City Orientation Walk II, Paris (Self Guided)

Paris, the largest city and the capital of France, is one of the leading business, politics, education, entertainment, science, media, arts and fashion centers of the world. Paris also is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with over 45 million tourists every year. Don't miss the chance to visit some of its most popular tourist attractions listed below:
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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: 11
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 km
Author: greghasleft
1
Louvre Pyramid

1) Louvre Pyramid (must see)

The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoleon) of the Louvre Palace in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989, it has become a landmark of the city of Paris. Commissioned by the President of France François Mitterrand in 1984, it was designed by the architect I. M. Pei. The structure, which was constructed entirely with glass segments, reaches a height of 20.6 meters (about 70 feet); its square base has sides of 35 meters (115 ft). It consists of 603 rhombus-shaped and 70 triangular glass segments. The pyramid and the underground lobby beneath it were created because of a series of problems with the Louvre's original main entrance, which could no longer handle an enormous number of visitors on an everyday basis.

Why You Should Visit:
Gives the Louvre an extra touch, especially during the evening with all the lights on.

Hours:
Mon, Thu, Sat, Sun: 9am-6pm; Wed, Fri: 9am-9:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Musee du Louvre

2) Musee du Louvre (must see)

The Musée du Louvre is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited museum in the world, and a historic monument. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are still visible. The Musée du Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments with more than 60,600 m2 (652,000 sq ft) dedicated to the permanent collection. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings. The Louvre exhibits sculptures, objets d'art, paintings, drawings, and archaeological finds. It is the world's most visited museum, averaging 15,000 visitors per day, 65 percent of whom are tourists.

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

Tip:
Like everyone says, buy tickets or museum pass early and don't forget the lesser-used underground mall entrance "Port de Lions".
There are SO many wings, floors, and exhibits that you must plan several hours if you hope to see it all!

Opening Hours:
Mon, Thu, Sat, Sun: 9am-6pm; Wed, Fri: 9am-9:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Musee d'Orsay

3) Musee d'Orsay (must see)

Located on the left bank of the river Seine, Musee d’Orsay is a famous museum in Paris which houses many sculptures and paintings, both impressionist and post-impressionist. Many of these works had been held here even before the museum was established in 1986. At the turn of the 19th century, two large railway stations were built in Paris, namely: Gare de Lyon and Gare d'Orsay. The latter had a more important location and was planned by Compagnie d'Orléans. The amount of metal used in its construction exceeded that used to build the Eiffel Tower.

The Gare d'Orsay opened on July 14th, 1900, in time for the Paris World Exposition, and was widely regarded as a jewel of industrial architecture. By 1939, however, it was no longer deemed suitable for new, longer trains, and thus switched to serving suburban destinations only. During World War II, part of the station was used as a mailing centre. Over the years, the Gare d'Orsay has appeared in several movies, and, at one point, housed the Renaud-Barrault Theatre Company. It was completely abandoned from 1961 and escaped demolition only thanks to the French president Pompidou. In 1977, the French government decided to convert the building into a museum of 19th-20th-century art. The Bouygues industrial group took over the construction, done to a design by well-reputed ACT Architecture, whereas the Italian architect Gae Aulenti oversaw the conversion process.

On 1 December 1986, President Francois Mitterrand cut the ribbon for the newly established museum, which thenceforth has been known as the Musee d'Orsay, with a permanent collection spread over four levels, and a terrace. An impressive 20,000 sq. meter floor space on all four levels complements the multitude of great works from the impressionist and expressionist movements, including Naturalism, Realism, Architecture, and Sculpture. The d'Orsay is undoubtedly one of the most stunning museums you will ever have visited!

Why You Should Visit:
For a smaller venue and beautiful artwork by the masters, this is the place!
Houses not only paintings and sculpture but also decorative furnishings that would have only graced a palace!

