Regular readers of this site know that I am really not a big city type-of-guy. But let me tell you, I absolutely loved Paris. Talk about sensory overload: gorgeous buildings of historical significance on practically every other block; slim, well-dressed people all around; sumptuous cuisine; and sexy-sounding French spoken everywhere you go. I also loved the
museums and even the cars. I went to climb the iconic Eiffel Tower later in the evening to catch some night views of France. I was not disappointed... this is one of the finest places to be on earth! The southwestern view of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The southeastern view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower. Northwestern view, facing the Palais de Challot, which is surrounded by many museums I did not get a chance to visit. Northeastern view of the Seine and the City of Lights, as Paris is known. Felix Wong admiring the night view of the lighted Eiffel Tower from L'Parc du Champ de Mars. The view of the Seine near St. Michel and the Notre Dame Cathedral. There was a cheery band playing on the sidewalk right in front of the Notre Dame. View of the Notre-Dame from the pedestrian bridge just east of it. It took 2 centuries to build the Notre Dame, starting in 1163.. Bridge leading to the upscale and exclusive St. Louis neighborhood, which is an island in the Seine. Just east of the Notre Dame Cathedral is the Memorial de la Deportation (Deportation Memorial), in memory of the French Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps. The sharp bars are symbolic of the camps. There are 200,000 lighted crystals inside the memorial representing the 200,000 French people who died in the camps. The feeling of claustrophobia here is intentional and symbolic. The triangles are representative of the identification patches inmates were forced to wear. Just to the right of this, above the exit, are the words, "Pardonne, n'oublie pas..." ("Forgive, don't forget...") Around the corner from the church of St. Julien-le-Pauvre is this small park.. View of La Friterie (no significance other than it's French) from the church of St. Julien-le-Pauvre. Here the concentration of cafes seem to increase. The Shakespeare & Company Bookstore was opened by American Sylvia Beach in the 1920s and is an all-English bookstore. It attracted the literary elite like Ernest Hemingway. I spent half an hour of peace and solitude inside the church of St. Severin, which (with its exquisite glass work) took a century longer than the Notre Dame to build! This is the skinniest house in Paris, just two windows wide, at #22 rue St. Severin in the Latin Quarter.. I believe this is the Place St. Andres de Arts, where there many cafes that literary Parisiens used to (and still) patronize. This is the St. Chapelle. Exteriorly, it is not nearly as attractive as the Notre Dame, but I hear the interior is exquisite. The queue (which you can see in the picture) dissuaded me from going in, though. On the Palais de Justice are the inspiring words "Liberte, Egalite, Paternite" (freedom, equality, and brotherhood) which are found in other places in Paris. An example of Art Nouveau at the Metro entrance near the Palais de Justice. You got to love a country where even something as mundane as a subway entrance qualifies as art! Down from the Louvre was Tour de France memorabilia, which I was heartened to see considering that I was about to do Paris-Brest-Paris just a few days later! At the Bastille, the most noteworthy piece of architecture is L'Colomne de Julliet at the rond point just outside of the Bastille. Skateboarders in Paris. The Arc de Triumph, where I stayed in a nice hotel just a couple of blocks away during my last days in Paris.. This is La Place de la Concorde at the end of the Champs-Elys̩ées. Everywhere you look there are architectural masterpieces all over Paris! Here's Felix Wong with L'Tour Eiffel in the distance.