Nine-hour Layover in Paris

This is the second post in a five-part series on my recent trip to France.

My flight from New York to Lyon included a nine-hour layover at Charles de Gaulle Airport. That gave me plenty of time to spend the afternoon in Paris. At the suggestion of a friend, I went to make photographs in and around Jardin du Luxembourg. Not only was the weather perfect, but it was May 1, a national holiday equivalent to our Labor Day. The park was packed with people (and their dogs).

Read the first post in the series: French Landscapes
Read the third post in the series: A Day in Lyon
Read the fourth post in the series: Chamonix and Mont Blanc
Read the final post in the series: Curiot Mining Museum in Saint-Etienne

256 thoughts on “Nine-hour Layover in Paris

    • This trip was meant to be in the winter, but the flight was canceled due to a massive snow storm. That was lucky, I guess. Paris is a photogenic city in any season, and I hope you get to go at other times of the year.

    • Thanks! The street was very crowded, but the afternoon light and the man’s mood compelled me to wait until there was a break in the passersby to make the photos. I’m glad I waited.

    • I figured that nine hours was enough time to get into the city and back. Luckily the train from the airport is convenient and stops in great neighborhoods. I would have been pretty bored if I had to wait at the airport.

  1. What a beautiful way to spend your afternoon! Your photos capture the essence of your experience so well!!

    I especially loved the photo of the gentleman reading (love the light on his face), the guy trying to balance on the rails (seems like fun!) and the adorably grumpy dogs!!

    • I actually love photographing pets, and these dogs were irresistible. They were also the best behaved dogs in front of my camera. They must have been exhausted from playing in the park all day.

    • I miss Paris too, and I’ve been there many times. Too bad there are so many other places I’d like to visit. June is a great time to go, though it’s an amazing place in any season.

    • Thanks for your comment! The bridge was really nice to stumble upon. I think it represents a beautiful tradition that I had never experienced. It made for some great photos, too. The hard part was deciding which one to post on the blog.

    • Thanks for the feedback. At first I was annoyed at the nine hour layover just to take a 45-minute flight to complete my journey. But when I realized it allowed me enough time to play in Paris, I got really excited. And it was so lucky that the weather turned out to be beautiful. The forecast wasn’t that optimistic.

    • I just Googled Roland Garros. I don’t follow tennis, so I wasn’t aware of him. Now I know, so thanks. I’ve photographed running and cycling events, but never tennis. That would be interesting.

  2. I love that you had the chance to see a bit of Paris. I’m going to Ukraine this summer and on my return I have a 24 hour lay over in London. I hoping to be able to see some of London from the outside of the air port. Beautiful pictures by the way!

    • London is an amazing city. I lived there for a year and would do anything to relive it. Be sure to experience the activities on the south bank of the Thames. I was there in the summer two years ago, and they’ve made it really exciting with well designed public spaces, great art, and terrific activities.

      • Beautiful in the intention yes, but this is not really beautiful for the nature… it’s more pollution in the Seine 😦
        I wish you have seen “le Pont des Arts” before they put some padlocks on it… it was a such wonderful and amazing bridge, so lovely….
        The idea of the padlocks to show our love is nice, but what about to the respect of the nature, of the place we are living ?

    • Wow, what a gratifying comment! I’m glad my photos moved you that way. I hope you’ll visit my blog again to read the rest of my series on my week in France, and to enjoy many more posts.

    • I’m glad you like them. Paris is a really photogenic city. I hope you have a great time taking pictures when you get there. And I look forward to reading your writing on Paris. The city seems a good fit for the way you write on your blog. I enjoyed reading it!

    • It’s interesting! I learned this only days later when I asked my friend about the padlocks. Lovers inscribe their names on the locks, affix them to the bridge, and throw the key into the river to affirm that their love will last forever (or, I suppose, until they return with a bolt cutter). The bridge is Pont des Arts, near Notre Dame. Stay tuned for many more photos from my trip to France.

    • Yes, it seems life is in the parks in Europe much more so than in New York. I was surprised by the number of people enjoying the park that day. I hope you enjoyed the blog post and that you will continue to visit.

    • I’m so glad you like them, and I hope you’ll return often to enjoy my blog posts. I think my photography is very diverse, and I like writing about it and sharing my photos.

    • Lovers inscribe their names on the padlocks, affix them to the bridge, and throw the key into the river to affirm that their love will last forever. I think it’s a beautiful tradition. The bridge is the Pont des Arts near Notre Dame.

      • Bon voyage! I hope you have a great trip. August is a nice time to travel in Europe. If you get a chance to take some day trips outside of Paris, there are many wonderful sites to visit nearby. I recommend Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, and Giverny.

