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Architecture Europe France Photography Travel

Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower

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Okay so there’s not much to say about the Eiffel Tower, everyone knows about it, so this week’s post will be brief. Last week’s post was about Notre Dame Cathedral.

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There are tickets to access the top of the Eiffel tower, and you can use the tower as a lookout over the city. While you can pay to access go up the (not to the top) tower, the Eiffel Tower itself is best seen and photographed from far away in order to fit all of it in your frame. After all, it is the landmark that makes the city instantly identifiable. See this page regarding admission prices for the tower. Although the access prices aren’t so bad (yet they do have several varying prices for different people, make sure you check their prices before you go!!), my advice is to skip it as it’s not a must do (you’re here to see the tower which must be done from a far… not to go up it.)

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A good place to photograph the Eiffel Tower is the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which is a war memorial. There are also ticket charges for this. See here for details. You can buy tickets at the top, once you take the lift up. The Arc de Triomphe is built on a roundabout in the middle of the road and surrounded by chain barriers. Just go right over them.

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There is a gift shop here, but I feel the prices are exceedingly over priced.

As the top is serviced by a lift, I would say that it is wheels accessible, but the lift is extremely small. Just a heads up. Perhaps you can email them ahead of time to ask if it can fit a pram or wheelchair.

This is the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe:

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Both are architectural landmarks and a popular photography subject.

Click here for my post on Rothenburg, Germany!

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Categories
Architecture Europe France Photo Posts (feast your eyes) Photography Travel

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France – a photo post

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Last week I reviewed The Louvre.

This week’s post is about the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The impressive and intimidating Gothic architecture the Notre Dame cathedral is free to visit and see. The cathedral was constructed in the late 1100’s. This is another popular architectural photography subject, and a great destination for traditional architecture lovers.

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I highly recommend coming here for the architecture, it’s a great place to take photographs or to have a sit outside by the cathedral. The cathedral itself is free to enter, however there is a small fee of a few euros to climb the tower. There are long lines and large crowds during peak times.

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The architectural decor is beautifully detailed and the scale is magnificent. Just look at the scale of the doors and the archways, not to mention the windows.

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Look at the detail in the construction works.

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Come in spring and enjoy an ice cream by the nearby park.

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For more photos, see my gallery here.

Getting here:
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

The Notre dame is located along and on the north side of the Seine River.

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Looking south-east down the Seine River with the cathedral on the left hand side:

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You can take the metro here and walk. On a nice day, you can visit the cathedral and stroll through the area, enjoying food at one of the many local shops.

For more photos, click here.

Next week: Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower

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Architecture Europe France Museum Photography Travel

The Louvre, Paris, France

Last week I reviewed The Palace of Versailles. This week I am reviewing The Louvre.

Apologies in advance for the lack of photos as I was spending the time exploring the huge museum.

If you are planning a trip to Europe, the best way to get around Europe is by rail. It is fast and has more leg room and space to walk around than a plane and can be much cheaper.

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The Louvre is an art museum housed in the French palace and fortress built for Philippe Auguste in 1190. The architecture here is fantastic, and even if you don’t want to pay for entry, you can still have a great time photographing this place, as this is a pretty popular architectural photography subject among photographers, and can be a great destination for architecture and photography lovers.

I don’t have many photos, but I do have some tips.

The museum is large. Really large. Come early in the day or come on multiple days. Admission price is reasonable at €15 per person. All visitors with ID under 26 get free entry after 6pm but you’d have to come many days if you use this method cause the museum is really large. There is free entry on the first Sunday of every month from October to March inclusive, this probably means huge crowds.


The museum is open everyday except Tuesdays, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and May 1, and free entry on Bastille Day (July 14).

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Tip: The Mona Lisa painting is here… but it is tiny. About A4 size. Plus there is an acrylic case/frame around it, and heaps of people crowding around it to take a crooked, glared shot of it. I am telling you now. It is not worth your time to line up with them just so you can get a blurry photo of it. Prepare to be disappointed.

Or, you can use this to your advantage. Literally across the room from it, is the beautiful, beautiful Wedding at Cana painting. It is huge. Really huge. Bigger than your average living room huge. And skillfully painted in beautiful, vibrant colours. While the Mona Lisa attracts everyone else like a magnet, use this to your advantage to get a full shot of the Wedding at Cana.

