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Explore Top Paris Highlights in 4 Day-Trip Routes

Organize your Paris adventures by neighborhood

Paris is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city rich in its history, its romance and its grandeur. As capital of France and home to almost 11 million Parisians, it is a super-popular Paris views from atop the Eiffel Tower (click any pic to enlarge)jumping off point for exploring France. But how best to tackle visiting Paris? There’s so much to see and so many things to do …

GoGirlfriend took on the task of trying to see as much of Paris as we could in 4 days. Here’s our game plan, the reasons why to visit these sights, and how to be as efficient as you can and save your foot-power! But first a few preparatory “need to knows” …

Before you tackle what sites to see in Paris

Pick where you’re going to stay – whether staying at a local hotel, Airbnb or hostel, make sure you aren’t locating yourself too far from the action. Locate yourself within the circular highway perimeter and the closer to the Seine the better.

location, location, location ... and a balcony!Transportation in and around Paris – The Paris Metro is well integrated into the city and able to get you around pretty efficiently. Whether arriving on the RER (train) from Charles de Gaul Airport or touring about the city, single use, day passes and multiple day passes can save you some transportation dollars.

  • Also consider taxi’s, Uber’s and Lyft vehicles
  • Hop on Hop Off buses take you to the major highlights
  • Rent a bike or escooter to go from point A to point B as needed

Eating in Paris – here’s hoping you like spectacular breads, vibrant cheeses and strong espresso! Virtually every corner has a bakery, café or brasserie – then there’s still a ton of restaurants to be found. [Note: we do recommend you make an advance reservation during high season when demand for seating is at a premium.]

toilettes are few and far betweenBathrooms & Washrooms – not terms commonly used in Paris, it’s probably best to ask where the “toilette” is. And be aware, toilets are not easy to find nor are they plentiful like at home. There are a few “interesting” public toilets, but we recommend you use the loo when you eat and watch your water intake … or you may be scrambling to find somewhere when you need to go.

What are the easiest ways to explore Paris?

Depending on the direction you wish to travel and the highlights you want to see, here are 4 walking routes to see 20 of Paris’ key sights and a night show option in each area.

Western neighborhoods – Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower  

Details: walking map – 3.5 miles, about 75 minutes walking + stop times

the Eiffel Tower - a must!Beginning with the stately Arc de Triomphe and the crazy traffic circle of Place Charles de Gaulle, walk down the famed Champs Elysees and its name brand shops to the site of the city’s justice seat where public beheadings once took place (Place de la Concorde area). Continue with a leisurely walk along the Seine to the Trocadero Gardens – the best vantage to see the Eiffel Tower, before crossing the bridge to the foot of the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars park area laid out beside the tower.

Key Highlights in this walk:

  • Napolean's Arc de TriompheArc de Triomphe – climb to the top for €12 for a great view of the city, but use underground access ways.
  • Champs Elysees – shop til you’ve hit all the major brands
  • Fontaine de Mers on the Place de la Concorde – explore the park and the Egyptian obelisk
  • Along the Seine to Trocadero Gardens – a leisurely walk along the Seine
  • Eiffel Towerexpect to spend a few hours and expect the lines to be crazy long. We recommend you purchase a skip-the-line pass to bypass the crowds and get to the top of the Eiffel Tower quicker.
  • [Bonus] Night show to enjoy: Crazy Horse Paris – sexy Parisian cabaret


Central neighborhoods – The Louvre to the Catacombs

Details: walking map – 4 miles, about 90 minutes walking + stop times

the Louvre with its iconic pyramidBegin your day early with a visit to one of the worlds largest museums, beginning under the iconic glass pyramid. Continue exploring the attached Tuileries Gardens before crossing the Seine and heading south to Napoleon’s Tomb within the Army Museum. Continue your journey underground into the centuries-old Catacombs and see the bones of millions long dead before returning to the land of the living at the lush Luxenbourg Gardens.

