4 days in Paris: A complete travel itinerary

4 days in Paris: A complete travel itinerary

Paris is one of the most famous cities in the world and host for a countless number of tourists every year. Paris offers plenty of great restaurants, trendy districts, impressive monuments and beautiful sights – and you can easily spend 4 days here (or half a year like I did, you decide). Here’s my Paris trip itinerary to guide you through the city in 4 days. It’s a packed schedule that includes a lot of walking around. You can make it a bit more relaxed by erasing a few activities if you want to.

Day 1: All around the latin quarters

Before lunch: Île de la Cité, Latin Quarter and Jardin du Luxembourg

Begin your Paris trip by taking the metro to Île de la Cité (metro station Cité) – the heart of Paris. Prepare yourself for the touristy parts of the city, although so worth a visit! Near the metro station you’ll find a cute market, Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux, where they sell flowers, soaps, candles etc. If you are there on a Sunday you’ll get to meet the birds!

After strolling through the market, walk to the other side of the island and visit Place Dauphine, known as the “peaceful square” – and it really is! Even if the square is locsted in the center of Paris, it has a really quiet and tranquil atmosphere. Before you leave Île de la Cité: Don’t miss Notre Dame. More often than not there are a huge line of people waiting to get inside the cathedral. But it usually doesn’t take long, and it’s worth it! The cathedral is really beautiful, and takes my breath away everytime I’m inside.

Not a cathedral type of person? Then go directly across the bridge outside of Notre Dame to the Latin Quarter of Paris. Don’t miss the famous bouquinistes – they sell magazines, books, postcards and posters in the green boxes along Seine. Very Parisian, indeed. Now you are also very close to the one hundred year old bookshop Shakespeare & Company. It is really cute, and well worth a visit.

Right behind this bookshop is a cute little garden with Paris’ oldest tree. This is actually where I had classes in phonetics when I studied French. I could spot Notre Dame from the classroom window– not shabby at all!

If you need a rest you can stop for a café au lait at one of the many cafés around this area. If not, continue to Jardin du Luxembourg, the most popular garden in Paris. It is centered around Palais du Luxembourg, and contains both tennis and boule courses.

Before you head to my favorite area Saint-Germain-des-Prés for lunch, you might want to stop by Le Bon Marché – one of Paris’ most famous department stores, founded in 1838. I like this one better than both Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

 Read more: Top 18 favorite things to do in Paris

No it’s time for lunch. Let me suggest either Café de Flore, the really French café where it is said that both Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were regulars. Or go to Ralph Lauren’s beautiful restaurant Ralph’s. It’s a bit expensive but worth it just for the interior and luxurious experience. Book a table a few weeks before, and don’t forget to visit the bathroom. It’s really beautiful! Both of these restaurants are at Boulevard Saint-Germain.

➳ Read more: 11 great restaurants in Paris

After lunch: Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Now you’re in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, my favorite area of Paris – just because it’s so French. Spend the afternoon strolling around. Here are a lot of galleries to check out, and don’t miss the Ladurée and Kusmi tea shop. If you are more into art and museums, you are also close to Musée d’Orsay. This museum is located in an old railway station, and is really cool.

Hungry? Just across the street from the metro station Odéon you’ll find a cozy alley called Cours du Commerce Saint-André with several nice restaurants.

Day 2: The Louvre and Marais

Before lunch: The Louvre, Tuileries and Pont des Arts

I suggest you start your day with a bit of culture: Visit the Louvre – the most visited museum in the world. Even if Mona Lisa is really small, she’s worth to pay a visit. And if not for the art, then go for the beautiful building, which is a former royal residence.

Fun fact: An energetic Frenchman once told me that if you spend 5 seconds looking at all the paintings inside the Louvre, you would have to be there for 4 months.

