What to see and do in Paris.

Discussion in 'Travel' started by david_singh, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. Hi all,
    The girlfriend and I will be spending a weekend in Paris in December
    and I was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers on what
    areas and sights not to miss, and also any photography-related places
    that I should see. Money will be tight so I won't be shopping a lot,
    but I don't want to miss out on a rare oppurtunity - I hear that there
    are very many photography stores in Paris.

    I'm planning on taking film no faster than ISO400. How do you think
    that film will fare after dark and without a tripod? I'm hesitant to
    take any faster film than that because of concerns about X-Ray
    machines and suchlike.

    Also, is anyone aware of any great street markets or suchlike that
    take place over weekends in December?

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. Hmmmm. What to see and do in Paris...

    I've heard there is a giant tower of some kind. Maybe you have to be a local to know about it though...

    :p

    Get a guidebook, fer chrissakes!!
     
  3. I've bought a guide book, and I've read numerous sites such as Lonely Planet, Rough Guide etc etc, but what's the harm in asking on a forum, fer chrissakes?!

    Come on, make with the advice.
     
  4. If you can get an all day or all weekend Metro Pass buy one and ride the busses. There used to be ones with open, stand up back platforms and also double deckers. Both great ways to take a quick tour of Paris with many photo ops. Also I have read of an elevated track near the Bastille that has been converted to a pedestrian walkway with small stores in the ground floor of the viaduct. The Place des Voges, Montmartre, and Ile St Louis are also scenic. I stayed away from the camera stores so can offer no info. How about a report when you come back?
     
  5. Pardon my spelling of place-names; I am on the road this weekend. There are good free aerial views from the roof of the Institute du Monde Arab, the Samartine Dept store,and the steps of the church at Montmartre. The elevated walkway near the Bastile as mentioned above is nice, alto not real photogenic. Open air concerts are likely at the Place du Vosges in the Marais.

    Photo stores are fairly expensive (even by the Fairbanks Alaska standards which I am used to). Most of the traditional ones are along Av Beaumarchais near the Bastille. FNAC near the old Les Halles is good for fairly cheap film and new discount stuff (in-so-far as the term "discount" can ever apply).
     
  6. Marais district for sure. Almost anywhere else for good street shooting.
    00ABCy-20540484.jpg
     
  7. Head for the centre (I like the area around Notre Dame) as a starting point and just walk. Any direction, main streets and back streets, parks, along the river, anywhere that grabs your interest ... You can wander Paris for days and still find more to see. Comfortable shoes and loads of film are all you need.
    Street life near Notre Dame
    Touristy view from Notre Dame
    Inside the Louvre
     
  8. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    400 ISO won't be much good after dark hand-held. There's a lot of dark in December. Either you can take a tripod, take a risk on the X Rays or take a reduced risk by buying fast film there- which isn't hard, or push the film. There are several threads on here about buying film in Paris.

    What to photograph. Well I have little desire to duplicate your guidebook but you might want to think about the following if it is photographs you're after and not simply tourism with a camera.

    Rex Cinema
    Passages north of Bourse ( especially Jouffroy/Verdeau)
    Butte aux Cailles area in 13th
    The stairways on the north side of the Butte Montmartre.
    The old courtyards off the Rue de Faubourg St Antoine and Passage L'Homme off Ave. Ledru Rollin (11th)
    The arcades round the gardens of the Palais Royale
    The riverside walk round the edge of the Isle St Louis.
    Pere Lachaise cemetary

    Get a week ( or whatever) Metro/bus pass.
     
  9. I did not know there were Martians coming to Earth and the hamlet of Paris, Idaho so soon.

    Where are you from? You mean Paris Idaho, right? or? Just google for that. Please; and do not swear at us who are amazed at the audacity of needing a guide to Paris, Idaho.

    I heard it in my school that Paris, France is well known, widely imaged etc in 99.9 percent of humans from earth.

    So to be polite, I would not even try answer your question for Paris, France here. Am I assuming correctly?
     
