Paris is one of the most-visited cities in the world, and there are a wide variety of attractions that draw in all sorts of travelers. We finally made it to this iconic city, but in our four-day visit, we feel like we only brushed the surface of the amazing things to see and do here. It was our first time visiting, so our days consisted of seeing some of the famous highlights. We hope to return to hit some of the many other attractions someday soon. But, if you’re looking for options that include some of the city’s most iconic experiences or activities great for a first-time visit, consider our four-day Paris itinerary!
We had arrived in Paris late the night before. But despite running on about 3 hours of sleep, we headed out early, eager to explore the city.
Latin Quarter & Luxembourg Garden
First we took the metro to the Latin Quarter. We walked around the area, admiring the pretty streets as we made our way to the Luxembourg Gardens. The gardens were beautiful, and the fall leaves added some bright color to the gloomy morning.
The Medici Fountain within the gardens is where Matt proposed – an unexpected addition to the day’s activities! We enjoyed the moment together by the fountain before continuing our walk through Paris.
Reservation Required?: No
Time: 2-3 hours
The Notre-Dame suffered a fire that damaged much of this historic cathedral. It has been closed for several years for repairs, but is scheduled to reopen at the end of 2024. We would have loved to go inside, but instead, we admired the exterior and read some of the informational signs that have been put up outside this famous building.
We’ll update the cost and ticket information when the Notre-Dame reopens to the public.
Wine Tour & Tasting at Les Caves
Les Caves du Louvre contains old underground wine cellars where wine was once made and provided to the palace under the reign of Louis XV.
Today, visitors can tour the space to learn about various wines and the history of the cellars with an audio guide. The experience is interactive with exhibits that test your sense of smell and a tasting to top off your visit.
Cost: €36+ per adult (depending on the tour option you pick), included with some city passes
Reservation Required: Yes – we made one for 12:45 p.m.
Time: 1h – there are additional tour options that last two hours
Learn more Les Caves, see tour options, and reserve a time slot here.
Sainte-Chapelle is an old Gothic chapel with stunning stained-glass windows. Its construction was organized by Louis IX who wanted a place near the palace to house important Christian relics, such as the Crown of Thorns.
Visitors can walk through the upper and lower chapels to admire the architecture and famous stained-glass scenes and learn more about the history of the building. For more details on visiting Sainte-Chapelle, read our other post!
Cost: €11.50 per adult, included with some city passes.
Reservation Required: No, but highly recommended.
Cheese Tasting at Ô Chateau
More wine plus cheese samples – yes, please! This isn’t an activity we likely would have done if it weren’t included on the Paris Pass. But we were pumped to try a variety of cheeses and drink some wine at the bar before our next stop.
Ô Chateau has a variety of additional experiences available, from wine and cheese pairings to champagne cruises along the Seine. Learn more here.
Cost: €20+ per adult (depending on the tour option you pick), included or discounted with some city passes
Reservation Required: Only for some tours and tastings. We did not need one for the simple cheese tasting at the bar that is included in the Paris Pass. We showed up just after 4 p.m. and it was quite busy though!
The Louvre is the largest and most-visited museum in the world! It houses a variety of paintings, pottery, sculptures, and other pieces. Before hitting the museum, we needed to pick up our Paris Museum Pass included with our 4-day Paris Pass.
There are so many incredible works here, so we recommend planning ahead a bit because it is impossible to see everything there in a day. We visited on a Friday when the museum is open later into the night. We planned to see paintings from various places and eras along with Greek and Egyptian antiquities. We’ll definitely have to revisit to see more!
Cost: €15+ per adult (depending on the ticket), included with some city passes
Reservation Required: No, but highly recommended. We made one for 6 p.m. and stayed for just over 3 hours.
Time: 2h to a day – depending on how much you want to see
Learn more about visiting the Louvre in our post here.
This day didn’t quite go as planned right from the start. We took the metro for another early-ish morning with the goal of seeing some stunning views over the city.
Generali Paris Balloon
Our first stop was Parc André Citroën, where we planned to take a hot air balloon ride. We arrived just before they opened, and the rain had stopped, so we were hopeful that it would run. We kept checking the online info to see if the balloon would go up that day, but eventually, we found out that it would not. Oh well, what can you do?
So, we walked the park, admiring the pretty fall colors as we made our way to our next stop. The balloon likely isn’t something we would have done if it wasn’t included in the Paris Pass.
Cost: €17+ (it saves one Euro to buy online), included in some city passes
Reservation Required: No, but you can buy tickets online in advance if you wish.
