Paris by foot -
a great way to
explore the city
| One of the most memorable pleasures of a visit to Paris is simply setting out on foot to explore the city's diverse neighborhoods, parks and public promenades. Begin by sauntering along the banks of the Seine in the heart of the city, making sure to explore the narrow lanes of the Ile St.-Louis and the Ile de la Cite. Spend some time poking around the Marais, a lively historic preservation district on the Right Bank, with a turn around the picturesque Place des Vosges. Or trek from the striking I.M. Pei-designed pyramid in the Cour Napoleon at the Louvre, through the Jardin des Tuileries and out along the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. Wherever your feet lead you, you're sure to find plenty of small adventures and unexpected pleasures in this vibrant urban environment.
For an unusual excursion above the streets of the 12th arrondissement, head for the Place de la Bastille, pass around the right side of the Opera Bastille toward the Avenue Daumesnil. Behind the opera house, look for stairs leading up to the Promenade Plantee, a decommissioned railway line that has been converted into a scenic greenbelt with paved pathways for pedestrians, cyclists and roller-skaters. The first part of the promenade tops the Viaduc des Arts, a series of archways below the old rail bed that harbor dozens of artisan workshops.
Paris pedestrians are especially fortunate on Sundays and holidays, when the city blocks traffic on various streets and boulevards to make way for walkers, cyclists and skaters. Sunday outings on the riverside expressways are particularly appealing, with Right Bank traffic diverted from the Quai des Tuileries near the Place de la Concorde all the way to the Charles-de-Gaulle Bridge in the 12th arrondissement, while traffic along the Left Bank is diverted from the Quai Branly near the Eiffel Tower over to the Quai Anatole France below the Musee d'Orsay. For details about other Sunday pedestrian zones, some of which are seasonal, see the Cycle Tracks in Paris web site which has information about Paris pedestrian, cyclist, and roller blade traffic.