  10. Rough Guide is my favorite for advice on local culture, not just nightlife hotspots and cheap beer. Don't miss the bookstalls on the Seine, and the Friday night skate around the Tower.
     
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I photographed a drunk in a park in Paris, although he was in the distance. I've sold a few copies of this print...
    [​IMG]
    Drunk in Park, Copyright 1999 Jeff Spirer If you can't find anything interesting to shoot, there's a lot of postcard vendors in the tourist areas.
     
  12. <p>View from the top of Sacre Coeur (church on the hill in Montmartre I think) on a misty day (common enough in December) can be breathtaking. Street photography everywhere. The Eifel tower is severely overdone, but if you havn't seen it before it's hard to resist pressing the button once or twice (the view from the top - 1000' up is nice). There are street markets all over, just unremarkable local markets, non-touristy, which are photgenic as hell, the river-boat trips are OK but the river front isn't as interesting as say London as the city is a lot less hi-rise - being on the streets is more interesting. Inside Charles de Gaulle airport has some interesting architecture.
    <p><img src="http://www.barrythomas.co.uk/eye-full.jpg">
     
  13. Hi again,
    Thanks everyone for the information. Apart from Frank - I really didn't understand what you posted. I'll definately keep what's been said in mind when planning the weekend. And if I find anything good while I'm over there, I'll be sure to post back. We'll be staying very near Notre Dame, so that's good news.

    That's a lovely shot, Jeff. Purely out of curiosity, do you know what lens you used for that?
    Barry - thanks for the tips - how on earth did you get such a wide field of view for that shot?

    Regarding using a higher speed film for the afterdark shots. This isn't something that I've looked into before (I'm very, very new to photography). I've been reading around a little and it seems like the following films might be useful:
    Fuji Superia 800 or 1600.
    Fuji Neopan 1600.

    I have a few questions though. First, am I right in thinking that Neopan is a b/w film whereas Superia is colour? Furthermore, assuming that I buy the film before the holiday, shoot it in France, and bring it back home for processing, what sort of risk do the airport scanning machines pose for 800 and 1600 films, respectively? Oh - and with regards to using 400 film hand-held after dark, does a 50mm lens make the situation any more favourable? Please excuse my newbieness.

    Final question for the time being - are the Neopan and Superia films possible to have processed at standard high-street places, generally speaking?

    Thanks again everyone. Your feedback is hugely appreciated.
     
  14. Just 6 shots stitched together and reduced down... can't afford a good wide angle! This was just one frame tho... I know the tower is a tourist hotspot but it's a remarkable piece of engineering which was only supposed to stand for the duration of the 1889 exhibition.
    <p><img src="http://www.barrythomas.co.uk/legs.jpg">
     
  15. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Purely out of curiosity, do you know what lens you used for that?
    This was taken with a fixed lens rangefinder camera, an Olympus RD, which I believe has a 40mm lens on it. It died a few years ago, so I haven't seen it for a while.
     
  16. Paris in December will be wet and cold, but there will still be plenty of things to do and see. If the line is not too long (and weather permitting), you should climb up to the top of Notre Dame for a great view of Paris, the close-up view of the intriguing gargoyles alone is worth the effort. About the street markets, ask the locals for the nearest 'Foire a la brocante' or 'Marche aux puces', you can normally find them every Saturday.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Here's my son eating a bagette sandwich under the bridge a block from Notre Dame (in the background) - a little different view of the Seine than you usually see. In May, it was a welcome bit of cool shade, though you won't have that problem in December.
    00ABk4-20559484.jpg
     
  18. It all depends on what you like to photograph -- if you want to shoot people then I'd look
    through the LP or Rough Guide for information on markets (especially Christmas markets
    which should be kicking off around now). If you want to shoot architecture then you'll want
    to tackle the city differently and try out places like La Defense, the Pompidou Centre, the
    cemeteries, and so on.

