Paris: The City of Lights
I confess I went to Paris years ago – back in the turn of the century – yes your calculations are correct it was in the year 2000. I know what you’re thinking – why bother sharing anything from so far back? The answer is quite simple: Although Paris has certainly changed in more ways than one, some things will never change like its stunning architecture for example.
So here’s how I ended up in the City of Lights: My friend and I were both fairly newly single and figured it would be great to give ourselves the gift of travel. We both agreed how exhilarating it would be to go on a road trip from Paris to Spain and so off we were.
Our travels took us all the way to Barcelona (and smaller surrounding towns) then back up to the Côte d’Azur visiting Cannes, Nice, St-Tropez and the principality of Monaco – all within two weeks in our rented Renault.
It was my first time back in Europe after nearly 10 years and I was really excited! I only spent 3 days in Paris but I remember thinking how beautiful it was. It was like an open-air museum with the prettiest bridges adorned with statues and lamp posts even more so ornate. I was in Paris and I was in awe – enough said.
Following are photos of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the infamously controversial Moulin Rouge Cabaret (where French Can-Can dance was born), the hill-top basilica of Montmartre, the tomb of a musical legend and much more. I didn’t include photos of the Eiffel Tower because, well, basically everybody knows what it looks like, right?
(This is part of my Early Travel Series hence the grainy photos – see more in Destinations)
As a teenager, The Doors was one of my favorite bands. Many a nights were spent listening to Jim Morrison’s hypnotic voice resonating to the very core of my soul. So when I booked my ticket to Paris, I made it a point to visit his tomb at Le Cimétière du Père Lachaise like so many other adoring fans had done before me. I didn’t kneel down wearing a flowing paisley dress with my hair in braids smoking weed and singing The Doors songs; I did, however, take the time to contemplate on a life cut way too short and, of course, take a picture of his grave as a memoir.
Jim Morrison isn’t the only famous person buried in the biggest cemetery in Paris. From internationally-known artists to critically-acclaimed authors to politicians, the likes of Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Modigliani, Molière, Frédéric Chopin and Honoré de Balzac just to name a few also rest in peace at Le Cimétière du Père Lachaise.
It might be overly visited by hoards of tourists and it definitely holds a few clichés but anybody who’s been to Paris will say, without a doubt, that it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The architecture alone – even the fountains are incredibly refined – is enough to leave anyone in awe of la ville lumière.
So leave your convertible cargo pants at home, stuff your face with a few croissants, pack a baguette and some regional wine for a picnic at the Jardin des Tuileries, swear like a Frenchman and wander aimlessly along the Seine River. Go ahead and live la vie en rose if for only a few days and exclaim –
Have you been to Paris? What were your favorite places?