I’m going to try something a bit different for my Paris photo sets. When I was picking my London photos to post here, I tried my best to choose only one of each subject to minimize repetition. I have too many Paris photos I like to be able to do that, so I saved myself the agony of picking and will be posting all my favorites. For example, that means about half a dozen photos of the Eiffel Tower. Maybe a bit self-indulgent, but overall I’m quite pleased with my Paris photos so I hope you’ll enjoy them.
This is part 1 out of 3. Teaser image:
Paris can be easily reached from London by riding the Eurostar high-speed train. After a long security checkpoint, we arrived at the passenger waiting area which is an impressively clean and sleek hall with glass-enclosed escalators to reach the train platform.
St. Pancras Station is actually where the train scenes in the Harry Potter movies are filmed.
The very first thing we did upon reaching Paris was to walk along Champs-Elysses, possibly the most famous street in the world. It is part of the historical axis, which is a straight path about 5 miles long connecting many of the key attractions in Paris, starting at the Louvre Museum and ending at the Grande Arche in the business district of La Defense. Approximately in the center is Arc de Triomphe, my favorite monument in Paris. Trees, restaurants, and shops line Champs-Elysses. If you’ve been to Omotesando in Tokyo, that’s often been called the Japanese Champs-Elysses because of the similar look, expensive real estate and predominance of luxury stores.
Giant pedestrian sidewalks invite tourists to take a pleasant stroll down the avenue.
Darting into the middle of the street for a quick photo. I bet the residents of Paris who have to drive down the street hate all the tourists.
The largest Louis Vuitton store in the world is located on Champs-Elysses. I had remembered reading that the LV store on Omotesando Boulevard in Tokyo was the largest in the world (which I’ve also visited), but I believe it only got that designation because the Paris flagship store was being reconstructed for a time period.
The store is absolutely massive. I was blown away by the size of the Tokyo store but the Champs-Elysses store felt a good 50% larger. You’ll find tons of Asian girls in the store, all eyeing the latest LV goodies. By the way, I thought I would mention that I don’t own any LV products and don’t have a particular interest in the brand, but my parents do and love to compare prices whenever in a new country. Plus, this store is so big it’s practically a tourist destination anyway. I would recommend checking it out if you’re walking the Champs-Elysses. I have dubbed it the “Cathedral of Louis Vuitton”, you’ll see why in a bit.
Escalator to the higher level.
Impressive looking shoes.
One of the rooms on the higher level has an stunning glass and mirror structure reaching to the heavens. “Cathedral of Louis Vuitton” is an appropriate name, don’t you think?
Arc de Triomphe is a lot taller and bigger than I expected. It is a monument commissioned by Napoleon to honor those who have fought for France. This is my favorite destination in Paris, so lots of photos following…
Climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, a total of 284 steps.
We stayed up at the top from sunset until closing hours at 11 PM, when everybody was herded to the staircase by an overzealous guard who yelled at us in French. Sunset is at almost 10 PM in this part of the world.
As cliché as it is, Paris is a beautiful and romantic city. I would love to visit again with a girlfriend/wife.
Looking west toward the Grande Arche and the La Defense business district.
Looking east at the Champs-Elysses and toward the Louvre Museum. Progression from sunset to night.
I have to admit, old European architecture dating back hundreds of years has a certain charm, but I was so delighted when I went to the La Defense business district and saw all the refreshing modern skyscrapers. I got a very strong Tokyo vibe being there. Paris officials had wisely decided to build the skyscrapers at the edge of Paris to retain the atmosphere of the city. Aside from business buildings, there’s also a large shopping mall/movie theater complex and the Grande Arche.
Riding the glass elevator up to the top of the Grande Arch costs about $10. Not worth it because there’s not much to do up there. To save you the fee, here’s a photo of the view looking back towards Arc de Triomphe.