The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Strolling in Paris

Paris is one of the best cities for walking, we’ll tell you exactly where to head!

They don’t call us walking tour experts for nothin’! All jokes aside, here at Sight Seeker’s Delight, our passion is to bring our Paris to you. We love this city so much, and are just itching to share what we love with all of our amazing clients.

strolling

While in comparison to cities like New York and London, Paris is fairly small and easy to navigate. But I know that it can be intimidating nonetheless! I remember when I first arrived in the city and found everything so complicated…I wanted to explore, but I didn’t know where to start.

If you’re anything like me, and are asking yourselves where you should head to experience Paris in the best way possible, this cheat sheet is for you! Get out your pencils and notepads, you’re going to want to write this down!

Keep reading for 7 excellent locations in Paris to start your journey of discovering everything this city has to offer.

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Canal Saint Martin

canal
Image: WikiCommons

Canal Saint-Martin is located just next door to the famed Place de la République in the 10th arrondissement. It’s grown to be more famous as the years have gone on, mostly thanks to popular films like Amélie, which features a scene of the main character walking across a bridge that goes over the canal.

Although it has become more touristy, the Canal Saint-Martin is the perfect place to stroll in Paris if you’re looking to get away from the crowds and explore where the real Parisians go to hang out.

Where to start

Begin your stroll at the Place de La République, where you can see a massive statue in the center of the square dedicated to Marianne, the personification of France. Once you’re done admiring the place and taking photos, find the street Rue du Fauberg du Temple, and walk straight down until you hit the water!

What you’ll see

As soon as you get to the canals, go left down the street Quai de Valmy. You will be immediately struck by all the cuteness that is the Canal Saint-Martin! If you’re feeling hungry, pick up a baguette from the famed bakery, Du Pain et des Idées, and settle down next to the canal and enjoy the scenery. There are some yummy restaurants worth a try, such as Chez Prune, or the trendy bar Le Comptoir Général. Lastly, be prepared to do some shopping, as there is no shortage of cute boutiques, too! I recommend Antoine et Lili!

Where you’ll end up

If you follow the length of the Canal Saint-Martin, you’ll end up at my next location, the Bassin de la Villette.

Addresses to remember

Place de la République
1 Place de la République, 75003 Paris

Du Pain et des Idées
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris

Chez Prune
36 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris

Le Comptoir Général
80 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris

Antoine et Lili
95 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris

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Bassin de la Villette

la villette
Image: WikiCommons

I hope you’re not too tired from your stroll along the Canal Saint-Martin! As you reach the end of the canal, you’ll see that there is another body of water waiting for you. This is called the Bassin de la Villette. Again, this part of Paris is filled with locals, so you’ll get to discover what people who actually live here full time enjoy doing!

This is one of my favorite hang outs in Paris, especially during the warmer months. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even rent a boat that you can take out onto the bassin and operate yourself.

Where to start

As you reach the end of the Canal Saint-Martin, you should notice the metro station Jaurès. Cross the intersection where you’ll see the restaurant Le Jaurès Café, and you know you’re in the right spot! Continue, with the restaurant on your right, and you’ll see the bassin. If you’re not coming from the canal, take the metro to the station Jaurès instead.

What you’ll see

As soon as you pass Le Jaurès Café, you can’t miss another great restaurant called La Rotonde Ledoux. If you’re there on a sunny day, be prepared to see crowds of Parisians mingling, drinking, and enjoying the nice weather. There are also a few temporary bars that pop up only in the summer months, who will serve you in plastic cups meaning you can take your beverage to go and continue your stroll!

Continue along the bassin, stopping along the way to enjoy the view if you’d like. There are a few other restaurants, bars, and cafés worth your while: the Péniche Antipode, the Paname Brewing Company and Le Pavillon des Canaux, respectively.

Where you’ll end up

The bassin is fairly large, and eventually transforms into another canal, the Canal de l’Ourcq. This is another excellent place for a stroll, and if you follow it far enough, you’ll end up at the Parc de la Villette, one of the most unique parks in Paris.

Addresses to remember

Jaurès Metro
75019 Paris

Le Jaurès Café
1 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris

La Rotonde Ledoux
Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad, 75019

Péniche Antipode
55 Quai de la Seine, 75019 Paris

Le Pavillon des Canaux
39 Quai de la Loire, 75019 Paris

Parc de la Villette
211 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris

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Saint-Germain-des-Prés

saint germain
Image: WikiCommons

Ahh, Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This was the first neighborhood I ever lived in in Paris and boy do I feel lucky! As someone who loves everything that has to do with art and literature, this neighborhood is practically the Holy Land. Famous artists and writers such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound were all known to hang out in various bars and restaurants throughout the area.