Key Highlights in this walk:

  • The Louvre and Tuileries Gardens – once the French royal residence, the Louvre is now the largest museums housing hundreds of thousands of artifacts. We recommend a skip-the-line pass access here due to the huge popularity and lineups.
  • Napoleon’s Tomb visit Paris' underground Catacombsin the great dome of the Army Museum sits the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Catacombs – network of tunnels deep under Paris, once for mining stone, now ossuary for millions of skeletons laid to rest under the city. Purchase a timed-access pass to avoid the general lineups that can be over an hours’ wait.
  • Luxembourg Gardens – created by Marie de Medici, these beautiful gardens are part of the Luxembourg Palace (now museum) grounds.
  • [Bonus] Enjoy at night: Montaparnasse views of Paris


Eastern neighborhoods – the Pantheon and Notre Dame Cathedral

Details: walking map – 2.5 miles, an hours walking + stop times

Paris' PantheonBoth grand and awe-inspiring, the roman-inspired Pantheon starts your adventure beside the Sorbonne. A stop at Paris’ oldest bookstore is a treat in the old quarter before crossing the Seine to the now-barricaded Notre Dame Cathedral. While recently destroyed by fire and under renovations, Notre Dame Cathedral is still a sight to behold. Continue to the Fountain of the Innocents marking the site of the original Paris cemetery before heading to the monument at the site of the original Paris Bastille Prison stormed and destroyed during the French Revolution.

Key Highlights in this walk:


Northern neighborhoods – the walk to Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge

Details: walking map – 2.3 miles, an hours walking + stop times

explore Paris' covered shop passagesBegin central in Paris near the Louvre and start your walking journey with 4 beautiful Parisian covered passages lined with quirky shops and eateries. Meander block by block exploring as you gently climb to the base of Sacre Coeur Cathedral. To the top of Montmartre and the panoramic views of Paris at the entrance to the majestic Sacre Coeur Cathedral is another 300 stairs – worth the view inside and out. [Consider an optional climb up the Sacre Coeur domed tower for even loftier views.] After Sacre Coeur, wander through the artists gardens on your ways back down to the entertainment district where you can find the famed Moulin Rouge.

Key Highlights in this walk:

There’s got to be more to do in Paris?

In and Around Paris – some add-on adventures

Aside from simply the wonders of old Paris and the great sights to see walking the local neighborhoods, there are many attractions in the surrounding area equally inviting. Grab a day’s car rental, check out the RER Metro or look at some of the tours located from your hotel or throughout the city’s key tourist sights to enjoy greater Paris just outside the core.

Add-ons to consider:

  • Palace of Versailles Palace of Versailles and it's gardens(45 min by car) – home to a succession of French kings since 1682, a World Heritage site of pomp and majesty (2300 rooms!). Due to it’s immense tourist popularity, splurge on the timed entry or wait 3 hours in line during high season.
  • DisneyLand Paris and Walt Disney Studios (about an hour by car) – the European equivalent to the Orlando / Anaheim Disney Theme Parks … en francais!
  • Champagne tours around Reims (about 2 hours by car) – closer than the Bordeaux Region (6 hours) or the Burgundy Region (3 hours) is the famed Champagne region of France in and around Reims. With nigh on 100 major Champagne houses to visit and sample, it’s a bubbly afternoon of delights. We do recommend you book your Champagne tour at the houses of your choice as slots are limited and it’s very busy in high tourist season.  

Four days is simply not enough to see all that Paris has to offer. Our routes we researched and explored hit many of the key highlights leaving ample time to explore new finds of interest along these routes. We recommend you visit the Official Paris website for beaucoup more of what to see and do in Paris ~ the City of Lights!

Want to see some more pictures of our French adventures … check out our French Adventure album on our GoGirlfriend Facebook Photos.

What has been your favorite off-the-beaten-track find in Paris? We’d love to hear more of your adventures. Drop a comment below and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Our French Adventure took us through Paris (and delivered a surprise engagement), through the Champagne Region and some excellent champagne house tastings and north towards the WW1 battle fronts of France and Belgium. Follow our other French Adventure posts here:

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