Pictures of Paris

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Paris. The City of Love. The City of Light.

I think every little girl has some sort of romantic idea about Paris. I know I did.

The reality of Paris, though, can be a bit different.

Eiffel Tower

Paris is big. Paris is crowded. Paris can, at times, be a bit smelly and standoffish.

But, even though I didn't fall head over heels for the city, I actually was pleasantly surprised by Paris.

Yes, Paris is big. But the Metro makes it easy to get around (just don't inhale too deeply).

Yes, Paris is crowded, but there are parts of the city you can retreat to in order to to escape the crowds.

Yes, Parisians can look down their noses at you if you don't speak French, but, really, who cares? Get over it and enjoy the Paris experience. You can get around fine without speaking any language at all.

Sacre Coeur from behind

I went into Paris knowing all the stereotypes and having heard all the warnings. But I was determined to not let any of them influence how I saw and experienced Paris for the first time. This was MY trip, after all.

And, because it was my trip, I actually didn't end up doing a lot of the most touristy things in Paris.

  • I didn't see the Mona Lisa.
  • I didn't go inside Notre Dame.
  • I didn't visit the catacombs.
  • I didn't go to a show at the Moulin Rouge.
  • I didn't even go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Instead, I skipped the lines (and hefty prices) and did only what I was interested in.

  • I SAW all the famous monuments, just from the outside.
  • I did multiple walking tours around different Parisian neighborhoods.
  • I took an evening cruise on the Seine.
  • I wandered through Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
  • I saw Paris from the top of the Montparnasse Tower.
  • A ate at the “Amelie” cafe.

Here's a glimpse into MY Paris:

I saw everything famous from the outside:

Notre Dame
Like Notre Dame Cathedral
Sacre Coeur
And Sacre Coeur Basilica
Arc de Triomphe
And the Arc de Triomphe
Moulin Rouge at night
And even the Moulin Rouge lit up at night

I watched the sun set at the Louvre instead of waiting in a line to get inside:

Louvre Sunset

Louvre

I wandered the pretty streets of Montmartre:

Montmartre Paris

Montmartre Paris

I went looking for love:

Pont des Arts Paris
Love locks line the Pont des Arts

Pont des Arts love locks

I strolled through gardens:

Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

I tread quietly over graves:

Pere Lachaise Cemetery Paris
Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Pere Lachaise Cemetery

I saw Paris from above:

Paris from Montparnasse Tower
The view from the top of Montparnasse Tower

Paris from Montparnasse Tower

I took a sunset cruise on the Seine:

Paris Seine cruise at sunset

Paris Seine cruise at sunset

And, yes, I saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, too (I had to!):

Eiffel Tower at night

It's true that my trip to Paris was a little less touristy than it could have been. But it was perfect for ME — and it leaves a lot to be done next time!

Which of these things would you do/not do in Paris?

Also, big thanks to GoWithOh for fixing me up with a cute Paris apartment for my stay in the city!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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  1. Wow, that Louvre shot is magazine-cover worthy! Kudos. Love all the other photos too!

      Thanks, lady! Pretty happy with all those Louvre photos, for sure!

    Gorgeous photos and I Love Paris! I like to roam the streets and occasionally peek in. I think I have done all that you did and some that you didn’t, but I would love to do the river tour still. I can’t get enough of just walking the city and different neighborhoods. I have been 3 times in all and hope to keep adding to that.

      It’s a city that you can easily visit time and time again and still find something interesting to see/do.

    Your pictures take me back down memory lane, giving me life! “No trip up the Eiffel” lol sounds like my trip to Paris!

    Unbelievably, I’ve never been to Paris. That unwanted fact’s going to be harder to change since relocating to the Canary Islands. Your photos make me want to make the effort even more, however.

      Well, I had never been before this trip, either! Definitely worth a visit though, I think. It’s just one of those places every traveler should try at least once!

    Yes, Paris is amazing and there are many beautiful places – during the day and when the night comes 🙂 I had 4 days in Paris late March this year – enjoyed every moment there (and yes, I want to go back 😉 ).

