Monday, October 26, 2015

Paris – A Monumental City on Every Scale

 Paris is Alive! Yes, it's throbbing, pulsating with life, history and culture. The sun beat down from a cloudless sky as my dearest and I walked and walked and walked, drawn by incredible monuments, attractive parks and brasseries spilling onto sidewalks at every corner. We gawked in awe at the gargoyles and flying buttresses of Notre Dame. Artists of every ilk splashed paint on canvas in a crowded, boisterous square in Montmartre. At the towering Eiffel, which dominates the skyline, most of the immense crowd were obsessed with taking “selfies.” The garden at Museum of Rodin offered a quiet respite as well as glorious, bronze companionship. Markets abounded and were filled with mouth-watering cuisine, flowers in technicolour and friendly vendors. A small statue near Notre Dame served as a memorial for Princess Diana and was crammed with photos, flowers and thousands of padlocks clamped onto the railing (a Paris fad).
We sat for hours at sidewalk cafés, sipping a coffee (too tiny) or, better, a vin blanc or pression (draft beer), watching the hustle and bustle go past. I can’t help but mention, strictly as a scientific observation, that Parisian women are elegant, even striking. I loved the tight-fitting jeans, the colour–coordinated scarves, and their confident, haughty, poise. And don’t get me started on the sexy French

Our favourite place was the immense, rambling Luxembourg Gardens and Palace, a short stroll from where we stayed. Like everything in Paris, it is elegant and historic, yet comfortable and liveable. Parisians flock there on sunny days, enjoying the lawns and statues, playing pétanque, sailing boats on the pond, reading newspapers and smoking, all in view of the grandiose palace where the French Senate meets. Every once in a while, a soldier wearing a beret and carrying a lethal-looking automatic rifle, was a reminder that Paris has recently suffered terrorist atrocities.

Ah, Paree, Paree. Indeed, one of the great cities of the world. Probably the best.

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