It is one of those cities that is famed for its walking tours. The town can all be explored on foot is what some say. A true feast for the senses, the experience would be unforgettable. But, all that’s for later. Having braved a long flight on cramped economy class seats and bearing with the rigmarole of airports customs checks, you just want to be at your hotel as quickly as possible. You have a lot of walking to do!Travel possibilities that you get by exploring Paris on foot as opposed to renting a car.Find information about all of the Europe travel.
There are multiple options like the train, the bus, and the shuttles, but the fastest one will be to take a Charles de Gaulle taxi. More so, if you are visiting Paris for the first time or have heavy luggage that isn’t allowed on the train.
Paris is as exhilarating as it is romantic. Be it a stroll along the river Seine, catching Mona Lisa’s smile at the Louvre, or the fascinating charm of the Eiffel Tower, you would discover the best of Paris firsthand when you take a walk. Any place is best explored walking, and if you are a little doubtful about planning one on your own, there are many guided walking tours available.
On your own
If you do not want the distractions of a group tour and want to explore Paris on foot, the best way to start is to get yourself a good city map. You could pick up one at the tourist offices. These, however, are a little small but does have details of all landmarks, the city’s bus systems, the RER, and the metro. Quite a handy one for a quick reference. Then there are the pocket-sized RATP maps of public transportation networks that are available for free at any of the RER or metro ticket counters. The better one to lay your hands on if you are serious to explore the city on foot is to get the Paris par Arrondissement street atlas from Plan Guide Blay-Foldex. It is detailed, has precise details of all Paris transport options, and is easy to read. You can also pick up other maps that are available at many of the souvenir shops, or you could even plan before your trip and check some of the routes that are available online.
It is easy to draw up a walking tour for yourself. The city is very walkable, and amazingly, most of the sites aren’t that far from each other. For example, the distance from Notre Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower is only 2.5 km, and you get to stroll along the Seine. All it requires you to do is sit down with the map and plan your favorite walks that you intend to take for each day of your stay.
Marais is perhaps the first that you could start with. The elegant medieval feel, the Renaissance mansions, and the Place des Vosges are fascinating. The neighborhood has been very well preserved and houses the Jewish quarters. There are many guided tours of this place that would run you through the captivating history of France that this area has been a witness to. The Jewish Marais tour is best if you join one conducted by a local guide, else you would miss much of the history of the Jews in Paris, the Anti-Semitist sentiments, the rise of the Jews in business, their deportation, and an appreciation of Jewish art. The Montmartre has an old village feel with its cobbled streets, some unknown passages, vineyards, and the oldest church in Paris. This neighborhood also houses the oldest cabaret in the city.
The endless arcades in Paris is a story that few tourists get to learn about. These are beautiful and were used by the Parisians during the late 18th and early 19th century to walk from one locality to the other without getting wet. The Passage du Grand Cerf is the most beautiful and houses some nice shops. Experience India at Passage Brady that houses many curry shops, and a bazaar selling spices, incense, and fabrics. If you want to have a glimpse of art deco from those ages, visit the Passage, du Prado.
And what about the must-sees that you have heard of and that you just can’t miss? The Paris Right Bank is a rich mishmash of history. This is where you get to see the magnificent and the opulent, the wonders that were built by the creators of the city, Louis XIV, Napoleon the first, and Napoleon III. Visit the Rue Royale for some wonderful views of the city. The Tuileries Gardens, the Opera, Le Louvre, the Orsay Museum and the Montparnasse are other sights that you should not definitely miss.
Before you travel to Paris, you could check out more on some of the themed walking tours that are conducted and book yourself on the ones that fascinate you. Do remember that on most walking tours, the numbers are restricted to around 12-15 people. There are quite a few that are free too.