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5 Free Paris Walking Tours You Won’t Want to Miss

Last Updated on 1st March 2023 by Sophie Nadeau

Here’s your guide to the best of free Paris walking tours you won’t want to miss! Each focuses on a different arrondissement, aspect of the city, and all are worth taking in order to get to know the city on a more local level!

Do you want to truly get to know Paris? Discover the city’s secret spots, where to find the trendiest museums, and where to go to hang out in all the coolest cafés? Well, these free and self-guided walks are the perfect place to start.

5 Free Paris Walking Tours You Won't Want to Miss. Here's your guide to the best walking tours of Paris (Ile de la Cite, Montmartre, Latin Quarter)
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Is Paris a good walking city?

First things first: is it easy to walk around Paris? I would personally say that Paris is fairly easily to navigate on foot thanks to the fact that most of the historic districts (or arrondissements as they’re so-called in French) are centred within the Paris Peripherique.

With this being said, some areas of the city are much more walkable than others! For example, while the Latin Quarter has some of the widest boulevards in Paris, Le Marais is home to much tinier alleyways and plenty of little cobblestone lanes.

Furthermore, Montmartre is pretty hilly, and some streets are steep in places, not to mention that there are a number of roads scattered across the city which remain cobbled, so leave the high heels at home!

Wherever you choose to walk, I recommend wearing comfy walking shoes! I personally love my keds like these ones as they go well with dresses and skirts and can easily pack into the smallest of suitcases. If you’re looking for something even comfier, I love the shoes from this company.

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Best Paris walking tours

#1 Montmartre Walking Tour

If you make it your mission to enjoy just one Parisian arrondissement on a local level, make it Montmartre. After all, head to the 18th arrondissement of Paris and you won’t find the 19th-century Haussmannian architecture that is so synonymous with the city.

Instead, you’ll find a village vibe complete with several wooden windmills, and even a secret vineyard! Highlights of the Montmartre walking tour of Paris include several historical spots, as well as must-see photography sites (think Instagrammable streets and postcard perfect walkways).

Read the full Montmartre walking tour guide details here.

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#2 Le Marais Walking Tour

Once a marshy swampland on the fringes of the city, today Le Marais is one of the chicest districts Paris has to offer. Home to designer stores, boutique hotels, and plenty of incredible eateries, head to this area of the city if you want to discover Paris’ Medieval past.

While in Le Marais, be sure not to miss out on a visit to Place des Vosges (the first public square in the city), as well as the chance to dip into Paris’ ever-so-new vegan scene.

Other highlights of this walking tour include a visit to the oldest house in Paris and a visit to some of the coolest museums the French capital has to offer.

Read the full Le Marais walking tour guide details here.

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#3 Ile de la Cité Walking Tour

If you’re headed to Paris for the first or thousandth time, then no doubt you’ll find yourself on Ile de la Cite at one point or another. One of two natural islands in the centre of the River Seine, it’s in this district where you’ll find Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, and plenty of history from the Middle Ages.

Allegedly, it’s also on Ile de la Cité where the fated lovers, Heloise and Abelard met. Similarly, it’s there where the love story of the doves took place during the 13th-century.

Other highlights of this area of Paris include one of the cutest coffee shops in the city, as well as one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in the late spring.

Read the full Ile de la Cite walking tour guide details here.

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#4 Latin Quarter Walking Tour

So-called because during the Middle Ages students from the nearby Sorbonne university would converse with one another solely in Latin, today the Latin Quarter is still filled with students, happy-hour bars, and eateries. Centrally located and full of museums, this walking tour is predominantly about books, coffee, and cake!

Other highlights of the Latin Quarter include plenty of Roman ruins (the baths are a sight to behold in of themselves), the Paris Pantheon (the dome offers one of the best panoramic views of the city), and the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, the final resting place of the patron saint of Paris, Saint Genevieve.

Read the full Latin Quarter walking tour guide details here.

paris pantheon view

#5 Highlights of Paris of the Past Walking Tour

If you’re looking for a meander of the historical highlights that have shaped Paris over the ages, then my vintage Paris tour is free to undertake and will guide you from the Latin Quarter, through Ile de la Cite, and all the way to the other side of the Seine, and into Le Marais.

For those who are unable to embark on the other free Paris walking tours due to time constraints, this is the perfect self-guided walking tour for you.

Other attractions you may well want to stop off at en-route include admiring the ever-so-stunning stained glass windows of Sainte Chapelle and seeing the very spot from which all points in Paris are measured.

Read the full Paris highlights walking tour guide details here.

oldest clock in paris

If you prefer to go on a Parisian walking tour together with a local and experienced guide, then you can find lots of walking tours for a fairly reasonable free on almost any topic of your choosing. Here are some of our top picks for the best of Paris walking tours with a guide:

Paris: French Fashion History Walking Tour

If you’re looking to discover that the best of fashion history, then you might consider a three-hour guided visit around the luxury area of rue Saint-Honoré. On the visit, you’ll soon discover about the history of French fashion houses and their influence on the world of fashion today.

Discover more tour details here

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Practical advice, tricks, and tips for going on free walking tours of Paris

Read some books about Paris

Before you visit the City of Light, then you may well want to read some fiction and historical works and memoirs about the city. Here are my very top creme de la creme picks for the best books about Paris!

Set aside enough time

One of the top tips I could give you before embarking on a self-guided Paris walking tour would be to ensure that you give yourself enough time to truly enjoy the walk. As well as strolling around the city, you’ll want to set aside time to enjoy all of the attractions listed within each guide and snap photos en route.

Paris Museum Pass

If you want to see a number of museums and cultural sites while in the City of Light, you may well want to consider purchasing an all-in-one pass.

This 2,4, or 6-day pass gives you access to over 60 museums, and in many cases, offers skip-the-line options at many of these institutions. Check prices and more information here.

Wear comfortable shoes

When visiting any European capital city, comfortable shoes are a must. And Le Marais arrondissement of Paris is no exception. Be sure to leave your high heels at home as there are plenty of cobbled streets, especially on these free walking tours of Paris.

I personally love these shoes as they go well with both jeans and dresses. I would also add that any kind of tennis shoes, i.e. ones like these, are really practical for wandering around the city.

Book your Paris accommodation well in advance

If you’re planning a trip to Paris, then you should bear in mind that it’s an extremely popular destination all year round. This means that you should probably book your hotel/ hostel/ guest house well in advance. You can find the best deals for Paris accommodation here.

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5 Free Paris Walking Tours You Won't Want to Miss
5 Free Paris Walking Tours You Won't Want to Miss. Here's your guide to the best walking tours of Paris (Ile de la Cite, Montmartre, Latin Quarter)

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She lives in London but travels as much as she can. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

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Sunday 16th of April 2023

i would like to read the texts in French….

Gideon Yuval

Wednesday 9th of October 2019

Thanks very much Sophie for this valuable information - written and presented in a very attractive and entertaining way :-). May I suggest you build a Google map with it and share? I built maps based on what you wrote here, but it would save others time if it was public


Monday 4th of February 2019

The latin quater is called tgat because this is tge area the romans set up camp , not because students spoke in latin

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