When tourists think “France” they think Paris. Steeped in history and culture, Paris should undoubtedly be on your bucket list of destinations as an over 40 solo traveler. Having any time to spend in this one-of-a-kind, “City of Lights”, whether one day to 4 days (or more), is never a bad call. Put on your walking shoes for this 4 days in Paris itinerary is going to keep you moving so you can indulge in French goodies guilt free.
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Before starting this 4 day Paris itinerary, don’t forget to check out my great travel information on France, my suggested travel resources, and my Guide to Budget European Accommodations for helpful accommodation-planning.
More France Travel Tips & Ideas
- France Travel Guide
- Champagne Day Trip from Paris Without a Car
- How to Plan Your Eiffel Tower Visit
- Spectacular 3 Days in the South of France
Best Time to Visit Paris
I love Paris in the springtime… Actually, I could love Paris any time, but it is best during the off season when there aren’t so many tourists and you won’t have to wait in line for the major attractions (like this 4 day Paris itinerary provides).
That said, Paris can be crowded in the spring and fall, too. Considering Paris is a pricy destination, plan and book accommodations well in advance, and schedule it away from the high tourist season (late May through early September), if budgeting is important to you.
Where to Stay in Paris
Undoubtedly, you’ll want to plan your accommodations to be fairly centrally located around your targeted attractions.
Paris is made up of 20 arrondissements (districts), the lower 8 being the more convenient. The further out from arrondissements 1 – 8, the less expensive it will be. However, you may get some good deals within these 8 arrondissements, or just bordering them, if you shop around and/or book well in advance.
For more convenience, like saving time, plan your stay to be close to the train station(s) you’ll be accessing frequently.
For these reasons, I stayed at the Libertel Gare de L’Est Francais, within the 10th arrondissement and just across the way from the Gare du Nord for my 4 Days in Paris. The single room cost was ideal as a solo traveler and came with all of the amenities, including a wonderful breakfast, and ease for accessing this Paris 4 day itinerary’s sights.
How to Get Around Paris
Paris is a very large city, and using taxis and ride shares will make your transportation costs quickly add up.
As always, I recommend walking combined with public transportation as much as possible – it’s inexpensive, easy to use, and eco-friendly. This means getting to know the Paris metro. The Paris metro is going to save you a ton of time, especially when trying to see Paris in 4 days.
For Paris sightseeing on this 4 day itinerary, purchase the 5-day Paris Metro Pass. It covers unlimited rides on all forms of public transportation within Zones 1-3.
To visit the Palace of Versailles on Day 2, you will need access to Zone 5. However, it’s less expensive to purchase the Paris St-Michel/Notre Dame to Versailles Rive Gauche/Château de Versailles roundtrip, RER C train ticket (at the St-Michel/Notre Dame station) the morning of Day 2.
If you are arriving or leaving Paris from the Charles de Gaulle or Orly Airport (Zone 5), you may wish to purchase your 5-Day Paris Metro Pass with Zone 5 included. You do the math on what works best for you.
Is it safe to visit Paris alone?
I have been to Paris alone twice and never felt unsafe. With this particular Paris 4 day itinerary I was 47 and experienced no safety issues whatsoever, including traveling amongst the homeless and riding the Paris metro at night. Mind you, I had lived in Los Angeles prior and was used to the occasional panhandler, performer or intoxicated individual. To me, the Paris metro felt like L.A. but in French!
If you don’t feel comfortable walking or riding public transportation at night then consider adding rideshare or taxi costs in your budget.
Research your accommodations’ arrondissement for safety tips as well.
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Best 4 Days in Paris Itinerary
What can you see in Paris in 4 days solo over 40? Check this out.
Day 1 – Cruise Paris & Eiffel Tower
Assuming you arrive on Day 1, try to be checked into your hotel (or at least check your bags) so you’re out and about by noon. For all things holy, don’t forget your walking map (your hotel should provide) and mark your hotel’s location.
Today is the day to wander Paris within arrondissements running along the Siene. Take the metro line 4 to the Cité station where you’ll pop up above ground on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris. If you’re close, walk there – the Île de la Cité is connected by 9 bridges! Take your time to stroll around the island and open spaces enjoying the surrounding views. Stop at the most popular island destination, the beloved Gothic style Cathédrale Notre-Dame. Enjoy the open, place du Parvis Notre Dame (front square) and go underneath the square. Go behind it to the park, Square Jean XXIII, to better appreciate its ornate flying buttresses. Unfortunately, as of the timing of this post, the interior is still closed for renovation due to the devastating, April 15, 2019 fire.
When you’re ready to enjoy more Paris scenery, hop on a batobus for a Siene River cruise. What better way to see Paris in all its glory? Tickets are sold in 1 or 2 day passes, and you can hop on and hop off at any one of the small piers along the Siene – pick up is every 20 to 25 minutes. From the Notre-Dame, board 15 minutes before departure (every 30 minutes) and ride about an hour to end up at the Eiffel Tower, your next destination.
Now, I know I say to always get to the biggest tourist destinations first thing in the morning to avoid lines, and you don’t get much bigger than the Eiffel Tower (in every sense of the word). Yet, you can’t go wrong checking this off your bucket list on your first day in Paris, and this is a leisure day after all.
