My very own Paris walking tour- you will see EVERYTHING and lose ten pounds, guaranteed!

Paris Travel Blog

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Les Halles and St. Eustache Church (not my pic)

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.

Centre Pompidou (not my pic)
Eustache.  Rue Montorgueil runs north right next to St. Eustache- its a really neat little market street, with lots of hip cafes and restos.  There is also a resto- Pied du Cochon facing Les Halles park which is famous for its French Onion Soup.  It's open 24 hours, and there is nothing better than a little French Onion when you've had a lot to drink...

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.

Pompidou's fountains (not my pic)
  If anything else, the building is worth seeing- its inside out, all the pipes are on the outside, and color coded (blue=water etc.)  The place in front of the museum is a favorite place for street performers, characatures (spelling?), etc.  Just south of the museum are the famous moving fountains- works of art in themselves.

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.

L'As du Falafel in the Marais (not my pic)
  But watch out, since its the Jewish area, its closed on Saturdays!!!  I recommend getting lost in this area- browsing the streets, tons of cute shops, cafes etc.  but if you're not up for that, continue along Rue St. Croix de la Bretonnerie and turn left when it dead ends into Rue Vieille du Temple.  Take a quick right onto Rue des Rosiers, the heart of the Marais.  A must stop is at one of the Falafel shops- L'as du Falafel is where I go, its famous, delicious and cheap!!!  With a falafel sandwich in hand (its 2 euros cheaper to take it to go!) continue on the Rue des Rosiers until it deadends .  Take a left onto Rue Mahler/Rue Pavee, and then an immediate right onto Rue des Francs Bourgeois.  Walk a couple of blocks and you hit...
Notre Dame from Ile St Louis (not my pic)

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
Louis, the smaller of the two islands.  There is only one street that runs down the island, Rue St. Louis-en-Ile, with lots of not so touristy shops and great restaurants (Relais de l'Isle, one of my favs).  A stop at the ice cream shop Berthillon, is supposedly a must, but I think they majorly skimp you!!!  Go all the way down the street to the end of the island and you get an excellent view of the back of...

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.

Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie
  The huge baroque building on your right is Hotel de Ville, City Hall, and if you're lucky there is something going on in the Plaza in front of it. (winter=ice skating, summer= they import sand and its beach volleyball, all other times= expositions)

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.

Jardin du Luxembourg (not my pic)
  Continue across the island and take the bridge at the other end, this puts you on the Left Bank, right at St. Michel Plaza, with a rather striking fountain celebrating the victory over the Nazis. 

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.

Blvd St. Germain (not my pic)
  A couple blocks later, you hit St. Germain des Pres church, the oldest church in Paris (don't quote me on that). 

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.

Pont Neuf and the secret garden (not my pic)
  It's not Bridge 9, but Brand New Bridge (neuf= both 9 and new).  It's definitely not new, I think its actually the oldest (once again, don't quote me) built by Henri IV.  His statue is at the middle of the bridge, he was the first Protestant King of France.  The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre was a planned genocide of all the Hugenots (Protestants) that had come to the capital to celebrate the wedding.  Henri survived, converted to catholicism to assume the crowd (thus the famous quote: Paris is well worth a mass) and then gave France religious freedom in the Edict of Nantes.

To the left of the statue there are hidden stairs (with a sign that says Navettes de something.

Pyramids
..) take the stairs (they look a little sketch) and it pops you out on to the secret park at the tip of the island.  Its extremely pituresque and romantic, and has great views of the Louvre.  Take a break, then up the stairs and continue back the way you came- south over the bridge to the Left Bank.

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.

Musee d'Orsay
  Of course, you'll stop for a visit...

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.

Opera Garnier
  Take the bridge Pont de la Concorde back to the Right bank and you're in Place de la Concorde, where the famous guillotine once stood.  This is where King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoniette and countless others lost their heads, now there is an Egyptian obelisk from the Temple of Luxor.

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.

Abbesses (not my pic)
 

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.

Sacre Coeur
  After you're done with the church, take the street right in front of the church west.  It curves around (you get a great view of the Eiffel Tower) and then you will hit Place du Tertre, where you have all the artists selling paintings and you get your portrait done. 

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.

Parc Monceau (not my pic)
  Take an immediate left onto Rue des Martyrs.  You'll hit the very busy Blvd de Clichy in a couple of blocks, turn right and you're two steps away from the infamous Moulin Rouge, the Paris cabaret.  It's still up and running- definitely a tourist-oriented show, the Crazy Horse is supposedly more the "real thing", if you're into that.

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.

Arc de Triomphe
  Right in front of you, you'll be able to clearly see...

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).

Champs Elysees (not my pic)
  You'll find the famous hotel and the most exclusive shops in this area.  Louis Vuitton, Hermes, etc. etc. 

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.

One AM at the Eiffel Tower
  Want to be even more in the know?  Stay until one am.  Each hour, on the hour the tower sparkles (flashing lights) for ten minutes.  Until 12:59 however, the background yellow lights of the tower and on also.  At 1 am, the background lights turn off, but the tower still sparkles in the darkness for ten minutes.  It's definitely worth the wait and the cost of the couple of bottles of wine you've drank at your Eiffel Tower picnic waiting for it to come!!

With that, your Paris tour is completed!!!!

emmllerg says:
Enjoy your next vacation to Paris
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
bhng891 says:
Thanks for this great blog. i will be using this guide when visiting this June.
Posted on: Apr 15, 2011
JMorris271 says:
What wonderful commentay and suggestion.
Thankyou for your post.
Posted on: Mar 22, 2011
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Les Halles and St. Eustache Church…
Les Halles and St. Eustache Churc…
Centre Pompidou (not my pic)
Centre Pompidou (not my pic)
Pompidous fountains (not my pic)
Pompidou's fountains (not my pic)
LAs du Falafel in the Marais (not…
L'As du Falafel in the Marais (no…
Notre Dame from Ile St Louis (not …
Notre Dame from Ile St Louis (not…
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Palais de Justice and the Concierg…
Palais de Justice and the Concier…
Jardin du Luxembourg (not my pic)
Jardin du Luxembourg (not my pic)
Blvd St. Germain (not my pic)
Blvd St. Germain (not my pic)
Pont Neuf and the secret garden (n…
Pont Neuf and the secret garden (…
Pyramids
Pyramids
Musee dOrsay
Musee d'Orsay
Opera Garnier
Opera Garnier
Abbesses (not my pic)
Abbesses (not my pic)
Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur
Parc Monceau (not my pic)
Parc Monceau (not my pic)
Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
Champs Elysees (not my pic)
Champs Elysees (not my pic)
One AM at the Eiffel Tower
One AM at the Eiffel Tower
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