Paris by day — and by night

21Nov11

Before leaving for Paris, I bought two Cartes Musée for me and Esteban. These cultural passes are one of the best (and least known) deals for tourists: Not only do they grant you “all you can see” access to Paris’ museums, but they also allow you to bypass the long lines.

The catch? The weather in Paris this week has been gorgeous — so we haven’t had much interest in being indoors. Maybe that’s why we decided to compromise by walking to the Gustave Moreau museum this morning.

Like many of Paris’ small museums, the building is as sumptuous as the art. I couldn’t decide whether to shoot Moreau’s remarkable work or the beautiful architectural details.

The walls were quite literally covered in Moreau’s work, which spanned a wide variety of styles throughout his career.

But I liked the minimalist expressiveness of his sketches best. I left with a whole new respect for Moreau, his life, and his art.

The afternoon was still mild as we left the museum, so we decided to walk back home. As we strolled down Boulevard Haussmann, I spotted the crowded entrance to the Galeries Lafayette.

This enormous six-story-tall department store is the epitome of luxury shopping. And again … like so many of Paris’ landmarks, the building is as remarkable as the treasures it houses. I adored the stained-glass ceiling and the Christmas decorations.

On a sudden whim, I dragged Esteban up to the rooftop terrace, which provides a stunning (and totally free) view of the city. We emerged just as the sun was setting behind the Eiffel Tower. Within minutes, the sky went from a warm amber to deep crimson. Swoon!

On the long walk home, we stopped to do a little window shopping …

… and a little night photography. I especially loved the bright lights of the Place de la Concorde and the neoclassical lines of the Institut de France.

And somewhere in the middle of all this, I managed to convince Esteban to ride the Grande Roue de Paris with me.

This giant ferris wheel was built in 1900 as part of the World Exposition. Now, it travels all over the world, with occasional stops in Paris for the holiday season. The view from the top was spectacular.

Although we were a bit footsore, we managed to walk along the Seine to our favorite bistro. La Frégate has become a touchstone of sorts for me and Esteban: Over the years we’ve gotten to know some of the staff, and the food is consistently excellent.

Sated with wine and boeuf bourguignon, we walked the rest of the way home and collapsed on the couch. The street noise grew faint and our neighbors fell quiet as Esteban and I capped off the evening with a kir. Another night in Paris …

I really could get used to this.



11 Responses to “Paris by day — and by night”

  1. Fabulous post!!! Your Lafayette dome photo is gorgeous!! – – – My last post was of this dome (taken in 2004) also with christmas decorations!!! – – – Quite different!!! Thanks for sharing!!! 🙂 **

    • 2 hmunro

      Just visited your blog … lovely shot you’ve got there! And what a funny coincidence that we should both post about the same thing. We’re very lucky to have gotten the chance to go to Paris, don’t you think? 🙂

      • Thank you so much!!! I agree!!!! & I can NOT wait for my next adventure to Paris – – – whenever that may be!!!! – – – 😀 ** Living this dream through your posts!!! So, keep ’em coming!!! 🙂 **

  2. I’ve been meaning to visit the Moreau museum so thanks for that exciting preview! I must go there now. I like your comparison to the Lafayette stores and how in both cases the building becomes as (or even more) beautiful than what’s inside. To me that’s a very Parisian thing compared to the New York I’ve always known, and I love this city for it.

    • 5 hmunro

      The Moreau museum is well worth a visit — as is the nearby Musée de la Vie Romantique. They really give you a flavor of what life must have been like for the more privileged artists and writers of that time. In fact, such small museums are one of my greatest guilty pleasures in Paris because they give you a glimpse of the world that exists behind so many of the city’s heavy courtyard doors.

  3. 6 XpatScot

    Spectacular images. Right on La Monnaie 🙂

  4. Wow! Thanks for sharing the night life of Paris. This series is gorgeous!

    –John

    • 9 hmunro

      So glad you like these pics! The perfectionist in me is a bit disappointed that they’re not exactly “tack sharp,” but they’re not too bad for being hand-held (shot without a tripod), I guess.

  5. And you wanted to give Paris a break for a while????
    What stunning photos!

    • 11 hmunro

      Well … I *thought* I wanted to give Paris a break for a while. Clearly, I was mistaken. 🙂


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