This guide for 4 days in Paris will help you plan the perfect Paris itinerary (for the summer or winter). You’ll also find a map with all the must-see attractions and helpful tips on how to skip the lines.
Book guided tours with TakeWalks (small groups + free cancellation up to 72 hours).
Paris, the capital city of France, is one of the most popular destinations in the world. It’s a city of romance, magic, light and history. No matter if you’re looking for art, shopping, fine dining or history, the city has it all.
Paris started as a small Celtic village, situated on the tiny area of Île de la Cité. Today, nothing reminds of its humble beginning but the city’s name. It derives from the Celtic tribe called Parisii, who lived in the area.
Paris is known as the City of Lights. Not only because it was one of the first cities in Europe, which had gas street lighting. It is also because of its important role during the Age of Enlightenment.
4 Days in Paris itinerary
How to plan 4 days in Paris? It’s difficult to craft the perfect Paris itinerary, especially if this is your first time to the City of Lights. This detailed travel guide will help you decide what attractions to visit and where to eat.
Keep in mind that most of the restaurants work between 12:00 PM – 02:00 PM and 07:00 PM – 10:00 PM. Also, they often have different working hours during the weekends. So, always check the working hours before visiting (and better make a reservation).
Find a map of this 4-day Paris itinerary (with all restaurants’ websites) at the end of the article.
The best itinerary for 4 days in Paris
- Day 1: Louvre Museum, Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde, Triumphal Arch
- Day 2: Palace of Versailles (day trip from Paris)
- Day 3: Notre Dame Cathedral, Holy Chapel, Luxembourg Palace, Eiffel Tower
- Day 4: cruise on Seine river, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Montmartre
My best advice is to buy either a Paris Museum Pass in advance or skip the lines ticket for each attraction you want to visit. Don’t count on that you’re visiting off the season and there won’t be lines for every site.
The second time I visited Paris was in late October. I decided that I’ll buy a Museum Pass from the first visited attraction. In my case, this was the Orangerie Museum.
There should be no lines at all (according to what I’ve read in many forums and blogs). And guess what? I’ve waited 2 hours in the pouring rain (in the low season). Don’t do this mistake! Paris is a super popular destination, so always buy tickets in advance.
Already have a hotel booked? Then check your hotel’s location and make sure it’s in a good area (see my guide where to stay in Paris for the first time).
Day 1: Louvre Museum, Triumphal Arch
08:10 AM – 09:00 AM
Start the first day of this 4 days in Paris itinerary with breakfast at Matamata Coffee Bar or BO&MIE. Choose the BO&MIE bakery for a quick breakfast.
See Mona Lisa in Louvre Museum
09:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre) served as a royal palace of the French monarchs until the 17th century. Also, it is one of the largest museums in the world.
The museum is vast and packed with exhibits. You’ll need days to see everything. So, prepare for your visit ahead and check out what exhibits in Louvre will be interesting for you.
12:30 PM – 02:30 PM
Stop for lunch at La Bonne Excuse or La Cordonnerie.
Tuileries Garden and Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
02:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Catherine de’ Medici created the Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries) in 1564. The garden once was a part of the Tuileries Palace, destroyed in 1871 during the Paris Commune.
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is one of the three arcs on the Triumphal Way. It’s a historical axis of monuments that starts with the Grande Arche de la Défense to the west and ends with the Louvre Museum to the east.
Emperor Napoleon I commissioned Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel to remind of his military triumphs.
See the fountains at Place de la Concorde
03:00 PM – 03:20 PM
Place de la Concorde is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. However, in the past things looked quite differently. During the French Revolution, a guillotine was constructed and the square became an execution place. King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette lost their lives here in 1793.
Nowadays, in the centre of the square, you can see a giant 3,300-years-old Egyptian obelisk. The Obelisk of Luxor (Obélisque de Louxor) is decorated with hieroglyphics picturing the reign of pharaoh Ramses II. It was a gift to France from the Egyptian government in 1829. The obelisk is also known as Cleopatra’s Needle (L’aiguille de Cléopâtre).