      Yes, Paris is definitely a city for all seasons, and all times of day! I loved how lively the banks of the Seine were in the evenings this time of year.

    We were in Paris this past January and we loved the city – but can understand why not everyone loves every part of the city. It snowed while we were there and it was incredibly beautiful. We didn’t go to Moulin Rouge either because I read they pack people in like sardines and we just weren’t interested. We did miss out on the gardens but we loved being there in the winter. Your pictures are beautiful!

      I imagine it would be very different in the winter – probably a little more chilled out! It’s packed with people this time of year.

    Cheers to not doing touristy things in a major city! That’s my usual style, too – I get way too much enjoyment just wandering around and soaking everything up, no need to pay $20+ to see the inside of a church or museum. Fantastic photos, totally makes me want to visit Paris, like, right this second!

      I suppose I *was* quite touristy to an extent, but, yes, I have a budget to stick to! And I was perfectly happy seeing everything from the outside and avoiding the long lines!

    That Louvre shot is quite spectacular! And I absolutely love this post — a wonderful alternative to experience Paris without burning a hole in your pocket. I would do exactly what you did!

      Thanks so much! Perhaps it will give some others ideas for seeing Paris on a budget, too!

    I’m not a fan of the French in general, and have no plans to go to France or Paris- however, if I end up going I think I will end up doing a trip much more like yours 🙂 X

      Hahaha, fair enough, Sammi! Paris was always somewhere I knew I’d get to eventually, and I AM glad I saw it.

    Great pictures! When I went to Paris few years ago I had just a couple of days which as you know aren’t enough to explore it all. I did the same as you, simple saw everything from outside while walking by. More reasons to come back one day 🙂

      Yes, definitely reason to go back! I know I’ll be returning eventually.

    First of all, those photos are all stunning. Excellent job. Secondly, I’m with ya on the more lower profile activities. I’ve been to Paris twice (man, I love it there) and have done the touristy things, but I’d like to go back and really do more non-touristy stuff. Wandering the streets is one of my favorites. The last trip was with my niece (age 9) and nephew (age 16) and they wanted our final activity before returning home to be the sparkly Eiffel Tower. Not wanting to disappoint them, I agreed, so we grabbed a sandwich and waited for the sun to go down. 🙂

      Even if you’re avoiding the most touristy stuff, the sparkly Eiffel Tower is still a must!

    Great photos. On my only trip to Paris I never got to see Montmartre or the Palace of Versailles and much more. It’s you said it give a good reason to get back.

      I didn’t get to see Versailles on this trip, either. Next time for sure!

    I love Paris and go quite often but I never managed to take such great photos.
    WoW all stunning shots !

      Aww thanks, Freya! I’m sure if you go to Paris quite often you have some great memories there! And those are always better than nice photos. 🙂

    My heart aches for Paris! Your pictures are so lovely. You have quite the eye for photography!

      Thanks for the kind words! Paris is so easy to photograph, though!

    We LOVE your shots! We’re so happy that you finally got to GowithOh to Paris! 😀

    Isn’t Pere Lachaise Cemetery lovely? Despite visiting Paris several times, I’ve never been up the Eiffel Tower! No regrets. Maybe one day…
    I loved your version of Paris 🙂

      Yes, the cemetery really is lovely! (As weird as it is to use “cemetery” and “lovely” in one sentence… haha.)

    […] Paris is one of those cities that most girls (in America, at least) daydream about. In our minds, it just oozes with style and romance. And, in reality, Paris is indeed a beautiful capital city. Seeing all the famous sights like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame were a highlight of the beginning of my most recent trip to Europe, and it’s definitely a city I plan to visit again (hopefully next time with a special someone in tow). […]

    Your list of what you did and didnt see in Paris is almost identical to mine. What an incredible place, we did a behind the scenes at a Boulangerie, a walking tour through Montmartre ending at the amazing Basilica Sacre Coeur where a busker played La Vie En Rose for me, I had Croc Monseur for lunch with French Fries and even saw a French Poodle! We needed that after a long walk to Sacre Coeur, uphill, uphill and up another hill but such a view. What an experience our first breakfast in Paris was… at a sidewalk cafe near Moulin Rouge we were served our juice, coffee and croissant and the man sitting two tables away with is wife and 2 young children pulled out his harmonica and start playing a beautiful French tune… talk about ambience! We thought our memories of this beautiful city would last a lifetime, but we are now planning another European trip next year.

