Sunday, May 17, 2015

Paris

I don't even know what this is. These are everywhere.


I had 4 full days in Paris, that's 4 days in between the day I arrived and the day I left. And I never made it to the Eiffel Tower.

Scandalous, isn't it? But this was at least my fourth time in the city, and I was determined to see all the things I'd never gotten around to in my previous trips, which were all shorter than this one.



Blvd. St. Germain
I still didn't manage it, even though I rushed from one to the next, which is decidedly NOT the way I wanted to experience them. I'm going back for another few days, to the wonderful tiny studio I'd scored from AirBnB the last time, but it still won't be enough. I'll be going back again, with the kids, but I doubt that will be enough either.

What I'd really like to do is stay a few weeks, but it's going to be a while before that will be possible. If you've never heard of the Schengen Agreement, it basically means that you can only spend 3 months out of every 6 in all of the participating countries put together. So spending all of that time in Greece, Malta and, mostly, Italy, means I don't have that much time available in France.

Fortunately, the UK is a lot more generous. They let you have 6 months out of every 12, the same amount of time, but not split up. And there are places there I love, as well. They're just a lot more expensive than France. So...playing it by ear. In the meantime, here are some photos
to show you why I fell in love with the city.

First, was the great little studio I got through AirBnB. On the 5th floor, but the building had an elevator, which a lot of those buildings do not. 

A tiny balcony, tiny kitchen and bath, but a very nice layout. It felt cozy, rather than cramped. I loved it, and jumped at the chance to go back for a few more days. $50 a night. In Paris. We do love AirBnB.

But the city itself is just so fabulous, not even considering all
of the amazing things there are to see - and, fair warning, I have several folders full of photos from the specific places I went to see. Just walking from one place to the next was a joy, because the buildings are all so beautiful.

And the streets are so wide.



Plus, there are squares all over the place. The city has a very wide open feel, in spite of having great alleyways like other European towns we visited.

 

Hotel de Ville




City Hall is completely over the top, I adore it.


St. Jacques Tower


Random monuments everyfreakingwhere.

Of course, plenty of sidewalk cafes, and the weather was perfect for that while I was there.

And that wonderful river running right through the main part
of town, crossed by the most beautiful bridges.








In fact, there was even dining on the river. Stationary barges

 
with wine bars that also served coffee and food. I had cappuccino and a crepe, and loved every second of it.

Paris is supposedly notorious for being constantly overcast, so I suppose that is why everyone seemed to be out enjoying the sunshine. And there are parks or gardens everywhere.

Flowers and produce just here and there.

Even aside from the gorgeous streets, there were other magnificent design elements, like this metro stop.

If they were going to put some kind of glass structure in the Louvre courtyard, imo, it should have been based on something like this. Even though it isn't the same period any more than pyramids, I still think it would have blended in better, and had much the same effect of letting light in while protecting people from the weather.

One of the oldest, most beautiful department stores in the world, Galeries Lafayette, has a stained glass dome to die for.

And it is encircled by elegant balconies. 

There are so many amazing sights and landmarks, I want the time to savor them, one every couple of days rather than two a day. But mainly, I just want to enjoy the city. I didn't have time to on any of my previous trips, maybe that's why I didn't fall in love with the city before.

But this time, I did not want to leave. And I can't wait to go back.


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