    • You have a good eye. I manipulated them with my secret technique to bring out bold colors and get contrast in the clouds. I prefer dramatic skies to bland ones. Also, I don’t know if I actually see colors so vividly, but I remember them that way, so I tried to bring the photos in line with the way I wanted to remember a beautiful day in the park.

    • I love photographing pets, and these dogs were irresistible! Very well behaved, too. They didn’t flinch at my lens. They were probably as exhausted from their day in the park as I was.

    • I’m glad I could help bring back memories for you. It must have been amazing to live there. I’d jump at the opportunity, though my high school French gets me into so much trouble!

  3. Awesome. I went there a couple years ago in January and as you might imagine there wasn’t anyone there!

    • Funny, I was meant to take this trip in December, but the flight was canceled due to a terrible snowstorm. What luck that I was able to reschedule for the first week in May, which turned out to be spectacular.

    • Thanks for noticing. I find photographing people infinitely more challenging than architecture or landscapes, so I try to do that as much as possible to keep myself interested and to set my photos apart. I feel that scenes with people in them can tell much better stories in photos, and they allow the viewer to picture themselves in the scene.

  4. To me, the most beautiful photo is that of the park, with the Palace of Versailles(?) in the background.

    But the sweetest is of the children sailing their boats in a fountain. I’ve never seen this in the U.S.–kids are too hooked-up to tech stuff. It seems that Europe has retained its sense of community, while the U.S. has lost its. How wonderful it would be to see American children sailing boats in a fountain–enjoying the most constant and creative play, such as that.

    • That’s the Luxembourg Palace, which now houses the French senate. I absolutely agree with you about the contrast between the children and their boats in the pond and the electronic games American children are so fond of. That’s not to say that Europeans don’t play high-tech games, but it’s nice to think that children can still get enjoyment the old-fashioned way.

    • It all depends on there being enough time to get into town and then back to the airport. Nine hours was plenty of time with the ease of getting to the heart of Paris on the commuter train line. I was first annoyed that there was such a long layover just to take a 45-minute flight to complete my journey, but what a reward I got!

    • I’m glad you like the photos. There are many more to come, so please visit my blog often. I have to admit, I made the photo on the bridge and kept walking, then I regretted not asking someone about the significance of the locks. Luckily my friend was able to explain it to me later. I think it’s a beautiful tradition, too.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I aim for that vibrance in my photos because that’s the way I remember the colors, especially on such a beautiful day in an amazing city. I hope you get back there soon.

    • I’ve been to Paris a few times before, but this is the first time I’ve visited Jardin du Luxembourg. I highly recommend it, so I hope you get to go. I’m sure it’s as beautiful in the fall as it is in the spring.

    • Wow, what an opportunity to study cuisine in the capital of food! I wish you the best of luck. I’m glad my blog helped to get you in the mood. I have a post coming on Friday about my afternoon in Lyon. I hope you get to go there, as it’s supposed to be the culinary capital of France.

  5. wow, this is luxury of the Summer, here in Shanghai, i couldn’t find a place to lay down for the rest. At least, thanks for your nice pictures so that I might need not to urge for the outside.

    • I’m glad you liked them. I try to post at least once a week, so please visit often for more photos. I have a few more posts to come in my series on my week in France. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

  6. Nice pictures and indeed, a very interesting story on locks – thanks for sharing. Hope to see more pictures from you on other trips i.e. when you have more time in Paris than 12 hours 🙂

    • I’d like to travel more in the future, and I’ll certainly share the photos. The rest of the time I live in New York, and you’ll see plenty of pictures from many of its exciting neighborhoods and the surrounding region. I hope you’ll visit the blog often.

  7. I’m so glad you like them, and I hope you’ll return often to enjoy my blog posts. I think my photography is very diverse, and I like writing about it and sharing my photos.

    • I’m glad I could inspire you. Definitely learn to use your camera and travel with it a lot. Photography is a great way to engage with a location. You’ll see things in a way you wouldn’t ordinarily do so.

  8. I love how the first photo has all those people ‘laying over’ – that’s what my brain made of that anyway. I really like the way you capture people, there’s a kind of poetry in the composition of the people shots. Plus, this is the second time in about a month that a shot of the bridge of locks has shown up in Freshly Pressed. Bizarre.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing and congrats on Freshly Pressed. x

    • What an amazing insight — thanks for pointing that out. I love it when people make their own connections to photos like this. I’ve been to Paris a few times before, but I never noticed the bridge with the locks. It was beautiful to find it this time. At first I regretted making the picture and moving on without asking the significance of the locks, but luckily my friend explained it to me a few days later.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, and I hope you’ll visit the blog often for many more. I’ve photographed some cycling and running events, but never tennis. Perhaps someday I’ll get to photograph Roland Garros and share the photos with you on my blog.

