Paris in the Spring: 1994
City Sights

We love Paris despite the fact that it is often cloudy, drizzly, or rainy, and can be cold at any time of year. The walk down the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees always moves me. Each time I see the Arc de Triomphe, I picture in my mind two pictures from World War II: first, the Nazi occupiers marching down the street through the arch, and then the picture of the Allies coming into Paris down the same street. I have read "Is Paris Burning?" two or three times, and each time I shudder to think what the city might be like today if the plans to destroy it had been carried out.

Arc de Triomphe
Place des Vosges

On this trip, I made a special effort to visit the Place des Vosges. I had read in all the guidebooks about this "perfect square," and decided that I had to see it for myself. If I were advising anyone who had only a limited amount of time to spend in Paris about the things he should see or do, I can think of about 100 that I would rate above a visit to the Place des Vosges.

What a wonderful history lesson can be had with a visit to the Pere Lachaise cemetery. Soon after entering the main gate, you come upon this tomb of Heloise and Abelard (they were moved here hundreds of years after their deaths). The lesson could start with their tragic love story and then could proceed to stories about Chopin or Oscar Wilde. We could learn about Isadora Duncan and her tragic accident and about Richard Wright and the reasons he chose to become an expatriate. And, finally, we couldn't skip the "legend" that has developed around the death of Jim Morrison. (I would hate to have a family member buried here and have to suffer from having "This Way to Jim" painted on the tomb.)

Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Musee d'Orsay

The former Orsay rail station has been transformed into one of the greatest locations for the display of art in the entire world. Natural light is used to perfection to help maximize the viewer's enjoument. And, the place is packed with the works of all the artists we enjoy most--the French impressionists.

The Place du Tertre, even with all its crass commercialism and bothersome caricaturists remains a lovely place. You just have to let your eyes form a sort of haze and pretend these are real artists and the time is about a hundred years ago. It's still a fun place to visit, and if you know someone from home who is visiting Paris, just wait here for a while and you'll probably run into him.

Place du Tertre
The Seine

With all its great attractions, monuments, restaurants, and museums, Paris remains one of our favorite places simply because its so much fun to just wander around and take in all the different sights. Just walking along beside the Seine can become a special treat. We have visited Paris now a number of times, and on each visit we have enjoyed it twice as much as we did the time before. Upon retirement, I think it would be nice to go to Paris and just wander about for a month or so.

Day Trips
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