4 Days in Paris: A Comprehensive 4 Day Paris Itinerary for First Time Visitors
Spending 4 days in Paris for the first time and wondering how to organize your Paris itinerary? This super comprehensive 4 day Paris itinerary shows you not only the best things to do but also practical travel information like where to stay and how to get around Paris.
Some people love Paris whereas others hate Paris, but for me, I always enjoyed visiting Paris. In fact, Paris surprises me every time I visit. I always manage to find something new to experience.
There is something for everyone in Paris, whether you are an art lover, history buff, shopaholic, or an Instagram model. People come to Paris to do all sorts of things, to propose, to take engagement photos, to celebrate anniversaries, to do bachelor or bachelorette parties, to do mother-daughter trips, and many many more.
This 4 day Paris itinerary is perfect for a first time visitor and will give you a good idea of what you can do and see in Paris and how to best fit everything in four days. You will also find practical Paris travel information, such as how to get around, where to stay, and what scams to look out for.
This blog contains occasional affiliate links, where I receive a small commission on sales of the products/hotels that are linked at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
How Paris is Organized by Districts
Paris is actually pretty easy to navigate if you understand how the city is organized. There are 20 Arrondissements (districts) in Paris. Each of these arrondissements has their own unique atmosphere and landmarks. Some of the most famous landmarks of Paris fall under these districts:
Eiffel Tower: 7th arrondissement
The Louvre: 1st arrondissement
Palace Royal: 1st arrondissement
Musée d’Orsay: 7th arrondissement
Notre Dame: 4th arrondissement
Sacred Heart (Sacré-Coeur): 18th arrondissement
Moulin Rouge: 18th arrondissement
Galeries Lafayette: 9th arrondissement
Arc de Triomph: 8th arrondissement
For efficiency purposes I will organize this 4 day Paris itinerary by arrondissement and group things together to make it walkable. However feel free to skip items I suggest since I like to pack my itineraries. Most of the places I recommend are quite popular and well known so expect crowds!
How to Get Around Paris for 4 Days
Once you understand how Paris is laid out it is quite easy to navigate around Paris.
Walking Around Paris
Walking is honestly the easiest and best way to see Paris. Most places you would want to visit in Paris are between a 20 to 50 minute walk. During my last trip to Paris I literally walked around everywhere (even though it took 45 min each way) but I am so glad I did!
I walked by some cool neighborhoods, streets and restaurants that I would not have found otherwise. If it’s a nice day and you have a lot of time I do encourage you walk from place to place to really see Paris.
Metro (Subway)/ Bus in Paris
Paris has a very comprehensive public transportation system. There is the subway and there is the RER trains that go outside of the city (to the airports, Versailles, etc).
To take the subway you can buy individual tickets called t+ ticket (costs 2,15 €). There are ticket vending machines at each metro station or you can always ask the people at ticket booths. Alternatively, you can by contactless t+ tickets using the Navigo Easy Pass or the Bonjour RATP app.
There are also a few types of metro passes in Paris that you can buy depending on which day you arrive and how long you are planning to spend in Paris.
Paris Metro Passes
Honestly speaking, I’m not sure if it’s worth it to buy the metro passes especially if you plan to walk around based on my itinerary. Most of the places to visit in Paris are grouped together based on location in my 4 day Paris itinerary so it minimizes the need to take public transit.
What I found interesting about Parisian metro is that some of the trains are older and the metro door is not automated. This means when the subway arrives at a station you need to manually open the metro door.
People are pretty aggressive at opening doors; many times I saw people start trying to open the metro door before the metro has fully slowed down. I have not seen this anywhere else in the world (reference point include NYC, London, Hong Kong, Barcelona, China) so it was interesting and intriguing to me.
Biking in Paris
You can download an app to help you find the nearest Vélib station.
Ride Share and Taxis in Paris
I used Uber a lot when I was in Paris, but I have been hearing stories of Uber drivers canceling on rides these days.
So instead of Uber, consider using G7 app instead. G7 App is the official Parisian taxis and it is very reliable and about the same price as Uber.
