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4 Days in Paris - Recommendations?

We're going to Paris for 4 days, arriving the day after Christmas.  Staying near Eiffel Tower.  What's the best things to do or see there or nearby?

23 Answers

top answer by
Scott from San Francisco

Do not bother going up the Eiffel Tower, it's a waste of time and money.  Do get your photo taken with it in the background and you'll be just as happy.  And absolutely avoid the restaurant inside the Eiffel Tower - it's obscenely expensive for no good reason.  Instead, go to Dominique Bouchet to sample cuisine from a true master chef who worked in the finest 3 star places and has his own highly regarded place (rated among the best in Paris on Zagat).  It's more authentic, much better food and much less money than a tourist trap like Jules Verne.  Also eat at any restaurant by Chef Joel Robouchon if you wish to go upscale.   Do go to Musée d'OrsayMusée Picasso and of course The Louvre.  Shop in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, get the best macarons in the world at Pierre Herme' (several locations) and also get Macarons and the best Pain Chocolat Ladurée Royale (many locations).  Chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat (a few locations) is IMHO the best on the world - get bars, don't bother with the truffles or small pieces and definitely don't get their macarons, no matter how much you're tempted.  If you're in the area, Breizh Café is quite good for buckwheat crepes. Visit ERIC KAYSER (several locations) for a great lunch, either there or to go.  Sandwiches are superb, and the quiche warmed up is phenomenal.  There is an Erik Kayser near Musee D'Orsay.  You must see and shop at the amazing and grand Galeries Lafayette Maison and Printemps - go up on the roof to get great photos too.  Other places to visit are Gérard Mulot for croque monsier (ask them to warm it for you), and good pastries.  Walk as much as you can, and enjoy.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  2. Dominique Bouchet (restaurant)
  3. Musée d'Orsay (attraction)
  4. Musée Picasso (attraction)
  5. The Louvre (attraction)
  6. Saint-Germain-des-Prés (neighborhood)
  7. Ladurée Royale (restaurant)
  8. La Maison du Chocolat (restaurant)
  9. Breizh Café (restaurant)
  10. ERIC KAYSER (restaurant)
  11. Galeries Lafayette Maison (attraction)
  12. Printemps (attraction)
  13. Gérard Mulot (restaurant)
5 thanks

answered by
Janice from Toronto, Ontario

I highly recommend the following: Hot chocolate at Angelina's on the Rue de Rivoli, sitting at a cafe and having Vin Chaud (mulled wine)---the cafes are heated. Going to the Eiffel Tower for lunch at the Jules Verne restaurant (make reservations in advance). Here are some other things I've done:

4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Steve from Honolulu, Hawaii

There are a few "gotta do's". La Seine river cruise at night, Notre Dame (all day including wandering around Ile Saint-Louis) and Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre (If you get lucky with relatively warm weather, I recommend doing Montmartre in the late afternoon and night).  And wandering around the Latin Quarter and your time is gone.  If you absolutely love spending all day in museums...well, then your gotta do list has to have the The Louvre.  You could scrap walking around Ile Saint-Louis and do a quick visit to Notre Dame and do the The Louvre in the same day.  But I shudder at the thought as we are more into people watching / sight seeing  than spending times in museums.  The Mona Lisa is rather disappointing in person but there is much more to the Louvre than that.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. La Seine (attraction)
  2. Notre Dame (neighborhood)
  3. Ile Saint-Louis (attraction)
  4. Sacré-Cœur Basilica (attraction)
  5. Montmartre (attraction)
  6. Latin Quarter (attraction)
  7. The Louvre (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Daniel from New York City



Yes go to the Musée d'Orsay, the George Pompidou (just so you can say how much you hate it), the Louve, and all the guidebook places. Also check out the changing exhibits at the Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais. Here are our favorite smaller, more charming spots.


Museum Camondo (Closed M&T) 63 Rue de Monceau in the 8th was the residence of a rich Jewish family of bankers that houses a great collection art art., furnishings and great insight into how the rich lived at the turn of the last century.


Musée Jacquemart-André at 158 Blvd Haussman in the 8th was a rich families in-town residence with a great collection of paintings and home furnishings and a café that is frequented at lunch by rich Parisian ladies and businessmen from nearby offices.


Musée Maillol – former house/studio of famous sculpture 59-61 rue de Grenelle


Musée Picasso in the Le Marais has a mother lode of his work


Musée Marmottan Monet  2 Rue Louis Boilly is a schlep to a mansion on the outskirts of town. Set in a CPW-like neighborhood adjacent to really nice park, it is filled with Impressionist paintings from all the big impressionists and has a corner on the Monet market.


