A Walking Tour of Paris
When it’s a beautiful day in Paris, it’s nothing less than an obligation to see the city on foot. Even in January! Most of the main “attractions” are within easy walking distance from one another if you have a comfortable pair of shoes and plenty of eNZees Foot Soother to prevent blisters on the go. I recently embarked on a whirlwind, 2-day tour of the city, fitting in all the highlights: the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysses, Arc de Triomphe, Musee D’Orsay, and the Louvre (well, the exterior at least – more on that later!), and plenty of baguettes and wine!
The Charles De Gaulle Etoile Metro stop deposits sightseers almost directly underneath the Arc de Triomphe. And, yes, it’s as big as it looks in the pictures! Inaugurated in 1836, the Arc de Triomphe commemorates the fallen soldiers in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. You can stroll directly underneath it to view the inscriptions of victories and generals as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Just as impressive is a walk around the Place Charles De Gaulle, a chaotic roundabout with twelve separate avenues shooting countless cars, trucks, motorcycles, and cyclists (yikes!) into a traffic frenzy.
From there, it’s a pleasant walk down the famous Champs-Élysées, a long straight boulevard with sidewalks the width of an entire roadway on either side. This major shopping district has everything (and more) that you could ever want. If you get a little carried away and end up with too many shopping bags, you can always buy a new car from one of the five dealerships on the Champs-Élysées to help you carry them home!
We followed the Champs-Élysées down to the Place de la Concorde, where Marie-Antoinette was famously beheaded in 1793. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the obelisk that towers above the Place is actually 3,300 years old and once stood outside the Luxor Temple in honor of Ramsses II! It was gifted to the France by the Egyptian government in 1800s. Suppose I’ll have to go back to further appreciate its history!
It was a cold day, but the sun warmed us as we ambled down the Left Bank of the Seine on our way to the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been to Paris several times before, but I’m always struck by the beautiful of the Eiffel Tower. You really know you’re in Paris once you’ve walked around it.
By now, we’d walked a little over three miles and were well ready for a little French cuisine. We ducked into a small cafe and indulged in a chocolate crepe and two glasses of wine. There really is no shortage of wonderful food in Paris! It’s hard to go wrong. From the Eiffel Tower, we walked past Les Invalides toward the Louvre where a line of tourists stretched around the pyramid and across the courtyard. It’s not hard to believe this is the most popular museum in the world! I took a snapshot of the pyramid before deciding to visit the Musée d’Orsay a short walk away.
Though not as extensive as the Louvre, the Orsay houses many of the greats – Picasso, Van Gogh, Delacroix, Monet, Manet, Degas, you name it! Although plan adding a few more miles and laps up the stairs, if you go. Every baguette, croissant, and chocolate eclair is well deserved on a walking tour of Paris!