Paris - A Walking Tour

March 13 - 16, 2017

My trips involve a fair amount of walking and Paris wasn't the exception to this rule.

photo
Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre

A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.

photo

Construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. Inside the building, the ceiling is decorated with the largest mosaic in France measuring about 480 m²

photo
Interior of the Sacré-Cœur

For nice views of the city I recommend to access the dome. It is one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Paris, from 130 metres above ground.

photo
Views from the dome

Also, cheaper and more accessible than Eiffel Tower.

photo
Views from the dome

A short walk from the Sacré Coeur is the Place du Tertre, the district of Abbesses with its steep, winding roads, and at the bottom of the hill, the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret.

photoDistric of Abbesses

To reach Moulin Rouge I recommend to walk Monmartre. During the Belle Époque (1872 to 1914) it was home and workplace of many notable artists.

photo

But I was more interested to have a cup of coffee at the Café des 2 Moulins, the workplace of Amélie.

photoCafé des 2 Moulins

Amélie is a 2001 French romantic comedy film that shows a mischievous and playful depiction of contemporary Parisian life.

photo

The Monmartre walk eventually ended in front of the Moulin Rouge, the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance.

photo
Moulin Rouge

From there, if you follow the Boulevard de Courcelles and then Avenue de Wagram you will reach one of the most famous monuments in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile.

photo
The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile

The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

photo

Paris's Arc de Triomphe was the tallest triumphal arch until the completion of the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico City in 1938, which is 67 metres (220 ft) high (220 ft) high.

photo
Le Départ de 1792 (La Marseillaise)

To access the top, you can climb 284 steps, or take an elevator to the mid-level and climb 64 stairs to the top.

photo
Using the stairs

Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Interred on Armistice Day 1920, it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins' fire was extinguished in the fourth century.

photo
Views from the Arc of Triomphe

From here is possible to see some famous buildings in downtown Paris, such as la Grande Arche de la Défense.

photo
Grande Arche de la Défense

The Arche is placed so that it forms a secondary axe (axis) with the two highest buildings in Paris, the Tour Eiffel and the Tour Montparnasse.

photo
The Tour Eiffel from the Arc

Architect Jean-François Chalgrin was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus, but went beyond it by exceptional dimensions (about 50 m high, 45 m long and 22 m wide) and abandoning columns.

photo
Sacre Coeur, seen from the Arc de Triomphe

Very close is the Dome des Invalides, this royal chapel was built between 1677 and 1706.

photo
The Dôme des Invalides

The interior decorations produced at that time glorify Louis XIV, the monarchy and his armies.

photo
Napolen I's tomb

On 1821, Napoleon I passed away on the island of St. Helena. Brough back In 1840, his body was placed there on 1861.

The tomb, sculpted from blocks of red quartzite and placed on a green Vosges granite base, is surrounded by a laurel crown and inscriptions referring to the Empire's great victories.

photo
The Tomb of Napoleon I

I continued the trip towards the Eiffel Tower. Don't waste your money or valuable time going up if you have been in Sacre-Couer or the Arc of Triomphe.

photo

The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91 million people ascended it in 2015.

photo

The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building, and the tallest structure in Paris.

photo

An average of 25,000 people ascend the tower every day which can result in long queues.

photo

It was constructed from 1887–89 as the entrance to the 1889 World's Fair

photo

Along will come the Seine River, you can either take a cruise or try to stay healthy and continue walking.

photo
Seine River

You can reach the Pont des Arts bridge where tourists have taken to attaching padlocks (love locks) with their names wiitten or engraved on them.

photo
Pont des Arts Love locks

Personally, at night I don't like to walk down in the ditch on the concrete bank, but up above along the sidewalks and at bridge level.

photo

The best Seine walk is going upriver towards Cathedral Notre Dame and then around the Cathedral.

photo
Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris

The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture

photo

On the spot where this majestic cathedral now stands, the Romans had built a temple to Jupiter, which was followed by a Christian basilica and then a Romanesque church (the Cathedral of St. Etienne, founded by Childebert in 528).

