City Orientation Walk II, Paris (Self Guided)

From the Louvre to the Notre-Dame Cathedral to Place de la Bastille, the evolution of Paris and its history is literally visible on the banks of the river Seine, the linking thread winding its way through the city, as if keeping a watchful eye on its architectural marvels. This walk is centered around Île de la Cité and Le Marais, which together form the historical core of power in Paris. Along the way, we will learn about some iconic landmarks well-known and firmly imprinted in the French revolutionary past, as well as some hidden gems, too. There's hardly a better place to end a walk around Old Paris than in the tranquil Place des Vosges. But if you seek an exciting ending to this walk, you may find it in Place de la Bastille, from where you can take a cruising boat further down the canal along the river Seine. So, bon voyage!
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City Orientation Walk II Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk II
Guide Location: France » Paris (See other walking tours in Paris)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.4 km
Author: greghasleft
1
Louvre Museum

1) Louvre Museum (must see)

Originally a fortress-turned-royal palace, the Louvre eventually has become France’s #1 cultural venue, to call which simply a museum now would be a huge understatement! Housing some 38,000 artifacts, spanning the period from the times prehistoric to the 21st century, the Louvre offers a truly one-of-a-kind experience to those considering themselves genuine art lovers.

Whatever your interest – paintings, sculptures, archaeological findings, pharaoh tombs or beautiful jewelry or trinkets of various sorts from all over the world – the Louvre has it all in abundance, including some of the world-acclaimed masterpieces like the ancient Greek statues “Venus de Milo” and “The Winged Victory of Samothrace” or the “Raft of the Medusa” painting, not to mention the talk of the world – “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo Da Vinci.

In fact, for many, Mona Lisa is the prime, if not the only, reason they come to the Louvre. If you're one of them, be ready to politely wedge your way through the crowd to the front row, so as to be able to snap a few shots of the painting, if lucky. Still, it is not until you visit some of the less hyped areas of the Louvre, like the Sully or Richelieu wings for instance, that you will get to see its true colors. Less crowded than the others, these galleries are just as much treasure troves, if not more. The Richelieu wing, in particular, is extremely chic and renowned for its brilliant lighting and glassed courtyards, truly unique pieces of architecture to see which is an incomparable aesthetic pleasure. The highlight of the Richelieu is the Napoleon III apartment with its gargantuan chandeliers, acres of ceiling paintings, swathes of red velvet, and an explosion of decorative moldings, not to mention the kilos of gold leafs used for gilding in a bid to create an overwhelmingly opulent setting.

In 2018, the Louvre was declared the world's most visited art museum, averaging 28,000 visitors per day. If you're determined to check the Louvre off your bucket list successfully, be sure to procure your tickets or museum pass well in advance and, in order to get in quicker, take the less-crowded underground entrance at Porte des Lions (the Lions Gate). The most convenient time to visit would be Wednesday or Friday afternoon when the museum is open till 10pm. Subject to season, you may then almost have the whole place to yourself, believe it or not, in which case the experience would be absolutely fantastic! Also, once inside, make sure to get a map so as to save yourself some precious time running back and forth; otherwise you may end up struggling to find your way around the place just to see what you want to see...

Why You Should Visit:
One-of-a-kind experience and still one of the most wonderful places for an art lover.

Opening Hours:
Mon, Thu, Sat, Sun: 9am-6pm; Wed, Fri: 9am-9:45pm
1st Saturday of each month: 6-9:45pm, free for all visitors.
Rooms begin closing at 5:30pm and at 9:30pm on night openings.
2
Louvre Pyramid

2) Louvre Pyramid (must see)

The iconic glass pyramid entrance to the Louvre is a testament to the lasting fascination of the French with ancient Egypt, and perhaps the first thing associated with the Louvre in the eyes of the numerous tourists visiting Paris these days.

Initially considered a bit too futuristic and arousing concerns over its expedience and extravagance (as being too big or too glassy), this pyramid nonetheless has played well the role of a “beacon” for visitors, just as intended. Amid the debate as to whether the Louvre's great size demanded multiple smaller entrances, instead of just one big, to ensure getting in and out quicker, the idea of the Grand Louvre pyramid being more than just a gate but a statement of the national power and greatness had prevailed.

