Paris à Pied

Paris is a great city to discover on foot. ‘Paris a Pied’ is my guide to walking around Paris. I have written this feature in three parts, as you could not cover all of this in one day, if you also wanted to enjoy the attractions as you go. However, if you are short of time and just wanted to explore, you could walk part one, followed by part two and then part three. Just don’t forget your comfy shoes!

From the Marais District to Notre Dame

This walk starts in the Marais district of Paris, as it is where I like to stay when I visit. It is a lovely area of the city, which is very close to the centre, but without being breath-takingly expensive. There are lots of independent shops, all the fromageries, charcuteries and patisseries that you could want, as well as cafes and restaurants that are friendly and welcoming, but not charging the elevated prices you find near the large attractions. The Pompidou centre is the unmistakable futuristic modern art gallery in the Marais. It is an interesting interruption to this area’s more classical style of architecture and it is possible to take in a view of the city from the top.

Marais Bakery in Paris, France

From the Marais it is only a short walk to Bastille, where the July Column represents the 1789 storming of the Bastille prison by the people of Paris. It stands where the Bastille prison, which had a sinister reputation due to the secrecy of what went on inside and which was used to hold common criminals and Huguenots, once stood. It is not so conveniently located in the centre of a roundabout where eight roads meet, so approach with caution.

Booksellers by the Seine, Paris, France

From Bastille it is only a couple of blocks to the river Seine. A stroll along the Seine, taking in all the riverside café culture is lovely. Along this stretch there are also lots of antique book sellers, who also sell posters, magazines, postcards (old and new) and various souvenirs.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

If you can pull yourself away from their treasure troves, cross the river at Pont d’Arcole onto l’Ile de Cite. Walk a block or two, past flower sellers and on your left you will find Notre Dame Cathedral, infamous home of the hunchback of Notre Dame. If you explore the roads off to your right, you will come to the Ile de Cite’s main square, made famous in the movie Dangerous Liasons. The Ile de Cite is a distinct region of the city and is well worth exploring beyond the Cathedral. 

For Part Two please click here.


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