Finding Those Happy Moments in Paris

Although I didn’t really enjoy Paris overall, I am an optimist who always tries to make the best out of a situation.  I am always looking for the silver lining, and to see beauty in the little things, the simple things.

So with this in mind, I did some exploring, and I saw the high profile tourist spots, and I also “got lost” to see what else Paris had to offer.  I also, as per usual, went looking for fresh coffee.

Tourist and Movie Hotspots

Eiffel Tower

A trip to Paris isn’t a trip to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.  I didn’t stay long, as the area was gross, but I did quickly see that beautiful and iconic structure.

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The Eiffel Tower was built for the International Exhibition of Paris of 1889 commemorating the centenary of the French Revolution.  It was meant to be temporary, just for the exhibition, but as you can see, it has become a permanent icon of Paris.

Arc de Triomphe

Another tourist stomping ground, I quickly popped by…

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At the top of the Champs-Élysées sits the National Arc de Triomphe Monument. The construction was ordered in 1806 by Napoleon, the French Emperor because after his Austerlitz victory in 1805, Napoleon said to his soldiers : “You will return home through archs of triumph”.

The construction was completed in 1836, long after Napoleon’s death in 1821.

Notre Dame Cathedral

This famous French Gothic beauty was subject to a “terror threat” while I was in town, so my visit again was brief.

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Constructed started in 1163, which the final original elements being completed from 1250 – 1345.

The cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world.

Pont Neuf

A favourite for tourists to walk over.

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Opening in 1607, the Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. Its name means New Bridge, which was to make it stand out from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses. Those bridges have been replaced but the New Bridge remains.

Sacre Coeur

A top location swarming with selfie-sticks. And since I arrived early, with less tourists, I was more comfortable to explore.

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Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre is a Roman Catholic Church which was consecrated in 1919.  It is another iconic monument of Paris.

Tuileries Garden

Luckily I ducked through the gardens early Sunday morning before most people were up and about.

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The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement.

The Tuileries Gardens get their name from the tile factories which stood on the site where Queen Catherine de Medici built the Palais des Tuileries in 1564. The famous gardener of King Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre, re-landscaped the gardens in 1664 to give them their current French formal garden style.

The Louvre Glass Pyramid

After I was advised against visiting the Louvre Museum, I still decided to pop by the glass pyramid.

My favourite moment was watching a bride change to more comfortable and suitable footwear for posing for photos.

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Pont des Arts

A pedestrian-only bridge, previously bombarded by egotistical lovers, who believed marking the bridge with a heavy padlock would result in a successful romantic relationship… if only it was THAT easy!

Of course, the locks weighing 45 tonnes had to finally be removed in 2015.

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The original bridge was built in 1804, but needed to be re-built in the 1980s due to damage.

It is a lovely bridge… especially without the padlocks.

Seine River

Being such a long river, the big advantage is that many walking paths alongside can be lacking in tourists.

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It is a 777-kilometre long river and an important commercial waterway in Paris.

My Less-Busy Favourite Paris Spots

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

Famously featured in the movie – Inception – this is my favourite Paris bridge, with little to no tourists around.  Awesome fun.

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Built between 1903 and 1905, it is a 2 storey bridge, decorated with monumental iron sculptures and statues.

Canal Saint Martin

This canal is somewhat-touristy, but a perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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It is a 4.5 km long canal connecting the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine and runs underground between Bastille (Paris Métro) and République (Paris Métro). It is drained and cleaned every 10-15 years.  It was ordered to be built by Napoleon 1 in 1802, and finished in 1825.

Stravinsky Fountain

Strangely free of tourist hordes, I really liked this fountain and nearby street art.
It was created in 1983 by sculptors Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, and has sixteen works of sculpture, moving and spraying water, representing the works of composer Igor Stravinsky. Cool.
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So that mostly sums up my week in Paris… the good and the bad.  If you are wondering where I found fresh coffee in Paris, stay tuned.

Also published on Medium.

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