Paris is considered to be one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. Known as the City of Light (and the City of Love), you don’t need to walk far to be awed by the elegance of the French capital. But rather than just touring popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, one of the best ways to appreciate the unique charm of this chic city is simply to wander the streets.

Paris’ pretty, pedestrianised roads march in straight grid-like lines across the city, meaning it’s a perfect playground for the flâneur (the French word for a person who strolls leisurely around with no real purpose!).

From iconic grand boulevards to cobbled alleys and tiny, tucked-away lanes, there are many lovely streets to wander here – and the stylish locals and enthusiastic tourists make for some wonderful street photography too.

So, if you’re planning a city break to Paris – or just want some travel inspiration – we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 of the most charming streets in Paris.

1. Rue de l’Abreuvoir

If you ask a local what the most charming street in Paris is, there’s a very good chance they’ll say Rue de l’Abreuvoir. Lined with ivy-adorned houses – and in the summer, wisteria – this sloped, cobbled street is extraordinarily picturesque. There’s a sense of timelessness about it, too, and if you can ignore the tourists taking pictures on their phones, it’s easy to imagine you’ve stepped back in time.

Located in the charming Montmartre neighbourhood, the street is home to the famous La Maison Rose, a traditional French restaurant. This green-doored, pastel-pink building is also popular with photographers, and it’s a great place to treat yourself to some fancy local food – or perhaps just a glass of wine. Paris’ only vineyard, Le Clos Montmartre, is just around the corner too.

2. Rue Saint-Rustique

One of the oldest streets in Paris is also in Montmartre. This neighbourhood was once a rural village, and the cobbled streets that run through this district are a testament to Montmartre’s country history. But, as Paris spread, Montmartre became part of the fabric of the city – although even today, strolling through this special part of Paris gives you a unique insight into village life in old France.

Tucked between two cute cafés, Rue Saint-Rustique is a narrow, cobbled lane that leads towards the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. Wandering up this street gives you one of the best (and most unexpected) sneak peeks of the Sacré-Cœur domes in Montmartre – and with cafés on either side, it’s a lovely place to relax and refuel before visiting the iconic basilica.

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3. Rue Crémieux

One of the most photographed streets in Paris is Rue Crémieux, which is in the 12th arrondissement. If strolling down this vibrant street reminds you of a different capital city, you’re not alone. The street was inspired by Portobello Street in London and the small, bright-coloured houses look more like they belong in Notting Hill than the French capital.

But the fact that the narrow, crayon-coloured Rue Crémieux is such a playful departure from Paris’ wide, white boulevards is part of its appeal – just ask the many film-makers and Instagrammers who flock here (often to the annoyance of residents seeking peace and privacy!). So, if you want to take photos, do remember that these beautiful facades are actually the front of people’s homes!

4. Villa Léandre

Rue Crémieux isn’t the only street that brings a little slice of London to the French capital. Villa Léandre is just a few minutes walk away from some of the most popular attractions in Montmartre. But if you’re looking to admire buildings that are a bit different from the typical Haussmannian architecture that’s synonymous with the city, you can’t skip this street.

This cobbled cul-de-sac is lined with English-style houses that were first built in 1926. They were particularly modelled after the grand townhouses of London – and, at no. 10, you’ll even find a little plaque to ‘Downing Street’. Each house is different in decor and appearance, so there’s lots to admire. Plus, Villa Léandre is often overlooked by tourists, so you may get the street to yourself.

5. Rue Chanoinesse

Located in one of the oldest areas of Paris, Île de la Cité, Rue Chanoinesse isn’t just home to one of the prettiest cafés and wine bars in Paris (the wisteria-swathed Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole), it’s also just a stone’s throw from Notre Dame cathedral. And there are plenty of unique features to discover here too – not least a courtyard paved with repurposed gravestones.

Rue Chanoinesse has a fascinating history, and the popular Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole café was actually built in 1512 to be a canon house for Notre Dame. However, it was bought by a citizen in the 1700s and turned into a wine bar, and it’s attracted thirsty visitors ever since. In spring, sitting out in front of the wisteria, sipping a glass of French wine while watching the world go by, is a real pleasure.

