4 DAYS IN PARIS
Best itinerary for budget travelers
I’m a traveling enthusiast but can confidently say that I’ve never had a better experience than the one I had in my 4 days itinerary in Paris. The massive and adventurous city has more to offer than I thought before my arrival. From its beautiful buildings, well-mowed cobblestone streets, to its amazing culture- it’s just the best place to be in for some vacation tour.
Being a massive city, I spent a good portion of my stay there walking the streets that have so much to offer. I later came to adopt their way of life- watching the city’s activity from many spots and would strike a balance between walking the streets and sightseeing.
Below, I share the experience I had during my 4 days stay in the French capital.
- 1 4 DAYS IN PARIS
- 1.1 How many Days are enough to Tour Paris?
- 1.2 What is the Best Time to Tour Paris?
- 1.3 4 Days Itinerary in Paris
- 1.4 Day 2 in Paris
- 1.5 Day 4 in Paris
- 1.6 DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A FULL-TIME TRAVELER?
How many Days are enough to Tour Paris?
The question of the number of days required to tour Paris is really dependent on individual circumstances. The city has a lot to offer to its visitors, with many different tourist destinations that attract a huge flow of tourists. The number of museums is enough to keep you occupied for long periods. The special architecture of most of its buildings, both old and new, is just magnificent with some renowned iconic structures like the Eiffel Tower.
The city has a rich history that resulted in major tourist spots other than its numerous museums. It’s endowed with great restaurants, cafes, and gardens where you can get a perfect view of the city as well as interact with the locals and get to learn about their culture and language.
It will definitely take a long time to visit all the places in Paris. My case was limited by my 4 days in Paris budget. I got to visit most of the famous tourist spots and had an amazing 4 days stay. While a few days, like my 4 days duration, is enough, it would prove a better experience to have a much longer stay if your budget is enough.
What is the Best Time to Tour Paris?
This is also a matter of personal preference and would be dictated by specific individual factors. For example, one of the major intentions of every traveler is to visit certain museums. While most museums remain open for a better part of the year, some of them will be closed during certain seasons. The intention might also be to attend certain events like the Bastille Day military parade or the famous Paris Marathon. If this is the case, the best time of travel will be when these events are taking place.
The cost of travel will also influence the best time for the Paris tour. Major airlines are known to offer travel discounts during Paris’ winter season as tourism is at its low point. Similarly, the months of January to February and June to July will work fine for those interested in a shopping tour in Paris. This is due to the big discounts offered during this time, a period referred to as Paris soldes.
Different people have different affinities to different weather conditions. While some will love the hot and dry weather in summer, others may prefer the cold and chilly weather during winter. This will influence the best time to travel to Paris for such persons.
Helpful Tips for the Ultimate Paris Itinerary
Touring Paris and any other tourist destination can never guarantee the best experience without proper planning with regard to budget and places to visit Paris 4 days. Below I share some travel tips based on my experience.
Where to Stay
Being the capital city of France, Paris is a huge area with a big population, a busy lifestyle, and traffic. An adequate transport system exists covering the entire city where most of the tourist attractions are located.
While the available transport systems are fast and reliable, covering the city on foot works best. Thankfully, the central part of the city has many hotels offering accommodation to visitors. I found this perfect as most of the destinations I wanted to visit were just a few minutes’ walk.
Similarly, the outskirts neighborhood of the romantic city has some good hotels too. These would work well for tourists who don’t mind commuting daily to the city center.
My 4 days in Paris budget could not allow me to book an expensive hotel. This wasn’t an issue as I was spoiled of options between the numerous hotels offering cheap accommodation. I finally chose the Smart Place Paris near Louvre. Compared to the expensive hotel, there was no much difference other than the fact that I was sharing dormitory and bathroom. Other than that, their service was remarkable and their food delicious, but I only had my breakfasts there.
