I’ve always believed that travel is good for the mind and soul. It exposes us to culture, language, food and surroundings beyond the familiar setting of our everyday. On one such trip to France with my husband, I photographed as much of the allure of this culture as my eye could capture. Among the beauty are numerous iconic monuments as well as some not-so-familiar, yet beautiful structures.

Our first stop in Paris…the Eiffel Tower. Not yet adjusted to Parisian time, we woke up very early on our first day to the city. We decided to brave the metro during rush-hour and head across town to see the tower that we’d only ever seen in photos and movies.

Le Tour Eiffel at Sunrise

One of the most famed towers in the world was, at the time it was constructed, very controversial. Built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the World’s Fair, it was received with much criticism. Many saw it as an eye-sore against the traditional French style of architecture seen throughout the city.

The lace-like texture of the structure is created by the intricate ironwork and archways.

The views from above were spectacular. You can see most of the other famous monuments throughout the city from the top observation deck. The Arc de Triomphe is off in the distance…

On the mid-level deck, the tower casts a shadow on the embracing wings of the Palais de Chaillot. Beyond is La Défense, the business district of Paris.

We headed off on, what turned out to be a full-day journey on foot. We strolled through the streets taking in the distinctly French apartment buildings. This one displayed example of the interesting parking job common in Paris.

And one can’t mention Paris without talking about Art Nouveau. This style of art and architecture peaked at the turn of the 20th century between 1890-1905. Classic examples are widely displayed among Parisian metro signs.

Our journey in Paris on this beautiful October day continued after visiting its most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower. We set off with map in hand. We walked through the narrow streets toward Boulevard Saint Germain. Apon arriving, we found bustling intersections filled with energy and activity. There, towering before us, contrasting against this modern-day commotion, was the 6th century church of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

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