Paris: A walking tour in the City of Light

By Ulrike Koltermann

Ulrike Koltermann lists 10 routes through Paris for pedestrians.
Sacre-Coeur is worth the hike. Photo / Patricia Greig
Sacre-Coeur is worth the hike. Photo / Patricia Greig

Of course it is possible to take the Metro from the Eiffel Tower to Montmartre but Paris is a wonderful city to explore on foot.

Visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to possible itineraries, so the 10 routes listed below take in only some of what Paris has to offer.

1 To discover the city's historical centre, begin with a stroll on the two River Seine islands. The gothic masterpiece Notre Dame is on the Ile-de-la-Cite and the neighbouring Saint-Louis offers stunning views.

2 The Marais is now probably best known for its thriving gay scene and trendy shops. However, visitors can also see Jewish culture, including a synagogue with an Art Nouveau facade, kosher food stores and World War II memorials.

3 Wear comfortable footwear for the steep walk up to Montmartre but it's worth it for views from the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on the crest of the hill.

4 Today almost nothing remains of the Bastille that French revolutionaries stormed in 1789 but the area is well worth a visit if only to explore the many beautiful courtyards and buildings. The quarter is also home to the Marche d'Aligre, one of the most colourful and lively vegetable markets in Paris.

5 The left bank of the Seine is a good place to look for traces of the Roman presence in Paris, such as the thermal baths near Cluny Museum and the amphitheatre. A diversion to the Pantheon, which has served as a church and a temple of heroes, is also worthwhile.

6 Thanks to its huge immigrant population, Paris has the advantage of offering visitors the chance to experience a tapestry of cultural life. The Tamil quarter near the Gare du Nord is full of places selling exotic herbs and spices, sari cloth and colourful statues of deities.

7 A walk along the Canal Saint-Martin followed by a picnic in the shade of the stately plane trees is hard to beat. There are numerous cafes and shops along the canal bank.

8 Visitors looking for style should head for the Boulevard Saint-Germain, where well-dressed Parisians like to congregate.

9 A walk around the Elysee Palace, the official presidential residence, and along Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore gives visitors sight of some the finest boutiques the city has to offer.

10 Villa Mouzaia is one of the lesser-known but more interesting Parisian quarters with its small houses and overgrown front gardens. Rest at Parc Buttes Chaumont with a glass of chilled white wine and watch the world go by from the terrace of the Cafe Rosa Bonheur.

- AAP

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