France: Day 6, Paris

It’s been raining almost non-stop across France ever since I got here, so when I woke up to a sunny day, I had to take the chance and head out to Paris. I decided to see how far I could get on foot from Gare Montparnasse, my goal being a crossing of the Seine.

Paris is divided into arrondissments or districts, spiraling outward from the Louvre like a snail shell, with each one having a characteristic feel. I began my walk in the 14th arrondissment, and traveled north.

After about four kilometres, the stiffness in my legs told me I should head back. But Paris is dense and full of culture and history at every turn; on every block over there’s something that catches the eye, and you never want to turn around.

Fountain of Saint Michel

Fontaine Saint-Michel, located in the 5th arrondissment.

embrace in the garden

I love how the girl has her leg draped over his. Where else in the world would one expect such public displays of affection?

oysters

 

stores in Gare Montparnasse

Stores at the top of Gare Montparnasse.

shoes on tree grate

 

walking the streets

 

hanging emblem

RF, for République française.

Paris buildings 1

 

crossing the street

 

michel-ney-statue

 

palais de justice

Palais de Justice.

Paris buildings 2

 

Hotel Sorbonne

Hotel Sorbonne.

postcard stand

 

waiting to cross

 

reading and walking

 

Paris streets 1

 

Paris streets 2

I find these roads very confusing, as street names are marked on buildings instead of signs, and branch out in several strange directions. The roads are frequently far from being easily navigable crosses.

La Tour Montparnasse

La Tour Montparnasse, right next to Gare Montparnasse, is a tower that dwarfs every other building (as it’s the tallest building in France) in the 14th arrondissment. I thought I’d be okay with finding my way back as long as I could see the tower, and I could just walk towards it to get back to the train station. The problem is that the streets are so narrow, even buildings that are only two stories tall can block the view.

pointing at poster

 

The Jardin du Luxembourg

This garden is the largest public park in France, and actually the garden of the French senate. It’s a massive area with a plethora of landmarks and several sections, many of them large expanses of grass for people to relax and socialize.

gates of the Jardin du Luxembourg

The southern gates of the garden.

talking on the benches 2

 

fountain of the observatory

Fontaine de l’Observatoire, one of the southernmost points of the garden.

table tennis table

There are even several public table tennis tables, though they’re made out of concrete, with metal nets.

deer sculpture

 

garden path

 

talking on the benches 1

 

garden basin

This basin is right in front of the Senate, and has several dozen chairs out for people to sit and relax.

boat vendor

There’s also a fountain and pond in the centre, with a boat vendor who rents out small sailboats for children to play with in the fountain.

Medici Fountain

Medici Fountain. I have no doubt this looks nicer in the fall than at any other time of year.

lion sculpture

 

Greek actor statue

 

senate side

Luxembourg Palace, in the north part of the garden, which houses the French Senate.

senate detail

 

The Seine

birds over the Seine River

 

Quai Saint Michel

 

boat on the Seine river

 

rue de la Cité

 

Seine River 1

 

Seine River 2

 

newsstand

These magazine stands were set up along the side of the Seine, each green box being permanently affixed to the wall. I wonder if vendors have to apply for permits, as there’s only a limited number of each.

Seine River 3

 

Seine River 4

 

The Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is supposed to be a favourite of Paris’s students and intellectuals, being home to a number of buildings for higher education.

Michel de Montaigne

A statue of Michel de Montaigne, located in the middle of a very unassuming street. The bright polish of his right foot comes from students touching it for good luck before an exam.

Église Saint-Séverin

Église Saint-Séverin

Hotel de Ville front

Hôtel de Ville, the city hall of Paris.

Hotel de Ville detail

 

Hotel de Ville statues

 

Hotel de Ville

 

Notre Dame de Paris, front

Notre Dame de Paris.

Notre Dame de Paris, statues

 

Europe 2010 travel diaries

4 comments

  1. This is so neat to follow your pictures and know exactly where you are in my head since I was just there…. Even more amazing to think how many others in history were only just there before us a few years ago, a century ago, a couple centuries ago.
    .
    That picture of the Medici Fountain is stunning — I don’t think I ever made it there. Must hit it next time around.

    You must have been exhausted. This is a huge distance you covered.

    Did you go into St. Severin?

    • I happened to pass by the church of Saint-Séverin (pictured above), but didn’t go in. I’m not much for religious structures…and I was saving my awe for when I went to the cathedral in Chartres. :)

  2. hi, the photos are very nice, hope to meet you some day in Iran. if you want to come in Iran, just inform me, I can help you alot.
    all the best
    fatemeh

  3. Paris is a great city to walk around; that much is certain.

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