Rick Steves Paris


By Rick Steves

By Steve Smith

By Gene Openshaw

Formats and Prices




$27.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $21.99 $27.99 CAD
  2. ebook $15.99 $20.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 20, 2022. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Now more than ever, you can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling through Paris. From the top of the Eiffel Tower to the ancient catacombs below the city, explore Paris at every level with Rick Steves! Inside Rick Steves Paris you'll find:
  • Fully updated, comprehensive coverage for spending a week or more in Paris
  • Rick's strategic advice on how to get the most out of your time and money, with rankings of his must-see favorites
  • Top sights and hidden gems, from Notre-Dame, the Louvre, and the Palace of Versailles to where to find the perfect croissant
  • How to connect with culture: Stroll down Rue Cler for fresh, local goods to build the ultimate French picnic, marvel at the works of Degas and Monet, and sip café au lait at a streetside café
  • Beat the crowds, skip the lines, and avoid tourist traps with Rick's candid, humorous insight
  • The best places to eat, sleep, and relax with a glass of vin rouge
  • Self-guided walking tours of lively neighborhoods and incredible museums and churches
  • Detailed maps, including a fold-out map for exploring on the go
  • Over 700 bible-thin pages include everything worth seeing without weighing you down
  • Coverage of the best arrondissements in Paris,including Champs-Elysees, the Marais, Montmartre, and more, plus day trips to Versailles, Chartres, Giverny, and Auvers-sur-Oise
  • Covid-related travel info and resources for a smooth trip
Make the most of every day and every dollar with Rick Steves Paris.

Spending just a few days in the city? Try Rick Steves Pocket Paris.


Welcome to Rick Steves’ Europe

Travel is intensified living—maximum thrills per minute and one of the last great sources of legal adventure. Travel is freedom. It’s recess, and we need it.

I discovered a passion for European travel as a teen and have been sharing it ever since—through my bus tours, public television and radio shows, and travel guidebooks. Over the years, I’ve taught millions of travelers how to best enjoy Europe’s blockbuster sights—and experience “Back Door” discoveries that most tourists miss.

Written with my talented co-authors, Steve Smith and Gene Openshaw, this book offers you a balanced mix of Paris’ blockbuster sights and lesser-known gems. It’s selective: Rather than listing every sight and neighborhood in Paris, we recommend only the best ones. And it’s in-depth: Our self-guided museum tours and city walks provide insight into Paris’ vibrant history and today’s living, breathing culture.

We advocate traveling simply and smartly. Take advantage of our money- and time-saving tips on sightseeing, transportation, and more. Try local, characteristic alternatives to expensive hotels and restaurants. In many ways, spending more money only builds a thicker wall between you and what you traveled so far to see.

We visit Paris to experience it—to become temporary locals. Thoughtful travel engages us with the world, as we learn to appreciate other cultures and new ways to measure quality of life.

Judging by the positive feedback we receive from our readers, this book will help you enjoy a fun, affordable, and rewarding vacation—whether it’s your first trip or your tenth.

Bon voyage! Happy travels!


Paris by Neighborhood

Map: Paris by Neighborhood


Planning and Budgeting




Travel Smart

Paris—the City of Light—has been a beacon of culture for centuries. As a world capital of art, fashion, food, literature, and ideas, it stands as a symbol of all the fine things human civilization can offer—and adds a dash of romance and joie de vivre.

Two thousand years ago, Paris was a humble Celtic fishing village by the river; today it’s a sprawling city, with a core population of 2.3 million. It offers sweeping boulevards, riverside book stalls, world-class art galleries, and farmers markets. Enjoy cutting-edge architecture, medieval tapestries, Gothic cathedrals, and an excellent Métro system that whisks you wherever you want to go. Sip un café crème with intellectuals at a sidewalk café, then step into an Impressionist painting in a tree-lined park.

Paris’ sights are incomparable. Armed with a Paris Museum Pass, visit Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo at the Louvre, and marvel at the buoyant art of Monet and Renoir at the Orsay. Pay homage to beloved Notre-Dame Cathedral, recovering from a devastating fire. Zip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and saunter down Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Take a day trip to visit the lavish palace of Versailles to understand the inevitability of the French Revolution...and the rise of democracy. Few countries can equal France’s impact on the global stage.

