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Advice on these locations in Paris?

by xoxoxenophile Online Now Feb 6, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Hey! In May I will be going to London, Paris, and Edinburgh for a 2 week photography study abroad tour with my best friend. We will be going to the following destinations:

Eiffel Tower (going all the way to the top!)
The Louvre
Notre Dame
Galleria Camera Obscura
Sacre Coeur

We'll only be in Paris for three days so my friend and I want to make the most of it! Let me know if you have any tips on these places or maybe if there are some other things to see around any of these sites that we could possibly stop by in transit to the other sites.

Thanks in advance for all your help! :)

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25 Answers
  • Agraichen's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by Agraichen Online Now Feb 6, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Hmmmm

    Eiffel Tower (- DEFINITELY
    The Louvre - Yes but I spent a week there and didn't see all of it
    Notre Dame - Yes get there early
    Galleria Camera Obscura - I've passed all 4 times I've been there.
    Sacre Coeur - Yes. Walk the steps up to get the full experience.

    I'd add the Pantheon as well; not a long walk from Notre Dame. L'Opera is worth a look as well as a walk on Champs for the Arc (also the park across from Place de Concorde).

    If museums are your interest Rodin and Picasso are must sees as well.

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  • Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by amankapoor Online Now Feb 6, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Thanks for such valuable information, its gonna be really very helpful for me.

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  • stamporama's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by stamporama Online Now Feb 6, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    I believe 3 days is just right for you to see the places on your list at a leisurely pace. Be sure to devote an entire day for the Louvre. I'd also suggest an evening boat cruise along the Seine.

    Have fun in Paris!

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  • Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by Kuskiwi Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    If your main interest is photography spend some time in the Marais area where the shop fronts, cafes etc make good subjects.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    well the local take and I am not a good photographer is that May is a nice weather wise month, but with lots of French holiday off days to folks go out.

    Eiffel tower is a must for every visitor, I have several pictures on it, the best angle is from across trocadero, you can go on the side streets like rue de Monttessuey for a great angle shot. The Louvre is great from the pei pyramid or the carrousel, Sacre Coeur is great from the top looking down at the stairs or from the parvis.

    You can go down to the Seine at Eiffel and catch the bateaux parisiens and batobus with nice shots of the quais or looking at the palais de chaillot from the river seine level. The shots from the louvrve over the Seine river towards the conciergerie are wonderful.

    Paris is a photo city, so many shots ,angles, opportunities, best to walk it and you will come up with many of your own. Enjoy Paris

    hope it helps

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    Hi and a bit of a late welcome to Virtual Tourist. :O)

    Paris is a wonderful city for a shutterbug; you'll find much too much to point a lens at! You will also be able to fit in everything on your list and more with a little pre-planning.

    Eiffel Tower: I would suggest pre-ordering tickets to avoid wasting time in a long, long queue. This is, of course, Paris' biggest attraction so it's very busy! You may do that here:

    tour-eiffel.fr/en/preparing-...

    And for that camera, one of the very best places to shoot the Eiffel at night is from the Trocadero. There is a metro stop very nearby.

    Try to stretch some of your sightseeing time by using the evenings as well. I don't know the dates of your trip but the Louvre is open until 9:45 on Wed and Friday nights. You may also avoid the worst of the queues by using the Galerie du Carrousel, Passage Richelieu or Porte des Lions entrances and not the popular Pyramid entrance in the square.

    http://www.louvre.fr/en/hours-admission

    And you may also preorder tickets to skip the queues (although you still need to go through a security check line):

    http://www.louvre.fr/en/advance-tickets

    Notre Dame is largely more impressive outside than in: bring a zoom for snapping the chimera and gargoyles!

    Photos aren't allowed of the interior of the Sacre Coeur (and they're very strict about that) but it's best from the outside anyway. There tends to be a lot of aggressive street hawkers around the basilica (as well as other hot tourists spots) so watch your belongings here, and brush any who may bother you off with a firm "No!" and quick steps away.

    Again for photos, you can get some great shots in the Paris cemeteries. The largest -Père Lachaise - is a metro ride to the eastern side of city but Montemarte is close to the Sacre Coeur so would be an easy visit as long as you'd be in the area anyway.

    "Cimetière de Montmartre" - Cimetière de Montmartre Tip by goodfish

    But just walking about will turn up wonderful things for your lens and is a very good way to enjoy Paris. Do try to be up and about early in the mornings as that's often the best time of the day to get snaps without crowds in them.

