Paris, as they say, is always a good idea. Home to some of the most recognizable landmarks in the world – the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre – the city packs a powerful punch, no matter how many times you visit. You could hop on a sightseeing bus or make the most of its highly efficient metro network, but we think that the best way to get to know the French capital is by hitting the pavement. En-route to Paris? Why not do as the French do and go for a flâner (a stroll) – and choose one of the best walks in Paris while you’re at it.
The most scenic walks in Paris
1. Lamarck-Caulaincourt to Abbesses
Yes, you could hop on the metro and travel between the two places in less than three minutes, but that spoils the fun. Start at Lamarck-Caulaincourt, take the stairs and then cross the street to Square Joel Le Tac. From here it’s a short stroll to La Maison Rose, one of Monmartre’s most Instagrammed spots and a downhill amble to the Clos Montmartre, the capital city’s only vineyard. From here you can walk to Sacré-Cœur.
Sitting between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, the Jardin des Tuileries is one of Paris’ most popular public parks. The gardens take their name from the Queen Catherine de Medici’s Palais des Tuileries, named after the old tile factories. Pick one of the park’s many winding paths for an afternoon stroll and you’ll spot statues by Maillol, Rodin and Giacometti, two sprawling ponds and the Musée de l’Orangerie. If you’re visiting in the summer, you can enjoy the fairground rides too.
3. Canal St. Martin
The Seine isn’t Paris’ only watery attraction. Canal St. Martin, a scenic network of waterways, was constructed in the early 19th century to ease barge traffic along the Seine. Start the walk in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont for a short stroll alongside grottos, temples and winding paths on the lake circuit. From here, it’s a scenic walk to the canal via a long stretch of pedestrianised road lined with chestnut trees.
4. Promenade Plantée
This scenic stroll sits 10 metres above street level and winds along a former railway. The route begins behind Bastille Opera House and trails above avenue Daumesnil. From here, it’s a short walk to Jardin de Reuilly, as well as the viaduct. Take Allée Vivaldi past the shops and onwards through the tunnels to Porte Dorée and the Bois de Vincennes. The route is around 3 miles (4.5 km) long and offers some of the best views in the city.
5. Port de Plaisance de Paris-Arsenal
Located in the 12th arrondissement, this Port de Plaisance de Paris-Arsenal walk is the perfect place for a Sunday stroll. It starts in what was once an old navy harbour and is now a mooring for small yachts and trendy houseboats. It’s where Canal Sain-Martin and the Seine meet but, miraculously, it feels more like a seaside harbour than a capital city. There’s a lovely and very lively garden that runs alongside the harbour too.
Paris is famous for its art, but if you think it’s all locked away in galleries you’re missing a trick. This stroll in the 13th arrondissement takes in some of the best street art in the city. The trend for painting murals began in the 1960s, started by artists looking to cheer up the industrial district. The town hall and several art galleries have since gotten involved, and now the district features a range of wall-sized paintings, with 26 huge works along the Boulevard Vincent Auriol alone. You can take an official tour, or try this self-guided tour yourself.
It’s still technically in the beating heart of Paris, but you’ll feel more like you’re in a provincial French town on this walk. The walk takes you through Ménilmontant, a village on the outskirts of Paris that only became part of the city in 1860. There’s no set route, but a stroll around the cobbled streets, cafe-lined pavements and elegant squares will take a couple of hours.