What to do with four days in Paris. Jardin des Tuileries.
France, Travel Tips

Four Days in Paris

Paris is an incredible city.  This isn’t news, people have been saying it for years.

Now that I’ve experienced its greatness first-hand, I can confidently agree.  I spent four days in Paris on my first trip through the city, and it was the perfect amount of time to get to know her.

Paris, for me, wasn’t so much about seeing all the sights and doing all the things.  There was some of that, too, naturally.

I sought out the flagship Ladurée store on Champs-Élysées to pick out my favorite macaron flavors with big, googly heart eyes.What to do in Paris in four days. Macarons from Laduree.What to do in Paris in four days. Macarons from Laduree.

I gazed up at the Eiffel Tower from below, wishing the ugly orange soccer ball commemorating the Eurocup tournament wasn’t dangling from the center or that Champ de Mars (the green space at the base of the tower) wasn’t cordoned off as a Fan Zone, inaccessible when matches were not taking place.GoPro travel photo from Paris, FranceParis in four days--visit the Eiffel Tower

I did a lot of gazing at the Eiffel Tower, actually.  At night, I sat perched atop Palais de Chaillot near the Trocaderó metro stop and watched as its glittering light shows dazzled the crowds.What to do in Paris in four days. See the Eiffel Tower seen from Trocadero.

I admired her from a distance, where her grandeur can best be appreciated as she soars above the Paris skyline.  I enjoyed the view from the river Seine, as she rose against a backdrop of pink and purple clouds at dusk.What to do in Paris in four days.

When I wasn’t busy Eiffel Tower gazing, I ate late night crêpes like it was my civic duty and ordered wine with every meal (except breakfast… ha ha ha).  I even got to meet up with an old friend from high school who happened to be in the city for work–it’s always fun to see a familiar face in a city so far from where you first knew them.Wine with every meal in Paris. Wine with every meal in Paris.

I got around via every method imaginable–by foot, by metro, by bicycle, by Uber.  Mostly by foot, though, as I feel that’s the best method for taking in all the details and nuances you’d otherwise miss.

I enjoyed Paris slowly and methodically, without rushing around intent on ticking items off a to-do list.

Our chosen hotel was a charming old building tucked away in the narrow streets of the 17th Arrondissement.  Hotel Eldorado was equal parts funky, old-fashioned, and French–crooked wooden staircase included–and I loved every second of our stay.View from Hotel Eldorado in the 17th Arrondissement, Paris View from Hotel Eldorado in the 17th Arrondissement, Paris

There were bakeries, cafés, restaurants and lively bars all at a stone’s throw, and a major grocery store and a metro station (Place de Clichy) just one block away.Paris in four days: Explore the 17th Arrondissement Paris in four days: Explore the 17th Arrondissement

I loved exploring this neighborhood, eating all the amazing food we could find, pantomiming our orders in some of the bakeries when the shop owners didn’t understand our poor attempts at French.

Discovering the street art.  Watching the locals saunter by, looking every bit as chic and insouciant as I’d imagined.What to do with four days in Paris. Street art in the 17th Arrondissement.

From our base, we were able to reach the neighborhood of Montmartre by foot where we enjoyed a few cheap beers and live music on the steps of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, where you can find one of the best views of the whole city.  The white buildings seem to stretch into infinity from this vantage point, and the atmosphere is lively and fun.What to do with four days in Paris. Sacred Heart Basilica. What to do with four days in Paris. Sacred Heart Basilica.

If you have four days in Paris, I highly recommend packing a picnic and enjoying an afternoon here!  The only downside is that you can’t actually see the Eiffel Tower from here, as it’s hidden behind a wall of trees and shrubbery.  But no matter, the city is perfectly beguiling in its own right.Enjoying the view from Sacre Cœur Basilica, Montmartre, Paris. Enjoying the view from Sacre Cœur Basilica, Montmartre, Paris.

Another of our days was spent ambling from neighborhood to neighborhood until we eventually found ourselves along the banks of the Seine.  En route, we passed through the gorgeous Parc Monceau, overflowing with blooming flowers.What to do with four days in Paris. Visit Parc Monceau! What to do with four days in Paris. Visit Parc Monceau! What to do with four days in Paris. Visit Parc Monceau! What to do with four days in Paris. Visit Parc Monceau! What to do with four days in Paris. Visit Parc Monceau!

We passed by the impressive Arc de Triomphe, pausing momentarily to snap a few (hundred) pics and to use it as shelter from a sudden rainstorm.What to do with four days in Paris. What to do with four days in Paris. What to do with four days in Paris. What to do with four days in Paris. What to do with four days in Paris. What to do with four days in Paris.Paris in four days: Visit the Arc de Triomphe

We strolled down Champs-Élysée for a second time, stopping at a wine shop for a €4 bottle to take with us for an afternoon picnic.

To be honest, it’s hard not to take in the “touristy” sights of Paris, as there is something noteworthy at just about every turn.  We passed by the incredible Grand Palais and Petit Palais (seen below), two ornate exhibition halls that stand face to face between statues of great historical figures Charles de Gaulle, Georges Clemenceau, and Winston Churchill.What to do with four days in Paris. Petit Palais. What to do with four days in Paris. Petit Palais.