    You may want to take the metro now and again to save some time - as when you go the Sacre Coeur, or the Trocadero at night - so buy a carnet (booklet) of 10 tickets (12.70 euro) at one of the metro stations and share them with your friend.

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by von.otter Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 6:41 AM

    When visiting Sacré-Coeur, be certain to go to the top of the basilica’s dome. You will find this a wonderful vantage point for photographing the city. You can assemble a group of photos, calling it “Above Paris” or “Looking Down on Paris”, taken from the top of la tour Eiffel and Sacré-Coeur.

    Another “Above Paris” location are the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris. The Museum Pass can get to the front of any queue for these towers. You will also have a closer look at the gargoyles. These gargoyles are not original to the church; but were added in the 19th century during a preservation renovation.

    When inside the Louvre, rather than focusing on the art, train your camera on the building itself. The decoration is fabulous. Look up at the ceilings. They are ornate and over-the-top with elaborate decoration. Get the Paris Museum Pass that will help you avoid the long queues to get inside.

    Should you be blessed with sunny days, duck inside Sainte-Chapelle (again the Museum Pass will help you get in). The sun will illuminate the glorious stained-glass windows. What an opportunity to capture the jeweled-tone color of the windows.

    Enjoy your visit to the City of Light. Once you have returned, perhaps you will consider creating a Paris tips page here at Virtual Tourist, sharing with us your views of Paris.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    "Another “Above Paris” location are the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris. The Museum Pass can get to the front of any queue for these towers"

    Unfortunately that is not true, the towers are included on the museum pass but that is one of the places where you can not skip the queue (Saint Chappelle is another that you can't skip the security queue with the Pass). What we do is get in line before it opens, if you want to see the interior of the church, one person can hold the place in line, the other can go inside the church. Getting there a 1/2 hour early will probably save you an hour of wait time. But it is a fabulous place to get shots of Paris, the gargoyles (actually chimera or grotesques) with the backdrop of Paris are some of my favorite photos.

    Another place that is on the Pass and is a fun place to take photos from is the Arc de Triomphe, from the top you can see the layout of Paris with all of the streets radiating out from the Arc. It is open from 10am-11pm (check the times) and with the pass you not only skip the queue but you can also visit more than once so you could do it at night and in the daylight for a contrast.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    Have a look at the Museum Pass, if you visit Notre Dame's towers, St. Chappelle, the Louvre, the Pantheon and the Arc de Triomphe for example, you'd save money with the pass and you'd skip the queues at the Arc and the Louvre, there was no line at the Pantheon when we went and the other two have security lines that can't be jumped. Going to the Louvre on the late night is a good idea since it's indoors and the light won't matter, I believe Kate (Goodfish) gave you the time and days.

    en.parismuseumpass.com/rub-t...

    During certain months you can visit the upper part of the Pantheon, the last time I was there in July my niece and I walked up, I think it's only with a guide but that's included in the cost of admission.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    I was going to pass along info on the Towers of Notre Dame in my earlier post but there's a complication there. From the website:

    "Pay attention : due to works, access to South belfry and Emmanuel bell is closed from 26 november 2012 to 26 august 2013 ; the monument is closed 19 february to 10 march 2013, except week-ends and monday 25 february 2013."

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  • tango_jd's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by tango_jd Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    Great views from the top of the Arc de Triomph and fantastic panorama shots from the Tour Montparnasse.
    We were there in November - 22 euros to go up to the 58th floor but it was a great place to visit ON A DRY CLEAR DAY!
    In my opinion, the most striking view of the Eiffel Tower can be had from the balcony of the Trocadero Centre. Day or night this is a breathtaking spot with or without a camera!

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    Kate, can you post the link to where you are seeing that information? I'm not seeing it on the Notre Dame website and I'm interested as that's one of the things on my Paris list for this summer.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Sure thing, Kristi:

    According to the Notre Dame website, this is the official vendor for visits to the towers:

    notre-dame-de-paris.monument...

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    Thanks Kate, oddly it doesn't mention it on the Notre Dame website. For the OP, I believe that the south belfry is the 2nd stage of the climb, I think it was closed on my last couple of visits. You can still visit the gallery of the chimera (that's the gargoyles) and still get the fabulous shots over Paris. The bell is located inside the tower, that is also a separate climb and is in the interior. So you wouldn't be able to get a shot of the bell but I think the best part is seeing the gargoyles and the view over Paris.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    this year is the 850 anniversaryof Notre Dame de Paris so lots of events throughtout the year and renovations on the bells.FYI

    on the other hands yes the tower and Sainte Chapelle etc in some you need to pass a security line with pass or without,same for Versailles. So be there earliest possible.

