Walkable Paris

In June, my wife & I will be staying in a hotel a few blocks southwest of the Eiffel Tower. Although we plan to purchase a "carnet" to travel on the Metro/RER, we plan to do a lot of walking. Is it reasonable to walk from the Eiffle Tower to the various areas in the 5th & 6th arrondissements? Thank you.

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

I agree that you are in for a lot of walking no matter what. That being said, the thing to prepare for in terms of walking is the cobble stones! Bring shoes with good support, and more than one pair in case your feet need a break. There was a day in the Latin Quarter that I could barely remain standing due to foot fatigue, and because my extra shoes were sandals, and it was cold and rainy (in July), so I couldn't wear them. Of course, I overdid it in Paris, so many rest stops at cafes are a must to avoid the same fate.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

You're kind of vague about where you want to walk to and where you're starting from. Also about what reasonable is. If you're staying somewhere along the left bank southwest of the tower, and you want to walk as far east as the botanical gardens in the 5th....that's about four miles if you try to straight-line it through some fairly boring areas - - stay closer to the river and it's creeping up on five. You've apparently decided to sleep in the far beyonds for some reason. Most people decide want they want to see and get close, unless there's just a spot that has something special.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5783 posts

How long will you be in Paris? If you will be there for an extended period of time and you want to take long walks to get to areas like the 5th & 6th, go for it. If your time is more limited, forget it. Walking will use up too much of your precious time. You'll have to use the metro, buses, the batobus (boat bus) or take a cab. The distance of the Eiffel Tower to more central Paris is the reason I don't stay there. Actually my first trip I did stay in the 7th, due to how RS hypes up staying in Rue Cler. Lesson learned.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1276 posts

If your hotel isn't too far from the Batobus's Eiffel Tower stop, it's a pleasant way to get to most of the tourist spots. It isn't the fastest, but we enjoyed having a "sit-down" for 10 minutes or so between the stops. The Batobus runs between the ET and the gardens / zoo at the eastern end. For right bank sites, instead of waiting for the return loop, use the closest stop and then cross the Seine.....The neighborhoods just past the ET are pleasant residential areas, but your next trip you would probably find the Latin Quarter near the Seine much more convenient......If Monmarte is also on your list, pop for a cab. It's way off from the other tourist sites and the walk involves some grittier areas (not dangerous, just not very attractive!). It's not our favorite area, with limited time I would skip it. We tried using the bus near St. Chapelle to reach Monmarte and got lost.....The perk for being close to the ET is that you can go every evening to the Champs du Mars, sit on the grass with hundreds of others (including lots of Parisians!), have a picnic, and watch the ET sparkle!

Posted by Nancy
Costa Mesa, CA, USA
160 posts

Hello Mr. Itchy, Even taking the metro/RER you will end up doing a lot of walking, don't worry! On our first family trip to Paris, we stayed a bit farther out from the "main attractions" due to cost considerations and it worked fine. Each day we'd take the metro to our first sightseeing stop and then we "hoofed it" from there to the other things we had planned for the day.
As for whether you can walk from where you are staying to the things you want to see in the 5th and 6th, that's a hard question to answer - it really depends upon your stamina level and your available time.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6425 posts

I haven't been to Paris since 2004, when our daughters were 12 and 16 and we went for spring Break> We stayed in an apartment near Rue Cler and walked all over from there. One day we walked to the Musee d'Orsay, then after lunch yourger daughter and I walked from there across the river and throug the Tuilleries, past the Louvre to Pompidou Center to see the fountain, then past Les halles and across Pont Neuf. We worked our way south and west to Le Bon Marche, which was the goal. (On the way she spotted an "Abercombie" store, with the sign in the same font as the American teen favorite. She got a kick out of that. I wonder if it is still there, now that Abercrombie has opened a store on the Champs Elysee?) Then back along Rue de Babylon, where we found some nice bookshops, past Les Invalides, and home. I don't know how far it was but we both really enjoyed it. Next time we will stay in the Fifth.