People-friendly Paris: Relaxing at Luxembourg Garden; picnicking on the Seine

Yet Paris is also intimate and people-friendly. Prioritizing people over cars, the city turned a riverside arterial into a beach-like park, known as Paris Plages, perfect for strolling along the Seine. Waterfront pedestrian promenades run between Pont de l’Alma (near the Eiffel Tower) and the Orsay Museum on the Left Bank, and between the Louvre and Place de la Bastille on the Right Bank. The city’s lovely parks are playgrounds for all ages. Luxembourg Garden offers puppet shows, pony rides, rental toy sailboats, and a wading pool. The Esplanade des Invalides, near Napoleon’s Tomb, is just right for afternoon lawn bowling (boules).

As you dodge Parisians walking their poodles and pushing baby strollers on a residential market street such as Rue Cler, you’ll experience real people making cozy communities in the midst of this vast, high-powered city. If you’d like to learn the fine art of living like a Parisian, a walk down a neighborhood market street provides an excellent classroom. And if you want to assemble the ultimate French picnic, there’s no better place. You’ll find a warm and human vibrancy you miss when just hopping from big museum to museum. Chat with the woman who makes your crêpe, pop into chic boutiques, and stop by a neighborhood fromagerie to sniff fragrant cheese that smells like “zee feet of angels.”

Provençal ratatouille with Parisian flair; street performers at Sacré-Cœur

You’ll eat very, very well. After all, Paris is the French capital of cuisine, offering signature dishes from all of the country’s regions: ratatouille (Provence), foie gras (Dordogne), bœuf bourguignon (Burgundy), bouillabaisse (Riviera), and much more. Dine at a cozy bistro—the table is yours for the evening. Savor fine wine with your meal, though in France, even the table wine is good. For dessert, crack open the crust of a crème brûlée.

Save some after-dark energy for one of the world’s most romantic cities. Enjoy views over the glittering City of Light—from the Arc de Triomphe, the rooftops of stylish department stores, and the steps of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre.

Parisians have the habit of spilling onto the river’s bridges and embankments just at that magic hour when the setting sun begins to color the evening sky. It’s the perfect time to share a picnic with friends. Join in—it’s an ambience that no restaurant can touch. Stately monuments and bridges, floodlit as darkness falls, are reflected in the waters of the Seine. Cruise the river and marvel at the nighttime light show at the sparkling Eiffel Tower. Once you’ve been to Paris...you’ll always have Paris.

Paris by Neighborhood

Paris is a big city, but its major sights cluster in convenient zones. Thoughtfully grouping your sightseeing, walks, dining, and shopping can save you lots of time and money.

Paris is circled by a ring road and split in half by the Seine River, which runs east-west. North of the Seine is the Right Bank (Rive Droite), and to the south is the more bohemian Left Bank (Rive Gauche). The bull’s-eye is Notre-Dame, the heart of Paris, on an island in the middle of the Seine.

Historic Core

This area centers on the Ile de la Cité (“Island of the City”), located in the middle of the Seine. On this small island, you’ll find Paris’ oldest sights, from Roman ruins to the medieval Notre-Dame and Sainte-Chapelle churches. Other sights in this area: Conciergerie, Archaeological Crypt, Deportation Memorial, flower market, riverside promenade and Paris Plages, and the lovely island of Ile St. Louis, with appealing shops and eateries. Paris’ most historic riverside vendors, les bouquinistes, line both sides of the Seine as it passes Ile de la Cité.

Major Museums Neighborhood

Located just west of the historic core, this is where you’ll find the art-filled Louvre, Orsay, and Orangerie museums. Other sights are the Tuileries Garden and Palais Royal courtyards.


The greatest of the many grand 19th-century boulevards on the Right Bank, the Champs-Elysées runs northwest from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Sights in this area include the Petit and Grand Palais, Hôtel Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile (for its great city view), and on the outskirts, the modern neighborhood of La Défense with La Grande Arche.

Eiffel Tower Neighborhood

Dominated by the Eiffel Tower, this area also boasts the colorful Rue Cler market street (with many recommended hotels and restaurants), Army Museum and Napoleon’s Tomb, Rodin Museum, and the thriving outdoor market Marché Boulevard de Grenelle. Other sights: Quai Branly Museum, National Maritime Museum, Architecture and Monuments Museum, and Sewer Museum. The Marmottan Museum is west of the Eiffel Tower on the Right Bank.

