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Touring Paris, France - Crowded but Nice, Away from Tourist Trails

Updated on November 16, 2016
janderson99 profile image

John has traveled extensively has developed 5 website guides for touring Australia & Worldwide. John has developed travelers tips & tricks.

We toured Paris to see the art, museums, the city itself, and to experience the lifestyle and people. At the outset we knew there would be huge crowds and long delays and so we decided not to attempt the major attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the major palaces. These sites can be viewed from afar in the hop-on hop-off buses.

Visiting Rome had taught us how to handle the crowds in Paris - be early, very early and line up well before opening even if you have a ticket.

Avoiding the crowds in Paris is an art form in itself. We were determined to see the real Paris away from the major tourist areas and so we adopted a very flexible strategy of playing our hunches and whims, being very flexible and not overdoing the planning.

The hop-on hop-off buses are a good way to get an overall picture relatively quickly, and on the next circuit you can hop off when you see and area or sight that appeals to you.

Our main focus for the attractions was the art and museums.

The images below highlight some of the delightful arcades, cafes and restaurants you can find when you venture into the heart of Paris away from the tourists.

Beautiful restaurant in the heart of Paris
Beautiful restaurant in the heart of Paris | Source
Decoration in a lovely old cafe, Paris
Decoration in a lovely old cafe, Paris | Source
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Nice Cafe where we had lunch in the Paris side streets
Nice Cafe where we had lunch in the Paris side streets | Source
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Arcade in the Saint Germain Quarter, Paris
Arcade in the Saint Germain Quarter, Paris | Source
Arcade in the Saint Germain Quarter, Paris
Arcade in the Saint Germain Quarter, Paris | Source
Arcade in the Saint Germain Quarter, Paris
Arcade in the Saint Germain Quarter, Paris | Source
Arcade in the Saint Germain Quarter, Paris
Arcade in the Saint Germain Quarter, Paris | Source

Below are some more images of scenes around Paris including the 'love-locks' burdening the bridges, images of Notre Dame.

We did not try to get inside because the queues were far too long and it would have required a two hour wait and the visit would have been spoilt by the crowds.

Far better to visit some of the less popular attractions and to head out into the heart of Paris to absorb the real atmosphere of uncrowded Paris.

More Original Paris Images

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Love-locks on the bridge now come in layers - a massive burden for the bridges to bear - too much love in Paris.Even the tour boats were huge and crowdedNotre DameRoping the dogs into the actNotre DameNotre Dame
Love-locks on the bridge now come in layers - a massive burden for the bridges to bear - too much love in Paris.
Love-locks on the bridge now come in layers - a massive burden for the bridges to bear - too much love in Paris. | Source
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Even the tour boats were huge and crowded
Even the tour boats were huge and crowded | Source
Notre Dame
Notre Dame | Source
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Roping the dogs into the act
Roping the dogs into the act | Source
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Notre Dame

Decorative Arts Museum, Paris

The Decorative Arts Museum is in the Western Wing of the Louvre complex, but was relatively empty - far from the maddening crowd. There were fabulous Art Nouveau and Art Deco displays, and also exhibitions of textiles, and modern clothing and Chinese art.

Art Nouveau

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Snap-Shot of Paris Art

Below is a snap-shot of the best art in various Paris Galleries and Museums. It is biased by my personal preferences. However, it provides a taste of what you can see when you visit Paris. It includes a photo of the Mona Lisa from about 15 m away as this was as close as you could get. Despite being early it took a lot of pushing and shoving to get in the front row to take the image. It was a battle to avoid all the 'selfie' camera mounts and arm from intruding into the image. The painting is tiny an quite uninspiring. Despite the battle there is nothing like seeing original paintings from the masters such as van Gogh in Amsterdam. The original paintings are so much more vibrant and dynamic than any print. Well worth the effort.

It would be nice to spend more time in Paris. Three days is hardly sufficient.

Paris Art

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mona Lisa is a tiny painting which can only be viewed from about 15m away. Tough to get the the front line
Mona Lisa is a tiny painting which can only be viewed from about 15m away. Tough to get the the front line
Mona Lisa is a tiny painting which can only be viewed from about 15m away. Tough to get the the front line | Source

© 2014 Dr. John Anderson

Comments

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  • rlaha profile image

    rlaha 

    4 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

    Very interesting hub and great pictures! Thanks so much for sharing!

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