My very own Paris walking tour- you will see EVERYTHING and lose ten pounds, guaranteed!
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Not for the faint of heart, nor for those who cannot walk for long distances- this can be broken up over a couple days if you want... Furthermore, this is an everything tour of Paris- not just here's the Eiffel Tower, here's the Louvre, so do the parts that you want... I've added a bunch of pics from the internet to illustrate the blog- so I don't claim credit for a lot of these photos.
I always start my tour at Les Halles- why? because its by my house. No other reason. So thus, I will start there. Les Halles used to be the market hall of Paris, but now its a plain underground mall with a really pretty park on top of it. The church that you see at the Northwest corner is St.
From Les Halles take the street at the Southeast corner Rue Berger. It will lead you past a beautiful fountain, La Fontaine des Innocents, where undoubtedly tons of Frenchies will be hanging out. Cross over the busy street (Blvd de Sebastopol) and keep straight. You will run into Centre Pompidou, which is the Contemporary Art Museum. This museum gets ignored in the shadow of the Louvre and the Orsay, but its a great collection.
On the other side of the museum is a busy street (Rue du Renard) cross it and continue east on Rue St. Merri, which quickly turns into Rue St. Croix de la Bretonnerie. You are now entering the Marais- a quirky district that mixes the old (traditionally the jewish quarter) and the new (the hip gay area of town). You get an awesome, quaint place that is open on Sundays!!! If you have ever been to Europe and everything was closed on Sundays, you will realise how important this is.
Place des Voges, one of the oldest plazas in Paris. Its an arcaded plaza, and way back in the day Paris' nobility lived in the houses that box in the park. Out through the south exit hidden under the arcades and you're onto Rue de Birague. Hang a left on Rue St. Antoine and continue straight ahead until you hit Place de la Bastille. This was where the infamous prison that started the Revolution once stood, but it was destroyed that infamous night (July 14, 1789) and now there is nothing except a column, and the new Opera House.
From the Bastille, head back Southwest on Blvd Henri IV (the street at 8:00). After a couple of blocks you hit the Seine River, which runs through the heart of Paris. Cross over the bridge onto Isle St.
Notre Dame!! Yes, the back- because most tourists forget to check out the flying buttresses! Head up the street Cloitre Notre Dame which runs right next to the church and you hit the square in front of the church. Obviously, take the time to visit, and even go up the bell tower if you want.
After a visit, head back north on Rue d'Arcole, over the bridge to the Right bank.
Stay along the river going west. The medieval looking castle on the island is La Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, basically the courts and the old prison (now a museum) where Marie Antoinette had her last days. You can also see a tiny detailed spire sticking up, that is Sainte Chapelle. Take your second bridge (Pont au Change) back to the Island, Ile de la Cite. You'll undoubtedly see a line of people to your right. They are waiting to see Sainte Chapelle- it has floor to ceiling stained glass windows- pretty impressive, kind of expensive, though.
Take the famous Boulevard St. Michel straight south untill you hit the Luxembourg Gardens- my favorite spot in Paris. Pull up a chair and catch your breath, or grab and ice cream for a while. When you're ready to go, take the Northwest exit, to the left of the Senate building which puts Rue Ferou right in front of you. Take it north and you'll hit St. Sulplice church in two blocks. St. Sulplice is now famous because of the Da Vinci code, so if you're into that- check out the Rose Line. Then continue north on Rue Bonaparte, in the Northwest corner of the Plaza.
Turn right and follow the famous and posh Blvd. St. Germain a couple of blocks until you hit the Mabillon metro station. Take a left and go north on Rue du Buci, it curves to your right with lots of restos, cafes and markets. Rue du Buci is famous for a communist sponsored housewives march that protested the living conditions during the Occupation. Rue du Buci dead ends in a busy intersection, take Rue Dauphine (1:00) back north to the river. At the intersection of Rue Dauphine and the river (Northeast corner) there is a little green fountain that has four women holding up a dome. These are the famous Paris drinking fountains- its a great place to fill up the water bottle (which no doubt you've drank all of by now) for free!
Cross over the river on the famous Pont Neuf bridge.
To the left of the statue there are hidden stairs (with a sign that says Navettes de something.
