Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Toast To Paris and to the people of France...

 It didn't take me long to see that a 2-day visit to Paris 30 years ago, was just a peek, a glimpse. If that.

Spending more than a week there last month let me see just how much I missed the first time around.

Not just the increased time there, but the long walks, sidewalk cafes, constant attention-grabbers, diversity everywhere you looked and a smug feeling I was really getting into the spirit and rhythm of the city .

The first thing I noticed when I left Charleston and landed in Paris at CDG (Charles De Gaulle)...

The weather was cooler and the humidity was low.

The French really know how to make you feel welcome! Especially in the Summer.

As I walked towards the famed pyramids in front of the Louvre, I thought for a moment that they were gone. Poof!

Then I realized there was a huge image - in black & white - showing the building behind.

What a stunning concept. Stand in the perfect spot and everything lined up perfectly.

Everywhere, there were reminders of heightened security after several vicious terrorist attacks in Europe.

Seeing heavy police presence and armed soldiers on duty, patrolling and protecting the city, its people, and its treasures was comforting.

 Inside the Louvre, one better have a plan.

There is so much to see so make a list and scope out where the galleries are located.

Of course, others may have the same plan but, be patient. Crowds ebb and flow, even in front of the famed Mona Lisa.  I DID - eventually - get right up front. Nobody shouted "Smile!"

As a bonus while inside Notre Dame, a choir of young ladies (nuns?) assembled and sang a few hymns.

I set my camera on video to capture their voices as their joyful music echoed around the huge interior of the beautiful church.

Lots of museums, churches and palaces in and around Paris.

Overlooking the city from Montmartre, the highest point, is the Sacre Coeur, the Sacred Heart Basilica.

A taxi was needed for the long hike up there.

Crowds were massed on the stairs leading up the final incline.

This offered some very good scenes for my camera.

I spotted two ladies sharing a patterned parasol for shade.

I concentrated on making them the focal point as I looked out over the city from this elevation.

That is an excellent idea I try to fulfill - getting up high and seeing the overall view - when I travel.

Another is to take a city tour, noting places and images I want to come back to and spend more time.

I never had THIS view of the steps inside the Arc de Triomphe.

Luckily my buddy, who planned most of the trip, found there is an elevator option.

It got a bit complicated finding the right person to authorize me to forego climbing the 289 steps to the top.

Once that person was located, it was a quick trip up in the elevator and he then apologized that I had to climb the final 46 steps to the Terrasse, with its panoramic view of Paris.

Looking west, in a direct line from the Arc, is LaGrande Arche de la Defense.

(Mostly) opened in 1989, this white modern square* is a salute to peace.

It provides a reverse view of the AXE, the series of monuments standing in a straight line.

In 1944, the Arc was the center point of a WWII victory parade.

This honored the French hero-General Charles de Gaulle.

Today, that Champs-Elysees parade route is filled with expensive shops and stores.

My camera tried to capture an interesting juxtaposition of "then and now."

This is the front of the Paris City Hall.

The colorful rainbow banners are in place for the upcoming Gay Pride Week in the city.

Dining "inside a clock" is a quirky feature of the Mussee d'Orsay.

The former train station was converted into an excellent display of paintings and sculpture.

It warrants a long visit and perhaps a meal behind one of the two massive clocks that face the Seine.

Each evening we were greeted at out apartment by a wise pigeon who perches on our balcony railing.

It is the same distinctive one who knows our place has changing tenants who need to be reminded to put out food when they leave for the day.

We complied and each evening, the pile of tasty dry cereal is gone. That is a very plump pigeon.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

I enjoy looking at these photos and reliving an excellent visit overseas. Hope you have a similar pleasure in seeing them.

*Oh, here's a view of the "other" Arche in West Paris:

(Thanks for stopping by. Click on the pictures and links for more details.) Merci.
 Au Revoir.

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