      It really is a special city, isn’t it? I definitely want to go back and do/see more things – but hopefully with my significant other in tow!

    Hi Amanda, I missed out of going to Amelie but did get to the Moulin Rouge and thoroughly enjoyed, but it was very pricey. We stayed in Montmartre and enjoyed the crepes, baguettes and croissants and the Petit train ride up to Sacre Coeur. We also did an evening cruise on the Seine too and can’t describe the feeling of excitement at Montparnasse Tower when we saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle for first time (and we also did not go to the top). We had some amazing walking tours and learnt a lot about the history of Paris and Montmartre and spent a day in Versaille. Paris was our first experience in Europe and definitely will keep coming back.

      Sounds like you had a great first visit to Paris!

      I would love to go to the Moulin Rouge one day, but I know it’s expensive. It’s also not an experience that I think I would enjoy solo!

    I absolutely love Paris! But, your list:
    I didn’t see the Mona Lisa.
    I didn’t go inside Notre Dame.
    I didn’t visit the catacombs.
    I didn’t go to a show at the Moulin Rouge.
    I didn’t even go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
    Never have done any of them either and we have been 4 times in the last 8 years.
    And, some really compelling images, by the way. Can never have enough of those!

      I think it’s perfectly possible to visit Paris as a tourist, and yet never do any of the really touristy things! (Though, I’m sure eventually I’ll do some of the things I didn’t do the first time…)

    Great post!!! Where was your favorite place to see the eiffel tower?

      I liked the view from the Montparnasse Tower a lot!

    I love your take on Paris. You’ve definitely inspired me to visit some of the places you went – the pictures of Montmartre and Jardin du Luxembourg were my favourites!

      Awesome to hear! There are so many great places to see in Paris.

    Those photos are definitely amazing especially the sunset in your cruise , you are a good photographer 😀

    Where were you when you took the pic of the Eiffel Tower at night? I’m heading there this fall (a G-mommy on a solo trip!) and enjoyed this post immensely.

      I don’t remember the name of the plaza, but it’s the same place where I took the daytime photo. You can’t miss it – look for the reflecting pool and those cannons and lots of people taking photos. I think it may have been close to the metro stop.

    Amazing pictures ! Thank you Amanda. I was in Paris a few months ago and I loved it ! You can also visit the center of the city on Segway, it will give you a nice overview and you will see a lot of these monuments. I tried and it was fantastic ! Try it next time, it’s a lot of fun ! 🙂

    Hi Amanda! Found your blog a few months ago while researching my trip to Egypt in December. I’ll be doing that one with my husband. But…you’re contagious! I now want to go to Paris….by myself! Thank you very much 🙂 I was thinking about the spring of 2019…. this will be my first trip ever alone. So I was wondering if you had any suggestions for small group tours? Baby steps to being completely on my own. LOL!

      That’s great to hear, Lori! I’m afraid I don’t have any personal recommendations for group tours in Paris, though – I’ve never done a tour in that part of Europe! But spring in Paris would be lovely. 🙂

    Great website! We went to Paris/Tours for 2 weeks in May/June. We rented an apartment and really enjoyed “hangin’ with the locals” in our neighborhood. Did you see/go to any of the “pop-up” markets? There was one in our neighborhood and it was just awesome, all the food, fish, cheeses…amazing. You are living in a great time for travel, with the internet for research and booking trips. When I was your age back in the sixties and seventies, it was much harder, had to hope you got a good travel agent. Just so you know, I happened onto your website while looking at tours for Egypt. I enjoyed reading your article on Egypt too.

      It’s definitely a great time to be a traveler now – though sometimes all the info you can find online can be overwhelming!

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