Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Panoramic Paris

Eglise du Dome, ParisParis has become the next European capital city to be photographed for a Panoramic Earth tour. The wide boulevards, open squares and classical architecture of the palaces and churches will all feature. The tour will feature roughly 80 different museums, churches, parks and other locations in the city. Yet despite the fantastic architecture, there are also a few quirks about Paris.

The centre of the city has more congestion than London. Cars jostle so much that the traffic lights are often accompanied by whistling police to ensure they are obeyed. Not that it seems to help that much. Most of the roads are one way – and often the wrong one. Even some of the tube stations are uni-directional.

Paris is also a place where wine with the food is likely to cost less than a soft drink, and either could end up doubling the cost of a cheap meal. Soft drinks here cost 2, if not 3, times the prices of equivalent drinks in London.

One recommendation for visitors is, instead of visiting the Notre Dame, visit the Sainte Chapelle and St. Louis en l’Ile churches. Both are nearby and far less busy, but quite beautiful. The only way to see the Mona Lisa without being jostled by upwards of 200 people is to get to the Louvre at opening time.

The challenge of this trip has not so much been trying to find what to photograph, but what to leave out given that you can drop a tripod almost everywhere and have a beautiful building in sight.

The large bus lanes and designated cycle lanes make getting around on a bike very easy. And even when cycling in the traffic, it moves so slowly (and, yes, chaotically) that weaving around will get through. Bike hire at excellent prices can be found at the Roue Libre located in Les Halles.

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