One of the only downsides to a brief city break is that there isn't always enough time to see all the sites. There are whistle-stop tours you can do if you feel up to it, by all means. But if you want to feel at home in a city like Paris, wasting time planning can take away from eating delicious food.
We can't have that!
Paris is a small city. If there were no museums, bakeries, public parks, or shopping to do, it would be feasible to see all 20 arrondissements in four days. But there are parks, there is a lot of shopping, and even more museums.
Sticks a bit of a Chanel twig in the spokes of your Vélib', doesn't it?
Lucky for you, the Francophiles here at Plum have pulled together a four-day itinerary just for you. With our guide, you'll spend less time on Citymapper and Le Fooding, and more on the fruits of their labour.
PERFECTING THE PARIS TRIP PLAN
The thing with using the arrondissements as the only guide is that while they each have a specific vibe, there are also hidden gems you might not expect. If you're a Saint-Germain kind of person, you might not think to go northeast to Canal Saint-Martin. That would be a huge missed opportunity for you. (Trust us - we've been there).
With Paris being as small as it is, it's quite easy to fit a few arrondissements into a day. The Métro can also take you across the city quickly and calmly. Montparnasse Cemetery and the Catacombs might as well be next door to each other, and the Trocadéro, the Eiffel Tower, and Champ de Mars can fit into the span of time from breakfast to lunch.
There's plenty you can do and plenty you can see in just four days in Paris. You won't have time to see inside of the Louvre completely unless you put aside all four days, but who's to say this short break has to be your only trip to the City of Lights?
DAY 1: RÉPUBLIQUE RESPITE
Over the years Père-Lachaise has become one of the city's must-see destinations. It's where you'll find the final resting place of some of history's most memorable names. Edith Piaf, Chopin, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde are all there, and it's easy to get lost in these 44.5 hectares.
If you have several hours to spare and don't mind a late lunch, you can simply walk around the trees and the pathways to discover its secrets. With an itinerary on whose grave you'd like to see, it can be done in a couple of hours.
Breakfast: Le Génie Sous Les Etoiles (15 Rue Breguet, 75011) · Delicious crepes, incredible ambience, and an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet
Canal Saint-Martin is a magical spot less than 20 minutes walk from the Oberkampf/République area. Famed for the river lock where, in the movie Amélie, the titular character skims her stones, Canal Saint-Martin is a beautiful place. Sit here for a while and explore the back streets where you'll find record shops and hidden gem cafés.
During the late Spring through to late Autumn, you'll find groups of friends playing Pétanque by the canal-side until the sun goes down.
Lunch: La Mère Poule (101 Rue Oberkampf, 75011) · One of the best brunch places in Paris - don't just take our word for it, see for yourself.
Grab a coffee and head south to pass through Square Jules-Ferry and on into the Marais. The Marais is a great area to spend a chunk of the day, but it comes to life during the hours from dusk until dawn.
Find your way around the winding, hidden pathways, head to the top level of the Centre Pompidou, or make your way to the river before taking in dinner and then drinks. You are in Paris - and not just in Paris, but the Marais.
(Read our expert guide to the Marais for more ideas).
Dinner: Pierre Sang (55 Rue Oberkampf, 75011) · French cuisine with Korean influences, great value for money, menu changes every 2 weeks!
Drinks: Little Red Door (60 Rue Charlot, 75003) · Unique and inspired cocktails in a trendy and relaxed atmosphere.
DAY 2: PRÊT FOR SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS
Saint-Germain-des-Prés has a reputation that precedes it. Like most spots in Paris, its reality lives up to the expectation. The streets here are lined with boutiques and couturiers, and its walled-off apartments are where the bourgeois live.
The Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens) and their Palace are beautiful at all times of the day and the year. Small tables are splayed across the recreational area, inviting native Parisians to play cards or chess with anyone who'd like to.
Head on East to the Palace's gardens. It's here you can sit for hours, surrounded by flowers. Because you're on holiday in Paris, nobody said you have to move.
Insider Tip: Get a coffee (and lollipop) at the pavilion while you're there and see the beautiful 17th Century Medici Fountain.