    Since you only have the weekend and it sounds like you haven't been to Paris before (since
    you're asking this question) there's nothing to be lost in spending your time in the Louvre,
    the Pompidou Centre, Quai D'Orsay, and so on looking at art and not taking pictures
    constantly... There's a small photographers' gallery that had some very interesting work on
    display from the apartheid era South Africa (sorry, don't remember the name, but it should
    be in the Lonely Planet guide).

    Paris will get dark much earlier than you are probably used to (unless you live in Europe
    already) because it's so much further North than you would think of if you are coming
    from North America. As I recall, Rome is on about the same latitude as Toronto, so this
    means that in the winter the days are much shorter because you're getting closer to the
    Arctic Circle.

    Personally, I'd recommend taking *mostly* black and white -- Neopan or TriX, your
    preference -- and only a few colour rolls for something exceptional. Since Paris (like
    London) is mostly grey and damp this time of year the B&W will normally capture the mood
    much better and more dramatically than dreary colour photographs. Of course, in a
    market things might be very different.

    ISO 400 sounds ok (1600 ISO film costs so much more) but recognise that it won't work
    late at night unless pushed to the point that you'll start to get very contrasty negatives
    (which might be fine with you, you just have to expect it). With TriX you can push to 800
    and 1600 without too much trouble and a reasonable tradeoff in quality. I probably
    wouldn't expect to get too much out of it when pushed to 3200 although it *will* manage
    this in a pinch. Really, you'd have a lot more options with a light tripod. Maybe even just a
    tiny table-top tripod that you could put on a wall would be enough to get you some shots
    at night that are worth keeping.

    HTH.
     
  19. David, you have a severely limited time you will be there, and don't forget the toll the time change may have on you. Paris is very congested, if you take public transportation you will waste quite a bit of your allotted time waiting and walking to and fro. If you want to do candid street photography, maybe. But if you want to see the unique Parisian sites, I recommend taking a guided tour. My first visit to Paris we had to layover at DeGaulle en route to Budapest and decided it would be stupid not to see Paris but all we could spare was 2 days. We took a couply city tours, one in the daytime and one at night. There were about six people in a minivan. The driver let us out curbside by the various important sites. So at least we saw the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre (at least outside, it'd take days to see inside) and Montmartre. We still had time left to stroll the Rive Gauche, the Champs Elysse and general roaming about on our own on foot once we'd taken a taxi to the general area. I don't know if it has changed, but Paris had a restriction against using a tripod in a public place without a permit. I carried a tabletop tripod, and got lots of night shots bracing it up against whatever vertical thing was handy, like a lamp post.
     
  20. Some factors to bear in mind :
    - Paris is HUGE, and sprawls for miles and miles. It covers a far greater area than cities such as NYC, or London, or Hong Kong, etc. Be prepared to cover distances.
    - None of the buildings (other than some in the La Defense district) are higher than 4 or 5 stories.
    - Your photography in December will be governed by the weather.

    Some ideas :
    - The 5th, or 6th, floors of the Pompidou Centre (the Inside-Out building) offer great views across the city, and the building itself is worthy of some photos!
    - The traffic circulating around the Arc de'Triomphe is incredible and can yield some amazing pics (slow speed, blurred motion).
    - The Eiffel Tower (from the ground, 2nd level, or top level) is a must do.
    - The Louvre courtyards are often open after dark (people gather in them to talk, meet, eat) and offer excellent architectural pics combined with people, evening light, etc.
    - There are numerous points along the Champs de'Elysee which offer good photos opportunities, either in the park area, the streetside cafe's, or down towards the old city.
    - La Defense is an ultra-modern district built on the edge of the city, in direct line with the Champs de'Elysee.
    - But in the end the best photos are often found when simply walking around the older districts, looking down alleyways and through doorways or along the river Seine. Keep your eyes open, there are photo opportunities around every corner. There is also a lot of potential dusk / night-time photos to be had (street scenes, lit buildings, etc), bear this in mind in your choice of lenses. I actually cannot think of a more photogenic city in the world (except possibly Hong Kong).
     