    Pictures are becoming more and more restrictive, I took pictures inside Sacre Coeur but was part of a architect historical group here that I do volunteer work to save these wonders. Public alone photos is not allowed. I am now involved in rebuilding the palais des tuileries, read my Paris main page about it.

    Cheers

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 7:55 AM

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    here is shot from the nord towwer of notre dame I climb up not long ago with night shot and all, on special tour group of volunteers.
    "A symbol of Paris and France,Notre Dame" - Notre Dame de Paris Tip by gwened

    and this is the site for the 850 years anniversary of Notre Dame de Paris, tops
    notredamedeparis2013.com/en/...
    talks about the bells.

    Enjoy Paris a movable feast, be there again next week lol!

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  • Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by RichardHallwood Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Hey, Good pic. I would recommend to go and see Pompidou and Musée d'orsay. And Les Catacombes. Plus take a stroll in the Marais :) A lot of things to do. And buy tickets in advance for the eiffel tower and Louvre, doing that you can skip the cueues. Our hotel was great in helping us with that, plus gave us an app to use. would recommend it!

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  • Sandypaws3's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by Sandypaws3 Online Now Feb 7, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I would definitely book online for the Eiffel Tower. Saves waiting a very long time! As for the Sacre Coeur, to get there I've found the easiest way is to take Metro line 12 to Abbesses and walk to the funicular to go up.

    Sandy

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 8, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    yes always good advise to book ahead on these sites, if sure of the date. However, bear in mind, they are always security lines to go thru. I know past by tour Eiffel often and its always loaded lol!!!

    And this year especially Notre Dame will be full as it is their happy birthday 850.

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  • xoxoxenophile's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by xoxoxenophile Online Now Feb 9, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Thanks so much for all the advice! We're getting very excited for the trip. :)

    I was wondering what the best plan of attack is for the Louvre. It's a very large place and I know we'll never see it all. I've heard everyone flocks to the Mona Lisa--I would have rather skipped that one myself, but my friend insists we can't go there and /not/ see it, so I know we'll do that, but I'm very interested in seeing Venus de Milo and more of the classical (Greek, Roman, Egyptian) art, etc.

    Also, does anyone really know what the Gallerie Camera Obscura is? The people organizing the trip put it on the itinerary and I've been having a difficult time finding information on it. I know what a camera obscura is but I'm not sure what this gallery is all about? Any help is appreciated!

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by Dabs Online Now Feb 9, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Google "how to visit the Louvre" and you'll get a handful of sites that will give you ideas for how to tackle it. Seems to me when I took my niece a couple of years ago they a handout with the major items marked, I told her we could leave once we had seen the big things but that we had to at least see those

    If you get a museum pass, you can break your visits into smaller pieces and go a couple of times for shorter periods of time.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 10, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    well mona lisa (Joconte in French) is under bullet proof encassing,and is the most seen visit photograph item in the Louvre. So if you really like to see it, go there first, and be at the louvre early at opening time ,enter thru the Passage Richelieu open everyday except tuesdays at 9h ,and the Porte des Lions entrance open on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 9h .

    The interactive of the place help you guide youself thru it here http://www.louvre.fr/en/plan

    The Galleria Camera Obscura has opening by 11H to you may go here on another day or later n the day after the Louvre, they are open until 19h
    or you can ask for a rdv (appointment) to see at a convenient time, email
    cameraobscura@free.fr

    hope it helps

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 10, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    well they have a site you can look at for the Galleria
    galeriecameraobscura.fr/inde...

    hope it helps

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Advice on these locations in Paris?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 10, 2013 at 5:18 AM

    Here is another really helpful floor-plan guide (English) for locating the pieces you wish to see. The museum is sectioned into wings, and besides the PDF I'm supplying here, there are free printed guides for each wing you may pick up in the central receiving area.

    louvre.fr/sites/default/file...

    Mona is on the first floor (which in the U.S. would be the second floor) in the Denon Wing - you'll go right by Winged Victory in a stairway along the route to where she is. As she's one of the hottest attractions, I'd be at an entry before the museum opens and then make a beeline directly to her so as to get a glimpse before the crowd is very large. They have her roped off and kept at a distance so you won't be seeing her up close.

    Venus de Milo is on the ground floor between the Sully and Denon wings.

    By spending some time with the layout, you can make yourself a rough itinerary in advance.

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