Continued from Paris, First Day: Hotel and Walking. Curtis and I had been walking for about 45 minutes or so, just strolling and stopping to take photos. We weren’t in any touristy areas so we felt like we were experiencing real Parisian street life. We were so happy and even held hands a few times! The weather was beautiful.
La Madeleine is a church, in its present form, that acts as a temple to honor Napoleon’s Army. It has 52 Corinthian columns and religious services, weddings, and funerals are still held here today. It is an imposing and massive structure.
Walking along, we noticed a double doorway open with red lampshades flanking the doors… and looking through the open doors, we saw this incredible shopping area all lined with red lamps. It was so charming! We felt like we would get too sidetracked if we went to explore (just too much to see in too short of a time!), so we didn’t wander down there. It was very inviting though!
I took quite a few photos of Parisian doors and you will see why. This is the first one that caught my photographer’s eye enough to compel me to take a picture. By the end of the trip, I had a nice collection of beautiful, unique doors. I think I’ll put them in a Flickr album as a collection.
Every once in a while, you just have to stop and look around. Take in your surroundings. Notice details. Suck the hell out of life in the now. This was not far from the blue door and I had experienced one of those moments. I just stopped and looked up. The shrub growing at the top of the building is what caught my attention. After downloading, I noticed more details… the beautiful reflection in the bottom window, the ornate balcony railings, and a curious red circle located in the frames of two windows.
I swung my camera around, still looking up, to get a shot of the rooftops across the street. Even though this looks like one long continuous building, you can see a difference in the chimneys from the left half to the right half. The windows are also slightly different.
It’s hard to describe what seeing these open doorways are like… some leading to shopping areas, others to private residences. This looked to be a mixed use area, with a large hall maybe to rent for an event and some homes as well. It was so inviting that we had to wander in a little. Look at the cobblestone driveway.
Once inside the this vestibule area, I stopped and looked up to the left. You can see several terraces and lots of greenery (this surprised me!). I really wish someone had been outside and said, “Bonjour!” to us. 🙂
Stretching Out Forever
We made our way to the central square of the city, but before I show you that magnificent view, I want to share this endless long stretch of buildings. I can’t get over how similarly everything is built. We learned all about that on our Eiffel Tower tour the next day.
Place de la Concorde
This is the central square in Paris with the Champs-Elysées on one side and the Tuileries Garden on the other. This is where the guillotine was set up to do beheadings in the 1700s.
The center of the square is dominated by this Egyptian obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics and was a gift from the Egyptian government to the French in the 19th century. Can you see the Arc de Triomphe off in the distance?
Ferris Wheel Fun
Curtis and I were thrilled to see that the ferris wheel was running. There was hardly anyone in line and we only had to wait a few minutes until we were in our own car.
To the northeast, through the tinted windows of our ferris wheel cabin, you can see that long row of buildings I photographed (Stretching Out Forever) as well as the beginning of the Tuileries Garden. I wish we had been able to come in the spring, I’m guessing the gardens are lush then. But it would’ve been much more crowded for sure!
Grand View of the Champs-Elysées
Even though this was taken through tinted, scratched, plexiglass, I’m still happy I got this shot of the Champs-Elysées. What a grand view! You can see the Arc de Triomphe at the end.
The Eiffel Tower from inside the cabin… and a selfie too! Taken with my iPhone 6+.
The French call the ferris wheel the grand roue. I love this perspective… looking up against the puffy white clouds and blue sky. We so enjoyed our ride!
After crossing the square, I looked back to get this shot of the ferris wheel, the obelisk, and the pyramid.
The Beginning of the C-E
We decided to walk down the north side of the Champs-Elysées from east to west. There are two large stone statues that mark the beginning of this grand avenue.
Love this shot of the square with the statue (note the seagull perched atop the statue!). After downloading, I noticed the pedicab driver looking at me with a suspicious glare. There were throngs of people out and about but we didn’t feel crowded at all.
The Grand Palais is now a museum, historic site, and exhibition hall. It was built for the Universal Exposition in 1900, with a glass ceiling to show off art exhibitions before electricity was used. There is a similar, smaller structure next to it called the Petit Palais.
Seeing the Arc de Triomphe off in the distance compelled us to go the middle of the street to get a shot. I love all of the flags flanking the Champs-Elysées and seeing all of the traffic too.
This concludes the second in my series! We are in late afternoon of Day One, I will conclude the day on Saturday with my next installment. I hope you are enjoying these so far!