Top 5 Paris Walks
*Originally published in February 2015 by Mathieu, edited in August 2019 by Arielle
Paris is a busy metropolitan city with a lot of traffic. It’s no surprise that walking is a great option to get around. Often times, it is even the best way to discover hidden gems and aspects of the ‘city of light’ that you wouldn’t discover by car or metro. Here is a brief and useful list of the top 5 Paris walks. You can do them on your own if you prefer, but you can also enjoy guided walks with native French tour guides offered by Discover Walks. Put on some comfortable shoes and discover Paris on foot with these top Paris walks.
1. Walk from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe
One of the top 5 Paris walks is from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe. Start from the Louvre at the iconic glass Pyramid. Before entering the Tuileries gardens, you’ll notice the marble Arc of the Carrousel. It was built under order of Napoleon I in 1806 to commemorate his military victories.
After crossing through the beautiful garden, you will arrive at the Concorde Square, with an Ancient Egyptian obelisk at its center. This was originally located at the Luxor Temple in Egypt, and is over 3,000 years old. Continue straight ahead until you reach the Champs-Elysées avenue, one of the most recognized avenues in Europe and around the globe. Do some shopping on the avenue or eat at one of the many restaurants. At the end of the street you will find yourself at the famous the Arc of Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon and inaugurated in 1836 by King Louis-Philippe, and was dedicated to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire.
For an amazing view, be sure to climb to the top: you will notice that the arc, the Champs-Eysées, the obelisk, the gardens, the Arc of the Carrousel, and the Louvre’s glass Pyramid are all aligned. If you want to discover more of the neighborhood around the Right Bank, don’t hesitate to join our Paris Landmarks Discover Walks tour!
2. Walk through the Latin Quarter and the Luxembourg gardens
One of the top 5 Paris walks includes walking through the Latin quarter and the Luxembourg gardens. This is one of the most charming and romantic neighborhoods in Paris, with images seen in the postcards and films.
Start from Ile de la Cité where the famous Notre Dame Cathedral is located. Notre Dame is one of the most famous and beautiful gothic cathedrals in the world and was completed in the 14th century. It is the monument that represents medieval Paris.
Due to the recent fire in April of 2019, you won’t be able to get up close to the cathedral. It is still worth seeing from a distance nonetheless. You’ll have a nice view of the Notre Dame from Pont Saint Michel, which will lead you right down Boulevard Saint Michel and the Latin quarter.
The Latin quarter includes the historic building of the Sorbonne University (which gave the name to the neighborhood, since students used to speak Latin), as well as many other prestigious French schools and institutions.
You will also find the Pantheon, built in the 18th century, where many famous French influential figures like Victor Hugo or Jean Moulin are buried. The Latin quarter is the student’s quarter, so it is a very lively place to have a drink in one of the numerous bars or cafés.
After that, finish your walk by strolling, and maybe resting or having a nice picnic in the Luxembourg gardens. Discover Walks offers guided tours of the Latin Quarter every day.
Walk along the Seine, from the Museum D’Orsay to Invalides and the Eiffel tower
Walking along the Seine from the Musée D’Orsay to Invalides is another one of the top 5 Paris walks. Enjoy strolling along the banks of the Seine, which have been recently redeveloped for pedestrians. If you are feeling sporty, this is also a great running spot!
As you arrive at Invalides, you will get to see many Parisians’ favorite spot in Paris: the historical Invalides with its golden dome, the wide avenue leading up to it, bordered by a lawn, trees, and the Pont Alexandre III bridge.
This is one of the most stunning bridges in Paris, and it is where Adele filmed her”Someone Like You” music video! On the other side of the river you’ll find the Grand and Petit palais, built for the 1900 universal exhibition and used today for temporary exhibits. Once you’ve reached this point in your walk, you can continue along the Seine for about fifteen minutes until you reach the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars.
Walk in Montmartre
Walking in Montmartre is a personal favorite of the top 5 Paris walks. Montmartre is a very special neighborhood in Paris. Located on a hill, it has kept the small village charm that defines the romantic vibe of the city. Walking around can almost make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a time machine.
Wear comfortable shoes, as there are a lot of stairs as you make your way to the top of the village. If you don’t want to climb all the way up, you can take the funicular and then walk the way down. You should visit the famous Sacre Coeur and stroll through the artists’ square. These two spots are very charming but also very touristy, so I advise also walking in the smaller streets of Montmartre. This way, you will get a real sense of the quarter and why it inspired many impressionist artists.
Don’t miss, the famous Moulin de la Galette, a former windmill turned into a cabaret in the 19th century. It’s the place where Picasso lived and painted The Ladies of Avignon. Add the Café des Deux Moulins to your list, too. This spot was featured in the iconic Oscar winning romantic film, Amélie.
Then, end your walk at the bottom of the hill down Rue Lepic. Once you reach Boulevard de Clichy, you’ll definitely recognize the Moulin Rouge, the most famous Parisian cabaret. If you’re hungry (find non-touristy spots in Montmartre), grab a bite Le Coquelicot bakery, where Van Gogh himself used to have breakfast. Be aware that service is faster if you sit at a table on the ground floor rather than on the first floor.
If you are interested in a free guided tour of Montmartre, take one with Discover Walks. It runs every day and it’s going to be fun!
Walk in the Marais
A list of the top 5 Paris walks would be incomplete without a walk in the Marais neighborhood. You can start from Saint-Paul metro station, and visit the Jewish quarter of Paris. A popular thing among tourists is to grab a delicious falafel on Rue de Rosiers. After that, head north to see the rest of the Marais. Take the time to enjoy the authentic small cobblestone streets.
Don’t forget to sit at Place des Vosges, one of the oldest squares in Paris. It was inaugurated in 1612 and was often a meeting place for the nobility. Admire the beautiful surrounding red buildings. You’ll quickly notice the architectural homogeneity and the use of brick and stone as construction material. This is actually quite rare in Paris. In addition, surrounding shops are open on Sundays and contribute to the fashionable charm of this district.
If you walk through the square you will find a hidden gem, the Hotel de Sully Garden. This is one of the most beautiful private mansions in all of Paris. Once a home to the royals, it is now it is now the headquarters of the Centre des monuments nationaux, which conserves, restores, and manages historic buildings and sites which are the property of the French state.
You can of course discover the Marais on your own, but if you prefer a guided tour, Discover Walks runs tours in the Marais every day.