Photos: A Stroll Through the City of Lights | Travel | Smithsonian
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Top Cities for the Cultural Traveler: Paris Paris: Top Cities for the Cultural Traveler
A couple kisses near the Eiffel Tower. (Photo: Lance Mcmillan)
The Louvre reflected at night. (Allison Tenn)
Feeding pigeons in the square in front of Notre Dame de Cathedral. (Photo: Michele Gruber)
A jogger takes a morning run through a tree-lined path leading to the Louvre. (Photo: Ryan Margrave)
A passerby holds a replica Eiffel Tower on Avenue de New York. (Photo: Antonio Picascia)
A view from atop the Arc de Triomphe. (Photo: Ryan Stone)
Sainte-Chapelle features 8,000 feet of glass. (Photo: Mark Forder)
A portrait of Gustave Eiffel, whose firm designed and built the tower that bears his name. (Photo: Mark Forder)
The Moulin Rouge cabaret founded in 1889. (Photo: Melanie Deisz)
Sitting next to the Seine. (Photo: Rodrigo Apolaya)
An accordion player on the Pont des Arts. (Michael Porco)
The Arc de Triomphe at night. (Photo: Aaron Olson)
City murals. (Photo: Dominic Burdon)
A snowy Valentines Day in Paris. (Photo: Mousselmal Tarik)
In the foreground: L'Hôtel National des Invalides, the final resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte. In the distance: the Arc de Triomphe. (Photo: Jerry Chinn)
Tourists descending the staircase inside the Arc de Triomphe. (Photo: Saul Blumenthal)
The Eiffel Tower lit up with over 20,000 light bulbs. (Photo: Hadeer Abbasi)
Inside the Louvre. (Photo: Jay Filter)
A spring day in the Luxembourg Gardens. (Photo: Sally Broker)
The Notre Dame Cathedral. (Photo: Zach Young)
A man looks at artwork in the Louvre. (Photo: Talyn Sherer)
Entrance to the Louvre. (Photo: Constance Vepstas)
A view of the rooftops of Paris from Printemps Department Store. (Photo: Ray Clark)
A rainy evening in Montmartre. (Photo: Samantha Decker)
In the glow of Sainte-Chapelle's stain glass. (Photo: Mark Forder)
A boy makes a new friend outside the Notre Dame Cathedral. (Photo: Lance Mcmillan)
Carousel near the Eiffel Tower. (Photo: Paulina Wierzgacz)
Street artist Y.T., performs over Montmartre. (Photo: Costanza Nicolosi)
The Louvre's glass pyramid designed by architect I.M. Pei. (Photo: Morteza Gheidi)
Looking out the clock in Musée d'Orsay. (Photo: Mark Forder)
Paris at sunset. (Jasper Colt)

Photos: A Stroll Through the City of Lights

Readers capture the spirit of Paris in beautiful photos submitted to our annual photo contest

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Paris is both grand and intimate. It's a city full of towering monuments, broad boulevards and spectacular cultural institutions, as well as charmingly narrow cobbled alleys and hole-in-the wall cafés. Take time to experience both.

Spend a day wandering around a few of the city's numerous museums. On a trip through the Louvre, the world's largest art museum at 675,000 square feet, see the Mona Lisa and works of art from every corner of the globe.

Head from the Louvre down Paris' historical axis, or L'Axe historique, toward the Arc de Triomphe, the monumental arch dedicated to French veterans that includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I and the Memorial Flame.

In the evening, grab a seat at a restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower, or have a picnic on the grassy Champ de Mars in front of the Parisian landmark. The tower glows with 20,000 lights every hour on the hour for 5 minutes until 1 am. 

Paris has spectacular religious sites to visit as well, including the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. On a sunny day, 8,000 feet of the oldest stained glass in Paris dazzles in Sainte-Chapelle. 

For a romantic day outside the heart of the city, amble through the cafés, quaint alleys and quiet stairways of Paris' Montmartre neighborhood.

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