Whether a fan of the pyramid or not, you can't help appreciating its sheer engineering splendor, simultaneously projecting the image of both solidness and immateriality. Just like the one of Giza, the pyramid of Louvre has the golden mean proportions. It is made of the specially laminated glass which has no distinct greenish tinge present in the commercially available glass and thus ensures minimum color distortion when looking through it at the Louvre’s facade. Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as on the first Saturday of the month, the museum stays open through the night and the pyramid goes ablaze when all the lights are on. It is then that the idea of the pyramid giving the Louvre a very special touch becomes most sparkling.

To mark the pyramid's 30th anniversary in 2019, Californian artist JR created a collaborative piece of art generating a giant optical illusion in which the pyramid would disappear underground. Luckily, that was just an entertainment stunt, and the real pyramid is still in place. However, if you wish to double check, just visit the Louvre whenever you're in Paris, and see for yourself!

Hours:
Mon, Thu, Sat, Sun: 9am-6pm; Wed, Fri: 9am-9:45pm
3
Bouquinistes de Paris

3) Bouquinistes de Paris

The Seine is “the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves,” they say. If you walk by the Seine, you may find proof to that in the form of large green boxes set along the river banks, hitched tight to the sidewalk walls, largely contributing to the overall romantic image of bohemian Paris since as early as the 16th century. Remarkably though, the bouquinistes, owners of these boxes, obtained official recognition themselves only in the 1970s.

For the most part, the contemporary Paris bouquinistes sell posters, stamps, maps, magnets, and whatever else the tourists might love. Some say the best souvenir bargains in Paris are found at the bouquinistes. Their main specialization, however, is books. Here you can find some really good stuff printed in French (and not only) and, unless you are restrained in terms of luggage, you can get yourself a few books, either used or brand new, at a really reasonable price. In fact, for as little as few euros, you can find all the French literature classics here!

Regulated by the municipal authorities, these stalls are generally open from around 11am until sunset. Subject to weather, though, these hours may vary. If it's snowstorm or pouring rain, they will hardly work at all. But once the sun is out, the bouquinistes eagerly put their merchandise on display and await passers-by to stop by and give them, at least, a little bit of a chit chat...
4
Pont-Neuf

4) Pont-Neuf (must see)

The Pont-Neuf (or the New bridge) in Paris has been around since the late Middle Ages. Although the name claims that it's new, it is, in fact, the oldest standing river crossing in Paris. Despite the age, or perhaps because of it, the bridge is just as popular today as it was back in the 1600s when it first opened and is undoubtedly the most famous of all the bridges spanning the river Seine. In reality, the word “new” was to distinguish it from the other, older bridges standing at the time and traditionally lined with houses on both sides. The novelty of this New Bridge was that it was the first one built without houses along it, thus allowing to observe, from the river, the unobstructed panorama of Paris in all its clarity complete with the boats passing underneath. Centuries on, this panorama has expanded with the arrival of new landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, complementing the long-standing ones like the Notre-Dame Cathedral on Île de la Cité.

Another distinguishable feature of the Pont-Neuf is the semicircular bastions jutting out above the piers. These were made to allow people to step aside so as not to get wet or soiled in mud by the passing carriages. Later on, they were used as meeting places and, at one point, even served as trading spots for the street vendors and even tooth-pullers. Now that the traders are gone, these bastions are occupied primarily by tourists and romantic couples.

Also noticeable about the Pont-Neuf is the presence of mascarons, the stone masks in high relief, some 300 of them on the outside edges of the bridge, close to the cornice. If you look closer, you will notice that each mascaron is different and has a distinct and somewhat unusual expression; seems like they're grimacing or something...

Why You Should Visit:
If you're the kind of person who likes watching boats – this is a great spot.
Otherwise, some fantastic views of old Paris from either side!

