We'll kick this post on Paris off with some views from the top.
The Montparnasse Tower sits opposite the Eiffel Tower and together they serve as the dominant high points of central Paris. The tower's observatory floor near the top offers some of the best views over the city.
The unique perspectives from above yield a much greater appreciation of the scale of the city. Paris is sprawling.
Multiple landmarks stick out above the city-scape. Sacré-Coeur on Montmartre is one of those.
The Louvre and the Tuileries Garden also stand out in their enormity.
And of course, the city's other tower.
The Saint-Sulpice Church (left-center) and Luxembourg Palace and Garden (right-center). Notre Dame is also visible behind the Palace.
And the Pompidou Center, which stands out starkly from the old city due to its modern style.
The Montparnasse Cemetery, which sits nearby below the tower.
Another view of the cemetery plus Paris' Two Towers.
The cemetery makes for a very pleasant and quiet place to stroll. Near here too is the official access point to Paris' famous Catacombs, with its intricately stacked piles upon piles of human bones.
The rooftops of Paris with their distinct high slope and upper floor windows. The large wings for the chimneys between each building are interesting too.
The Montparnasse Tower by night and into the metro.
Paris' metro is quite extensive, with some stations seemingly barely separated by the length of a train. The only problem I've found with the system is that it closes very early.
Having been to Paris now four or five times, I've still barely scratched the surface of all it has to offer culturally, particularly its wealth of museums.
But when a city is this charming, it's tough to find the time to stay inside for half a day or more, especially when treated with such fine weather.
Paris is a tremendously rewarding city to explore by foot.
The city itself is nearly saturated in architectural beauty.
And reminders of the pride of France are all over.
I was treated to some wonderful light and dramatic clouds in the Place des Vosges
The French appreciation of simply sitting and talking with friends in beautiful park spaces never ceases to inspire me to do the same more often. There is a genuine appreciation of how beautiful their public spaces are.
Back in the metro and off to another spot.
Alongside the Seine you'll almost always find others enjoying life, regardless of time of day.
Taking a river cruise is another nice way to take in the city.
Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral and its architecturally famous flying buttresses. It's hard to believe that the building has stood on this spot for over 850 years.
The Saint-Michel Fountain, just across the river from the Ile de la Cité.
A little street art... but more on this in a follow-up post.
Springtime in Paris may sound cliché, but there are many good reasons why the spring is a wonderful time to be in the city. Near-perfect weather is a great place to start, and add to that a general lack of European tourists, who tend to inundate the place later in the summer.
The Arc de Triomphe... the details in this monumental piece are fantastic.
And the Champs-Élysées.
The spectacular facade of the Musée d'Orsay
Some folks enjoying a game of pétanque, basically a ball game very similar to bocce and lawn bowling. Just another charming way that the French will enjoy a Sunday afternoon outdoors.
And some more sights over by the Louvre.
And some monumental architecture stolen from another great former empire, the Obelisk of Luxor. The obelisk was "gifted" to France by the ruler of Ottoman Egypt in the mid-1800s. Sadly, its twin stands alone and unbalanced since then outside of the Luxor Temple in Egypt.
The Bourbon Palace, like a not-so-little piece of Ancient Greece or Rome right in the heart of Paris.
The Grand Palace from the Alexandre III Bridge...
And the golden dome of Les Invalides from the Alexandre III Bridge.
And back to the Eiffel Tower.