You can see a lot of Paris in 4 days. Sure, this is not an ideal amount of time to see all that the French capital has to offer. It’s such an incredible city that you will regret not planning to stay longer the moment you arrive. But if 4 days is all you have, you can still enjoy the city. 

if you have 4 days in Paris you will be typically restricted to visiting the most iconic attractions. But you really can’t swing it – you have to plan things carefully and stick to an itinerary, and get tickets to skip the line at the many attractions – or else, you risk getting stuck in the line at the ticket counter or (worst case scenario) being completely unable to get it. 

If you don’t have time to plan your Paris itinerary, or simply don’t enjoy doing that, don’t worry. I am going to show you an itinerary that will help you make the most of Paris in 4 days, so all you have to do is book your flights, your hotel and the tickets to the various attractions I will be recommending – I will make sure to point out which must be booked in advance. 

Keep reading this post to find out the things to see and do if you are visiting Paris in 4 days, and precious tips that will help you plan your trip.

Paris in 4 days

You can discover hidden gems even when you see Paris in 4 days

How To Use This Paris In 4 Days Itinerary

Before diving into the details of this Paris in 4 days itinerary, it’s worth stressing once again that 4 days are really a short amount of time in Paris. You will need to get skip the line, timed entrance tickets to pretty much all the tourist attractions.

Paris is packed with tourists – there are so many of them that you really can’t just show up at a museum or attraction without having already booked your visit. Places like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower get sold out weeks in advance. Omit to book and you risk spending precious time commuting to get there and then in line at the ticket counter only to find out that you won’t be able to visit.

I will help out by pointing out whenever you must buy tickets in advance. 

For the purpose of this itinerary, I am assuming you have at least 4 full days in Paris – that is, 4 full days and 5 nights. Or that you at least get in very early on your first day or leave very late on your last night. 

TIP: If you are traveling from the other side of the world, chances are you will be tired and jet lagged. Take it easy! Explore the area where you are staying, maybe do a guided food tour. This private food tour is a good option as it lets you pick the starting time. You can book it here. This other one is in Les Marais and starts at 2:00 pm.

TIP: Have an early start! With only 4 days, you really need to get out and about early. 

GOOD TO KNOW: On most days, you can follow the itinerary in reverse. Mark down the opening and closing time of the various attractions so that you can decide whether to walk it in reverse. 

GOOD TO KNOW: The idea of this itinerary is that you visit attractions that are close to each other on the same day, to minimize the time spent commuting and maximize the time spent at each attraction.

PRO TIP: Follow this itinerary in whichever order you prefer. If you happen to be in Paris on a Wednesday or Friday, make sure to visit the Louvre on one of those days and to go in the evening, when it is less crowded. That way, you’ll have more time to explore the rest!

For the same reason, I recommend going up the Eiffel Tower at night. This way, you will have more time during the day to explore the other attractions at a slow, pleasant pace.

TIP: Touring around is tiring! Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothes.

TIP: With such a packed itinerary, lunch on the go is a must. Take advantage of the many lovely bakeries to grab a sandwich and opt for a sit down meal in the evening. 

These are the best bakeries in Paris.

Follow my tips and you will definitely have a fantastic time during your visit of Paris in 4 days.

Pompidou

The lovely square right by the Pompidou

A Day By Day Itinerary To Visit Paris In 4 Days

Day 1: Louvre, Palais-Royal, Pompidou, Notre-Dame, River Seine Cruise

During the first of your 4 days in Paris you will be visiting the Louvre, the world’s largest museum. It will take you a while to visit. After you are done with the Louvre, head to the nearby Palais-Royal for great photo opportunities, and then walk to Pompidou and Les Marais. From there, move on to Notre-Dame – you can now only visit it from the outside. Not far from Notre-Dame you can board your Seine river cruise.

Map of day three Paris itinerary 

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. For convenience, look for one of those.

Louvre

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Louvre is open every day but Tuesday. It opens at 9:00 am and closes at 6:00 pm, except on Wednesdays and Fridays when it closes at 9:45 pm. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. 

Paris is packed with fabulous museums, but the Louvre is a real must when visiting Paris in 4 days. There is just so much art at there.

The Louvre used to be a fortress. It 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.

The museum can get incredibly crowded, not to mention sold out. You really must purchase your tickets in advance. In fact, I recommend going on a guided tour. Guides are usually quite knowledgeable about the exhibit and they know their way around and how to dodge the crowds.

GOOD TO KNOW: Plan to be to devote at least 4 hours to the Louvre.

SMART TIP: If your visit to Paris includes a Wednesday or a Friday, walk this itinerary in reverse and leave the Louvre as the very last attraction – this way you will have more time to enjoy everything else when there’s light out, and you’ll experience the Louvre minus the crowds.

The following are the best skip the line tickets and guided tours for the Louvre:

Make sure to read my post Nine Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre And Skip The Line.”

