Sunday, 16 September 2018

Postcard from Paris, France

Greetings and welcome to my virtual discovery walk! Today I'll share with you one of my favourite 5 km walks (about 3.2 miles) in Paris, France, and introduce you to some of the iconic landmarks in the City of Love or City of Light.

I have family in Paris and visit the city frequently, on average once every two years. I'm familiar with where many of the sights are and feel comfortable getting around Paris on my own either on foot or by riding the Metro and RER (regional trains). On each visit, I usually set aside time for nothing but wandering and exploring Paris.

Today I'll start from the Eiffel Tower and end at the Notre-Dame Cathedral. I'll take a short ride on the Metro so you can get a feel for Paris subway system. On this walk we'll view the sights and save the sight visits for another time. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.

1. La Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) - On this visit, it was partly sunny and I got a few shots of the Eiffel Tower with blue sky! Below is a photo of the Eiffel Tower from Pont d'Iéna. There is now plexiglass and concrete barriers at the base of the tower for security purposes so visitors must follow the snake-like path to enter the Eiffel Tower. On a previous visit, I climbed up to the first level of the tower and took the elevator to the top level. The view at each level was fantastic.


2. Palais de Chaillot and the fountains - Palais de Chaillot features two curved wings built around a paved courtyard for the 1937 World Expo. It's a museum and entertainment complex. I was happy to see the fountains working as they were not on during my previous visit in summer 2016.


3. Eiffel Tower from Palais de Chaillot - I'm convinced that Palais de Chaillot offers the best view in all of Paris of the Eiffel Tower across the river Seine, plus Parc du Champ de Mars behind it, and all the way to L'Ecole Militaire.


4. L'Arc de Triomphe - From Palais de Chaillot or Place du Trocadéro, we can either walk or hop on the Metro line 6 for three stops and get off at Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station. Follow the sign from the metro station to street level to see L'Arc de Triomphe in the centre of the Etoile (Star) roundabout. This is the world's largest triumphal arch and an internationally recognized symbol of France. The monument was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon and was completed in 1836. On a previous visit to Paris, I climbed 50 meters up, via 284 steps, to reach the viewing platform on top of the arch. From there, you can see the dozen avenues. One of them is the famed Avenue des Champs Elysées.


5. Avenue des Champs Elysées - This avenue is fantastic for people-watching and it's just pure fun to browse the numerous stores, or to take a coffee break at one of the many eateries. Below is a view of the tree-lined avenue looking towards L'Arc de Triomphe. In the evening, it glitters with lights.


6. Obélisque at Place de la Concorde - Continue east along Avenue des Champs Elysées, we'll reach Place de la Concorde. This vast place was constructed between 1757 and 1777 to provide a home for a monument to Louis XV. The rose granite Obélisque de Louxor was a gift offered by Mehemet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, to Charles X in 1829. Dating from the 13th century BC, the obelisk, which depicts the deeds of Ramses II, is effectively Paris' oldest monument.


7. Fountain at Place de la Concorde - Also at the vast Place de la Concorde there are huge and beautifully-designed fountains, like the one below. They're a welcoming sight on hot summer days as there is no shade at Place de la Concorde until we reach the Tuileries garden (Jardin des Tuileries).


8. Jardin des Tuileries - Catherine de Médicis, yearning for the public promenades of her native Italy, had the garden built in 1564. Since 1789, it has been one of Paris' most popular public spaces. Walking along the Tuileries, we see rows of trees, shrubs, flower plants, grassy areas, gravel walkways, occasional benches, and many statues. In the centre of the garden is the fountain where green metal chairs are available for resting or launching small rental toy boats.


9. Place du Carrousel- Walking east from the Tuileries fountain, we'll reach Place du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built between 1806 and 1808. It serves as an entrance of honor at the Tuileries.


10. Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace) - Exiting Place du Carousel, we'll see Palais du Louvre, the largest palace in Europe with Louvre Museum the largest museum in the western hemisphere. Visitors enter the museum via the glass and metal pyramid designed by I.M. Pei, or directly from the metro. On a previous visit, I was able to see some of the masterpieces in Louvre Museum such as Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo.


11. Île de la Cité - Leaving the Louvre Museum, we continue further east along the river Seine and cross Pont Neuf to reach Île de la Cité. The island, right in the heart of Paris, is where we'll find Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-Dame Cathedral.


12. Sainte-Chapelle - Completed in 1248, Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel in the French Gothic style. If you like stained glass art work, this chapel is a must-see. Arranged across 15 windows, each 15 meters high, the stunning stained glass panes depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments.


13. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris - Begun in 1163 and completed in 1345, the cathedral façade features magnificently carved wooden portals called the Porte du Jugement (Door of Judgment). 


14. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris portals - Check out the incredible details from top to bottom of the façade, and the rose window in the centre. The most significant features of the interior are the enormous stained-glass rose windows that dominate the north and south end of the transept.


15. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris spire and buttresses - Walk around the exterior of the cathedral to the park behind it for a good view of the spire and flying buttresses of the apse of Notre-Dame. The park offers a nice spot to rest and admire this remarkable architecture.


16. Cathédral Notre-Dame de Paris side view - To see Notre-Dame side view in its entirety, cross to the Left Bank of the river Seine. I'll pause here and take you on a separate virtual discovery walk along the Left Bank later.



We've now finished our virtual 5 km walk. I hope you enjoy it.

If the 5 km walk is too challenging, it can be broken down or reduced to a more manageable distance. There are also bus and Metro trains that you can take to get around. I didn't mention any break here although it's easily done at any time to enjoy French café and fresh baked goods while watching the world go by. We can also reverse the walk, to start from Notre-Dame cathedral and end at the Eiffel Tower.

I think one of life's pleasures is to wander in Paris. The city is a photographer's dream and is beautiful no matter where you look. There are numerous neighbourhoods to explore such as Latin Quarter, St-Germain, Marais, Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur, etc. and let's not forget the view from the river Seine so plan a longer stay or come again.

Thank you for joining me today. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

54 comments:

  1. Just beautiful Natalie and I enjoyed your virtual walk. We are going to Japan in two weeks so it will be interesting to see the results of the recent typhoon. You can't control the weather when you travel, can you? I like your idea so might write a similar post when I visit Japan. Have a great week! xx

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    1. So exciting, Sue, to have a trip coming up in two weeks. I look forward to reading your post about Japan. I'd love to return to Japan for a second visit.

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    2. Hi Natalie, it is exciting and I know the next two weeks will fly! Thank you for supporting the #MLSTL linkup and you are a valued member of our community. Enjoy the rest of your week. xx

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    3. Thank you, Sue, for hosting. Have a fabulous week!

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  2. Thank you for bringing back memories from our trip in May. It's such a fabulous city to walk!

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    1. Thank you, Jo, for stopping by. I agree Paris is a fabulous city to walk.

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  3. This brings back many happy memories. I also found Paris a great city to walk around, and using the metro was a good help too. Wish I could go back!

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    1. Thank you, Bronnie, for your visit and comment. Paris is great for walking and its metro network is extensive.

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  4. What a grand day you have given us. I have actually done that walk (or some semblance of it as I have visited each of those lovely places) but it was in the days before I carried a camera so it is nice to enjoy this tour again through your lens. What a great idea to put together walks such as these. Such a help to fellow travelers

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    1. Thank you, Lisa, for your kind comments. It would be amazing to take this tour through your lens as your photos are amazing.

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  5. Lovely photos that brought back many memories of my own trip to Paris.

    SSG xxx

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    1. Thanks, SSG, for your kind comment.

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  6. Lovely photos Natalie - I remember seeing a few of those when we did a couple of days in Paris. Did you make it to Montmartre? That was my all time favourite memory from our visit.

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    1. Hi Leanne - Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, I made it to Montmartre. It's another lovely area for wandering.

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    2. Hi Natalie - back from #MLSTL and I've shared this on my SM xx

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    3. Thank you, Leanne, for hosting #MLSTL and sharing. Have a great week!

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  7. I like the way you have put this post together, Natalie. Thank you for the virtual tour. It brought back memories of my Paris visits. I've never done this particular walk, but have photographed most of the sights on different occasions.

    PS: I'm hanging out with Donna at this very moment. :-)

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    1. Hi Liesbet - Thank you for joining me on my virtual tour. I think it hits all the major attractions in Paris for first time visitors and those who want to revisit in one day. Say hello to Donna for me. I look forward to reading your post and photos of your meet up.

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  8. I've only been to Paris once (before the glass and metal pyramid entrance to the Louvre), which is nuts because my SIL and her family live not to far away and have asked us to visit. Hopefully soon... your photos have reminded me how beautiful it is.

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    1. Oh Janis, I hope you decide to visit Paris again soon. Your SIL and her family will likely show you something or take you to a place that only the locals know.

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  9. You covered a lot of territory and a lot of iconic sites in 5k! I hope that I will be able to take this walk in Paris someday, it looks lovely! France is on our sooner rather than later travel list.

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    1. Yes to visit France 'sooner rather than later', Michele. I was very happy to have a few days with perfect temperatures on this trip to do nothing but wandering.

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  10. Very beautiful photos of a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing it with us. #MLSTL

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    1. Thanks, Patrick, for your comment. I greatly appreciate it.

