The most surprising thing for me about my whirlwind trip to Paris in September was my immediate love of the Eiffel Tower. I wasn’t a fan of it lit up and sparkling at night, but almost every other view was absolutely amazing. Plus, it gives you a sense of the scale of the city in a way that nothing else does.
My traveling companion kept insisting on trying to get shots on her phone from the lawn, which to me – since it was early Fall and the flowering trees weren’t in bloom – seemed pretty boring. But from across the river you can get the expanse of the city spread out below…it was truly captivating.
I love travel photography so I’ve seen a LOT of shots of Tour Eiffel – perhaps more of it than any other single landmark in the world. That’s a bit intimidating, to say the least.
But it was so awe inspiring to see it and Paris stretched out in every direction beyond, I forgot to be intimidated.
Notice Les Invalides in the background? I think that I was photographing that as much as the tower itself.
I took a photo of the other angle, too. This one is from the garden of Musée Rodin:
Les Invalides with Tour Eiffel in the distance. You can just barely see Rodin’s famous Le Penseur statue down among the trees.
The beginning of September always makes me antsy. The winds of the change in seasons ripple over New England yet the trees haven’t turning yet and I just want to do…something. Something different preferably. So when a friend posted on Facebook “Who wants to go to Paris with me next week?” I jokingly responded “Yes?!?”
And then guess what happened? I was on a plane from Logan Airport to Oslo, Norway and from there on to Paris. Let’s just say that another friend had to bow out on the trip super last minute and I got an amazing deal that was too good to turn down.
Paris is every bit as amazing as you expect it to be. We descended into the city flying through cotton candy pink clouds!
This was going to be a very short trip – we would be in the city for three days total – but I wanted to photograph every single thing that I could. People ALWAYS ask me if I have photographs of Paris and I’ve always had to respond – no sorry, I’ve never been to Europe. Of course my last minute travel companion hadn’t planned to spend her three days in Paris finding things for me to photograph – some concession had to be made.
The first photograph that I took of the city was using my phone – I like to Instagram my travels as a way for my friends and family to BE THERE with me in the moment. This was right by the metro stop closest to the apartment that we were staying in.
Off we headed to stand in line to get into the Catacombs – this was one of my “musts” when seeing Paris and I was very sad that the lighting plus no tripod rule made it almost impossible to photograph down in the bowels of the city. I yelled at a few American tourists who were ignoring the No Flash rule, too…because that’s who I am. They do have one wall that obviously lit for those of us who want to photograph the bones.
After pursuing the seedy gift shop with skull paraphernalia, we stopped for lunch at a bistro nearby. We sat outside, drank red wine and discussed our plans for the next couple of days. Even off season in September it was already obvious that we were going to have to wait in a lot of lines to do anything in the city, which was frustrating. My friend really wanted to go to the top of Tour Eiffel and drink a glass of champagne on every floor – I would rather have bought a bottle of champagne and drank it while wandering around photographing in Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
But I’m a good sport and Tour Eiffel IS Paris – I decided to tag along and intentionally routed us to a Metro stop across the Seine for the “better view” of the tower. I was antsy still, this was touristy to the max and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get a photo of the tower without the swarm of people at its base.
This is my attempt to photograph my travelling companion photographing the tower because she had just done the same for me:
My final photo of the tower will be its own post, so I won’t talk about it a lot here except to say that it worked out better than I was expecting at this point.
We were there before the top of to the tower opened (that’s a thing, folks – something that I don’t remember seeing in my Guide Book) so we bought tickets to the 2nd Floor and stood in line…forever. By the end of that line, I was definitely not thinking that it was worth it. But then I finally was on the tower and Paris…Paris is just beautiful.
Finally, the top floor opened and we waiting in line…again…first to buy tickets and then to get onto the elevator up. But by then (two or more hours later) the Sun was starting to set. Golden hour from atop Tour Eiffel? Every bit as great as you might suspect it to be.
Yeah, beautiful ending to a first day in a beautiful city.