Palais Royal

Palais Royal is a fun place for photos

Palais-Royal

Your second stop on the first day of your Paris in 4 days itinerary 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 aged 5 in 1715. It 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. 

Centre Pompidou

When visiting Paris in 4 days only, you really won’t have much time to get inside this museum, one of the coolest in town, currently housing the National Museum of Modern Art – Europe’s largest modern art museum. If you manage (ie in case you can see the Louvre at night), go inside to admire the works of Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and more – you can get your tickets here.

TIP: Make sure to pop by the lovely square right behind it. 

Les Marais

Les Marais is the nicest neighborhood in Paris

Les Marais

At an 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 that will call for shopping and even the Museum of French History. It honestly would be a pity to miss it, even when you are restricted to seeing Paris in 4 days.

Notre-Dame

A fire destroyed Notre-Dame in April 2019 and while restoration works are taking place you can’t really go inside. Yet, you still admire it from the outside. It’s still impressive.

River Seine Cruise

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. Depending on the way you will follow this itinerary, you may do a Seine river cruise in the morning or in the late afternoon or evening. The sunset or evening experiences are fabulous.

You can opt to have a dinner cruise (I don’t know how the food on board is, though), and have one that includes a guide which will explain the highlights of what you are going to see. 

GOOD TO KNOW: The majority of 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!

This is a selection of good cruises:

Eiffel Tower from Trocadero

The stunning views of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero

Day 2: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées and Tuileries Garden

Your second day will be all about breathtaking views – those of the Eiffel Tower; those from the Eiffel Tower; those of the Arc de Triomphe and from the Arc, and so on. You will have the chance to also relax at the beautiful Tuileries Garden.

Map of day two Paris itinerary 

To see the map of your day 2 itinerary, click here. The itinerary is fairly easy to follow. You will start at the Eiffel Tower and then walk your way towards the Louvre. 

GOOD TO KNOW: 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.

Eiffel Tower

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Eiffel Tower is open every day from 9:00 or 9:30 am to either 6:30 pm (for stair users) or 00:45 am (for lift users). The opening times are subject to variations depending on the season. 

You must visit the Eiffel Tower. Whether you are visiting Paris in 4 days or more, this is a must! 

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic attractions in the world. Built in 1889 for the World Expo, it measures 324 meters and until 2004 it was the tallest building in France. It currently holds the record for the highest man made observation deck in Europe, located at 276 meters.

WARNING: The lines to access the Eiffel Tower are long – whether you opt to take the elevator or the stairs. Don’t show up at the ticket counter expecting to get tickets on the spot. You need to buy tickets in advance. 

Make sure to read my full guide on visiting the Eiffel Tower.

TIP: Either get the earliest possible access to climb the Eiffel Tower, or one of the last ones. Make sure to factor in around 2 hours for your visit, from the moment you arrive on the premises to the one you leave.

These are the best tickets and tours of 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 to get views of the Eiffel Tower.

Trocadero

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. 

TIP: 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

Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris’ must sees

Arc de Triomphe

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 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.

If you visit Paris in 4 days, there is sufficient time to see the Arc de Triomphe, and in fact you will probably have time to go up as well. The views from the terrace are stunning, especially at sunset time – it’s a terrific vantage point to admire la Défense, the modern side of Paris.

The Arc 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. 

TIP: Make sure to get skip the line tickets in advance here or here.

TIP: If you plan to climb the Eiffel Tower at night, then opt to go up the Arc de Triomphe in time for sunset. 

Champs-Elysées

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

Walking between the Champs-Elysées and the Tuileries Garden during your 4 days in Paris you will end up at Place de la Concorde, Paris’ largest square. Built in 1772, when it was known as Place Louis XV, its 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.

Tuileries Garden

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 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.

Located at the end of the Champs-Elysées and right after Place de la Concorde, Tuileries Garden is a must visit park – if you plan to visit Paris in 4 days and only have time for one park, this is the one I think 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.

GOOD TO KNOW:  Musée de l’Orangerie is located on the southwest corner of the garden. Chances are that if you are visiting Paris in 4 days you won’t have time to visit, but if you plan to visit the Eiffel Tower in the evening, you actually may have time to pop in. The museum is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm with last admission is at 5:15 pm. If you want to go, get your tickets in advance (this is a must!) here.

Montmartre

Montmartre is another charming neighborhood you really need to visit

Day 3: Montmartre and Père Lachaise

The third of your Paris in 4 days itinerary is all for Montmartre, one of Paris most quaint neighborhoods. Your first stop is the Moulin Rouge; from where you will head to the Sacre-Coeur. You will eventually make it to Père Lachaise cemetery. 

TIP: Try to avoid Montmartre at weekends – that’s when it gets most crowded.

Map of day five Paris itinerary 

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.

TIP: If you want to see a show at the Moulin Rouge, start at the cemetery and visit Montmartre in the afternoon.

Moulin Rouge

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.

Sacré-Coeur

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).