Two beautiful fountains decorate the north and the south ends of Place de la Concorde. Their construction was inspired by the fountains on Piazza San Pietro and the Piazza Navona in Rome. The north fountain on Place de la Concorde represents the rivers and the south is dedicated to the seas.
Admire the Art Nouveau Bridge Alexandre III
03:30 PM – 03:45 PM
Bridge Alexandre III (Pont Alexandre III) is constructed at the end of the 19th century. It is a stunning example of Art Nouveau style.
After seeing the bridge, pass along the Grand Palais and Petit Palais and then continue on Champs-Élysées.
Climb the Triumphal Arch
04:30 PM – 06:00 PM
Triumphal Arch (Arc de Triomphe) commemorates all who fought and died for France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lies beneath the arch. Also, an eternal flame burns in memory of all unknown soldiers who died during the world wars.
The 280 steps to the top of the arc are easy for climbing, as there is a museum on the way up. The views over the city, the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees are unforgettable. If you have time climb the arc right before sunset time and spend an hour on the top watching the sunset over the city.
Try some delicious French cuisine at Chez Gabrielle or Le Bistrot d’Yves.
To add more attractions to your first day, check out the suggestions below.
Go shopping at Galeries Lafayette
Galeries Lafayette is a huge shopping complex with a marvellous glass ceiling. Even if you are not into shopping, go and visit the rooftop terrace for some amazing views.
See an opera at Palais Garnier
Palais Garnier is the largest opera house in Europe. Learn more about its extravagant design by exploring the Palais Garnier on a guided tour.
Be amazed by Saint-Eustache Church
Saint-Eustache (Église Saint-Eustache) is a 16th-century church with a lot of history. This was the place, where young Louis XIV (the Sun King) received his communion. Also, Mozart chose the sanctuary for his mother’s funeral. Jean Baptiste Colbert, a French minister of Finance, is buried inside the church.
The church organ with its 8000 pipes is the largest pipe organ in France. Among the other treasures of the church, you can see paintings by Rubens, Vouet and Santi di Tito. Don’t miss the church concerts of Saint-Eustache choir. They are held every Sunday.
Madeleine Church (La Madeleine) is an outstanding church, near Place de la Concorde. It was designed to serve as a temple to commemorate and celebrate the glory of Napoleon’s army.
Day 2: Palace of Versailles
To get to Versailles you’ll have to take RER C to Versailles-Château – Rive Gauche station (about 40min journey). It’s advisable to get there before the opening times, even if you already booked your tickets in advance.
Therefore my advice is to have an early breakfast at your hotel or stop for a quick bite at any bakery on your way.
Discover the Royal Palace of Versailles
08:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Versailles (Château de Versailles) is one of the most famous palaces not only in France but in the world. Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, built the palace in 1682 and moved the court here from Paris. Versailles is a true masterpiece that represents the greatness of the Sun King.
Get there as early in the morning as you can. By booking online you’ll skip the first line. Keep in mind, that you still have to wait on the security check line. That is the reason why you’d better be here before the opening times.
If you haven’t booked a guided tour, you can rent an audio guide to learn more about the royal palace.
The entrance to Versailles is free on the first Sunday of every month from November to March.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Take a rest and have lunch at Chez StefS or Le Ble Noir. For a typical French bistro visit Chez StefS, for some crêpes – Le Ble Noir.
Gardens of Versailles, Trianon and Queen’s Hamlet
02:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Gardens of Versailles are marvellous, but they are huge. You’ll need hours to see them, so be prepared for a long walk and wear comfortable shoes.
There are musical fountain shows during the weekends from April to October. In May and June, there are shows every Tuesday, too.
The famous Apollo Fountain, the Trianon Palace and Queen’s Hamlet are located in the gardens. Louis XIV commissioned the building of the Trianon in 1670. He used the palace when he wanted to get away and rest from court life in Versailles.
