Woman making a heart shape with her arms in front of Montmartre's Wall of Love
Stuart Bak

Best Walking Tours in Paris - Guided and Historical

Walking tours are a great way to get under the skin of a city and Paris, with its broad romantic boulevards, cute cobbled lanes and magnificent monuments galore, is no exception. Indeed, the City of Light is one of the world’s finest for exploring on foot, with guided tours providing the key to unlocking hidden gems and untold tales that the published guides often overlook. Read on to discover some of the best walking tours in Paris, from the quirky to the historical and downright spooky, taking in key districts like the Marais and Latin Quarter as well as iconic attractions including Père Lachaise Cemetery and the city’s 19th-century covered shopping arcades.

Planning to tick off a few walking tours and other bucket-list Paris attractions while you’re in town? Pick up a Paris Pass for access to dozens of Paris highlights, including Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and many of the tours below, all for one money-saving price.

Guided Walking Tour of Montmartre

Montmartre café and the Sacre-Couer Basilica in Paris

It’s not difficult to see why the painterly hilltop enclave of Montmartre was so beloved of artists including Monet, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir and van Gogh. And, although now heavily geared towards tourists, its epic Paris views, swoonsome maze of cobbled lanes and stunning Sacré-Cœur Basilica – a wedding-cake confection in gleaming travertine limestone – still have the power to enchant. Join your expert guide on a journey through Montmartre history that includes all of the above, plus the notorious Moulin Rouge (birthplace of the can-can, no less), the atmospheric Place du Tertre, where local artists prop their easels and caricaturists offer the chance of a unique souvenir, and the hangouts favored by the quirky heroine in 2000 movie Amelie.

Guided Walking Tour of the Marais

Place des Vosges in the Marais neighborhood of Paris

If Montmartre is Paris for tourists, then the Marais is the authentic Parisian 'hood where locals still love to hang out. Here’s where you can find dreamy garden squares, tempting pâtisseries and delightful café culture in spades. As well as pointing out where you can find some of the most delicate mille-feuilles in town, your guide will also take you to picture-perfect Place des Vosges, with its grand 17th-century townhouses, atmospheric arcades and manicured formal gardens. There’s also a guided stroll along the cobbles of Rue des Rosiers, with its colorful Jewish storefronts, a chance to admire the 'inside-out' architecture of the Pompidou Center, and a pause at the eye-popping Stravinsky Fountain.

Guided Walking Tour of the Covered Passages

Covered 19th-century shopping arcade in Paris

To step inside Paris’s magical 19th-century covered arcades is to transport yourself to a bygone era, all elegant Victorian iron-and-glass canopies, mosaiced floors, traditional sidewalk cafés, and ye olde wooden storefronts. Take a guided tour that includes some of the best of these. We’re talking the neoclassical glory of the Galerie Vivienne, Passage de Jouffroy with its ornate stucco clock, polished geometric tiles and 15-year-old wax museum, and Passage des Panoramas, which dates to 1799, making it the oldest arcade of its kind in Paris. As well as filling you in on the history of these architectural marvels, your guide will also point out the best antiquarian bookstores, vintage fashion boutiques, jewelry stores and, crucially, pâtisseries.

Guided Walking Tour of the Latin Quarter

The Pantheon monument in Paris's Latin Quarter

The storied streets of the bohemian Latin Quarter were once frequented by such literary kings and queens as Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. Follow in their footsteps on a guided walking tour of this Left Bank enclave, home to hip café bars, sultry jazz bars, Art Deco cinemas and – natch – indie bookstores galore (the legendary Shakespeare and Company features on most Latin Quarter walking tours worth their salt). The Latin Quarter also happens to be great for discovering the history of some of Paris’s most important landmarks. Take a guided walk to hear all about the monumental Panthéon, where luminaries including Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Voltaire are commemorated (and, in some cases, interred). You’ll also take in the iconic flying buttresses of Notre-Dame Cathedral and the tranquil surroundings of Luxembourg Gardens, one of the finest public parks in Paris.

Guided Walking Tour of Montparnasse

Tourists viewing the Eiffel Tower from Tour Montparnasse

Montparnasse might not top many sightseeing bucket lists, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out. Far from it, in fact. A walking tour provides a fine introduction to the history of this lesser-spotted 14th arrondissement neighborhood, touching on the success of its speakeasies in the roaring twenties, its critical role in the French Resistance during the Second World War and its popularity as a grungy hangout for Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Man Ray and – yep, it’s that man again – Ernest Hemingway. Pause at the Tour Montparnasse (the only skyscraper in Paris) and check out Rue de la Gaîté, home of Paris's Little Theatre District. You’ll also get a chance to stroll Montparnasse Cemetery, final resting place of Sartre, Dega, Dumas and Irish writer Samuel Beckett.

Guided Walking Tour of Père Lachaise

Tomb at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

And from one Paris cemetery to another…

It’s not that we’re morbid or anything like that; it’s just that Paris does headstones, tombs and catacombs so much better than anywhere else. It’s no wonder that, over the decades and centuries, so many of the great and the good (i.e. those who can afford it) have planned their interment in one of these great fields of monumental mausoleums. Père Lachaise is the daddy of them all. Paris’s largest and leafiest cemetery boasts dozens of household names among its permanent residents, among them (deep breath) Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Molière, Chopin, Yves Montand and Jim Morrison. Take a walk on the cemetery’s wilder side on a gossip-filled ‘scandals and love affairs’ walking tour that weaves its way among splendid statuary, gothic gravestones and titanic tombs as your guide casts their spell with naughty tales of yore. Why do thousands of people kiss Oscar Wilde’s tomb every year? What connects Marilyn Monroe to Père Lachaise? Take the tour to find out…

You can book all of the tours listed above (and more!) with The Paris Pass.

Prefer to go it alone? Check out a selection of some of our favorite self-guided Paris walks here.

Women strolling the riverside in Paris

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