Exploring Paris on foot is always a good idea. These are the best free walking tours in Paris, France.
Whether you happen to live in Paris, or you’re just visiting from somewhere in continental Europe, or even the United States, there is much to be seen in the city in this amazing city of historical buildings, shops, cafes, and museums.
Having evolved from a small settlement in the marshes of what is now western Europe, Paris became a significant Roman colony that was visited quite frequently by Roman emissaries keen on cementing it with the rest of the empire.
The city underwent the intellectual re-awakening of the Renaissance, producing all kinds of notable artists and intellectuals in the process. It was also the birthplace of one of the most traumatic revolutions in human history, with the French Revolution accounting for endless political intrigue and quite a few beheadings at the foot of La Guillotine.
All that has faded into its distant past, but that entire past history can come flooding back when you take a walking tour of the city and observe some of the magnificent remnants of those events.
For instance, some free tour options will take in the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the famous avenue, the Champs Elysses. Like ripples on a lake, the echoes of those earth-shattering events are never far from the surface in Paris, and you can experience them by taking one of the many walking tours available.
The good news is that you can find a number of free tours in Paris, and the best free walking tours in Paris each include itineraries rich in the city’s history, as well as a number of sights and activities that most tourists are keen to experience.
Table of Contents
- Best Free Walking Tours in Paris
- 1. Latin Quarter Walking Tour
- 2. Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe Walking Tour
- 3. Morning Tour through the Heart of Paris
- 4. Montmartre, Pigalle, and New Athens Tour
- 5. Paris of the Past Walking Tour
- 6. Tour del Barrio Latino
- 7. Ile de la Cite Walking Tour
- 8. Le Marais Walking Tour
- 9. Free Tour in Spanish
- 10. Montmartre Walking Tour
- Are there free walking tours in Paris?
- How do I explore Paris on foot?
- Where is a good walk in Paris?
Best Free Walking Tours in Paris
Below, you’ll find descriptions of some of the most popular free walking tours in Paris, France, to help you decide which one you might want to arrange for on your visit to the city.
1. Latin Quarter Walking Tour
The Latin Quarter has long been a source of fascination for visitors, going all the way back to antiquity, and it’s one of those neighborhood tours that continue to hold that same interest today. The region originally acquired its nickname because students attending nearby Sorbonne University fell into the habit of conversing with each other entirely in Latin.
That influence is still felt today, because the Latin Quarter is largely comprised of a high student population, with a number of eateries and cafes, as well as bars staging happy hour activities for their patrons.
It’s centrally located in the city, and it has quite a few museums of interest as well as some of its most famous landmarks that are worthy of further investigation.
If you tend to be excited about seeing museum displays, pastries, coffee, and cafes, this is one of the Paris walking tours that should be well suited for you. Other highlights that you’ll find on the Latin Quarter free tour include quite a few remnants of ancient Roman ruins, particularly the public baths, which are still a fascinating sight to behold.
See Related: Fun & Interesting Facts About Paris
2. Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe Walking Tour
This walking tour includes a stroll down the Champs Elysses, the famous boulevard where you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe, built to commemorate France’s fallen soldiers. It will also give you the chance for numerous photographs of Paris’ most iconic structure, the Eiffel Tower.
You’ll also have the opportunity to admire the famous Trocadero Gardens in Trocadero Square, and if you visit Paris at the right time, the Gardens will be in full bloom.
3. Morning Tour through the Heart of Paris
This tour, as its name suggests, will take you directly through the center of the city, where you’ll see some of the most fascinating sights the city has to offer. You’ll see the Tuileries Garden, the Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral, and your guide will inform you about some of the most interesting tidbits of the city’s past.
Even though it will be in the morning, it’s advisable to bring a water bottle along, since it may get quite warm. While there won’t be time to inspect the museums and other buildings, you can at least take note of those places you want to visit again later, in greater depth.
4. Montmartre, Pigalle, and New Athens Tour
This tour focuses on two different neighborhoods in the city, both of which came into being during the 19th century, Pigalle and Montmartre. In Pigalle, you’ll visit the Moulin Rouge, the cabaret Le Chat Noir, Wallace’s Fountain, and the Bains de Pigalle.
In the Montmartre District, you’ll get a great view of the Rue Lepic, Picasso’s residence, the Moulin de la Galette, the Place de Tertres, and the Sacre Coeur Basilica. This tour is a kind of chronological tour, where you’ll learn from your guide about the momentous events of the times in which these two districts came into being.
5. Paris of the Past Walking Tour
If you’re any kind of history buff, you will probably fall in love with the Paris of the Past walking tour. The tour begins in the Latin Quarter and winds its way through the Ile de la Cite, progressing to the other side of the River Seine, ultimately ending in Le Marais.
Some of the streets remain as they were when first built, which provides a notable charm to the cobblestone roads, although it renders them unsuitable for high heels or flip flops. You should make a point of wearing some strong and sturdy shoes on your self-guided tour of the city, regardless of which free walking tour you choose.