Marie Antoinette commissioned the construction of the Queen’s Hamlet (Hameau de la Reine) in 1783. This rustic retreat served as her country house and a private meeting place.
Finish the day with a dinner at Le Bistrot du 11 or Le Cafe des Arts.
Day 3: Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower
08:30 AM – 09:00 AM
Start the third day of the itinerary 4 days in Paris with some delicious croissants. Choose from Au Petit Versailles Du Marais or Boulangerie La Parisienne.
Be amazed by the Holy Chapel
09:00 AM – 10:00 AM
King Louis IX commissioned the construction in 1248 to house his collection of relics of Christ. The Lower Chapel is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was used by all inhabitants of the palace.
The collection of relics were housed in the Upper Chapel. This Chapel was reserved only for the king and his family. It is a real masterpiece with its 6,458 square feet of stained glass windows and richly decorated wall surface.
See Notre Dame Cathedral and explore Île de la Cité
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
(due to the devastating fire in April 2019 you can no longer visit the cathedral)
Located on Île de la Cité, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris) is one of the city’s iconic sites. The construction of the cathedral took almost 200 years. Some of its treasures are the purported Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails.
Right in front of the cathedral is the Kilometre Zero (Point Zero des Routes de France). This is the starting point from which all major distances in France are calculated.
Don’t miss to explore the charming small island, Île de la Cité. Also, if you have enough time, take a stroll along the neighbouring island of Île Saint-Louis.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Have lunch at La Cuisine de Philippe or Hebe.
See the royal Luxembourg Palace
02:00 PM – 03:00 PM
Luxembourg Palace (Palais du Luxembourg) was the royal residence of the regent Marie de’ Medici in the 17th century. She built the palace for herself after the death of her husband, Henry IV. Unfortunately, the palace is not open to the public.
Don’t miss to see the replica of the Statue of Liberty while exploring the beautiful garden.
Climb the Eiffel Tower
03:30 PM – 06:30 PM
Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel) is the most iconic monument in Paris. It was erected in 1889 for the World Exhibition. The site is constructed from 12 000 iron pieces and named after its creator, engineer Gustave Eiffel.
The 360-degree panoramic view over the city is fascinating. There are three visiting levels. You can reach the first and the second by lift or stairs. The third one – only by lift.
There is a light show every evening. For five minutes every hour on the hour the tower is sparkling.
The most spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower are from the Trocadéro gardens (the closest metro station is Trocadéro).
Plan your visit ahead and buy tickets in advance from the Eiffel Tower website. Choose the time of your visit. It will be stamped on your ticket. Then print the ticket or save it on your phone.
When you go to the tower, look for a sign “Entree Visiteurs Avec Reservation” (visitors with reservations). You won’t be allowed to enter more than 10-15 min earlier before the stamped time on your ticket. Don’t be late. If you decide to go with an online reservation, buy the tickets months in advance because they are limited.
Finish the third day of the itinerary 4 days in Paris with dinner at Au Bon Accueil or Le Florimond.
Admire the architecture of Hôtel de Ville
Hôtel de Ville is not a luxury hotel, as one could think taking in mind the name and its splendid exterior. It is, in fact, the City Hall. The building is gorgeous and it is right in the heart of the city. It totally deserves a few minutes of your time!
Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges is one of the most charming squares in the city. Built at the beginning of the 17the century, it is also the oldest planned square in the city.
Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the Seine river in the City of Lights.
Climb Montparnasse Tower (Tour Montparnasse)
Book a ticket for the Montparnasse Tower and visit one of the tallest skyscrapers in France. To get the best views of the city take the lift to the open-air roof terrace.
The Panthéon started its history as a church, but nowadays it is a mausoleum and a burial place of famous Frenchman. Some of the great men laid to rest in its crypt are Voltaire, Émile Zola, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Soufflot, its architect. Marie Curie is the only woman honoured to be buried there.