Vendor stalls (les bouquinistes) along the Seine; Monet’s Water Lilies at the Orangerie; Champs-Elysées with the Arc de Triomphe; Napoleon’s Tomb

Elegant Opéra Garnier; outdoor coffee break; café-lined Latin Quarter; Pompidou Center (modern art museum)

Opéra Neighborhood

Surrounding the Opéra Garnier, this classy area on the Right Bank is home to a series of impressive boulevards and sights. Though today it’s busy with traffic, there are still hints of Paris circa 1870, when the city was the capital of the world. Along with elegant sights such as the Opéra Garnier, Jacquemart-André Museum, and Fragonard Perfume Museum, the neighborhood also offers high-end shopping: at Galeries Lafayette department store, around Place de la Madeleine and Place Vendôme, and at the covered passages of Choiseul and Ste. Anne.

Left Bank

The Left Bank is home to...the Left Bank. Anchored by the large Luxembourg Garden (near numerous recommended hotels and eateries), the Left Bank is the traditional neighborhood of Paris’ intellectual, artistic, and café life. Other sights: the Latin Quarter, Cluny Museum, St. Germain-des-Prés and St. Sulpice churches, Panthéon, Montparnasse Tower, Catacombs, Delacroix Museum, and the Jardin des Plantes park. This is also one of Paris’ best shopping areas. The Grande Mosquée de Paris and Muslim cultural center (Arab World Institute, with views) are just east of the Latin Quarter.


Stretching eastward from the Pompidou Center to the Bastille along Rue de Rivoli/Rue St. Antoine, this neighborhood is packed with recommended restaurants and hotels, shops, the delightful Place des Vosges, and artistic sights (Pompidou Center, Picasso Museum). The area is known for its avant-garde boutiques and residents. Other Marais sights: Jewish Art and History Museum, Holocaust Memorial, La Coulée Verte Promenade-Park, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Carnavalet Museum, Victor Hugo’s House, Marché des Enfants Rouges covered market, and the outdoor markets at Bastille and Place d’Aligre.


This hill, topped by the bulbous white domes of Sacré-Cœur Basilica, hovers on the northern fringes of your Paris map. Home to recommended hotels and restaurants, Montmartre retains some of the charm that once drew Impressionist painters and turn-of-the-century bohemians. Other sights are the Dalí and Montmartre museums, Moulin Rouge, Pigalle district, and nearby Puces St. Ouen flea market.

Day Trips

When you’re ready to explore beyond Paris, you have good options, all easily reached by train:

Versailles is Europe’s ultimate royal palace—all others are wannabes. It’s huge, comprising the Château, Gardens, and the Trianon Palaces and Domaine de Marie-Antoinette.

Other grand châteaux within day-tripping distance of Paris are the exquisite Vaux-le-Vicomte, lavish Fontainebleau, and scenically set Chantilly.

Chartres’ historic cathedral has famous stained-glass windows and statues that gloriously tell the entire story of the Bible. The pedestrian-friendly town itself is worth strolling.

Giverny and Auvers-sur-Oise are for art lovers. The charming town of Giverny was the home of Monet and his photogenic water lilies. Van Gogh spent the end of his short life painting furiously in the rural village of Auvers-sur-Oise.

Sound-and-light show at Chartres Cathedral; Versailles’ Grand Trianon—fit for a king

Planning and Budgeting

The best trips start with good planning. Here are ideas to help you decide when to go, design a smart itinerary, set a travel budget, and prepare for your trip. For my best general advice on sightseeing, accommodations, restaurants, and more, see the Practicalities chapter.


As you read this book and learn about your options...

Decide when to go.

Late spring and fall bring the best weather and the biggest crowds. May, June, September, and October are the toughest months for hotel-hunting—don’t expect many deals. Summers are generally hot and dry; if you wilt in the heat, look for a room with air-conditioning. Rooms are easy to land in August (some hotels offer deals), and though many French businesses close in August, you’ll hardly notice.