From here, we also stopped to enjoy Pont Alexandre III, from where we could once again see the Eiffel Tower (a view that never became any less impressive).What to do with four days in Paris.What to do with four days in Paris. What to do with four days in Paris

We continued along the river until finally reaching the impressive and sprawling Jardin de Tuileries.  It was here where we set up camp to enjoy our picnic under some dark clouds that arrived out of nowhere, threatening more rain that never came.What to do with four days in Paris. Jardin des Tuileries. What to do with four days in Paris. Jardin des Tuileries. What to do with four days in Paris. Jardin des Tuileries. What to do with four days in Paris. Picnic in Jardin des Tuileries. What to do with four days in Paris. Picnic in Jardin des Tuileries.

Finally, we ended our day of walking with a visit to the glass pyramid of the Louvre.  We opted not to go inside but had fun snapping photos of the exterior amongst a surprisingly sparse crowd–perhaps because we arrived so late in the day (around 5 pm).What to do with four days in Paris. Visit the Louvre Pyramid. What to do with four days in Paris. Visit the Louvre Pyramid. What to do with four days in Paris. Visit the Louvre Pyramid.What to do with four days in Paris. Visit the Louvre Pyramid. What to do with four days in Paris. Visit the Louvre Pyramid.

The following day, we chanced upon the Paris Pride Parade and joined in for the final few blocks, dancing and waving rainbow flags alongside a cheerful crowd.  The parade ended in the Bastille neighborhood, where we would stay in a beautiful Parisian apartment on our following visit.Paris Pride Parade Paris Pride Parade Paris Pride Parade

If you only have four days in Paris…

There’s certainly no right or wrong way to see the city of Paris, but if you have a limited number of days like we did, here are a few activities I highly recommend: 

  • Visit the Eiffel Tower.  Seeing it up close and personal is a whole different ball game!  Buy tickets in advance if you want to go up to the top for the view.
  • Rent bicycles for a day.  I’m normally terrified of biking in big cities, but Paris is very bike-friendly so it’s a fun way to get around!  The bike stations can be a little confusing at first–click here for instructions.

How would you spend four days in Paris?

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18 Comments

  • Reply Polly September 4, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Beautiful shots of a beautiful city! You’ve captured the spirit of the city so wonderfully!

  • Reply Mani @ A New Life Wandering September 4, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I really really have been craving Paris in the last couple of months and you keep rubbing it on my face! Haha.. No, but great photos and writing, as usual.
    Mani @ A New Life Wandering recently posted…Weekly Small Pleasures #98My Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis September 5, 2016 at 12:28 am

      Haha I’m sorryyyy! Just a gentle ribbing… 😉

  • Reply Monica September 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I was also in Paris for this awful orange Euro cup hanging from the Eiffel Tower — it’s really an eye sore! Your shots of Paris are really beautiful though, and it looks like you even scored some decent weather 😀 Congratulations on seeing Paris for the first time, I’m sure you’ll be back for more 🙂
    Monica recently posted…5 ways moving abroad can boost your careerMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis September 5, 2016 at 12:30 am

      Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought so! I remember thinking “WTF IS THAT??” And thank you, I definitely plan to go back again, Paris really captured my heart! 🙂

  • Reply Ella September 7, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Gorgeous photos! Isn’t Paris just so beautiful?! I swear, it feels like you’re living in beauty and the art just surrounds you. I love Paris and I hope to go as many times as possible in my lifetime. If cities can be soulmates, than I consider Paris to be mine.
    Ella recently posted…An Itinerary For 4 Days In ParisMy Profile

  • Reply Jessica September 7, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I’d do all of the things you mentioned in this post, starting with hunting down the best macarons in the city. I’d also love to go inside the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral – I think I’d need a whole day for that!
    Jessica recently posted…Raise Your Glass To The Wonderful Women In BeerMy Profile

  • Reply Stephanie September 8, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Hi! I just discovered your blog and your posts are so inspiring! I’m thinking more and more about being a nomad, or a “location independent” as you say, and I’m gonna read your blog carefully and I just followed you on Instagram to see your pics 🙂

    I love this post, I’m French, from Paris, and I loved rediscovering the city through your pics!
    Stephanie recently posted…Une journée à Grenoble : on a pris la Bastille !My Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis September 8, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Stephanie! I’m so thrilled that a real Parisian loves these photos! It can be intimidating photographing a city that has already been shot from every angle a million times 🙂 Location independence has been a real game-changer for me, and I wish you luck if that’s the path you decide to take! I hope my posts can give you some more useful info. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Eva Casey September 13, 2016 at 2:56 am

    Ah, Paris! My favorite city, and I don’t even care how much of a cliche that makes me 😛 I love doing all the things you did as well: macarons, picnics, the Eiffel Tower, all of the food, just strolling. This post has me really wanting to jump on a plane from Poland tomorrow instead of going to Warsaw! Though from your post about Warsaw it looks like I have a lot to discover there as well!
    Eva Casey recently posted…Planning The Ultimate 2 Month Europe Backpacking Trip – What To Pack & How Much Money To SaveMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis September 13, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Ooh it would be awesome to take an unexpected trip to Paris, but since you haven’t been to Warsaw yet you MUST go there! It’s really beautiful! Paris will always be there for another visit 🙂

  • Reply sophie September 17, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Those macarons look SO delicious. Paris is so pretty, even under a dull sky!
    sophie recently posted…#girlboss: GAINING BLOGGING CONFIDENCE & ‘PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE’My Profile

  • Reply Ashley October 30, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Your photos are making me swoon! I’m heading to Paris for a quick visit this weekend, and I can’t wait to wander around and eat my body weight in macarons.
    Ashley recently posted…Edinburgh Eats: My Favourite Sushi RestaurantsMy Profile

    • Reply Leah Davis October 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Ohh lucky you!! I dream about going back, I totally fell in love with that city! Enjoy!

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