Friday, July 9, 2010

Paris in July

Book Bath and Thyme for Tea are doing a really cool bloggy thing called Paris in July.  The are celebrating all things Parisian and French.  In their own words:

We are two friends with a deep interest and love of French culture and way of life - although we experience and demonstrate this passion in very different ways. Karen has only recently discovered the magic of Paris - the city, the architecture, the fashion and the literature whereas the French experience has been a part of Tamara's life for a long time, leading her to learn the language and experience the culture in a deeper way. But for both of us as Australian's, the reality of traveling to France is a costly and timely experience - so we need to find ways of bringing France to us!

There will be no rules or targets in terms of how much you need to do or complete in order to be a part of Paris In July - just blog about anything French and you can join in. Some ideas for the month might include;

- Reading a French book - fiction or non-fiction

- Watching a French movie

- Listening to French music

- Cooking French food

- Experiencing French art, architecture or travel

How cool is this?  I was perusing my next audio book when I saw a collection entitled Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant.  

How gorgeous was Mavis Gallant:

I just popped on my headphones and while I'm listening to this book, I thought I'd share a few photos from my trip to Paris back when I was a young college undergrad.  Enjoy!

I guess with any good Parisian story, I should start with the Eiffel Tower.  I have to say I was pretty awed by the sheer size and structural beauty.

Isn't it awe inspiring?

We didn't take the elevator but walked the entire way up.  If any of you are afraid of heights, just beware.

Or just look up instead of down:

Or just concentrate on the beautiful views of the city:

I loved the view of Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur. The Hotel Perfect were we stayed was near there.

Speaking of the Sacre Coeur, here is a good picture of the front.

While I was looking up at the Sacre Coeur, I found this little guy above me:
If you are in front of the Sacre Coeur, you also have a beautiful view of the city.  You also might watch a street performer as we were doing.

I have to admit that Montmartre was my favorite part of the city.  I loved this metro station's beautiful art nouveau sign:

In Montmartre, there are tons of stalls that sell art work and I popped into this cute little shop:

In Montmartre, I also found this iconic place.  Believe me, the area is not as glamorous and much more shady than I thought it would be.

Our hotel was near this cool church.  I snapped a photo of it's reflection in the cafe window across the street.  I totally understand now why French cafes all have though chairs.  They are everywhere in Paris.

On of my absolute favorite buildings is the Paris Opera House.  We walked by it nearly every day.  Isn't it gorgeous!  When I was in high school I read and loved Gaston Leroux novel The Phantom of the Opera so I was so excited to see this building.

Here I am with a friend, all grins, outside the Opera house:

This is the view of the Opera house from the side street.  I loved these lamp posts.

I was just a poor college kid though, so I didn't get to tour the building. I did get to pop into the entrance to snap this horribly dark photo. 

If you go to Paris, the Louvre is a must-see.  Isn't the courtyard gorgeous?  Some people thing the pyramid entrance is ugly but I don't mind.

I have to say that I thought this archway (the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel) at the Louvre was a bit more appealing though.  What are your thoughts?

Here's the view from inside the pyramid entrance looking out.

I loved the Louvre:

I was very hesitant to take any photos inside but I did snap a couple (without flash of course).  I loved the grace of this Cupid and Psyche 

I really liked Delaroche's The Young Martyr.  It's pretty dark but go check out the link for a better version.

Another must-see is the Notre Dame:

I'll admit that while I was awed by the size of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame seemed smaller than I was expecting.  But I was still dazzled by the beautiful architecture.

Of course I had to snap a photo of the gargoyles.  I think gargoyles are awesome with their funny smiles.

I got to tour around the inside but remember that it's a place of worship.  I did snap this photo of the stained glass from the inside (without flash of course). I was pretty ashamed that many other tourists weren't as polite.

On of my favorite things about big European cities are the waterways.  For some reason, I can navigate a city better when there is a river dividing it.  Here's a photo of the Seine.

And another one from the top of a tourist bus.  A good tip when touring cities like Paris, you can hop on and off of the tourist buses and you usually have a 24 hour pass.  Much easier than figuring out public transportation sometimes:

It's also a great way to see other parts of the city.  I absolutely loved the architecture in Paris.

The Arch de Triomphe.  I couldn't figure out how to get to it.  This was taken from the bus.  It's on an island inside a huge round-a-bout.

I just thought this was a cool literary sign.

I don't remember where this one was at but thought the slight view of Rodin's famous sculpture, The Thinker was pretty funny.  Wow, I totally thought this was a copy of the original, but looking at Wikipedia, I'm not too sure.  This was probably the Musee de Rodin.  Wow.

I wondered what building this was. Does anyone know?

I snagged a photo of the Pantheon with is near the gardens.

I remember it was by the Luxembourg Gardens. I found it amazing that in all the parks I saw in Paris, you couldn't go near the grass.

But there were some awesome fountains like this Medici Fountain.  Yep, built by those Medici's - Marie de Medici, widow of King Henry IV. I'm not sure what the green dinosaur thing is though.

I also saw this little guy and thought he looked sprightly with the Pantheon in the back.

This was one of my favorite photos.  This is one of Cleopatra's needles (the others in London and New York).  It is located at the Place de la Concorde which was also the site where they think during the Reign of Terror, they did the beheadings.  It's much to pretty to have such a gruesome historic past:
I think one of my favorite parts of Paris, though, was just the hustle and bustle of the city.

I swear I saw so many people riding bikes and everyone ate baguettes.  I swear I've never had so much bread in my life.  I also loved their coffee (ahem, I mean cafe du lait).

Well, I hope you enjoyed my brief tour of Paris! I definitely want to go back for a longer stay and see more of the French countryside,  especially now that I now more about French history.


  1. Your new blog is great and I feel like I just got back from Paris even though it's been 35+ years since I was there :)

  2. Beautiful post and photographs.

  3. I loved this tour of Paris.
    It just serves to remind me that I have spent far too little time there. (A day and a half on the way east).
    My experience of French coffee was that it was awful! Although I did have one decent cappuccino in Paris. Unless you want to drink what we Aussies term a 'short black' (a single shot of espresso) there wasn't any point in ordering coffee.

  4. These pictures are phenomenal! I loved them, and I felt like I visited the sites myself! And yes, Mavis Gallant is just fabulous!!

  5. I loved your tour Amanda - just gorgeous! It reminded me a lot about what I loved when I visited Paris too - although you took in a lot more of the sights than I did! I will just have to go back...

  6. You got to spend a WHOLE lot more time in Paris than I did. Four days is not enough. I would love to go back; it's such an amazing place. I think I have the exact same Eiffel Tower pictures -- but mine are at night. :)

  7. Any photo tour of Paris is always wonderful. I think I've got my own versions of pretty much every picture you took too! I've only managed to spend three weeks of my life there so far, but there will be more. That is indeed the Rodin Museum. It's amazing, well worth a trip. And the unknown building there is Invalides. Napoleon's tomb is under the gilded dome and the rest of it is a military museum.