I spent the day in Paris yesterday after flying all night from the United States. We landed in Paris around 0500 (Paris time). It was still dark when we landed.
After checking into the Hilton hotel at the Charles de Gaulle Airport I quickly showered and changed for a day of walking in the city.
The hotel is located a very short distance from the train station and I was able to get going a little after 0700.
I was hoping to get into the city before sunrise but I just couldn’t quite do it. The train I took hit all the stops on the way into the city. Apparently, if you know what you’re doing, there are a couple trains that you can take that skip the first few stops before getting to the city outskirts.
It was ok though as I met a very nice gentleman at the station platform before boarding. We had a wonderful conversation on our way into the city making the time go by quickly.
I knew from past experience that I wanted to get off at the St-Michel/Notre-Dame station. After climbing the stairs and existing the station, I discovered a beautiful morning with a bright sun with blue sky projecting long shadows and great contrast.
Of course the Notre Dame was strikingly beautiful this morning. With a cloudless sky there was not a chance for any drama in the photos but its age and beauty are still there to behold.
The other tourists were already arriving too when I got to the church. While there, several buses pulled up with a very large group. I began moving my way out of the church and began my walk on down along the River Seine.
Of course the optimum time to photograph is around sunrise and sunset, this was not an option as I only had the day as the sun was already bright.
As I continued down along the River Seine I came across this couple (I’m calling them the Wedding Couple) as they were being photographed for I’d assume some pre-wedding or maybe after wedding photographs with some of Paris sites in the scene.
On the next bridge to cross the River Seine I ran into another photo shoot. In this case, we have two models working with a firm that appeared to be conducting a workshop. They were using a reflector and the camera was wired to a computer with hood so the images could be instantly reviewed. The Eiffel Tower is to the left in the background. I didn’t want to interfere with the workshop attendees and grabbed this photo while walking by.
I continued walking towards the Eiffel Tower and ran into this gentleman enjoying the autumn sun.
The Pont du Carrousel bridge leads you into the Musée du Louvre.
Everywhere you turn there’s a photo opportunity in Paris. Unless you’ve been here its really difficult to grasp the enormity of the buildings and statues. A wide angle lens may enable the photographer to capture the entire scene but in my opinion its impossible to really fathom how incredible it really is.
Upon leaving the Louvre area I continued my journey walking towards the Eiffel Tower. The next bridge one sees is the Pont Alexandre III. It connects the Champs-Élysées quarter and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter. I took the following photo of the Grand Palais before crossing the Cours la Reine Boulevard to the Pont Alexandre Bridge.
I’ve finally arrived to the Eiffel Tower. You would think it would be an easy target to photograph. I did not find it easy at all. I had some ideas in mind from other photographs that you see but once there standing under it I found it difficult.
Of course the crowds were in a long line to buy a ticket to ride to the top. I could have made the time but there were other things I wanted to see. One of the stops on my list was the Leica Paris store which is on the way to the infamous Arc de Triomphe. Leaving the Eiffel tower, I found this man sitting on a bench oblivious to the crowd of tourists walking by.
Another model shoot was in progress while walking to the Leica Paris store. Of course I didn’t want to interfere but I thought I’d give a go at another opportunity to shoot a live model!
As you can see I finally made it to the Leica Paris store. I think I spent an hour there. Emmanuel, one of the Leica employees, made great conversation as we talked Leica cameras of course. The leather chair was a blessing as I know I’d already walked a few miles along with the awesome espresso Emmanuel offered. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get back out of the chair when I was ready to leave.
Well, I had more to see so continued my venture to the Arc de Triomphe. As you’ve probably surmised I don’t care for crowds and here was not any different. I just wasn’t going to wait in a long line to climb to the top of the Arc. I had in my mind I wanted a photograph from the top but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Of course the Arc de Triomphe is located along the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées. A couple photographs that follow will give you just a tidbit of the size and volume of people out on this gorgeous sunny day.
I finally got back to the Notre Dame where I had a meal. As I was hoping to capture a late afternoon photograph of the Notre Dame and ran across this gentleman playing his heart out on his accordion. I tossed a couple euro in his case and got a smile with a reply “merci beaucoup!”. I then pressed the shutter.
After a long day walking in the bright sun and a long train ride back to the Hilton, the sun was already setting and I’d been gone nearly 12 hours. I haven’t calculated the distance but it wouldn’t surprise me I hadn’t walked close to 10 miles today.