Enjoy wandering through Paris' scenic sights.
Since Paris Mayor Anne Hildago took charge of the greening of Paris, opening dozens of bike lanes and transforming the once traffic-clogged roads and freeways into pedestrian walkways, the city has never been so flaneur-friendly. The City of Light is perfect for a romantic stroll or window shopping–and many first-time visitors are looking for the most idyllic routes possible. Although there are myriad walks throughout the city, these nine are among the best walks in Paris.
Related: The Best Things to Do in Paris
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Petit Ceinture Park
Down in the sunken Petit Ceinture (Little Belt) Park, a 20-mile-long abandoned double-track railway that traces the city’s circumference, you can walk among ancient trees, wild greenery, bridges, and neighborhood vegetable gardens making discoveries along the way. Sections now span the 12th arrondissement through the 20th with entry points in each arrondissement and access for people with disabilities at several of these points.
Coulée Verte (aka Promenade Plantée)
Atop this old viaduct, you can take your time or join the joggers on the Coulée Verte (aka Promenade Plantée) on the three-mile promenade 30 feet above Paris. Extending from the Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes, the course takes you through flower-filled gardens with lily ponds, flowering trees and plants, small parks and seating areas, and up-close views of the neighborhood. Then visit the Viaduc des Arts’ 45 artisan boutiques tucked under the viaduct’s arches, or explore the Bois de Vincennes (see below).
Berges de Seine
Wandering the Berges de Seine, between the Musee d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower, and the new Rives de Seine on both Seine riverbanks, makes strolling or cycling by the river and taking in its endless vistas a pleasure–without the bother of automobiles. Both the Berges and the Rives offer more than just strolls, this 25-acre park hosts sports facilities; play areas for kids; yoga, tai chi, and other classes for adults; game (pétanque, ping pong, chess, etc.) cafés; and spots to rest and take in the views in a lounge chair. Check out Fluctuart floating urban art museum at the Pont des Invalides.
Rue des Martyrs
A bustling 200-year-old market street, follow the Rue des Martyrs from the heights of Montmartre to the picturesque Notre Dame de Lorette church, taking in everything in between. Purveyors of fresh fruits and veggies, fish, and cheeses, share the street with high-end pastry shops, chocolatiers, gourmet cafés, restaurants, and chic boutiques, adding to the street’s irresistible ambiance and lively atmosphere.
Paris’s ancient market streets—some date back to Roman times—are perfect for a gastronomic stroll to really get a feeling for the flavors (literally) of Paris. Saunter down Rue Montorgueil, a last vestige of the old Les Halles, now flanked by scores of chic boutiques. On the Left Bank, Rue Mouffetard, immortalized by Hemingway in his Paris classic A Moveable Feast and lively Rue Daguerre are full of delicacies and delights.
Nothing says Paris like a stroll down the Champs-Élysées. While ceding some of its elegance in recent times, this iconic throughway remains the most famous avenue in Paris—and maybe the world. Some Parisians complain that chain stores have cheapened its allure, but others are more philosophical, noting that Paris can’t remain a museum city and there’s a little something here for everyone. Start at the Arc de Triomphe and walk down to the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais (closed for restoration till 2024), host to some of the city’s grandest exhibitions.
You don’t have to be a shopper to enjoy a walk through the Marais. Besides being Paris’s most extensive and diverse shopping district, with dozens of head-turning boutiques, it’s also a neighborhood full of historic interest. Still following its medieval footprint, discover hidden gardens, ancient mansions, a fast-dwindling historic Jewish quarter, and narrow picturesque streets harboring some of the city’s finest museums, including the Musée Picasso, Musée Carnavalet, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme (mahJ), Musée Européen de Photographie, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature and many more. The beautiful Place des Vosges, at the heart of a 17th-century palace, is Paris’s prettiest square.
Bois de Vincennes
There’s much to see in the Bois de Vincennes, the city’s largest wooded park, once the royal hunting grounds. At the edge of the park (reached quickly and directly via metro line 1), the Château de Vincennes is France’s best-preserved medieval castle. Just behind the castle walls and moat in the lovely Park Floral, you can stroll around a lake, feed the ducks, or just wander under the ancient trees. In spring, more than 50 species of rhododendrons perfume the air and the park hosts France’s largest tulip exhibition (with dahlias in the fall). Several manicured garden beds host medicinal plants, herbs, and all kinds of flowers along with a pavilion for rare bonsais. Kids can take a train ride in the extensive playground before grabbing a snack or teatime at the park’s two cafés. Picnicking under the trees is highly recommended, especially when the park hosts its famous jazz and classical concerts, held most weekends from June through September.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Bordered by Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, these magical gardens are beloved by Parisians of all ages, who bask on lawn chairs in the sun (lawn lounging is strictly forbidden). Children race their sailboats in the basin behind the Sénat, romp in the enclosed children’s playground, take in a puppet show, or ride the city’s oldest merry-go-round. A favorite circuit for joggers and amblers, the many flower-lined paths are also perfect for an afternoon stroll past espaliered orchards and the old apiary, where beekeeping is taught and the honey is sold in the fall. The park is also home to tennis courts and several cafés, including a branch of Paris’s cherished pastry shop Angelina. Don’t miss the superb art exhibits at the jewel-like Musée de Luxembourg.