Time: 10-15m fly time
Seine & Trocadéro
From Parc André Citroën, we walked along the part of the Seine River that runs between the park and Pont d’Iena, which is the bridge that connects Trocadéro and the Eiffel Tower. There are nice restaurants and views along this path leading by the river. You can even go onto the stretch of land in the middle of the river where there is a park and the Statue of Liberty of Paris!
We walked across Pont d’Iena to the Trocadéro Gardens and Place du Trocadéro. Trocadéro contains a pretty green space and large square that offers views over the gardens towards the Eiffel Tower. Being there fairly early on a rainy day in October, there weren’t too many people there, but this spot can get very busy.
Reservation Required: No
Time: 1-2 hours
Place de la Concorde and Tuileries Gardens Area
Next, we wound along the Seine again, making our way towards Place de la Concorde. There are some nice sights along the way, whether it be from the various bridges over the Seine, among the old streets, or in the various gardens, such as the Jardin des Champs-Élysées.
Place de la Concorde is a large square with pretty fountains and an Egyptian obelisk surrounded by impressive architecture. Nearby is the Tuileries Garden, which was so beautiful in the fall. The garden contains cafés, sculptures, pretty paths, and benches and chairs to relax in. The gardens lead all the way to the Louvre.
We wandered the gardens for a little while before making our way back towards the Eiffel Tower.
Reservation Required: No
Time: 1-2 hours
The Eiffel Tower
Not long before our tour was scheduled, the Eiffel Tower closed and all tours and individual entry tickets were cancelled. At this point, the rain had stopped, and we are still unsure as to why the tower closed that day. We had no time to reschedule, so we were refunded for the extra amount we had paid over our free Paris Pass tour to visit the summit. Well, another plan to get some great views over the city was disrupted. Just another reason to come back, we guess!
Instead of taking in the views from the top of the tower, we grabbed some pastries, wine, and grapes from a shop and enjoyed the tower from the lawns below. It was actually quite nice as this was the only time we really sat down and relaxed during the day on this whole trip.
Cost: Free to access the lawns, tickets starting at €11.30 to access the second floor via staircase with options to buy other tickets to use the elevator or go to the summit; included or discounts offered with some city passes. See ticket options here.
Reservation Required: Yes
Time: 3-5 hours – depending on lines, floors you visit, tour, etc.
Champs-Élysées is a long, street lined with shops, hotels, restaurants, and cafés. We walked down this bustling street, taking in all the sights of this area of the city. If you’re looking to do some luxury shopping, this is one of the common places to do so.
We walked down Champs-Élysées away from the gardens we had visited earlier in the day, making our way towards the Arc de Triomphe.
Reservation Required: No
Time: 1-3 hours – but this varies depending on how much shopping you do or other establishments you visit.
Arc de Triomphe
Towering at the end of Champs-Élysées is the iconic Arc de Triomphe. Napoleon ordered the construction of this massive arch to honor the French Army. The arch features intricate carvings, unique sculptures, and amazing views over Paris from the top. We climbed the 200+ stairs and were thrilled to finally get some great city views!
Inside the Arc de Triomphe, there are some exhibits highlighting the history and significance of this famous landmark. This was our last stop of the day before heading back to the area around our hotel, so we took some time to enjoy the views as the sun began to set over Paris.
Cost: €13 per adult, included on some city passes
Reservation Required: No, but highly recommended
Time: 1-2 hours
For more details on visiting the Arc de Triomphe, click here.
We headed out early again to make it to Versailles Palace when it opened. We took the metro and then walked to the palace for our 9 a.m. reserved time slot. Versailles contains various areas you can explore, including the palace, gardens, park, a few trianons and estates, and other exhibits.
We started at Versailles Palace with hopes of beating some of the crowds inside. We were happy to find that even the most popular sights within it, such as the Hall of Mirrors, were pretty quiet on that morning! After walking through the palace, we made our way to the gardens and admired the beautiful landscaping and fountains during the musical fountain shows. It was so pretty during the fall.
Our day on the chateau grounds ended at the Estate of Trianon where we explored the historic buildings and their surrounding gardens. Before heading back to Paris, we walked around the city of Versailles for a little while.
Cost: Some sites, like the gardens, may be free. Tickets for other sites begin at €10. We purchased the Passport Ticket, which includes access to various sites, for €28 per adult.
Reservation Required: No, but highly recommended for some sites, like the palace
Time: 3h to a full day, depending on what all you want to see.
For more details on tickets and making a day trip to Versailles, read our other post.
Seine River Cruise
Upon returning to Paris, we headed straight for the Seine near the Eiffel Tower to book a river cruise. We only had to wait about 20 minutes for the next available one. The boat we took was large and pretty packed, but the seats up top were tiered so that everyone could get a decent view.