If you are visiting in the high season or during the weekends, better buy your tickets to Panthéon in advance.
Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church (Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont) has a remarkable ornate rood screen that dates from the 16th century. The church also contains the oldest organ in Paris, built in 1631.
By the way, the stairs of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont may look familiar to you. This is the place from where the main character Gil (Owen Wilson) is picked up every night by a car from the past in the movie “Midnight in Paris”.
See the Thinker in Rodin Museum
If you like the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, this museum has to be on your list. It houses the famous Rodin’s sculptures “The Thinker” and “The Kiss”.
If you’re visiting in the season, book Rodin Museum skip the line ticket.
Day 4: Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur Basilica
09:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Visit an attraction of your choice (see below) or take a cruise on the Seine river. You can also join a perfume workshop or behind the scenes bakery tour. And if you’re a wine lover, don’t miss this wine tasting experience.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père-Lachaise cemetery (Cimetière du Père-Lachaise) is the largest and most visited cemetery in the city. It is named after King Louis XIV’s confessor, Father François de la Chaise d’Aix (called le Père la Chaise), who resided on the site. The cemetery was established by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804.
This is the final resting place of iconic figures like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Édith Piaf, Molière and many more.
To learn more about the history of the cemetery, book a guided tour of Père Lachaise.
Tour the famous Catacombs of Paris
The Paris Catacombs (Catacombes de Paris) are underground ossuaries that house the remains of more than six million people. It is a lifetime experience, that can’t be forgotten.
The waiting lines are outrageous and visitors are restricted to 200 at any time. I went half an hour before the opening times and there were already about 30 people. And this was in late October.
Orsay Museum (for impressionism lovers)
Musée d’Orsay (Orsay Museum) is housed in the former railway station Gare d’Orsay. The station is built in 1900 for the Paris World Exposition. Gare d’Orsay served southwestern France until 1939 when the platforms became unusable for the new longer trains.
The museum houses impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces dating from 1848-1914. Among the featured artists are Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, van Gogh, Rodin and Cézanne.
Orangerie Museum and Marmottan Monet Museum
If you’re a huge fan of Claude Monet, don’t miss the Orangerie and Marmottan Monet Museum.
Orangerie Museum (Musée de l’Orangerie) is the home of eight Water Lilies murals by Monet. In any case, buy tickets in advance. I waited more than 2 hours in the rain in the low season. At least the view of the Water Lilies was worth every single minute of the waiting.
The best option is the combined ticket for Orsay and Orangerie Museums.
Marmottan Monet Museum has the largest collection of Claude Monet’s works in the world. It also houses his notable work “Impression, Sunrise”, the painting that gave the name of Impressionism movement.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Have a lunch at Le Cabanon de la Butte or La Boîte aux Lettres.
Visit Sacré-Cœur Basilica
02:00 PM – 03:00 PM
Sacré-Cœur Basilica (Basilique du Sacré-Coeur) owes its shiny white colour to the travertine stone. Built in a Romano-Byzantine style, it is the most beautiful church in Montmartre. The basilica honours all soldiers who died during the Franco-Prussian War and the rule of the Paris Commune.
Due to its location on a hill, you have to climb a lot of stairs to reach it. You can also take the funicular that costs one metro ticket each way.
The views over the city from the hill are beautiful, but for truly breathtaking views climb the dome. There are about 300 steps to the top. The entrance to the dome is outside on the left side of the basilica.
There is a free audio guide of the basilica, but you have to download it in advance.
03:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Montmartre is the most beautiful neighbourhood. It’s a romantic place with narrow cobblestoned alleys, old-style bistros and street cafes. The perfect place to wander and get lost!
One of the most picturesque squares in Montmartre is Place du Tertre, famous all over the world for its painters.
Montmartre cemetery (Cimetière de Montmartre) is a beautiful old cemetery from the beginning of the 19th century. It is built below street level on the place of an old quarry that was used for a mass grave during the French Revolution.