Paris is endowed with many tourist attractions sites. It’s common to find huge crowds on any single day and end up waiting in queues for long hours just to get access to these sites. I wasn’t affected by the long waiting hours as I always bought my tickets in advance or arrive a few minutes before they open.
The same goes for museums where priority is given to early birds. Following the advice I got before traveling, I was able to save more on museum fees by taking advantage of discounts. Most museums offer discounts to tourists visiting in the evenings. I wasn’t able to enjoy the free access given in most museums on the first Sunday of every month.
The free walk in the beautiful streets of Paris is also worth the time, not to mention that you don’t have to pay anything. All I needed was Google Maps and asking directions from the locals who are friendly and ready to help.
Traveling around the city is not difficult thanks to their cheap and reliable transport systems. This includes traveling by bus or train. Buying day or week tickets go a long way in reducing the cost of commuting. As a precaution measure, it’s advisable to hold onto bus/ train tickets until you reach your destination. I learned this the hard way when I had to pay twice.
The city has a travel card available for purchase to tourists. Also known as ‘Paris Visite‘, the card offers unlimited transport to any location in Paris. What’s more, the travel card comes with an added bonus that guarantees its holder considerable discounts on museum fees.
Taxi travel is quite expensive in Paris and should be avoided at all costs, especially where short distances are involved. Other than the bus and train transport, walking around the city or using a bike, that can be leased, will guarantee lots of savings in travel.
Food and Drinks
Food and drinks don’t have to cost a fortune. To start with, I never spent a penny on breakfast as I took advantage of the free breakfast offered by the hotel where I booked accommodation. Lunchtime was similarly cheap as I found lots of outdoor food stores selling delicious cuisines at friendly prices. I enjoyed the best cakes and chocolates from the street bakery.
There are also a good number of affordable restaurants all over the city. I especially loved the fact that French restaurants offer free bread and water. The bills also include a service charge and didn’t have to spend much on tips other than one or two Euros once in a while.
Below are the details of my 4 days tours in Paris.
4 Days Itinerary in Paris
Day 1 in Paris
Visiting the Eiffel Tower
As usual, I like spending my first day in any new City touring its neighborhoods to get a feel of their language, culture, and architecture. Paris is a massive region and I figured a foot tour will work best for me. My day starts at 9 pm after being treated to some good breakfast at my hotel. I get my camera ready and my phone, my original idea was to use my Google Maps to find my way in and around the beautiful and busy streets of Paris. Thankfully, I get a tour guide, a friendly guy who’s born and bred here, and knows how to get to all the corners of the great city to take me around in exchange for a few Euros.
After two to three hours of walking, I’m beginning to get tired already. My tour guide suggests a better alternative that guarantees the view of the entire city- visiting the Eiffel Tower. A cultural icon building at the heart of Paris, the Eiffel Tower’s popularity as a great tourist site is known all over the world. I’d had about its popularity but the reality dawned on me with the huge number of visitors I found there, all wanting to get to the top to get the best view of Paris. After an hour wait, we finally get the chance to enter the building.
There are two ways to get to the top using the stairs or elevator. Being tired from my morning walk around the city, I opt for the elevator. Sadly, I learn that all the elevator session has been booked the whole day, with some of the tourists present having made their booking several weeks ago. At this point, I have no option left but to walk the long stairs to the top. It is quite hectic but worth the effort, judging from the beautiful view of Paris when I finally get to the top.
Champ De Mass
At exactly 12pm, I’m out of the Eiffel Tower. Still fascinated by its view, I got to have a good outside view of this great building by visiting Champ De Mass, a massive Park situated in front of Eiffel Tower.
We set on a little picnic in the Park with my tour guide-now turned into a friend. Luckily, Rue Cler is just a few minutes’ walk from the park, a lovely street with lots of good bakery shops where we get some food for our little picnic. Here we get to enjoy some cheese, chocolate, and wine, making an unforgettable experience.