Tip:
For those keen on bridges and wishing to see the Pont-Neuf from a totally different angle, there is a River Seine cruise company called “Vedettes du Pont-Neuf” whose office is right next to the bridge. Their river cruise is a really good value for money, and you can pick up their discount voucher from the majority of tourist information offices around Paris. Highly recommended!
5
Notre-Dame Cathedral

5) Notre-Dame Cathedral (must see)

While the Eiffel Tower is an instantly recognizable symbol of France, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is a definitive symbol of Paris. At the time of its construction, it was the most ambitious French cathedral project ever attempted and, with its vaults rising above 33 meters, it held a national height record for several decades. The intrinsic beauty and architectural complexity of the cathedral has long made it an undisputed top landmark of Paris and an absolute must-see for visitors.

Largely completed in the 13th century, its construction took overall around 160 years, and thus can be attributed to an early-Gothic period. Following later attempts to modernize it in the 13th century, the final major round of work on the building came in the 19th century to repair the damage caused by brutal vandalism of the French Revolution. Nearly all of the cathedral's decorative elements seen today date back to that period.

Apart from the architectural side, another reason the Notre-Dame is so famous is “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” novel by Victor Hugo written in 1831. In the course of history, the cathedral has witnessed many glorious and tragic events. In the midst of the Second World War, upon the Fall of France, there were fears that the German invaders might destroy the freshly renovated stained glass of the Notre-Dame, called the Rose Window. To prevent that, a lion's portion of the glass was hidden and re-installed only after the war was over. Created in the 13th century, this world's biggest glass window recently has made headlines again after successfully surviving the devastating fire in April 2019, along with some other artifacts and relics which are now temporarily removed for safety reasons.

Regrettably, that fire completely destroyed certain parts of the building, like the roof and the historic spire. To rebuild the iconic monument, a major fundraising campaign has been launched managing to generate over $1bln. Hopes are high that after the 5 years projected for complete restoration, the Notre-Dame cathedral will reopen its doors once again in its renewed splendor.
6
Sainte-Chapelle

6) Sainte-Chapelle (must see)

The crown jewel of Gothic architecture in Paris, the Holy Chapel, is located not far from the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Aged almost 800 years, the chapel is renowned for its stained glass and most notably the 15th century rose windows in the upper part, widely regarded to be the best of its kind in the world. These and other things make this church outstanding even among the most extraordinary medieval monuments of Paris.

The chapel was built for an exceptional man, King Louis IX, who led the 7th and 8th Crusades to the Holy Land and brought home, among other treasures, what was believed to be the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus himself! Naturally, a precious relic such as this required a depository, but besides that, the Holy Chapel was conceived also as the palace chapel for the king and the royal family.

Over the centuries, the chapel had sustained multiple damages. A repeated victim of floods and fires, it suffered particularly badly during the French Revolution when its sculptures were deliberately destroyed and furnishings looted. Eventually, to mend the damage, in the 19th century a great deal of renovation became necessary involving skilled craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. The result of that work deserves commendation, and the chapel we see today is as much a 19th century monument as it is a medieval one. Miraculously, about two-thirds of the original stained glass has survived. It looks particularly impressive in sunny weather, but even when it's cloudy, the glass is absolutely fabulous.

Just like many other religious sites of the period, the Holy Chapel was a symbol of Jerusalem meant to evoke paradise on Earth for those saved at the Last Judgment. To this end, the building had a cedar wood spire placed on top, which at that time was considered a technical feat. It proved to be just as great from an artistic standpoint either, magnificently capturing the spiky spirit of the Gothic forms. The Holy Chapel is impressively simple and coherent, compared to other cathedrals and churches of that period, and represents medieval Gothic architecture in its purest form. In contrast to its apparent architectural simplicity, on the inside, the chapel boasts rich decoration in the upper part which is truly remarkable and dazzling in its gilding and color.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5pm (Oct-Mar); 9am-7pm (Apr-Sep)
7
La Conciergerie

7) La Conciergerie (must see)

The City Island (Île de la Cité) in Paris, situated amid the river Seine, is a home to the 14th-century palace that went down in history as the seat of the French parliament prior to the French Revolution. It is also known as the home of France's first public clock, installed around 1370. Build on orders of King Philippe IV, the palace was recurrently added to and rebuilt up until the early 20th century, thus gradually becoming a fascinating conglomeration of buildings.

