Planning your next trip to Paris? If so, I created the perfect 4 Day Itinerary for Paris, which includes the major attractions and museums to visit and helpful tips to make your trip as painless and fun as possible!
Paris is a beautiful and romantic city with popular sites that many of us have dreamed about. Although 4 days is nowhere near enough to fully explore the nooks and crannies of this majestic city, it’s enough to provide a taste. From beautiful walks along the Seine River and overlooking Paris from the top of Arc De Triomphe to eating fine French cuisine and delectable crepes, there is something for everyone in this magical city.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into the 4 Day Itinerary for Paris, which is ideal for families, couples and solo travelers.
PALACE OF VERSAILLES
The Palace of Versailles is an opulent castle located approximately 15 miles from central Paris. Originally the former royal residence of King Louis XIII, Louis XIV and many other members of the royal family, the Palace of Versailles was built to impress. With 350 living units, rooms full of classical French and Baroque artwork, the Hall of Mirrors, and a series of vast and beautiful gardens with gold fountains, it is a palace fit for kings and queens. From a hunting lodge and a political place of power to a renowned museum, the Palace of Versailles is rich in history.
When I first arrived at the Palace, I was immediately struck not only by the beauty and grandeur but also by the immense size. As one of the most popular attractions in Paris, there are always crowds of people, making it hard to get from one room to another. The lavish bedrooms were adorned artwork and I enjoyed learning about how the royals went about their daily lives.
After exploring the vast palace, go outside and explore the beautiful gardens. Since it is so large, walking can get very tiring so I recommend renting a golf cart or bike to get around so you can see more.
- The Palace of Versailles is notorious for long lines that can take hours to get in. In order to skip the long line, make sure to book your ticket on the official Chateau de Versailles website HERE.
- The ticket includes admission to the Palace of Versailles, The Grand Trianon Palace and the Gardens.
HOW TO GET THERE FROM PARIS
- Taxi/Uber/Lyft: This is the most convenient and fastest option since you can call the car from any location. The ride is approximately 30 minutes from central Paris but will be more expensive than taking a train.
- Train: I highly recommend getting a Navigo Decouverte Pass while in Paris because it will allow you to use Paris’ convenient public transport to get around the large city. Depending on where you are, go to the nearest metro station and take the train to the closest RER C station. Then, make sure you board the train going towards Versailles Chateau. Here is a great detailed guide on getting to Versailles by train.
ESCAPE TO THE GRAND TRIANON PALACE AND PETIT TRIANON
In 1670, King Louis XIV commissioned the Grand Trianon to be built so he could “escape” from the Palace of Versailles and all of its day-to-day political affairs. Made with the finest pink marble, the Grand Trianon is heavily influenced by Italian architecture and is flanked by an expansive garden and courtyard.
On the other hand, King Louis XVI presented Petit Trianon to his wife, Marie Antoinette. Petit Trianon became the place for her to get away from all the business and pomp at the Palace of Versailles.
Both palaces are exquisite and beautiful. If you are short on time, make sure to visit the gardens to get a glimpse before moving on to the next destination.
The Louvre Museum houses some of the most famous artwork and sculptures, and is considered to be the most visited museum in the world. Famous for its large pyramid structure, the Louvre is easily recognized in photos and travel magazines. Originally built in 1190 to serve as a fortress, the Louvre was reconstructed in the 1600s to become a royal palace. At a little over 600,000 square feet in size, it includes some of the top masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa, The Raft of the Medusa and Liberty Leading the People.
Due to the museum’s size, it is impossible to see everything in one day. Thus, it’s best to plan ahead by deciding which parts of the Louvre are a must visit for you! With millions of people visiting the museum daily, it’s also preferable to purchase your tickets before you arrive on the official Louvre website HERE.
Quite possibly the most iconic monument in Paris, the Eiffel tower was built in just 2 years (1887-1889), an incredible feat for that time. Simply walk around the Eiffel tower in the beautiful gardens or take a lift to the top of the tower. Visiting during the day and night are a must because it offers 2 totally different experiences. During the evening and at every hour on the hour, the Eiffel tower illuminates with dazzling lights for 5 minutes. It’s a beautiful and romantic sight to see in person.