photo

Construction started in 1163, and ended roughly 180 years later in about 1345.

photo
A wide angle view of Notre-Dame's western facade (The portal of the judgement)

The west front contains 28 statues representing the monarchs of Judea and Israel.

photo

The three portals depict, from left to right, the Last Judgment; the Madonna and Child; St. Anne, the Virgin's mother; and Mary's youth until the birth of Jesus.

photo
The north rose window (Gothic Rayonnant style)

The interior, with its slender, graceful columns, is impressive – there is room for as many as 6,000 worshipers. The three rose windows – to the west, north, and south – are masterful, their colors a glory to behold on a sunny day.

photo

Built in an age of illiteracy, the cathedral retells the stories of the Bible in its portals, paintings, and stained glass.

photo

Notre Dame is visited by about 13 million pilgrims and visitors a year from around the world (an annual average of more than 30,000 people per day).

The days of great affluence, it's more 50 000 pilgrims and visitors entering the Cathedral.

photo

In 1965 an excavation was begun, and a museum, the Archeological Crypt of the Parvis of Notre-Dame, was created to protect a range of historical ruins.

photo

The main feature still visible is the under-floor heating installed during the Roman occupation.

photo
L'Écoute by Henri de Miller - Paris (France) - 1986

Walking the city is a joy, and striking contrasts between old and new being one of the defining characteristics of Paris.

photo

Make yourself a self-guide tour, ignore the overpriced cafes or the guidebooks and get beyond the French stereotypes.

photo
Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville

This is how I ended in the Marais, one of the oldest areas in Paris. The cobbled backstreets are a beautiful place for meandering and are bursting with boutiques, vintage shops, eateries and cocktail bars.

photoPlace des Vosges

Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris framed by beautiful red brick buildings and a selection of eateries and art galleries which are tucked away under the stone arches.

photo

On the square you can visit Maison de Victor Hugo where Victor Hugo lived for 16 years from 1832-1848.

photo
Maison de Victor Hugo

The museum consists of an antechamber leading through the Chinese living room and medieval style dining room to Victor Hugo’s bedroom where he died in 1885.

photo
View of Place des Vosges from Maison de Victor Hugo

Originally known as the Place Royale, the Place des Vosges was built by Henri IV from 1605 to 1612. A true square (140 m × 140 m), it embodied the first European program of royal city planning.

photo
Market street

One of the great things about Paris are the abundance of Farmers Markets and Market Streets — maybe it has something to do with the fact that Parisians can only fit one or two day’s worth of groceries in their tiny refrigerators.

photo

Markets are perfect places to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat, baked goods and other speciality foods.

photo
Jardin du Luxembourg

The stroll continued at the gardens of Luxembourg, this is where the love story of the novel of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables unfolds.

photo
Jardin du Luxembourg - Medici Fountain (1620)

Also, the final scene of William Faulkner's novel Sanctuary is set in the gardens.

photo
Palais de Luxembourg

The garden was created beginning in 1612. The garden today is owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace.

photo

You may also want to hop into of the the 48 pods of the Big Wheel. Perched at a heigh of 70 metrres you can have views of the Tuileries Gardnes, the Louvre and the Champs-Elysées.

photo
The Big Wheel at Place de la Concorde

Very close by is the Luxor Obelisk, a 23 metres high Egyptian obelisk which was originally located at the entrance to Luxor Temple, in Egypt.

photo
The Obelisk of Luxor

Missing its original pyramidion (believed stolen in the 6th century BC), the government of France added a gold-leafed pyramid cap to the top of the obelisk in 1998.

photo

Back into the present, the building of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, started in 2006, is an art museum and cultural center

photo
Louis Vuitton Foundation

The museum's collection, include works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gilbert & George and Jeff Koons.

photo

The glass building takes the form of a sailboat's sails inflated by the wind.

photo

The museum opened to the public in October 2014, at a cost of reportedly $143 million.