King François I, France’s “Renaissance Prince”, and his Italian-born daughter-in-law Catherine de Medici, dominated 16th-century France both politically and architecturally. François I had his hand in buildings of every kind from the Louvre palace, to the huge church of Saint-Eustache, to the Paris city hall, the Hôtel de Ville. You’ll visit these sites on this tour. Catherine de Medici shared her father-in-law’s passion for building, although almost none of her construction projects survived. But you can and will visit the Colonne de l’Horoscope, a strange remnant of what was once Catherine’s grand Renaissance palace just to the west of Les Halles market. From there, the walk takes you through the bustling Les Halles quarter, stopping to admire the elegant Renaissance-style Fontaine des Innocents and the beautifully restored Tour Saint-Jacques. The walk ends in the trendy Marais, where three Renaissance style mansions can still be admired today.
Start: Louvre (Métro: Palais-Royal/Musée du Louvre)
Finish: Hôtel Carnavalet/ Musée de l’Histoire de Paris (Métro: Saint-Paul)
Distance: 3 miles
Time: 3-3.5 hours
Best Days: Tuesday-Sunday