Paris is one of the most enchanting cities in the world with its world class art, incredible French wine and food, and beautiful streets and neighborhoods that you could spend days exploring. Because there’s so much to see and do in the city, it can oftentimes feel overwhelming if it’s your first visit. You might be wondering, how long should you visit Paris, what to prioritize during your stay to ensure that you’ve seen the best that Paris has to offer, or even what’s the best time of the year to visit Paris? (By the way, I’m partial to visiting in the winter).
I believe that the best of Paris can be seen in four days, while still taking time to slow down and enjoy long walks along the Seine and strolling through world class museums. This guide will show you exactly how to spend 4 days in Paris.
The Ultimate Guide to Spending 4 Days in Paris
If you’re planning out how to spend four days in Paris, you may be wondering how to get around, simple safety tips, and even what the restaurant etiquette is in France. If so, make sure to read The Ultimate Paris Travel Guide for useful information you should know about the city.
PARIS 4 DAY ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS; EXPLORING…
- Latin Quarter
- Le Marais
- Le Septième
If you’re able to spend more than 4 days in Paris, I suggest taking a day trip to Versailles! Read why – From Paris: A Day Trip to Versailles
Where to Stay in Paris
There are 20 different arrondissements (neighborhoods) in Paris, each offering something unique and special. I believe that staying in Le Marais, the 4th arrondissement, is the best choice due to location and amount of things to see and do in the area. However, if Le Marais isn’t for you, I recommend mapping out a few places that you’re planning to visit and choosing where to stay based on what your top highlights are.
If you do choose to stay in Le Marais, I stayed at Hôtel 9Confidentiel and would confidently recommend it. My stay was affordable, the staff were incredible friendly and helpful, and while the rooms were small, you truly couldn’t beat the location.
Day 1 – Exploring Montmartre
On your first day in Paris, head to one of the cutest neighborhoods of all – Montmartre. Montmartre is in the 18th arrondissement, in Northern Paris. The neighborhood sits up high on a hill where you can see Paris below you. Montmartre is well-known for the Sacré-Cœur, a place where artists used to live and create (think Picasso, Van Gogh, etc), and for being the birthplace of cabaret. You could easily spend an entire day here getting to know the neighborhood, exploring the narrow cobblestone streets, and people watching from quaint outdoor cafes.
For a full guide to Montmartre and how to spend your day from morning to evening, make sure to read How to Spend a Day in Montmartre
Day 2 – Exploring Le Marais & Latin Quarter
Both Le Marais and the Latin Quarter are in Central Paris and both have a young, hip, and fresh feel. Le Marais is well-known for its nightlife and great restaurant scene, and the Latin Quarter is known for its student life and also for having a great “foodie” area where you can get cheap food on the fly.
Start your day in Le Marais visiting some of the well-known museums in the area. I recommend starting early at Musée Carnavalet, a museum dedicated to the history of Paris. As you walk through the different rooms in the museum you’ll see replicas of famous buildings in Paris and be taken through different rooms that showcase Paris in the earlier years. After finishing at Carnavalet, head to Musée Picasso where you can see Picasso’s work on display along with Auguste Rodin.
After you’ve finished at the museums, head to Les Marche des Enfants Rouge, the oldest food market in Paris since the 1600s. The covered market has food stalls to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, flower shops, and also has some pretty incredible restaurants and wine shops. You could spend at least an afternoon here, sitting down at different outdoor restaurants and ordering a couple of dishes from each restaurants menu (which I highly recommend). Just make sure to finish with a cheese plate and bottle of wine from Bibo Vino.
If you spent a long time at the museums and you’re in more of a hurry, I suggest heading to L’As du Fallafel for quick and easy Israeli cuisine.
Once you’re done with lunch, head towards the Latin Quarter, stopping at Sainte-Chapelle and the Notre Dame Cathedral first. Sainte-Chapelle is an incredible gothic style church that has ornate stained-glass windows depicting the life and death of Jesus. It’s truly breathtaking and well worth seeing. Near Sainte-Chapelle you’ll also find Notre Dame, which at time of writing is unfortunately still closed to renovations from the fire in 2019. However, I still recommend walking by and viewing this grand cathedral from the outside.
After crossing the bank, before getting to the heart of Latin Quarter, head to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This bookstore is a Parisian staple, having been around since 1951. There is also a bed inside where aspiring writers can spend the night for free in exchange for helping out around the store.
After leaving the bookstore, head to Latin Quarter where you can find another cute bookstore called The Abbey Bookshop. On the way to The Abbey you’ll pass a Roman-Catholic Church, Église Saint-Séverin, which I recommend stopping in. Entrance is free and the church isn’t as touristy as Sainte-Chapelle if you want to take a look around. After you’ve seen some of the sights, make your way towards Rue Saint-Séverin where it intersects with Rue de la Harpe and Rue Xavier Privas. This is where you’ll find a lively area dedicated to souvenir shops, cheap eateries, and pubs.