Nowadays, it is particularly famous for its Conciergerie section which owes its name to a “concierge”, the official nominated by king to maintain law and order in Paris. In 1391, the building was partially transformed into jail to hold both regular criminals and political prisoners. The treatment of inmates depended totally on their wealth, social status and personal connections. The most affluent were usually allowed separate cells with a bed, desk and reading/writing materials. Those less rich settled for more modest cells, called “pistols”, furnished with a rough bed and a table, whereas the poorest ones were kept in the dark, damp and vermin-infested cubicles, known as “oubliettes” (or “dungeons”). Most prisoners wouldn't stay there for long though, as the carts carrying the condemned to the nearby guillotine, in Place de la Concorde, kept running on a regular basis.

During the French Revolution, hundreds of people were killed. At some point, the Conciergerie became a VIP prison seeing among its inmates the likes of Queen Marie Antoinette and Napoleon III. Later, Marie Antoinette's cell was made into a chapel and is currently open for public viewing, featuring, among other relics, several of her portraits made during the final days before the execution.

Those eager to learn more about the French Revolution and the history of France in general are free to explore this fascinating Gothic site with its halls and dungeons. For more information and better understanding of what this place was like back in the day, consider spending a few euros on the little 'Histopad' gadget, combining both audio & visual function, offered on the site. It is quite handy!

Why You Should Visit:
An absolutely fascinating Gothic landmark where you can learn about the French Revolution and other historic moments.

Tip:
Visiting the Conciergerie is possible on a combined ticket granting access to the neighboring Holy Chapel as well.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-6pm
8
City Hall (Hotel de Ville)

8) City Hall (Hotel de Ville)

Paris City Hall is the largest city hall building in Europe and one of the most prominent landmarks of the French capital. Curiously enough, the early sessions of Paris municipal council were held at the home of a city mayor – the practice continued until the 16th century when King Francis I ordered to build a dedicated Renaissance-style city hall.

Centuries later, that first purpose-built edifice served as headquarters for the French Revolution, accommodating Robespierre and his supporters. Ironically, it was there that Robespierre himself was arrested at the end of the infamous “Rule of Terror” period, during which anyone opposing the revolution was sent to the guillotine.

Likewise, in 1871, the City Hall once again hosted headquarters, but this time for the Paris Commune. When their defeat became imminent and the French army closed in on the building, the Communards set fire to it completely destroying everything inside. The exterior was then rebuilt following the original design, but the interior had to be created anew.

Outside the building is decorated with 108 statues of famous Parisians like Voltaire, Rousseau, Charles Perrault, Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, and others. The other thirty statues there represent French cities. The clock at the central tower is also adorned with statues – several female sculptures depicting the river Seine, the city of Paris, the “Work” and the “Education”.

While public access to the City Hall is generally restricted, there are two rooms in the building constantly allocated to art exhibitions. One of them usually features photography and the other one – art in general. Also, there are almost always some cultural events or exhibitions taking place outside, in the square in front of the building. Still, the main attraction for tourists visiting the Paris City Hall is, undoubtedly, its architecture!
9
Pompidou Centre

9) Pompidou Centre (must see)

Almost half a century after its completion, the Pompidou Centre in Paris still continues to impress onlookers with its uncompromising aesthetics. Equally praised and criticized for its resemblance to an oil refinery or steel plant, this building leaves no one indifferent and is remarkably fresh in its appearance. Apart from the aesthetics, as an institution the Pompidou Centre has proven overwhelmingly successful, largely exceeding expectations in terms of both staffing and attendance.

Just as the name suggests, the center owes its existence to France's modernist-minded president Georges Pompidou who envisioned a “major museum for contemporary art in all its forms”. In the more traditional terms, that meant accommodating collections of the French National Museum of Modern Art, the largest of its kind in Europe.

The venue is beautifully designed, spacious, and on top of that, treats visitors to some truly marvelous views of Paris. Instead of being a marble-clad palace of culture, it appears more like a “supermarket” of artistry, in which the building acts merely as a container, indifferent to what goes on within, and fit to adapt to various uses. Creating such a building, the architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers sought to produce a neutral setting for all sorts of cultural happenings. Just like a supermarket, it is open to all and neutral in its approach to the consumers (audience) and the actual “goods on display” (artworks) alike.

