Tuesday, October 17, 2017

DIY Walking Photo Tour of the Heart of Paris

Before I went to Paris two things were important to me; that I would explore the city mostly on foot (rather than taking lots of metro rides and missing the scenery!), and that I would come away with beautiful memories and gorgeous pictures to match. If your goals in Paris are similar, this DIY walking photo tour will help you find your way to the most fascinating, historic and picturesque spots in what I consider the "heart of Paris," or Paris's two islands and their close surroundings. If you stop for a bite at the two locations I suggest (which also happen to be great photo opportunities and are on most people's Paris "bucket list"), and head inside the cathedrals and up to the top of Notre-Dame, I would give this tour around 4 hours give or take depending on crowd levels. If you just stop by to look at the outside of the stops I've listed, an hour will be plenty.

I'm including a list of photo stops below, along with a Google Map of the walking directions and exact locations of each here.

1.) Cafe de Flore

This walking tour starts out at one of Paris's most historic cafes, Cafe de Flore. Stop in to take part in a piece of Paris's history, and grab an outside table for a perfect people-watching view of the chic Saint-Germaine-des-Pres neighborhood it inhabits. The hot chocolate here rivals the best in Paris, so don't miss that perfect top-down photo of your table with the chic paper "placemat" making the perfect backdrop.

2.) Cafe Life on Rue de Buci

From Cafe de Flore, make your way down one of Paris's most charming streets, Rue de Buci towards the river. There are plenty of photo opportunities here to capture some of that classic Parisian architecture and cafe life!

3.) Bouquinistes

These historic booksellers were one of my favorite things about Paris! Little green stalls line both sides of the Seine river in the neighborhoods near Paris's two islands selling antique books, old maps, historic botanical prints, and vintage postcards. I could have spent all day sifting through their treasures (and I did end up bringing a few home!) but these historic little shops also make for perfect photo opportunities of something so uniquely Parisian.

4.) Place Dauphine

This charming square located on island Ile de la Cite is a hidden gem! Capture a photo or two of it's gorgeous Parisian architecture. No one was playing when I went there, but it's also a great place to get a glimpse of a favorite Parisian outdoor hobby, a game of Boules!

5.) Sainte-Chapelle

This cathedral is one of Paris's landmark tourist attractions, and for a shutterbug it's absolutely not to be missed! This church is covered floor to ceiling with dazzling stained glass windows. I've seen my fair share of gorgeous European churches, and this one rivals the best!

6.) Notre Dame Facade and Towers

Almost as recognizable as the Eiffel Tower itself, the Paris's Notre Dame cathedral has a stunning facade that's not to be missed! If the lines are not too long, a climb up to Notre Dame's towers is well worth the effort for an up-close view of the cathedral's famed gargoyles.

7.) Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole Cafe

You've probably seen this wisteria covered cafe on your instagram feed once or twice before. Just a block from the Notre Dame, it's entirely worth the quick detour to snap a photo of one of the most photogenic cafes in the world!

8.) Pont de l'Archevêché

This bridge is the perfect photo spot to snap a picture of the back of the Notre Dame Cathedral and it's iconic flying buttresses. The greenery spilling down along the riverbanks doesn't hurt, either!

9.) Berthillon

This world famous ice cream makes for one great Instagram picture, not to mention the perfect treat for the end of this walking tour! I tried both fruity and sweet flavors, you can't go wrong with either!

10.) (Bonus Stop) Shakespeare and Company

While this famed english-speaking bookstore doesn't allow for photos inside, from the outside you can capture a shot of the facade in all it's charm and glory.

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