet), it offers some stunning views of the Eiffel Tower.
The observation deck of Montparnasse Tower is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11:00 am to 11:30 pm (last climb at 11:00 pm) and Sunday to Tuesday from 11:00 am to 10:30 pm (last climb at 10:00 pm). Get tickets to the roof terrace in advance here.
Once a limestone mine, the place eventually started being filled with bodies at the end of the 18th century, when local cemeteries couldn’t accommodate more. The Catacombs are excavated at 20 meters (65.6 feet) below street level, with a constant temperature throughout the year.
The Catacombs are open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:45 am to 8:30 pm. They are closed on Mondays and on January 1, May 1 and December 25.
For the purpose of this itinerary, I suggest booking the latest possible entry or tour of the Catacombs, starting at around 5:30 pm. This way, you will have enough time for other attractions. If you are following this itinerary the other way around, go as soon as they open. You can book your visit here.
Day 4, Option 2: Versailles
If you fancy getting out of town during your 4 days in Paris, definitely consider going to Versailles. Known to be the symbol of all the excesses of the French Monarchy, it was originally a hunting lodge; but it then became a proper castle upon wishes of Louis XIV, who moved his court there from Paris.
The easiest and cheapest way to get from Paris to Versailles is by RER C. Buy your return ticket from the train station in Paris as there often to save time when coming back.
Between the palace, the gardens, and the nearby Trianon estates, the visit will take an entire day and I recommend a guided tour to make the most of it.
You can get tickets to Versailles here. If you also want to see the musical fountains show, click here.
Read my guide to visiting Versailles.
Practical Tips To Make The Most Of Paris In 4 Days
Where to stay in Paris
If you plan to visit Paris in 4 days, you should pick a hotel that is close to the metro station and from where you can move around easily. My favorire area is Les Marais. It is walking distance from the Louvre and Notre-Dame, very friendly and safe and you will find plenty of nice cafés, bars and restaurants.
You may want to consider these places:
- La Chambre du Marais is near Pompidou center. Rooms aren’t big but they nice.
- Hotel Montecristo has plush, vintage style rooms. It has a pool and even a restaurant.
- Young and Happy Latin Quarter by Hiphophostels is a good place to stay for travelers on a budget. Dorms are plain but clean. Breakfast is an add on.
Using a Paris Pass to explore Paris in 4 days
You may consider getting a Paris Pass to make the most of Paris in 4 days. Passes usually include tickets to a variety of attractions, with skip the line options, and discount for others. They usually also include public transportation.
However, most Paris Passes do not include the Eiffel Tower. With the Paris Pass, you will have to make separate reservations for all the attractions you intend to visit. You can get your pass here.
How to get to Paris
Paris is very well connected to the rest of Europe and the world, either by plane or train.
Charles de Gaulle Airport is well connected to the rest of the world – it’s the main hub for Air France, which has good, convenient flights from many locations around the US and Europe.
To get to the center of Paris from Charles de Gaulle take the train (it’s the fastest and cheapest option), the, bus, a shuttle van and taxi.
You can book your private transfer from the airport to the city center via Welcome Pickups here.
Make sure to read my post How To Get From Charles De Gaulle Airport CDG To Paris.
How to move around Paris
Public transportation in Paris works well. A one way ticket for metro and buses costs €1.90.
Other useful information
Luggage storage in Paris
Luggage storage facilities can be found all around Paris, usually near train and bus stations. Storage starts at €5 per day and you have to book in advance. BagBnB is a good place to look.
Get a data plan for your smartphone
Make sure that your smartphone plan covers you overseas. You need to have data to be able to use apps such as Google Maps and others that will make your trip way smoother.
Mind the scams
Scams and touts are common in Paris. Do your research on the most common ones which are: the friendship bracelet, the golden ring, the cup and ball. Don’t trust anybody who claims to be raising funds for disadvantaged categories such as the deaf. Mind pickpockets too, especially when on the bus or the metro.
For more information, read my post How To Avoid The Most Common Paris Scams.
Get a good travel insurance
Even if you just have 4 days in Paris, you still need to get travel insurance. Get yours here.
Make sure to read my other posts that will provide insights about the many attractions of Paris:
- The Best Paris Travel Tips
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 5 Days In Paris
- Paris In 3 Days: A Great Itinerary To Make The Most Of It
- A Fabulous Itinerary For 2 Days In Paris
- A Guide To The 5 Best Cities To Visit In France
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Paris In A Day
- 15 Amazing Day Trips From Paris