Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Look, Taste + Feel of Romantic Paris, France

Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower
Paris- the world's romance capital and one of its most beautiful cities. Walk anywhere near the expansive city center and take a deep breath of appreciation for the gorgeous architecture and artistic sculptures rising throughout the area.
For most Parisians it's merely the daily background, but being from a graffiti intensive, desecrated city; I find the public art inspiring.

Residents and tourists alike pack the banks of the Seine River on this summer day, basking in the sun, enjoying the cook-outs, and live music from performers hoping to make a few Euros practicing their craft.
decorated bridge across the Seine River
decorated bridge across the Seine

Any area of Paris is accessible from the center within twenty-five minutes via a highly efficient metro line. Finding your desired location after exiting the station is a touch trickier as the streets zig and zag, change names, and do their best to cloak their identities- remnants of the city's ancient past. 
But even getting lost in this beautiful town isn't so bad, just stop in at any of the cafes which line the streets, sit down at a table outside and sip on a coffee or a glass of wine- served ubiquitously throughout the city. 
one of my favorite painting ever at the Orlay Museum- Van Gogh
one of my favorite painting ever at the Orsay Museum- Van Gogh 
Just sit back, relax, and watch the world go by.  If doing so were an Olympic event, Parisians would win the gold. 

Two of the planet’s greatest museums, the Orsay and the Louvre house a gravity defying percentage of humanity’s masterpieces, and are situated a mere mile apart. Go enjoy whenever you like, just make sure to buy tickets online to avoid the Louvre's snake-like two hour line.
the entrance to the Louvre courtyard- Paris

Tourists of past years have complained of Parisians being "snooty," pretending not to understand pleas for help in English, as only the "superior" language of French should be spoken within the confines of the city. While I didn't experience this (at least I don't think so) evidence of such a psychology remains in the Louvre, as the details of most any individual works of art are described only in French, making for a less enjoyable experience. 

Cathedral of Notre Dame
Cathedral of Notre Dame
Visit the Hunchback at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, its medieval towers and gargoyles flying high into the Paris skyline. They've been watching, guarding the city for centuries, and no one is sure when, in classic Parisian fashion they'll organize a strike, get up, and finally walk off the job. 
Gorgoyle looks over Paris
Gargoyle looks over Paris from Cathedral of Notre Dame

Nearby shysters ply their trade, attempting to lure tourists into a con-game, some variation of Three Card Monte. Once they dig into a sucker they try hold on as long as they can, extracting as much money as possible in the process. Euros only flow one way as even if you guess right, you'll never get paid. 

Moulin Rouge

Want a little night-life? Head out to the Montmarte district where the famed Moulin Rouge and other cabarets line the streets. It feels a touch rougher compared to the Champs de Elysee, a little more gritty, a little more flavorful.
Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge

the courtyard of a local museum of Monmarte
the courtyard of a local museum of Monmarte - only in Paris

playing ping pong at Parisan park

playing ping pong at Parisan park

For all it's style and grace, Paris shows scars of recent trauma; soldiers with sub-machine guns keeping watch on the city streets and in public squares, a sight unimaginable when I visited as a child; a sad reminder of recent terrorist activity.

But through its storied history, this great city has experienced far worse, ranging from Revolution, the guillotine, Hitler, and mimes; and once again, via humanity's impulse to create something better, to grow, to live a peaceful and fruitful life, these wounds will eventually heal. The human spirit will overcome and persevere.

Paris remains a city full of culture, beauty, intellect, and magnificent architecture and one which should be near the top of any travelers list to visit. 

Paris is a beautiful city!
Paris is a beautiful city!


  1. Funny how mimes got listed there among Hitler and guillotines and the suggestion that gargoyles may strike at any moment. :) I was in Paris for one day in 1994 at the end of a longer trip elsewhere in Europe. I'm amazed at how much I was able to pack into one day, but if I were to go back, I'm sure there would be so much to see and experience that I haven't done already, not, of course, that I wouldn't mind seeing the same sites again.

    1. Thanks for the nice note Susan, glad you enjoyed the column!
      Paris is a great city with tons to see and do, and I would highly recommend returning to see more as you enjoyed it the first time. Cheers


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