Paris – a piece of paradise

I never imaged that I would ever have the chance to go to Paris in my lifetime. I am so happy to have had the opportunity. It is difficult to say what my favourite experiences were since there is such a rich environment and so many little things that make it just wonderful to be there.

One of the things that comes to mind when reminiscing, is the people sitting around in chairs around water features in parks.

Art, as you can expect is everywhere. This is the Metro Station situated on Place Collette in front of the theatre Comédie-Française on Rue Saint Honoré by French contemporary artist Jean-Michel Othoniel.

As we do whenever we visit to a new place, we joined ‘Hidden Gems Free Walking Tour which was an excellent way to start our Paris adventure.  Our guide, Judicael, and artist himself, showed us a number of really hidden treasures. We met him (and the tour) after spending a few hours at the Louvre.

This courtyard was designed by conceptual artist Daniel Buren.  I didn’t get it, but it is front and centre between the ministry of culture and the State Council. The interesting thing about this courtyard is that there is a stream running underneath.  This pillar is right in the middle with a gate around it (therefore, you can’t swim in it).  It is said that if you can toss a coin, and it stays on top of the pillar, you will have good luck.  Usually, the coin bounces off and there are many coins in the river to prove it. But, when I tossed a coin and it stayed on top! I am still waiting for the good luck though. 

We walked through some very quaint and interesting neighbourhoods.  The following pictures show some very old buildings, hidden away passageways while Judicael was telling us good places to eat and play.

As we walked down the street, we entered a doorway which opened up into this long corridor of Galerie Vivienne. Places like this were designed for the rich people used to shop so that they didn’t have to go out and mingle with the commoners in the streets back in the day. Notice the beautiful mosaic on the floor.

Architect Francis Soler’s Ministry of Culture and Communication,  completed this project about 10 years ago. To unify a 19th-century classical building with a contemporary addition, he put a lattice-like metallic screen (an abstraction of a Renaissance painting) over both.

We couldn’t not visit the most famous sites in Paris such as the Eiffel Tower.

And the Arc de Triomphe. Here we go again — stairs! We went through the tunnel that takes you under the road that circles the Arc de Triomphe and entered a doorway where you find a tiny ticket booth. Once you redeem your ticket you go through another doorway and what do you find? Stairs! These are not stairs that you can choose whether to go up or not. Once you are in that stairwell, you are stuck. The 284 steps is not quite as high as the Scott Monument in Edinburgh (287) that we did the previous year but I wasn’t expecting it and didn’t have a chance to have a chat with my inner super woman.

It is quite difficult to really give you a true picture of how wonderful our trip to Paris was. Each moment was interesting, fun or amazing. Even our room was perfect. We did one of those ‘last minute chance’ type of bookings. The corner room was quite tiny but we were not planning to hold square dances anyway and it had everything we could need including a good view to the street below.

The other perk was that it was steps away from the Metro. I spent a fair bit of time mapping out how we would get from one point to another and then, voila! everything was right there.

Will I ever go to Paris again? I hope so. Not only for my own delight but more because it would mean that the pandemic has been resolved and travel is possible again.

Au revoir mes amis!

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