Some of the cafes and restaurants included on the walking tour impose a minimum card spend, so it would be best if you have cash with you to pay for any purchases made at these establishments. One of the best times for taking your free tour of Old Paris is in the spring because, at that time, you’ll see many of the fantastic flowers in bloom that the city has become well known for.
6. Tour del Barrio Latino
This free walking tour gives a glimpse into the intellectual life in Paris, and along the way, you’ll encounter numerous cafes and bookstores which have supported some of the city’s great thinkers. Part of the tour touches the Latin Quarter, where there is still a very strong student presence due to the proximity of Sorbonne University.
You’ll also have a chance to take in the Luxembourg Gardens, the Eglise St. Severin, the Cluny Museum, El Panteon, La Iglesia de Saint Etienne du Mont, and the Plaza de Saint-Michel. Your guide will fill you in on many fascinating stories about the past and present intellectual life of the city.
See Related: Best Parks in Paris to Visit
7. Ile de la Cite Walking Tour
Whether you’re visiting Paris for your very first time, or you have visited the city every year of your adult life, there’s no question that at some point or other, you’ll find yourself on the Ile de la Cite. This is one of the two natural islands situated in the middle of the River Seine, and it’s also the city district where you’ll find Saint Chapelle and literally tons of history reminiscent of the Middle Ages.
Some of the highlights you’ll encounter on this free walking tour of Paris include some of the most popular coffee shops in all of Paris, as well as a tremendous display of springtime cherry blossoms throughout the region. Other items of interest on this tour include the Hotel de Ville and the shopping center of Les Halles.
There are quite a few cafes and restaurants where you can purchase mouth-watering crepes. Both visitors and residents of the city make a point of patronizing the Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, which has a reputation for serving the most mouth-watering entrees in the entire city.
8. Le Marais Walking Tour
In its distant past, Le Marais consisted mostly of a vast swampland right on the very fringes of the city. However, in today’s world, it has evolved into an extremely chic Parisian District which has a great deal to offer to all visitors and residents of the city.
It has quite a few designer stores, fantastic eating places, and boutique hotels. It also still has a great many artifacts and buildings which harken back to the city’s medieval past and can be viewed on this fascinating walking tour.
One of the things you should make a point of viewing closely is the Place des Vosges, which was the first Public Square constructed in the city. The Le Marais district is on the right bank of the Seine, and this self-guided walking tour can get very busy in the summertime.
If you can arrange your visit in the springtime, you’ll definitely encounter smaller crowds and you’ll probably find this to be one of the best walking tours in Paris. One thing that’s an absolute must is wearing sensible footwear because this is another walking tour featuring quite a few cobblestone lanes.
9. Free Tour in Spanish
If you happen to be of Hispanic descent, you’ll love the fact that you can take a tour of the city and hear your guide point out places of interest in your native language. This tour takes in the Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame Cathedral, and will then cross the Gardens of the Tuileries, where you’ll have a majestic view of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.
If you don’t know French history, you’ll learn a lot about Napoleon Bonaparte, King Louis XIV, and the influence of King Henry IV. Walking along the River Seine, the tour will then make a brief stop at the Louvre Museum, one of the most famous repositories of art in the entire world. The tour ends at the Place de Vendome, where you can visit some of the city’s most expensive jewelry stores and most glamorous hotels.
See Related: Best Weekend Trips from Paris, France
10. Montmartre Walking Tour
If you don’t have time for any other tours of Paris, you should probably select the Montmartre Walking Tour. On this tour, you’ll find a delightful mix of wooden windmills, a secret vineyard, a number of historical locations, and all kinds of photo opportunities.
This district includes such landmarks as the Lapin Agile, the Sacre Coeur Basilica, and the Moulin Rouge. Your local guide will bring all the cultural history to life for you, relating all the intriguing facts about the past that have influenced the city all the way to the present.
A number of well-known bohemian artists spent a considerable amount of time here, developing their own unique perspective of the world.
It undoubtedly contributed to the artistic development of Edith Piaf, Pablo Picasso, Renoir, and Vincent van Gogh. There are also quite a few fantastic restaurants here, as well as a thriving nightlife that you may want to pay a second visit to after your free walking tour.
Are there free walking tours in Paris?
Yes, there are free walking tours in Paris. A popular one is the free walking tour put on by the city of Paris, which offers two daily tour options that explore the city’s main attractions. They also offer paid tours and customized private tours.
How do I explore Paris on foot?
Exploring Paris on foot is an excellent way to get an intimate knowledge of the city and its hidden gems. Stroll through the quaint cobblestone streets, take a walking tour along the Seine, or wander around one of the many beautiful parks and gardens. You’ll be rewarded with countless memorable experiences.
Where is a good walk in Paris?
A great walk in Paris would be to take a stroll along the banks of the Seine River. This winding path will take you past iconic monuments, bridges, and other attractions that make Paris such a beautiful city. Additionally, taking a walk through any of the numerous parks scattered around the city is a wonderful way to explore and appreciate all that Paris has to offer.