After your museum visit, take a walk in Jardin des Tuileries. From this garden you can see straight to the Luxor Obelisk at Place de la Concorde, up Champs-Elysées and then Arc de Triomphe. It’s a really an amazing sight. While you’re in the area: Take a walk on Pont des Arts, the bridge that use to have all the padlocks. Even though the locks are removed (for safety reasons) the bridge is worth a visit. You will get a beautiful view of Île de la Cité and Notre Dame.

Now take the metro to St. Paul (the yellow line, no. 1). Now you’re in the heart of Marais. If you are hungry for lunch, go straight to L’as du Falafel. They are known to have the best falafel in Europe. It’s really delicious!

After lunch: Marais and Île Saint-Louis

Continue your day with a walk around the trendy area of Marais. Don’t miss Paris most romantic square: Place des Vosges. This is also where Victor Hugo lived. 

Then walk towards Seine and grab a café au lait at Café-Restaurant Louis Philippe. It’s one of my favorite cafés in Paris. Not because its cheap or have great service, but simply because it’s cute and authentic. After your pause, walk over one of the bridges to Île Saint-Louis. This area I like even more than Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Have an ice cream at one of the Berthillon oce cream shops (the salted caramel is heaven) and enjoy it in the afternoon sun along Seine.

Spend your evening as you like, preferably at one of Paris’ great restaurants. Maybe this is the evening you visit The Eiffel tower. During the evening, when it’s dark outside, the tower blinks every full hour. It’s magical every time!

Day 3: All around Montmartre 

Before lunch: Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur and Moulin Rouge

A thing you can’t miss when visiting Paris is Montmartre. Montmartre is a district in the 18 arrondissement in northern Paris, most famous for the basilica Sacré-Cœur and the many studios and artists. The district is located on a hill, and reachable by stairs (or the Montmartrobus, if you’re not into stairs!) Take the metro to Anvers and walk north, and you will easily spot the grand Sacré-Cœur basilica. Montmartre is located up on that hill, behind Sacré-Cœur. Take a walk in the area, see the many artists work on their paintings at Place du Tertre and explore Sacré-Cœur. When heading back, take a detour to Pigalle – the neighborhood where Moulin Rouge and many other picturesque spots are located.

Now it’s time for a picnic lunch in my favorite park Buttes-Chaumont. I suggest that you buy your picnic food from a market somewhere near you. On weekends many food markets pop up all around Paris. Take the metro to Colonel Fabien and walk to Buttes-Chaumont from there. Spend the afternoon with a picnic and a walk around the park.

➳ Read more: Top 18 favorite things to do in Paris

Day 4: The Eiffel Tower 

Before lunch: The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe

You can’t leave Paris without visiting The Eiffel Tower. Take the metro to Trocadero and follow the Eiffel Tower signs to get to the right exit. Now you reach Palais de Chaillot and have the Eiffel Tower just in front of you. Walk down to the tower, and if you like, have a picnic in Parc du Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower. To visit the top of the tower, you can buy tickets online, or at the counter for 25 EUR per ticket.

Tips! I would recommend you to visit the top of Arc de Triomphe instead. It’s cheaper + the Eiffel Tower becomes part of the view.

If you have the energy, walk 25 min towards Pont Alexandre III – the most beautiful bridge in Paris. It’s a nice walk along Seine. From there you can continue towards Avenue des Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe. Grab a lunch at one of the cafés on the way. Visiting the top of Arc de Triomphe will cost you 12 EUR.

After lunch: Shopping

…or window shopping. If you want regular shopping (with regular I mean clothes that people can actually afford) then go to Rue de Rivoli. The street is filled with stores all the way from metro station Louvre-Rivoli to Saint-Paul. Or why not visit the underground shopping center Forum des Halles. If you want to splurge in luxury I suggest you go to Rue Saint Honoré. This is the home of many designer labels, such as Saint-Laurent, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Lanvin and Hermès – and all of them are showcased in elegant store windows. A truly elegant experience.

Having more than 4 days?

There are a lot of things to do in Paris. See more of my favorite activities in my Top 18 things to do in Paris guide!

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