Ascending the mysterious La Tour Saint-Jacques

Ascending the mysterious La Tour Saint-Jacques

Have you ever walked past this big tower near Hôtel de ville on Rue de Rivoli, and thought ‘what is that?!’ If so, you’re not alone, with myself included. I have often been around this mysterious tower, and known nothing about it… untill now.

What you are viewing is la Tour Saint-Jacques. Built in the early 16th century, the tower was part of the church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie (yes you might have guessed it – ‘Saint James of the Butchery’). However, the church was demolished during the French Revolution in 1797, and all that remains today is the tower.

After lots of reconstruction beginning in the 19th century and finishing in 2009, the tower was given a new facelift and brought back to its original splendor.

However, la Tour Saint-Jacques still possesses an air of mystery. While you can access the square surrounding it, it’s another story with the tower itself. Often I have found myself by its gates, wondering if the lock preventing people from entering is ever unlocked – and only last week were my questions finally answered.

In 2013, la Tour Saint-Jacques opened its doors for the first time enabling visitors to ascend up and to marvel at its magnificent views. However, this secret gem of Paris (I know I keep saying that phrase but it really is a gem!) is only open during the summer from Friday through to Sunday.

Standing at over 200 feet high (nearly 50 feet higher than the Arc de Triomphe), la Tour Saint-Jacques offers visitors some of the most amazing views that I have ever seen of Paris. Not only are the views sublime, with the vantage point at the very top provides a 360-degree view of the Parisian landscape. From there, you can pretty much see everything (weather permitting).

I had an fantastic experience going up la Tour Saint-Jacques, and would happily walk up the 300 steps to see the breath-taking views again. Here are just a few of the photographs that I took, you can check the rest of them out here on my flickr account.

If you’re interested in reserving a place on the guided tour up la Tour Saint-Jacques, head over to the website here.

 

Vue sur le nord de Paris (North Paris views)

Vue sur l’est de Paris (East Paris views)

Vue sur le sud de Paris (South Paris views)

Vue sur l’ouest de Paris (West Paris views)

 

 

 

 

The blossom of Notre-Dame

The blossom of Notre-Dame

Just when you thought Paris couldn’t get any more beautiful,  it can. Surrounding Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Square Jean XXIII is in full bloom. So after school one day I could not resist paying a little visit to attempt to capture the charm of the scene. I have never really been a massive fan of the colour pink, but I think spending my Spring in Paris has totally made me change my mind.

Don’t forget, you can view all the photos that I took here on my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157651966672755/ 

Geneva: Photo Diary

Geneva: Photo Diary

This is a very belated account of my mini-adventure to Geneva in February. So with out delay, here it is:

The day after my return from the Alps to Paris, an early 4am start took me onto my next adventure: less than two days in the city of Geneva with one of my best friends, Kate (don’t forget to check out her blog! https://wherekateresides.wordpress.com) Unfortunately for us, Geneva welcomed us with grey skies and light rain. Despite this, we were determined to make the most of the hours that we had in this fascinating city.

Our first day consisted of wandering around the streets, taking in all the different architecture. Whilst also looking in the windows in a few of the designer shops. Our first ‘tourist attraction’ was Saint Pierre Cathedral, situated in the old part of the city. I was surprised that the Cathedral was begun in the 12th century, and was therefore immediately captivated. In addition, we decided to head on down into the Archaeological site directly underneath the cathedral, wherein we explored the vast history of this beautiful building. Originally there had been a 6th century basilica, to which over the centuries had been developed and built upon. I’m really glad that we decided to go to the cathedral and down into the archaeological site. It was incredibly fascinating to learn all about the cathedral’s rich history, and it has definitely sparked some ideas and further questions that could possibly be explored in the future. After being taken back in time, as well as seeing one or two skeletons down below the cathedral, we decided to venture upwards and began are ascent up to the cathedral towers. From here we had great views of the city. Unfortunately, the sky was still gray, so we couldn’t see as far as we had hoped – it would have been amazing to have had clear blue skies to see the beautiful mountains in the distance. But alas.

After all of this, we continued to wander around the city. Geneva is quite small, so you can easily walk from one end to the other, which I’m sure we did! During our walking, we stopped of at the Grand Théâtre de Geneva, which is the home of the Opera. The building is stunning, although it must be noted that we went inside as one of the main reasons was to attempt to get some warmth! Whilst there we noted that there was a production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, performed by a company from New York, and spontaneously decided to go! After a slight mix-up with our seats (it turns out that we had been sold tickets for the following night – which was when we’d be back in Paris!), we enjoyed a much better view of the performance. It was Kate’s first time seeing an Opera and so I hope she enjoyed it, I just thank my stars it was in English.

With limited time on our second day, we started the morning with a trip to CERN, aka, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Although I know little about Physics, I do recall the splitting of the atom taking place here in 2010. Unfortunately we were unable to take a tour of the full facilities, but we had the chance to explore the visitor section of the organisation. Entering into a dark and mysterious space, titled: ‘Universe of Particles’, we floated around absorbing all the information that we could, and then headed back to the city centre.

Luckily, our second day provided us with somewhat nicer weather, and so we took this opportunity to venture to the Conservatoire et Jardin botanics de la Ville de Geneve. Although still in the middle of winter, it was lovely to be able to wander around the various parts of the park. Although a highlight for us was probably watching all the people running and commentating on their weird running techniques! Sorry to any runners out there, and now I am afraid to run, knowing what we thought of others haha!

So there you have it. This pretty much sums up our mini-adventure to Geneva. Although we had two days to absorb all that the city has to offer, both Kate and I later agreed that you do not need any more additional days to see all the sites and things in the city. Due to the dull and miserable weather, I think a visit to Geneva in the Summer months would be much better, if anyone is thinking of going. If you’ve been to Geneva, I would love to hear about your travels and the things that you got up to!

You can see the rest of the photos that I took on my Flickr account here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157650759707678/

 

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Exploring the 6th arrondissement, Paris

Exploring the 6th arrondissement, Paris

The 6th arrondissement, known as offering the quintessential Parisian experience. This area of the city is beautiful – you can take a leisurely stroll around the Jardin du Luxembourg, check out some chic boutiques, visit a 6th-century Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and eat to your heart’s delight. Wanna be a true Parisian flâneur? Head to the 6th arrondissement

Continue reading “Exploring the 6th arrondissement, Paris”

A spontaneous trip up La Tour Eiffel

A spontaneous trip up La Tour Eiffel

My friend and I made a spontaneous decision recently to go and walk up the Eiffel Tower – and why not?! It was a beautiful, albeit cold day – the sun was out, and with the prospect of the next few days being miserable here in Paris, this was the perfect opportunity. To my surprise, I was shocked at how cheap it was for us to walk up to the second level of the tower (which is a lot higher than it sounds!). However, I’m not gonna lie, it was tough walking up all those steps, but once completed, you’re rewarded with amazing views of the city. We also timed our visit really well, as we were able to see the sun setting over Paris. A view that I recommend to everyone!

You can view more photos that I took on my flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157648139058404/

La Grande Mosquée de Paris

La Grande Mosquée de Paris

The Grand Mosquée is often off the radar for tourists, and you may not have heard about it. Founded in 1926 after World War I, it is one of the largest mosques in the whole of France. Visitors are allowed to explore the mosque as long as they are respectful to worshipers attending daily prayers, and I am so grateful that we are allowed this opportunity. Continue reading “La Grande Mosquée de Paris”