General Paris Pre-Travel Information For First Time Visitors
4 Day Paris Itinerary: An Overview
Let’s get into the actual Paris itinerary. I’m briefly outlining the 4 Day Paris itinerary by arrondissements but will go into more detail.
For your convenience I’ve also color coded the pins on Google Maps so it’s easy to see what you can do on each day. The red pins are restaurants and cafes I recommend although some can be touristy.
Day 1 in Paris: 1st Arr. & 6th Arr. (St. Germain) (Black pins)
Day 2 in Paris: 7th Arr. & 8th Arr (Orange pins)
Day 3 in Paris: 9th Arr. & 18th Arr. (Montmartre) & Le Marais (Purple pins)
Day 4 in Paris: Explore Île de la Cité and Day Trip to Versailles Palace (Yellow Pins)
4 Days in Paris: Detailed Paris Four Day Itinerary For First Timers
Day 1 of 4 Day Paris Itinerary: 1st Arr. & 6th Arr. (Black pins)
Highlights of Day 1 in Paris: Palais Royal, Musée d’Orsay, Rue de Buci, Pantheon, Luxembourg Gardens, Montparnasse Towers, Louvre
This Paris itinerary assumes you have pretty much a full day starting Day 1 in Paris. If not, just pick the most interesting thing from Day 1 itinerary.
If you are visiting Paris on a Friday, then follow the order of this Paris Day 1 Itinerary because the Louvre is open till late on Friday.
If you are visiting Paris on a Thursday, then reverse the itinerary and visit the Louvre first because Musée d’Orsay is open till late on Thursday.
If you are visiting Paris on a Monday or Tuesday then swap with another day because of the museums closing time.
Palais Royal is a former royal palace and garden located in the 1st Arr. across from the Louvre. I recommend visiting Palais Royal early in the morning when most people are focusing on the Louvre.
Some of the best photograph spots at Palais Royal include the the black and white columned courtyard called Cour d’Honneur and the Jardin du Palais Royal, the garden featured in Mission Impossible Fallout where Ethan met up with Ilsa.
I recommend skipping the Louvre (if Wednesday and Friday) and head directly to Musée d’Orsay across the river. It’s a 16 minute walk from Palais Royal so not far at all!
Musée d’Orsay is actually one of my favorite museums in the world because it’s not as overwhelming as the Louvre and I actually recognize some of the art pieces on display at the Orsay. So if this is your first time in Paris, you absolutely should stop by.
Housed within a former railway station on the Left Bank of the Seine, Musée d’Orsay has a vast collection encompasses masterpieces from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, featuring works by iconic artists like Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas.
In addition, Musée d’Orsay boasts an extensive array of sculptures, decorative arts, and photography, providing a comprehensive overview of the diverse artistic currents that shaped the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Because of the large number of art pieces, the museum has multiple floors you can explore. I recommend that you head directly upstairs to the top floor of Musée d’Orsay first to get a photo with the big clock before going downstairs to explore. When I went there first thing in the morning nobody was up there.
Explore St. Germain
After Musée d’Orsay, slowly make your way into St. Germain, one of the cutest areas in Paris for some late breakfast and coffee. One of my favorite things to do in Paris is actually to chill at a cafe and people watch. The good news is that St. Germain has a ton of those.
St. Germain is one of the most charming and “Parisian” neighborhoods in Paris. Located in the 6th Arr. St. Germain Des Pres is a chic neighborhood with galleries, high end shops, designer boutiques, museums, restaurants and cafes. Named after the oldest church in Paris, St. Germain is not a cheap area to stay in but it is a cute place to walk around.
I particularly recommend Rue de Buci, one of the most charming streets in St. Germain with tons of cafes and restaurants.
The famous Café de Flore is also located in St. Germain, not too far from Rue de Buci. Café de Flore is known to be the hub for famous writers and philosophers but now it’s more of a touristy spot. I can’t recommend the food there since I didn’t eat there, but it’s always a thing to grab a photo in front!
Another famous cafe in St. Germain is Les Deux Magots, also frequented by writers and other French intellectuals back in the days. There is also a really famous ramen place in St. Germain called Kodawari Ramen. When I accidentally walked by it the line was at least an hour out of the door, so you know it’s good.
