Hotel-de-Ville Walking Tour, Paris

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 congested. We invite you to take this walk and see for yourself whether it's true or not.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Hotel-de-Ville Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Hotel-de-Ville Walking Tour
Guide Location: France » Paris (See other walking tours in Paris)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Author: karen
Place de la Bastille

1) Place de la Bastille

La Bastille, the notorious prison-fortress in Paris, was completely destroyed during the French Revolution. A square, known as Place de la Bastille, was built in its place to commemorate the revolutionary events of 1830 and to celebrate victory of democracy over tyranny. Special paving stones have been used to mark the original site of the fortress. Today, the square regularly hosts musical concerts and other open-air events. Due to its historical importance, the square has been the venue of many political demonstrations over the years, including the massive anti-CPE rally on March 28, 2006.

It is also home of the Bastille Opera, the Bastille subway station, and a section of the Canal Saint Martin. A 24 meter fountain, designed in the shape of an elephant, was once set in the square but removed in 1847. The only monument standing here is the Colonne de Juillet, a column commemorating the three glorious days of July 1830, during which King Louis-Philippe replaced King Charles X. The 52 meter (171 ft) column honors the 504 victims who fell during those three days, and is topped by the gilded statue of the Spirit of Liberty. A modern opera house, known as the Bastille Opera, was opened on July 14, 1989. By far one of the grandest opera buildings in the world, it seats up to 2700 spectators. The architect of the building sharply contrasting the surrounding area was Carlos Ott. His design was voted the best of the 750 entries submitted to an architectural contest. On your tour of Paris, make sure to visit this historic square and enjoy the sights and food in one of the nearby cafes.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Opera de la Bastille

2) Opera de la Bastille

The Opéra de la Bastille or more commonly Opéra Bastille (Bastille Opera House) is a modern opera house in Paris. Inaugurated in 1989 as part of President François Mitterrand’s “Grands Travaux”, it became the main facility of the Paris National Opera, France's principal opera company, alongside the older Palais Garnier. Most opera performances -in French and other languages- are shown at "Bastille" along with some ballet performances and symphony concerts. Designed by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, it is located at the Place de la Bastille, in the 12th arrondissement, and houses a theater, a smaller concert hall and a studio. The theatre's auditorium was designed with 2,723 seats, later reduced to 2,703; it is organised in an arena format with two huge balconies at the back, with a few narrow balconies on the sides. In a somewhat militant departure from the palais Garnier, which has several dozen types of seats and does not offer stage visibility from all of them, every seat at the opéra Bastille offers an unrestricted view of the stage, it is the very same type of seat with the same level of comfort, and there are no boxes. Subtitles are visible from every seat except for those at the very back of the arena and of the first balcony. You can also have a drink or grab a bite at the bar and restaurant located at Opera de la Bastille.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Maison de Victor Hugo

3) Maison de Victor Hugo

Maison de Victor Hugo is a museum, operated by the the City of Paris, which preserves the house that Victor Hugo lived in for 16 years from 1832–1848. The museum is in the Place des Vosges and dates from 1605 when a lot was granted to Isaac Arnauld in the south-east corner of the square. It was substantially improved by the de Rohans family, who gave the building its current name of Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée. Victor Hugo was 30 when he moved into the house in October 1832 with his wife Adèle. They rented a 280 square meter apartment on the second floor. The mansion was converted into a museum when a large donation was made by Paul Meurice to the city of Paris to buy the house.

The museum consists of an antechamber leading through the Chinese living room and medieval style dining room to Victor Hugo’s bedroom where he died in 1885.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Paroisse Saint Paul - Saint Louis

4) Paroisse Saint Paul - Saint Louis

The Saint Paul-Saint Louis Church is one of the oldest Jesuit sites in Paris. Completed in 1641, it boasts an abundance of classical elements, such as Corinthian pillars and heavy ornamentation, and was greatly influenced by Baroque architecture, introduced by the Romans. The salient feature of the church is a 195-foot dome, which is best viewed from the inside because the columns of the three-tiered church’s front elevation hide the dome. The church is designed marvelously with clean classical architectural lines that run through the nave and side aisles. Arches have been embellished with astounding Baroque decorations, while sculptures have been posed and paintings been drawn in the style liked by the Jesuits in the 17th century.