Tip:
The secret pleasure here is the gorgeous 5th-floor restaurant under the huge clock and with one of the best views of Paris. Great value for money.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun: 9:30am-6pm; Thu: 9:30am-9:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Pont Neuf

4) Pont Neuf (must see)

The Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. Its name, which was given to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses, has remained. Standing by the western point of the Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river that was the heart of medieval Paris, it connects the Rive Gauche of Paris with the Rive Droite. The bridge is composed of two separate spans, one of five arches joining the left bank to the Île de la Cité, another of seven joining the island to the right bank. Old engraved maps of Paris show how, when the bridge was built, it just grazed the downstream tip of the Île de la Cité; since then, the natural sandbar building of a mid-river island, aided by stone-faced embankments called 'quais', has extended the island. Today the island is the Square du Vert-Galant, a park named in honor of Henry IV, nicknamed the "Green Gallant".

Why You Should Visit:
This is the bridge that is famous for the 'love-locks' on the fence placed by lovers. To all the romantics out there, you need to stop by.
Otherwise, some fantastic views of old Paris from either side! On one you can look down the Seine and see the Eiffel Tower and on the other, you've got Notre-Dame and the Île de la Cité.

Tip:
If you're the kind of person who likes watching boats – this is a great spot.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
La Conciergerie

5) La Conciergerie (must see)

La Conciergerie, formerly a royal palace and prison, is set on the island, called Île de la Cité, in the middle of the river Seine in Paris. King Philippe IV chose the location in the early 14th century to build a palace to symbolize his power. The palace was used by the Paris parliament and administration and had the first public clock in the country, installed around 1370. The place owes its name to a concierge who was nominated by the king to maintain law and order in the city. In 1391, the building was partially (mostly the cellars) transformed into a prison, known since as the Conciergerie. Among its inmates were both regular criminals and political prisoners. Their treatment depended totally on their wealth, social status and personal connections. The most affluent were usually given separate cells with a bed, desk and reading/writing material. Less rich ones settled for more modest cells, called pistols, furnished with a rough bed and a table, while the poorest ones were kept in dark, damp and vermin-infested cubicles, known as oubliettes (literally the "forgotten places"). During the French Revolution, hundreds of the Conciergerie prisoners were killed.

In the 18th-19th centuries, the Conciergerie continued to be used as a prison for VIP detainees, the most notable of whom were Queen Marie Antoinette and Napoleon III. Later, Marie Antoinette's cell was made into a chapel and is currently open for public viewing. The external appearance of the Conciergerie drastically changed during the 19th century. Today, visitors can venture into this fascinating landmark and see the inner halls and the dungeons, or admire the building from a distance whilst cruising down the river Seine.

Why You Should Visit:
An absolutely fascinating place to learn about the French Revolution and history.

Tip:
Consider investing €5 in the little 'Histopad', which gives more information and an idea of what the rooms looked like when they were in use.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
La Sainte-Chapelle

6) La Sainte-Chapelle

La Sainte-Chapelle ("The Holy Chapel") is a Gothic chapel on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France. It is perhaps the high point of the full tide of the rayonnante period of Gothic architecture. The Sainte-Chapelle, the palatine chapel in the courtyard of the royal palace on the Île de la Cité, was built to house precious relics: Christ's crown of thorns, the Image of Edessa and thirty other relics of Christ that had been in the possession of Louis IX since August 1239, when it arrived from Venice in the hands of two Dominican friars. The most visually beautiful aspects of the chapel, and considered the best of their type in the world, are its stained glass for which the stonework is a delicate framework, and rose windows added to the upper chapel in the fifteenth century.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Notre Dame Cathedral

7) Notre Dame Cathedral (must see)

Notre Dame Cathedral is a major Catholic temple and remarkable architectural, historic and religious monument. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Paris and is a functional Roman Catholic church. It sits on a small island, Île de la Cité, in the middle of the river Seine, and has been in its place for over 800 years. Its foundation stone was laid in 1163, in the presence of Pope Alexander III. The cathedral took 200 years to build and was completed in 1345. Several architects were employed on the project, which is evident in the mixture of styles on the facade. The most significant change in the design occurred in the mid 13th century. Notre Dame was among the first buildings in the world to rely on arched exterior supports.

