27 February 2011

A visit to Paris: Famous landmarks and sights

On our first visit to Paris, of course we went to see some of the sights that have made the city famous. The end of August/beginning of September was an excellent time to visit as the weather was still nice, but it wasn't intensely busy.

From nearly underneath

We had a picnic in the park by the Eiffel Tower. It's an incredibly cheesy thing to do, but it was also really fun.

Arc de Triomphe

After seeing the Eiffel Tower we walked over to the Arc de Triomphe. Apparently there's some underground passageway to get over to the centre, across the huge, busy roundabout, but we just looked at it from across the street.

The Louvre

At the Louvre, the old palace and the new glass pyramid entrance provide a pretty juxtaposition. We spent a good bit of time in the Louvre, which is a complete maze. The map isn't that helpful since portions of the museum are shut for renovations or setting up new exhibitions, blocking off any clever routes you might plan. Lots of neat stuff to see, of course!

skulls in the catacombs

Something that's hard to explain if you've never visited the Catacombs, is that the part with the skulls and bones, while macabre, isn't the spooky bit. It's walking down the long, low, dim corridors to get there. I was walking at the front of the group who went down with us and so since the tunnel is only one person wide, I couldn't see anything except more tunnel in front of me. Occasionally it would turn and there would be more damp, dim, empty tunnel stretching out in front of me. It was fascinatingly creepy and felt like it might never end.

Angel in Père Lachaise Cemetery

The Père Lachaise Cemetery has many beautiful monuments, as well as the graves of assorted famous people. Apparently that's actually how it all got started. They needed to make a new graveyard because the ones in central Paris were over-full and causing disease problems. But it was so far away that people wouldn't want to be buried there, so they exhumed graves of famous people and re-buried them in the new cemetery as a marketing technique!

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur

Sitting atop the highest point of Paris, in Montmartre, the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur is a stunning sight.

Looking up at Sacre-Coeur

While the outside of Sacre-Coeur is very beautiful, the interior felt quite austere in comparison to the extremely ornate cathedrals in Italy!

silver modernity

The Centre Pompidou is perhaps less famous than some of these other sights, but it's one of the more remarkable modern architectural landmarks in Paris.

Notre-Dame and roses

The Notre-Dame cathedral was very pretty and we ate sorbet in a little park nearby on a sunny afternoon when we realised that we were fed up with looking at things in museums. I'm glad we did, or I would have missed this shot of the cathedral looking up through the roses.

You can see all the photos from our holiday in my trip to Paris set.

Photographs and artwork by Allison Gryski. © All rights reserved.


Susan M, Fibre Arts said... Best Blogger Tips

I am totally loving your overviews of all the highlights from your summer travels. What a remarkable summer!