Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Peaceful Parisian Moments

One of the reasons that Paris is my favorite European city is that in addition to its spectacular popular attractions, it's never hard to find a quiet spot or a corner where you feel like you're the only people there. I'm not quite sure how the city pulls it off, but having now been there three times, I find it always does. And certainly, after visiting with young children, my appreciation for that quality is higher than ever.

I had several of those moments on our trip over the holidays. Paris is an incredibly popular place to travel to between Christmas and New Year's. Lines at just about every museum and attraction we passed stretched for what looked to be hours. But just as you begin to feel a bit claustrophobic by it all, you walk a block or two, and you find yourself on your own and yet your surroundings are just as gorgeous.

A few examples:

Picture Perfect Paris. As we strolled the Champs Elysees, enjoying a crowded Christmas Market along the way, we eventually detoured over to the Pont Alexandre III. A beautiful ornate bridge, with the Eiffel Tower in the distant background, made for perfect photo opportunities. And without the many vendors found at the Eiffel Tower itself to bother us.

Quasimodo's backyard. While the front of Notre Dame had a maze of tourists lined up to enter, the back was nearly empty. This also happens to be my favorite view of the cathedral, where you can see the buttresses arch away from the spine of this magnificent structure. It didn't hurt that there was a couple of swings for my kids to play on, too.

Seine strolling. Later that morning, we walked from Notre Dame alone the Seine, freshly brought crepes in hand. We hardly passed a soul on this walk, despite being in the core of the city itself.

Victor's Neighborhood. And on our last day in the city, after our Eiffel Tower disaster spectacle, we met up with the rest of our group to enjoy a few sunny moments in the Place des Vosges. It's the square Victor Hugo lived on for most of its life. There were plenty of others out enjoying the blue skies that morning, but it wasn't hard to find a bench to sit on or a clear path to race your brother.

This post is a part of Friday Postcards at Walking on Travels.

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