Many glorious, as well as tragic events, have been associated with the cathedral. In the midst of World War II, after the Cathedral had been restored to its full splendor, there were fears that the German invaders might destroy the newly renovated stained glass. To prevent that, a lion's portion of the glass, called the Rose Window (the biggest known glass window in the world, made in the 13th century), was removed, hidden and reinstalled only after the war was over.

The history of Notre Dame, of course, is incomplete without the famous Joan of Arc (Jeanne d'Arc), a peasant girl whose extreme bravery and spiritual richness led the army of France to victory in many battles against the English during the Hundred Years War. Aged only 19, she was captured by the enemy and executed. 25 years after her death, on July 7, 1456, Joan of Arc was declared a martyr by the Catholic Church. In 1909, Pope Pius X beatified her at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Inside the cathedral is a 17th-century organ which is fully operational. Another distinct historic feature of the site is the famous bell which has recently been redesigned to toll automatically. Visitors to the bell tower must prepare to climb 140 steps in order to hear the incredible sound of the bell and also to enjoy the bird's eye view of the city of Paris.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the few places in Paris that are free!
Beautiful and significant while also being in active use – the iconic design ensures it stands out from all the rest.

Tip:
It costs to climb the towers (book early!) unless you have the Paris Museum Pass, in which case there is no additional charge.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am-6:45pm; Sat-Sun: 8am-7:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Sorbonne University

8) Sorbonne University

Sorbonne University Paris, otherwise known as La Sorbonne University, is the world famous institution of higher education. Originally called the University of Paris, it is the world's second oldest university, founded by Robert de Sorbon in 1257. Almost half a century ago, a confrontation between the university students and administration led to the temporary closure of the Sorbonne on May 2, 1968. This, along with a threat of the authorities to expel all student activists, saw more than 20,000 people - students, teachers and supporters - walk out on the streets of Paris in protest. The police met the protesters with tear gas and made hundreds of arrests.

On May 10, 1968, after the first round of negotiations had failed, the students organized another rally on Rive Gauche, which again resulted in a clash with the police, followed by many injuries and hundreds of arrests. On May 13, over a million people spilled out on the streets of Paris. Eventually, all the detained Sorbonne activists were released and the university reopened as an autonomous "people's university" by order of then Prime Minister of France, Georges Pompidou. In 1971, the first five original faculties of the Sorbonne were reorganized into 13 interdisciplinary institutions. Four of them today occupy the historic Sorbonne building. The university has 12 campuses and 17 departments, offering courses in Arts, Languages, and Humanities. It also incorporates the prestigious communication and journalism school CELSA. Almost 25,000 home and international students enroll at the Sorbonne each year. Brilliant teaching staff and educational curriculum have ensured the university the top place among France's best educational institutions and the world's top 20 universities of arts & humanities.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Sorbonne Chapel

9) Sorbonne Chapel

The Chapel of Sainte Ursule de la Sorbonne, also known as the Sorbonne Chapel, is a Roman Catholic chapel located in the Sorbonne historical site, in Paris' Latin quarter.