About a 15 minute walk from Rue de Buci is the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter. Originally built as a church, Pantheon is now a mausoleum. It was originally built to rival St. Peter’s Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, so you can imagine how beautiful and grand the Pantheon in Paris must be.
The Pantheon is open every day from 10am to 6pm except on New Year’s Day, May 1, Christmas day and the morning of June 17th. There is a fee to get in but it is well worth visiting in my opinion.
The Luxembourg Gardens near the Pantheon is on the border of St. Germain and the Latin Quarter. It was inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence and was created in the early 17th century for the widow of King Henry IV.
Luxembourg Gardens covers 25 hectares of land and the focal point of the garden is the Palais du Luxembourg, the seat of the French Senate. Other things to do at Luxembourg Gardens include taking a stroll, admiring the sculptures scattered through the grounds, reading a book and people watching.
Another must-see place in Luxembourg Gardens is the Medici Fountain, a small but beautiful fountain that is especially stunning in the summer and fall. There are a number of flower vases decorating the fountain, making it one of the best photo spots at Luxembourg Gardens.
Most people visiting Paris for the first time may not have heard of Montparnasse Tower and to be honest I only found out about it during my 4th visit to Paris. It’s not located in a very touristy area and there really is nothing special about this tower from the outside.
There is an observation deck on Montparnasse Tower and it is one of the best places to see the Eiffel Tower especially during sunset and at night. I find the view of the Eiffel Tower rather small from both the top of Arc de Triomphe and Sacred Heart (more on those later) in comparison.
Last but not least, the Louvre Museum! I left the Louvre to last if you are visiting on Friday since it’s open till 9:45pm. This is when it’s a lot quieter than visiting the Louvre during the day.
In addition, one of my favorite places in Paris is to visit the Louvre at night because the pyramid lights up and there is always someone playing the violin under the walkway leading to the Pyramid. While most first time Paris visitors go to the Louvre during the day, I think evening is the best time to see the Louvre.
Housed within the iconic Louvre Palace, the Louvre Museum is the largest (and probably the most famous) museum in the world, featuring over 35,000 works of art.
You probably already know some of the most famous art pieces housed at the Louvre, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (which is quite small in person), the Venus de Milo sculpture, the colossal Winged Victory of Samothrace, the regal Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David, and the opulent apartments of Napoleon III.
The Louvre also has an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, ancient Egyptian mummies, artifacts from Mesopotamia, art works from the Islamic world, etc. The Louvre is so big you can literally spend all day in it. But if you only have a few hours, I suggest that you grab a map, prioritize what you want to see, and head straight there.
Pro Tip: There is an entrance to the Louvre underground that is much faster than trying to enter from the main entrance of the Pyramid.
Day 2 of 4 Day Paris itinerary: 7th Arr. & 8th Arr (Orange pins)
Highlights of Day 2 in Paris: Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, Rue Cler, Invalides for Napoleon’s tomb, Pont Alexandre III, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe
The Trocadero is a garden and public space on the opposite side of the Eiffel Tower across from the Seine in Paris and is perhaps the best place to photograph the Eiffel Tower. It directly overlooks the Eiffel tower and is featured in Mission Impossible Fallout once again.
Many couples go to the Trocadero at sunrise for engagement photos and it is also where Instagrammer go to take some of the best shots of the Eiffel Tower. This is why I suggest you go to the Trocadero first thing in the morning before visiting the actual Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel)
Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris and perhaps the most visited attraction in Paris. If this is your first time in Paris, you definitely need to add Eiffel Tower to your 4 day Paris itinerary.
Eiffel Tower was designed for the 1889 World Fair in Paris and has now become a recognizable symbol globally. It was built to show off France’s industrial prowess and supposed to be torn down after 20 years, but clearly that never happened.
There are restaurants in the Eiffel Tower as well as a champagne bar on top. The Eiffel Tower also turns on its lights at night and the lights sparkle for 5 minutes every hour.
Champ de Mars
Right under the Eiffel Tower is Champ de Mars, a massive public green space in Paris. People often picnic here while enjoying the view of the Eiffel Tower. There are also concerts and marathons held at Champ de Mars.
You can have a picnic here if you brought a sandwich from nearby, or simply enjoy the view and the green space to take a break.