Tips: At the Eiffel tower, you will find lots of “gypsies” trying to sell souvenirs, bottles of wine, stuffed animals and other goods. Make sure to keep your backpacks and purses closed and next to you at all times to prevent theft.
Get there early to enjoy smaller crowds and better picture opportunities.
Built in 1937, this beautiful green garden is adjacent to the Eiffel tower and is the perfect place for you to rest your feet and enjoy the beautiful views and friendly people. This is also one of the best places to get a picturesque photo of the Eiffel tower.
Cost: The Trocadero Gardens are free to visit.
JARDIN DES TUILERIES
Jardin Des Tuileries, also called the Tuileries Garden, is located within the Place De La Concorde and is located next to both the Louvre Museum and Musee de L’Orangerie. This is a beautiful park in the heart of the city that features quaint cafes, tidy gardens and an octagonal pond, where many people congregate and relax.
PLACE DE LA CONCORDE
Place de La Concorde is a plaza located at the end of Champs Elysees. The plaza is the largest square in Paris and is most famous for its 3,300 year old Egyptian obelisk.
NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL
Notre Dame Cathedral, which lies at the end of Ile de la Cite, is the most famous gothic cathedral due to its size and incredible architecture. Easily recognized for its two tall towers, rose glass and intricate Gothic carvings, Notre Dame is one of the most popular tourist spots in Paris.
In 2019, restoration efforts were underway when the cathedral’s attic caught on fire, destroying most of the roof and causing irreversible damage. As a result of the fire, Notre Dame Cathedral is temporarily closed until construction is complete. According to President Macron, he expects the historians and architects to rebuild the Cathedral even more beautifully by 2024.
Also situated in Ile de la Cite and just a short walk from Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle is a chapel famous for its gothic stained glass window artwork. Built in the 13th century, the chapel has two floors. The first floor features remarkable sculptures, whereas the second floor is where you can find the authentic and mesmerizing stained glass.
WATCH THE SUNSET FROM THE TOP OF ARC DE TRIOMPHE
In 1806, Napolean, the French emperor, ordered the construction of the Arc De Triomphe to honor the French army. During that time, the French army had conquered most of Europe. As a result, Napolean wanted the soldiers to march home victoriously underneath the Arc of Triomphe. Located at the end of Champs Elysees, Arc De Triomphe is the largest arch in the entire world. The names of all 128 battles fought during Napolean’s reign are inscribed in the white marble walls.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the Arc de Triomphe is climbing to the very top, where you can get an amazing view of Paris and the Eiffel tower. Situated in the middle of a busy roundabout, the only way to get there is via an underpass. Once you arrive at the entrance, simply show your ticket to the attendant and then climb approximately 300 steps up a winding staircase. For only $14 USD a ticket, you get to skip the line and gain direct access to the breathtaking, panoramic views. Purchase your tickets online HERE.
Originally known as Gare D’Orsay train station, it was transformed into an art museum known today as Musee D’Orsay due to electrical issues and problematic short platforms. Unlike the Louvre, you can easily see the whole museum within a few hours due to its smaller size. Well known for its collection of impressionist art, there can be big crowds and long lines so try and get there first thing in the morning.
Tip: Due to the longer lines, it’s preferable to purchase tickets online HERE.
Located in the 8th arrondissement and near Champs Elysees, the Grand Palais is a Parisian historical site and museum. Known for its beautiful glass dome ceiling and intricate architecture, there is something for everyone. In addition, the Grand Palais hosts equestrian events and fashion shows year round.
WALK ON PONT ALEXANDRE III BRIDGE
Pont Alexandre III is quite possibly the most beautiful and iconic bridge in Paris. Just a short 5 minute walk from the Grand Palais, you can get sweeping views of the Seine river, Parisian buildings and the famous tower. It’s no wonder so many people like to take pictures here. It really is spectacular!
SHOP AT CHAMPS ELYSEES
The world famous Champs Elysees is a must visit attraction. From luxurious stores such as Longchamp, Tiffany & Co. and Hermes to delectable restaurants that serve mouth watering French food and authentic macaroons, there is something for everyone.