@Jewish Museum in the Marais. Newish in an old mansion. They have revolving exhibits that nobody else is doing. Beware that they are not as English-friendly as other museums even though most traveling Jews speak English






You gotta walk the streets to get a feel for Paris. You never know what you’ll come upon or who you’ll run into. March till your feet fall off.

Here are a few starting points.


Rue de St Honoroe du Faubourg – Here is where every famous and not-so-famous designer boutique imaginable set up shop. It’s a good long walk thru the right bank and filled with all the stuff you expect and lots of surprises too.


Belleville – a cross between Soho, Chinatown and LES


St. Martin Canal in the 10th is getting a lot of hype as the Williamsburg of Paris. We didn’t go there but have heard mixed reviews (mostly based on the age of our traveling friends.) Oldsters say its nothing. Youngers claim it’s amazing.


Pere Lachaise – all the really great dead people are here


Marais – the LES of Paris with the same history and rising real estate values


Luxembourg Gardens – Prospect & Central Park combined


Place Des Voges – local mom/nannies & kids meets hipsters and tourists


Rent and Ride a Velo from VELIB – a bike from the coin-operated stations all over the city


In the Place Madeleine – walk thru Fauchon and Hediard – it’s Zabars + Dean & Deluca frenchified


Sunday before Noon – world’s biggest flea market at Port Clingancourt – known as the Marches Aux Puces with merchandise that ranges from street fair and flea market crap to high-end serious antiques.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Musée d'Orsay (attraction)
  2. George Pompidou (attraction)
  3. Grand Palais (attraction)
  4. Le Petit Palais (attraction)
  5. Museum Camondo (attraction)
  6. Musée Jacquemart-André (attraction)
  7. Musée Maillol (attraction)
  8. Musée Picasso (attraction)
  9. Le Marais (neighborhood)
  10. Musée Marmottan Monet (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Dave from Houston

There is so much to see and do in Paris. The Louvrewould be at the top of my list. It is huge so read about it online before you go and decide which exhibits you want to see. 

Many of the best things to do are free or nearly so. Ride the Paris Metro to get around rather than taking cabs. The Metro is inexpensive and very quick. Get off at the Trocadéro Station at night and when you climb the stairs to ground level, you will see the Eiffel Tower in all it's glory (lit up at night). This is one of the most memorable views in Paris. Then go to the L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile station, also at night, to see Napoleon's victory arch. From there you can walk the Champs-Élysées to the Place de la Concorde. This Is really the main drag in Paris and it comes alive at night. The Place de la Concord is where they erected the guillotine and did the beheadings during the French Revolution.

Nearby is the Place Vendôme. Stroll around this historic square and you will see shops patronized by the very rich. Ritz Hotel, Paris is located there It is where Princess Di stayed the night before she died in a tragic automobile crash.

A day trip to the Château De Versailles is a must. Take the Metro to the train connection and then a short train ride to the suburb of Versailles. Louis the Fourteenth resided here before the French Revolution. It is one of the most historic and best preserved palaces in Europe. It is enormous and just an outstanding day trip. 

Food is the one thing that many remember most fondly when recalling a Paris visit. There are so many wonderful restaurants, cafes, and bistros to choose from. I can still remember the wonderful meal we had at the restaurant Tante Louise Bernard Loiseau - rive droite near the Palais Garnier. What a treat!

We have restaurant guide books in America and they're not bad. However, there is nothing like the Michelin Guide for restaurants in France, especially Paris. It's a little red book, updated annually each April, and a must have for a trip to Paris. It is so important that a chef's career can be made or broken based on his rating in the Michelin Guide. French people will journey for many miles to sample the cuisine at a restaurant that has received high praise from Michelin. You can find it at Barnes and Noble or most any bookstore. You can also order it online. Don't leave home without it.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Louvre (attraction)
  2. Trocadéro (attraction)
  3. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  4. L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile (attraction)
  5. Champs-Élysées (attraction)
  6. Place de la Concorde (attraction)
  7. Place Vendôme (neighborhood)
  8. Ritz Hotel, Paris (hotel)
  9. Château De Versailles (attraction)
  10. Bernard Loiseau - rive droite (restaurant)
  11. Palais Garnier (attraction)
2 thankscomments (2)

answered by

I really love the calm and nice atmosphere of the small parisian wine bars, one of my favourites is Le Garde Robe, located on a side street close to the louvre.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Le Garde Robe (attraction)
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answered by
Jennifer from Arnhem

As there are a lot of places where you'll go, something I'd really recommend is visiting the quite big Parc des Buttes Chaumont. If you get yourself a nice baguette beforehand, you can just picknick there, and rest you sore feet for a little bit. When you're tired of walking around, it is amazing to just relax for an hour or two, and enjoy the remarkably rough nature here. You also have a good view from the top!  
Remember to really enjoy your stay, instead of hasting around to be able to see everything you want to see; 4 days should be plenty. 