    • It’s a beautiful tradition I learned about from that bridge. Lovers inscribe their names on the locks, affix them to the bridge, and then throw the key into the Seine to affirm that their love will not be broken. I wish I could have spent more time making more photos to capture the emotions.

  9. I went to Paris (albeit it for 3 days)!! How in the world did I miss those padlocks on the bridge? I need to sort that out and go again ;-).

    Thanks for sharing, I like your pictures!

    • I’ve been to Paris many times before, but this is the first time I stumbled across that bridge and noticed the locks. I think it’s great that you can return to the same place and discover new things each time. That’s one of the things that’s so special about Paris. I hope you discover many new things the next time you go. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. Please visit the blog often, as I try to post new photos at least once a week.

    • Thanks for the feedback. It’s much appreciated. It was so sunny that day that I was able to shoot handheld at f/16. That aperture was perfect for the depth of field in the first photo.

  10. I love this park, great place to sun bathe or have lunch. There is a little patisserie just outside the gate with the best little cakes, oh my!

    • Darn, I missed the cakes. Now I have a great reason to return, not that I really needed one. One of my favorite items at the patisserie is the macaron. I’ve got a great photo of macarons in a patisserie window coming up in my post on my overnight stay in Chamonix. I hope you’ll continue to visit my blog to enjoy the rest of the posts on my week in France.

  11. Every time I see photos of Paris, my heart melts. I think this will forever be my favourite city. The photos are lovely.

    • If the transportation to and from the airport is easy, getting into town is a great way to spend the layover, unless, I guess, it’s overnight. I highly recommend London. I lived there for a year and it has become one of my favorite cities. There’s great culture and much to photograph.

  12. Beautiful photos! Certainly beats spending nine hours wandering aimlessly around the airport!

    I so badly want to visit Paris (amongst many other cities in Europe). Thanks for a glimpse into what I’m missing!

    • I thought that if I had to stay around the airport I could get some interesting photos, but photography now seems to be off limits at airports. Too bad. I hope you get travel in Europe soon. I also want to see many other cities and the countryside. There are a few more blog posts to come on the remainder of my trip in France, so I hope they inspire you. I try to post at least weekly, so I hope you visit the blog often.

    • I shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a 24-105 f/4 lens. But remember, the success of a photograph is always about the photographer and never about the equipment. Consider how the most iconic photographs in memory were taken decades ago with cameras and lenses much less advanced than what we have today. With good vision you can achieve great art with any equipment.

    • Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you enjoy my photos. I try to post weekly, so please visit often. There are a few more posts to come on the rest of my visit to France.

    • I feel like I missed something, too. There’s so much of interest in Paris that I could spend weeks there with my camera. I hope you’ll visit my blog often to enjoy more of my photographs.

    • Thanks for your feedback, it’s really appreciated. I was captivated by the perspective created by those manicured trees, so unlike anything in the USA. I’m glad you think it comes through in the photo.

  13. I wish to be able to visit Paris soon too. My son visited it earlier this year and ever since I have been just dying to go to.

  14. Paris and the things of Paris pretty much occupy the first 10 spaces on my bucket list. Thanks for giving me some fresh images to pop into my daydreams – and congrats on being FPd!

    • It’s particularly beautiful there now in the spring, though any season is good. I hope you get to go soon to check the items off your list. Be sure to bring your camera to capture your point of view. It’s a great way to engage with the city and see things you’d otherwise miss.

  15. lovely lovely lovely! is all I can say about your photographs. One thing I’ve learned from my far off travels to Asia is that layovers are certainly fun if we use them effectively. I always go out and enjoy myself with my kids just the way you did in Paris. Although haven’t gotten a chance to go to Paris but it is certainly in my wish list. I am subscribing to your blog, you can also check out mine and see if you like my stories. Congrats for being FP:)

    • Well, I hope you get to Paris soon, it’s one of the jewels of Europe. Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I hope you enjoy all the photos to come. I’ll subscribe to your blog, too. I’ve read a few posts, and I like the ideas you share.

    • I love London, too. I lived there for a year many years ago, and I’d love to relive that year. I visited two years ago before I began blogging. Perhaps I’ll put some photos in an upcoming post, otherwise, I’m sure I’ll visit again and post new photos. I’m glad you enjoyed my photos of Paris, and I hope you’ll visit my blog often.

  16. Your post was very inspirative and very well written !! I will continue to come back to your blog to see what articles you have in the future !!Great graphics that kept my attention. Well done! Thanks for sharing!

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