A Beautiful Walk Through the Historic Heart of Paris

Paris historic walking tour

Explore the history of Paris on a walk starting on the Île de la Cité.

A stroll through Paris is always full of history and unexpected finds – that’s the charm of it! We’re sharing one of our favorite walks in the historic heart of Paris, tracing a path from the charming Place Dauphine on the Île de la Cité to the vibrant Marais. While the Marais is celebrated for its chic boutiques and trendy eateries, it’s also steeped in history, boasting beautiful garden squares and a wealth of museums waiting to be discovered. This leisurely stroll not only takes you through the bustling streets of Paris but also offers a glimpse into its rich past and cultural heritage. Join us as we explore the intersection of style and history on this captivating Paris walk!

walks in Paris

A beautiful walk through Place Dauphine.

Place Dauphine – Your Parisian Oasis

Imagine waking up in one of our cozy rentals at La Place Dauphine, with fresh baguettes delivered to your door and a fully equipped kitchen ready for action. If you’re not staying at one of our Place Dauphine vacation rentals, no worries – Place Dauphine is ideally situated in the heart of Paris by the famous Pont Neuf bridge at the tip of Île de la Cité making it an easy starting point. Charming cafes like La Rose de France and sweet treats from the Atelier du Geste à l’Émotion by Philippe Conticini make it an ideal spot to kick off your day.

Paris Sainte-Chapelle

Soaring stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle. (credit)

La Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle

First stop, dive into history at La Conciergerie, a royal palace turned prison during the French Revolution. La Conciergerie not only housed common criminals but also saw significant figures of historical importance awaiting their fate within its walls. Among them was the ill-fated Marie Antoinette, who endured her imprisonment here. Adjacent to La Conciergerie, Sainte-Chapelle awaits with its stunning stained glass. As you step into Sainte-Chapelle, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of intricate craftsmanship and spiritual beauty—a true gem in the heart of Paris.

Shop in style at the beautiful Samaritaine department store. (Image courtesy DFS Group)

Shopping Extravaganza at La Samaritaine

Just across the Pont Neuf bridge, head to La Samaritaine for a shopping extravaganza with a historic touch. This legendary department store, recently restored, is a blend of modern luxury and historical charm. Founded in 1870, the gorgeous interior with Art Deco and Art Nouveau details is well worth a visit even if you’re not a shopper.

Marais walking tour

Spring blossoms at the Hôtel de Ville. (Credit: Georgianna Lane)

Hôtel de Ville

Next up is the Hôtel de Ville – Paris’s City Hall. Dating back to the 16th century, this important building embodies the city’s resilience through historical upheavals, including the French Revolution. Rebuilt after a fire in 1871, it stands as a symbol of Parisian determination and democratic values. The square in front is a great spot to soak in the lively atmosphere of the surrounding area. You might even catch a cool event happening! Right now, Hôtel de Ville is decked out for the upcoming Summer Olympics.

Paris shopping 4th arrondissement

Elegant shopping on rue de Rivoli.

Shopping Along Rue de Rivoli

Just next to the Hôtel de Ville, the elegant rue de Rivoli is a shopper’s dream. Enjoy a fine bit of window shopping along this quintessentially Parisian street, with its mix of luxury boutiques, trendy stores and charming cafes. Whether you’re browsing for high-end fashion or simply soaking in the city’s ambiance, you’ll enjoy a walk down rue de Rivoli.

Step inside the Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis Church. (credit)

Église Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis

Walk east down rue de Rivoli to reach the Church of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis. Visit inside the church and discover a captivating blend of Gothic and Baroque architectural styles dating back to the early 17th century. This historical landmark, commissioned by Louis XIII and completed during the reign of Louis XIV, bears witness to significant events, including the marriage of Louis XIV’s brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, in 1661. It’s free to go inside and worth the stop.


Photo: Georgianna Lane

A Museum Interlude at Musée Carnavalet

Feeling artsy? There’s no better place to delve into the past than the Musée Carnavalet, an impressive museum showcasing the history of Paris. Located just a couple of blocks north along rue de Sévigné, here you can take a walk in history from the city’s earliest settlers to the French Revolution and even admire the bed where Proust wrote his novel In Search of Lost Time. It’s a charming space housed in two historic mansions, offering a unique and rich glimpse into the city’s past.

Paris Marais walk

Soak up the history of Marais in Place des Vosges.

Place des Vosges

As the day winds down, wrap up your adventure at the regal Place des Vosges nearby. But before you soak in the symmetrical beauty, swing by Carette for a decadent hot chocolate or enjoy an aperitif at one of the cafes around the square. The square is also surrounded by several fantastic restaurants to stop and have dinner.

The beautiful Castillon at La Place Dauphine.

A Stay Surrounded by History

One of the most enchanting aspects of experiencing Paris is the sheer joy of exploring the city on foot. When you stay at La Place Dauphine, you’ll be right in the historic heart of Paris with incredible explorations in every direction! Book your stay now and enjoy discovering the city’s rich history, cultural vibrancy and architectural marvels.

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