This peculiar approach seems to have worked well so far, given the number of exhibitions, both permanent and rotating, held at the center, featuring a broad range works by both acclaimed and emerging artists, spanning from modernity to contemporary art and including some truly weird productions.

Tip:
Like many French art museums, the bookstore and shop are excellent, so check them out. The top floor restaurant is incredible as well; rather expensive but worth it for a treat.
In particular, those keen on Constantin Brancusi, can get up close with his works featured at his replica studio recreated just outside the building (which is also part of the complex). The Brancusi atelier is free to enter from 2pm to 6pm each day except Tuesday.

Opening Hours:
Wed, Fri-Mon: 11am-9pm; Thu: 11am-11pm; closed on Tuesdays
10
Le Marais

10) Le Marais (must see)

Originally a marshland with quite unstable terrain, not fit for construction (hence the name Le Marais - “the swamp”), this neighborhood gradually has become one of the trendiest – and priciest – areas of Paris. Home to the spectacular aristocratic properties since the 16th-17th centuries, this part of the city survived the French Revolution almost intact. Today, it houses a number of museums, art galleries and bookstores, colorful bistros and brasseries, and as well as landmark locations like Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris. The unique bohemian touch makes it different from the other, more touristy parts of the French capital.

While in La Marais, prepare to rub shoulders with a colorful mix of Jewish, Chinese, and LGBT crowd. You will also quickly realize that popping in and out of the small shops lining the narrow streets, here and there, is a fun thing to do, just as noticing the abundance of street art on the walls along the way.

Taking a slow walk around the neighborhood, you eventually may find yourself in the Jewish quarter at Rue des Rosiers (the Roses Street), renowned for its typically Mid-Eastern food including the best in town falafels, attesting to which is an always present queue to the kosher restaurant called L'As du Fallafel ("The Ace of Falafel").

After hours of walking, shopping, and eating your way through Le Marais, it might be a good idea to stretch out at one of the local gardens, the most famous of which is that in Place des Vosges. This typical French garden is very tidy and sitting on the grass here is allowed. This is the place where many locals routinely come to unwind and sunbathe whenever they can, so you're quite welcome to follow suit...

Why You Should Visit:
This neighborhood is rich in history and just feels different than the other more touristic parts of Paris.
11
Place des Vosges

11) Place des Vosges (must see)

Originally known as Place Royale, this classy corner of Paris was built by King Henri IV in the 17th century. Situated in La Marais district, this is the oldest planned square in the city, featuring a unique, perfectly symmetrical layout of houses with red brick facades and slate roofs constructed over vaulted arcades. On the southern side of the square is a King’s pavilion overlooking Queen's pavilion on the opposite, northern side. Of a special note here are the balconies, the first extended balconies ever built in Paris.

Previously reserved for the royals, today Place des Vosges is a public square, quiet and peaceful, with a nice well-manicured park complete with shady trees, refreshing fountains, and sandy walkways. Classically elegant and very French in style, it represents a perfect example of an early 17th-century garden. Boxed in by the buildings, this park is invisible to the outsiders, but the locals know it all too well and come here regularly on weekends, especially in summer. The surrounding homes are quite expensive properties. Having an apartment overlooking the square is the luxury very few can afford.

Apart from the lovely architecture, much of the area's appeal is associated with the historic figures that once resided here. One of them is Victor Hugo whose house stands on the corner. Today, this is the museum with the interior caringly preserved just the way it was back when Hugo was alive.

At the ground floors of the buildings are the art shops, designer clothing boutiques, and outlets selling handicrafts, musical instruments and other pleasant things. There are also plenty of small Parisian-style bars and restaurants in the vicinity, somewhat bohemian yet with a casual touch and leisurely attitude that is hard to find anywhere else in the city center. They make a perfect landing space for those keen on a small round table for a quick snack with a glass of beer or wine. Apart from the typically French restaurants, there are also those serving kosher and ethnic cuisine nearby.

