Paris is a city that has a lot to offer and usually, time is never enough, but don’t let that discourage you from visiting this beautiful city.
High season tends to be summer but my boyfriend and I where there this October, and I have to say that autumn is a great season to visit and see the city parks turn into yellows, reds and oranges.
We had four days in Paris, where to begin? While planning the trip I found this blog that helped me put together a draft itinerary and I also incorporated tips from local Parisian friends from the MBA (perks of the MBA!)
Day 1: we went to the Eiffel tour, Champ de Mars, Les Invalides, Arc de Triomphe, Av. Des Champs Elyseés, Jardin des Tuileries and we even made it to the Orsay Museum. We had planned to do a lot less but the weather was really nice and we were enjoying so much the walk that we did not notice we had walked so much until we arrived at the hotel and our feet we simply exploding.
How much you fit into one day will depend on how much you want to walk and how much time you have. It did not feel intense at all, we simply enjoyed walking around, my recommendation is to simply follow your pace. One way to save time and not feel rushed (which is what we did) is to pack a picnic and when you’re hungry and find a nice park or spot along the Seine river, take advantage of the scenery to have a unique lunch. The sandwiches and pastries in Paris are amazing so it will be a great lunch and of course, Nutella Crepes!
For dinner, one of my friends had recommended Bistro Urbain and we absolutely recommend it! The pictures speak for themselves. Quick tip, we reserved through trip advisor and got a 30% discount on the meal.
Day 2: Chateau de Versailles. This is a complete day trip so try not to plan anything else in order to fully enjoy the day at the Versailles palace because it is very big and the gardens are the most beautiful part of the palace. Watch out when you go on a Saturday, make sure that there are no other events, on the day we went, there was a concert and the museum pass we had, did not include the ticket to get into the main gardens. The positive thing about this was that we went to walk around the Grand Trianon, Le Petite Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s estate which we probably would have not done because they are far away but are worth seeing.
That night we went to Le Chalet Savoyard for a well-deserved fondue dinner. The weather was already chilly so it was the perfect meal. Reservation is needed because the restaurant is packed, ask your hotel for help because they only take reservations by phone.
Day 3: We started our day with Mass at Notre Dame which was a very special way to start our Sunday. After that went for a walk around the Ile Saint-Louis before we went to brunch. We had made a reservation at another friend’s recommendation and it was great! Restaurant Cru, located in village Saint Paul is a cute little place that is in a small street and the brunch was simply amazing. Later, we went to visit Sainte Chapelle, which is a small church that has the most beautiful stained glass windows I have every seen.
We spent the afternoon at Montmartre, visited Sacre Coeur and watched the sunset with a glass of wine. We were lucky enough to find ourselves in the middle of the “Fete des Vendanges de Montmartre”. This is a special neighbourhood event where they celebrate the wine that a private vineyard of a monastery of the area produces. Local markets, restaurantes, libraries, etc come together and sell food, wine, champagne, etc on the street, it’s like a street fair / market. There is music and people hanging out on the steps of Sacre Coeur, the atmosphere is perfect to hang out and people watch.
Day 4: We spent the morning at the Louvre. Depending on your time and how much art you want to see, I suggest you plan ahead and go to the exhibitions that interest you. The museum is enormous and there are lots of exhibitions and people! You can spend a couple of hours, the whole morning or the whole day depending on what you like. We wanted to take the afternoon off to enjoy the city before we left which is exactly what we did.
- Le Marais area is well located and very nice
- We stayed at Hotel des Arts and really liked it. We simply moved around in subway but the area was great for dinner, there were bars nearby, etc.
- Bistro Urbain: it is all prepared there, even the bread. Everything was amazing.
- Le Chalet Savoyard: amazing fondue and raclette
- Cru at Le Village Saint Paul in Le Marais for Brunch.
- Le Bistro Dominique, we ate there the night we wanted to see the Eiffel tour by night and found this little restaurant.
- Chez Janou: we went for lunch and was really good as well, it’s located in Le Marais in a very nice area.
- Ice Cream: Amorino and Berthillon (on the Ile Saint-Louis)
Travel & Tourist information
- We arrived at the Orly Airport, the tram-bus costs 9.3 euros and it connects you with the metro station in record time.
- If your hotel is not located in the middle of Paris, like ours, I recommend buying the metro ticket by full days instead of independent tickets. Zones 1-3 should be enough except when you go to Versailles.
- Museum pass is a great buy, it will save you a bit on museum entries but best of all, it will save you on the lines. At Versailles, the line was enormous so we went to the gardens first and went to the palace around 5pm when tickets are not sold anymore and only those who have tickets may go in.