Paris is magical anytime of year and on any occasion, but about a year ago when I was thinking of doing a trip for my thirtieth birthday, Paris just stuck out in my mind as the perfect place to celebrate with some of my closest girlfriends.
This was my fourth trip to the City of Lights but my first time going to Paris with a group of girls so I was looking forward to experiencing the city in a different way. This was a quick trip and we only had four days to see the entire city but Paris is an easy city to get around as long as you’re not afraid to use public transportation. We hopped on and off the metro and were able to cover so much more of the city that way.
I booked a cute, spacious AirBnb* in the 2nd arrondissement because it’s still close to all of the main tourist spots but slightly quieter. The location was great with tons of metro stops close by and great places to eat and drink, like Frenchie and Experimental Cocktail Club.
Here’s how to see Paris in 4 days:
Paris Day 1
Our flight arrived early in the morning so we had a full day to explore Paris. I hadn’t planned much for the first day because I didn’t know what our energy would be like after the flight but we did make reservations at the Moulin Rouge for later in the night.
Our tickets included champagne, which was totally worth it (and maybe the best part of the show)! Overall, the show was a little cheesier than I expected but it was a fun experience for girls night in Paris and a great way to force us to stay awake and fight off jet lag.
Here are some other options for the first day in Paris:
- Go to the department stores. Le Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are two iconic Parisian department stores right next to each other in historic buildings in the 8th arrondissement. A great place to grab lunch is at the brasserie in Le Printemps underneath their beautiful, stain glass dome.
- Visit a small museum. Trying to do the Louvre or the Musee D’Orsay on the first day would be a little aggressive. Plus, you really do need a full day at either one of those museums but a smaller museum like Atelier des Lumières, L’Orangerie, or even the free perfume museum would be an easy introduction to the history and art of Paris.
- Walk around Notre Dame. Since the roof burned in early 2019, you can no longer go inside Notre Dame so it doesn’t require as much time to visit but you can still walk around and see the historic cathedral from the outside.
Paris Day 2
Doing a bike tour is one of the best ways to see cities in Europe. I’ve done one in Florence and one in Athens, so I knew I had to do a bike tour in Paris. The company we chose, Bike About Tours, was definitely more informal than tours I’ve been on in the past. It takes you off the beaten path so you don’t see any of the main tourist attractions besides the outside of the Louvre and love lock bridge, so I felt we missed out on learning about the history but biking around the city was still a great way to spend the afternoon.
After the bike tour, we went back to our AirBnB and found a local grocery store to pick up some meats and cheeses and baguettes to have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. There’s a beautiful green space called the Champs de Mars that’s free to the public where you can spread out a blanket and bask in the beauty of the Eiffel Tower. We went in the evening because it’s sparkles at the top of every hour which makes the whole experience that much more magical. If you want to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, make sure to book tickets in advance.
Champagne Day 3
The main point of this visit to France was to take a day trip to the Champagne region of France for some tastings and visits to champagne producers. We took a high-speed train from Paris to Reims, the capital of Champagne, for the day.
Another great option for a day trip from Paris is to palace of Versailles. It’s such an overwhelmingly beautiful palace that’s worth exploring for a day!
Paris Day 4
Montmartre & Sacre Coeur:
If you’ve never been to Paris, Montmartre MUST be on your list. It’s one of the highest points in the city so you get amazing views plus it’s home to the famous basilica, Sacre Coeur. It’s the old neighborhood of the artists and bohemians and people like Pablo Picasso and with all of the street art for sale, it feels like an authentic Parisian experience.
**I also need to add that we had the best meal of our trip near Montmartre at The Hardware Société. I can’t stress this enough… You must eat brunch here while in Paris. SO. GOOD.
Strolling along the Champs-Élysées might be flooded with tourists but you can’t underestimate the beauty of standing at the Place de la Concorde and seeing Tuileries Garden and the Louvre to one side and looking up the other direction of the famous avenue at the Arc de Triomphe. A walk along the iconic street is not to be missed when visiting Paris.
Near Tuileries Garden is Angelina’s, a cafe famous for their hot chocolate. Make sure to stop for a glass before or after you explore the Champs-Élysées. You won’t be disappointed!
Paris might seem overwhelming, especially for a first visit, but it’s definitely doable in a short amount of time. Four days in Paris is plenty of time to see all major tourist spots but still leave some magic left to explore for the next visit. 🙂