So, whether you are a history buff or an art-minded shopaholic, or a connoisseur looking for fine dining, or just a casual someone in need of relaxation, you may rest assured to find it all here, at Place des Vosges.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the most classy corners of Paris, with well-manicured gardens, nice shops (including the superior Damman Frères tea store), many art galleries to browse around, and several places to have your lunch or dinner, for every budget and taste. Great place for a picnic, too...
12
Maison de Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo House Museum)

12) Maison de Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo House Museum)

The museum of Victor Hugo in Paris, at Rohan-Guéménée Hotel in Place des Vosges, is actually just an apartment on the 2nd floor that the writer rented for 16 years, from 1832 to 1848, in which he wrote the bulk of his “Les Miserables” and other major works.

Apart from being a writer, Hugo is recognized as one of the greatest French poets who also made significant impact on classical music – based on his books are several operas including “Lucrezia Borgia” by Donizetti, “Rigoletto” and “Ernani” by Verdi, and “La Gioconda” by Ponchielli. Hugo was also a grand political figure, which together with his creative talents, had earned him much love and admiration of the Parisians during his lifetime.

The museum consists of several rooms, including antechamber, Chinese-decorated living room, Medieval-style dining room, and the reconstructed bedroom featuring the interior of 1885 in which Hugo passed away at the age of 83. Upon the announcement of his death, Paris mourned deeply seeing over two million people take to the streets to bid farewell to the writer at his funeral procession stretching from the Arch of Triumph to his final resting place at The Pantheon.

That procession is depicted in one of the paintings displayed at the museum alongside the sculptures, caricatures and other memorabilia collected by Hugo over the years.

On the first floor, there is a permanent exhibition of Hugo's drawings plus the iconography of his literary works. At times, there are also temporary exhibits presented there, too.

If you're a fan of Hugo and happen to be in the area, paying a quick visit to the museum is a good idea, as it is free to enter and doesn't take long to explore. For visitors convenience, there is an audio guide in English which helps put into context all that is to see there.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Last admission: 5:40pm
13
Place de la Bastille

13) Place de la Bastille

Bastille Square in Paris is what's left now of the once infamous fortress-turned-prison that stood in this place in the late 18th century. Initially reserved exclusively for the upper-class inmates, gradually this prison started to accommodate commoners, as well, although in the far less comfortable conditions than those afforded to the aristocracy, for which reason it acquired a bad reputation and was hated and feared, all at once. On July 14, 1789, the prison-fortress was stormed by a crowd of angry and armed people, upon which the prison governor first issued a ceasefire note, but then had to surrender and open the gates, seeing all the inmates liberated, thus marking the outset of the French Revolution. It was just a matter of days, after the storming, that a building contractor was hired for the demolition of the Bastille which, by November of the same year, was totally gone.

Now called Place de la Bastille, this square was established to commemorate those revolutionary events and to celebrate victory of democracy over tyranny. Special pavement stones here mark the original site of the fortress. The imposing July Column monument, dominating the square, commemorates another revolution – of 1830 – that lasted three days and saw hundreds of people die and resulting in King Charles X being replaced by King Louis-Philippe.

Centrally located, Bastille Square is perpetually busy. Adding to its popularity is also the near presence of the river Seine overlooking which are a number of benches, ideal for a quick stopover and having a bite while observing the surroundings – something the tourists quite like to do, actually.

There are also short river cruises running along the canal from the Bassin de l’Arsenal, passing through tunnels underneath the old foundations of the Bastille fortress and contemporary square, then re-emerging and passing through several locks before reaching the Bassin de la Villette, which is altogether quite an exciting way to see Paris from a different perspective!

Walking Tours in Paris, France

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Creating your own self-guided walk in Paris is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Champs Elysee Walk

Champs Elysee Walk

On this self guided walk you will witness the grandeur of the 8th arrondissement of the French capital, one of its busiest and chic neighborhoods, thanks to the presence of Avenue des Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. If shine and glamour are up to your liking, we invite you to take this walk in a mixed crowd of fashionistas, tourists and local workers, and see some of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km
Souvenirs Shopping Walk

Souvenirs Shopping Walk

It would be a pity to leave Paris without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. Being one of the world's premier shopping cities, Paris attracts thousands of shopaholics every year. Even people who hate shopping, enjoy doing it in Paris. In addition to fabulous designer shops and luxury items, it is a great destination if you are into fashion, gourmet...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
City Center Nightlife

