Paris City Guide

June 2, 2015

4PerfectDaysinParisFour perfect days in Paris. Ahh, is it even possible to accomplish all you want to see in such a short period of time? Ideally, anyone going to the City of Lights would have weeks on end to stroll through this gorgeous city, but knowing that isn’t the case for many, I’ve decided to write a four day itinerary (longer than most of my other City Guides). During these 96 hours, I’ve included nearly all of the must see places you’ve seen in movies and heard about since you were little, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, etc. I also added smaller gems, like L’Orangerie and the Place des Vosges. You can see everything on a map here – I’ve also embedded it at the bottom of this post.

If you’ve been to Paris and think I’m missing some wonderful restaurants or sites, please let me know! I’d love to try new places when we visit next. Also, if you have any specific questions about this itinerary, please email me!

Bon voyage!


ParisGuide1Photo (1 of 1)-62Photo (1 of 1)-53Day 1

  • Start your morning off early with breakfast and coffee at Les Deux Magots in the Saint-Germain-des-Pres area.
  • Walk by La Duree and stop in for a few famous macaroons on your way to the Louvre (cross over Pont du Carrousel) – the line may be long, but it’s worth it in order to see some of the most famous pieces of art in the world (the Mona Lisa may be underwhelming, but it’s still cool to see!).
  • If you’re hungry after walking around the massive halls of the Louvre, walk to lunch at nearby Cafe Marly or Claus (recommended by a friend who lives in Paris).
  • Stroll through the Jardins des Tuileries, and stop in at L’Orangerie for the most awe-inspiring Monets you’ve ever seen – this is one of my favorite museums in the world.
  • Next site to see is the Arc de Triomphe. If you want to walk down the Champs-Elysees (which I recommend), it’s 2.25 mile walk, so get ready. You can also hop on the metro at Concorde, taking Line 1 towards Defense and getting off at Charles de Gaulle – Etoile.
  • After you’ve gone to the base of the Arc de Triomphe (underground tunnel – don’t try to run across!), take the metro to the Eiffel Tower (Line 6 towards Nation, getting off at Trocadero). When you get up from the metro station, you’ll turn and see the most beautiful sight in the world. Walk towards the tower and then spend time sitting on the Champs de Mars, taking in its glory. If you want to sit on the grass with something tasty to nibble on, walk a few streets to the East and get a pastry at Stephane Secco – it’s seriously the most gorgeous pink bakery (see Instagram photo here!).
  • At this point, you can go back and freshen up for dinner, or take the metro to St. Michel and walk to La Bonaparte (near where you ate breakfast) if you’re hungry (try the burrata cheese appetizer – shown above!). Grab a drink at Lipp Brasserie afterward, which is very well-known.

Photo (1 of 1)-59Parisguide4Day 2

  • Eat breakfast at Cafe Beaubourg, sitting across from the interesting looking Centre Pompidou, which you’ll visit after you are done eating. It’s the largest museum for modern art in Europe and well worth your time.
  • After you’re done, go to BHV for some amazing French department store shopping. I love that place. There is also a Zara and H&M nearby – I swear the selection in Europe is so much better than that in the US.
  • Next, walk to Club Raye (recommended by my friend, Annie of MontgomeryFest here) for a jazz brunch (Sunday only) or take the metro to Liza for Lebanese food (take Line 4 from Les Halles towards Port de Clignancourt, then transfer to Line 3 at Reaumur Sebastapol going toward Pont de Levallois Becon and get off at Bourse).
  • Walk from lunch to the Opera and walk around (or do a tour!), then walk to the St. Lazare metro station and get on Line 13 towards St. Denis Universite and transfer to Line 2 at Place de Clichy going towards Nation. Get off at Blanche, where you’ll immediately find yourself outside of Moulin Rouge. Take photos of this iconic building.
  • Start your climb up towards Sacre Coeur. You can take a funicular ride if you go to metro line Abbesses, but it’s a fun little walk and always reminds me of Midnight in Paris.
  • Sit on the steps of the church, and take in the fantastic views, before heading to Sacree Fleur for a delicious meal. If you’re not hungry, you can always just walk to nearby La Maison Rose (it’s gorgeous – totally photographable) for some coffee and maybe a light bite!
  • Afterward, casually stroll past all of the little outdoor vendors and walk to dessert and wine at Creperie Broceliande before calling it a day.

