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PARIS

The ten Paris streets you just have to walk down

Paris is best explored on foot - so we asked the experts at Localers walking tours to come up with a list of the most unmissable streets in the French capital. See how many you have walked along. (No, the Champs Elysées is not one of them).

The ten Paris streets you just have to walk down
People walk on rue Montorgueil in August 2014 in Paris. (Photo by FRED DUFOUR / AFP)

Yes, Paris is an amazing city for a stroll, but some streets simply stand out more than the others. From charming walkways to extravagant roads – here are ten that you should really prioritize.

And be prepared for a few you might not have heard of before.

1. Rue des Barres

This picturesque path slopes up toward a half-timbered home from the 15th century as the gargoyles of Église Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais survey the scene. Warm afternoons bring clued-in locals to the terrace seating of tearoom L’Ebouillante for fresh salads, while at the base of the street sit the popular Chez Julien restaurant and Café Louis Philippe, where Johnny Depp once filmed a scene for The Ninth Gate.

READ MORE: Tell us: What are your top tips for visitors to Paris?

Google Maps image showing Rue des Barres

2. Rue de l’Abreuvoir

How do you leave Paris without leaving Paris? Answer: Montmartre. Covered with wisteria in the spring and toboggans when it snows, this lazily winding street encapsulates the rustic throwback charm Montmartre is known for…without all of the tourists Montmartre is known for. Pop into miniscule La Maison Rose for a drink to toast the famous footsteps you’ve just traced – notably those of Picasso, Renoir, and Degas.

Google maps image of Rue de l’Abreuvoir

3. Cour du Commerce-Saint-André

In this 18th century alley you’ll find the city’s first coffee house, Le Procope, next to the subsequent birthplace of the guillotine at #9—proving that caffeine is a hell of a drug. Another pair of addresses vie for the area’s best hot chocolate title: La Jacobine and Un Dimanche à Paris. A local’s tip: if the gate across from Le Procope is open, slip in discreetly for a hidden series of cozy courtyards.

Google maps image of Cr du Commerce Saint-André

4. Rue Montorgueil

Sure you can’t quite pronounce its name correctly, but don’t miss this street’s exciting slice of local life and outdoor market ambience. Start at the southern end with an empty stomach and nibble your way through high-end purveyors of all things French and tasty. Old-school butchers next to fishmongers and fromageries provide a snapshot of the pre-supermarket glory days. Don’t pass up Stohrer, Paris’ first boulangerie from 1730, and endless people-watching opportunities in the street’s bistros and bars.

Google maps image of Rue Montorgueil

5. Rue Crémieux

Travelling to or from Gare de Lyon? Tug your luggage a few extra steps to Rue Crémieux for a colorful oasis of charm. Affectionately nicknamed the “Notting Hill of Paris”, brightly-hued facades complete with picture-perfect bicycles, potted plants, and scaling ivy offer a quaint respite from the nearby clamor of train-goers. Book a room at Hotel Corail and make this wistful walkway part of your daily Paris routine.

Google maps image of Rue Crémieux

6. Rue des Rosiers

Following the curve of an 800 year-old medieval rampart, this cobblestone lane of the Jewish Quarter is a postcard straight out of the Middle Ages. Kosher bakeries and synagogues sit side by side with trendy boutiques and life-changing falafels. Speaking of which: if the employee outside L’As du Falafel tries to drag you into the queue for a sandwich, let him. Add a sweet finish with handmade macarons from Damyel.

Google maps image of Rue des Rosiers

7. Rue Lepic

Start with the titillating teases of the Moulin Rouge before hiking up to Café des Deux Moulins, movieland workplace of the quirky character Amélie. Le French Burger across the street proves that Parisians have finally cracked the code to a decent hamburger, sourcing 100 percent of their ingredients from the merchants of Rue Lepic. Further up the hill is historic bistro La Pomponette and Vincent Van Gogh’s old pad at #54.