Not far from Champ de Mars is perhaps Paris’ most famous market on Rue Cler. Parisians shop at Rue Cler for fresh produce and local food products.
The street is lined with local shops, cafes and bakeries. It is only 1-2 blocks long and some shops are closed from 1-3pm. If you are already in the area you can stop by, but don’t need to go out of your way for it.
There are a few other streets that intersect with Rue Cler are also quite cute. I also recommend a few other cute streets in Paris such as Rue de Buci in St. Germain and Rue Montorgueil in Le Marais.
Musée de l’Armée des Invalides (Army Museum) [Optional]
Even if you don’t go inside the Army Museum, you should definitely spend some time checking out the surrounding area.
You will immediately notice the beautiful Hôtel des Invalides. Originally commissioned by Louis XIV as a hospital and retirement home for war veterans, this building is distinguished by its stunning golden dome, known as the Dome des Invalides.
As you walk north, you will notice the vast lawn of Esplanade des Invalides, where people often picnic and relax on the weekend.
Musée Rodin [Optional]
Another famous museum near the Hôtel des Invalides complex is Musée Rodin, which celebrates the life and works of one of France’s most renowned sculptors, Auguste Rodin.
You will find sculptures both inside and outside of the museum in the garden. Some of the most famous sculptures such as “The Thinker,” “The Kiss,” and “The Burghers of Calais” are housed in Musée Rodin. Besides Rodin’s work, you will also find some of Monet and Van Gogh’s works as well.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the view of the garden from the second floor balcony of the museum.
Pont Alexandre III (the Bridge)
Pont Alexandre III is the most decorated and famous bridge in Paris for good reason. It is a beautiful architectural wonder and has bronze sculptures of winged horses decorated on the bridge.
The bridge connects the Invalides on the Left Bank with Champs-Élysées on the Right bank. Many people visit Pont Alexandre III during sunset as it has a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower.
Musée de l’Orangerie [Optional]
After crossing Pont Alexandre III, you have the opportunity to visit Musée de l’Orangerie, a famous European art museum, located inside the beautiful Tuileries Garden.
The museum is renowned for its captivating display of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series, where you are enveloped by the immersive, panoramic installations that surround the oval-shaped rooms. Beyond Monet’s serene aquatic landscapes, the Musée de l’Orangerie houses an impressive collection featuring works by artists such as Cézanne, Renoir, and Modigliani.
Walk Down Champs-Élysées
Once you cross the Seine via Pont Alexandre III, you will see the world famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a 1.2 mile (~2km) long street known for its luxury shops.
The avenue runs between Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde with the portion near Arc de Triomphe known for its luxury designer boutiques. I personally suggest visiting Champs-Élysées at night and be dazzled by the lights and the lively atmosphere.
There are a number of restaurants and cafes on Champs-Élysées so you will never go hungry, but these are generally more expensive and touristy. Right before Champs-Élysées, you can grab something to eat at Le Soufflé, one of my favorite places to eat in Paris.
While walking around Champs-Élysées, you will come across Ladurée, famous for their macarons. In fact, the first time I had macarons, I got them from Ladurée there. Since it is so popular, expect a line!
Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe is the largest arc in the world and it was originally built by Napoleon to celebrate his victory at Austerlitz but now the arc acts to honor those who fought for France. Under the arc there is a tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and occasionally you may see the French flag hanging below the arc.
Day 3 of 4 Days in Paris: 9th Arr. & 18th Arr. & Le Marais (Purple pins)
Highlights of Day 3 in Paris: Palais Garnier, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps Haussmann, Le Marais, Sacré-Coeur & Montmartre
Day 3 of this Paris itinerary is what I call a window shopping and appreciation day. Well, you don’t really have to shop, but some of the shopping centers in Paris are an attraction themselves, so you don’t need to shop to enjoy these places.
Back in the first few times I visited Paris most of the shopping centers were closed on Sunday in Paris. However it appears that more and more of these shops are open now on Sunday to cater to tourists, which is good news for you!
In addition, if you want to take Instagram photos, you may want to switch up the order of this Day 3 Paris itinerary and put MontMartre first, so you can get all the shots without too many people in there.
