Archive for the ‘petit palais’ Tag

Paris – A walk Across the City   12 comments

It was a glorious sunny Sunday after our visit to the Tour Montparnasse so we decided on a walk through the city to tick off some sites. The famous Champs Elysees is closed to traffic on a Sunday so what better place to start. We pitched into the Metro and popped out at the famous landmark at the head of Paris most famous avenue.

P1000315

Unlike the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe was much bigger than I thought. It was built by Napoleon so he could march through it – triumphantly – when he won the war. Just one tiny flaw in that plan. He lost. Still he got the dubious compensation of having his ashes paraded through it. Not the same somehow

P1000318

It sits in the middle of a vast and seemingly free for all traffic roundabout. It was scary just watching the traffic race around and especially the bikes nonchalantly wandering through. There was even one guy who sauntered straight across the lines of traffic without a care in the world. He could have been run over numerous times but he just gave a gallic shrug and wandered off.

The view towards La Defense

P1000319

P1000316

P1000321

The tomb of the unknown soldier and eternal flame

P1000322

We had thought about climbing to the top but we’d already had a great high view, there was a long queue and most importantly it cost money

P1000323

P1000325

We headed off down the Champs Elysees

P1000327

Despite its fame I was underwhelmed. It is a rather grand broad boulevard but it’s just lined with expensive shops and hotels. I didn’t think it was anything special and there were certainly far better places we saw in Paris. We ate lunch from a cheerless chain sandwich shop sitting on the pavement. It was Sunday and all the bakeries were shut

P1000332

Things improved from there. We wandered down a side street and found the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais and they were rather grand. Both were built for the Worlds Fair at the same time as the Eiffel Tower

The Petit Palais

P1000337

The Grand Palais

P1000338

The Grand Palais appeared to want more of my hard-earned cash but the Petit Palais was free. Easy decision

It was very impressive both inside and out. It had a fine collection of art and paintings but it’s not really our thing

P1000340

We had a little wander about (the gardens were rather nice), used the loos and moved on.

P1000341

Next stop was the Place de la Concorde with its granite obelisk gifted to France by Egypt in 1831 and is actually 3300 years old

P1000342

It’s an impressive expanse and quite a feat to cross the flow of traffic to reach the centre. Fine views back along the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe

P1000343

This is the Fontaine de Mers. It was rather odd but I really liked it

P1000348

There seemed to be various mermaid types all with a keen hold on a fish. We called it the Fountain of Throttled Fish

P1000349

From our travels I can safely say is that they do fountains really well in Europe. Almost every square has one and they are almost always well maintained and either interesting, intriguing or simply magnificent. I’m sure the UK has great city centre fountains but I’m struggling to recall one

P1000350

Onwards into the Jardin des Tuileries. They were busy but magnificent on a sunny Sunday afternoon

P1000351

They are packed with wide avenues, perfectly manicured lawns and flower beds and more fountains and ponds

P1000352

Seating space was at a premium though so we admired while we moved through

P1000353

At the far end of the gardens is the Palais de Louvre and its famous museum. I’d had it my mind that the museum would be an imposing yet bland building but is absolutely huge and quite stunning

P1000354

At the centre is its famous pyramid. Again I had a preconceived idea that it would garish, modern and out-of-place but I loved it. To me it seemed an appropriate merging of new old and it’s certainly unique. You stand by it and know its The Louvre

P1000355

P1000356

The fountains outside were also rather lovely and we sat outside and people watched for a few minutes and to rest our weary feet.

P1000357

We had decided well ahead of time not to go in. as I said fine art is wasted on us and the queues and high cost were not worth the expense. From what I’ve read even if you only have a passing interest in art, the collection is magnificent, varied and absolutely vast. I read that if you merely glanced at every piece within you’d be in there for 9 months

P1000360

We headed for home over the rather lovely footbridge, the Pont des Arts

P1000365

Fine views across to my favourite bridge the twin spans of the Pont Neuf spanning the Ile de la Cite

P1000367

And back downstream towards the Eiffel Tower

P1000364

As we headed back to the flat for some rest and recuperation before a meal out we passed by the church of Saint Sulpice again

P1000373

An absolutely splendid day in a beautiful city

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: