The best way to get to know the charming arrondissements of Paris is by going on a walking tour. I kind of created this self-guided walking tour by highlighting sights I want to see on a map, creating a logical order of these sights and then navigating myself to them. In this blogpost I will combine some summer and winter pictures.
The walk starts in Montmarte, my favorite neighborhood of Paris. It is incredibly touristy, but I love the red details, the charming cobblestone streets and the feeling of walking onto a movie set. You can take the metro to the stop Lamarck – Caulaincourt, as this metro station is the perfect gateway to Montmartre with its charming typography, stairs and newspaper shops. When going up the steep stairs you get a great view of the lower part of Montmartre and you can take amazing pictures because of the geometric shape of the stairs and the surrounding buildings.
When navigating to “La Maison Rose”, you will shortly pass a little vineyard which is located in the heart of Montmartre (Clos Montmartre). This hidden gem is the smallest vineyard in Paris and makes for a nice surprise. It is exactly these little things that make me love Paris so much! After passing Le Clos at your left hand you will see La Maison Rose at your left hand. La Maison Rose is a restaurant, where I never had dinner, but I love taking pictures of and with it.
You could do a small detour from the fastest route here and visit Musée Montmartre or have a look at Moulin de la Galette, which are both located close by. Otherwise you can continue your navigation to the Sacré Coeur. On your route you will automatically pass by the most famous streets of Montmarte. Le Consulat is an iconic photo syop, but it is always really crowded in these streets, so you will need some patience if you want a solo shot. Leuk restaurant square opzoeken. A nice stop for a coffee would be the Place du Tertre, where you will find street artists painting portraits and street vendors.
In France it is free to visit a church, so you could visit the Sacré-Coeur or just admire the beautiful domes from the outside. Right in front of the Sacré-Coeur you have great views of Paris, but I would not recommend taking these steps down. If you move away from the crowds a little, you can go down the stairs at Place du Tertre.
From the Sacré-Coeur you should navigate to the Moulin Rouge and you will pass a nice area with some independent clothes and book stores. Beware that the Moulin Rouge is really small from the outside, but it makes for a nice stop nonetheless.
From here you can navigate to Galeries Lafayette and you will enter a more chique, uptown area. Galeries Lafayette has a beautiful stained glass dome, which is completely decorated around Christmas time, but even when it is not decorated it is still really impressive. In the Netherlands I hate shopping in warehouses, but Galeries Lafayette has beautiful details, such as old-fashioned elevators with wrought iron doors and a really good collection of French brands which makes it a pleasure to visit this store. There are also small macaron stores located inside of Galeries Lafayette to reward your taste buds. You can also visit the roof of the store, which has great views of Paris and the Opera Building which is located right opposite.
One of my favorite French brands is Sezane and they have a flagship store which is a 10 minute walk from Galeries Lafayette, which could also be an option. Otherwise continue your walk to Palais-Royal. You probably have not heard of Palais-Royal, but this is where the infamous black and white columns are located in the courtyard (also known as Les Deux Platons). There is a whole intellectual idea behind the columns, but I just love the peace the symmetry of the columns project. Unfortunately we visited on the only day that you could not take pictures on the columns, as there was a special exhibition being held, but it was still good to see them from afar. The Palais-Royal also has a beautiful garden if you want to take a rest for a bit. Palais-Royal also has a Café Kitsune for the ultimate French coffee.
Once you have arrived in the courtyard of Palais-Royal you are only a short walk from the Louvre. The Louvre is not my favorite museum in Paris, but I love the glass pyramids as designed by I.M. Pei. Opposite the Louvre you will find the Jardin des Tuileries which boasts the amazing art gallery ‘Musée de Orangerie’ which hosts Monet’s enormous paintings of the waterlilies. As this is only a small museum, you could visit it on this day. From the Tuileries you will have a great view of the Eiffel Tower and you could use it as a backdrop for your pictures.
Our tour continues to Musée d’Orsay, my favorite museum in Paris. It is a modern art gallery which is located in a renovated train station, hence the amazing details and clock. I would recommend to take your time for d’Orsay and not rush it, as the museum has many great works by Impressionist painters. You have now arrived at the other side of the Seine in an area that is less touristy than the other parts. I was super tired so we stopped for dinner here, which is perfect as the area contains many great restaurants. You could continue on to Café de Flore, a quintessential Paris café with bistro chairs and a hotspot in the supercool Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Later in the evening you can enjoy romantic Paris lights from Pont des Arts and Pont Neuf.
Of course Paris is super big, so you will not be able to pass all of Paris’s highlights by walking for a day, but this walking tour offers a good selection. Other recommendations for your Paris visit are:
- Doing a walk from charming Le Marais to the Notre-Dame (even after the terrible fire). Make sure to visit the Place des Vosges and the boutique shops.
- Visit the magnificent Fondacion Louis Vuitton, read my blog post about it here.
- Go shopping in Le Bon Marché, another Art-Deco warehouse that likes to switch up its decorations. (hint: they also sell Sezane):