Walking around Paris

By | January 18, 2018

After more than a hand full of visits to Paris over the past few years, I’ve come to learn that in order to know Paris one must visit often but never too often, so as to keep the love for Paris alive. Over the years I have also learned that the guidebooks are typically wrong and the best of Paris must be found beyond the overpriced cafes, beyond the “best” neighborhoods and beyond the French stereotypes.

I have also learned that to truly be a part of Paris you must walk. Thus for miles and miles I have walked all over Paris through the years and on my last visit I finally started to feel as though my persistent self-guided walking tours have finally come to cover the best that Paris has to offer.

The first thing you realize when you walk around Paris or any other city is the huge number of the pharmacies ( Https://www.allo-pharmacie-garde.fr ) in almost every corner. This is due to the fact that French people care a lot about their health and beauty. There is also an open pharmacy 24 hours per day for any urgent need at night when the others are closed.

There’s a lot to see in Paris by way of attractions, but you will soon find these are located widely apart and a better plan of action is to wander at leisure, stumbling across the big names as you venture on. Starting in the 1st arrondissement, you will find a lot of charming cafes sprinkling Rue Rivoli, also known as the home address to the Louvre Museum. This road is also a mecca for international shopping brands, though there are plenty of prettier places to shop in Paris so better to leave the temptations until later.

After strolling past or through the Louvre, depending on your tolerance for queues, be sure to venture onwards through the Tuileries gardens. Here you can enjoy a light snack at one of the pop up stalls or carry on walking away from the people.

Near to the Louvre museum you will find a concept store that has become a destination in itself; Colette. Here you can find a range of goodies, from fashion through to tech gear. My favorite part of the store is the book selection as they offer a few hidden treasures in both French and English.

Le Marais

It was only in the last couple of years that I was properly presented to Le Marais and only on my recent visit to Paris that I really started to explore this arrondissement more in depth. Le Marais is a renowned eating neighborhood in Paris and thus best visited around lunch time so you can truly appreciate all the offerings.

Walking around the area without a mapped plan is typically the best way to see Le Marais. Be sure to make a pit stop at Place des Vosges to catch a little summer sun and if you’re looking for a sweet treat to accompany you, Carette have some of the best salted butter caramel macarons I have ever tasted.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés

For a very long time this has been my beloved neighborhood in all of Paris. That is, of course, until I recently started to discover Le Marais after being taken out to dinner there by a Parisian, followed by staying in Le Marais on my most current visit to Paris. But back to Saint Germain!This area is famous for its boutique shopping, mainly if you enjoy nabbing a vintage bargain. The area also has many cafes worth visiting, including the famous (and famously busy) Cafe de Flore &  equally famous Deux Margots.

Walking around the arrondissement, be sure not to miss the chance to stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens – some of the prettiest in the entire city. I find this area most enjoyable in the later afternoon, coupled with an afterwards visit to the Latin Quarter for a cheap evening meal.

The Latin Quarter

I come to the Latin Quarter in Paris for one main reason: the foodstuff. The food in the Latin Quarter comes from all over the world (though really centres around Moroccan, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines), it is cheap and it is so good.You can’t go wrong with a street serving of falafel or a kebab, but if you’re looking for specifics.

Ile de la Cité & Île St-Louis

Headlong and beginning to cross the Seine River, you will find yourself almost directly in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, home to one of the best sights in Paris if you are willing to endure the queue to enter the towers.

Also impressive and if you ask me not to be missed is Saint Chapelle, just a five minute stroll from Notre Dame and with the most impressive stained-glass windows you will find in Paris and perhaps all of Europe.

Although this is an incredibly slight area to walk around, navigating your way through the winding streets and lanes will lead to hidden treasures. From Ile de la Cité be sure to wander forwards to Île St-Louis for arguably the best ice cream in Paris at Berthillon.

Montmartre

No matter what the naysayers will lead you to consider, I am whole heartedly of the opinion that some of the best of Paris is still located in Montmartre. Sure, it is more touristic today and many artists cannot afford the rent, but remember there are two ways to see Montmartre:

The first is to walk  around the backstreets, get lost, find hidden charms, stop for coffee, bite into a crêpe while you wander the streets and discover why this has for centuries been the Artist Quarter of Paris.

The second is to walk up the stairs to Sacre Couer, snap a view of misty Paris, allow yourself to be conned into a cartoon sketch of your best-dressed-self and pay for an high-priced meal in the al fresco dining area.

Or, you can follow this route:Take the metro to Abbesses station where you will enter the heart of Montmartre, make your way up the hill towards Sacre Coeur, stroll back through the alleyways and stumble upon the Moulin Rouge, followed by an exciting stroll back to Pigalle metro station.

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