Google maps image of Rue Lepic

8. Rue Saint-Antoine

1789 saw this street packed with a bloodthirsty mob on its way to La Bastille. Things have chilled out since then; it’s now a popular foodie strip. Start at the Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis church, grab some sheep’s milk cheese at Laurant Dubois, a bottle of red next door at Caves Saint-Antoine, and baguettes at Miss Manon for a memorable Paris picnic. A place to sit, you say? The classy grass of Place des Vosges is just a stone’s throw away.

Google maps image of Rue Saint-Antoine

9. Avenue Winston Churchill

Paris always shines brightest when it knows someone’s watching, which was the case when the Grand Palais and Petit Palais were built for the 1900 World’s Fair. Their unapologetic opulence reflects the champagne-soaked Belle Epoque from which they sprung. This avenue culminates in the elegant Pont Alexandre III for prime views of the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides. A local’s secret: dash into the garden of the Petit Palais (entry is free) for a café break with a killer view.

Google maps image of Avenue Winston Churchill

10. Quai de Jemmapes

Plug into the buzz of the hippest hood this side of Brooklyn by following this street northward along the Canal Saint-Martin. Bask in the area’s untouched local vibe today before the guide books discover it tomorrow and tip off the rest of the planet. Grab a wine & cheese pairing at La Vache dans la Vigne or a cocktail at the Congo-inspired cabinet of curiosities Le Comptoir Général. French cinema fans should continue up the canal to the iconic Hôtel du Nord.

Google maps image of Quai de Jemmapes

These tips were provided by the folks at Localers, the friendliest walking tour guides in Paris, who offer small group and private tours of the French capital. Browse their selection of over 30 excursions and experiences by visiting them HERE.

Member comments

  1. Avenue Winston Churchill not that special. And I have no idea what the picture is.

    What’s special on that street, of course, are the palais, esp. le petit with its free art museum

  2. The fabulous early 20th century architecture of the Avenue Junot, also on Montmartre but far from the tourist crowds, is totally worth a special visit. And a side visit to the lovely little impasse rue Simon Derure with its charming houses. Junot, on the downhill side, culminates at the rue Damremont, with very nice food shops and restaurants, and the Place Claude Nougaro and the park at Square Joel le Tac with its fountain commemorating Steinlen.

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TRAVEL NEWS

13 of France’s best hiking and cycling routes

There’s no better way to explore the great French countryside than on foot or on two wheels. Fortunately, walkers and cyclists are well-catered for - here are our recommendations for the best routes (one for each region).

13 of France’s best hiking and cycling routes

Grand Randonees, local walks and vélo routes – France is full of them. In fact, it is estimated that there are 100,000 kilometres of walking trails in France, crossing the country in all directions offering spectacular views, lungfuls of fresh air and a beauty-filled and accessible way to keep fit and healthy.

We’ve selected 13 walks and cycle routes, one from each region, ranging from the gentle and easy to the incredibly difficult. There’s even a donkey in one of them;

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Chemin de Stevenson hiking trailThe GR70 is the unprepossessing official name of an epic route also known as The Stevenson Path, named in honour of the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, who travelled along it in 1878 and wrote about it in his book Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes (the donkey was called Modestine, by the way). 

It runs roughly north-south for 272 km from Puy-en-Velay to Alès, crossing through the Haute-Loire, Ardèche, Lozère, and Gard departments, although obviously you don’t have to do the whole 272km in one go.

The Association Sur Le Chemin de Robert Louis Stevenson promotes the trail and maintains an accommodation list.

Brittany

Sentier des douaniers hiking trail  – A well-known route steeped in history, salt and sea spray. GR34 – to give it its official route name – starts from Mont-Saint-Michel and ends in Saint-Nazaire, following the stunning Brittany coastline out to Brest at the western tip and then back east.

It (mostly) follows old customs paths (hence the name which means customs officers’ path), in use up to the early 20th century, that allowed officers to patrol the coast from their guardhouses, which were at key observation points on the Brittany coast

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Voie des Vignes cycle pathFrom Beaune to Santenay to Nolay, the 22km Voie des Vignes (Way of the Vines) meanders its gentle way along vineyard paths, crossing the Unesco World Heritage-listed Climats of Burgundy.

