Paris would not be Paris without its most celebrated monuments: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe...As one of the top 5 most visited cities in the world, Paris’ landmarks truly are iconic, and many are recognizable the world over. Undeniably, Paris fully deserves its reputation as a top city to visit. It’s beautiful! So we thought we’d show you the city from a whole new angle, through some stunning photography. And what better way to do that than with the help of urban photographer Sebastien Nagy? He offers up something a little bit different from the stock photos you see in the travel brochures.
L'Arc de Tromphe, the star of the city
L’Arc de Triomphe, literally the arch of triumph, is well…pretty triumphant! Actually, the monument’s full official name is l'Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile as it sits at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l'Étoile. If you know that ‘étoile’ is the French word for ‘star’, a glance at Nagy's photo below will help you to understand the inspiration behind the square’s name: it is the central point from which twelve major avenues radiate. It is also considered the linchpin of what is known as the Axe Historique, an axis connecting Paris’s most iconic monuments and thoroughfares. Read on to discover some of them below!
Splendid symmetry at the Champs-Élysées
Book a visit of the Arc de Triomphe to take advantage of the panoramic views overlooking the glorious Champs-Elysées, and try to get there around sunset to capture a shot like this one by Nagy. Arguably the most famous avenue in the world, the Champs-Elysées is known today for its theatres, cafés, and luxury shops, and as the setting for major events such as the annual Bastille Day military parade, and as the finish of the Tour de France. It is the perfect example of France's love for symmetry. Interestingly enough, until the reign of Louis XIV, the land was largely occupied by manicured gardens in the traditional symmetrical style of the French garden, originally laid out as an extension of the Jardin des Tuileries (which, by the way, also merits a visit for some stunning photography opportunities). While doing some high end shopping along this avenue, try to imagine what it may have looked like in the 18th Century! Oh, and by the way, Champs-Elysées means 'Elysian Fields' which suggests that someone thought this street was like heaven on earth. Have we convinced you yet?
The begrudgingly beloved Pyramide du Louvre
Did you know that the Louvre's pyramid was designed to accommodate the increasing number of tourists to the museum? The transparent geometric architecture in the Louvre's main courtyard was commissioned by President François Mitterand in 1983 and its construction triggered many years of strong and lively debate, most notably aesthetic: the modernist design was criticized for being inconsistent with the classic French Renaissance style and history of one of the world's most celebrated art museums. Today, the pyramid has become one of tourists' most sought-after attractions. In fact, at any given time of day, you'd have a hard time capturing a shot without selfie takers getting in the way! Admittedly, it's a pretty Instagrammable monument. Photography tip: plan a trip after dark like our urban photographer has done here. The play of light is simply stunning!
La Défense, for architecture lovers
La Défense. Sounds pretty intimidating right? If imposing buildings and modern architectural design spring to mind, you're not too far off. La Défense is Paris' major business district, located at the westernmost extremity of the Axe Historique. The district was named after a statue in the same area that commemorates the soldiers who had defended Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. Today, it's mostly known by tourists for its sparking high rises, in all shapes and forms. Take a walk around the area to be transported from an old-world Paris to a buzzing business center. If you're an architecture lover, don't miss The Grande Arche monument. Need to get some shopping done? Check out the 4 Temps mall, which is one of the biggest shopping malls in France.
The Eiffel Tower, a global cultural icon
We couldn't leave the Eiffel Tower out, now could we? As one of the most recognizable structures in the world, it is also one of the most photographed. This stunning night composition by Sebastien Nagy captures the beauty of both the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.
Stay in Paris' Boulogne-Billancourt district
Located in the west of Paris, the Radisson Blu Hotel Paris Boulogne is the ideal base for travelers looking to stay in one of Paris' charming suburbs, but also have easy access to the city's main hot spots. If you're in Paris on a bleisure trip, enjoy proximity to the western business district as well as good transport links to iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées. Psst! Discover the hotel's stylish new design!