Paris, First Day: Champs-Elysées and Arc de Triomphe

See what I mean about there being so many photos?! I had to split them up so I wouldn’t overwhelm everyone’s browsers, ha! This is the third set of images for our first day in Paris. It’s about 5:00 p.m. and we are strolling down the Champs-Elysées.

Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

After walking for a couple of hours now, we were thirsty and wanted a snack. We stopped at a cafe called Unisex because it had an inviting lounge area in which to people watch. We sat for a while, perusing the menu, but no one came by to get our drink order for the longest time. Finally the hostess popped back over and asked what we wanted… I was irritated having to wait nearly 10 minutes for any sort of acknowledgement so I ordered an iced tea while Curtis ordered a cocktail. Then we waited and waited and waited. We people-watched. We chatted. A waiter came over to get our drink order and we told him the woman already took it, so he disappeared. We waited and waited and waited. Finally at 30 minutes, we gave up and went somewhere else. Thumbs down! (I actually Yelped them, it was that bad.)

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Sidewalk Cafe

While we were waiting endlessly on drinks that never came, I did manage to get this shot of a group of guys sitting behind us in the cafe. Lots and lots of people smoke in Paris (oh it made me want a cigarette so badly!) with their espressos. The men look so put together over there… clothes are more tailored, shoes and belts match and are in good shape, and even their hair is nicely coiffed. See the ladies in the background? I love the pop of the yellow jacket.

Paris travel tourist street photographer


The light was softer as it approached sunset and the way it was hitting the building caught my attention. I wanted to get a street sign of the Champs-Elysées and one of the advertising signs as well. There is even a pigeon flying in for a landing low in the scene.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Roma Gypsy Beggar

Stationed every couple of blocks were these women in head scarves on their knees with a styrofoam cup. They would just sit and look at you, holding their cup. Then they would pray, laying their heads down on the pavement. After getting home, I looked them up: they are Roma Gypsy beggars and have been part of the Champs-Elysées scene for years. We were more aggressively approached by other Gypsys at Notre Dame, more on that later.

Paris travel tourist street photographer


Love this little vignette of the pigeons, the boys, and the man on his phone. Every one is busy and purposeful while still seeming relaxed and casual. Were the boys local or tourists? Who was the man talking to? I like making up stories about the strangers around me.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Louis Vuitton

I didn’t dare venture in, but I had to get a shot of the Louis Vuitton store in Paris. I’ve never owned a designer bag before, but I would like to have one nice classic purse before I die.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Café George V

We found another charming cafe in which to try having a drink and a snack. The waiter pictured center was outside and invited us in as we passed… he seemed the very archetype of a Parisian cafe waiter. Café George V was a much much nicer establishment than Unisex. It was a bit chilly outside so I ordered an Irish Coffee and Curtis got a crepe with grand marnier splashed on top. Both his crepe and my coffee were then lit on fire as they were placed in front of us. Oh la la!

Paris travel tourist street photographer

He’s So Cute

Getting some warm drinks and a snack relaxed us both. We were fully immersing ourselves into the experience of being tourists in Paris. I hadn’t seen Curtis this relaxed and happy in a very long time. I’m pleased to report that this very cute version of my hubby was present all weekend. He’s so cute!!!

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Parisian Texting

The Arc de Triomphe provides a beautiful background for a Parisian woman texting. This is in my top ten favorite images from the trip because it really captures how technology removes us from the moment. Maybe she sees this every day and it is background noise to her?

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Short View

Remember the Long View image I shared in the last blog post? Curtis and I braved the middle of the street (there was not much room in which to stand while traffic zoomed by on either side of us!) to get this shot of the Arc de Triomphe from the middle of the Champs-Elysées.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Arc de Triomphe

We got to the Arc de Triomphe as the sun was setting and it was beautiful. Iconic.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Chambre de Commerce

So I’m realizing I have a thing for doors, you will start to see more and more of them. I almost didn’t take this shot because the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie was behind a tall gated fence. But I was so fascinated with the ornate heavy door that I stuck my lens through the fence to get this shot (you can see a hint of the wrought iron fencing on the left).

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Door of Circles

Not far past the previous door, we found this one… the door of circles. This was a massive entrance and it looked like it was an entry into an apartment building maybe.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Parisian Florist at Dusk

I shared this one in my Week Eight post… I cannot begin to describe how beautiful this city is but I will try to do it justice. The brick-paved streets, quaint street lamps, the corner florist… it was all so picturesque.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

No. 137

Another beautiful set of doors. Look at the detail in the upper round windows. You can tell these doors have been here for a very very long time.

Paris travel tourist street photographer


As we slowly made our way back to our hotel, I was just awestruck by all of the beauty inherent in the city buildings. This church for example… the architecture, the placement on the corner of the intersection, the way the cross reaches up into the darkening sky… it’s just so beautiful. I kept smacking Curtis in the chest exclaiming, “Can you believe we are actually here?!?!”

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Walking the Dog

We were almost back to the hotel when we spotted this lady emerging from her building walking her dog. What a cutie-pie. The coat and the boots are just too much.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

No. 28

Curtis and I made it back to the hotel and laid down for a short rest. Once we got up, we were ready to go back out and get something to eat! On our way to the restaurant, I found one more door that I couldn’t resist. The brass and copper stripes and details really make this a standout. Turns out this is a Huissier de Justice location… which translates to bailiff or deputy sheriff.

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Wee Bit Tipsy

Sooo… I almost didn’t share this image because it is out of focus. The reason it’s out of focus? I was drunk! LOL. Curtis and I shared an incredible bottle of Italian wine (Nero d’Avola Terre Siciliane Originale by Baglio diVincenzo… if anyone ever finds this wine, please let me know!) over an equally incredible meal at Tesoro d’Italia. I had basil pesto ravioli and it was one of the finest things I’ve ever eaten in my life. OMG. After dinner, we found a gelato bar called Amorino… the caramello al burro salt was one of the most delicious frozen treats I’ve ever had. What an incredible end to our first day in Paris!

Paris travel tourist street photographer

Au revoir for now, my friends. Day Two is about to begin!!!

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