Itinerary for 4 Days in Paris : Perfect for First Time Visitors

Everyone has their own sentiments attached to the city of light, and it’s big enough to have something for everyone. Here is my suggested itinerary for 4 days in Paris:

I did a ten day trip with 3 of my friends to Paris, Normandy, and London Here is how we saw most of the key sights in a short amount of time, and on a budget!

Some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these, I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you!).

Day 1: The River Seine & Eiffel Tower

We arrived into the Paris airport, and navigated the metro system to our hotel. From there, we did some exploring on foot. Our hotel was close to the Eiffel Tower, so of course we went straight there for some crepes and an impromptu picnic!
Around twilight we went to the River Seine and got on a river cruise boat, or a Bateaux Mouche at Pont de l’Alma. The boats run every 30 minutes until 9pm (starting at 13.50€), and you can ride down the river to see several of Paris’ main sites, and get your bearings of the city.

A photo of the Notre Dame Cathedral as seen over the River Seine and a Bateaux Mouche. Part of my itinerary for 4 days in Paris

Day 2: Montmartre, Gardens, & The Opera

We started out by taking the metro to the artsy Montmartre district of town. We headed to the Moulin Rouge for some obligatory photos, but didn’t go inside.
Next up was a stroll in the fairytale-like Tuileries Garden, followed by the Jardins du Luxembourg. At this point, if we had time, we would have loved to have visited the Musee D’Orsay.
Luxembourg Gardens, image of a building with pink flowers in front. Itinerary for 4 days in Paris.
Luxembourg Gardens
Given I’m a huge Broadway nerd, we then had to make a stop at the theater made famous from the Phantom of the Opera. In the book and the play, this is where he rows in his underground gondola singing to Christine: The Opera Garnier! I did not get to go inside, but do it if you can!

opera garnier paris france phantom

Day 3: Versailles, Arc de Triomphe, & Champs Elysees

We left early in the morning to the Palace of Versailles. The journey takes 45 minutes via metro. We arrived super early, and are glad we did, because the lines get insane with tour groups! Buy your Versailles ticket online in advance to avoid waiting in an additional lines.
Famed French Palace of Versailles near Paris
This, Madame, is Versailles!
We spent a half day at the exquisite Palace. It is fascinating to see the former quarters of the ill-fated royal family, dream of Marie Antoinette’s iconic wigs, walk the extensive gardens, and reflect on life at the Hall of Mirrors (see what I did there?).
After a half day at Versailles we went back into Paris, and stopped at the Arc de Triomphe. Pro Tip: Go under the road by the Arch to an entrance where you can pay to go to the top for some wonderful city views! In my opinion, this view is better than the one from the top of the Eiffel Tower!
We then walked the posh high-end shopping district, the Avenue of Champs Élysées. We couldn’t afford anything, but it was fun to look!
We then stopped by the Place de la Concorde. This is a famous public square that has been a key location for several historical events in the city’s history, including the guillotine execution of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.
At night, we got some gelato near the lit up Notre Dame Cathedral, and walked the romantic river walk near the Île de la Cité. (We didn’t have time, but there is underground crypt near Ile de la Cité that you can tour!)

Day 4: Top of the Tower, The Louvre, & The Notre Dame

We got to the Eiffel Tower as early as possible, and got in line to ride an elevator to the top. Honestly, it was a bit disappointing. I think going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe has better views!
Afterwards, we headed to the world famous Louvre Museum. If you only go to one museum in your life, this should be it. The collection it has and the historical value of the pieces are incomparable. It is best to buy your Louvre tickets in advance!
We spent four hours there, but it could have easily been more. And no, the Mona Lisa is really not the best piece there!Louvre Paris itinerary 4 days
Next, we went inside the 12th century world famous Cathedral of Notre Dame. If possible, climb to the top of the Cathedral to see its famous gargoyles, stunning views, and Quasimodo’s abode!

Day 5: Goodbye to Paris, Hello to Bretagne!

In the morning, we went to the Sacre Couer Basilica and a local outdoor market. At this point we said au revoir to Paris, and took a train to the city of Rennes in the Brittany (Bretagne) region.sacre couer basilica
In Rennes, a tour guide met with us, and took us on a private tour to the medieval town of Dinan (straight out of Beauty and the Beast) where we had a city tour, and went to the local market.
Next, our tour took us to Mont St. Michel Monastery. This place is absolutely stunning, and a must-see!
Mont Saint-Michel Fortifications
We stayed the night in the town of Saint-Malo, and then spent another full day there. This city is one of my favorite memories of my trip to France!
I highly recommend this walled, medieval town rich in history and World War II era stories. If you haven’t, read the book All the Light We Cannot See before you visit.
saint malo
Saint Malo Town

Lodging in Paris:

During our time in Paris, we stayed at the Hotel Eiffel Petit Louvre. It has a great location and is very affordable. It’s definitely a budget stay, but is perfectly nice if you are wanting to save money!

Excursions from Paris:

Check here for Normandy excursion ideas. These are perfect for World War II history lovers!
We did a  tour to Mont Saint-Michel. There are several that leave out of Bayeux, and even Paris.
We also did a half day visit to Saint-Malo, and then stayed there for more time after.
It’s possible to do each of these on separate days, but we actually took the train from Paris to Rennes, and then had a private tour to all three places, ending in Saint-Malo where we spent the night. It is pricy, but not too bad if you split with a group!
Saint Malo Fortress
Powered by GetYourGuide


The French Language:

Don’t be “that tourist”, and learn at least a few key phrases in French. I got away with only knowing the following, and it went pretty well for me as far as interactions with the locals:
  • Hi- Bonjour or Salut
  • How are you- Comment alez-vous?
  • I’m good- Tres Bien
  • Sorry- Désolé
  • Excuse Me- Pardon
  • How much is this? C’est combien?
  • Thank you- Merci
  • Goodbye- Au Revoir
  • Where is … – Ou est
  • I would like… – Je voudrais …
I recommend the Lonely Planet Phrase Book, or language learning app DuoLingo as a start!

More Helpful Links:

Get some travel insurance! I never travel abroad without it now!
Browse my Amazon storefront to see my favorite travel products
Book your hotel in France
Follow me on Instagram, and send me a DM with any questions
Find a fun local France tour or activity to book

Common Questions

Is 4 days enough to visit Paris? While the city itself is massive, and even 4 action packed days barely scratch the surface, I’d say yes- 4 days is about the minimum amount of time you should spend there for a first time visit.
How do I plan 4 days in Paris? Use my itinerary! This breaks down what to do on each specific day, and lets you pack in as much or as little as you’d like into each day. 
Is 4 nights in Paris too much? Not at all! There is absolutely more than enough to do to fill your time! For example you could dedicate one full day to Versailles, or one day to the Louvre, and then you’d only have 2 days for the rest of the city. That is absolutely not overdoing it to stay 4 nights.
Does Paris require a lot of walking? Overall, yes. The best way to see the most of the city is to go by foot. While it does feel more spaced out than other popular European cities (like Rome or London for example), most places can be reached within one hour walking distance of each other. It’s also very easy to use the metro system if you get tired too!

Pin it for later!


  • Reply Michelle W. March 21, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Dhaval! I have not been to a rooftop pool, but that sounds amazing! You are going to have such a great time in Paris- hopefully this post helped a bit!

  • Reply Cate January 23, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for a great post! I will definitely be using some of this for my trip in April 😊

    • Reply Michelle W. February 16, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Thanks Cate- I love to hear that! Have fun!!

    Leave a Reply