Paris makes a great winter getaway (see the Paris in Winter chapter). Airfare costs less, cafés are cozy, and the city feels lively but not touristy. The only problem—weather—is solved by dressing warmly, with layers. Expect cold (even freezing lows) and rain (hats, gloves, scarves, umbrellas, and thick-soled shoes are essential). For specific temperatures, see the climate chart in the appendix.

Work out a day-by-day itinerary.

The following day-plans offer suggestions for how to maximize your sightseeing, depending on how many days you have. You can adapt these itineraries to fit your own interests. To find out which days sights are open, check the “Daily Reminder” in the Orientation chapter. Note major sights where advance reservations are smart or a free Rick Steves audio tour () is available.

Paris in One, Two, or Three Busy Days
Day 1
Morning Follow my Historic Paris Walk, featuring Ile de la Cité, Notre-Dame, the Latin Quarter, and Sainte-Chapelle.
Afternoon Tour the Louvre.
Evening Enjoy a twilight ride up the Eiffel Tower and the Place du Trocadéro scene at its feet.
Day 2
Morning Follow my Champs-Elysées Walk from the Arc de Triomphe down the grand Avenue des Champs-Elysées and into the Tuileries Garden (or take the Métro).
Midday Cross the pedestrian bridge from the Tuileries Garden, then tour the Orsay Museum.
Afternoon Tour the Rodin Museum or the Army Museum and Napoleon’s Tomb.
Evening Take a tour by bus, taxi/Uber, or retro-chic Deux Chevaux car. (If staying more than two days, you could save this for your last-night finale.)
Day 3
Morning Catch RER/Train-C by 8:00 to be at Versailles when it opens (at 9:00), then tour the château and sample the gardens.
Afternoon Versailles can take up a full sightseeing day, but if you’re back in Paris, consider a sight near one of the RER/Train-C stations: the Army Museum and Napoleon’s Tomb, Rodin Museum, or Orsay Museum—or enjoy my Left Bank Walk.
Evening Cruise the Seine River or have dinner on Ile St. Louis, then take a floodlit walk by Notre-Dame.

Pyramids at the Louvre; Deux Chevaux driving tour; portico at Versailles; wintertime fun at the Eiffel Tower

Glitzy Galeries Lafayette

Paris in Five to Seven Days Without Going In-Seine
Day 1
Morning Follow my Historic Paris Walk, featuring Ile de la Cité, Notre-Dame, the Latin Quarter, and Sainte-Chapelle. Pause for a break in Luxembourg Garden and consider a visit to the nearby Panthéon.
Afternoon Tour the Opéra Garnier, then enjoy rooftop views at the Galeries Lafayette or Printemps department stores.
Evening Take a boat cruise on the Seine.
Day 2
Morning Tour the Louvre (arrive 30 minutes before opening).
Afternoon Follow my Champs-Elysées Walk from the Arc de Triomphe to the Tuileries Garden, and possibly take in the Orangerie Museum. Reversing the morning and afternoon activities also works well.
Evening Enjoy dinner on Ile St. Louis, then a floodlit walk by Notre-Dame.

Ready for a Seine cruise; Versailles’ pastoral Domaine de Marie-Antoinette

Day 3
Morning Tour the Orsay Museum.
Midday Tour the Rodin Museum (café lunch in gardens).
Afternoon Visit the Army Museum and Napoleon’s Tomb, then take my Rue Cler Walk and relax at a café. Consider walking the Left Bank riverside promenade between the Orsay and Pont de l’Alma (near the Eiffel Tower) or biking either bank.
Evening Take one of the recommended nighttime bus/taxi/retro car tours.
Day 4
Morning Take RER/Train-C to arrive early at Versailles and tour the palace’s interior.
Midday Have lunch in the gardens at Versailles.
Afternoon Tour the gardens, Trianon Palaces, and Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. (Late risers should reverse this plan and tour the palace’s interior in the afternoon to minimize crowd frustrations.) Or return to Paris and do this book’s Montmartre Walk.
Evening Dine in Versailles town or back in Paris.
Day 5
Morning Follow this book’s Marais Walk and tour the Carnavalet. Have lunch on Place des Vosges or Rue des Rosiers.
Afternoon Choose from these Marais sights: Picasso Museum, Pompidou Center, Jewish Art and History Museum, or Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Evening Enjoy a twilight ride up the Eiffel Tower and the Place du Trocadéro scene nearby.
Day 6
Morning Spend most of your day at Chartres or a half-day touring the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte.
Afternoon Explore the shopping districts of Paris (follow the Left Bank Walk or see the Shopping in Paris chapter for options).
Evening Walk the Champs-Elysées to take in the nighttime scene. Hike to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Day 7

There’s still plenty to do: more shopping and cafés, Luxembourg Garden, Bus #69 tour followed by Père Lachaise Cemetery, Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur, Jacquemart-André and Marmottan museums, day trips to Vaux-le-Vicomte and/or Fontainebleau, and Disneyland Paris.

