Thursday, September 6, 2007


Best known as the "City of Light", Paris can also be considered the city of architecture, culture and history. In my second trip to Paris, I intended to know all the interesting attractions which I had not visited in my first trip to the city. I am afraid the task is still incomplete...

View of the Ile de la Cité from the Pont des Arts.

Following again the advice of a friend, I left Paris for the end of an itinerary made in May 2007 by train, initially, in Austria and Switzerland. I reached Paris by high speed train - TGV - from Geneva. The amount of attractions to be seen or experimented in the city is only limited to the available time of the visitor. The central boroughs (arrondisements) of Paris should be explored by foot. The excellent subway service must be used for longer distances between the boroughs.

The Eiffel Tower attracts visitors like a magnet and stands out in the central region of the city. The construction, almost a hundred and twenty years old, still amazes the visitor as a great engineering achievement and for its architectural style.

Any effort, like standing in long queues, is worth to reach the top of the tower, where one can see a 360 degree panorama of all Paris. Below, some views from the top of the tower are presented. Left: a view of the Arch of Triumph at the Place de l'Etoile. Center: a view from the Place du Trocadéro and its famous gardens, artificial lakes and springs. Right: a view of Field of Mars, a great park between the tower and the Military School, with the Montparnasse Tower in the distance.

The Place du Trocadéro offers excellent views of the Eiffel Tower. The place itself is an interesting one for capturing amazing images.

A stroll by the River Seine allows us to see some bucolic scenes at the very heart of one of the biggest cities of the world. Bellow: two views of the Pont Neuf. The image at the right shows the Pont Neuf in the distance from the Pont des Arts.

A visit to the Louvre Museum is mandatory. At the external area, the contrast of modern and traditional architectural styles amazes the visitors.

Situated between the buildings of the Louvre, we can find the great pyramid built of glass and metal, which has become one of the symbols of Paris.

The artistic and historical collections of the Louvre Museum are very rich and are displayed along kilometers of galleries. The Egyptian collection, among others, stands out for its grandiosity.

One of the best known symbols of Paris, the Arch of Triumph, is located at the Place de l'Etoile, in the center of a frenetic road junction.

From the top of the Arch of Triumph one can see the 360 degree panorama of the twelve avenues that reach the Place de l'Etoile. We can also see the "great axe" that goes from the Louvre Museum to the Great Arch in the borough of La Defense, passing through the Arch of Triumph. Below, to the left we can see the first part of the "great axe" from the Louvre and passing in the Tuileries Gardens, Place de la Concorde and Avenue of Champs-Elisées. In the center we can se the second part of the axe along the Avenues de la Grand Armée, Charles de Gaulle, till the Great Arch in the borough of La Defense. In the right we can see a view of the Avenue d'Iéna with the Eiffel Tower on the background.

At the beginning of the "great axe", next to the Louvre Museum, we find the Arch of Triumph of Carrousel, built by Napoleon to commemorate military achievements. On its top we can find a quadriga (a four-horse chariot). Originally, it was surmounted by the horses of Saint Mark's Cathedral in Venice, captured by Napoleon. The horses were later returned to Venice.

Originally, the present building of the Church of Saint Madeleine, was commissioned by Napoleon, in the form of roman temple, as a memorial of military victories. At the same place there was an old church dedicated to Saint Madeleine since the 12th century. The construction was transformed into a church after the fall of Napoleon.

To the right, we can see an image of the great interior of the Notre Dame Cathedral, of gothic style, located in the Ile de la Cité.

A stroll in the bucolic streets of the borough of Montmartre take us to the highest point of Paris, where is located the Sacre Couer Church, one of the main buildings of the city.

The Center Georges Pompidou holds the National Museum of Modern Art, besides various other shows and artistic manifestations. There is also a restaurant with a magnificent view of central Paris.

Below we can see a view of the Panthéon from the Boulevard Saint-Michel, at the Quartier Latin in Paris.

Below we can see two images of the gardens and palace of Luxembourg, when a summer storm was approaching the city.

Paris is an endless source of images. The opportunities may be in the well known attractions, like the Fountain of the Medici in the Gardens of Luxembourg or in the singular forms of the city rooftops. Paris is a feast to the eyes.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Yvoire is a pleasant and cozy French medieval village located at the south border of Lake Léman (also known as Lake Geneva).

I visited Yvoire in May 2007, when I traveled by train in Austria and Switzerland. The city can be reached by regular boat lines from Geneva and Lausanne in Switzerland. The historical center must be explored by foot.

This small village, which completed 700 years in 2006, stays in a region that was considered strategic in the 14th century, when some fortifications were built. After that, it became a village of farmers and fishermen which kept well preserved historical constructions. Yvoire is a member of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of France and has received prizes in international contests of flower decorations.

A stroll in the narrow streets of the historical center sends you back to the past. A well preserved ruin of a medieval fortification tower can be seen in one of the entrances of the village. The St. Pancras church stands out in the center of the village. Its foundations probably date back to the 11th century. Its onion-shaped dome was replaced recently (1989) and is made of stainless steel and gold leaves.

Yvoire, with its historical constructions and its privileged position at the borders of Lake Léman, is a dream place for the eyes of the dedicated photographer, which will not be disappointed visiting this pleasant village.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Geneva is the second largest city of Switzerland and is among the cities with the best quality of life of the world. Situated on the borders of Lake Léman (also known as Lake Geneva), this pleasant and cosmopolitan French speaking city is surrounded by French territory and is connected to Switzerland by the lake and by a narrow corridor of land.

Geneva was the eighth and last city of an itinerary made by train in Austria and Switzerland in May 2007. The Old City and the quays along Lake Léman must be explored on foot.

A stroll in the narrow streets of the Old City will take us to St. Pierre Cathedral which was adopted as home church by John Calvin in the protestant reform in the 16th century.

Still in the Old City we can find the Place Bourg-de-Four, with cafés and restaurants, and streets with sophisticated stores.

The Jet d'Eau in the Gustave-Ador quay is the symbol of Geneva. The spring throws water 138m into the air above the lake. The arch formed by the falling water follows the direction of the wind and is illuminated differently during the day.

Along the borders of Lake Léman we can appreciate ancient constructions e historical sites as the Genève Paquis quay, where the Archduchess of Austria, Elisabeth of Bavária (the Sissi) was murdered in 1899.

Several boats link Geneva to cities and villages of Switzerland and France along the borders of Lake Léman, in a region of exuberant natural environment.

A visit to Geneva and regions around Lake Léman will be a pleasant experience for a dedicated photographer.