Paris was never on our list. It might be on yours, so consider yourself lucky. We were a little biased, because of the glitz and the oversaturated love stories about it. We thought it to be … overrated. Well, our expectations were subverted. Prepare for yours to be too.
Spring is a beautiful season to be in Paris. All the greenery on the many terraces was in bloom (you will see a lot of balcony jungles), and all the doors and cafes really popped in color.
Parisians are out and about, all chic and smelling divine with their perfumes and YSL bags. They eat late, drink and enjoy people-watching seated at cafes. And we’ll miss this #mood.
Try April both for the flowers and the less crowded places. We’ll get back to it in other seasons, just to compare. What do you recommend?
We saw some pics of the Galeries Lafayette in the winter and I know they are just as pictured, because they look amazing. Decorated they must be dreamy.
Prepare, Avoid, Expect
How to spend 4 days in Paris
General things to consider first, and then a list of 10 Must-Do Things to do in Paris, to get the most out of the experience.
Here we go: you ignore the fact that this year Paris is one of the busiest cities in the world (according to Bloomberg) and decide to go. Get ready to pay more, because of the news mentioned above and for the streets and objectives to be busier.
What to Prepare, Avoid, Expect-When you spend 4 days in Paris
1. Prepare – to walk a lot. Invest in the best shoes possible, because the Isle Of Paris is a walking experience. And if you want to avoid looking in all the Nike stores for some Zoom X, choose wisely.
- we made 85 km in 4 days, and still missed the Catacombes, the Versailles and Disneyland.
- try to get a hotel near Place Vendome. It would be ideal as a starting point because you’ll have to go us, down, to the east and west of it and it’s basically the most effective way to start each day.
- get the most out of walking, enjoy the side streets and all the galleries and epiceries, because Paris’s true spirit lies.
- the Louvre takes about 3 hours to visit and 2 if you go straight to the major exhibitions (Mona Lisa, the crown jewels, the Egyptian stuff). let your things down at the locker rooms and enjoy the visit.
2. Expect – to be misunderstood, but also impressed, spend a lot and be disappointed.
French people speak English, but they appreciate you trying to speak French. Also, most of the time they understood neither. How come? In our experience, the staff was a little on the cold side overall. Some good experiences, some not so good. At one point I had to do with a normal coffee after trying French, English, Romanian, and even the internet to try and get a decaf.
- the public services were excellent and there was little need to ask anything.
- be polite, always, just because it’s a good way to be, not only because french people appreciate it.
- the metro is impressive and effective and after the first visit, when you want to walk almost all over, or when you are already exhausted, rely on the Metro. remember to take note of the last station for the direction you want to travel, because that will be indicated on boards and not always the station you need to stop at. But also, compared to Madrid for example, expect to walk a long way when changing lines.
- the ride to the airport with the Roisybus is insane :)) We took it in the morning to get to Charles de Gaulle and the old bus was shaking so badly at the speed the driver was punching it that we gripped the handles. But also, it gets you there on time, so…
- expect to spend a lot of money on basic stuff life transportation (13 euros/person for the bus to the airport and 1,90 euros for a one-way metro ticket, with the option to change metros once inside – in 2022, but keep in mind that we didn’t buy the City Pass, that has some benefits).
- expect to love every corner of Paris, because each one has a beautiful cafe, literally, they are everywhere.
- expect to cross the streets on red, because it’s the norm.
- expect to be disappointed by your home town and also other capitals and cities once you discover Paris and by the fact that all the instagramable places are packed. I’m not kidding, people were queuing outside Caffe des Flores.
3. Avoid – food, drinks, and expectations for pictures with an empty background in the most touristy places. They are not the best places to be or are they representative of Paris.
- The backstreets and all the in-between offer a much better Parisian feel and mood. Try a walk between Tour Eiffel and Notre Dame. And let your steps try different small streets. You’ll love the Latin Quarter and the 7th arrondissement.
- Food and drinks cost more and aren’t always the best experiences if you chose to have them near busy places. Pro tip> when in the Tuileries garden, grab a to-go beer at the first place on the right going to the Place de la Concorde – you’ll get a nice plastic glass, personalized and cute, to take back home).
- Paris is very very expensive, from food to goods to transportation. A trip from the airport to the city center costs over 27 euros for 2 people (in spring 2022).
- Avoid the street sellers near the objectives, but do try a cruise on the Seine, especially at dusk. it will be worth it.
4. Give up – on any diet while there and all the dreams of a perfect insta pic with just you and a monument.
- Prepare, expect and never avoid eating a lot. And when you want to eat, eat street food. Sure, try a local and traditional Chartier for once. But the boulangeries are in top 3 best things in Paris and everything that has over 4 stars on Google is delicious. Rely on Google to help you find places appreciated by others. Leaving a review takes time and if someone went through the trouble of giving one, the place was worth it.
- Forget the Instagram pics, all the known places are packed. Shakespeare and Company had a line outside, the Louvre was packed and even the Eiffel had background noise at any hour.
At the end of the day, 4 days in Paris is 4 days less than you need in Paris. Over a week, we think, should be the amount of time you spend here to enjoy every place, aspect and feel of the city.
How to spend 4 days in Paris – 10 Must Do things
- Wear something simple yet chic, your hair on the wind and this style of bag combo. Every other Parisian woman will wear her bag like this and I don’t know if it was as obvious as the Breton shirt, but this is something I noticed trying to fit my shopping into a small bag.
- Be sure to take a cruise on the Seine, preferably at dusk. At 9 o’clock the Eiffel lights up.
- Eat one of the each: macarons, croque monsieur, tarts, jambon beurre, creppes with ice cream. And take some of the famous chocolate from one of the many chocolatiers.
- Go shopping on Champs Elysee or at one of the Lafayette Galeries.
- Take strolls, in the Latin Quarter, Le Marais and Montmartre. And don’t miss seeing the passages (see them below on the map).
- Take trips with this great Metro system and enjoy the live shows in the underground and also the views above.
- Visit a Grand Epicerie for breakfast or lunch and also for all the gifts you want to take back home. And try at least 5 Boulangeries for all the goodies there. Drink the local Kronenbourg 1664 beer.
- Make reservations to the places you want to get in, to avoid crowds and waste less time.
- Make a picnic near the Eiffel, or on the banks of the Seine and watch people.
- Take breaks often at the corner cafes. Just …stay there and take in the Parisian feel.
Take pictures in these places, because it’s like Paris is made for street photography.
Bonus tip> eat some American steak and ribs at an authentic American BBQ joint> Rosies.
I will not recommend the hotel, because we believed the location near Tour Eiffel was great but later discovered that a Hotel closer to Notre Dame or the Louvre would be even better. But the rooms are small as a rule, because the real estate is extremely expensive and I kid you not, the elevator was so small it barely fit 2 people.
Take your time, get inspired and come back to it. We will! Paris, you really became one of my loves.
The GALs, Catalina&Florin
”We’re a couple in love with travel and research. We hope to give you some good tips from experience so that you can have the best of times.”
Decide on a trip to Paris with there essentials:
- A special dry body oil made for glamourous feelings, by the french, Nuxe.
- Must have a pair of wide-leg pants, like the ones here.
- A book with old-school romance, like Orasul cu salcami or The elegance of the hedgehog.
- and of course, buy a Longchamp while there, Le pliage is a marvelous travel bag.
Legal disclosure: *These links are affiliate links. If you buy a product through these links, we get a small share of the price (without the product being more expensive for you). It’s up to you if you use them, thank you for reading!
More pics on my Instagram – click here.