Not only is it an art and literary hotspot, Saint-Germain-des-Prés is one of the most classically Parisian areas in the city, and the architecture reflects it! Haussmannian style buildings line the large boulevards, and the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay just around the corner, this is the fairytale Paris you read about in books.

Where to start

There are many places to start your stroll of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, but I recommend you start on the Rue de Seine, located (not surprisingly) right next to the Seine River near the Pont des Arts, also known as the Love Lock Bridge.

Alternatively, you can begin your stroll at the Saint-Germain-des-Prés metro station, if it’s easier for you.

What you’ll see

Walk straight down the Rue de Seine, and prepared to be awed by the quaint apartment buildings, stunning antique shops, and amazing art galleries. Take a right on the Rue Jacob, and keep your eyes peeled for number 14, where Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley spent their very first night in Paris. Take a left up the Rue Bonaparte, and you’ll soon find yourself at the Saint-Germain-des-Prés metro station. Just to your right will be cafés Les Deux Magots, the Café de Flore, and the Brasserie Lipp, where all of those writers and artists I mentioned used to hang out.

After getting something to drink, cross the Boulevard Saint-Germain and continue down the Rue Bonaparte. Grab a pastry from the famed Pierre Hermé, and check out the Saint Sulpice church.

Where you’ll end up

If you follow the Rue Bonaparte until its end, you’ll end up right in front of the Luxembourg Gardens! This is one of my favorite parks in the city, but more on that in the next section.

Addresses to remember

Pont des Arts
75006 Paris

Saint-Germain-des-Prés Metro
57 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

14 rue Jacob, 75006 Paris

Pierre Hermé
72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris

Saint Sulpice
2 Rue Palatine, 75006 Paris

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The Latin Quarter

pantheon
Image: WikiCommons

The Latin Quarter isn’t named as such because you can find really good Hispanic style food there (we wish!), it’s called that because the major French university, La Sorbonne, is located there. The language of education back in the day was Latin, and now you know where the Latin Quarter gets its name.

Nowadays, La Sorbonne isn’t the only university you can find in the area. This also means that the Latin Quarter is jamming with students, hanging out in cafés, restaurants, parks and bars alike.

Where to start

Since you’ve just finished up a shorter stroll in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, start you’re next stroll where you left off, at the Luxembourg Gardens. Definitely spend some time walking through the gardens, and admire the Fontaine Médicis, the Senate Building in the Luxembourg Palace, and the Luxembourg Museum.

What you’ll see

Exit the garden’s main entrance (located near the Luxembourg RER station entrance), and head up the street Rue Soufflot, where you will quickly find that you are right in front of the Panthéon!

You’ll be able to see a part of La Sorbonne from the same square where the Panthéon is located, but it is heavily securitized for the students’ safety, so you’ll only be able to see the outside of the building.

Turn away from the Panthéon and take a right down the Rue Saint-Jacques, and follow that street until you get to the Rue des Écoles. Take a left, and you’ll be in front of the Cluny Museum, a museum dedicated to the Middle Ages in Paris.

Where you’ll end up

Take a left down the Boulevard Saint-Michel, where you’ll find tons of shops. Continue down this street until you get to the Saint-Michel fountain, and enjoy a view of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Before you head inside, take a right on the Quai de Montebello and check out the English bookstore Shakespeare & Company!

Addresses to remember

Luxembourg Gardens
75006 Paris

Luxembourg RER station
75005 Paris

Panthéon
Place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris

La Sorbonne
12 Place du Panthéon, 75231 Paris

Cluny Museum
28 Rue du Sommerard, 75005 Paris

Shakespeare & Company
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral
6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris

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Île Saint-Louis

saint louis
Image: flickr.com

The Île Saint-Louis is one of the only two naturally occurring islands in Paris, and is located smack in the middle of the city, on the Seine River! When Paris was just getting its start as the city we all know and love, the island was used for grazing cattle.

The island today looks a lot different from how I can imagine it with a bunch of cows roaming around, and it’s truly one of the cutest parts of Paris.

Where to start

I know you might be feeling tired after your Saint-Germain-des-Près and Latin Quarter excursitions, so please don’t feel pressure to do all of these strolls in one day! But it just so happens that your Île Saint-Louis stroll will begin behind the Notre Dame Cathedral.