Ideal for a family day out in the fresh air, or as a way of working up an appetite for some of Burgundy’s most famous produce.

Centre-Val de Loire

La Vallée du Loir cycle path – This 330 km cycle path (the V47) starts at the source of the river between Beauce and Perche and ends of the banks of Loire at Angers.

If you still have some energy left, however, you can keep going because at this point it joins up with the older La Loire à Velo cycle path.

Corsica

The GR20 hiking trailNot for the faint-hearted, this one. The GR20 – so hard it doesn’t even get a friendly name – is recognised as one of France and Europe’s most difficult hiking challenges, running 180km from Calenzana in the North to Conca in the South.

The full route takes about 16 days to walk, and features steep climbs and descents in the north and tricky exposed ridges further south. You do get to enjoy the gorgeous and dramatic landscape of Corsica while you do it, however.

Grand-Est

La Meuse à vélo cycle path – The Meuse Cycle Route – EuroVelo 19 – follows one of the most important rivers in Europe and welcomes cyclists of all levels. 

It runs from the plateau of Langres via Hoek van Holland to Rotterdam, offering ever-changing scenery, with charming towns and villages on both banks of the river. In total the path is 1,050km long and takes in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Hauts-de-France

Sentier du Littoral hiking trailIt’s officially known as the GR120, and its more prosaic name is no more inspired – Sentier du Littoral translates as Coastal Path – but this trail, which stretches along the Côte d’Opale, from the Belgian border to Berck-sur-Mer offers breathtaking views of the Baie de Somme.

Ile-de-France

La Seine à Vélo cycle pathThe 260km cycle route, connecting the capital to Le Havre in Normandy, takes in Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, the Museum of Impressionism, and Château de Malmaison, the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Josephine.

Normandy

The Pays Tour de la Suisse Normande hiking trailFrance celebrates its village préféré, its celebrity préféré, it’s book préféré – and it’s hiking route préféré.

In 2023, this route, which runs through Calvados and Orne was voted France’s favourite hiking trail, beating the GR120 (you may remember that as the Hauts-de-France walk listed here) and the GR71C Tour de Larzac.

You’ll need to be reasonably fit to do some of the hillier sections, but the views – particularly Rochers de la Houle, the Pain de Sucre, the Roches d’Oêtre – are worth the effort.

Nouvelle Aquitaine

Le Canal de Garonne à vélo cycle pathAt 193km long, the Canal de Garonne à vélo – which runs from Bordeaux to Toulouse along the banks of the river after which it is named – is the longest greenway (voie verte) in France, and part of the Canal des 2 Mers route which connects the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Occitanie

Passa Païs cycle path  – The Passa Païs is an 80km greenway that crosses through the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Languedoc, along the route of a former railway line, while enjoying a rich mosaic of landscapes.

Pays de la Loire

Île d’Yeu cycle path and hiking trail – Just off the Vendée coast, you’ll find the tiny Île d’Yeu. You’ll need to take a ferry to get there, but – once there – you’ll find it is perfect for cycling or walking pretty much all year round. 

You can bike to the beach, to the market in Port-Joinville or Saint-Sauveur. Or visit the Grand Phare or the Old Castle, enjoy a break at the small Port de la Meule, and admire the sunset at Pointe du But. Your choice.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Via Venaissia cycle route and hiking pathAn easy one to finish with. The short, family friendly Via Venaissia route follows, in part, the old railway line that linked Orange to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which was last in use in 1938.

The 14-kilometre greenway reserved for cyclists and walkers takes in the exceptional views of Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail massif.

And a bonus one  . . .

The famous Camino de Santiago ends in Santiago de Compostela in Spain, but one of the routes (Le Puy Camino) begins in France’s Auvergne area and meanders through the south west of the country before crossing the border into Spain.

You don’t have to go all the way to Spain, of course, there are lots of lovely sections in France, all well marked with the route’s logo of a shell. Some people just treat it as a hike, while others do it as a religious pilgrimage sometimes accompanied by a donkey, which explains why you’ll sometimes see a donkey tied up outside a supermarket, post office or tabac in south west France.

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