Spiraling up the Arc de Triomphe; winding down at peaceful Place des Vosges


Run a reality check on your dream trip. You’ll have major transportation costs in addition to daily expenses.

Flight: A round-trip flight from the US to Paris costs about $900-1,500, depending on where you fly from and when.

Public Transportation: For a one-week trip, allow about $75 for a Métro/bus/RER pass and a couple of day trips by train. To get between Paris and either major airport, figure $35-130 round-trip, depending on which option you choose.

Budget Tips: To cut your daily expenses, take advantage of the deals you’ll find throughout Paris and mentioned in this book.

Use public transportation, and visit sights by neighborhood for efficiency.


  • "The country's foremost expert in European travel for Americans."—Forbes
  • "Steves is an absolute master at unlocking the hidden gems of the world's greatest cities, towns, and monuments."—USA Today
  • “Every country-specific travel guidebook from the Rick Steves publishing empire can be counted upon for clear organization, specificity and timeliness."—Society of American Travel Writers
  • "Pick the best accommodations and restaurants from Rick Steves…and a traveler searching for good values will seldom go wrong or be blindsided."—NBC News
  • "His guidebooks are approachable, silly, and even subtly provocative in their insistence that Americans show respect for the people and places they are visiting and not the other way around." —The New Yorker
  • "Travel, to Steves, is not some frivolous luxury—it is an engine for improving humankind, for connecting people and removing their prejudices, for knocking distant cultures together to make unlikely sparks of joy and insight. Given that millions of people have encountered the work of Steves over the last 40 years, on TV or online or in his guidebooks, and that they have carried those lessons to untold other millions of people, it is fair to say that his life’s work has had a real effect on the collective life of our planet."—The New York Times Magazine
  • "[Rick Steves] laces his guides with short and vivid histories and a scholar's appreciation for Renaissance art yet knows the best place to start an early tapas crawl in Madrid if you have kids. His clear, hand-drawn maps are Pentagon-worthy; his hints about how to go directly to the best stuff at the Uffizi, avoid the crowds at Versailles and save money everywhere are guilt-free."—TIME Magazine
  • "Steves is a walking, talking European encyclopedia who yearns to inspire Americans to venture 'beyond Orlando.'"—Forbes
  • “…he’s become the unofficial guide for entire generations of North American travelers, beloved for his earnest attitude and dad jeans."—Outside Magazine
  • "His books offer the equivalent of a bus tour without the bus, with boiled-down itineraries and step-by-step instructions on where to go and how to get there, but adding a dash of humor and an element of choice that his travelers find empowering."—The New York Times
  • "His penchant for creating meaningful experiences for travelers to Europe is as passionate as his inclination for making ethical choices his guiding light."—Forbes
  • "[Rick Steves'] neighborhood walks are always fun and informative. His museum guides, complete with commentary about historic sculpture and storied artworks are wonderful and add another dimension to sometimes stodgy, hard-to-comprehend museums."—NBC News

On Sale
Sep 20, 2022
Page Count
720 pages
Rick Steves

Rick Steves

About the Author

Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Rick produces a best-selling guidebook series, a public television series, and a public radio show, and organizes small-group tours that take over 30,000 travelers to Europe annually.  He does all of this with the help of more than 100 well-traveled staff members at Rick Steves’ Europe in Edmonds, WA (near Seattle). When not on the road, Rick is active in his church and with advocacy groups focused on economic and social justice, drug policy reform, and ending hunger. To recharge, Rick plays piano, relaxes at his family cabin in the Cascade Mountains, and spends time with his son Andy and daughter Jackie. Find out more about Rick at http://www.ricksteves.com and on Facebook.

Learn more about this author