Tip: To get an even fuller experience of Champs Elysees, you can walk on the streets on the first Sunday of the month because cars are banned.
LOUIS VUITTON FOUNDATION
What exactly is the Louis Vuitton foundation? If you’re thinking luxurious handbags and fashion shows, you’re wrong!
The foundation actually is a contemporary museum featuring modern art. Inaugurated on October 2014, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is fairly new and has a unique architecture displaying massive glass panels with an overall futuristic vibe. Since the glass panels are reflective, both the outside and inside are constantly changing to, depending on the time of day and how bright it is.
Cost: 9 Euros
BOIS DE BOULOGNE
Once you finish exploring the foundation, take a relaxing stroll at Bois de Boulogne. Twice as large as Central Park in New York City, Bois de Boulogne is a a beautiful public park with a large lake. While here, you can rent a boat, walk around, picnic while watching the singing birds, or just sit and relax. Although it is beautiful throughout the year, fall is possibly the most spectacular because of the colorful leaves.
BASILIQUE DU SACRE COEUR
Basilique du Sacre Coeur was built in 1919 and is one of the most iconic Roman Catholic Churches in all of Paris and offers sweeping views of Montmartre. Sitting on top of a hill, it is considered to be the highest point in Paris! As you can probably imagine, there are lots of hills and stairs to get to the Basilica. However, once you reach the top, the views are worth all the sweat. Going inside Basilique du Sacre Coeur is free for all.
I recommend going here first to avoid the crowds and so you have sufficient time to explore the rest of Montmartre.
GET LOST IN THE CITY
After Basilique du Sacre Coeur, go and explore the rest of beautiful Montmartre, a city that is considered to be the most romantic and authentic part of Paris.
Here, you can shop at the quaint antique stores, eat French cuisine, or immerse yourself with art.
Here are some of the top things to do in Montmartre:
- Musee de Montmartre: Discover all the authentic art at Montmartre’s very own museum.
- Montmartre Cemetery: You’re probably thinking…who would want to visit a cemetery? Although somewhat depressing, some very famous artists rest here and it’s a fantastic way to learn about the cultural history of this city.
- Musee de la Vie Romantique: Another fantastic museum featuring love and romance.
- Place Du Tertre: Place du Tertre is a charming little cobblestone square where artists frequent and paint. Here, you can find a plethora of antique shops to get souvenirs and postcards for friends and family back home.
- Le Mur des Je t’aime: Le Mur des Je t’aime stands for “I Love You Wall.” Calligraphist Frederic Baron and artist Claire Kito created this mural in 2000. The phrase “I Love You” is spelled out 311 times in 250 different languages.
- La Maison Rose: Also known as the Pink House, La Maison Rose is nestled in the heart of one of Montmartre’s winding cobblestoned roads. Featured in many travel magazines and pictures (also pictured above), La Mison Rose is quite possibly the most photographed building. This quaint cafe, which has been serving coffee for over 100 years, was commonly frequented by well respected artists and writers such as Pablo Picasso, Albert Camus and Maurice Ultrillo.
Last but not least, your Paris trip is not complete without a visit to Moulin Rouge. Founded in 1889, Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler envisioned Moulin Rouge to be a center for entertainment located at the bottom part of Montmartre. As one of the most famous cabarets in the world and known for its dance performances, music shows and night parties, Moulin Rouge offers a variety of exciting events for everyone. It is easily recognized in photographs with its large red windmill.
Catch one of the famous Moulin Rouge shows where you will see high kicking performers in extravagant clothing, while drinking some sparkling champagne. It will be an exciting night that you won’t forget.
Whether you choose to stay for 4 or 8 days, Paris has something for everyone, whether you enjoy food, art, nature, or shopping. It truly is a magical city with so much to do! In my opinion, 4 days is just the perfect amount of time to get a taste of the city; however, if you can spend more time in the city, I highly recommend it! I know people who have lived in Paris in months, and they feel like they haven’t seen everything.
Thank you so much for reading and I truly hope you enjoyed reading the 4 Day Itinerary. Let me know in the comments below which place you are most excited to visit.