4 days in Paris itinerary – a detailed travel guide to what to do in Paris in 4 days (for first-time visitors).
Paris is one of the most popular destinations in the world. It’s a city of romance, light and history. No matter if you look for art, shopping, fine dining or history, the city has it all. It’s a stunningly beautiful place with a magical atmosphere.
How many days in Paris
When you plan your dream trip to France, there is one big question to answer – how many days should I spend in Paris? Are 4 days in Paris enough?
The perfect amount of time to see Paris is four days – 3 days to visit the major attractions and 1 whole day for Versailles. The gardens of Versailles are vast, it will take you hours to explore them. If you plan any day trips, add another day or two.
To save time and discover easily the city’s sights use the hop-on-hop-off buses.
How much time I spent in Paris
My first trip was for 3 days. All I can say that three days is not enough time to see and enjoy the City of Lights. Although I had a detailed itinerary and used the Museum Pass to skip all the queues, I couldn’t see everything I wanted. At least I had a reason to come back, as I did a few years ago. My second trip was devoted to museums and day trips.
So my advice is, spend at least 4 days in Paris if you want to enjoy your time and not to rush through everything.
It’s a very charming 3-star hotel, conveniently located to a metro station.
Hotel Parc Saint Severin – Best for families
Located close to Île de la Cité, the hotel is the perfect base to explore the city.
9.2/10 Rating – See hotel images and 520+ guest reviews
Cler Hotel – Best for couples
A charming hotel, just a few steps away from the Eiffel Tower.
8.9/10 Rating – See hotel images and 810+ guest reviews
Apartments Du Louvre
Modern apartments in a quiet street, right next to the Louvre Museum.
9.0/10 Rating – See apartment images and 720+ guest reviews
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 by Paris Museum Pass. I used it twice 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
By using the pass (€67 for 4 days) you will save minimum €23. I’ve done the math for you to show you how much you can save using the pass for four days.
Louvre Museums – €17
Triumphal Arch – €12
Versailles – €27
Notre-Dame Cathedral Towers – €10
Sainte-Chapelle – €10
Orsay Museum – €14
Total without the pass – €90
With the pass – €67
Total savings – €23
4 Days in Paris itinerary
What is the best way to see Paris in 4 days? 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 to 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 itinerary here.
I would recommend grouping your site-seeing like this:
Day 1: Louvre Museum, Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde, Bridge Alexandre III, Triumphal Arch
Day 2: Palace and Gardens of Versailles
Day 3: Notre Dame Cathedral, Holy Chapel, Luxembourg Palace, Eiffel Tower
Day 4: Seine River cruise, Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Moulin Rouge
Day 1 – The Right Bank (Rive Droite)
Morning – Louvre Museum
08:10 AM – 09:00 AM
Start the first day of the 4 days in Paris itinerary with breakfast at Matamata Coffee Bar or BO&MIE. Choose the BO&MIE bakery for a quick breakfast.
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 a 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.
Afternoon – Champs-Élysées
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.
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.
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.
If you are visiting in the high season, better buy a Triumphal Arch ticket in advance.
Try some delicious French cuisine at Chez Gabrielle or Le Bistrot d’Yves.
Wondering why Paris is called the City of Lights?
Day 2 – Versailles
Morning – Visit the 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.
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.
And 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.
You can explore the palace with an audio guide or book a guided tour of Versailles. The latter also includes a fast track entry to the 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.
Afternoon – Explore the gardens of Versailles
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 fountains 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 – The Left Bank (Rive Gauche)
Morning – Île de la Cité
08:00 AM – 08:30 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.
Notre Dame Cathedral
08:30 AM – 10:30 AM (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.
You can climb the 390 steps to the top of the South Tower. The entrance to the tower is located outside of the cathedral on Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame. Go early or use this app if you don’t want to lose time waiting in line.
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.
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM
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.
Buy a ticket in advance for Sainte-Chapelle, too. It is one of the sites with huge waiting lines.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Have lunch at La Cuisine de Philippe or Hebe.
Afternoon – Eiffel Tower
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.
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).
How to visit the Eiffel Tower?
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 Cappiello.
Day 4 – Montmartre
Morning – Attraction of your choice
09:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Visit an attraction of your choice 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.
Other popular attractions are – Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, Paris catacombs and Père Lachaise Cemetery. Find out more ideas on how to spend the morning at the end of the article.
12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Have a lunch at Le Cabanon de la Butte or La Boîte aux Lettres.
Afternoon – Montmartre
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.
What to do in Paris in 4 days – more ideas
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.
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.
Palais Garnier is the largest opera house in Europe. Learn more about its extravagant design by exploring the Palais Garnier on a guided tour.
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.
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.
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 was already about 30 people. And this was in late October.
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.
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”.
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 are an impressionism lover
Orsay Museum (Musée d’Orsay) is a must. The museum houses impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces dating from 1848-1914. The museum itself occupies the former railway station Gare d’Orsay.
It is better to buy an Orsay Museum ticket in advance.
If you are a huge fan of Claude Monet
Visit Orangerie Museum (Musée de l’Orangerie). It 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.
Marmottan Monet Museum
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.
Getting around Paris
During my both trips I used a carnet (a book of 10 single-use tickets). 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.
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 is your hotel, you’d probably use the metro 2-3 times a day.
Find more self-guided walking tours and historical insights in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Paris.
Visitors often combine Paris with:
- Brussels – the charming capital city of Belgium is only 1h 30m away with train. Get the best experience with this Brussels itinerary.
- London – the capital city of England is one of the most popular cities in Europe. And it’s only 2h 20m by train. It’s a little long journey for a day trip, so better spend at least one night in London. Plus, there is so much to see! Check out the best hotels in London.
- Strasbourg – if you’re visiting Paris in December, then Strasbourg is a must (2h 30min journey). 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.
If you’re planning to rent a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.