Paris: Self-guided walking tours offer unique perspective
One of the best ways to experience Paris is by wandering through the streets, especially when you’re accompanied by someone who knows what to look for.
But who wants to pay for a tour guide?
One do-it-yourself option that caught our attention is City Walks: Paris. These detailed “Adventures on Foot” are walking tour itineraries printed on cards, and can help you experience a new side of the city.
The “City Walks” set consists of 50 cards, each detailing a different walk. On one side of the card you’ll find written directions of where to go and what to look for along the way. On the other side is a map of the area with the path marked in red. We found the maps generally helpful, although not all of the streets are labeled.
Some of the itineraries are obvious, like a stroll down the Champs Elysées or a walk through the Tuileries garden. Other walks take you to areas less-traveled by tourists, like Père Lachaise in the 20th Arrondissement or the Parc Montsouris in the 14th. Each walk starts and ends at a Métro stop, so the suggested path is easy to find and you won’t be stranded once it’s over.
A test drive, er, walk
I recently went on a couple of the walks through Montmartre (be warned: lots of hills and stairs). Though I’d wandered the streets of the 18th before, I would not have known to look for many of the sights on the card, or even what I was seeing if I’d found them on my own.
The coolest finds: Paris’s last remaining vineyard on the Rue des Saules (pictured above) and a statue of a man walking through a wall at the Place Marcel Aymé; the statue is inspired by a short story by Aymé.
City Walks sets are available for many cities around the world – other European editions include Rome, London and Amsterdam. You can purchase City Walks: Paris from Chronicle Books for $14.95, and from many American booksellers.
About the author: Liz Webber is a freelance journalist living and working in Paris. She has previously worked for the International Herald Tribune and Budget Travel.