Day One

  • Louvre & Les Halles

Start with a stroll through the elegant Jardin des Tuileries, stopping to view Monet’s enormous Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie and/or photography exhibits at the Jeu de Paume. IM Pei’s glass pyramid is your compass point to enter the labyrinthine Louvre.

  • Lunch Nip out for French bistro fare at Chez La Vieille.
  • Louvre & Les Halles

Visiting this monumental museum could easily consume a full day, but once you’ve had your fill, browse the colonnaded arcades of the exquisite Jardin du Palais Royal, and visit the beautiful church Église St-Eustache. Tap into the soul of the former Les Halles wholesale markets along backstreet legacies like the old oyster market, rue Montorgueil. Linger for a drink on rue Montmartre, then head to the late-opening Centre Pompidou for modern and contemporary art and amazing rooftop views.

  • Dinner Frenchie offers walk-in wine-bar dining.
  • Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville

There’s a wealth to see in Le Marais by day (Musée National Picasso, Musée des Arts et Métiers…), but the neighbourhood really comes into its own at night, with a cornucopia of hip bars and clubs.

Day Two

  • Champs-Élysées & Grands Boulevards

Climb the mighty Arc de Triomphe for a pinch-yourself Parisian panorama. Promenade down Paris’ most glamorous avenue, the Champs-Élysées, and give your credit card a workout in the Triangle d’Or, Galeries Lafayette or place de la Madeleine before going behind the scenes of Paris' opulent opera house, the Palais Garnier.

  • Lunch Café Branly: casual yet classy, with ringside tower views.
  • Eiffel Tower & Western Paris

Check out global indigenous art and awesome architecture at the Musée du Quai Branly. This cultural neighbourhood is also home to the world’s largest Monet collection at the Musée Marmottan-Monet, contemporary installations at the Palais de Tokyo and Asian treasures at the Musée Guimet. Sunset is the best time to ascend the Eiffel Tower, to experience both dizzying views during daylight hours, and glittering la ville lumière (City of Light) by night.

  • Dinner Cracking modern French fare at Le CasseNoix.
  • Montparnasse & Southern Paris

Detour for a drink at a historic Montparnasse brasserie like Le Select or continue straight down the Seine to party at the hip bars within Les Docks or aboard floating nightclubs moored near France's national library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Day Three

  • The Islands

Starting your day at the city’s most visited sight, Notre Dame, gives you the best chance of beating the crowds. In addition to admiring its stained-glass interior, allow around an hour to visit the top and another to explore the archaeological crypt. For even more beautiful stained glass, don’t miss nearby Sainte-Chapelle. Cross the Pont St-Louis to buy a Berthillon ice cream before browsing the Île St-Louis’ enchanting boutiques.

Swoon over impressionist masterpieces in the magnificent Musée d’Orsay, scout out the backstreet boutiques and storied shops of St-Germain, sip coffee on the terrace of literary cafes like Les Deux Magots and laze in the lovely Jardin du Luxembourg, the city’s most popular park.

Scour the shelves of late-night bookshops like the legendary Shakespeare & Company, then join Parisian students and academics in the Latin Quarter’s bars, cafes and pubs on rue Mouffetard or hit a jazz club like Café Universel.

Day Four

  • Montmartre & Northern Paris

Montmartre’s slinking streets and steep staircases lined with crooked ivy-clad buildings are enchanting places to meander, especially in the early morning when tourists are few. Head to the hilltop Sacré-Cœur basilica, then brush up on the area’s fabled history at the Musée de Montmartre.

  • Lunch Local favourite Café Miroir offers all-day dining.
  • Montmartre & Northern Paris

Stroll the shaded towpaths of cafe-lined Canal St-Martin, and visit the futuristic Parc de la Villette, the kid-friendly Cité des Sciences museum and the instrument-filled Musée de la Musique, within the Cité de la Musique. Sailing schedules permitting, hop on a canal cruise to Bastille.

  • Dinner Sublime 'small plates' at Le 6 Paul Bert.
  • Bastille & Eastern Paris

The Bastille neighbourhood calls for a cafe crawl: classics include the cherry-red Le Pure Café and absinthe specialist La Fée Verte. Salsa your socks off at the 1936 dance hall Le Balajo on nightlife strip rue de Lappe or catch electro, funk and hip-hop at Badaboum.