Louis XIII laid the foundation of the church in 1627. In 1641, Cardinal Richelieu served the first mass here in the presence of the royal family. The church was badly damaged during the French Revolution; the invaders stole most of the artifacts and collectibles. The not-stolen items were brutally broken, largely depriving the church of its precious assets. A handful of works, that have survived unharmed, can now be seen near the entrance. The St Paul-St Louis also briefly served as a "Temple of Reason" under the Revolutionary government, which had banned traditional religion. Nearly 250 years after its construction, in 1872, the St Paul-St Louis church was finally re-consecrated and has served since as one of the local community churches.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Agoudas Hakehilos

5) Agoudas Hakehilos

The Agoudas Hakehilos synagogue commonly referred to at the Pavee synagogue was erected in 1913 by the architect Hector Guimard, and inaugurated on June 7, 1914. This synagogue was commissioned by the Agoudas Hakehilos, society composed of Orthodox Jews of primarily Russian origin, headed by Joseph Landau. Its erection is a testament to the massive wave of immigration from Eastern Europe that took place at the turn of the 20th century. Funded by this wealthy Polish-Russian group it did not cost the Parisian community a centime. They intended to provide a spacious and modernized place for Jews accustomed to the intimate and often squalid shtiblakh. The furnishings (luminaires, chandeliers, brackets, and benches) as well as the stylized vegetal decorations made of staff and the cast iron railings are all creations of Hector Guimard. This was the only religious building by this architect, who was known for his Art Nouveau designs.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Hotel de Sens

6) Hotel de Sens

Hotel de Sens is one of the three original medieval residences left in Paris. It was built between 1474 and 1519 as a home for the bishop Tristan de Salazar. Mixed architectural design of the building reveals transitions that had taken place between the Medieval and Renaissance epochs. The architecture of Hotel de Sens shows elements of a fortification structure. There are turrets (armored towers) for observing the surrounding area, a square tower served as a dungeon, the arched entryway with built-in slopping passages from where boiling water could be poured upon invaders. In 1605, Queen Margot, ex-wife of King Henri IV of Navarre, settled here. Eccentric by nature and with a taste for lavish lifestyle, Queen Margot reportedly indulged herself with numerous love affairs here, and is said to have gathered her lovers' hair to make wigs that she later sported. Between 1689 and 1743, the property accommodated the office of Lyon stagecoach for parcels and deliveries, and had a full title of Siege de Messageries, Coches and Carroisses de Lyon, Bourgogne et Franche Comté. After the French Revolution, it was occupied by art students and, at some point, was turned into a jam factory.

In 1883, the Paris Council established here a library - Bibliotheque Fornay - specialized in art and art techniques. Soon, it became quite popular with artists, bronze workers and architects. Industrialist, Samuel Fornay, donated 200,000 francs for the education of young artists. It is in his honor that the library got its name. In 1929, after major renovations, the library was converted into a hotel - Hotel de Sens. On your tour of Paris, make sure to stop by and admire this medieval residence's elegant formal gardens and dramatic design. Sit down on one of the garden benches and relax, detached from the nearby hectic city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais Church

7) Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais Church

St-Gervais-et-St-Protais Church of Paris is located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, on Place Saint-Gervais in the Marais district, east of City Hall (Hôtel de Ville). It was home to one of the most famous dynasties of French musicians – the Couperini family for more than 200 years. It has an eclectic Gothic and neoclassical design and it is also the place where you can see the oldest organ in Paris and Flemish-style wood paintings. The organ used by Louis and François Couperin still exists today inside the church. On one side of the church, the home of the famous harpsichordists, organists, and composers still stands, with a plaque commemorating the Couperins' tenure in this place. This church is one of the oldest in Paris. Its existence at this place is mentioned as early as the fourth century. Dedicated to Gervasius and Protasius, the church was formerly the seat of the powerful brotherhood of wine merchants. It assumed its present appearance in the 16th century. Its facade was completed much later, however, about 1620. The facade presents an exceptional feature, with columns of the 3 orders: Doric at the ground floor, Ionic at the second floor, Corinthian at the third floor.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Hotel de Ville

8) Hotel de Ville

Hôtel de Ville is the City Hall of Paris. It is located in the place of another building that hosted the city's administration since 1357. In 1533 it was demolished and the current Renaissance building was built. The central ceremonial doors under the clock are flanked by allegorical figures of Art, by Laurent Marqueste, and Science, by Jules Blanchard. Some 230 other sculptors were commissioned to produce 338 individual figures of famous Parisians on each facade, along with lions and other sculptural features. Inside can be found many works of art, furniture, sculptures.