Edit: I just now see that you're visiting Paris in winter. A picknick might be hard, but it is still a beautiful place! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Parc des Buttes Chaumont (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Rebecca from Manchester


I've written a blog post on 'Paris for Beginners' this talks about the main sights to see

But in brief I really recommend Opera Garnier. You can do a cheap tour around the opera house/theatre and it really is spectacular and I think often overlooked as a sight to see in Paris.

I would recommend going up the Eiffel Tower. Some tourists say it isn't worth the money but I found going up at night was quite spectacular, and I believe cheaper than the day time.

1 thanks

answered by
Brenda from Long Beach

Hey AZ, 

Here is the quintessential tip for your trip. Whatever you do, don't buy a pricey Paris Pass to avoid the lines for whatever museums you decide to see. Go to the Louvre and go down the stairs on either side of the mini arc de triumph to the Tabac shop. Purchase all your tickets there and go to the FRONT OF THE LINE!!! With 4 days, I would walk the entire city, stopping in at cafes for a vin chaud every few hours to rest and warm up. I would do Musee D'Orsay and Musee de l'Orangerie and walk through the adjacent tJardin Tuileries. 


Spend your time walking and soaking up all the different vibes within one of the greatest cities in the world. And, good on you for not being afraid and supporting the city of light.

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answered by
Shrirang from Pune

Do take the open top bus tour of Paris. It gives a nice view of central Paris. You can hop on-off the bus.

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answered by
Jenn from Boston

The best thing about Paris is the ease in which you can get around. There are tour buses that offer all day passes to hop on and hop off around major sites in the city. The subway is also quite easy to use. I believe only one person recommended the Musee Rodin

which I would also highly recommend. It is one of my favorites and very french with the private sculpture garden. If you want to spring for a wonderful extra experience, I highly recommend a dinner cruise. It is still one of my husband's and my fondest memories. It is so beautiful to see the city and the tower lit up at night. Going up in Eiffel Tower at night is also lovely. Another museum I do not see mentioned is Centre Pompidou - Musée National d'Art Moderne for wonderful modern art. Even if you don't go inside, the building itself and the outdoor sculptures are really unique. The Louvre can easily take an entire day. Check out guides for ideas if you only want to hit the highlights. Keep in mind that some of all of the famous Claude Monet paintings are in the Musée d'Orsayand not the Louvre. Have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Musee Rodin (attraction)
  2. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  3. Centre Pompidou - Musée National d'Art Moderne (attraction)
  4. Musée d'Orsay (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Diego from São Paulo, Brazil

Left Bank scooter tour. Guide in a scooter and your wife and you in the other. You get to see everything in the most authentic, coolest way possible. Highly highly recommend this.

1 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Suggest getting a Paris pass (2,4 or 6 day It will save you money and will often allow you to bypass queues at attractions-especially handy at the The Louvre. (Not at Château De Versailles -will have to queue there) Go up to top of L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, Eiffel Tower, some amazing museums in Paris-try to include some of them. Notre Dame-go up to the top and take in the view with the gargoyles. Just across road from main entrance to Notre Dame is the Point Zéro des Routes de France-the starting point of all distance measurements in France.  Walk along the La Seine near Notre Dameand browse at the second hand book stalls- the Les Bouquinistes. Versailles will take nearly a full day but so worth it. Try to get to the Quartier Du Marais district-great shops, street art, restaurants and cafes-on Sundays is closed to traffic and is especially vibrant. You can walk around a lot of areas-hop on hop off buses are great if you want to save your legs.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Louvre (attraction)
  2. Château De Versailles (attraction)
  3. L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile (attraction)
  4. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  5. Notre Dame (neighborhood)
  6. Point Zéro des Routes de France (attraction)
  7. La Seine (attraction)
  8. Les Bouquinistes (restaurant)
  9. Quartier Du Marais (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