You can also easily get to the Notre Dame from the metro stations Saint Michel, Pont Marie or Cité.

What you’ll see

Taking a trip to the Île Saint-Louis will make you feel like you’re in a quaint French village in the middle of Paris, and I personally love that. Paris has been my home for quite a while now, but I grew up in a small town on the East Coast, and sometimes I feel like taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city. The Île Saint-Louis is the perfect place for that!

You also need to take a stop at the original Berthillon ice cream shop. There’s something about eating an ice cream from where the Berthillon story all began that makes it taste even sweeter! The Saint-Louis en-L’Île Church is a sight to be held, so make sure you try to take a peek inside. Le Lutécia café is a great place to enjoy a drink on their outdoor patio, and soak in all of the people watching you’ll be able to do.

Where you’ll end up

The Île Saint Louis is very small, so your stroll won’t take you too long. Circle back to the Notre Dame to take a look inside if you haven’t already. You’ll be in the center of Paris, so what you do next is up to you!

Addresses to remember

Saint Michel metro
Quai Saint-Michel, 75005 Paris

Pont Marie metro
75004 Paris

Cité metro
75004 Paris

Berthillon
29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris

Saint-Louis en-L’Île Church
19 bis Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris

Le Lutécia
33 Quai de Bourbon, 75004 Paris

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La Petite Ceinture

petite
Image: WikiCommons

Until this point, I’ve mapped out some typical strolls for all of you first, second, or third time Paris explorers. This next one is for my Paris experts who feel like they have really seen everything in the city already. I’ve got (good) news for you! As someone who has lived here for a while now, you will never see all of Paris.

This stroll is located on an abandoned railroad track that has not been in use since the 18th century. For the past few years, Paris has been putting in the effort to transform this part of the city into a walking trail, filled with hundreds of different kinds of plants and flowers. Be prepared to be shocked that this kind of wildlife can be found in the capital.

Where to start

Keep your eyes peeled for the entrance of the trail, as it can sometimes be hard to find! Head to the metro station Porte de Versailles, and try to find a green park entrance sign. Follow the stairs, and you’ll soon see a sign with “The Petite Ceinture of the 15th” written on it! Congratulations, you’re in the right place.

What you’ll see

If you’re getting a little tired of the city scene, La Petite Ceinture is where you should head. Be amazed by the peace and quiet you’ll find on this secluded walkway, and keep your camera in your hand in order to snap photos of the plants, trees, flowers, and wildlife you’ll find there!

The 15th arrondissement has been putting in a lot of work to the old railroad tracks to make them safe and enjoyable for visitors to spend a few hours exploring.

Where you’ll end up

At the end of your stroll, you’ll find yourself in front of a boarded up tunnel. There, you’ll see a glass elevator which you can board in order to return to street level. This stroll ends near the metro Balard, and the Parc André Citroën, another park worth checking out!

Addresses to remember

Porte de Versailles metro
75015 Paris

Entrance to La Petite Ceinture 15th
101 rue Olivier de Serres, 75015 Paris

Balard metro
75015 Paris

Parc André Citroën
2 Rue Cauchy, 75015 Paris

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A walking tour with Sight Seeker’s Delight

SSD
Image: Sight Seeker’s Delight

This wouldn’t be an ultimate cheat sheet to strolling in Paris if I didn’t talk about Sight Seeker’s Delight walking tours! As I already mentioned, our mission here at Sight Seeker’s is to share our love for and knowledge about this beautiful city. It’s literally what makes our world go ‘round!

We are now offering a selection of 14 (!!) different tours, ranging from 2 hours to 8 hours. Click here to learn about all of our tours and to make a booking!

CONCLUSION

There you have it, everyone! My ultimate cheat sheet to strolling in Paris. Did you learn something? Have I helped you plan your perfect Paris trip?! I hope so!

You’ll notice that I haven’t included any maps, so I definitely recommend taking a smartphone with you, or kicking it old school with a paper map.

Please also keep in mind that there are a ton of other places to stroll in Paris, but I’d have to write a book in order to include everything that makes this city so special 😉

If you’re interested in having some help with your Paris itinerary that would include maps and step by step metro and walking instructions, I invite you to click here to learn more about our Travel Services, including our Full Itinerary Planning Service!

As usual, let me know what you think in the comments below, we love hearing from you!


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