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The Ultimate Paris Center Walking Tour

See the highlights of central Paris in one glorious afternoon on a self-guided walk along the Seine.

a solo traveler in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Bonjour a Paris! On my first day in any new city I like to take a long walk and explore the highlights and all the areas around them. This lets me visit the tourist-y sites and cover the largest amount of ground on my first day, while my adrenaline and stamina are at their highest! Sound like a good plan? If yes, use this guide to retrace my steps along the Seine and see a whole plethora of famous and beautiful sights!

This itinerary is best started in the mid-to-late morning, so take your time getting ready in the morning, have yourself a luxurious petit dejeuner, and then hop on the train or into your taxi and roll into the gorgeous area around Rue Cler around 11 am. Let the explorations begin!

Rue Cler

the Eiffel Tower viewed between the buildings of a Parisian street

Rue Cler is a gorgeous market street lined with every conceivable kind of specialty food shop you can imagine. On pleasant days, these shops spill over into the streets with cases of delicacies sheltered under colorful awnings. You won’t be able to resist the tempting sights and smells, so don’t try! I recommend picking up a little bit of anything that looks good. A warm souffle here, a colorful piece of fruit there, some decadent macrons elsewhere… Bring a small tote bag to carry all your purchases to our next stop!

Pro tip: Keep your eyes pointed to the west as you walk through this area. Lots of these charming narrow streets give you amazing views of the Eiffel Tower!

Champ de Mars and The Eiffel Tower

Now take all that awesome food you just collected and wander a few blocks west to the Champ de Mars. This is the park area surrounding the Eiffel Tower, and there is no better place in Paris for a picnic. Especially if that picnic consists of freshly acquired Rue Cler treats! Savor your picnic lunch and admire the views.

Take an embarrassing amount of photos of the Eiffel Tower. It’s the Eiffel Tower! Make friends with other visitors and take photos of each other.

If you plan to climb the Eiffel Tower, this is the time to do it. Personally, I didn’t make the climb. I found better Paris vistas from other vantage points. And quite frankly, my experience of the Eiffel Tower is that it gets prettier the farther away from it you are! But if climbing the Eiffel Tower is a must-do for you, knock yourself out! You do you babe!

Pont Alexandre Bridge

From the Tower, turn your steps northward until you hit the south bank of the Seine. This is the longest stretch of walking on this route, but it’s a stunning walk. Follow the south bank of the river eastward until you reach the Pont Alexandre. Your walk along the bank will be packed with locals and tourists alike, so take your time and enjoy your wander along the water in one of the most beautiful cities there is.

When you reach Pont Alexandre, prepare to be amazed. The Pont Alexandre is often hailed as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. And between the statues, the carvings, and the lanterns, I have to agree. As you cross, be sure to look back over your shoulder at the Eiffel Tower. See, it does become even more beautiful as it drifts into the distance.

the Pont Alexandre bridge in Paris

a solo traveler in front of the fountain in the Place de Concorde in Paris

Place de Concorde

Once you cross Pont Alexandre, turn east along the river again and you’ll quickly find yourself at Place de Concorde. This historical city square is synonymous with the French Revolution. It’s where all the guillotines were set up.

Today, you can admire the gorgeous monuments: an Egyptian-style obelisk and a truly stunning fountain.

Jardin des Tuileries

Right across the street from the Place de Concorde is the edge of the Jardin des Tuileries. This garden is a stunningly landscaped natural space, perfect for a leisurely stroll. The highlight for me was the fountained pools surrounded by lounge-worthy chairs, perfect for taking the weight off my tired feet for a while and people watching.

the Christmas market in Jardin des Tuileries in Paris

I visited Paris at the tail end of November, so I was blessed by the annual Christmas Market that makes camp in the Jardin des Tuileries! If you’re visiting around the holidays, I highly recommend visiting the market and perusing all the beautiful treasures on offer with a cup of vin chaud (hot spiced wine) in hand.

Pro tip: the public bathrooms in Jardin des Tuileries are your standard issue, slightly dirty park bathrooms, but they were one of the few public restrooms I encountered where I didn’t have to pay a few euros to stop in! Pee for free in Jardin des Tuileries!

The Final Stop on your Paris Walking Tour: The Louvre

Once you’ve made it to the east end of the Jardin des Tuileries, you’ll find yourself at the gates of the Louvre! Regardless of whether you’re planning to visit the Louvre, or whether you have the stamina for it after your amazing crosstown walk, the building itself is something to be admired. Take in the gorgeous architecture and the lovely glass pyramid before heading back to your hotel to freshen up before a well-earned hearty French dinner.

exterior view of the Louvre in Paris

You did it! You completed your entire walking tour! You saw all the main sights in central Paris in one glorious afternoon! Order extra cream on your dessert tonight. You earned it!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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