When night falls head back to Le Marais to get a taste of the restaurant scene and nightlife scene. Make sure to read this guide to discover the best bars and restaurants in Le Marais.
Day 3 – Exploring Museums & Saint-Germain
Your third day in Paris, spend time in the famous museums like the Louvre, d’Orsay, and Orangerie before making your way towards Saint-Germain for dinner. You’ll want to start early on this day to avoid long lines and to make sure you have enough time to spend in each museum. You might find it useful to purchase a museum pass if you plan to tour multiple museums. Tickets can be bought at the airport or tourist stands around the city. For a small fee, the museum pass allows you into all of the National museums free of entry.
I recommend starting your day at the Louvre, which opens at 9am Wednesday-Monday and is closed on Tuesdays. The Louvre is most famous for housing the Mona Lisa, but also holds many other fantastic pieces of historic art. Before getting in line (I would recommend arriving at 8:30am to ensure you’re one of the first in line), stop at the boulangerie Eric Kayser, located outside of the Louvre for croissants and fresh baked bread.
After leaving the Louvre, walk across the Tuileries garden to the Musée de l’Orangerie. This museum is most famous for having huge displays of Monet’s Water Lilies and other famous impressionist pieces. Next, you’ll want to cross the Seine, heading to Musée d’Orsay which holds many Vincent Van Gogh paintings including Starry Nights. Musée d’Orsay was one of my favorite museums of the three and I wouldn’t recommend skipping it. (If visiting three museums is too much for you, I would recommend skipping Musée de l’Orangerie). If you’re needing a break between visiting l’Orangerie and d’Orsay, there’s an incredible tea and pastry shop called Angelina’s that’s close by on the other side of Jardin des Tuileries.
Once you’ve finished admiring the art at Musée d’Orsay, I suggest making your way into the heart of Paris’s Saint-Germain district. If you’re feeling up to it, there’s a great sculptural museum in Saint-Germain dedicated to the work of Auguste Rodin – the Rodin Museum. Although the day has been heavy on museums, I wouldn’t suggest missing this museum; in my opinion it’s one of the more underrated museums in Paris. (If you are feeling tired of visiting museums I suggest visiting the Rodin Museum on day four before visiting the Eiffel Tower).
Saint-Germain is Paris’s 6th arrondissement and is one of the more majestic and beautiful areas of Paris. It’s the perfect area to stop for wine at an outdoor cafe while people watching and reading a book, generally just slowing down and taking your time. When it’s time for dinner, you can choose between a more sophisticated French experience, by heading to Café de Flore. Or if you’re wanting a more lively and upbeat restaurant head to L’Avant Comptoir du Marche, a fun Spanish-French fusion tapas restaurant where the menu is strictly in French which makes for an interesting experience!
Day 4 – Exploring Le Septième and Seeing Cabaret
On your last day in Paris, I recommend splurging a little bit. Start by exploring Le Septième, see a world famous cabaret show, and even indulge in cocktails at Bar Hemingway.
Start your day in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, Le Septième, located on the west side of the city. This is where the Eiffel Tower is located (because you can’t come to Paris and not get a close up of the Eiffel Tower, right?). While I think that it’s well worth it to see this beauty up close, I don’t think you need much time in the area as its pretty touristy and expensive. You can choose to go up the Eiffel Tower for sweeping views over Paris, but instead, I recommend grabbing a picnic spread and lounging on the Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower. Walk down Rue Cler street to pick up goods from the market or stop in at separate shops for wine, meat, and cheese. There are three shops close to the Eiffel Tower that would be good for a picnic. You can find a meat shop – Le Bourdonnec, a wine shop – Les Petites Domaine, and a cheese shop – Fromagerie de Grenelle, all right next to each other on Rue de Grenelle.
After you’ve spent your day in Le Septième, I recommend stopping for upscale cocktails and dinner before seeing a cabaret show at Crazy Horse. Head to one of the most famous bars in Paris, Bar Hemingway, for a cocktail (this bar is very expensive but in my opinion, it’s worth it for one drink). Follow your cocktails with dinner at the Asian restaurant, Buddha-Bar. I didn’t personally eat here, but I have heard people rave about it. To cap off your night and your 4 days in Paris, see a world famous cabaret show at Crazy Horse.
Paris is incredible and you could truly spend weeks getting to know the streets, cafes, and wine shops in the city. While most people don’t have weeks to spend exploring Paris, 4 days in Paris should give you a good taste of what the city is about, while seeing the major highlights and being able to venture off the beaten path.
If you’re looking for more Paris recommendations, make sure to head to my Instagram page/highlight reel and search “#ppinfrance” or under my highlights, “France”