Last fall I convinced my two best friends to join a spontaneous trip to Paris and I stand by my belief that it is the best time to visit the city. Paris in November is an absolute delight because you can experience fall foliage, holiday decorations, fewer crowds, and comfortable weather. Paris is probably one of the most romanticized cities in the world and a trip there can be magical no mater what you’re interested in. Below is our 4-day itinerary where we managed a surprising number of sights without overexerting ourselves.
Day 1 (Arrival)
8:00am: We land early in Paris and pick up the official 4-day Paris museum pass at the tourism booth. The pass gives us entry to most museums and Versailles but I recommend doing the math to see if the pass is worthwhile for you. We added up the entry costs of the places we wanted to go and opted for the pass so we could skip ticket lines and potentially go to places we hadn’t planned for.
9:00am: We get a cab and travel to our AirBnB. Our neighborhood is the Saint-Germain district meaning the architecture is an Instagrammer’s dream and it’s walking distance to a lot of major attractions.
11:00am: We’re way too excited to relax so we immediately go exploring. We cross the Seine river and walk to the courtyard at the Louvre before continuing on to Jardins des Tuileries where we grab coffees and enjoy the fall foliage.
12:00pm: After relaxing by the park’s pond we head to our first museum, Musée de l’Orangerie, which is located right in the Jardins des Tuileries. The highlight of this museum would have to be the room of large Monet Water Lily paintings and it’s definitely a can’t miss for art lovers!
1:00pm: We were mostly only interested in seeing the paintings so afterwards we grab lunch and move on to Musée d’Orsay. People always talk about the Louvre but honestly we found Musée d’Orsay to be more manageable and to have great exhibits. It also has such great architecture and has a stunning cafe on the top floor that looks as if you’re eating inside a clock tower. We leisurely explored the museum before wearing ourselves out.
6:00pm: Our final stop of the day was Village de Noël des Champs Élysées. This Christmas Market stretches on and on with little shops selling all sorts of foods and goods. We grabbed a mix of things that smelled amazing and called it dinner. Since we had arrived that morning the jet lag was finally catching up and we called it an early night.
9:00am: We did more than we intended to yesterday so our original itinerary is in flux (why does this always happen?). Our first stop is Notre Dame which is thankfully pretty quiet this early in the morning. Next we head to Shakespeare and Company which ends up being one of my favorite bookstores I’ve ever visited. This adorable place is surprisingly quite large and the cafe next door serves great food. Be warned though, if you come later in the day there can actually be lines to get in (yes we ended up coming back a second time the next night and it was worth it).
11:00am: We continue walking with the intention of reaching Centre Pompidou however, along the way there we stumble upon Sainte-Chapelle. This gothic chapel was included in our 4-day museum pass so we wander in and are pleasantly surprised by how lovely it is.
12:00pm: We then continue on to Centre Pompidou. I geek out over everything at the museum until we finally break for food at the rooftop. The rooftop has great views of the city and is a much-needed break from museum wandering.
3:00pm: After being recharged we make our way to the Louvre. People say you can’t do the Louvre in one-day, let alone one afternoon, but if you know what you’re interested in seeing I think it’s doable. There were certain exhibits we knew we didn’t want to overexert ourselves for so we only focused on the things we knew we’d enjoy.
6:00pm: We next get dinner in Saint Germain (with lots of wine) and after a day with much walking we once again call it an early night and return to the Airbnb to relax.
8:00am: Today we plan to spend our morning at Montmartre, the famous hill neighborhood located in the 18th arrondissement. We take an Uber to the base of the hill and grab brunch in one of the many cafes. We then begin the walk up towards Sacré‑Cœur. We chose not to look at the best paths to reach the top and instead wandered in whatever direction seemed uphill. This actually worked out for the best because we avoided the tourist-y street with all the gift shops and instead got treated to the beautiful, small streets that eventually lead up to the church. After spending some time exploring the top of the hill we take the more beaten path down and get the true tourist Montmartre experience – lots of people and lots of artists trying to sell us things.
11:00am: We take an Uber to Le Petit Palais, another stunning art museum where we spent more time admiring the building than the art. We then opt to walk around the main fashion district because when in Paris! We end up at a free exhibit called Designer Christmas Trees where designers like Dior each create a holiday tree that will eventually be auctioned off. The trees are only on public display for a brief period so it was a pretty unique stop.
2:00pm: We stop at a tea house for lunch and then make our way to the Eiffel Tower. We decide not to go to the top and instead get some pastries and sit in the park to people watch.
4:00pm: Next we take a stroll down the Seine river and wander around in search for dinner
6:00pm: After a small dinner we grab coffee at a nearby cafe and head back to the Eiffel Tower to watch the evening twinkling lights. We climb onto the fountain in front of the Palais de Chaillot for an unobstructed view. Afterwards, we decide to indulge and head to the famous Cafe de Flore for dessert.
2:00pm: We head back to Paris and arrive at Galerie Vivienne for lunch. Our luck regarding weather has run out and it starts pouring rain yet somehow Paris still manages to look stunning. We then take a bus to get near Rue Cremieux – the famed side street with beautiful colored houses.
4:00pm: Since it’s our last day, we decide to go shopping and end up at Merci – the used bookstore and cafe and department store that has something for everyone. We then go to a tea house for a final time and end the evening at the Christmas Market again to taste the food we missed last time.
Day 5 (Departures)
All in all a very fun and charming four days in Paris! Any recommendations for the next time I go? Let me know!