20.04.2014 4 °C
There’s nothing quite like Paris on a day in spring. As I walked down cobbled streets looking at beautiful buildings dotted with a terrace here - a balcony there sporting beautiful flowers in bloom, I found myself falling in love with what is arguably called the most beautiful city in the world.
As I sat on park benches and in cafes in the warm sunlight still attempting to pierce through the last remnants of winter, watching the parade of Parisian life go by, I realised that the only way to truly discover this city is to walk. I made it a point everyday to stroll over the bridges that cut through the Seine at dusk, just as the wrought-iron lamps flickered and lit the streets with a golden glow and every single time I have gone for a walk back home after this holiday, the joy I felt walking on the cobblestone streets keeps coming back to me in waves. It never ceased to amaze me that everywhere you turn in gay Paree, there are two things in abundance - ART and BEAUTY. It is said that it will take several lifetimes to unravel all the things this city has to offer. I'm taking a shot by compiling some of the most famous places I visited during my stay at the City of Lights and the most beautiful sights I saw.
Standing in the courtyard you already get a sense of what to expect inside.
If anyone ever wanted to understand the meaning of the term "a wealth of history", they need to just step into the Musee de Louvre. There are 3 wings at the Louvre - Richelieu , Denon and Sully. Denon (where the most expensive and famous residents are housed is easily the most visited). All the portraits description are only written in French so the Nintendo audio guide in English was very helpful. I'm sure there are works of art and artefacts in this museum to keep any historian happy for years.
Most people have a tendency to make a bee-line to visit the Louvre's most famous resident - THE SMILING LADY, but there are so many other works of art displayed within the same walls which are breathtaking, especially in the French wing and the Italian Renaissance wing. Throughout my childhood I've been obsessed with Greek mythology and still remember reading about "Nike" and realising that its not only a famous shoe brand it also is the name of the Greek Goddess of Victory. So the day I laid eyes on “The Winged Victory” was almost a moment that brought me a full circle.
Before we move forward, let me describe my visit to the smiling lady's chamber. The Mona Lisa is tucked away in a distant corner of the Denon wing past the Da Vinci paintings and the Renaissance wing. My first reaction upon seeing her for the first time was how small the painting is (atleast in comparison to all the works of art housed at the Louvre). The section is also partially coroned off and it is housed behind enforced bullet proof glass.
A small piece of information - Mona Lisa will always be crowded regardless of whatever time you choose to visit and you will definitely be pushed around.
Arc de triomphe
When you see this magnificent monument up close, you can only then fully appreciate its beauty and why it has a significant place in French history. Its ornate carvings are quite something for they adorn the walls and ceilings and makes one wonder at the depths of the artists talents who created this monument. It takes 284 steps to get to the top but I’ve heard that views over Paris are breathtaking from the top. It also forms the perfect setting for the most exclusive shopping destination in the world - Champs Elysées. Oh one walk through this entire street is enough to make you feel that there is not enough money in the world to buy everything that you little heart might desire.
I finally found the peace to immerse myself in prayer at this 800 year old chapel. No matter what religion you follow, I'm sure at this cathedral you will experience something special. The architecture of this cathedral is truly marvellous and the stained glassed windows are absolutely beautiful. Sitting in the courtyard listening to the church bells was an experience like no other which I will carry in my heart for the rest of my days. We wanted to go up the tower to visit the famous gargoyles, but were told that its only allowed at certain times before 4 PM.
What can I say that’s not been said before about the Eiffel tower? It is afterall Paris's signature monument . I would highly recommend going here in the evening when there is still sunlight and have a small picnic on the lawns of the Eiffel tower and make pretty pictures. If you stay long enough, you get to see the lights come on "twinkling" and light up this beautiful monument.
À tout à l'heure Paree!!! Looking forward to be back meandering around your cobblestone streets along the Seine to sit on the lawns of the Eiffel, laying in the grass, sharing a kiss, sipping some wine and reading a book. Hopefully to stay and explore whatever you have to offer for a full year