I am one of the luckier souls for being extended the opportunity to travel to Paris for work. Each and everytime I set foot in that very alluring city I fall in love with it all over again.
I was thrilled but at the same time skeptical on giving advice to a colleague, who an adventurer himself was curiously enough setting foot in Paris for the first time, on what not to miss out. Off for a two day business trip, with only the late afternoons to spare for himself, I was confused on how to compile the Paris to-do list. In the end, deciding that it was a futile task to prioritize, I handed over one of the maps that I had saved along with a list of gazillion things to do and sights to see.
T.S. Eliot’s remark is so true “the chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant” – I found myself getting excited just drawing up a to do list which included …
Walking down the grand Champs Élysées, where traffic is mayhem but the grandeur is forever present; lighting a candle at Notre Dame; touring around the Sorbonne and the bookstalls lining the Seine; having a cafe at Les Deux Magots; tasting the delicious macarons at Ladurée; cherishing the landmark architecture of Georges Pompidou Center which wears its skeleton on the outside, and enjoying the magnificent artwork collection inside; spending at least half hour at the literary delight of Paris’ left bank – Shakespeare and Company; marvelling at the architecturally divergent pyramid of the Louvre; enjoying oysters at Huitrerie Regis in the 6th arrondissement; hiking up to Sacre Coeur and indulging in the company of the street artists in Montmartre; cherishing the very ornate architecture of the opera building; admiring the red brick and blue-tiled roofs at Place des Vosges where shops supply Parisians with simple things done beautifully; ordering a coctail at Bar Hemingway of the Ritz Hotel; visiting the musée de l’Orangerie and of course having a photo taken at the soaring Eiffel tower.
My collegue was as entrigued by the sheer elegance, grandeur and the charm of Paris as I always am. Paris is like a huge open air museum. We both very much agree with Thomas Jefferson’s quote: A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”
A great storyteller that he is, his account of details were a joy to listen to and are presently for me to keep. In the meantime, I delight in sharing some of the photos he was gracious to share with me, which I feel capture the essence of this magnificent and very elegant city.
Neatly trimmed parks
The showcase of flashy car models at galleries along the Champs Elysées
The charming Sacre Coeur
The artists of Montmartre
The majestic Notre Dame Cathedral
A very ornate statue and the spectacular Eiffel tower behind that very same statue
The culinary delights – macaron pyramids at Ladurée and hot wine to warm up the chilly evenings
Those beginning a new life and those trying to survive in life
Dresses sold for € 5,900 and those trying to survive on € 5,90…
The joy of the festive season
And of course the most venerable sight of Paris…the spectacular Eiffel Tower
Once again I remember a quote by James Thurber which I had scribbled down in my little yellow notebook “The whole of Paris is a vast university of Art, Literature and Music… it is worth anyone’s while to dally here for years. Paris is a seminar, a post-graduate course in everything.”