There are both guided tours and audio tours one can take to see the inside of Palais Garnier. I have never watched a performance there but I was awed by the beautiful interior when I visited.
Galeries Lafayette & Printemps Haussmann
Not too far from Palais Garnier are the most famous shopping centers of Paris: Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Haussmann. Known for their luxury designer collections, both of these shopping centers are packed with tourists, especially those from Asia looking to buy designer handbags.
I personally don’t care for shopping but do enjoy looking at the holiday decorations in Galeries Lafayette.
In addition, Printemps Haussmann has a beautiful rooftop cafe with a panoramic view of Paris as well as the view of Eiffel Tower. I went early in the morning one day before the cafe opened but they were nice enough to let us walk around and take photos.
Le Marais is an area across the river from Notre Dame in the 4th arrondissement, also known as SoMa. It’s an area filled with cute boutiques, galleries, bars and restaurants.
I absolutely love walking around the cobble stoned streets of Le Marais because every street I come across is cuter than the previous one. If you like the cute Parisian charm and if you like to shop, then you would definitely love Le Marais.
If you visit Paris in January or in July, you will see all the stores on sale. In Paris there are two annual sale periods, so take advantage of those months if you like to shop. Besides shopping, there are also museums, cafes, restaurants, and photo spots in Le Marais.
<Centre Pompidou is scheduled to close for refurbishment for 5 years from 2025>
There are a number of museums in or near Le Marais, and one of the most popular ones is Centre Pompidou. Designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, the building defies conventional aesthetics with its exposed pipes, colorful exterior, and an inside-out design that places utility elements on the exterior.
Centre Pompidou houses the Public information library as well as Musee National d’Art Moderne, the largest modern art museum in Europe. The Centre hosts film screenings, live performances, and lectures. The rooftop terrace, Le Georges, offers breathtaking views of Paris, making it a popular spot to appreciate the cityscape.
Merci (Photo Stop)
I have to admit that I found Merci through Instagram and had to make a stop there when I was roaming in Le Marais.
Merci is a store and used book café selling a variety of household items and clothing. In the courtyard there is a cute red fiat that made this Instagram famous. The cafe is nice to chill and read at but when I was there in May there was a long line to sit at the café.
A bit outside of Le Marais, Rue Montorgueil is a cute street lined with cafes and restaurants.
I found Rue Montorgueil by accident when I was walking from Le Marais to Montmatre and I am so happy I did the walk. Locals also come to Rue Montorgueil to buy food and pastries so if you have time you should definitely stop by.
A few minutes walk from Rue Montorgueil is one of the most popular pizzerias in Paris called Popolare. I walked by it by accident twice when I was walking to Montmartre and saw the line out of the door.
If you are craving pizza then this is the place to go. However be warned that even during the day the line is quite long to eat at Popolare so try to make a reservation if you can.
Le Marais is an area you go to experience what it’s like to be in Paris. There are countless numbers of restaurants, cafes and boutiques. In terms of food in Le Marais, two of my favorite crepe places are Breizh Café and la droguerie du marais; if you are craving falafel, then check out L’as du Fallafel.
Montmartre is in the 18th Arr. in Paris. Once a working class neighborhood, Montmartre attracted many artists but it is now an expensive place to live. Even though Montmartre is part of Paris it wasn’t always so.
There are a lot of nice places to see and eat in Montmartre that you can actually spend a whole day exploring Montmartre. For the purpose of this Paris four day itinerary, we will spend the afternoon in Montmartre.
Keep in mind that Montmartre is hilly, with a ton of uphills and stairs. If you have mobility issues you may re-consider visiting Montmartre.
Sacré-Coeur Basilica is the biggest attraction in Montmartre and it is not hard to see why. Sitting on top of the hill in Montmartre, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart stuns everyone with its beautiful white exterior and its 3 domes, a departure from traditional churches.
It is the burial spot of martyr Saint Denis and since it sits on top of the hill, you can get a nice panoramic view of Paris just from its steps above the lawn. If you want, you can also pay for a ticket to go inside and up the basilica for a nice view of Paris.