Another popular attraction is world-famous cabaret Moulin Rouge with its iconic red windmill on the roof.
Finish the day with a dinner at Chez Toinette or Can Alegria Paris.
4 days in Paris in summer
If you’re visiting Paris in the summer, you can follow this itinerary without any modifications. My only advice is to book tickets in advance, as the summer is the busiest season. Also, don’t miss to add these activities to your itinerary:
- have a picnic at the foot of the Eiffel Tower
- take a late-night stroll along the Seine River
- summer is the perfect time for a river cruise
- watch the world go by at a café terrace
4 days in Paris in winter
If you’re visiting Paris in the winter, you can still follow this itinerary with just a few modifications.
Skip the Tuileries Garden on the first day and the gardens of Versailles on the second day. In my Paris itinerary, you can find many options with which you can replace these sites. You just have to check the listed attractions after each day and choose according to your interests.
Also, winter is not a great time for a river cruise, but there are tens of Christmas markets! The biggest ones are at Notre Dame, Les Halles at Champs de Mars (more info and dates here).
How to save money on your 4-day Paris itinerary
As one of the most popular destinations in the world, there is no real low season. The city is packed with tourists at any time of the year. And the waiting lines are hours long in most of the cases.
The best way to save money and hours of waiting is the Paris Museum Pass. I used it for both my trips to Paris and it was a lifesaver.
The pass includes:
- free admission to over 50 museums and monuments
- skip-the-line access
- unlimited number of visits
- avoid buying separate tickets for the major sites
- river cruise (if you choose this option)
By using the pass (€84 for 4 days) you will save a minimum €13.50. I’ve done the math for you to show you how much you can save using the pass for four days.
Please note that if you want to use the skip-the-line access to the Louvre, you have to book a time slot entry after you collect the pass. You can do it online here.
Louvre Museums – €17
Triumphal Arch – €13
Versailles – €27
Sainte-Chapelle – €11.50
Orsay Museum – €14
River cruise – €15
Total without the pass – €97.50
Using the pass – €84
Total savings – €13.50
There are three major attractions, for which I strongly recommend buying tickets in advance.
Louvre Museum – 15,000 visitors per day (just imagine the lines), so book your skip-the-line ticket here.
Palace of Versailles – 27,000 visitors per day and there are two lines (one for tickets and one for security). I recommend not only to book tickets in advance here but also to get as early as you can (otherwise you’ll wait for hours).
Eiffel Tower – 19,000 visitors per day and tickets are timed entry. Plan your time ahead and book your tickets in advance here.
How many days in Paris
Are 4 days in Paris too much?
4 days is the perfect time to discover Paris if you’re visiting for the first time. You’ll need 3 days to visit the major attractions and 1 whole day for the Palace of Versailles. You’ll need one day for Versailles because this is a day trip from Paris (40min away by train). Plus, the gardens are vast, it will take you hours to explore them.
What if I don’t have 4 full days in Paris?
In this case, you can combine day 2 and day 4 from this Paris itinerary in one. Dedicate only half a day for Versailles (skip the Trianon and Queen’s Hamlet in the gardens). In the afternoon visit Sacré-Cœur Basilica and explore Montmartre.
3 or 4 days in Paris?
If you’re not into art, 3 days are enough for Paris. However, if you’re a museum person, I’d recommend you to dedicate 4 days. There are so many art museums to explore!
So my advice is, spend at least 4 days in Paris if you want to enjoy your time and not to rush through everything. In addition, beside Versailles, there are two stunning palaces you can visit on a day trip (see more info further in the post).
Best time to visit Paris
Paris is one of the most visited cities in Europe, so there is no real low season. However, the busiest months are June, July, August and February (around Saint Valentine’s Day).
The best time to visit Paris is the months of April, May, September and October. The weather is warm and you’ll probably need only a light jacket. Keep in mind to check for annual events and exhibitions before booking your trip (to avoid the high hotel prices).