  21. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    "Paris is HUGE, and sprawls for miles and miles. It covers a far greater area than cities such as NYC, or London, or Hong Kong, etc."

    This simply isn't true. Unless you want to see something pretty specific (Maybe Versailles or St Germain en Laye for example) everything you want to see in Paris as a tourist is within the Peripherique and that's not huge- certainly a more compact area than within London's north /south circulars for example. If you stand at Notre Dame, you're within 3-4 miles of just about everything you'd want to see. Furthermore the Metro system is much more dense than in most large cities and within this area getting around on public transport is easier than in any other large city I'm aware of.
     
  22. David,

    How to spend 2 days in Paris... I've been asked that question often, having grown up there myself. In order to save time (2 day's very short), here is an "organized weekend" I'd recommend, based along the axis of the Seine River. This easy tour will allow you to see the main sites in a relatively short time. No subway necessary, only walking shoes.

    First day: Start from the Arc De Triomphe, down the Champs Elysées, right down to the Place De La Concorde. Two choices: To the Left Bank, through the beautiful Alexandre III bridge, visit the Invalides where Napoleon is buried (that's optional, but don't miss the bridge anyway, it's worth shooting). Right Bank: go through the Place Vendome, to the Opera district. Visit the Opera (I recommend at least 800 asa film), shop at the Galleries Lafayettes, there is a beautiful, huge 19th century stained glass dome at the top floor (it's a tea house). Back to Place de la Concorde: walk down through the Tuillerie Gardens to the Louvre. The Musée d'Orsay is not far (Left Bank) and more manageable. Don't miss at least one of them during your day (or next day).

    Second day: From the Louvre, follow the Seine (either Bank) to Notre Dame. See the Sainte Chapelle across the street, much smaller and a real jewel (again, fast film recommended). From there, you have a choice: Left Bank to St. Germain, the heart of the Left Bank, where the best open street market is Rue De Buci (metro stop: Odeon). Nearby, the Luxembourg Gardens are very nice. Right Bank: Go to the old Marais district, visit the Place Des Vosges (nice little open air restaurants around the square), Picasso Museum ...


    Oh yes, the Eiffel Tower (slightly out of the way from the Seine): Skip the Arc De Triomphe/Champs Elysée altogether, start from the Trocadero museum (metro stop: Trocadero), go down to the Eiffel Tower (watch for pickpockets), down to the Champs De Mars (long park/gardens) and find your way to the Invalides. From there, you will see the Alexander III bridge I mentioned earlier, go over and start again from Place De La Concorde.

    Get a map and see what I'm talking about, it's really not that complicated (easy for me to say). Choose your own options. Hope this will help.

    Have a nice trip!
     
  23. Very well stated, Olivier. I am in Paris at least once a year (for over 12 years now) and I'm often there in December, as I will be again this year. The weather is usually horrible, cold and rainy -- but hey, it's still Paris!

    David, Olivier's list should be perfect for you. The only thing I would add for a first timer in Paris is the requisite Champs Elysees with holiday lights in the trees and the Arc de Triomphe in the background. Try around Avenue George V.

    You are about to visit the most photographed city in the world (I read that somewhere). Get up early and get out in the streets. It will start getting dark around 4:00 so you will have precious little light for shooting. Have a great time. I know you will.
     
  24. m.l

    m.l

    The last time I was in Paris I used B&W 400 ASA film and primes (f/2,f/1.4). This combination gave me the opportunity to also make photo's (without tripod) in nighttime. Especially around the Champs Elyssees the amount of lighting is more than enough.
     
  25. m.l

    m.l

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  30. http://www.paris.org/Expos/PereLachaise/
     
  31. I have just returned from London and Paris, here is what I have posted so far.?

    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=451911


    Paris is a wonderful city, have fun.
     
  32. Hi Dave,

    I went to Paris last summer, and if there is one thing I can recommend to you, it's this:

    Don't go up the Eiffel Tower.