Montmartre

There is no way you can skip Montmartre when visiting Paris in 4 days. 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. These are some of good ones:

Père Lachaise

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The cemetery opens between 8:00 and 8:30 am and closes between 5:30 and 6:00 pm depending on the season. 

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.

Entrance to the cemetery is free, but you may be better off paying for a guided tour: it’s such a bit place that you can easily get lost. You can book your visit here.

Eiffel Tower

The stunning views from Montparnasse Tower

Day 4: Musee d’Orsay, Luxembourg Gardens, Montparnasse Tower and Catacombs

Day 4 of your Paris in 4 days itinerary will be as intense as the previous ones – I suggest heading out nice and early. You will first visit Musee d’Orsay; then pop in by the lovely Shakespeare and Company from where you will go to the Pantheon and the Luxembourg Gardens; you will then make your way to Montparnasse Tower for incredible views of the Eiffel Tower and finish off at the Catacombs.

Map of day one Paris itinerary  (add on cimitero)

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 distance in case you want to walk).

GOOD TO KNOW: If you happen to spend a Thursday in Paris, start from the Catacombs and finish at the Musee d’Orsay as it closes at 9:45 pm on Thursdays. 

Musee d’Orsay

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 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.

If you have 4 days in Paris, you have enough time to visit two museums. Musee d’Orsay is the one you should visit if you really love art, as it has fantastic collection of impressionist art with 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.

There often are special exhibits – there was one about Degas when I visited. Check the website to see if there is one when you visit, and in that case plan to spend a bit longer there.

A guided or audio-guided tour of the museum is a good idea to make the most of it. Definitely get a skip the line ticket – even though the entrance is not timed, it will help you save some time.

TIP: Try to enter the museum as soon as it opens and consider you will take at least 2 hours for the visit. 

Make sure to read my post Eight Incredibly Smart Ways To Get Musee D’Orsay Tickets And Skip The Lines.”

These are the best guided tours and skip the line tickets for Musée d’Orsay:

Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company is a lovely small bookstore

Shakespeare and Company

As you start walking to the Pantheon, you can 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.

The Pantheon

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. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Pantheon is open every day from 10:000 am to 6:00 or 6:30 pm depending on the season. You can get tickets here.

Luxembourg Gardens

When visiting Paris in 4 days, you will be able to walk around a couple of parks and Luxembourg Gardens should definitely be one of them, as it’s right 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.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Enjoying a sunny afternoon at Jardin du Luxembourg

Montparnasse Tower

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The observation deck is open from 9:30 am to either 10:30 or 11:30 depending on the day of the week and the season.

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, it offers some stunning views of the Eiffel Tower.

Get tickets to the roof terrace in advance to save some time. You can get them here.

The Catacombs

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Catacombs are open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm. They are closed on Mondays and on January 1, May 1 and December 25.

If you are seeing Paris in 4 days, make sure to go to the Catacombs. 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 below street level, with a constant temperature throughout the year.

TIP: 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.

These are some of the best tours of the Catacombs that can be booked online:

Versailles tickets

This is the first peak of the palace of Versailles you get upon walking in through the main gate

Day 4, option 2: Versailles

I thought of giving you an alternative for the fourth of your 4 days in Paris, in case you feel the need to get out of the city. If that is the case, Versailles is where you ought to go. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: 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 are impossible lines at Versailles station. 

Versailles is 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. 

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. 

These are some good guided tours of Versailles:

Make sure to read my post Seven Smart Ways To Get Versailles Tickets And Skip The Line.”

4 days in Paris

Another quaint corner of Paris

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 really need to research the area where you want to stay. You want a hotel that is close to the metro station and from where you can move around easily. I truly like staying in 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. 

I will be writing a more detailed post on where to stay in Paris. Meantime, you may want to consider these places:

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. 

Keep in mind that most Paris Passes do not include the Eiffel Tower. The only one that does is Paris PassLib. It costs €159 for the 5-day option which is the one you would have to get. You can get it here.

GOOD TO KNOW: With the Paris Pass, you will have to make separate reservations for all the attractions you intend to visit.

TIP: Make sure to read the terms and conditions and the inclusions of your Paris Pass very carefully.

When to visit Paris

Any time is a good time to visit Paris. However, if you only have 4 days in Paris I suggest going when days are a bit longer, between the late spring (May) and the fall (October). 

Seine river cruise

A Seine river cruise is a must when in Paris

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. You can look for flights here.

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.

How to move around Paris

Public transportation in Paris works well. A one way ticket for metro and buses costs €1.90.

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.

Other useful tips

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. 

Get a guide book

Take a good guide book with you  – one which includes maps, restaurant recommendations and other useful information. These are some good ones:

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.

Get a good travel insurance

Even if you just have 4 days in Paris, you still need to get travel insurance. Make sure to read my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.” Get a good travel insurance here.

Further readings about Paris

Make sure to read my other posts that will provide insights about the many attractions of Paris:

Pin It For Later!

Read about the things to see and do in Paris in 4 days - via @clautavani

 

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