The View from Above

One of the great things about visiting most major cities is that they all have locations where you can get a bird’s-eye view. Being able to see a city from above is a fantastic way to get an understanding of the architecture, the layout of the streets, and even how the city grew over time. Even if you’re afraid of heights, as we are, making your way to the tops of these landmarks is well worth the feeling of vertigo.  It is also interesting to see the differences between the old world cities compared to more modern cities.  Both are beautiful in their own ways.  For example, New York City with its array of skyscrapers is vastly different from the sprawling views of Paris.  You can almost feel the hustle and bustle of New York just by looking down onto its busy streets.  When looking out over Paris, you feel relaxed and calm, ready to sit in a café, read a book and have a cup of coffee.

Mid-Town Manhattan
Mid-Town Manhattan
View of Paris
View of Paris
View South Towards the Statue of Liberty from the Empire State Building
View South Towards the Statue of Liberty from the Empire State Building

New York City has two great options for viewing the city, Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building.  From the Top of the Rock, you get incredible views of Central Park as well as mid-town Manhattan.  Obviously the Empire State Building is iconic and conjures images of King Kong hanging onto its side.  The views of the city are amazing.

View from the Top of the Rock
View from the Top of the Rock
View of Central Park
View of Central Park
King Kong Poster
King Kong Poster
View from the Empire State Building
View from the Empire State Building

In Paris, we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower to see the tremendous views of the city.  Seeing the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe and the way that all of the avenues lead to the arc is quite inspiring.  You really get a feeling for the history and the architecture when you view Paris from above.  You also get a chance to the contrast between modern Paris with its skyscrapers and the old Latin quarter.

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
Modern Paris
Modern Paris
The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter

Obviously there are plenty of other examples and these are just two cities out of hundreds of cities.  When you do visit a large city, be sure to find out where you can go to see the panoramic views.  Seeing the city from above will give you a true size and complexity of the city.  It almost becomes a living organism with a pulse moving through its veins as you watch the traffic move along its busy streets.  We’d even recommend that you make viewing it from above be one of the first things you do when you visit the city so that you have that bird’s-eye view prior to walking along the streets that you’ve seen from above.

Streets of New York
Streets of New York
Paris from Above
Paris from Above

 

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