The city of love presents visitors with an abundance of riches, so much so that you may find yourself bewildered by all the choices. I’ve tried to make the task easier by compiling a list of my favourite experiences to help you make the most of your limited time.
Herewith, our “Paris in 4 Days Travel Guide:”
WHEN TO GO
The best time to visit France is in the spring (April–June) or fall (September-November) when things are a little easier to come by – like a seat on the Metro and nice waiters. July and August are the worst for crowds and Parisians desert their city, leaving it for the tourists.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN PARIS
Take a flight that arrives in Paris as early as possible. Check into your hotel and then hit the nearest café for a café au lait and a croissant to help beat the jet-lag. If you happen to arrive in Paris on a Wednesday or Friday, take the metro to the Palais Royal – Musee de Louvre for a visit to the Louvre Museum. The Louvre is usually open until 10:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, a great time for you to avoid the long lineups. Spend at least two hours here viewing world-class masterpieces such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.”
After leaving the Lourve, walk towards the Seine River, and spend an hour enjoying the panoramic views of Paris. As the evening fades, head over to the heart of Paris, the monumental Notre-Dame Cathedral.
To make the most of this magnificent city, I opted to book a bike tour via Fat Tire Bike Tours. For 30 Euros and in 3.5 hours, you’ll get to hit a number of Paris hot spots in a short period of time, including the Alexander III Bridge, Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Napoleon’s Tomb, Place de la Concorde. Top it off with lunch nestled among the tress of the Tuileries Gardens.
For an authentic French dinner make reservations at Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie. The fois gras and escargot are absolutely delish!
Skip buying produce from the supermarket and do as the Parisians do and explore one of the many open-air markets for your fresh fruits and veggies, meat, fish, cheese, vino, and more. Here’s a link to some of the fabulous food markets in and around the city.
And no trip to Paris is complete without adding your lock to the millions of others on the Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts, also known as the Love Lock Bridges, which cross the Siene River.
For another fabulous French dinner, head to the Les Halles district to Au Pied de Cochon. The restaurant is open 24/7 and well worth the wait for a seat. You must try their famous pig’s trotter, French onion soup and beef tartare.
Paris is, of course, a world-famous shopping destination. Parisian department stores sell everything you could ever want under one elegant roof, while specialty shops hold countless small treasures. Usual shop hours are Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and if there is only one upmarket French department store you have time to visit, make it Galeries Lafayette, located near the Opera House. This 10-storey structure hosts a weekly fashion show, and the views of the city from the roof-top are amazing.
Enjoy your last day in Paris by spending a few hours at the Tuileries Garden. The magnificent public garden located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde was designed by Le Notre, Louis XIV’s gardener and planner who also designed the Versaille grounds. Bask in the sun, have a picnic or just kick back and relax amongst the many other Parisians.
For your final dinner in Paris visit Verjus. A casual restaurant owned and operated by an American couple, their French fusion cuisine is fabulous and they also have a great wine selection.
Photography by Sukhi Ghuman Photography