6. Rue Saint-Dominique

The 7th arrondissement is home to Paris’ most iconic attraction: the Eiffel Tower, as well as some of the best eating and shopping streets in all of Paris. So if you have limited time in the City of Light but still want to see the most famous attraction, eat some delicious local food, and pick up some souvenirs, this is where to head.

The view of the Eiffel Tower from Rue Saint-Dominique is arguably one of the best in the city, particularly from street level, and it’s a great place to base yourself to watch the twinking tower come to life at night. The neighbourhood is packed with chic brasseries, cafés, bakeries, and fancy boutiques, so you could spend all day here and not get bored.

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7. Rue des Thermopyles

Hidden deep inside Paris’ 14th arrondissement is Rue des Thermopyles, a gorgeous, traffic-free street that’s so tranquil it will make you forget you’re in the heart of a bustling capital city. With plants and shrubs peppered along the pavement, and ivy, wisteria, and other climbing plants draped all over the buildings, this verdant street is a secret oasis in a tucked-away corner of Paris.

Rue des Thermopyles is special for a couple of reasons. First, its small buildings are a rarity in a city dominated by six and seven-story buildings, and the diminutive houses only add to the street’s quiet, villagey appeal. Second, it’s paved with large cobblestones (rather than the small cobblestones found in Montmartre), and thirdly, the walls are often adorned with vibrant murals that come and go.

8. Avenue Rapp

If you’re hoping to get a different perspective on the Eiffel Tower, head to Avenue Rapp, which is also located in the 7th arrondissement. The views of the iconic tower looming above the classic Parisian architecture are pretty special, and just around the corner, at Square Rapp, you can enjoy another gorgeous view of the tower from a pretty courtyard.

Art enthusiasts have another reason to head here. Number 29 Avenue Rapp houses an art nouveau collection created by Jules Lavirotte, a Lyon-born designer, which was rather controversial when it was first displayed. While the artwork was meant to portray scenes of Adam and Eve, Lavirotte decided to use his wife as his muse instead, raising local eyebrows at the time!

9. Rue de l’Université

As one of the longest streets in Paris, Rue de l’Université has got a lot going for it – and it’s also one of the few streets in the city that hasn’t changed names since it was first erected. Its origins trace back to the 12th century, but these days it’s the street’s location more than its history that makes it so popular with tourists.

Where the street ends, just past Avenue de la Bourdonnais, you’ll find another incredibly photogenic street view of the Eiffel Tower – and if you’re looking for a shot of the tower surrounded by classic Parisian Haussmann architecture, it can’t be beaten. Just bear in mind that the street’s popularity is no secret, so if you want to get more of the place to yourself, it’s better to head here early!

10. Champs-Élysées

No list of Parisian streets would be complete without the Champs-Élysées. Easily the most famous street in the city, the Champs-Élysées connects two of Paris’ most iconic sights; the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Garden. The street name translates to ‘Elysian Fields’, which was the resting place of Greek gods, and this sense of grandeur still exists today.

However, rather than stumbling upon the souls of the heroic, today, you’ll find some of the most renowned luxury designers in the world – from Hermés and Givenchy to Balenciaga and Gucci. Even if you’re not interested in shopping, it’s worth coming here for a stroll – and, from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, you get a gorgeous view over the city…especially at sunset.

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Final thoughts…

Paris is an obvious choice for a city break. Not only does it captivate its visitors but, if you get the Eurostar from London, you can arrive in the City of Lights in little over two hours.

Thanks to its abundance of excellent cafés, Paris is a city that’s wonderful to explore on foot – and whenever you get a craving for café au lait or a sweet, flaky pastry, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus, strolling around the city means you might just stumble upon one of its most charming streets.

Whether they offer dramatic views of the Eiffel Tower, take you past rows of cute, crayon-coloured houses, or allow you into secret corners of the city packed with plants, all the streets listed here are worth exploring on your next visit.

For more city break inspiration, why not read our article on 15 of the best restaurants in New York City?

What’s your favourite street in Paris? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.