    Not only is the view mediocre at best, but when I went (In the summer, could be different now) there were pickpockets everywhere at the base and the lines were so long it took about 4 hours to get up, then back down. Or longer. Waste of time. Take shots from the river if you want something to remember this great piece of architecture with. Also every night or so (I can't remember clearly) the Eiffel was lit up with strobes on the tower for about 20 minutes or something. If you have a tripod and set up at the Trocadero around that time (ask a local or something) you can take a cool-looking long-exposure of the tower with this lighting.

    I second visiting Marais. It is simply beautiful.

    I also agree with taking the metro. People who say the metro is slow or annoying probably haven't ridden on any other subway system in the world. Paris is by far the most efficient and quickest, and systems like New York and London aren't even close. You will not wait more than 5 minutes for a train, unless it is late at night and the trains are being taken off. During peak hours and regular daytime operation the trains are in perfect sync and never far behind each other. There are zillions of stops all across town and there is always a station nearby. Definetly take the metro and get a map.

    The views from the Notre Dame and the scenes around the Ile de la Cite are pretty neat. I also took one of those river tours there as well and if you catch one during the evening at around sunset you can get really nice shots of the Eiffel, bridges, and other buildings around the river. Don't go to the Bastille because it doesn't exist anymore, check out the Arc de Triomphe for views of the main avenue, and:

    Always wear your camera or bag around your neck. Never just sling it on one shoulder. My dad's camera was nearly stolen when these three young men came strolling up the street. They seemed to be walking and dancing up the street in a formation with all sorts of tourist items around their neck and waist. One came right up to my dad and lifted the camera right off his shoulder. Luckily my dad was staring right at him and grabbed it back in time. Paris is a nice city, but it's not nice to the point where these pickpockets and other people don't exist. Exercise caution with your equipment!

    Otherwise, I hope you have fun and be sure to enjoy yourself!

    -Jimmy Jin
     
  33. Don't go up the Eiffel Tower. Not only is the view mediocre at best...
    On even a mediochre clear day the view is stunning. You might get a clear December day, you might not. The panoramic view over Paris from 1000' up is just beautiful.
    [​IMG]
    May 2001, D30, full frame, 135mm, F8, 1/350s. Large version (750k) here.
     
  34. David,

    I know I annswered shortly above, but heres some real pointers.

    Money: Do your homework to get the best deal on buying Euros, In the ststion I got 60 for $100 us, but around Notre Dam I got 46, a 24% difference in a town that I already am paying 100% over is a real stinger. Pizza slice: 3.10 Euros, do the math.

    Travel: Rely on the Metro and get the multi-day pass, I got a Mobius and it was great, I even used it on the Tram up Sacre Coeur. Lots of steps. I paid 5.10 Euro a day for a pass, but multi days are available.

    Food: Do you like bread (Baguettes)? It will help to eat breads, cheeses, wines, etc. Restaurants are expensive, and I read your post on spending. Pastries are big as well. Wines is relatively inexpensive. Pizza joints are around as well, I ate in one on Blvd de Montparnasse, somewhat more costly, but doable.

    Film: I brought 100 Fuji Slide film, 100 Kodak slide film, 400 Kodak slide film, 400 TriX B&W, 400 Ilfords. It gets dark in Paris early (like here) and I used a mini tripod alot. Inconspicuous, small, and indespensable. I rean out of 120 for my Holga and had to buy yhere. I paid 4.40 Euros a roll ($8.00!!!), In NY I paid $1.99 US. Bring ALOT of film. Get a XRAY bag and they (airport security) will spot it in carry-on xray, from there It pretty much forced a hand check, something that was impossible just by asking. They say 3200 is in danger, but I did not want to chance my trips films to thier word. It takes more time, but its worth it. Bring good quality 400, maybe even some 800.

