Walking the Left Bank of Paris
Notre Dame Links
- Notre-Dame de Paris
The official Notre Dame site filled with everything you ever wanted to know from history to to tours and service schedules in either French or English.
- Notre Dame Cathedral facts
Notre Dame Cathedral at a glance-- facts, history, visiting hours, mass schedule,and more.
- Notre Dame Cathedral - Paris, France
Notre Dame Cathedral: History, description, photos and visitor information for Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Ile-de-France, France.
- Welcome to Notre-Dame de Paris
Explore the people and history of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame via Columbia University's innovative site
Wonderful, Walkable Paris
Wherever you go in the City of Light, go on foot if you can. Paris is one of the worlds most walkable cities. One comes upon delightful architectural and cultural surprises at every turn. And then there are wonderful, uniquely Parisian sights and smells to be savored like a fine wine as you move through the city on foot.
Just walking around town, is one of the greatest joys of visiting this most elegant and beautiful of European capitals. There are uniquely Parisian pleasures to be found around every corner that will bring you closer to the city’s essence than anything else. Whether strolling the wide Boulevards laid out by Baron Haussmann in the 19th century or exploring the medieval nooks and crannies of the left bank,you will come away with a new appreciation for the soul of this magnificent world capital. Here is one of my favorite Paris walks. Start at the Île de La Cité then cross over to the left bank and just wander. You won’t regret it.
Île de La Cité
This is the heart of Paris,the original Roman city, founded in 52 B.C.,where it all began. This is where the rest of Paris spread out from, and where all paths(and several bridges over the Seine) lead back to. It is dominated by the magnificent 12th century gothic cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, which is definitely worth walking around both inside and out.
The various side chapels, the stained glass windows(including the famous grande rosace), the carvings and comings and goings of tourists and worshipers alike offer a feast for all the senses. The warren of tiny streets adjacent to the cathedral and the large square in front of the church are a people watcher’s paradise. There are shops and restaurants worth exploring all around.
There are guided tours of Notre Dame, which you can sign up for on the spot and which, if you have the time, are well worth taking. Under supervision you can go up to the roof where you get fabulous views and a look at the gargoyles up close and personal, not to mention a history lesson on the MIddle Ages that brings new meaning to the words show and tell.
Plan to spend plenty of time here just to soak up the vibes and don't forget your camera. When you have had enough, cross the bridge to the left bank and enjoy a wonderful walk through the ancient streets. You can follow the route I suggest, or make your own. You really can't get lost and there are serendipitous treasures all around you..... many complete with historical markers in a variety of languages.
A Video Tour of Notre Dame in English
Walking the Latin Quarter
On the Left Bankof the Seine, not far from the Île de La Cité is the Latin Quarter, home from medieval times to the University of Paris and, by extension, to students, intellectuals, artists and radicals of all stripes. It also contains a treasure trove of Roman ruins, medieval structures, museums, churches and offbeat shops and restaurants. Walk up the Boulevard St. Michel and you will encounter a cross section of the world. As you pass the rue Soufflot,go have a look at the Pantheon. It is an amazing building Many famous people are buried there including Rousseau, Voltaire and Madame Curie—a fitting resting place for the intellectual giants of France. If you keep going up the “ Boul Mich” you will eventually come to the Jardin du Luxembourg, a huge park that includes beautiful gardens, a puppet theater, carosel, outdoor cafe, sculpture, and a number of walking paths and seating areas. It's a great place to stop, rest, and smell the flowers.You can vary this Left Bank walk depending on time and mood. Instead of going all the way up the Boulevard St Michel, you can explore the winding streets behind the Pantheon or stroll down the Boulevard St Germain, walking in the footsteps of Jean-Paul Sartre.
Tips for Paris Walking
There are wonderful hidden squares and pocket parks as well as broad esplanades all over Paris where pedestrians are welcome. At every season of the year, except high summer, it is wise to take an umbrella with you as showers spring up out of nowhere. Take a map or guide book with you as well and don't forget your camera. You are bound to find interesting side alleys or parks and squares. Paris is full of them. Forget walking briskly, Paris is for strolling. You might even want to stop and sit down on a park bench or savor a snack at a sidewalk cafe before going on. Don't be too destination directed. Let Paris lead you. Don't try to lead it. Wherever you walk you will find surprising and wonderful sights, smells and tastes and you will perhaps, begin to understand why so many people, all over the world, claim Paris as the capital of their hearts.
More Paris Info
- A stylish guide to Paris' Rive Gauche (Left Bank)
Where to go to enjoy the rich artistic and intellectual history of Paris' charming Rive Gauche (Left Bank).
- What's New in Paris for Travellers? - Lonely Planet
The latest tips from Lonely Planet.... always a trustworthy travel guide
- History Walks Paris
Six great self-guided historical Paris walks you can do at your own pace. It's all free and the website is great. Check it out.
- Paris Panorama
Wonderful 360 panorama of Paris at night.Makes you feel like you are there. Click on the link, you'll see:-)
- Panthon (Paris) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikipedia entry for the Pantheon includes a list of all the people interred there