City Center Nightlife

A haven for the arts in Europe, with its influence felt worldwide, Paris boasts a steady stream of visitors to its fine city. After dark, guests to the City of Light can enjoy a multitude of great nightlife establishments that is sure to appeal to anyone looking for a hot night on the town. Whether its live DJs spinning intense electronic beats or a live acoustic jazz band you’re looking for...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Le Marais Walking Tour

Le Marais Walking Tour

The district known to locals as "Le Marais" used to be a bourgeois area in the past and a major center of the Paris Jewish community that still exists today. Here, you will find different bookshops specializing in Jewish books, restaurants with traditional Jewish food and a synagogue. As one of the hippest neighborhoods in the city, it also has no shortage of narrow medieval streets,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Royal Paris Walk

Royal Paris Walk

The capital of France is made up of 20 administrative districts, commonly referred to as “arrondissements”. The 1st arrondissement of Paris sits mainly on the right bank of the River Seine and is the home of royal palaces and lush gardens. This self guided walk explores Jardin des Tuileries, Palais-Royal, La Conciergerie and many other prominent sights.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Eiffel Tower Walking Tour

Eiffel Tower Walking Tour

The 7th arrondissement of Paris is the most affluent and prestigious residential area in France, home to the French upper class, plus a number of French national institutions, government offices and diplomatic missions. This neighborhood boasts typically Parisian architecture complete with vibrant cafes, restaurants and gourmet shops which draw foodies in their numbers. Among other attractions on...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km

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Paris Souvenirs: 19 Distinctively French Products to Bring Home from Paris

Paris Souvenirs: 19 Distinctively French Products to Bring Home from Paris

You can hardly have enough money and luggage space to get all the takes your fancy in Paris. Luckily, with a little bit of tasteful advice and experience, you can save yourself some time and effort and pick up just about the right amount of things worth taking home. Listed here are some of the hints...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Paris for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Paris has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Paris's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Paris Pass, Paris Explorer Pass, Paris Museum Pass, or Paris Night Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Paris' top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Paris hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Novotel Paris Les Halles, Les Rives de Notre-Dame, 9Confidentiel.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Paris, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Paris typically costs from around US$20 up to US$200 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Paris from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for both).

- Alternatively, you can cruise along the river Seine on a similar hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat viewing Paris's top attractions from a different angle, able to get on and off as often as you want at any of the eight stops along the Seine riverbanks. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs) and may be upgraded to two days (48 hrs).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts about 3 hours and allows you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Paris on a bike tour. In the course of 4 hours you will visit the city's most spectacular sights stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Take a walk around Paris with a knowledgeable guide for an alternative view of the French capital. Over the course of this 2-hour walking tour you will get insights and hear stories about every major classic sight of this fascinating city. A complete overview of Paris from the ground up!

- Come see the best of the French capital in just one day in a combo of a Seine river cruise and historical walk of Paris. You may start either with the Eiffel Tower or the Notre-Dame Cathedral making your way around the iconic sights of the city: the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, Alexandre III bridge, Invalides, Concorde Square, Orsay Museum, etc.

- Missing out on the French food, whilst in Paris, would be worse than a crime – it would be a mistake! If you don't want to make such a mistake, consider a private 3-hour food tour of Paris complete with a set of 10 unforgettable tastings the memories of which will last you a lifetime. Just make sure to bring along your appetite to make the most of the savory treats awaiting!

- Live a chocoholic’s dream right at the heart of Paris! Follow your sweet tooth sense on this 2-hour guided “chocolate walk” in central Paris visiting some of the best chocolate boutiques of the French capital, learning about peculiar chapters in the history of the city and the place delectable chocolate played in it. Adding to the excitement is a round of free tastings.

Day Trips


If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Paris, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Versailles, Fontainebleau, Champagne region, Loire valley, Normandy, or a combo of Honfleur and Giverny. For as little as US$90+ to US$200+ per person you will get a chance to discover highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, see the favorite residence of the French royalty, world-famous vineyards, charming castles, and historic battlefields of World War II. For any of these tours you may be picked up either straight from your hotel or any other place in Paris, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned minivan or train (whenever applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.