Breakfast: Le Petit Lux (29 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006) · Authentic Parisian bakery, hugely popular with the locals
Musée d'Orsay is the home of the impressionists. Its Van Gogh room attracts thousands of people a year. Inside these walls you can find artwork from Degas, Manet, and Cezanne as well as sculptures by Rodin and a window through the clock face from which you can see Sacre-Coeur.
Lunch: Crêperie Little Breizh (11 rue Gregoire de Tours, 75006) · A Sibling-run café that does superbe buckwheat galettes with specially-milled flour
Ask any Parisian what to do during the late afternoon and early evening and they'll tell you what we're about to. See the Seine. Paris is one city whose nighttime light has a unique sort of magic, and this is never purer than it is around the river.
Continue along the right bank and you'll see Notre Dame. The infamous Shakespeare & Co. bookshop is also close by and open until 10.
Dinner: Le Petit Châtelet (39 Rue de la Bucherie, 75005) · Delectable food in a stunning location
Drinks: The Castor Club (14 Rue Hautefeuille, 75006) · Innovative cocktails mixed by experts.
DAY 3: A LOUVRE-LY DAY
The Louvre is impossible to see properly in just one day. If there's nothing else on your agenda but this, we suggest absolutely doing it. Otherwise, having a simple wander around the first arrondissement can be just as inspiring.
With Rue Saint-Honore, Avenue Montaigne, Palais Royal, and Place Vendôme close by, you'd be barmy to let the opportunity slip by! Get your shopping out of the way before your last day in Paris, and you won't feel as though you're rushing yourself to do it all.
Even if, technically, you are.
Breakfast: Baguett's Café (33 Rue de Richelieu, 75001) · Bilingual café that serves excellent coffee and pastries
If you're tired of sitting around soaking up the Paris atmosphere, the Musée l'Orangerie is inside the grounds of the Tuileries. The Orangerie is where Monet's Water Lilies are found, an installation that André Masson once professed to be the "Sixtine of Impressionism".
If you aren't tired of the atmosphere, pull up a chair by one of the big fountains in the Tuileries to take it all in. What's "it" exactly? It. Paris. Everything.
Lunch: LouLou (107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001) · Fashionable, ambient restaurant just a minute from the Louvre
Use the third night to take in more of Paris at night. The quai walk to Pont Neuf can be beautiful, and the light on the bridges make them seem almost romantic enough to understand why couples locked their love there.
If you do a detour down into the Latin Quarter, the Pantheon after nightfall is a sight for sore eyes. Across the road, the charming church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont leads to the back streets you may recognise from "Midnight in Paris".
Dinner: l'Absinthe (24 Place du Marché Saint-Honoré, 75001) · Traditional French brasserie in a fab location
DAY 4: EIFFEL GOES WEST
Being the definitive sight to see in Paris, the Eiffel Tower has to make its way onto your list at some point. The area around the huge, iconic structure seems bare and unless you know where to look, it can very well be. It's the history that is its glory.
Fancy going up the tower? I know it sounds tedious, but the queues aren't so bad if you go first thing on a morning (or during lunch).
Insider Tip: Make an advanced booking from the Eiffel Tower's website. It's the best way to jump the queue without being yelled at in 60 different languages. (...or just take the stairs!)
Breakfast: Café Constant (139 Rue St. Dominique, 75007) · French bistro cuisine at its finest with incredible set menus
Insider Tip: If you need a proper caffeine fix, Coutume (47 Rue de Babylone, 75007) serves the best coffee in Paris without a doubt.
Since it's your last day in Paris, it's time you had yourself a wine picnic on the Champ de Mars. It has to be wine because of the great restaurants tucked away around the area. Besides, wine just feels so much more Parisian.
Lunch: Au Bon Accueil (14 Rue de Monttessuy, 75007) · Seasonal market-fresh cuisine in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower
It's time not to say "Au revoir!" to Paris but "Á bientôt" and there's no better way to do that than a classy cruise and dinner on the Seine. Le Calife provides an all-round service, views to die for, and special menus prepared onboard.
Dinner: Bateau le Calife (3 Quai Malaquais, 75006)
Drinks: Bar Fitzgerald (54 Boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg, 75007) · Speakeasy cocktail bar tucked away in plain sight
Raise your glass. Your four days in Paris are complete.
À votre santé!