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  11. Paris is the perfect City to wander in. So much to see and then to just sit with a coffee or a glass of champagne and watch the world go by. My idea of heaven. Pinning this.

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    1. Thank you, Jan, for your visit and pinning. Totally agree with your comment.

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  12. Wow. That was a great virtual tour, Natalie. Having family there makes a great reason to visit. As a student who took French for her 6 years of high school many decades ago some of those buildings and monuments are very familiar!

    Thank you for linking up for #LifeThisWeek. The optional prompt next is: 39/52. Last Thing I Bought. 24/9/18. Denyse

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    1. Thank you, Denyse, for hosting #LifeThisWeek and for your kind comments. The monuments in Paris are wonderful to see IRL as you can study their details. Have a great week!

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  13. I thoroughly enjoyed that walk Natalie and will stop and rest for a while now at a local cafe! I have been to Paris a few times and never tire of these sights, so thanks for the memories. I’ve shared for #mlstl. Debbie Http://www.debs-world.com

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    1. Thank you, Debiie, for your kind comment. I'll join you at that local cafe :) I think Paris has timeless beauty and recurring visitors are proof to that.

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  14. I've been to Paris three times and spent many hours walking there. Your post brought back many memories #MLSTL Wil share on SM

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer, for your visit and comment. Paris is one of those amazing cities where many visitors would like to return for more exploring. Glad to hear you've been to Paris three times.

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  15. I've only been to Paris once Natalie, and I loved it. Your photos brought back some fond memories. Perhaps some day I will be there again and take this 5k walk IRL. Thanks for sharing. #MLSTL

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    1. Thank you, Christie, for stopping by. with so many wonderful places to explore in our world, I hope you consider a second visit to Paris.

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  16. Your photos make me want to visit Paris. It is on my list but so far haven't had the chance to visit there yet.

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    1. Thank you, Victoria, for your comment. I hope you get to visit Paris with plenty of time to explore the city.

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  17. Beautiful - Paris is most definitely the city you travers on foot.

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  18. I have never been to Paris (or France, or Europe or even the UK!) so thank you for the virtual tour! It's so beautiful! The history and architecture is astounding! I hope to see it all with my own eyes one day. :-) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. You're welcome, Min, and thank you for your comment. There are endless things to see and experience in Paris or France. Your camera will be put into very good use :)

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  19. What beautiful sights you've shown us! I'd love to see them all in person, but not being able to do that, I enjoy your virtual 5k walk as an alternative.
    Sharing in MLSTL

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    1. Thank you, Trisha, for your comment. I'm glad you enjoy my virtual walk.

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  20. I was in Paris two and a half years ago and didn't get a good feel for the city and saw even less of it. Terrorist attacks were prevalent and soldiers with automatic rifles were everywhere. Hopefully one day I'll return. In the meantime, thanks for your tour. #MLSTL

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    1. I'm sorry to hear you were unable to see and enjoy much of Paris. The heightened security in many cities is a sad reality. I hope you'll return and have a great time. Thank you for your comment.

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  21. Ah that takes me back Natalie. Paris is indeed a perfect walking city, and although we didn't have any way of tracking our steps 5 years ago, we walked almost every single day for 8 weeks. By the time we went home I felt like I knew those familiar streets and various arrondissements so very well. Thank you for sharing!!

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    1. Hi Sue - Eight weeks to explore Paris sounds wonderful. Thank you for your visit and comment. I greatly appreciate it.

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  22. What a fabulous guide for visitors in Paris. I have been here and walked to some of these attractions. Paris is a beautiful city and I always think it always the best way to see a city - on foot. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Thanks, Kathy, for your kind comment. Walking certainly allows us to have a good feel for a city.

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  23. So pretty. Paris is next year for me! If the travel Gods align.

    My step-daughter just got back from Europe. She loved Paris but said some of the magic and romance was taken away from the Eiffel Tower now that it is so surrounded by security. Sign of the times. #teamlovinlife

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    1. The heightened security at major landmarks is an unfortunate reality in many cities. I hope you travel plans to Paris work out. 2019 is about 3 months away :)

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  24. My favorite city in all the world! While I have visited all these iconic landmarks on many occasions, it never occurred to me to define a 5k walk through the city of lights! I LOVE this idea - and will plan to map out my own 5k on my next visit :) Pinning to my #mlstl board for future reference.

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    1. Thank you for your enthusiastic comment, Molly. I love to create and do 5K walks, both at home and abroad, and Paris is a beautiful city to do these walks.

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  25. Here in Australia we are only a young country compared to the history in these places. Just an amazing amount of things to see in a five kilometre walk!

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    1. Endless things to see in Paris, Alicia. Thank you for joining me on my virtual walk.

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