    Cameras: Be careful, like any major city crime is high, and focused on tourist. I used my Domke black J2. It was heavy, but I carried everything I needed, Nikon 8008 body, Leica M2, Holga 120N, 28mm Nikkor, 50mm Nikkor, 21mm Cosina, 50mm Summicron, 35mm Summaron, fils, tripod, filters, everything. I was always aware of it on my shoulder and always listened for the seperation of velcro which holds, as well as the clip locks.

    I tried to do NON TOURIST imageryf on this trip, I used my new toy, (literally) a Holga 120N. I loved its freedom, and its images are like nothing I have done before, nothing.

    All in all it was a great trip and I can't wait to go back. I am currently working on my scans and adding daily. Email me if you have more questions.

    http://www.photo.net/photodb/presentation.tcl?presentation_id=268276
     
  35. Hi everyone.
    Thanks to every one of you who replied to this Question. I must have read through this entire thread twenty times before we left. After reading a lot of other guides and websites we came up with a rough plan on how to arrange the weekend. The primary purpose of the break wasn't photography, rather a nice romantic weekend away with the missus. Nevertheless, I managed to get through 12 rolls of film. I'm a complete novice to photography and only took a cheap digicam and my film Olympus XA, so what I've seen of the results aren't spectacular thus far, but I still have about 10 rolls to have developed when I can get the cash together.

    Here's an outline of the weekend in the hope that it will be useful for others. I'll post some of my pictures shortly, but as I said, the vast majority haven't yet been developed. If I get an particularly good ones I'll post them in this thread. One more thing - I should have mentioned in my original post that I'm from the UK, not the USA. Apolgies for the oversight.

    Friday:

    Flight arrived around 5pm at CDG airport. Took the RER-B train from the airport into the city (Les Halles station). Cost was about 8 Euro. Our hotel was in the Latin Quarter (on the Rue Monge), so we got the Metro to one of the nearby stops and checked in without issue. Then we hit the streets and made our way up to the river and Notre Dame. Both were beautiful, but the temperature was within a couple of degrees of freezing, which somewhat dampened our spirits. The temperature remained like this all weekend, so we reluctantly adapted.

    Nearby to Notre Dame, in the Latin Quarter is a small street called something like Rue De La Huchette. This narrow street is part of an area called "Little Athens" and makes for a nice lively street scene into the early hours. Greek restaurants on opposite sides of the street compete for customers by smashing plates onto the street, startling tourists. This is a well-lit area, but very tourist orientated.

    On walking back to the hotel we noticed that numerous cafes were still open, several having a small Crepe stand out front where for about 3 Euros you could order a large sweet or savoury crepe to take away. These were very fattening, but tasty and importantly, cheap. Nutella and banana was a favourite.

    Saturday:

    This was our big walking day and we were knackered by the end of it. We walked through the Latin Quarter, past Notre Dame and through Ile de Cite, and across the river. We then made for the Marias, which again provided some interesting street scenes. Look out here for Jews in traditional dress ambling down the streets past boutiques and chocolate shops. Street photography was somewhat limited here due to the tall buildings blocking a lot of light, and the narrow pavement (sidewalks) and traffic. We made our way to Place des Vosges which was frankly disapointing. I suspect that this was due to the season rather than anything else.

    We then made our way to the Rue de Rivoli which was a very major road and featured a lot of the shops that I recognise from British High Street. However, there were some small street markets which might have made for good photo oppurtunities.

    I feel that I should stop here to make it clearer that I'm providing a very much slimmed-down account of our weekend here. We spent the vast majority of our time utterly lost, despite having a map, and this provided an excellent oppurtunity to really get a taste of city (or so we told ourselves).

    Continuing down the same road we passed through a couple more Quarters and found our way to Les Halles and the half-underground shopping mall. The surrounding area was wonderful for street photography. I haven't had the pictures back yet, but there were street markets, skateboards, street performers, Saturday shoppers, and rollerblading policemen everywhere I looked. When I next go to Paris for photography and shopping, I intend to visit this area as a priority.