First time in Paris?  You don't say if it is.  So... walk along the river toward the Île de la Cité. The bridges along the way are magnificent (if the weather is nice, its a long walk... if the weather is crummy, take the Metro).  See the Notre Dame Cathedral, The Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay;  on a sunny day, go to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica & go to the Place du Tertre (to see the artists painting the Basilica);  walk up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe; walk around the Luxembourg Garden.  (On nice days, do the outdoor things, if its cold & inclement, do the museums)  if you have the time, go to the Cemitere Pere LaChaise, get a map & see the notables who are buried there (I made a "pilgrimage" to Jim Morrison's grave twice... very different experiences each time!)  Take the time to sit in a cafe & drink coffee (or wine) & watch the world go by.  These ideas will cover 4 days & not make you feel hurried.  Read some guide books for other ideas... the Metro will get you around town quickly & easily.  Have fun!  Paris is my favorite!!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Île de la Cité (attraction)
  2. Notre Dame Cathedral (attraction)
  3. The Louvre (attraction)
  4. Musée d'Orsay (attraction)
  5. Sacré-Cœur Basilica (attraction)
  6. Place du Tertre (attraction)
  7. Champs-Élysées (attraction)
  8. Arc de Triomphe (attraction)
  9. Luxembourg Garden (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

Without a doubt go shopping! This is one of only two times a year that shops can legally hold sales so go for it! Angélina is over priced and over rated and packed out with Chinese tourists, for real Parisian patisserie check La Pâtisserie des Rêves on rue du bac or various branches of leonôtre.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Angélina (attraction)
  2. La Pâtisserie des Rêves (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Edna from Paris

If you're going to be there just after Christmas, you should check out the Christmas markets! They should still be up for a short while and have great atmosphere and food. There's ones along the Champs-Élysées, at La Défense, and smaller ones dotted around town. Order some mulled wine and tartiflette and check out the holiday Ferris Wheel at Place de la Concorde

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Champs-Élysées (attraction)
  2. La Défense (attraction)
  3. Place de la Concorde (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

If the weather is warm enough, buy sandwiches, salad, a dessert and a half bottle of wine (screw top or get a corkscrew, plastic glasses) and then find a bench beside the La Seine, preferably on the sunny side, near Notre Dame. Then just be there!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. La Seine (attraction)
  2. Notre Dame (neighborhood)
1 thanks

answered by
Nars from Boston

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  2. The Louvre (attraction)
  3. L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile (attraction)
  4. Notre Dame (neighborhood)
  5. Luxembourg (attraction)
  6. Champs-Élysées (attraction)
1 thanks

answered first by
John from Carlsbad (California)

Of course you can go to the top or a lower level of the Eiffel Tower.  You can get advance tickets online at . The best photos of the tower can be taken from the Palais de Chaillot in the afternoon.  The area to the east of the tower has many good restaurants, including Au Bon Accueil, Le Clos des GourmetsPhilippe Excoffier, Chez Les Anges and Café Constant.  You are not too far from Hôtel des Invalides and my favorite museum in Paris, Musee Rodin.

I would recommend you not limit yourself to the area around where you are staying.  The metro or a taxi can take you to any of the major sites in Paris.  Have a nice trip.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
  2. Palais de Chaillot (attraction)
  3. Au Bon Accueil (restaurant)
  4. Le Clos des Gourmets (restaurant)
  5. Philippe Excoffier (attraction)
  6. Chez Les Anges (restaurant)
  7. Café Constant (attraction)
  8. Hôtel des Invalides (hotel)
  9. Musee Rodin (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Ron from Vancouver

Buy (or borrow from the library) a copy of Patricia Wells' The Food Lovers' Guide to Paris and select one or two restaurants - I've eaten a number of meals in Paris that I will remember until the day I day.

answered by
Kamel from Paris

Hi Az,

There is so much to see here in Paris. If you like, I could make you a city tour with my own car. I grew up in Paris and got a licence in tourism. Let me know if this something you would love to do and give me more detail of the kind of tour you would like to do.

Paris est magique ! 

answered by
Susan from New York City

L’Avant Comptoir and Miznon amazing bites. L'Ami Jean is also open from the 29th through the 2nd. You can find a full list here -

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. L’Avant Comptoir (restaurant)
  2. Miznon (restaurant)
  3. L'Ami Jean (restaurant)

answered by

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Luxembourg Garden (attraction)

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