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Seeing the famous sights of Paris

A part of the Louvre at night. There’s no way to capture the entire building without panoramic photography.

There is quite a bit to see in Paris, and I could publish several posts about the different sites. I’m just going to focus on the typical ones and my impressions of them however much I experienced of them.

The Louvre museum

the Louvre is gigantic. It’s hard to put into words. You can’t really know it unless you’ve been to a similarly large museum. I felt like I barely saw a fifth of it in the several morning hours I spent wandering the little bit I committed to seeing. When you see the paintings, you realize why. Many of them are as large as house walls, even larger. It’s breath taking and awesome to think how someone painted on such large canvasses. They would have had to lay the canvas down on the ground or perhaps stood on ladders to get to every corner of the canvas.

There is the Jardin des Tuileries outside of the Louvre. It is quite a massive garden that you could walk for an hour or two. There are large enclosed flower beds throughout and wide gravel pathways that cars could drive on, except they don’t allow that of course. There are sculpted trees that encircle relaxing sitting areas with sculptures at the center. It was a great place to be on a sunnier day.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame cathedral

Notre Dame sits on the Île de la Cité and is accessible by several bridges that get you onto the island. It is still a public church with services. Tourists must circle the surrounding edges inside the church while devout attendees sit in the pews during mass. The stained windows were quite ornate and of course, there were several stands of candles as you find in Catholic churches. You can also learn a little history about Notre Dame touring the inside. Of course, you can donate your Euro to the church to help keep it standing.

Arc de Triomphe

L’Arc de Triomphe was isolated at one end of the Champs Élysées (Elysium fields). Traffic in the area circles the Arc in about the most massive roundabout I’ve seen. There were underground passageways that let you get there without playing the most frightening game of Frogger and passing through circling traffic. Once there, you can go up to the top of it for a small fee. I chose not to do that. All I saw were people lining the walls at the top peering over Paris and taking pictures. I imagine once you get up there, you have to wait your turn to get a good view of things. The Arc was beautifully lit at night.

There were many fashion clothing and higher class shops along the Champs Élysées. It seems like it is the place where you spend money if you have it. There were a few other things there as well, like one massive cinema and some fancier looking restaurants.

Eiffel Tower

Of course, I went to the Eiffel Tower to finally see it in person. It was far more massive than I realized. Of course it is tall, but it is one of those things that you have to see in person. You can go up in the tower, which is quite a ways up. There were pretty long lines though, so probably go there early and be prepared to wait. At night, the tower sparkles for a few minutes on the hour. I think this is something they started at the turn of the millennium.

They had tennis courts and a match playing in a nearby park. I sat for a while and watched part of the match that was going on when I got there. It could have been related to the French Open, because there was a nearby booth with the logo for Roland Garros. However, they televised the actual French Open match on screens in another part of the park nearby.

Eiffel Tower history – read more

Sacré Coeur

I took the metro to Sacré Couer, another church further out from the center of Paris. It was in a slightly more rugged part of Paris with more cobblestone like roads as well as some paved roads. When I got off the train, I entered an area set up for tourists. There were a lot of knick-knack shops with very Paris and French looking things: clothes, shot glasses, pictures, etc. The church also provides worship services, but it is also overrun with tourists.

One of the scenes in Amélie was shot there. It is when she sends the guy she’s chasing on a kind of hunt to find her. He goes to a pay phone and answers it when it rings, and that pay phone is near a caoursel a level down from the church.

Statue of Liberty

A lesser well known tourist spot for Americans is the Statue of Liberty that is in Paris. It is quite a bit smaller than the one on Ellis Island, but it matches that statue in design. I had to explore a bit to find the right pathway to get to the statue. It is on a small island in the Seine that has access on one end while the statue stands at the other. I had to navigate to and fro, but it was fun to get there. You can also see it from a nearby bridge, but only the back of it.

Statue of Liberty in Paris – read more

The Tuileries garden outside of and nearby the Louvre.

L’Arc de Triomphe

The televised french open for 2015 in the park Champ de Mars.

Tennis match that was going on in the park Camps de Mars near the Eiffel Tower.

Sacré Coeur

Down to the bottom left, you can see the carousel near Sacré Coeur.

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