I’ve taken a break from writing about foreign travel since it’s not particularly useful at the moment, but I figured it would be good to get the information out there for future use. You may recall last fall, my husband and I took an amazing trip to France and UAE using points and miles. This Paris itinerary includes everything you need to see, eat, and do in Paris. While travel might be on hold due to COVID-19, for the nex time you are able to travel, here’s how to spend four days in Paris.
Day 1: Arrive and See Paris’s Most Famous Sight
Why not start with Paris’s most iconic landmark? Visiting the Eiffel Tower is a must when in Paris. You can get great photos of the Eiffel Tower in the Champ de Mars, a park at the foot of the tower.
We then waited in line for HOURS to climb the stairs to the top. We seriously waited so long that the sun started to set while we were waiting. At the time, you couldn’t buy tickets for the stairs online. I’d recommend buying tickets online even if it’s for the elevator. You’ll save a ton of time. Make sure to visit both the second floor and the top level for two distinct views of Paris.
Dinner at Relais de l’Entrecôte
For dinner, we ate at Relais de l’Entrecôte for steak frites. This restaurant has a set menu of salad followed by a heaping plate of steak frites.
Still hungry? Don’t worry! Your waiter will come by and refill your plate with more steak and fries.
They also have an amazing dessert selection. Relais de l’Entrecôte is a popular spot so be prepared to wait in line as they do not accept reservations. There are three locations in Paris to choose from.
Day 2: Explore Paris on Foot or by Cab
Our first full day in Paris was super raining and dreary. We wanted to explore on foot but found ourselves taking cabs from place to place. It also happened to be a Tuesday when most of the museums like the Louvre are closed. The only one that is open is Musée d’Orsay which was an absolute zoo! We took one look at the line and kept walking.
Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées
In the morning, we walked up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. We used our Paris Museum Pass to go to the top.
Even in dreary weather, the Arc de Triomphe offers some of the best views of Paris!
Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre
Next, we headed over to Sacré-Cœur, a beautiful church located on a hill in Montmartre. After visiting the church, we strolled around Montmartre.
I would have loved to walk around more, but the weather was getting nasty! We did make sure to see Moulin Rouge, even if only from the outside.
Crepes for Lunch
Since eating outside was out of the question due to the weather, we wanted to find an indoor restaurant for crepes. We chose La Crêperie du Clown and it did not disappoint! We started with a galette which is like a savory crepe and finished up with a crepe for dessert.
Next, we strolled around Luxembourg Gardens which is home to the French Senate.
There are plenty of walking paths and pretty photo ops within the gardens!
After strolling around the Gardens, we headed to the Panthéon located in the Latin Quarter. Entry to the Panthéon is included with the Paris Museum Pass. This building was originally used for religious purposes but later became the burying place of famous citizens such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie.
Napoleon’s Tomb at Les Invalides
The last stop of the day was Napoleon’s Tomb. Les Invalides is a collection of museums, monuments, and buildings celebrating the military history of France. Entry to Les Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb is included with the Paris Museum Pass.
Dinner in Le Marais
This day was full of mishaps. We tried to visit Musée d’Orsay but it was too busy. We also tried to visit Sainte-Chapelle but it was closed due to the president being in the area. What next? We headed over to L’As du Fallafel and it was closed despite Google saying it was open until 11:00 pm! We ended walking up to Le Marais and found a sidewalk eatery that ended up being delicious. Of course it was, it’s Paris after all!
Day 3: Museums and Churches
While Day 2 didn’t go exactly as planned, Day 3 was looking brighter. On the docket, a ton of museums! We aren’t the biggest art people so we go through museums relatively quickly while an artsy person might need an entire day at the Louvre alone.
Musée de l’Orangerie
Our first stop was Musée de l’Orangerie located in the Tuileries Garden. This museum is home to Monet’s Water Lilies series. Entry to the Musée de l’Orangerie is included with the Paris Museum Pass.
Next, we headed to Musée d’Orsay to check out the impressionist paintings. Unlike the day before, our Paris Museum Pass allowed us to skip the line and stroll right in.
The museum is located in a former train station and houses paintings by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, and more.
Ah, the Louvre! A must-do on every Paris itinerary. As I said before, we aren’t really art people so I can confidently say we didn’t appreciate the Louvre as we should have. We saw the Mona Lisa and a few other highlights, but I’d say we were in and out rather quickly.
You can access the Louvre with your Paris Museum Pass but you must book a time online in advance. Even if you don’t have a Paris Museum Pass, I highly recommend booking your tickets online in advance.
Sainte-Chapelle and Notre Dame
I never realized that there were two islands in the middle of the Seine. Sainte-Chapelle and Notre Dame are located on Île de la Cité. Saint-Chapelle is known for its gorgeous stained glass. It’s one of the older sights in Paris, built in the 1200s. Saint-Chapelle ended up being one of our favorite stops in Paris. And yes, entry is included with the Paris Museum Pass!
Notre Dame was damaged by a fire earlier in 2019 so we were only able to see it from afar.
Dinner at Arpège
For dinner, we had a reservation at Arpège, a three Michelin star restaurant by Alain Passard. While Arpège is known for it’s vegetable courses and tasting menu, we decided to pick the menu that included meat since I wanted to try the famous hay baked chicken.
We’ve dined at several two and three Michelin starred restaurants now, but have never met the chef. We were really excited when Alain Passard came out and greeted each table. He was super touchy and had his hands on my husband’s shoulders the whole time! It certainly made our meal even more special.
Day 4: Get Out of Town
On our last day in Paris, we started off with a day trip to Versailles followed by some last minute sightseeing in Paris.
A Half Day Trip to Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was the royal residence of France from 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789. Located just outside of the city, it’s the perfect day trip from Paris and is easily accessible by train. You can check out my complete guide to visiting Versailles from Paris here.
Catacombs of Paris
Next, we visited the Catacombs of Paris. These catacombs were much different than the ones in Rome. Instead of a burial place, the Catacombs of Paris are an underground ossuary which holds the remains of over six million people! While you may be able to buy tickets in person, there’s no guarantee you’ll get in that day. Instead buy your tickets online.
Eiffel Tower at Night
The Eiffel Tower is illuminated every night with a five-minute light show every hour on the hour. While you can see this from many places in the city, the Trocadéro Gardens located across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower is the best viewing spot.
One Last Dinner
For our last meal, we were craving something different. We settled on a delicious Turkish restaurant called Élysées Ottoman.
Visiting Paris has been on my list for a few years, but it can be a little overwhelming due to the amount of things to see and do. With four days in Paris, you can see all of the main sights and then some!