Sorbonne Chapel was constructed from 1635 to 1642 by the famous architect Lemercier. The church has a Baroque facade and an elegant cupola that makes it look really big. The interior of the church is also quite impressive and the marble tomb of cardinal Richelieu lies within its walls.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Jardin du Luxembourg

10) Jardin du Luxembourg (must see)

The Jardin du Luxembourg is the largest public park located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, France. The garden is largely devoted to a green parterre of gravel and lawn populated with statues and centered on a large octagonal basin of water, with a central jet of water, in which children sail model boats. The garden is famed for its calm atmosphere. Surrounding the basin on the raised balustrade terraces are a series of statues of former French queens, saints, and copies after the Antique. In the southwest corner, there is an orchard of apple and pear trees and the théâtre des marionettes (puppet theater). The gardens include a large fenced-in playground for young children and their parents and a vintage carousel. In addition, free musical performances are presented in a gazebo on the grounds and there is a small cafe restaurant nearby, under the trees, with both indoor and outdoor seating from which many people enjoy the music over a glass of wine.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful place with hidden sights to see, such as the Medici Fountain and many others.
Loads to do: there are tennis courts, pony rides, playgrounds and good cafés with enough choice.
The gardens are very well maintained and look stunning!

Tip:
Don't forget to check out the prototype for the Statue of Liberty.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7:30am-8:45pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Palais de Luxembourg

11) Palais de Luxembourg (must see)

The Palais du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, north of the Jardin du Luxembourg, is the seat of the French Senate. The palace was built for Marie de Médicis, mother of King Louis XIII of France and of Gaston, Duc d'Orléans, just near the site of an old hôtel particulier owned by François-Henri de Montmorency, Duc de Piney-Luxembourg, hence its name (now called Petit Luxembourg, home of the president of French Senate). Marie de Médicis desired to make a building similar to her native Florence's Palazzo Pitti, and to this effect had the main architect Salomon de Brosse send architect Clément Metézeau to Florence to obtain drawings. A series of twenty-four triumphant canvases were commissioned from Peter Paul Rubens. A series of paintings executed for her Cabinet doré ("gilded study") was identified by Anthony Blunt in 1967.

Tip:
The Palace is only open to the public when the Senate does not meet. It is worth a waiting at a queue, having brilliant halls with painted ceilings, large libraries, rare paintings and statues. Also, you have the privilege to see the Senate Hall, where French senators debate important state problems.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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-Elysees Nightlife

Champs-Elysees 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: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Le Marais Walking Tour

Le Marais Walking Tour

The district 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. You may consider taking the self-guided city tour presented below to visit all the important attractions in Le Marais.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

Paris, the largest city and the capital of France, is one of the leading business, politics, education, entertainment, science, media, arts and fashion centers of the world. Paris also is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with over 45 million tourists every year. Don't miss the chance to visit some of its most popular tourist attractions listed below:

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 km
Pantheon (5th Arr) Walking Tour

Pantheon (5th Arr) Walking Tour

The city of Paris is divided into twenty "arrondissements municipaux", administrative districts, more simply referred to as arrondissements. The twenty arrondissements are arranged in the form of a clockwise spiral, starting from the middle of the city, with the first on the Right Bank (north bank) of the Seine. The 5th arrondissement of Paris (also known as "arrondissement du...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Hotel-de-Ville Walking Tour

Hotel-de-Ville Walking Tour

This tour takes you to explore the 4th arrondissement of Paris (aka "arrondissement de l'Hôtel-de-Ville") visiting The City Hall (Hôtel de Ville), Notre Dame Cathedral, Maison de Victor Hugo and other notable sights of the district otherwise renowned for its cute little streets, cafes, and shops. Rather fashionable as such, it is also regarded by the locals as expensive and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 km
Souvenirs Shopping Walk I

Souvenirs Shopping Walk I

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 and a great "get your cash out" destination, 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...  view more

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

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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8 Best Food Markets in Paris for Authentic French Produce

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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

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9 Must Try Cafes in Paris

9 Must Try Cafes in Paris

Discovering the best coffee and cafes in Paris can be difficult. The city is filled to the brim with brasseries and cafes, but very few offer the Anglophone standard of a good cup of coffee. This is a guide to inform tourists and Parisians alike of the new and somewhat established cafes in Paris...
18 Must-Visit Cafes in Paris, France

18 Must-Visit Cafes in Paris, France

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10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

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Top 16 Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris

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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.