Spring has finally arrived and the sun is shining! It's time to pull out some comfortable sneakers and enjoy Paris for all its beauty under a bright blue sky and freshly green trees.
The great Haussmann architecture, perfectly lined trees, the multiple bridges you can use to zig-zag along the Seine, and the woods surrounding the east and west sides of the Paris make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with over 30 million foreign visitors per year.
In this post, Bilingual Nannies Agency decided to select 7 walks of what we think will allow you to see the most famous landmarks but also the heritage of the French culture. We even tested them for you!
1. Les Quais de Seine
Starting from Pont d'Austerlitz towards the Eiffel Tower
6,5 km - 1h25
Starting from the Bassin de l’Arsenal, this walk will allow you to admire the beautiful architecture of Paris.
On your way to the Eiffel Tower as your destination, walk on the ‘Voie Georges Pompidou’ which was a road a few years ago and enjoy the view of Notre-Dame Cathedral. If you have the time, don’t hesitate to go on the island (Île de la Cité) to visit the Sainte-Chapelle, to relax on the Place Dauphine and see the Square du Vert Galant.
You can stop for a cooling beverage at the bar underneath Pont Neuf and take in the view before walking and go on the Pont des Arts to contemplate the view on the Pont Neuf and the Island. If you wonder up onto the street, you will see the famous 'bouquinistes' selling second-hand books, vintage Vogue magazines and prints of artworks of Parisian scenes.
Walk along the Seine and enjoy views of the beautiful new hotel, Cheval Blanc Paris, Musee d'Orsay, Assemblée Nationale, Pont Alexandre III and Les Invalides. All the way along the Quai, you'll see the famous monument in Paris peeking through.
2. La Rive Gauche
Panthéon, Jardin des Plantes, Arènes de Lutèce, Jardin du Luxembourg, St-Germain-des-Près
3 km - 40 min
Start your walk at the Jardin des Plantes, the main botanical garden of Paris. If you are walking with the children, it is a good idea to visit The menagerie, a small zoo belonging to the garden, and also a welcoming calm from the chaos of the Paris crowds.
Continue your walk to the Arènes de Lutèce, the most ancient Roman remains from the era in Paris (they were built during the 1st century A.D.) and then the Panthéon, the temple of French nation. Since 1885, the people who have made the history of France such as politicians, writers, scientists are buried inside.
If you keep walking, you will arrive at the Jardin du Luxembourg, the largest garden in town and a wonderful place to rest and have a picnic. Created in 1612 by Marie de Medici, the garden is owned today by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace. You can rent a miniature floating boat for 30 mins at the large fountain which is a popular favourite for local Parisian children. You can enjoy a pony ride around the park, and if the children need to let out some energy, there is a sustainably built playground for them to climb, run and play called Ludo Jardin.
Finish this walk at St-Germain-des-Prés and sit at Le Café de Flore or Les Deux-Magots, two old cafés where the Parisian artists of the 20th century liked to converse and find inspiration.
If you love shopping, St-Germain-des-Prés is a well-known place for luxury brands and galleries.
3. Montmartre and the 18th district
Pigalle, Mur des "Je t'aime", Sacré Coeur, Maison Rose, Vignes de Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, Café des Deux-Moulins
Start this walk at the bottom of the hill, in the Square Louise-Michel. To go on top of the hill and visit the Sacré Cœur, you will have the choice by walking up the stairs or taking the funicular.
Walk around Montmartre and don’t miss the artists’ square where many painters offer caricatures. Walk through the Maison Rose, the most photographed house in Montmartre nestled on a corner of a cobblestoned street and visit ‘Le Clos Montmartre’, a small hidden vineyard which welcomes every year the ‘Harvest Festival of Montmartre’.
After visiting the hill, go to the Square Jehan-Rictus, near Abbesses metro station. In this square, you will see The Wall of Love (Mur des ‘Je t’aime’). Created in 2000 by the calligraphist Fédéric Baron and the mural artist Claire Kito, this wall displays the word “I love you” in all major languages.
Finish your walk with a café (or a glass of wine !) at the Café des Deux Moulins. If you are a cinephile, you probably have seen this place in the iconic Cesar winning romantic movie, Amélie.
4. Triangle d'Or
Opéra Garnier, Place Vendôme, Tuileries, Concorde, Elysée, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe
4,5 km - 1h
Start at the Palais Garnier, one of the world’s greatest opera houses built on the behest of the emperor Napoleon and walk to Place Vendôme by the Rue de la Paix, well-known for its jewelry shops.
Visit the Tuileries Garden and arrive on Place de la Concorde, the largest square of the city which was originally known for having been an execution site during the French Revolution and now known for having the Luxor Obelisk. Go to the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, a street known for its luxury shops and pass next to the Elysée Palace, the French president’s house.
Finish by walking up the Champs-Elysées, often described as the ‘most beautiful avenue in the world’ and arrive on the Arc de Triomphe, the iconic landmark honouring those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. You can even climb up to see the breath-taking views from high-up down the avenue and, of the course, the Eiffel Tower on your right.
5. Bastille, La Coulée Verte René Dumont
4,5 km - 1h
Created on a former railway line, the Coulée Verte is a great walk over 4,5 km decorated with all kinds of trees, roses and plants. This offers walkers remarkable and diverse views of the recent and very typical districts of the 12th arrondissement.
The well-known Viaduc des Arts starts from the Bastille’s Opéra and finishes at the Jardin de Reuilly. The rest of the walk alternates between tunnels and trenches to join the Porte Dorée and the Bois de Vincennes.
Photograph: Alamy - From https://www.theguardian.com/travel/
6. Le Vieux Paris
Place des Vosges, Marais, Hôtel de Ville, Pompidou
Visit the 'Old Paris' starting this walk at Place des Vosges. This square, was called Place Royale before 1800, is one of the oldest but also one of the most beautiful. Many art galleries surround the square and make it unique.
Both a refuge for the Jewish community and LGBTQI, the Marais offers, to those who take the time, its many alleys steeped in history and avant-garde boutiques. I would honestly recommend you to walk a little bit everywhere and soak up the neighbourhood. If you are hungry, go to the Rue des Rosiers and taste a Falafel at L’As du Fallafel. You'll understand why there's a long line no matter what day it is!
Go to Beaubourg, where the Le Centre Pompidou sits. This is definitely deserves a visit with an outstanding collection of artwork. If you're just along for the walk, its worth entering the main entrance and heading straight up the 5 or 6 escalators to the top. From views of the Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, La Défense and Sacré-Cœur. Continue your walk to the Hotel de Ville, the Paris’ town square.
Finish this walk at the Louvre, the world's most-visited art museum, and admire its pyramid at the entrance, a contemporary creation by the architect Ming Pei.
7. Le Bois de Boulogne
The Bois de Boulogne is a wood of 846 ha. It will take you a really long time to walk everywhere, that’s why I would just recommend you to see the most important places.
Walk around the Lower Lake, a lake very popular with joggers where it is possible to rent a boat between February and October.
If you love architecture, you must see the Louis Vuitton Fondation, a museum featuring modern and contemporary art built by the famous architect Frank Gehry (also known for building the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao). At two steps from there, take the children to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, an amusement park that I’m certain they would love. Entry is 6.50euros for adults and attractions aren’t the only thing they have to offer. There is a great water fun park that is free with several big playgrounds for children to enjoy!