    Photographers should stop at the FNAC branch in the mall here. An excellent selection of tripods, film, and all of the other junk that we love. It was quite easy to stock up on Ilford HP5 bw film and Fuji Superia 800 here, although dozens of other varieties of film were on sale here too. Prices will inevitably be higher here than whatever you pay in the USA, but they were comparable if not cheaper than here in the UK. I paid under 15 Euros for three rolls of Fuji Superia 800 in a pack. If visiting again at this time of year I would bring bringing 400 speed black and white for the day and 800 (at least) for after dark (sun set around 4-5pm).

    After Les Halles we more or less stuck to the main roads whilst aiming for the Champs de l'Eysees. This area was beautiful primarily due to the Christmas lighting on the trees leading down the avenue. After a significant walk we reached the end of the avenue and climbed the Arc de Triomphe. This was very tiring but entirely worth it, although I suspect that the view might not have been as impressive during the daylight hours as it was after dark. Bring a mini-tripod wit flexibe legs to allow you a fairly stable attachment to the fence at the top of the Arc. There was no flat surface to use a rigid mini-tripod on, and a full-size tripod would have obstructed walkways and was prohibited.

    After descending the Arc we caught the Metro back to the area around the hotel and passed the evening strolling and eating around the river and Ile de Cite area. Just as an aside, bring a good guidebook with a map, but keep it hidden when not in use. Not for fear of crime, but just to ensure that you don't warrant any more attention from bums and beggars than you have to. The few beggars that we did encounter were seemingly very polite, although more persistant than I'm used to. Citing an inability to speak French will not get you far, as many seemed able to beg in English quite competently. Shop around for a good price on an evening meal, and if you look around for a while you'll easily find several restaurants offering menus written in both French and English in the Latin Quarter. Do brush up on your basic French greetings and polite words before arriving though. Trying to speak a little French will please waiters much more than expecting them to speak English. Don't worry too much though, language was rarely a barrier in restaurants and shops.

    Sunday:

    Caught the Metro to a stop near the Eiffel Tower, and walked towards it. The gardens near the tower make for some scenic, but overdone photo oppurtunities and snap shots. Queuing for a ticket for the tower took 20 mins (expect much longer queues in hotter weather), and ascending the tower by elevator took a similar amount of time. The view from the top was terrible due to the fog, but from the second floor we had a good view of the nearby city. Expect to pay a lot if eating at the cafe in the tower. It has somewhat of a monopoly. There's little that I can tell you about the tower that you can't read elsewhere. Beware however that the nearest Metro stop is a brief but not insignificant walk away from the tower. Research this further if you have mobility issues, but don't worry about actually ascending the tower. I saw at least two wheelchair users at the top of the tower, both seemingly unaccompanied.

    Back on the Metro to Ile de Cite, this time to climb Notre Dame. This is a difficult climb for the unfit up a very steep and narrow spiral staircase. Try to keep to the back of large groups if you expect to be amoungst the less physically fit visitors. Notre Dame was impressive inside and at the top. Again, I can't say much here that hasn't been said alrady. The view was excellent, being a little under the main fog.

    Sunday evening was spent first in Montmatre (get the Metro to Abesses and ask for directions and use a map to approach the Sacre Couer from the rear and avoid having to climb the stairs. This allows you to descend the steps leading down into the streets and away from the church. This is not only less tiring, but also affords you a good view of the surrounding area before descending into it. Montmatre was at the same time touristy and incredibly seedy. Sexodromes are aplenty, if you go in for such entertainment. To leave this area, head towards the Pigalle Metro station and go from there.

    Sunday evening and Monday morning were again spent in the Latin Quartier. A final note for comic book fans - there are at least 7 decent comic book shops in the main area of the Latin Quarter. Look out for Rue Dante for a couple.

    I'll post again as and when I have some good pictures. Please ask if i've been unclear or if you have any questons.

    Thanks.
     
  36. Take a picture of their elite military troops...that should only require a 50mm. I think they only have 3 or 4 of them left.
     

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