We took the 1-hour cruise that was included with our Paris Pass. But there are various companies that offer boat rides from different spots and there are numerous packages you can find, such as dinner cruises or rides with an audio guide.
We always love exploring the city on foot, but the Seine River cruise was a nice way to relax and see the city from a different perspective.
Cost: Around €15+, depending on the company or package you choose; some included with city passes.
Reservation Required: No, but if you are on a tight schedule, you may want to inquire about tickets with whichever company earlier in the day or more in advance of when you intend to embark on the cruise.
Time: 1h+, depending on your package
Eiffel Tower at Night
Our cruise ended back near the Eiffel Tower in the late afternoon, so we had a while to explore before night fell over Paris. We walked the streets surrounding the tower and had some dinner while we waited for dark.
We headed towards the tower’s base as the day faded. Each night, the Eiffel Tower lights up at dusk and remains lit until 11:45 p.m. Every hour on the hour while it’s lit, the tower dazzles with extra sparkling lights for 5 minutes. It’s quite a beautiful sight to see.
Passage des Panoramas
Our last day in Paris began at the Passage des Panoramas. This is one of the oldest covered walkways in Paris where those strolling through it can find restaurants, cafés, and a variety of shops. We were happy for the covered aspect as it was pouring rain on that morning.
We wandered through the shops and tried to wait out the rain by going to the Grevin Museum. This wax museum was certainly unique, but we probably wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t included with the Paris Pass. It was still pouring when we finished at the museum, so we grabbed a delicious lunch at Canard et Champagne.
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
Galeries Lafayette is a massive department store offering various experiences, from tours covering the heritage of the place and luxury shopping for brands like Dior and Givenchy to cooking classes, fine dining, and other shopping options, like home goods, books, and makeup. There are over 3,500 brands here!
The Coupole building itself is quite unique with a large glass dome over an open center and many floors with arched alcoves surrounding this large center space. The mall is particularly popular in the winter when a massive Christmas tree stands in the heart of the building and the place is adorned with holiday decorations and lights.
Also at the Coupole building is a rooftop space offering great views over the city. From here you can see a variety of landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and nearby Palais Garnier. The rooftop is free to access.
Cost: Free to access, but shopping, classes, and tours cost
Reservation Required: No, unless you are looking to take a tour or cooking class
Time: 1h+ (more if you plan to do a lot of shopping, take a class, dine here, etc.)
Montmartre & the Sacre-Coeur
Montmartre is a hilltop neighborhood known for its quaint cobblestone streets, nightlife, and artsy character. We walked around the area for a while, visiting some of the shops, grabbing food and a drink at a restaurant, and taking in the street art and murals, such as the Wall of Love.
We wound our way up the hillside until we reached the Sacré-Coeur. This large, striking basilica can be seen standing tall on the hill over Paris and has been standing here since the early 1900s. The interior is quite stunning as well, with the large domes towering overhead and intricate mosaics and altars. Visitors can climb the bell tower for even higher views over Paris. For details on visiting the Sacré-Coeur, click here.
After strolling through the basilica, we made our way down the stairs and through the park in front of the Sacré-Coeur. For a while longer, we explored Montmartre before heading back to the area around our hotel for our last night in Paris.
Cost: Free to enter the Sacré-Coeur, €6 to climb the bell tower
Reservation Required: No
Time: 2h to a half day, depending on what all you want to see and do in Montmartre.
Notes on Our Four-Day Paris Itinerary
There are a few things about our four-day Paris itinerary that we want to note.
First, our time in Paris was pretty packed from early mornings to night. If you’d like a more leisurely time in the city, you may have to cut out some activities. We did walk most of the time between all of the attractions mentioned above because we wanted to see a lot of the city. To save yourself some time, taking the bus or metro between spots is a good option.
The times mentioned for the activities above can vary highly depending on the lines to get into the attraction. Booking tickets in advance when possible can save you a lot of time. And even with pre-booked tickets, you still may have to wait in line with others who have also done so. When we visited in mid-October, crowds were not as bad as they are in the high season. But we still encountered lines at popular spots, like the Arc de Triomphe and Sainte-Chapelle.
Additionally, many tickets require the booking of a timeslot. This will require you to do a little extra planning to make sure you can fit in the activities you want while giving yourself the time to show up at the designated spot on time.
There are many other amazing attractions in Paris, like the Panthéon, Catacombs, Musée d’Orsay, and so many more. We didn’t have time to fit it all in on this trip, but we’ll definitely be back to experience more!