Throughout my research, I read again and again, “Paris is a walking city.” This seemed to bode well for me, as I’m notorious for walking everywhere when I’m in a city where I can (I walked from Bethnal Green to Regent’s Park last winter when the tube was on strike), and I knew I would embrace it straight off.
However, I had no idea just how much of a walking city Paris truly is. For a walker, it is ideal – everything somehow is so close together, so built practically on top of each other, that it is impossible to walk a hundred meters before finding something else breathtaking.
I think it has to do with the way the city was built. Through its history, Paris has always been an enclosed city, piled high of itself, layered in a way that is almost Trojan. It is tall compact unlike anywhere I have seen before. Buildings stretch for storeys, and the rare gaps are filled with greenery; a medieval tower sits next to a seventeenth century shop next to an office block. Everything connects to each other, historically and culturally, and that connection means everything is tight together.
Today, I walked the city. I walked from my flat in Republique to the Marais, to Île de la Cité and Notre Dame, to the Louvre, along the Champs-Élysées, to the Arc de Triomphe.
Fitbit says it is 23,000 steps, but I’m pretty sure it was more.
And it left me with a hell of a sunburn. Yow.