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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Categories
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
New Zealand Travel

Clay Cliffs, Omarama, New Zealand

The Clay Cliffs in Omarama are a major/recommended (by most travel websites and guides) tourist attraction. Actually, they are just some soft clay peaks, and in my personal opinion, isn’t worth too much of your time. Come prepared on a nice sunny day with the necessary lens, tripod and camera and you should be able to get satisfying shots in only a morning.

The location:
The Clay Cliffs are located in private property so can be a little hard to find. Particularly in this area, where there is nothing but empty roads surrounded by grassy fields in every direction. We spent at least 20 minutes looking for this area, expecting big signs or the like. The only signage was a small sign much like the street name signs you get, on the corner of a road, that said “Clay Cliffs”. The property is accessed via unpaved gravel/dirt roads.

This was the largest sign we encountered, on a gate to private road. There is a small charge of $5 per private vehicle or $20 per bus, New Zealand dollars. The sign says to pay at the Information Center, but when I was there, there was a small small container nearby to put cash in.

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Some reviews on Tripadvisor from 2015 and earlier says the gate was locked, however when I went, the gate was open, although the attractiveness of the site is still equally questionable.

As the area is un-guarded, people are expected to act on honesty, and to READ THE SIGNS. Particularly the SAFETY signs. Like this one, that we encountered further up the road: IMG_2145In faded red letters at the bottom, the sign says: This waterway is infected with Didymo, which is an invasive freshwater diatom that produces brown mucousy stringy mats that clog otherwise clear, low-phosphorus water. As an invasive species and impossible to remove, you do not want to get these on your shoes.

What’s Here:
This isolated area on private property has little to offer besides photography and a hike. Although, you wouldn’t get very far hiking as the cliffs are just peaks and are very soft and crumbly, not solid rock and definitely not suitable for climbing vertically on its face, and the ground is made of broken clay bits that slide beneath your feed on steep places. Wear suitable shoes.

The only other thing to do here is photography. There is the potential to take some good photos here, but only in good sunny weather without rain. For examples, just have a search on the internet.

Getting here:
You might have to ask for general directions once you get to Omarama first, our GPS wasn’t very good at finding this place. Once in the local area, follow the somewhat vague signs. Local hotels would have advertisements and pamphlets for this place.

There are spaces for car parking here, it is a small open dirt field. According to the signs, the ‘car park’ is about 10 minute walk after a 4km drive. We parked too early and ended up being a 20-30 minute walk.

This is what the cliffs look like from some distance away as we approached on foot:IMG_2150

If you are renting a car and driving here, get a 4-wheel drive. You’ll need it to get up a short but steep step.  The road is narrow so drove slowly, go during the day time and watch out for other cars.

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Looking up from within the ‘cliffs’:IMG_2213

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Things to note:
The surrounding areas a sheep pastures and the sheep roam about freely. This also means the sheep droppings are everywhere.

Do not step where there is water near the waterways as they are infested with didymo. You do not want to bring it back with you.

Verdict:
Apart from photography I wouldn’t really recommend this as a must-see destination. Not only is it hard to find but is also a little disappointing once you arrive, especially when compared to the promotional pictures. For photography, go on a sunny day to make the most of the opportunity. Otherwise I recommend doing something else in New Zealand.

Coming soon: My review of the night’s accommodation: Camelot Motor Lodge in Christchurch. Subscribe so you get notified!

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