Paris 3-Day Walking Tour: See Paris Like a Local
The view of the Eiffel Tower from the southwest.
If you're a newcomer to Paris and are looking to make the most of your three days in the City of Lights, or if you're a long-time Paris-lover trying to find some secret spots on foot, this itinerary is for you!
Over the course of your three day walking tour itinerary, you'll discover several famous sites and museums, including the home of Monet's water lilies, Napoleon's tomb, the Arc de Triomphe and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. However, you'll also be offered some secret spots from a Paris local, including:
- Great restaurants that are off the beaten track,
- A local Paris food market,
- A hidden church in the north of the city,
- Great (and often inexpensive!) Paris shopping,
- Much more!
Paris is a great city for walking, and this guide is written with helpful maps that allow you to get the most of the city. Of course, there is always the option to take public transportation, something that is clearly marked over the course of the itinerary, but if you're looking to explore Paris on foot and discover some of her secrets on your own, look no further.
This guide includes several 1-3 hour walking tour itineraries, complete with options for shopping and food, of the following areas:
- The Latin Quarter and the banks of the Seine
- the Marais
The goal of this itinerary is to allow you to see Paris like a local -- on foot! We've also included other cultural ideas and ways for you to feel more like a true Parisian, such as:
- participating in the French traditions of apéritif and digestif,
- shopping options that won't leave you broke... or with the same things everyone brings back from Paris,
- restaurants where the menus are in French, the waiters are French, and the other customers are French,
- beautiful residential neighborhoods to wander around,
- tons of local tips to leave you feeling informed along the way!
This itinerary can be used for any three days in Paris, but because of the French tradition of closing shop on Sundays, we've included a special Sunday-friendly third day, to make sure you get the most of every moment in Paris.
Below, you'll find a sample of the 39-page PDF document. The actual document will contain photos and maps.
Notre Dame and Ile de la Cité – 9:30am – 11:30am
Duration: 2 hours
Take a few hours to discover the center of Paris! Ile de la cité – literally, city island – is the historical heart of Paris, and the site of the first settlement on the banks of the Seine by the Gaulish Parisii tribe 3500 years ago. Today, it's home to one of the most famous sites in Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral.
You can access Ile de la cité and Notre Dame via métro line 4, stop Cité. Walk from here to the cathedral.
Duration: 1 ½ hours
Hours: 8:00am – 6:45pm (weekends until 7:15pm)
Address: 6, parvis Notre-Dame
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris -- Our Lady of Paris -- is one of Paris' most visited monuments. Built in 1163, the cathedral is perhaps most famous famous for its medieval Rose Windows as well as its gargoyles, a key element in Victor Hugo's masterpiece, Notre-Dame de Paris, or The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Victor himself was actually quite displeased with the English translation of his title: for him, the main character of his novel was the eponymous cathedral, not Quasimodo.
Religious scholars (or former Catholic school students) will recognize Bible and religious stories inscribed all over the interior and exterior walls of the cathedral. The cathedral is named for Mary; you can see the depiction of the assumption of Mary into Heaven over the entrance on the far left. A statue of Saint Denis, one of the patron saints of Paris, holding his own head sits below; it's the the third statue in from the left. This is Saint Denis' most common depiction, as he was martyred at the top of Montmartre (Mont des Martyrs or Mount of the Martyrs) in the 18th arrondissement by beheading.
Inside, you'll find the famous Rose Windows, as well as the beautiful organs: the choir organ near the altar and the concert organ at the back. A schedule of free concerts is available at the information booth by the entrance for those who would like to hear it played.
Local’s Tip: Be sure to stop in the chapel housing two to-scale replicas of the cathedral, at the eastern end of the cathedral (the furthest end from the entrance and exit doors, behind the altar): one was commissioned by the cathedral, and one was given as a gift by a gastroenterologist who makes to-scale models as a hobby.
Be sure to visit the outside of the cathedral as well: as you exit, turn left and walk through the park that runs along the side and rear of the cathedral. If you look towards the top of the cathedral from behind, you'll see 16 bronze statues surrounding the metal spire. The spire was added in the 19th century by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, charged with renovating the cathedral, which had fallen into disrepair. He also added the statues, which represent the 12 apostles and 4 evangelists.