Walking Through ParisWALKING/HIKING — By Estrella Azul on July 2, 2011 at 01:55
By guest blogger Estrella Azul. Photos © Estrella Azul, with Ian Fraser where specified.
WALKING THROUGH PARIS is amazing! The city is divided into 20 arrondissements (administrative districts or, less formally, neighborhoods), each having its own attractions and special charm.
I took full advantage of the walkability of the city and spent almost the whole time doing so during my short weekend in Paris.
After arrival on Friday afternoon my friend and I went for a long walk. We saw the Louvre from afar, strolled down Champs Élysées, marveled at the Arc de Triomphe, walked over to the Eiffel Tower, passed the Invalides and the D’Orsay Museum, to name just a few.
Noticing the little things . . . some of the pedestrian signs cracked me up. Never in my life have I seen a man on a pedestrian sign wait with his hands on his hips.
The city is so stylish that their McDonald’s “M” on Champs-Élysées is white instead of yellow. Apparently the yellow sign was considered tacky, so even McDonald’s plays dress up in Paris.
While you may think my mind is in the gutter, I’ll just go ahead and say it: some of the statues seem pretty inappropriate for public display from specific angles.
And you know how you sometimes wish you could just pull over at the corner? Well, people here actually do it, so you need to watch out for cars when crossing the road—you might not see oncoming traffic on account of the awkwardly parked cars on street corners.
After dinner we decided to walk back to the Louvre and take some pictures.
That turned into a walk to the Notre Dame, as well, for more night shots.
On Saturday we visited the Eiffel Tower in the morning. The view is breathtaking!
From the top of the Eiffel Tower, or even while simply criss-crossing the Seine River, there’s so much to see—the architecture all around is astounding!
Noticing the architectural details of the buildings, it’s safe to say that most streets downtown harbor a range of buildings dating from various centuries: the modern buildings have gradually developed out of the earlier styles. Palaces and mansions have been transformed into shops, hotels and apartments.
Despite the extensive parks, gardens and wide avenues, the city also provides a labyrinth of narrow streets, some of which are so small they appear on no map.
I suspect what seemed to be a street when I started walking down it was actually just a space between two massive buildings—probably why I could barely squeeze myself out at the other end!
I really wanted to see the Flame of Liberty—an exact, gold-plated duplicate of the flame carried in the hand of the Statue of Liberty in New York City—so on Saturday afternoon we walked over to see that.
It would’ve been a good idea to check where it was sooner, so we could swing by when we were walking back to the hotel earlier from the Eiffel Tower. But this way we got some lovely sunset shots and then more night shots of this part of the city on our long walk back from dinner.
Sunday was mostly spent in the colossal Louvre. Ironically enough, as opposed to walking about in the city, inside the museum we got lost a few times.
Later, we walked over to Notre Dame to listen to an organ recital while visiting the church. Afterward, we strolled around some more before heading back to the hotel.
For me, experiencing the city by foot was more fun than I could have hoped for. How could it not be, when charming carousels throughout Paris’ streets and squares give the city an extra touch of magic?
Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©.