Seeing Paris In A Different Light—Night Time

View from Printemps terrace at night

There is an entirely different look and feel to Paris when seen at night. While I have shared where to get some great views of Paris from different vantage points (Getting Different Views), these were for daytime shots. I’m sure they’re fine at night too, however, I HIGHLY recommend you visit these locations at night to not only enjoy Paris when it is quieter (fewer crowds), but also to get some interesting shots.

On Top Of Printemps

I LOVE the pictures I got from the top of Printemps, which is one of the big department stores on Boulevard Haussmann. It’s down the street from Galeries Lafayette. Access to the top is free and the views are great. Go to the top floor where there is a restaurant. There is a fairly large terrace where you can take pictures.

View from Printemps at night
View from Printemps at night
View from Printemps Terrace
View from Printemps Terrace

On Top Of The Arc de Triomphe

View of the Champs Elysee from the Arc de Triomphe at night
View of the Champs Elysee from the Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle (also known as Place de L’Etoile) and  the meeting point of  12 avenues. There is a charge to go to the top, but when you go at night it is far less crowded and you can get wonderful views of all avenues

Along The Seine

When you walk along the Seine you will see so many famous places including Cathedral Notre Dame, the Conciergerie and of course the iconic bridges.

Seine River at night in Paris, France
Seine River at night in Paris, France
Seine River at night in Paris, France
Seine River at night in Paris, France

At the Louvre Pyramid

Seeing the inside of the Louvre Museum is interesting in itself at night and definitely worth a visit, but seeing the pyramid by I.M. Pei in the main courtyard is especially nice at night. The Louvre building and the 3 pyramids surrounding the larger pyramid are well lit.

Pyramid at the Louvre Museum at night
Pyramid at the Louvre Museum at night

At Palais Royal

Palais Royal was originally the Palais-Cardinal and the residence of Cardinal Richelieu in the 1600s. It is located across from the Louvre Museum in the 1st arrondissement and in the larger courtyard (Cour d’Honneur) is art by Daniel Buren called “Les Deux Plateaux”.

Palais Royal at night, Paris France
Palais Royal at night, Paris France
Palais Royal at night, Paris France
Palais Royal at night, Paris France

 Do you have any favourite places to take pictures of Paris at night?

The Tradition Of Galette Des Rois In France

Galette des Rois

In France, on Epiphany, the tradition on January 6 is to share a cake called a “Galette des Rois” (Cake of Kings). Epiphany is when the the Magi (three wise men or three kings) visited the baby Jesus. If you are travelling in France in December and early January, leading up to this date, you will see numerous cakes in boulangerie window displays.

Tradition Of Galette Des Rois

Galette des Rois
Galette des Rois

The centuries-old practice was to place a fève (bean) in the centre of the cake.  A child would hide under the table and tell the server who should get the next slice.  Whoever found the hidden fève could choose who would become king (or queen) for the day.

Today, the cake is part puff pastry filled with frangipane (almond filling comprised of ground almonds, eggs, butter, and sugar) and in the late 1800s, the fève was replaced by a ceramic or plastic figurine or charm. You can buy it by the slice or buy the whole thing! Some patisseries also sell “mini” galettes for those who don’t want to overindulge.

Every year Elysée Palace makes a gigantic Galette des Rois for the President of the Republic. It looks like it is 4 feet in diameter and supposedly it is made to serve 150 people. There is NOT, however, a fève or charm inside. It wouldn’t really be right to have a “King” or “Queen” in the Elysée Palace. [Remember the French Revolution?]

8 Famous Arches In France: What To See And Do

There is only ONE Eiffel Tower. You can’t find a duplicate anywhere. There’s also the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, however did you know that there are numerous “Arc de Triomphes” or “Triumphal Arches” scattered  throughout France?  I’ve seen at least 8 arches during my travels (with 5 in Paris shown at the end of this post on a map).

Here are some arches you might encounter in France and a brief description of what you can see nearby. Not all of them are worth a special trip but you might encounter one during your travels.  Some are definitely worth the trip to the top for the view.

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