Pro Tip: There are a lot of scammers trying to sell you bracelets and other things near Sacré-Coeur. Ignore them and don’t let them put the bracelets on you!
Place du Tertre
Not far from Sacré-Coeur Basilica is Place du Tertre, a lively square full of artists selling their work and other crafts. It’s interesting to walk through the square, check out all the artists and other vendors.
Walk Around Montmartre or Consider a Walking Tour
There is actually a lot to see in Montmartre besides Sacré-Cœur. For example, a few places in Montmartre that are known to be Instagram worthy and these include the pink restaurant La Maison Rose and the sinking house. You could just explore the streets of Montmartre and you may be surprised at what you can find.
If you want to see some of the best streets and photo spots in Montmartre and also understand more about the history and background of this district, you may want to consider taking a walking tour!
Known as the birthplace of can-can dance and cabarets, Moulin Rouge is not a far walk from the hills of Montmartre.
The Moulin Rouge building itself is distinctive with the red windmill on the roof. Many tourists come to the famous Moulin Rouge for a show and it is truly something to remember. But you don’t always need to watch a show to enjoy this iconic spot.
Where to eat in Montmartre
Day 4 in Paris: 4th Arr: Explore Île de la Cité and Palace of Versailles (Yellow pins)
Highlight of Day 4 in Paris: Notre-Dame (currently under renovation), Sainte-Chapelle, Palace of Versailles
On your last day of 4 days in Paris, I recommend exploring the island of Île de la Cité in the morning then take the REF to the famous Palace of Versailles in the afternoon.
Île de la Cité is a small island in the Seine River. This central island, with its cobblestone streets and iconic landmarks, transports you back in time.
Notre Dame de Paris <Currently closed, reopening Dec 2024>
Notre Dame is one of the most famous gothic cathedrals in France as well as in the world. It became famous after Victor Hugo published the book The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
You can enter Notre Dame for free and attend the mass every Monday to Saturday. However, a ticket is needed to visit the tower and get the classic photo of the gargoyle (as well as the view of Paris).
But to be honest, I’ve actually never gone up the towers since I can get views of Paris from other places but if you want to see the gargoyles then you should!
Since Notre Dame was burned down, it has since been under construction. The opening date is expected to be early December of 2024.
A few minutes walk from Notre Dame on Île de la Cité is Sainte-Chapelle, a beautiful church built during the reign of Louis IX.
Au Vieux Paris Photo Stop
Au Vieux is a cute French restaurant on Île de la Cité. It gained its popularity because of the pretty exterior and interior and has been featured on many Instagram photos especially during the wisteria season in May.
I would recommend stopping by if you are into Instagram photos but I read the food is a bit overpriced and not necessarily the best.
Other places to see on Île de la Cité include Conciergerie, a museum that used to be a French Revolution prison and Place Dauphine, a cute public square.
Palace of Versailles
No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Palace of Versailles. Palace of Versailles is an UNESCO World Heritage site and it was the principal royal residence from Louis XIV to Louis XVI until the French Revolution.
The Palace of Versailles is HUGE, with 2300 rooms and occupies a vast amount of land. It is renowned for its sumptuous architecture, sprawling gardens, and lavish interiors. You can see the restored King’s and Queen’s chambers, the Grand Chapel, the Royal Opera House, and of course the beautiful Hall of Mirrors.
But what impressed me the most about the Palace of Versailles are the gardens outside. The palace itself is very small compared to the beautiful gardens, which include the mile long Grand Canal. You can also explore Marie Antoinette’s estate and the Trianon, and see the musical fountain shows at the Palace of Versailles.
Pro Tip: if you want to take a photo of yourself at the Hall of Mirrors without people, you should aim to be one of the last to leave! It is easier than trying to be the first one to arrive in my opinion.
How Many Days in Paris is Enough?
3 to 4 days in Paris is the absolute minimum if you are visiting Paris for the first time.
As you can see from the detailed Paris 4 day itinerary above, your days are very packed since there is so much to see in Paris. If you are big on museums, you may even need 5 to 7 days in Paris to fully explore the vast number of museums there.
Which Airport to Fly into Paris
There are 3 airports in Paris that you can fly into.
