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Brooks Gilbert

Phoenix, Arizona

Walks around Paris?

Bonjour! I'll be spending two days in Paris next month and I really want to make the most of my time since I haven't been there since high school. I really don't want to be indoors much so I'd love some great walking tours. I know a lot is closed in August so I'm really just going to aim to see the city. I'm staying in the St. Germain area if that's of any importance. Merci!!!


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  • Courtney Robinson

    top answer by

    Ordinarily I would tell you just to walk around the St. Germain area (which is one of my favorite parts of Paris), but since you have so little time, here’s a tour that will get you through a lot of the best parts of the city. By the way, you are right about August--most restaurants and store close for at least two weeks (although many re-open the last week), so I’ve tried to guide you through monuments, parks, cultural landmarks, etc. which will all be open.

    Here’s one of my favorites and one I take every time I go:

    Start out at the Musée du Louvre . Personally, with only two days, I would not bother to go in--lines are long and unless there's something you really want to see, I'd forget it. Walking through the courtyard to see the Louvre Pyramid is fun, though. Exit on the north side on Place du Palais Royal. Go into the Palais Royal . This is where the Comédie-Française/Salle Richelieu has its headquarters and they have one of the best gift shops you've ever seen--great place to pick up a really unique gift. Keep heading north until you get into the actual Palais Royal gardens. I would do two laps--one around the actual gardens which are absolutely stunning, and one around the arcade of stores. Don't miss Didier Ludot which is a legendary vintage clothing store. Le Grand Véfour is also here but you'll need to be in formal dress and you'll need to have made reservations ahead of time.

    When you're finished, head back towards the museum (south), and go back into the Louvre courtyard. Start heading west until you hit the Place du Carrousel . Once you go through the arch, you'll be in the Jardin des Tuileries which in my opinion is one of the most stunning parts of the city. Just so you know, your shoes will get covered in white dust here because the gardens are covered in white gravel, the crunch of which always reminds me of the city. If you're a gardener, you must also stop by the Librairie Des Jardins which is a lovely if small, bookstore about gardening.

    At the westernmost side of the city is the Musée de l'Orangerie des Tuileries which is famous for being the home of many of Monet's waterlilly paintings, or as they're known here, "Les Nympheas", and is a wonderful museum in general and much less chaotic than the Louvre. Also, the Jeu de Paume museum is also here but unless there's something showing that you really want to see, I wouldn't bother.

    If you keep going west, you'll hit the Place de la Concorde and its fountain which was the fountain used in the film, "An American in Paris" and is at its best at night. Keep walking west and you'll find yourself on the Champs-Élysées . Keep going at you'll hit the Le Grand Palais and the Le Petit Palais , both of which usually have great exhibits and are breathtaking buildings.

    At this point you could keep going in the same direction until you hit the Arc de Triomphe , although in my opinion, once you're past the Avenue Montaigne , the Champs gets really tacky and commercial (so sad--it wasn't always like that).

    For day two, try this:

    Start out on the Quai de la Tournelle and spend a little time perusing the Les Bouquinistes . These are booksellers who line the Seine selling old prints, books, and magazines and it's a lot of fun to look through their stuff. At the Pont de l'Archevêché , cross over the bridge and check out Notre Dame Cathedral . Personally, I always find it too over-crowded and touristy, but if you want to see it, that's where it is. I would take the Pont Saint-Louis over to the Île Saint-Louis and explore the island. It won't take you long and it's a good place to grab a bite. Le Sergent Recruteur is a favorite of mine, although a tad expensive. If you want something simpler, Creperie Au Lys D'argent is great little place to get crepes. Be sure to also try the ice cream at Berthillon which is the best ice cream I've ever had in my life.

    Take the Pont Louis Philippe to the other side of the river and take Rue des Barres north. It's a stunning street that's been part of the city since the 13th century (and it shows). The street just east of it, Rue Vieille du Temple is also wonderful with lots of very interesting shops, although I doubt most of them will be open when you're there. You're now essentially in the Marais District , and you can pretty much head in any direction now and find something interesting, but what I would do, is keep going until you get to Rue des Francs-Bourgeois . Turn right (or east) until you hit the Musée Carnavalet . This is a wonderful, free museum about Paris and has an amazing topiary garden that is a must-see. The museum is also a great place to use the facilities, too.

    Keep going until you hit the Place des Vosges which is considered pretty much the heart of the Marais district. It's a lovely square that used to be the bad part of town, but is now the most wonderful, lively spot with tons of little art galleries and street musicians and people-watching. My favorite gallery here is called the Galerie Archange and is a great place to pick up a reasonable exhibition poster.

    Once you're here, just walk around the whole area--as I said, you really can't go wrong. If you want to head back west, go to Rue des Rosiers and try the falafels at L'As du Falafel which is a world-famous falafel place. There's always a line there for take out but if you eat it there you can usually be served right away.

    If you still have energy left (and you probably won't), you're very close to Père Lachaise Cemetery which is fascinating if a little depressing. If you walk up to the Métro République [3,5,8,9,11] train station it will take you right there, although if it's a nice day you probably won't want to.

    Keep in mind that this area has a very high Jewish population so Saturday is not the best time to go. Also, you'll be very close to the Bastille area, which is wildly disappointing in my opinion. Even if you're a serious French history buff, you're better off spending time at the Musee Carnavalet where there's an entire floor devoted to the Revolution.

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    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Musée du Louvre (attraction)
    2. Louvre Pyramid (attraction)
    3. Palais Royal (attraction)
    4. Comédie-Française/Salle Richelieu (attraction)
    5. Didier Ludot (attraction)
    6. Le Grand Véfour (restaurant)
    7. Place du Carrousel (attraction)
    8. Jardin des Tuileries (attraction)
    9. Librairie Des Jardins (attraction)
    10. Musee de l'Orangerie (attraction)
    11. Jeu de Paume (attraction)
    12. Place de la Concorde (attraction)
    13. Champs-Élysées (attraction)
    14. Le Grand Palais (attraction)
    15. Le Petit Palais (attraction)
    16. Arc de Triomphe (attraction)
    17. Avenue Montaigne (attraction)
    18. Quai de la Tournelle (attraction)
    19. Les Bouquinistes (restaurant)
    20. Pont de l'Archevêché (attraction)
    21. Notre Dame Cathedral (attraction)
    22. Pont Saint-Louis (attraction)
    23. Ile Saint-Louis (attraction)
    24. Le Sergent Recruteur (restaurant)
    25. Creperie Au Lys D'argent (restaurant)
    26. Berthillon (restaurant)
    27. Pont Louis Philippe (attraction)
    28. Rue des Barres (attraction)
    29. Rue Vieille du Temple (attraction)
    30. Marais District (attraction)
    31. Rue des Francs-Bourgeois (attraction)
    32. Musée Carnavalet (attraction)
    33. Place des Vosges (attraction)
    34. Rue des Rosiers (attraction)
    35. L'As du Falafel (attraction)
    36. Père Lachaise Cemetery (attraction)
    37. Métro République [3,5,8,9,11] (attraction)
    38. Bastille (attraction)

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  • Liza Bergara

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    You can check the free walking tours in Paris there: http://www.newparistours.com

    I've never done it in Paris but I did it in Amsterdam and it was really good.

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