Paris

The "Lido" girls! Surely "32B" must be part of the job description!!!

Feathers, sequins and carousels!  Oui Oui, Paree.

In my humble opinion, Paris is the worlds most wonderful city.  Something for everyone, layer upon layer.

It’s just a fabulous city to be in and famously underwent a major renovation in 1852 when Napoleon employed Georges-Eugene Haussmann to “modernise” the city.  Part of the brief was to create boulevards broad enough to prevent rebels building barriers!!   Other reforms helped to prevent the spread of disease and epidemics. Today we cannot help but think the city is beautifully planned, but there was an outcry at the time, that the “old Paris” was destroyed! Certainly, the bones of the city today create the perfect foundation for life in Paris; unique, inspiring, constantly interesting, waiting to be discovered.

The city is cleverly designed, left bank, right bank and crossing the Seine, in a clockwise spiral leading out from the centre, the 20 areas, or arrondissements of Paris. Napolean’s plan increased the number of arrondissements in Paris from 12 to 20. Haussmann determined their design.  Not only of the streets and boulevards and roundabouts, but also of the building structures, seeking a uniformity not just in one or two buildings, but in whole blocks, even precincts. A trademark of Parisian architecture today. Elegant and stylish.  The “Haussmann Apartment” is very sought after.

 

Our first day, camped just 15 minutes from the heart of the city, we walk the streets of Paris and it’s adventure enough to find Avenues, Rues & Boulevards; to touch Icons – Arc de Triomphe, Tower Eiffel, Musee du Louvre, Notre Dame. Its such a thrill to be here. That evening we “go to a show”, famous in France, at the Lido. “Titillating” entertainment!  All dancing, singing and costumes.  It’s Paris!!!

The following day we take the Metro to Montemarte for a one hour walking tour to Sacre Coeur.  Not really considered Paris by the Parisians, or the Momtmartians, Montemarte was once a separate village, on the hill, founded by Benedictine nuns who tended the souls of those who could not afford the taxes to live in Paris.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, it attracted artists and a “fringe” element, but was also frequented by some of the wealthy Parisians who chose to be entertained in this district with the women of the Moulin Rouge and the cheap alcohol!

150 years ago there were 40 windmills in Montmarte. Now there are only 3 including this famous image of "Montmarte" at the Moulin Rouge.

It is said you could hide in Montmarte and be anyone you wanted to be. Certainly the stories tell of the eccentrics that lived here, and of course the famous, Toulouse Lautrec, Renoir, Van Gogh.  All created the flavour of the village, and captured it in their paintings and biographies of their lives. Today it is said the “Bourgeois Bohemians” have taken use of the space.  Struggling artists could no longer afford to live here!

The view from the top of Paris - Sacre Coeur!

On her first day in Paris and our last, we get to see Gael!  It was so great to hug my friend of 25 years, whom I have not seen for over 8 months, and to share a little of her Paris with her.  Gael and her husband Tony are “residents de Paris” and earlier this year purchased as apartment here.  Tenanted at the moment, it will become their Parisian home away from home.  Surrounded by Haussmann apartment buildings, a market twice a week on the doorstep and a view of the Eiffel tower, only two big blocks away, this is about as good as Parisian living gets. Its so exciting for them, and for us, to share a little of the experience.

 

We take coffee in a cafe, walk the streets in the rain, and find ourselves having lunch, under Gael and Michele’s (her traveling friend this trip – and did I say, translator, photographer and “our” tour guide!) guidance, in Rue Cler – just one of the beautiful French streets Gael has discovered, closed to traffic and bursting with food shops, giant meringues, fresh flowers and great bistros.

 

 

It has been truly wonderful and fun to be in Paris and I have loved sharing it with Gael and of course Antonio. We don’t have plans to return in a hurry, but who knows what opportunities may arise.

 

 

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4 Comments on “Paris”

  1. Elizabeth fowler says:

    It sounds as though you and Tony enjoyed Paris as much as Bryne and I. It is truly the most unique city in the world. We loved everything about Paris. The food, the people, looking in the shops at all the fabulous outfits. The one thing we got the most laughs at was the ridiculous shoes worn in the name of fashion. Women shopping in 6 inch high heels on cobble stone lane ways. Give me my hiking boots anyday.
    Keep posting
    Liz

  2. David & Marie says:

    Sounds like you’re having a ball!!
    Makes me so envious everytime we read your posts.
    Was in Paris ~ 4 weeks ago – but for work not pleasure like vous – and d envy just comes in waves.

    Keep up d posts.

    btw – a few months ago you mentioned Arthurs Seat in Scotland. You do know that (our home) Arthurs Seat on the Peninsula is named after Arthurs Seat in Scotland – ya!
    (Just read the tourist snippets on the side of the long winding road to ‘Paradise’…

    Also….we have some ‘news’ for you……

    David & Marie

  3. Douglas says:

    Great post again, you do that place justice and so many people have written so much about it already. When I was a wee laddie (8?) I forced my poor grandma to take me into the city to see the sites I wanted to see. She dutifully took me up the Tour Eiffel, to the second floor, to Napoleon’s tomb, and the Champs Elysee. Yes, Paris is “fantastique”. Come on the Wallabies!

  4. Valda says:

    Tres Bien – you have bought all my memories of Paris floating back.
    It is truly remarkable. It is sort of unbelievable to be there.
    The Mona Lisa was another intrigue. Makes the hair on your neck prickle.
    We visited a castle a long way from Paris and it was so romantic I cried.

    I have finally mastered reply


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