Planning a visit to the French city of Paris? Here are some recommendations on where to go*. To view all the photographs (with the captions in full) of each city, click on any image and navigate using the left and right keys.
1. Paris, France. As usual, we started with a three-hour free walking tour, which also allowed us to get our bearings around the city. One of our first stops was the cathedral of the Notre-Dame de Paris, which was constructed (starting in 1163), repaired, and restored in the past few centuries.
2. The rivers and the canal banks are sites for relaxation. We also took an hourlong cruises along the river Seine, admiring sights and going under multiple bridges.
3. The façade of the Musée du Louvre is very recognisable, with its palace and the distinctive glass pyramids outside the complex. We visited the art museum on a separate day, in the evening.
4. Mom posing for a picture at the Musée du Louvre.
5. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which was completed before the actual Arc de Triomphe. If the weather permits, the walk between the two arches can be quite stunning.
6. There are two halves to this talk, separated by the Place de la Concorde. The first is the Champs-Élysées shopping district, packed with luxury brands and flagship stores. The second is a walk through gardens and fountains, packed with sun-bathers and picnic-goers in the summer.
7. A lunch of beef pastrami sandwich, a short walk from our hotel. We stayed near the Luxembourg train station, which is within the Quartier Latin area. The Panthéon was around the corner.
8. Dinner of stewed ham, stuffed chicken, and fried chicken salad.
9. The acclaimed macarons. A trip to Paris not complete without overpriced (though tasty and very beautiful-looking) pastries. Breads, cakes, and pastries are sold at every corner.
10. An expensive eclair, filled with salted caramel. It was good!
11. The Eiffel Tower, perhaps the most recognisable landmark in Paris. We made our first visit in the day to the 324-metre tall tower, and went all the way up first before visiting the other floors.
12. The view of the Place du Trocadero from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It is possible to climb the stairs to a few of the floors, before making the way all the way to the highest observation deck, but we were planning to scale the Arc de Triomphe and the towers of the Notre-Dame de Paris later in the afternoon in the same day, so we chose to take the two elevators instead.
13. Another view of the city and its skyline from the top of the tower.
14. Parents posing for a photograph at the Eiffel Tower. Try to make an early visit: The ticket queues itself may not be long, but if there are too many people later in the day you may have to wait longer for the elevators (not for the stairs), and taking photographs may be a hassle.
15. Built in 1806, the Arc de Triomphe is the biggest arch in the world, to celebrate Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz. As it is with many of the city’s landmarks, there will be suggestions to visit them when they are lit up in the night, though in the summer the days were long.
16. The climb up the Arc de Triomphe is not easy as well, but the views are worth the effort.
17. A view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the arch.
18. Lunch of escargots, caesar salad, duck confit, lamb shank, and chocolate profiteroles with ice cream. Something we noticed was the pace of mealtimes and the predilection of locals to dine alfresco – even in the hot summer – to have coffee, have long chats, and people-watch.
19. A view from the top, at the towers of the Notre-Dame de Paris. Visitors can climb the 400 spiral steps to the top or visit the crypt at the cathedral, though we only did the former. We had to queue for about 30 minutes before making our way up. The ascent – as it was with the Arc de Triomphe – can be exhausting, though we were also lucky to hear the ringing of the great bells up close.
20. Another panoramic view from the top of the towers.
21. A small rainbow in the water fountain, located within the Musée du Louvre. Except mom – who previously did some art, and could therefore appreciate some of the techniques and features of the paintings, we did not go beyond the main attractions, such as the “Mona Lisa” (and other works by Leonardo da Vinci), the “Venus de Milo”, and “The Winged Victory of Samothrace”.
22. Unsurprisingly, the “Mona Lisa” was the most popular painting on display. Here is a photograph of different photographers taking a photograph of da Vinci’s masterpiece.
23. On Thursday morning, we went to the neighbourhood of Bastille to walk around the traditional market, peddling everything from fresh produce and fruits to shoes and apparel. In the background is the Place de la Bastille, constructed to commemorate the 1830 revolution. The square was also the site of the Bastille Prison, which was stormed during the French revolution, and later destroyed.
24. A mistake we made was to visit the Château de Versailles in the afternoon, when it was already crowded with other visitors. We had to wait for about 75 minutes to enter the estate, and as a result of other plans missed the visit to the gardens. The Paris Pass normally grants access to both the estate and the gardens, yet on days with the water-fountain show there is an additional charge.
25. A view of the gardens from within the estate.
26. The magnificent state apartments. The Treaty of Versailles was signed in this room.
27. A three-course dinner to celebrate our final night in Paris, featuring main courses of a fillet of beef, a swordfish, and a saddle of lamb. Something else we learnt was the leisurely pace of dinner in the city. In fact, on two separate occasions – when we first checked into our hotel, and when we had this dinner – we were told the same thing: “To relax. You are on holiday!”
28. The Eiffel Tower in the night. At every hour-mark after sunset, the 20,000 lights sparkle for five minutes, making for a remarkable sight. Again, long summers mean longer days, and longer waits!
* Not an advertisement, and also not sponsored (unfortunately).