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A sunny day in Paris

Another anniversary in Paris day two


View Another anniversary trip to Paris on ToonSarah's travel map.

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View from the Tour Montparnasse

After a comfortable night we awoke to a mainly sunny day. Losing little time we headed out in search of breakfast which we had at the Bar Mabillon on the Boulevard Saint Germain.

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Street photography in Saint Germain des Pres

Eglise de Saint Germain des Pres

After we'd eaten we strolled along to the church of Saint Germain des Pres. Last time we had been in this area, in 2017, the church had been looking rather sorry for itself, with graffiti on some of the statues and faded paintwork. A restoration project had just started. This is now complete, and the interior looks stunning! We took some photos and also went into the small, much plainer side chapel where St Germain is thought to have been buried.

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In the Eglise de Saint Germain des Pres

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Tomb of St Germain and the side chapel

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Detail of frieze in the chapel

Tour Montparnasse

From here we took the Metro to the Tour Montparnasse. This 210 metre high skyscraper dominates the skyline on the southern fringes of central Paris. Its monolithic appearance has often been criticised as incongruous or inappropriate for this proudly elegant city.

Properly known, but never referred to, as the Tour Maine-Montparnasse, it was built in the early 1970s around the time of my first ever visit to the city in 1971. The criticism it received led to a ban on the construction of buildings over seven stories high in the city centre. It remained the tallest building in the city until 2011 (the Tour Eiffel is taller but is of course not a building). In that year the Tour First in La Défense was extended in height and is now taller. But that lies technically outside the centre.

Although primarily an office block, the top of the skyscraper, as with so many around the world, is open to the public as a viewing terrace. Many say that it offers the best views of Paris, in part because from the top you cannot see the unattractive building itself! In all our many visits to the city neither of us had ever been up the tower, so now it was time to rectify that.

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Looking up at the Tour Montparnasse

We took some photos from below before going into the tower. After showing our pre-booked tickets and passing through an airport-like security check, we were ushered into a lift that took us to the 56th floor. Here there is a café, a gift shop and already some excellent views, but through glass. So we headed up the three flights of stairs to the 59th floor roof terrace. This too is surrounded by glass., for safety of course. But there are very helpful viewing spaces at the perfect height for a camera lens, so photography is much easier.

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View from the Tour Montparnasse

The weather was perfect and we spent some time here taking lots of photos. I enjoyed picking out many of the city’s most famous landmarks.

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Montmartre

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Notre Dame with cranes

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Tour Eiffel and Arc de Triomphe

I also enjoyed taking some candid shots of the other tourists enjoying the views, and even snapped an unusual selfie! The terrace is well laid-out with seating, quirky signs and interestingly placed mirrors. And on this sunny morning no one seemed in a hurry to leave, yet it wasn’t crowded.

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On the roof terrace of the Tour Montparnasse

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'Selfie' and Les Invalides

The 14th arrondissement

We spent the rest of the morning exploring the 14th arrondissement, starting with a cold drink in the Place Jacques Demy, a very local untouristy corner. Then we investigated some of the quieter back streets such as the Passage Rimbaud and the Impasse of the Moulin Vert. The latter is, as the name suggests, a cul-de-sac. It’s slightly odd that we use a French word to mean dead-end, a word that the French themselves never use in this context. In fact it translates as ‘bottom of a bag’!

We were able to find some interesting street art here and some picturesque houses hidden away behind the busier streets.

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Street art in the 14th arrondissement

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House details

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More street art

We had a bit of a search to find lunch in this area as most places were serving more substantial meals than we wanted at that time of day. But eventually we found a small café on the livelier Rue d’Alésia where I had a delicious goats cheese salad and Chris a Croque Monsieur .

Jardins du Luxembourg

Later we took the Metro over to the Jardins du Luxembourg to spend part of the sunny Saturday afternoon relaxing and people watching there. We observed some games of pétanque; took lots of photos; relaxed for a while on a couple of those small green chairs that are helpfully dotted around all the Parisian parks: watched children playing with sailing boats on the pond as no doubt they have done for generations; and popped inside the Orangerie where there was a small sculpture exhibition.

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In the Jardins du Luxembourg

From the gardens we walked back to our hotel via the Place Saint Sulpice. After unwinding for a while and sorting photos we went out for the evening, staying local with a nice drink and meal near the Marché Saint Germain.

Posted by ToonSarah 16:29 Archived in France Tagged architecture tower paris park views city street_art skyscrapers street_photography

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Comments

You lovely people certainly do know how to get to the heart of any particularly the less-touristed ones which are also my favourite.

Please do tell us about your evening meal, you always choose well, I love your culinary reviews and I am pretty sure you took images!

by planxty

Sarah, Your photos are fabulous. You need to put them in a book! I have two friends who have published photo books about Paris and they've done very well. Do join them.

Loved the photo of the Eglise Saint-Germain renovated. As you probably remember, our oldest daughter bought me one of the starts on the ceiling. It was one of their fund raisers. I haven't gotten back yet to see my star in person, but they have an online site where I can find it. It's up there with all the beautiful stars you photographed.

Your views from Tour Montparnasse were spectacular.

by Beausoleil

Beautiful photos. That tall building certainly was well worth going up for the spectacular views.

by irenevt

I had to look up pétanque because I wondered what that man was doing.

My granddaughter that went to Paris with me in 2019 thinks that anything with goat cheese in it is 'a win in my book". We ate a lot of goat cheese on that trip.

It's cool that you have an anniversary trip. I was married on my sister's birthday and for the first couple of years I would remember my sister's bithday and forget that it was my anniversary.

In the past I would try to give people appropriate presents for their/our anniversary. It was OK for the first few (paper, linen, leather, flowers, wood, and when I got to 10, which is tin, I would give them pewter which is mostly tin, and that's nicer than a tin can.

For our 35th anniversary I gave my husband jade that I bought in Victoria when I was on a work trip to Seattle.

But an anniversary trip is way nicer.

by greatgrandmaR

Thank you all :) Fergy, I didn't take photos of the food that evening - sorry! But what I ate was a lamb shank - not my usual choice but it was pretty good and came with excellent Dauphinoise potatoes!

Sally, I'd forgotten about your star! If you can tell me exactly where it is we'll probably be back in that area again next year so I could look for it for you? Or will you get the chance to do so yourself before then? As to books, I do my own sometimes but not with any view to others wanting them. The world is flooded with photos of Paris, I'm not sure mine would add anything further!

Rosalie, we did the same with our own first few anniversaries (I gave my husband a print of a painting for the paper one on our first year) but we gave up exchanging anything more than a card after our 25th. The exception was our Ruby wedding last year - my husband gave me a gorgeous eternity ring with rubies in, and I gave him a camellia bush called Ruby Wedding and made a photo book with photos from throughout our time together, which he loved :)

by ToonSarah

Hello, Sarah! Your unusual selfie is great! I enjoyed reading your story, as usual! Keep well!

by Vic_IV

Thanks Vic, glad you enjoyed it :)

by ToonSarah

How very coincidental. I have been laid up for a few days (full details of this unfortunate episode in due course) and gorging on the Food Network (pun absolutely intended) and watched some TV chef doing this exact dish although I cannot remember which one.

I absolutely love lamb shank and will make a beeline for it on a menu every time. Of all the obscure things I know and "Indian" restaurant (probably Bangladeshi) where they do the most exquisitely flavoured (not chillied to death) lamb shank curry.

Can't wait for "tomorrow" in this series.

by planxty

Thanks Fergy, I'm working on tomorrow as we speak :) Sorry to hear you've been laid up however - hope you're feeling better soon!

by ToonSarah

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