If you are visiting Paris in July plan your trip around the middle of the month. The French national holiday (Bastille Day) is on 14 July. On this day the French celebrate the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution. The celebrations include a military parade on Champs-Élysées and spectacular fireworks on the background of the Eiffel Tower.
The first Saturday of October the White Night (Nuit Blanche) takes place. It is an evening art festival during which you can see free artistic installations and performances all over the city.
Of course, the Christmas season is not to be missed. It starts at the end of November when the Christmas lights are lit on Champs-Élysées. Visiting any of the Christmas markets will put you in the right Christmas mood.
Getting around in Paris
Find a map of this 4-day itinerary here.
The best way to get around the city is by using the metro or hop-on-hop-off buses. The city centre is big, so no matter where your hotel is, you’d probably use the metro 2-3 times a day.
During both trips, I used a carnet (a book of 10 single-use tickets, called t+ ticket). It’s cheaper than buying a separate ticket every time. The carnet is valid on the metro, bus, RER (zone 1) and even the Montmartre funicular. Also, one carnet can be used from more than one person.
How to get to Paris
There are several major train stations in Paris: Nord Station (Gare du Nord), East Station (Gare de l’Est), Lyon Station (Gare de Lyon), Austerlitz Station (Gare d’Austerlitz), Montparnasse Station (Gare Montparnasse) and Saint-Lazare Station (Gare Saint-Lazare). All of them are well-connected to the rest of the city by the metro. Check timetables and book train tickets online at SNCF official site.
The city has two main airports – Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airport.
The easiest way to get from either airport to the city centre is by booking a private transfer directly to your hotel. I love Welcome Pickups because they are always on time and very helpful.
If you’re arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport, you can also take the regional train (RER) to the city centre.
There are no direct trains from Orly Airport to the city centre. You have to take the shuttle bus, Orlybus.
For those travelling with lowcost airlines like RyanAir or WizzAir, you’ll be arriving at Beauvais–Tillé Airport. It’s a small airport, located 70 km north of Paris. There is a shuttle that connects the airport and Porte Maillot, in Paris (1h15min journey). Yet, keep in mind that the journey could be longer if there is a traffic jam.
Day trips from Paris
Palace of Fontainebleau
Château de Fontainebleau (Palace of Fontainebleau) is located 60km south of Paris. It’s a 16th-century palace, as sumptuous as Versailles but less crowded. Here on April 6, 1814, Napoleon I signed his first abdication.
How to get to the Palace of Fontainebleau
Take a train from Paris-Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon (40min journey). From there it’s about 30min walk to the palace. You can also take a bus (line 1).
Palace of Vaux le Vicomte
Vaux le Vicomte is a 17th-century Baroque palace, situated 50km southeast of Paris. The palace served as a residence of Nicolas Fouquet, the finance minister of the Sun King.
How to get to the Palace of Vaux le Vicomte
Take a direct train (Line P) in the direction of Provins from Gare de l’Est to Verneuil l’Etang station (40min journey). From there you have to take a shuttle bus to the palace.
Brussels is the charming capital city of Belgium. It’s a great destination for a long day trip from Paris. You can explore the historic centre of Brussels only in a day (see my Brussels itinerary for more details).
How to get to Brussels
Take a train from Gare du Nord to Brussel-Centraal (1h40min journey). Note that you have to change trains at Brussel-Zuid station. You can get off there, but it’s about 2km walk to the city centre of Brussels. Brussel-Centraal is closer to the historic part of the city.
If you’re visiting Paris in December, then Strasbourg is a must. This French city is known as the capital of Christmas and there is a good reason behind that. Find out why you should visit the Strasbourg Christmas Markets.
Yet, keep in mind that the journey is about 2h30min with high-speed train (TGV). So, it’s best to have an overnight stay. Check out my guide to where to stay in Strasbourg, France.
How to get to Strasbourg
Take a train from Gare de l’Est to Strasbourg Central train station. The historic city centre is just a short walk from there.