I took a trip outside of the US for the first time in 1999. My sister and I got to spend a week in Paris, then took a train to the Netherlands where we toured the country for another week with a friend. Traveling so far from home by ourselves was exciting enough, and being in the most beautiful and metropolitan city in the world turned it into an unforgettable experience. We were like a sponge, soaking in and absorbing all the sights that we had only read or even dreamed about. I had an old manual Canon AT-1 that my dad had given me. It’s a far cry from contemporary DSLRs, but that didn’t stop me from taking as many pictures as possible. In many ways, this was the beginning of my interest in travel and photography. I’ve been able to return to Paris many times since then, but the curiosity, passion and wide-eyed wonder of that first trip are some things that remain and hopefully never cease.
The unmistakable landmark.
View from the top of the tower toward the Palais de Chaillot.
Miniature Statue of Liberty in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
We wandered over to Place Vendôme.
The Louvre is of course only the most well-known museum in the world.
But for us it was a bit overwhelming and crowded. We preferred the Musée d’Orsay.
Which is not without aces of its own.
The Musée Rodin was another on our list.
Notre Dame from the Seine.
View of the Pont des Invalides from the same Bateau Mouche.
Paris has a fountain or monument at each square and street corner, it seems. This is Fontaine Molière.
The Fontaine Saint-Michel with its ostentatious and somewhat incongruous pink marble columns.
The Tour Saint-Jacques is the most prominent feature at Place du Chatelet.
On the way to Palais Royal.
Ste-Eustache is an island of solitude in bustling Les Halles.
The renowned Sorbonne.
From the other side.
One of the many churches, St-Étienne-du-Mont.
Maybe the most celebrated basilica of all.
One of the luminaries interred at Cimetière de Montparnasse.
Yet another famous monument in a city full of them.
And the equally famous boulevard.
The modern La Défense is Paris’ answer to the skyline of Manhattan.
The storied Hôtel de Ville with its very French exterior that would have made Baron Haussmann proud.
I had to take this photo, somewhere in the Quartier Latin, to show my French teacher, Gilberte.
To get away from the city for a bit, we headed to the Château de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne park.
And met some of its more colorful residents.
The ornate throne room at Château de Versailles.
And finally we’re off to the Gare du Nord for the trip to Holland on a TGV.