I have family in Paris and visit the city frequently, on average once every two years. I'm familiar with where many of the sights are and feel comfortable getting around Paris on my own either on foot or by riding the Metro and RER (regional trains). On each visit, I usually set aside time for nothing but wandering and exploring Paris.
Today I'll start from the Eiffel Tower and end at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. I'll take a short ride on the Metro so you can get a feel for Paris subway system. On this walk we'll view the sights and save the sight visits for another time. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.
1. La Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) - On this visit, it was partly sunny and I got a few shots of the Eiffel Tower with blue sky! Below is a photo of the Eiffel Tower from Pont d'Iéna. There is now plexiglass and concrete barriers at the base of the tower for security purposes so visitors must follow the snake-like path to enter the Eiffel Tower. On a previous visit, I climbed up to the first level of the tower and took the elevator to the top level. The view at each level was fantastic.
2. Palais de Chaillot and the fountains - Palais de Chaillot features two curved wings built around a paved courtyard for the 1937 World Expo. It's a museum and entertainment complex. I was happy to see the fountains working as they were not on during my previous visit in summer 2016.
3. Eiffel Tower from Palais de Chaillot - I'm convinced that Palais de Chaillot offers the best view in all of Paris of the Eiffel Tower across the river Seine, plus Parc du Champ de Mars behind it, and all the way to L'Ecole Militaire.
4. L'Arc de Triomphe - From Palais de Chaillot or Place du Trocadéro, we can either walk or hop on the Metro line 6 for three stops and get off at Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station. Follow the sign from the metro station to street level to see L'Arc de Triomphe in the centre of the Etoile (Star) roundabout. This is the world's largest triumphal arch and an internationally recognized symbol of France. The monument was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon and was completed in 1836. On a previous visit to Paris, I climbed 50 meters up, via 284 steps, to reach the viewing platform on top of the arch. From there, you can see the dozen avenues. One of them is the famed Avenue des Champs Elysées.
5. Avenue des Champs Elysées - This avenue is fantastic for people-watching and it's just pure fun to browse the numerous stores, or to take a coffee break at one of the many eateries. Below is a view of the tree-lined avenue looking towards L'Arc de Triomphe. In the evening, it glitters with lights.
6. Obélisque at Place de la Concorde - Continue east along Avenue des Champs Elysées, we'll reach Place de la Concorde. This vast place was constructed between 1757 and 1777 to provide a home for a monument to Louis XV. The rose granite Obélisque de Louxor was a gift offered by Mehemet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, to Charles X in 1829. Dating from the 13th century BC, the obelisk, which depicts the deeds of Ramses II, is effectively Paris' oldest monument.
7. Fountain at Place de la Concorde - Also at the vast Place de la Concorde there are huge and beautifully-designed fountains, like the one below. They're a welcoming sight on hot summer days as there is no shade at Place de la Concorde until we reach the Tuileries garden (Jardin des Tuileries).
8. Jardin des Tuileries - Catherine de Médicis, yearning for the public promenades of her native Italy, had the garden built in 1564. Since 1789, it has been one of Paris' most popular public spaces. Walking along the Tuileries, we see rows of trees, shrubs, flower plants, grassy areas, gravel walkways, occasional benches, and many statues. In the centre of the garden is the fountain where green metal chairs are available for resting or launching small rental toy boats.
9. Place du Carrousel- Walking east from the Tuileries fountain, we'll reach Place du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built between 1806 and 1808. It serves as an entrance of honor at the Tuileries.
10. Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace) - Exiting Place du Carousel, we'll see Palais du Louvre, the largest palace in Europe with Louvre Museum the largest museum in the western hemisphere. Visitors enter the museum via the glass and metal pyramid designed by I.M. Pei, or directly from the metro. On a previous visit, I was able to see some of the masterpieces in Louvre Museum such as Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo.
11. Île de la Cité - Leaving the Louvre Museum, we continue further east along the river Seine and cross Pont Neuf to reach Île de la Cité. The island, right in the heart of Paris, is where we'll find Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-Dame Cathedral.
12. Sainte-Chapelle - Completed in 1248, Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel in the French Gothic style. If you like stained glass art work, this chapel is a must-see. Arranged across 15 windows, each 15 meters high, the stunning stained glass panes depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
13. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris - Begun in 1163 and completed in 1345, the cathedral façade features magnificently carved wooden portals called the Porte du Jugement (Door of Judgment).
14. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris portals - Check out the incredible details from top to bottom of the façade, and the rose window in the centre. The most significant features of the interior are the enormous stained-glass rose windows that dominate the north and south end of the transept.
15. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris spire and buttresses - Walk around the exterior of the cathedral to the park behind it for a good view of the spire and flying buttresses of the apse of Notre-Dame. The park offers a nice spot to rest and admire this remarkable architecture.
16. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris side view - To see Notre-Dame side view in its entirety, cross to the Left Bank of the river Seine. I'll pause here and take you on a separate virtual discovery walk along the Left Bank later.
If the 5 km walk is too challenging, it can be broken down or reduced to a more manageable distance. There are also bus and Metro trains that you can take to get around. I didn't mention any break here although it's easily done at any time to enjoy French café and fresh baked goods while watching the world go by. We can also reverse the walk, to start from Notre-Dame cathedral and end at the Eiffel Tower.
I think one of life's pleasures is to wander in Paris. The city is a photographer's dream and is beautiful no matter where you look. There are numerous neighbourhoods to explore such as Latin Quarter, St-Germain, Marais, Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur, etc. and let's not forget the view from the river Seine so plan a longer stay or come again.
Thank you for joining me today. I'd love to hear your thoughts.