Take a right and follow the river to the next bridge, The Pont des Arts, a pedestrian only bridge that is a local hangout. There will probably be people hanging out, having a picnic, playing guitar, etc. especially at night. Cross the Pont des Arts and go directly into the big building on the other side of the river-
the Louvre!!! I put you in the outer courtyard, so you get an idea of how really large the Louvre is- to your left is the inner courtyard with the famous pyramids.
Once you're done, head west into the Tuileries garden, but hang a left half way through so that you can cross back over the river to the Left Bank (Passerelle de Solferino) so that you can visit the Musee d'Orsay, the impressionist museum.
Enough art? Head south along the street that runs just to the west of the Museum- Rue de Bellechasse for a few blocks and turn right on Rue de Grenelle. This streets runs you straight into the Invalides, a former military convalescence home that now houses military museums and the Tomb of Napoleon. After you've had a peek at the Emperor, head north through the garden and back east along the river...
Until you hit France's Congress building- L'assemblee nationale.
Head north on the Rue Royal which is directly across from you (12:00). You will run right into La Madeleine, not the restaurant but the church in the form of a greek temple. Head northeast on Blvd de la Madeleine which turns into Blvd des Capucines. You run straight into the Paris Opera, built by Charles Garnier. Just behind the Opera, you will find all of Paris' famous grands magasins- the huge department stores such as Galeries Lafayette.
Finally a break from walking. Take Metro Line 3 from Opera in the direction Pont de Levallois and change to Line 13 Direction Porte de la Chappelle at station St. Lazarre. Get off at the Abessess station and take the elevator up to the top. You are now in Montmartre, the artists' village. Take a minute to appreciate the famous Art Nouveau metro entrance before you head on. Head east on Rue Y. Le Tac, then Rue Tardieu which puts you straight in front of...
Sacre Coeur church. You can either climb the steps up to it, or take the Funiculaire (cable car). You get great views of the Paris skyline, and the church has amazing mozaic ceilings and modern stained glass windows.
At the southern end of the Place- look for the Dali Exposition signs- there are stairs. This is rue du Calvaire, take the stairs down and you'll run smack into a little hole in the wall red restaurant- Chez Marie. This is super cheap (10 euros for entree, main dish, dessert) and it has great Beef Burgundy. If you're not hungry, rue Drevet continues down the hill a little to your left. Follow this road, appreciating Montmartre's quaint charm, and turn right onto Rue de la Vieuville just before the street deadends.
Lucky you, a metro ride awaits you! Hop onto Line 2 at Pigalle, right by the Moulin Rouge and travel in the direction of Porte Dauphine. Get off at the Monceau exit, and enter the beautiful park. This is another local's favorite, this park is dotted with (fake?) ruins and is a great spot for a break. Once you have caught your breath, head out the south-west exit (just take the main avenue out of the park) and you'll be on Avenue Van Dyck, which turnns into Avenue Hoche.
The Arc de Triomphe. Napoleon's victory arch and the home of the tomb of the unknown soldier. From the Arc you have a great vantage point to see the beautiful perspective, a straight axe connecting several Paris monuments, starting at the Arche de la Defense to the Arc de la Triomphe, down the Champs Elysees to the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde.
The Champs Elysees is an incredibly famous street, with tons of great cafes, stores and overpriced tourist traps. Make a stop at La Duree, at #75 to buy some macarons- the famous cookies/pastries. La Duree is famous for them- my favorite is the rose and the orange blossom flavors, but they're all great!!! Head back up the Champs just a bit from La Duree to head south on the famously posh street Georges V (5 or cinq).
Take Georges V all the way down to the river, where you'll hit the Pont de l'Alma and see the tunnel where Princess Diana (or Lady Di in French) died in a tragic car crash. Cross the bridge and take the fork to the right, Avenue Rapp. After about a 5 minute walk you will find yourself entering the Champs de Mars, the old military training field which has now been turned into the park that stretches out in front of the...
Eiffel Tower! Last but not least. I like coming here at night, where you'll find locals grouped around blankets having picnics lit by the lights of our famous structure. If you want to go up, come just before dusk, so you can see the city during the day and then pick a spot on the grass and act like a Parisian.
With that, your Paris tour is completed!!!!