CDG is the biggest international airport in Paris. If you are flying from outside of the EU to Paris then most likely you will land in CDG. It is extremely easy to get into central Paris from CDG.
The most convenient way to get into central Paris from CDG is to take the RER train. The train comes every 15 minutes and runs from 5am to midnight (sorry not 24 hours). You can take the train directly to a few stops in Central Paris and it takes about 45 minutes.
Orly airport is the closest airport to central Paris. The easiest way to get to central Paris from Orly airport is to take the Orlyval light metro from the airport to Antony Train Station to connect to the RER line B to take into Central Paris to connect with the metro.
This airport is very far from Central Paris; if you are flying a budget airline such as Ryan Air or EasyJet you might land in Beauvais-Tillé. However I have personally never flown into this airport and I heard it’s a pain to get to Central Paris.
There is a shuttle bus from Beauvais Airport to Porte Maillot in downtown Paris that takes about an hour and 15 minutes. Then you can transfer to other trains at Porte Maillot. The fastest way is probably to take a taxi from Beauvais Airport but that kind of defeats the purpose of flying a budget airline.
There are a number of train stations in Paris. The most popular one is Gare du Norde, which serves the international train Eurostar departure/arrival. The train stations are connected to various metro lines that allow you to easily travel within Paris.
I found Google maps as well as Citymapper work very well in Paris in terms of giving directions.
Where to stay in Paris
I personally have only stayed in Montmartre and Le Marais before.
There are a lot of hostels in Montmartre, if you are a budget traveler then hostels are probably your best bet. I enjoyed the location of Montmartre since there is so much to see and eat and it’s pretty lively.
Best time to visit Paris
I personally have visited Paris in January, May, August, October and November. I have to say that May and October are the best time to visit Paris because of the mild and relatively dry weather and being a shoulder season means Paris won’t be as crowded as in the summer.
Winter in Paris can be pretty grey and gloomy and it generally rains a bit in the winter. Summer in Paris can be hot and humid with a lot of thunderstorms. But I will list below why you may want to visit Paris either in January or July.
Semi-Annual Sales in Paris
If you are a big shopper in Paris then you may be interested to know that there are two big semi annual sales in Paris.
Unlike the United States where there seems to be a sale going on every weekend and every major holiday, Paris has a state-regulated sales calendar. There are two big sales in Paris every year, once in the winter and once in the summer.
These biannual sales in Paris take place usually around the first-second week of January and the last week of June lasting 5-6 weeks. That is a lot of time to shop!! When I was in Paris early January almost all the stores were on sale. I’m not a shopaholic but I did enjoy getting dresses from Sandro at less than 50% of the original price.
How to stay safe and avoid pickpockets in Paris
Paris is generally a safe city to visit, but you should always watch out for petty crime in Paris as you would in any other major city.
A few tips on staying safe in Paris
Don’t wear a backpack or leave any valuables in your backpack. A friend of mine used a backpack and she got distracted by a subway performance. Since it was crowded someone opened her backpack and took her wallet.
Don’t leave your luggage unattended. Another friend of mine got her luggage stolen at the Paris train station while trying to figure out how to buy train tickets to the airport. Always put your luggage in front of you if you are trying to operate the ticket machine
Try not to stand next to the subway doors. There have been instances where people try to grab phone/wallet from someone’s pocket or bag as soon as the subway door opened.
Watch out for non-bank ATMs. People have complained the non-bank ATMs at CDG airport charged them 10% more for no reason.
Don’t let anyone put “bracelets” on you: in many areas of Paris (Montmartre in my case) there are people on the street trying to see tourists “bracelets”, which is pretty much a crappy string. They would try to tie it on your wrist and then charge you for it. Simply refuse and keep watching.
Stay away from protests if there are any.
Final Thoughts on Paris 4 Day Itinerary
Paris is a great place to visit regardless of how long you plan to visit. I personally think 4 days in Paris is the perfect amount of time to visit (5 days if you plan to do a day trip to Versailles).
In my opinion the best way to experience Paris is not to see all the famous touristy attractions but rather venture out to different neighborhoods of Paris to see how locals live. Relax and people watch at a cafe or have a picnic by the Seine are some of the best ways to spend a day in Paris.
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