Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Sunday in Paris

Just over a week ago, a few girls and I decided to visit the La Defense area of Paris. La Defense is the business district, as well as the more modern area of Paris.  There are many office buildings and skyscrapers that have the feel of New York City more so than Paris.

It's actually in Zone 3 of Paris, which means that, with our metro passes, we can only visit it on the weekends, as ours only work in Zones 1-2 during the week. Luckily, we chose a Sunday for our trip to La Defense because none of us realized it was in Zone 3 until we were on the train.

La Defense is a cool area that definitely feel very modern. Maybe I'm getting used to the old, traditional architecture of Paris, but La Defense felt more modern than even New York.  There are many office buildings, apartments, and a mall (that was quite impressive). In the center of La Defense there is a large esplanade on which many people were walking around or sitting. There were several little kids riding bikes, scooters, and skateboards throughout the area. It was a beautiful, sunny day so many people decided to spend it relaxing at La Defense.

The main attraction at La Defense is La Grande Arche.  It also goes by the names of La Grande Arche de la Defense or La Grande Arche de la Fraternit√©.  It was built in 1989 as a 20th century version of the Arc de Triomphe, which can actually be seen from la Grande Arche.  It is meant to represent humanity and is the tail end of Axe Historique, a line of historical monuments that cut through Paris.

After walking around La Defense and enjoying the sunshine we decided to head home when the sun began to set. That evening a few of us decided to go to mass at Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris. I had only seen Notre Dame on the outside briefly and was dying to see it up close and finally go inside. It was really packed because it was a special mass, so of course I was left sitting behind a giant pillar, but I was immediately blown away. Notre Dame is absolutely beautiful, I have no words to describe it. I spent the entire mass craning my head to look at as much as I could possibly see. I'm looking forward to returning (when there aren't as many people) so I can sit and soak in my surroundings and walk around to get a better view of certain areas.

La Grande Arche and visitors enjoying the beautiful day.

Modern buildings and the statue (La Defense de Paris) that inspired the name of the district.

The view of the Arc de Triomphe from La Defense.

Cathédrale Notre Dame! Absolutely stunning and breathtaking.

The amount of detail in every single part of this cathedral is awe-inspiring. 

There is just so much to see and explore. I'm here for five months but I know I will leave wanting to see more. This thought encourages me to discover as much as I can during my time here.

Until Next Time.

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