Posted by Mr. Itchy
Bend, Oregon, USA
111 posts

Thank you, everyone, for the responses. Yes, I admit that I was a bit vague. But now I have a sense as to the distance between the ET & the 5th & 6th. Walking 4 or 5 miles is not a big deal at all. However, since we will be in Paris for a mere 2 days, we will need to use our time more efficiently. Being a huge fan of using public transportation throughout Europe, we will definitely utilize the Metro/RER/buses & Batobus in Paris. I certainly appreciate everyone's comments about staying in a hotel closer to the main attractions. Makes sense. However, since most main attractions are easily accessible via public transportation throughout Europe, staying in outlying areas is not an issue for us. Also, a critical part of our travel experience is to ferret out those out-of-the-way, off-beat neighborhood places that don't register on the tourist radar. For us, it adds to a more unique cultural experiences.

Posted by Debi
Sherman Oaks, CA, USA
258 posts

No, I would not suggest walking from the 7th to other areas of Paris. I am a walker and would not consider this for several reasons. Time being one and the fact that you will already be walking miles a day exploring Paris. Buy a good pair of walking shoes and break them in before traveling.
Enjoy this beautiful city! Happy Travels!!

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
701 posts

I would look into taking the RER, metro, or bus closer to the action and then walking from there. The RER gets you into the thick of things very fast. We stayed in Rue Cler near the Eiffel Tower, in fact we could see it by looking out our window on our 2010 trip. The RER ride or bus ride to Notre Dame area or the Musee d'Orsay and so on was very little effort or time. That said, it sounds as if you are a little farther out but still maybe near a RER station. The buses you can catch by the Ecole Militaire, on the far end of the park near the Eiffel Tower. There is one that runs from there all the way to the Marais. I would really recommend learning the key bus lines, it's a lot of fun to ride the bus and you don't have to walk a hundred feet underground to catch it. Rick is especially strong on France and Paris in particular, be sure to pick up his Paris book.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3879 posts

I disagree with the above statement "walking past fairly commonplace buildings and non interesting sights is just a waste of your vacation time."
Most of, if not all, the areas of Paris you'll be in, whether you walk or not, will not be commonplace and will be very interesting to see, on every level. I love to walk. And walking and exploring Paris is my absolute favorite thing to do in life (along with spending time in the Luxembourg Gardens). But since you're so short on time, and not staying in the heart of Paris, I agree with others to take the Metro or bus... and walking and exploring once you get to the area you're interested in. My favorite walk is around Ile St. Louis and Ile de la Cite, then along the river to Place de la Concorde, cross the Seine river and walk back to Notre Dame area... then all through the 5th and 6th ending up in the Luxembourg Gardens for a picnic and pastries. Heaven!

Posted by Ga
6 posts

You can walk it...I've done it, but why would you want to ? The Paris Metro (subway) is so frequent, so easy to use, and goes everywhere, that walking past fairly commonplace buildings and non interesting sights is just a waste of your vacation time. One site, www.parisbytrain.com is completely non commercial and will walk you through using both the Paris metro, and the RER, another more expansive train system, that can take you to, for example, Versailles. You can hop on a metro train near the tower, and in 10 minutes or so, be in St. Germaine or Les Maurais, or whereever. I can't recommend this strongly enough.
Have a great trip.

Posted by Rose
922 posts

What's 'commonplace' and uninteresting to one person who has been to a place several times can be beautiful, exotic, and eye-opening to someone who's never been there. I could walk endlessly in Paris - be a true flâneur (flâneuse) as Baudelaire and Edgar Degas were - and never tire of the architecture, the broad perspective of the boulevards or narrow intimacy of tiny back streets, the sounds, smells, etc. "For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world." ~Baudelaire

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
3879 posts

And... "can be beautiful, exotic, and eye-opening to someone who's" spent a lot of time there :)

Posted by Fred
Bothell, WA
7 posts

The 7th doesn't have many metro stops so you'll likely do a fair amount of walking just to get to a metro stop. Rather than take a long walk to explore Paris, take several short ones. One thing I frequently do is get off the metro one or two stops early. Then its a short, exploratory walk to your destination. I'd suggest buying a carte Moblis (day pass) It's 6.60 Euro (equal to 1/2 a carnet)and worth the convenience of only having one ticket per day to keep track of.

Posted by Greg
4 posts

My wife and I just returned from 5 days in Paris. We had one of those little pedometers (fit-bit), and we walked 45 miles. It's the most walkable city I've been in and we took some long strolls. The great thing about it is if you find it is taking you too long or you are just tired, a metro stop is not far off. We had a carnet as well and it was very easy to figure out the Metro on the spot. Enjoy !!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6425 posts

Greg---did you walk on that elevated promenade (I forget what it is called)?