Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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Paris itinerary in 4 days

Hotels

Paris:

Hotel Jardin le Brea

♥♥

Located in the Montparnasse area, this small hotel is clean and updated but a bit tired. The rooms are tiny and  awkward. The breakfast is sufficient but nothing special. On the plus side, it is in a nice location - close to many restaurants and several metro stations.

Guides and Tours

Paris:

  • Marie Knows Paris. Marie took us on a fascinating walking tour of the Marais neighbourhood which is rich in history, particularly Jewish history, and has some of the most beautiful and lively streets in Paris. Marie walked us through secret gardens, courtyards, churches, private art galleries, the beautiful Place des Vosges all the while explaining the interesting history of the area. 

  • Natalia Davous. Natalia is an art expert and hosts guided tours of the major museums. Our tour in the Musée D'Orsay was very interesting.

  • Sight Seekers Delight. This walking tour of the Montmartre neighbourhood was more of a pop-culture tour. We would have preferred to hear more about the history of the area so it was somewhat disappointing.

Noteworthy Restaurants

  • Le P'tit Troquet. This warm and cozy Parisian restaurant is located close to the Eiffel Tower. The traditional cuisine that they serve is delicious and service was great.

  • La Palette. This iconic French restaurant located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area was frequented by many artists including Cezanne and Picasso back in the day, and later by Ernest Hemingway and Jim Morrison. The bistro serves a nice lunch. We had delicious salads and baguette while sipping wine on the street-side terrace.

  • Pierre Hermé. If you have a sweet tooth this is one place you won't want to miss! We had coffees and the most delicious, buttery pastries I've eaten. Plus the display is pure eye candy.

  • La Cuisine de Philippe. This tiny restaurant had the most delicious French food. They specialize in soufflés - both savoury and sweet. I have never tasted anything so light, fluffy and delectable. 

  • Au Pére Louis. This small, warm restaurant located in the St-Germain-des-Prés area, serves delicious comfort food and the staff are very friendly. They are known for their rich cassoulet stew.

  • Le Coq Rico. Known for its poultry dishes. The roasted chicken was delicious, one of the best I've had.

  • Quartier Vavin. A lively café just down the street from our hotel. Great selection of wines and beers as well as bistro type food.

Favourite Museums

Paris:

Paris is home to world-class museums and art galleries. There are so many wonderful ones to visit. I highly recommend getting the museum pass if you plan to visit several museums. It allows you to "skip the line" and also covers many monuments and other interesting tourist sites. 

Keep in mind that many museums are closed on Sunday's. So make your plans accordingly.

 

Here is a list of a few museums we visited on this trip.

  • Picasso Museum. Dedicated to the works of Pablo Picasso who lived in France from 1905 - 1973, the collection includes over 5,000 works of art, much of which was donated by his family after his death.

  • Musee D'Orsay. One of my favourite museums in Paris, it houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art in the world, including paintings by Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and many others. The museum is built in a former train station. The architecture is spectacular.

  • Musée de l'Orangerie. The museum is most famous for the eight large murals of water lilies painted by Monet which are located in two oval rooms. It also contains an incredible collection by other impressionist artists such as Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Renoir and others.

  • Pompidou Centre. This modern, high-tech building houses Paris' modern and contemporary art collection - one of the greatest modern art collections in Europe. 

  • Hôtel des Invalides. This building houses the Army Museum and Napolean's Tomb. It covers French military history mainly during the two World Wars. It also houses Napolean's tomb, as well as the tombs of other French war heroes, in a beautiful domed church.

Paris

The City of Lights - Paris is one of those cities that you can visit over and over again. The grand boulevards, the romantic architecture, the delicious food and the incredible museums and monuments will always take my breath away. 

This itinerary can be helpful both for first-timers and return visitors. It describes some of my favourite museums and sites, as well as some smaller ones and unique tours.

Day 1

 

Morning

We arrived in Paris and checked into Hotel Jardin Le Brea in the Montparnasse neighbourhood.

We grabbed a classic Parisian lunch of Croque Monsieur sandwiches at a local restaurant.

 

Afternoon

After lunch we headed to the Marais neighbourhood where we had arranged a private walking tour with Marie, from Marie Knows Paris.  

I have always wanted to explore the Marais neighbourhood. It is rich in history - particularly Jewish history and has some of the most beautiful and lively streets in Paris.

 

The area is filled with small parks and narrow streets. We started our tour at the Place de la Bastille - a monument and square where the Bastille prison once stood until it was destroyed in 1790 during the French Revolution.

 

Marie walked us through secret gardens, courtyards, churches, synagogues, private art galleries, the beautiful Place des Vosges, and by the best falafel restaurant in the city, all the while explaining the interesting history of the Marais area. 

After our tour we went to the Picasso Museum located in the Marais. This art gallery is dedicated to the works of Pablo Picasso who lived in France from 1905 - 1973. The collection includes over 5,000 works of art, much of which was donated by his family after his death.

Evening

This evening we had dinner reservations at Le P'tit Troquet. This warm and cozy Parisian restaurant is located close to the Eiffel Tower. The traditional cuisine that they serve is delicious and the service was great.

