Perhaps you have a day that you would like to spend casually walking around Paris. Maybe you don’t want to go on a “tour” but you’d rather just stroll around by yourself or with someone special. If this kind of relaxed situation suits you then I have highlighted some places to hit along your walk.
This walk can be done directly in just over an hour and a half (if you’re a fast walker and want to see as much as you can in one day). If you’d like to stop at some of these places, eat and drink along the way then you could spread it out over a whole day and evening.
Paris, being the capital city of France, is divided into 20 Arrondissements (which are administrative districts).
Note…if you are feeling adventurous – why not rent one of the bicycles you can find literally everywhere in Paris! You can pick up in one location and drop off in another. They’re cheap and fun and oh so parisian…
The following route is beautiful way to spend an entire day having a leisurely walk with significant stops.
Notre Dame is a great place to start. From there I would cross over the bridge (Pont des Arts) and go to the Louvre. When you leave the Louvre consider walking through the Tuileries Garden to Place de la Concorde. Head up the Ave de Champs-Elysées to L’Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile. Next make your way across the bridge Pont d’Iéna to the Eiffel Tower.
- Louvre-(1st Arrondissement)
- Pont des Arts-(6th Arrondissement)
Pont des Arts, is a famous footbridge that goes over the River Seine. It is known for the ‘love locks’, symbol of romance. The idea was to put a lock on the bridge and throw the key of the lock in the river below. Now its metal fencing is replaced with glass panels due to the weight of the locks (45 tons) causing structural damage of the bridge.
- Notre Dame(4th Arrondissement)
If you are not familiar with Notre-Dame, it is the Catholic Cathedral highlighted in the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, by Victor Hugo. It is on the Island in Paris called Île de la Cité. This stunningly beautiful, gothic cathedral was started in 1163 and finished in 1345 (needing major restoration in 1845 after the 1790 French Revolution with further restoration and maintenance in1991).
The Louvre is the most famous museum in the world. This is where you can see Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”; amongst countless other works of art.
Mona Lisa is waiting for you in Denon wing – 1st floor – Room 6 – Mona Lisa room. The Louvre is free on the 1st Sunday of each month.
- Tuileries Garden-(1st Arrondissement)
Take a leisurely walk through the Tuileries Garden when you leave the Louvre. Admission is free as it is a public garden, although it was the garden for royalty in its beginning. It is a great walk to Place de la Concorde. Make sure to see the gardens’ two ponds and the many beautiful sculptures.
This is the perfect time to take a break and sip on some delicious hot chocolate and eat some amazing treats! Trust me…this is one of my favorite places to stop. Pick up some cocoa to take home too…
- Ave de Champs-Elysées
This is a boulevard that is almost 2 km long. It is known for its luxury shops, theatres and cafes. On July 14 Bastille Day is celebrated with a military parade on the avenue. The last portion of the Tour de France cycling race finishes here. There are other gatherings on special occasions. One such special occasion is the Noel des Champs-Elysées (Christmas Market).
- Place de la Concorde-(8th Arrondissement)
This is a public square that covers an area of 21.3 acres. King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and others were executed by the guillotine here in 1793. In the centre of the square there is a giant Egyptian obelisk. There are also two famous fountains devoted to the Rivers and the Seas.
- Arc de Triomphe-(8th Arrondissement)
This is a famous monument in Paris at the end of Champs-Elysées. In 1919 in a victory parade a biplane flew through it. Famous victory marches have taken place here and under the Arc. Now the custom is to go around the Arc as a sign of respect for the Unknown Soldier (who lies beneath in the vault from World War I). It was inaugurated in 1836.
- Pont d’Iéna
This is a bridge the leads to the Eiffel tower on the left bank. There are steps here that go down to the Siene River if you would like to get a closer look. These steps are popularly known as the “Renault stairs” from a scene in a James Bond movie when Roger Moore drove a Renault taxi down the steps.
- Eiffel Tower-(7th Arrondissement)
The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 for the World’s Fair and only intended to be temporary. It is a wrought iron tower named after it’s engineer, Gustave Eiffel. It is one of the most known structures in the world. The base of the tower is oriented with the four points of the compass. There are three levels, restaurants and eight elevators. You can visit it for free or pay to go up to different levels. At night the Eiffel Tower is lit up and if you are lucky enough you will see it sparkle for 5 minutes every hour on the hour. It is amazing to see the sparkles reflecting from apartment and car windows, illuminating the night sky. It is then that the city truly becomes “The City of Light”.
Happy walking (make sure you’re wearing a really good pair of shoes!)