Getting here:
You can catch the metro and walk here. The metro is not expensive and within walking distance (even for a slow walker like me with low tolerance for walking).

Recommended visiting duration:
Really, I can stay here all day from the time it opens to the time it closes and still not get everything in. But if you only have one day, then do just that: come early and leave late. Bring your own food so you can save time and money and use the rest of the time exploring the museum.

Visit their official site for more info on admissions and hours.

To see more of what I did in France, click here.

Next week: The Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Categories
Architecture Europe France Museum Photo Posts (feast your eyes) Travel

Versailles, Paris, France – A photo post

Last time I reviewed the beautiful La Secour cathedral. This post will be about the Palace of Versailles,the famous French palace and garden of King Louis the 8th, which is now a museum open to the public. Entry price varies according to the package you want (with or without access to the gardens, plus other exhibits). This can get very crowded during peak season, and there are LOTS of visitors here. There are gift shops inside, selling things from pens and post cards, to books on the palace. Audio guides are available. Visitors can see the private chambers of the king and queen, the Hall of Mirrors, the fantastic and beautiful paintings and walk around in the large garden. Coaches bring lots of tourists here,  but you can easily walk here from the closest metro station (which I have since forgotten the name of).


Recommendation: I highly recommend this place, as it is full of real history, beautiful architecture and a great change from commercialised city attractions. However, the palace is quite large and there are many tourists, so either come early in the day as soon as it opens or get a multi-day pass. This place is really worth your time (there’s only so much you can do at the Eiffel Tower).

Lines of tourists waiting outside to get in:DSC00035

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And more inside:DSC00052

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But as you can see, is worth the wait:

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The palace inside the gates:DSC00063

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Inside the palace.

Some places are off limits to visitors, like this place:DSC00071

And this place:

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A miniature model of the entire estate and gardenDSC00078

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Ornate rooms inside the palace and beautiful muralsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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I admire the detail in the architecture, the interior decorations and the beautiful, beautiful paintings by the skilled artists. How hard is it to paint realistic paintings on a flat surface, let alone a curved roof like that! The gold decorations and the crystal chandeliers are a beautiful match and the entire rooms shines when the curtains let in natural light.

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Visit their official website in English here.

To see more of what I did in France, click here.

Next week: The Louvre.

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Categories
Architecture Europe France Photography Travel

La Secour, Paris, France

Welcome to a new series of posts of my travels in Europe. These posts are about my travels to Europe in 2013… so the exact details of a few things aren’t that clear now, but there are plenty of photos.

The best way to get around Europe is obviously by rail, and I trust most people already know that. My experience with the rail system in Europe was quite good. Fast, clean and more leg room than planes, it is probably a more convenient option than planes. There are still baggage limits though.

La Secour
When you think of Paris, you probably think of the Notre Dame and the Eifel Tower. La Secour is a lesser known and undrated, yet still magnificent cathedral in Paris. It is free to enter, and away from the main city, surrounded by grass and trees. It is located on a hill top accessed by several-but-shallow steps. The view from the top of the cathedral is terrific as the cathedral is already on a hill.

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Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the interior, but here are some pictures of the outside:DSC00008

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I really recommend coming here because this place is really underated. The construction and architecture is magnificent, and the roundness of the domes are a change to the usual sharp intimidating looks of Gothic cathedrals.


Recommended stay time:
One to two hours, (possibly longer if you want to go in and admire in detail the detail of the architecture) depending on how busy it is and how fast you want to go through the area. The cathedral is free to enter so you may want to spend some time here.

Getting here:
We stayed in an apartment close to the La Secour, so we walked here, however in the opposite direction there was a tram stop so it is walkable.

Tip: I want to take this opportunity to bring to light an ongoing issue that goes beyond tourist scams. There are some street souvenir vendors here who try to pressure you into buying their handmade bracelets by grabbing your arm and strapping them on. They don’t hurt you, and I understand their sad vicious cycle plight that the media rarely digs deep into the root problem of, but you should just be aware of this. These people are immigrants who have fallen into a viscous cycle and live in fear of arrests. The local police’s only solution to these immigrants, legal or not, is to arrest them. I read about the sad story of an immigrant who, at only 29, originally arrived in France 5 years beforehand to donate a kidney to his sister (who married a local French man). His residence permit since expired and was not renewed. To avoid arrest by local police, he jumped into the Marne River and died of a heart attack. I really hope one day soon the problem can be solved, and not just by endless arrests.

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