Day 2

 

Morning

We started our day with a private tour of the Musee D'Orsay with Natalia Davous.

 

The Musee D'Orsay is one of my favourite museums in Paris. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art in the world, including paintings by Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and many others.

 

The museum is built in a former train station. The architecture is spectacular.

 

We spent a couple of hours in the museum with Natalia, who gave us a very interesting lesson on the history of impressionist art, the techniques, the background of the artists and how their art and the artistic movements evolved.

 

Following the tour in the gallery, Natalia walked with us around the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood which is filled with private galleries - many exhibiting modern and contemporary art. 

 

Afternoon

We had lunch in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area at La Palette. This iconic French restaurant was frequented by many artists including Cézanne and Picasso back in the day, and later by Ernest Hemingway and Jim Morrison. The bistro serves a nice lunch. We had delicious salads and baguette while sipping wine on the street-side terrace.

After lunch we continued to stroll around the area and stopped at Pierre Hermé for dessert. If you have a sweet tooth or are a foodie, this is one place you won't want to miss! We had coffees and the most delicious, buttery pastries I've eaten. Plus the display is pure eye candy.

We then walked over to the Musée de l'Orangerie - another incredible museum that should definitely be on your list if you love impressionist art. This museum is located next to the Places de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens.

The museum is most famous as the home of eight large murals of water lilies painted by Monet which are located in two oval rooms. The museum also contains an incredible collection by other artists such as Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Renoir and others.

From there we walked back to our hotel. On the way we strolled through the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens filled with Parisians enjoying the sunny day.

Evening

This evening we did not have a reservation so decided to take our chances and walk out to a restaurant around the Luxembourg gardens, not far from our hotel. We were lucky and happened to come across La Cuisine de Philippe which had one table available. This tiny restaurant had the most delicious French food. They specialize in soufflés - both savoury and sweet. I have never tasted anything so light, fluffy and delectable. 

Day 3

Morning

This morning we walked from our hotel into the Latin Quarter. This area is situated on the left bank of the Siene. It is home to the Sorbonne University as well as several other schools of higher education. As such, it is a lively area filled with students, bistros and bars.

We visited the Pantheon which is located in the Latin Quarter. It was originally built as church but now functions as a secular mausoleum, containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. It is a beautiful neo-classic building and its facade is modelled after the Pantheon in Rome.

From the Pantheon we crossed the river and went to the Pompidou Centre near the Marais area. This modern, high-tech building houses Paris' modern and contemporary art collection - one of the greatest modern art collections in Europe. We spent a couple of hours viewing the unique artwork.

Afternoon

We stopped for a light lunch at a bistro near the Pompidou Centre. 

From there we continued our walk over toward the Palais Royale. We walked through the beautiful square, enjoying the art installations, and then walked toward the Opera House. Unfortunately the Opera House was closed for a special event when we were there but it is a beautiful building and a nice walk to get there. I would recommend a tour inside if it is open.

We took the metro back to our hotel for a rest.

Evening

This evening we wanted to eat a traditional French cassoulet - a rich, slow-cooked casserole containing meat and white beans. Luckily one of the best restaurants serving cassoulet was located not far from our hotel - Au Pére Louis

This small, warm restaurant located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, on the other side of the Luxembourg Gardens, serves delicious comfort food and the staff are very friendly.

Day 4

Morning

We decided to skip the hotel breakfast this morning and grab a bite to eat at a café like Parisians. We walked through the Montparnasse area. We stopped at the La Boulangerie des Invalides for a café-au-lait and we shared a buttery croissant and delicious quiche. 

We continued over to the Hôtel des Invalides which houses the Army Museum and Napolean's Tomb. This interesting museum covers French military history mainly during the two World Wars. It also houses Napolean's tomb, as well as the tombs of other French war heroes, in a beautiful domed church.

 

From there we walked over to the Eiffel Tower, Paris' iconic tower, and the park surrounding it. Since we've both gone up the tower on previous trips, we didn't go up this time.

We crossed the river and headed toward the Arc de Triomphe - one of the most famous monuments in Paris. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. We climbed the Arc which has a beautiful view of the city.

Afternoon

We took the metro to Montmartre for lunch and a walking tour. 

Montmartre, located on the north side of Paris, is located on a hill and has a village-like atmosphere. The Basilica of the Sacré Coeur stands at the summit.  Montmartre is known for its artistic history as well as the famous nightclub - the Molin Rouge. In the early 1900s many famous artists, such as Modigliani, Monet, Renoir and Picasso lived and had studios in this district. 

We stopped for lunch at Le Coq Rico, famous for its traditional French roasted chicken. The food was delicious and the chicken was one of the best roasted chicken I've had.

After lunch we did a walking tour with Sight Seekers Delight. This tour was more of a pop-culture tour. We would have preferred to hear more about the history of the area so it was somewhat disappointing.

Evening

We were pretty full from our big lunch so decided to just go out for wine and a charcuterie board at Quartier Vavin, a lively café just down the street from our hotel. The light dinner hit the spot and was a nice way to toast our final night in Paris.

 

Day 5

 

Morning

After breakfast we checked out of our hotel and headed home. Au revoir Paris!

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Itinerary Add-ons

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