ParisGuide2Photo (1 of 1)-20Day 3

  • Eat breakfast at Pause Cafe, then go to the Saint Paul metro station to do a 2 hour Marais tour (Circuit 1 or 2) with Paris Walks. I also recommend that you look at the other tours they offer and adjust this itinerary based on what interests you. I’ve done almost all of the tours and think they’re all fascinating.
  • Next, go and sit in the grass at the Place des Vosges, and make sure to walk around the square (passing Victor Hugo’s place – #6).
  • Then, eat lunch at L’As du Fallafel (worth the wait!) and then eat some delicious frozen yogurt or gelato at Amorino afterwards.
  • Go shopping at Kookai, Bensimon, Comptoir des Cotonniers, The Kooples and J. Crew or go to the Rue de Charonne (behind Bastille) for a number of gorgeous French boutiques like La Fée Maraboutée and Sessùn.
  • After you’ve tired yourself out from looking at beautiful clothes, walk across the Pont d’Arcole to Notre Dame. It’s a great photo opportunity. If you want to wait in line to go inside, by all means do so, but I’ve done it twice and don’t think it’s super necessary.
  • From the Ile de la Cite, go to La Grande Epicerie to buy picnic food and wine and then take the metro to the Champ de Mars to look at the Eiffel Tower (Line 6 towards Charles de Gaulle – Etoile, get off at Passy).
  • Towards dusk, go Pont de l’Alma (near where Princess Diana died in a car wreck) in order to do a Seine river cruise with Bateaux Mouches – it’s so beautiful to see the city by water at night!
  • Afterward, take your leftover wine from your picnic and drink from the bottle while sitting on the banks of the Seine (one of my favorite activities!).

PARISGUIDE3Day 4

  • Start your day off with coffee and a light breakfast at Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie (near the Luxembourg metro stop).
  • After you’re done eating, walk by the Pantheon and then stroll by the Sorbonne (one of the most prestigious universities in the world!).
  • Next, walk to Luxembourg Gardens, grab a seat if you can by the water, and just relax (you’ll need this by day 4!). The gardens are vast and gorgeous, so I recommend walking around.
  • From the gardens, go to lunch at La Cuisine de Philippe nearby, or hop on the metro to La Verriere for vegetarian options near the Rodin Museum. This museum is relatively small, so it’s manageable even if you’re tired and has beautiful gardens outside that house The Thinker, which is worth a see. If you don’t have interest in Rodin, go to the nearby Musee d’Orsay, which is a gorgeous museum that was once a train station.
  • Head back to Le Marais (Line 13 towards St. Denis Universite, transfer to Line 1 towards Chateau de Vincennes and get off at St. Paul metro stop) for dinner at Chez Marianne (casual) or Le Mary Celeste (more formal).
  • Head to drinks at Le Petit Fer a Cheval or Little Red Door afterwards and toast to four incredible days in The City of Lights.

Assumptions

  • The weather is nice and allows for you to walk through the city. If it is rainy, I recommend spending the day inside a museum like L’Orangerie, the Louvre, Le Musee D’Orsay, the Rodin Museum, or Le Centre Pompidou.
  • You like to walk. That itinerary includes lots and lots of walking (also some necessary metro travel). You can use the metro system much more if you don’t feel like traversing the city by foot. We had a stroller during our trip, so we avoiding the metro as much as possible, given that most don’t have elevators and we had to carry it up and down stairs.
  • You don’t want to spend a million dollars on your meals. None of these restaurants are super duper fancy, but I have recommendations if you want them!

So, what are your thoughts? Would you give this itinerary a try?

Click here to see a complete list of my travel guides, which includes Mexico City, AthensBali, Paris, Istanbul, DurangoAustin, Houston, Washington, DC and San Francisco. Up next? St. Petersburg and London.

13 thoughts on “Paris City Guide

  1. Meg O.

    Yeah, I’m gonna have to book a flight to Paris immediately. Last time I was there was about 10 years ago. I miss Europe so much. The Musee D’Orsay was by far my favorite museum!

    Reply
  2. Annie

    girl!! I still can’t believe this. and I love you (somehow!) worked Club Rayé into it! did you make it to his cellar? your photos are beautiful and your itinerary (+map!) is beyond. so glad you had such a parfait trip!

    Reply
  3. Tabitha Blue

    Breathtaking for sure!!! It’s been one of those places on my list for so long… and will happen someday! I’ll have to hit you up for tips again then 😉

    Reply
  4. Vicki

    I love how ‘Assumptions’ made it into your blog 😉 Your city guides always make me want to travel!!

    Reply
  5. Janet

    This is an inspiring city guide to Paris, but what I really want to know is how you survived a trip abroad with a toddler! I’d given up all hope of traveling with my 2-year-old. My day seems to revolve around her nap and food schedule. How do you do it mama?

    Reply
  6. Christie

    I’ve tried to read through this for two days and it’s almost too beautiful when I know I won’t be there for a l o n g time! It’s going on my summer reading list and I will check out each link when I have time. Definitely pinning and yes, I WILL be following this itinerary religiously when I go to Paris!

    x Christie
    http://www.letsuncork.com

    Reply

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