because bastille day

When I visited Paris two years ago, our trip was timed so that we left France two days before Bastille Day. You could say this was a bit of an oversight on our part. The apartment we were staying in was just around the corner from Place de la Bastille so we would have been smack bang in the middle of Bastille Day celebrations. Anyway, I took tonnes of photos on my trip but only shared a few on this blog in the immediate post-trip blogging aftermath. Because it’s Bastille Day, and in keeping with the theme of all things French, I thought I’d share a few more random snaps from my time in the French capital.

1. I see you, Eiffel Tower.
2. The Notre-Dame Cathedral in the midst of summer visitor crowds.
3. Staring out onto the Seine.
4. Looking out over Paris from the second viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower.
5. Saint-Sulpice church. I mainly remember there being dead pigeons around the fountain.
6. Stumbling upon the Luxembourg Gardens.
7. Despite staying just around the corner, I didn’t actually take any photos of the Place de la Bastille. The closest I got was this shot of the GĂ©nie de la LibertĂ©’s behind, which I took from our apartment window while testing the zoom on my camera.

travel photos: père lachaise cemetery

A Sunday afternoon stroll through a cemetery? It might seem a bit morbid to some, but when you’re in Paris and it’s one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, why not? Especially since it was just down the road from where we were staying. Père Lachaise Cemetery is the resting place to more famous and influential people than you can poke a stick at (but please don’t poke sticks at them because they’re dead and that’s disrespectful and if zombies really do exist then your brains will be the first thing on the menu). The most notable residents at this cemetery include Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison. Oscar Wilde’s tomb was relatively easy to find, but Jimbo’s proved to be a bit harder (we were navigating sans map and with a less than photographic memory of the bulletin board). In the end we had to stalk some old guy wearing a Doors t-shirt. Other people had the same idea – I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy basically spent his weekends leading stray visitors to Jim Morrison’s grave. I wouldn’t classify this as a ‘must see’ attraction, but it’s an interesting outing nonetheless. 

travel photos: appartements napoléon III

While the Louvre hosts a great number of artworks, my favourite part of the museum would have to be the Napoleon III Apartments. Lots of chandeliers and shiny things – I was in my element! While I was left feeling underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa, the Apartments blew me away. Talk about decadent. The girls I was in Paris with missed this part of the Louvre on their visit. DO NOT REPEAT THEIR MISTAKE.

travel photos: paris sights

After I visited the Eiffel Tower, I proceeded with my ‘tourist day’ and visited a few more famous Paris sights – namely the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-ÉlysĂ©es, Notre Dame, and the Louvre. I even managed to lose my bearings in the 5th and 6th arrondissements and stumble upon the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens. Is it still getting lost if you end up finding more interesting stuff along the way? I swear that walking around the sidestreets is an exercise in sightseeing itself. Thank goodness for extended daylight hours – I don’t know how I would have crammed it all in otherwise! On a side note, while I was wandering around the city that day people kept stopping me and asking for directions. Even a businesswoman who spoke fluent French – and then turned out to be Australian! Was it the striped shirt? Or maybe I just looked like I knew where I was going (hahahaha). Either way, it was fun to think that even on my most touristy day I could have passed for a local.

travel photos: la tour eiffel

I don’t think I could ever get sick of looking at the Eiffel Tower. Every time it came in view, I just couldn’t help but take a moment to stop and stare at it. As my other two friends had previously been to Paris before I met up with them, I set out for the day to tackle a few of the major attractions by myself. First up was the Eiffel Tower. I queued like the patient tourist that I am and after about an hour-ish of queuing – I can’t quite remember, I zone out in queues and subsequently lose track of time – proceeded to climb up to the second level. Yes, I took the stairs. If there’s one thing I took away from this trip, it was learning to love stairs. I decided against going right to the very top, partly due to the fact that you had to once again queue for the lift. By this time I was well and truly sick of queues and crowds. Extreme winds and a slight fear of heights may have also been contributing factors. It was quite blustery and overcast when I climbed the Eiffel Tower, but the views over Paris were awe inspiring nonetheless. Of course, by the time I made it back to ground level, the clouds had parted and there were blue skies all round. Go figure.