Arc de Triomphe
With a full stomach, I set for another round of sightseeing, but this time round from Arc de Triomphe. The beautiful view of Paris never seems too boring to me, especially considering the many viewpoints that are just perfect. This particular spot later came to be one of my favorite spots to get the perfect view of the massive city.
From the top of Arc de Triomphe, I have a perfect view of the Louvre and Champs-Elysees. The Eiffel Tower is also visible with a perfect view of the tall building’s huge structure and beauty. Underneath the tower is a huge roundabout where 12 avenues converge, making it the largest of all the world’s roundabouts. I never knew watching cars on traffic could be this entertaining until I found myself on this spot. The traffic view is an amazing experience.
Dinner and Drinks at Buddha-Bar
After a busy day walking and sightseeing in the city, I head to Buddha Bar for some drinks and dinner. To get to Buddha, I catch a train at the subway to Concorde. From there it’s just a few minutes’ walk down the streets to Buddha Bar. Apart from the dinner and drinks treat, I get another evening view of Paris from the restaurant’s elevated lounge areas. I also get to experience an out-of-Paris moment with the strong Asian culture in the restaurant. I spend my evening here before heading to my hotel to get some rest.
Day 2 in Paris
Place de la Concorde
My second day is spent visiting the Place de la Concorde that is located on Siene’s right side. With its strategic location, between a four-road terminus in Champs-Elysee and the Tuileries Garden, it’s a perfect spot to view the entire city and the busy traffic.
Being the largest park in Paris, the garden is rich in French history.
One notable feature in the park is the 33000 years old Egyptian obelisk, known as Luxor Obelisk that was erected to signify the place as where the execution of former French leaders took place. Having been there since 1836, King Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Marie Antoinette are some of the famous Frenchmen that went down the guillotine.
Getting good food is not a problem either thanks to a number of hotels and restaurants present that serve delicious French cuisines.
Lunch at Angelina’s Hotels
At 12 pm, I’ve already had enough sightseeing at Place de la Concorde. The snacks I had have opened up my stomach. I’d heard of great restaurants and hotels down at Angelina, just a couple of streets down. Luckily, Paris isn’t the place to get lost even without a tour guide, after all, my 4 days Paris itinerary backpack budget is not enough to pay a guide a second time. Armed with my Google Maps and help from the friendly French residents, I’m all set
From where I am I walk through the beautiful streets of Tuileries Garden and reach Angelina after crossing Rue de Rivoli. I have a delicious lunch treat thanks to their amazing chocolates and cakes in Angelina’s bakery joints.
The better part of my afternoon is spent in the Lourve. Being the world’s largest art museum, I instantly fell in love with the place. It was home to powerful French Kings in the past and was only converted to a museum in the 18th century after the French Revolution.
Despite being crowded, the museum has one of the best artworks. What’s more, the building itself is fascinating with its huge structure and multiple rooms, including the Apollo Gallery where crown jewels are stored.
Day two of my 4 days Paris ends in Champ-Elsee. This is one of the most popular streets as it serves as the finish point of the popular Tour de France as well as being associated with the Bastille Day military parades. I also get to notice a good number of restaurants and Cafés. I finally get to enjoy some great French dinner and drinks here before heading back to my hotel room, ready for the second day of 4 days Paris itinerary.
DAY 3 in Paris
My third day kicks off with a visit to Sainte-Chapelle that is located at the heart of Paris, in a small island called Ile de la Cite. While I had the option to take the subway train to this location, I chose to walk and get more view of the city. From my location, I have to walk to Siene through Palais Royal Musee De Louvre. I then follow Siene’s river banks leading me to Pont Neuf, a stone bridge that is actually the oldest in the city of Paris. While doing the 30-minute walk, I get to see more of the city’s beautiful buildings as well as interact with more French residents.
A displayed stained glass is what welcomes me to Sainte-Chapelle and is one of the best in the world. The view from the inside part is magnificent and would leave anyone amazed at the artwork involved. However, I had to wait for an hour or two just to get access due to the high number of tourists visiting the place. Priority is given to visitors who have a museum pass. I was advised to be a little early the next time I visit to avoid the long queues.
Notre Dame Cathedral
This is another favorite tourist destination in Paris where I had the pleasure to visit and get fascinated by its massive display of artwork. The artwork displayed inside the cathedral is almost similar to that found in Sainte-Chapelle, but I found the ones in Sainte-Chapelle more appealing. The good thing is that the cathedral is within close proximity to Sainte-Chapelle and I only had to make a few corners down the streets to get there. I didn’t have the chance to go inside as the cathedral was closed, but the outside view was more than enough and the sound of clicking cameras was all over.
An outstanding feature in the cathedral is the Point Zero plaque, referred to as Point Zero des Routes de France. This iconic plaque signifies the place being the center of Paris’s history. While walking the streets, I noticed the good stores and amazing restaurants and cafes, and had a delicious lunch treat at one of the cafes called Au Vieux d’Arcole.
Seine’s River Bank Walk
Having followed the right side of river Seine to get to the cathedral, I cross the Pont de la Tournelle Bridge to get to the left bank. As I walk the quiet riverbank towards Pont de l’Archeveche, I further get to have another view of Paris. From this point, the Notre Dame Cathedral is clearly visible in a perfect view making it a great spot for some photo sessions. Thankfully, the friendly people here never mind giving a hand. A number of instant photographers are there just in case anyone needs them.
I also got to meet a number of bookstalls along the way, also known as bouquinistes in French, who sell used books as well as magazines and posters. Part of them is Shakespeare & Company that was there since 1919 and served as the meeting point of some of the world’s greatest fiction novelists. This includes the likes of Ezel Pound and Ernest Hemingway among others.
A few minutes’ walk along the beautiful banks of Seine leads me to where I started, Musee D’Orsay where I end my third day in a good restaurant for dinner and drinks before retiring to bed.
Day 4 in Paris
Musee de l’Orangerie
By this time, visiting the great museums in Paris has become the norm during my morning hours. This time, I go to the Musee de l’Orangerie, a small artwork museum featuring impressionist work. The museum is located near Tuileries Garden, on the southwest side that only involves a 10-minutes walk after crossing the bridge on river Seine.
The museum is way smaller than the Musee de d’Orsay museum with its main feature being the Water Lilies murals. This is the work of renowned painter Oscar-Claude Monet. The museum also features artwork done by other great painters including Picasso, Matisse, and Cezanne.
After I’m done with my sightseeing and photo sessions at Musee de l’Orangerie, I head to Montmartre, one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Paris thanks to its hilly streets. Getting here is not a problem either. I catch a train at the subway and drop off at Lamarck train station. From here, I walk down the beautiful streets towards Sacre-Coeur Basilica, passing through some beautiful spots along the way.
A few streets before reaching the famous Basilica, I pass through the Place du Tertre where I find many artists selling various pieces of artwork in the small square. I spend a few minutes looking around and finally buy a piece from one of the artists. I also get a hand-drawn potrait of myself within a short time and parted with an affordable amount for this valuable piece of art. I then treat myself to some quick lunch at one of the cafes in Place du Tertre before proceeding with my walk.
I finally arrive at Sacre-Coeur Basilica and is met with the beautiful view of the Dome, with high appeal from both the inside and outside part of the Dome. Located at the highest hill in Paris, I get to enjoy a never-seen view of the sunset. This is even more magnificent when viewed from the top part of the Dome, despite the fact that I had to climb 300 steps to get to the top.
From the detailed account of my 4 days itinerary in Paris above, there’s no doubt that the romantic city and the capital of France is a great tourist destination. The city has a lot to offer to its visitors. The most notable is the number of iconic buildings and structures and the amazing gardens, restaurants, and cafes. It also has a good transport system and cheap accommodation that serves to make it the ideal destination even for travelers with a backpacking budget.
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