If you’ve been around here (or my Instagram) for a while, you know that I think walking is the best way to soak up any city. In Paris there’s almost always a pretty place to stroll just around the corner, so over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my favorite streets, gardens, and hidden spots to explore on foot in each arrondissement. Today, I’m taking you through the classically Parisian 1st, 2nd, and 8th – the heart of the Right Bank (Rive Droite).
The first arrondissement is home to many of the Parisian sights you see in advertisements, with plenty going on almost any time of day. The Jardin des Tuileries is a perfect place to walk or people watch, and large enough to feel peaceful even on a busy day. Keep an eye out for the quiet corners that are often just off the main path and spend some time relaxing in one of those perfectly green chairs, as the Parisians do.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Louvre is Palais Royale with its quiet garden, photogenic black-and-white striped columns, and chic shops hidden around the perimeter. This spot is an open secret, so it can get pretty crowded with people taking pictures around the columns – but it’s usually empty on weekend mornings.
Nearby, you’ll find Galerie Vivienne. The covered passageways and malls of Paris are a lovely haven from a rainy day, and pretty interesting to explore. If you’d rather stay outdoors, follow the archways along Rue de Rivoli towards Place Vendôme for some of the most elegant architecture (and window shopping) around.
Less crowded than the first, this neighborhood feels more genuine to daily life in central Paris. You almost can’t go wrong in wandering through these streets so long as you steer clear of hectic Les Halles.
Start on Rue du Louvre and make your way towards my favorite spot, Rue Montorgueil. It’s a bustling market street that always makes me feel local, whether I’m popping from shop to shop on errands or walking down the road to Frenchie or Au Rocher de Cancale.
Passage des Panoramas was the first covered passageway in Paris, and is one of the best in the city.
8th Arrondissement: Champs-Elysées
Beginning at the western end of Jardin des Tuileries and sitting just across the river from the Eiffel Tower, the eighth arrondissement often feels like an extension of the picturesque first. Just as busy with foreign travelers, you’ll get to know this area best when you head a bit off the crowded path of the Champs Elysées.
A walk across the ornate bridge Pont Alexandre III is a good idea any time of day – the views are incredible – but I think it’s particularly magical at sunset. A tree-lined promenade called Cours-la-Reine runs along the river here, and is rarely busy. Close by, the designer shopping street Avenue Montaigne has views and architecture that are just as wonderful as its window displays.
At the edge of the eighth you’ll find Parc Monceau. Though it’s dotted with some interesting landmarks from its strange beginning, it’s one of my favorite parks in Paris. There’s a calm, inspiring sort of charm around this place that even Claude Monet couldn’t resist.
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