I recommend trying to time your arrival close to your pre-purchased ticket to the top. If not, just plan to be waiting in line. You can stay as long as you want. Night views are spectacular! Take in some bubbly at the champagne bar or dine at Le Jules Verne. It’s up to you. Read my tips on how best to plan your Eiffel Tower visit. Just don’t stay out too late – you have an early start tomorrow.
Day 2 – Palace of Versailles & The Left Bank
Your second day in Paris starts early with a quick bite at your hotel, or a pastry and café to hop on the train for your visit to the Château de Versailles (Palace of Versailles). Catch your RER C train – no later than 7am – to the Palace of Versailles Château Rive Gauche station, because the combined train and walking time will take about an hour if you’re coming from central Paris.
The Palace opens at 9am and being smart, you picked the first entry time of the day and have your audio tour pre-downloaded to your phone, so you’re off to gawk in awe at the opulence of the Palace of Versailles while learning some French history without wasting time. Read more on the best tips for visiting Versailles from Paris.
Your trip to Versailles could find you entranced making you want to spend all day amongst the finery, gardens, and fountain shows. If so, feel free to forego the remaining day’s itinerary. However, if you’re “palaced out” after a few hours or more (like I was), not to worry. Grab a bite one of the many dining facilities so you’re relaxed and refreshed for round two in Paris.
Art on the Left Bank
Take the train to the Gare du Musée D’Orsay RER C for some amazing art at your next destination, the Musée d’Orsay. This museum on the Left Bank of the Seine holds its own as an attraction with its barrel-style iron and glass ceiling, open space and intricately designed hanging lamps that take you back to 1900 when it was completed as a railway station (the former Gare d’Orsay). Add all of the amazing, 1848 to 1914 art from the Impressionism and Art Nouveau periods and more, and you’ll be visually delighted for hours. I certainly was.
To save money, look into getting a combined museum ticket for entrance to the Musée Rodin (Day 3), which is good for a single entry to each museum and valid for three months.
Hungry? Rest your feet for a drink and light snack at the museum. When you’ve had your fill of art, wander along the Seine or explore more of the Latin Quarter. Stroll through the 17th century Le Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens) – the perfectly kept lawns are off limits – before a night out of dinner and drinks.
Day 3 – More Art & Montmartre
You can get a lazy start on your third day in Paris. By now you’re either loving your hotel’s breakfast or seen more café’s you’d like to try for a café au lait and croissant (or tartine). Once satiated, head to the Musée Rodin (just south of the Varenne metro), where you can stroll the gardens and admire his epic statues, like The Thinker, in addition to other great art within the 18th century mansion. It opens at 10am.
Start with lunch in one of the many outdoor restaurants, sipping wine and watching the world go by.
Watch the tourists get their portraits painted or buy your own little piece of Paris. Street performers and musicians can be found around any corner on your way to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, where you can pop inside to the tower for free or cop a squat on the stairs in front, a popular spot for people to gather overlooking the Paris landscape, which seems to stretch forever.
There is no timetable on this lazy afternoon. Just enjoy soaking in the culture of this funky village with eclectic storefronts and wares. Just keep your belongings safe – this area has been known to have pick pocketers.
Start down the steep stairs slowly making your way through the village-style streets. Alley ways offer blooming flowers adding to the quaint feel of this area.
Don’t forget to make your way to the Abbesses Metro, located on Place des Abbesses. This classic Art Nouveau metro canopy is one of the three remaining Art Nouveau entrances in Paris.
Of course, an afternoon in Paris would not be complete without joining the Parisians in an afternoon espresso, wine or cocktail (not a café au lait – Parisians drink those in the morning) outdoors. Don’t you just love Paris?
It’s been a long day with a lot of walking. The rest of the evening is your call. Dinner closer to your hotel? Perhaps stay in the Montmartre village and catch a show at the Moulin Rouge, 82 Boulevard de Clichy. It opens at 9pm. The night is young in the City of Lights.
Day 4 – Champagne Day Trip from Paris
How does champagne tasting in the heart of the Champagne region sound? It’s a completely doable option as an epic Paris to Reims day trip on the last of your 4 days in Paris. And without a car.
Eat a solid breakfast and catch the TGV direct train from Paris Gare de l’Est by 9:30am and you’ll be in Reims, France in 45 minutes with plenty of time to enjoy exploring Reims and the Reims Cathedral, lunch, and champagne house cavern tours and tastings. You’ll be back in Paris in time for dinner.
Read more on how to enjoy the best Reims day trip from Paris.
If you don’t have a taste for champagne, consider hitting the Musée du Louvre or the Musée de l’Orangerie early in the morning instead, followed by a stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden). Soak up the sun with the Parisians and a picnic lunch.
The Galeries Lafayette (Chaussée d’Antin Metro), is great for grabbing a bite at anyone of its 24 restaurants and cafes, followed by shopping if that’s your thing. The Galeries Lafayette has it all: clothing, gourmet emporium, modern art, fashion shows, and a glasswalk magnificent stained-glass dome over a century old for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Drop off your gifts at your hotel, freshen up, and head out for your last night in Paris, starting with the Placé de la Concorde, where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette met their fate by guillotine, now is home to a massive Ferris Wheel, where you can take a ride at night before dining at one of the top Placé de la Concorde restaurants – even Maxim’s, a Paris institution since 1893.
Don’t miss the sparkling light show on the Eiffel Tower at the top of every hour. It’s short, but a must see before leaving Paris. Bon voyage!
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