In July 1357, Étienne Marcel, provost of the merchants (i.e. mayor) of Paris, bought the so-called maison aux piliers ("House of Pillars") in the name of the municipality on the gently sloping shingle beach which served as a river port for unloading wheat and wood and later merged into a square, the Place de Grève (French for "Square of the Strand"), a place where Parisians often gathered, particularly for public executions. Ever since 1357, the City of Paris's administration has been located on the same location where the Hôtel de Ville stands today.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Place du Chatelet

9) Place du Chatelet

The Place du Châtelet is a public square in Paris, on the right bank of the river Seine. It lies at the north end of the Pont au Change, a bridge that connects the Île de la Cité, near the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the right bank. The name "Châtelet" refers to the stronghold, the Grand Châtelet, that guarded the northern end of the Pont au Change, containing the offices of the prévôt de Paris and a number of prisons, until it was demolished in 1802-10. At the square's center is La Fontaine du Palmier (Palm Tree Fountain), constructed in 1806 to 1808 by François-Jean Bralle (1750-1832) to celebrate French victories in battle. The palm trunk is surmounted by a gilded figure of the goddess, Victory, holding a laurel wreath in each upraised hand; the goddess figure stands on a base ornamented with bas-relief eagles.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Marche aux Fleurs

10) Marche aux Fleurs

Marché aux Fleurs is a famous street along the Seine, entirely dedicated to flowers as there is a neat market where you can either buy some beautiful flowers or just delight your eyes with their beauty. It has been there since 1808 and it displays a wide variety of plants, trees and flowers each season. If you are lucky to be here on a Sunday, you can also visit the bird market where you can see rare species of birds.
Notre Dame Cathedral

11) 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.

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

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.
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
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 Paris has it all. Take this Champs-Élysées Nightlife Tour and discover the city’s eclectic range of great nightspots.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Elysee (8th Arr) Walking Tour I

Elysee (8th Arr) Walking Tour I

On this tour you will explore 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 Paris's most prominent attractions, such as as Le Grand Palais, Palais de L'Élysée, and more.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 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 Paris has it all. Take this City Center Nightlife Tour and explore the heart of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements at night.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Louvre (1st Arr) Walking Tour I

Louvre (1st Arr) Walking Tour I

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 one of the city's oldest, smallest and least populated areas. It is home to some of Paris's major landmarks, while the remainder of it is taken up by business and administration offices. This itinerary includes Musée de l'Orangerie, Pavillon de Flore, Tuileries Gardens, Musee du Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and many other prominent sights.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
City Orientation Walk II

City Orientation Walk II

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: 5.2 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

If you've visited Paris, you've probably seen the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Versailles. You probably whizzed through some world-class art, ate delicious food in restaurants with English menus, and bought crepes from a street cart. However, Paris has a lot of things to do that...
8 Best Food Markets in Paris for Authentic French Produce

8 Best Food Markets in Paris for Authentic French Produce

The image of Parisians that you may have in your head as strolling through a colourful market with a basket on their arm, chatting to vendors and picking up fresh produce, is quite accurate. Most Parisians do visit local markets at least once a week to stock up on the freshest fruit, vegetables,...
18 Must-Visit Cafes in Paris, France

18 Must-Visit Cafes in Paris, France

Paris is home to thousands of cafes; there is a café on practically every street corner you turn, in every square you stumble across, on every boulevard you stroll along. The age-old Parisian tradition of sitting around at rickety tables and shooting back espressos is a fundamental part of everyday...
15 Places for Tasting Best French Desserts in Paris

15 Places for Tasting Best French Desserts in Paris

If you have a sweet tooth and it wishes to "eat your way" through Paris, this guide will show you how! Featured here are some of the most famous and prominent dessert spots in the French capital, where you can grab something sweet to enjoy. With 20 listed recommendations, you should be...
Top 16 Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris

Top 16 Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris

The French have great respect for the fresh, organic produce yet France isn’t famous for its vegetarian cooking. Hence it’s a good idea for vegetarian visitors to Paris to come prepared in advance. This guide shows you places around the city which serve vegetarian food, complete with the...
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.