Olivia’s Trip to France, Part 2: Paris

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Hi everybody!

Here is (FINALLY) the second installment of photos from my trip to France last summer. Paris is a beautiful, vibrant city, and being there and catching sight of the tip of the Eiffel Tower over the tops of apartment buildings was like a dream. I hope you enjoy and get a feel for the electrifying atmosphere of Paris, the City of Lights, through my photos.

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A glimpse of the famous Eiffel Tower through the trees. What a magical sight…I never get tired of it.

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A street corner a few blocks away from the apartment we were staying.

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I apologize in advance for the multitude of Eiffel Tower photos in this post. While in Paris, I challenged myself to take lots of pictures of the Tower from different vantage points throughout the city, and at different angles and times of day. I had been seeing pictures of the Eiffel Tower in books and my mom’s photo albums for my whole life, and finally getting to see it in person was truly enchanting.

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We saw this plaque on the side of an apartment building. It reads, “Here lived Antoine de Saint-Exupery from 1934 to 1940.” (In case you don’t know, Antoine de Saint-Exupery is the author of the famous French book Le Petit Prince, or The Little Prince.) As wonderful as America is, you just don’t see stuff like that walking around in any old city in the States.

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Les Invalides, which contains the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the French Army, as well as the tombs of some of France’s notable war heroes, including Napoleon Bonaparte.

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Napoleon’s tomb. It is HUGE.

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The outside of the Musée de l’Armée.

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The French flag, waving proudly in the warm summer breeze.

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The famous Paris metro sign. In Paris, EVERYONE takes the metro – tourists and locals alike.

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The Arc de Triomphe, one of Paris’s most famous monuments. It commemorates those who fought for France during the Napoleonic Wars. I like this picture because the people milling about underneath give you some perspective on just how big the arch really is.

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Underneath the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Here the Memorial Flame is perpetually burning to commemorate those unidentified soldiers who lost their lives in World War I.

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The view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

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Outside the Centre Pompidou, a famous modern art museum. Even the outside of the building is artsy. Those red platforms are escalators – this is how you enter the museum. Outside in the square around the museum, musicians and artists gather to perform and sell their work.

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The Stravinsky Fountain, located just across from the Centre Pompidou. The colorful, eccentric moving statues make this fountain a true work of art.

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The view of the Eiffel Tower over the tops of apartment buildings. I took this picture at the top of the escalator going up the side of the Centre Pompidou.

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Another pretty shot of the Eiffel Tower through the trees.

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The famous Jules Verne restaurant at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, my family was not interested in spending $500 for lunch, so we didn’t go, but I hope I get the chance to go someday, even if I can only afford a glass of water. Haha. 🙂 (I’m exaggerating a little. But still, it’s pricey.)

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The view of the Seine from the top of the Eiffel Tower. In case you’re curious, getting to the top required climbing over seven hundred stairs and then waiting in line for twenty minutes to take an elevator that was crammed with about thirty tourists at once.

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The view of the Parc du Champ de Mars from the top of the Tower. (That random building in the background is the Montparnasse Tower. I think that it completely destroys the view. Apparently, I have heard that the only reason to go up in it is so that you don’t have to see it, which is a pretty depressing reason.)

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An artsy picture of the Eiffel Tower. This kind of gives you an idea of its incredible sky-scraping height.

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The Notre Dame cathedral. There was about a mile long line to get in, but it was worth it. It’s absolutely incredible and gives you a sense of the height of God’s glory and majesty.

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A gargoyle atop the Notre Dame.

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Another gargoyle. This one looks rather bored, don’t you think? Guess I don’t blame it – I would be too if I’d been sitting in the same place, in the same position, for over six hundred years.

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Another vibrant view of the city.

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The outside of the Louvre museum. This museum houses the famous Mona Lisa (which is disappointingly small in person), among other incredible things. The museum has one of the largest collections in the world, if not THE largest, and it is just a treasure trove of beautiful artifacts, including ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, tablets carved with Mesopotamian cuneiform writing, and medieval triptychs. The museum itself was once a royal palace, but the more recent addition of the glass pyramids blends modern and traditional architecture, which I find so interesting. It seems bizarre, but it works. It really does – it’s quite a striking sight.

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People sitting on the edge of the fountain in front of the Louvre, dipping their feet in the cool water. It was so incredibly HOT that summer.

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On several bridges throughout Paris, lovestruck tourists write their names on padlocks and lock them onto the gate as a symbol of their everlasting love. I think this is just so romantic and such a sweet idea. All the colorful padlocks create a sort of collage of color, which makes for an interesting photo.

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A closer look.

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A beautiful pastel sunset seen from the Seine.

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Luxembourg Palace. I took this photo strolling through the magnificent gardens of the Jardin du Luxembourg.

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I think the color in this picture is absolutely stunning. The flowers are so vibrant, the grass so green, the sky so deep and blue…

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Yes, we DID stop at a McDonald’s once on our trip. I know, I know – why go to McDonald’s when in Paris, the food capital of the world? Well, as hungry tourists, we weren’t especially interested in a two-hour long sit-down meal at a fancy restaurant, and we were so famished from all our traipsing around the city that we would have eaten anything. So we stopped at this McDonald’s along the Champs-Élysées for a bite to eat. I just thought this was too funny, so I had to take a picture. For the most part, McDonald’s in France is the same as McDonald’s in the U.S. But you can see here that the French have added their own twist.

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La Conciergerie, a former royal palace and prison. Marie Antoinette stayed here briefly before her execution.

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This is a picture of the Paris Plage, or the Paris Beach. Basically what happens is, every summer, a bunch of sand gets dumped on the side of the Seine, and umbrellas are set up and palm trees planted, to transform downtown Paris into a “beach.” Nobody actually goes swimming in the Seine, of course, but I guess it gives people a chance to “escape” urban life for a while if they aren’t able to literally take a vacation. I find this so bizarre and so neat at the same time.

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The Eiffel Tower illuminated at dusk. For the first five minutes of each hour, starting around 9:00 PM, the Eiffel Tower twinkles. At the beginning of each hour, as the twinkling begins, you can hear “ooh”s and “ahh”s from all the awestruck viewers on the lawns below. It is truly a magical sight.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures. I was so thankful for the opportunity to visit such a beautiful city, filled with so much vibrant history and rich culture, and I hope I will be able to return someday. Keep an eye out for the third and final installment of photos from my trip to France last summer, coming (hopefully) soon: Normandy!

À la prochaine (Until next time), Olivia

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