|I was quite hesitant to write about Paris. It is said to be a beautiful city in the world. That it is the city of lights. But how much of all this represents the Paris I know, in the fourteen visits I have made over the years?|
Shortly before my last visit, I had finished reading the last volume of In Search of Lost Time. Proust loved Paris and talked incessantly about some places that were very dear to him; I would have loved to see them, even in passing. Which is why I walked from one end of the Champs Elisée to the other to find the park where he had played as a child and the character of the book who borrowed so many details from his personal life. I found the park: small, ordinary, with a fountain in the middle and some benches around it - absolutely nothing special. I remember eating a sandwich and falling asleep. Champs Elisée is a rather motley boulevard that reminds you of almost all European capitals, with a little extra luster called grandeur. Other places that I had already seen many times, did not seem so interesting, maybe because they were not new to me.
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|The disappointments were probably more: I knew that Notre-Dame is huge and beautiful, but it seemed to me just another Gothic cathedral, reduced to a ruin. I dreamed of visiting the Musée d’Orsay for the Impressionists it hosts - and there I found that I had seen some Monets in London that I liked most.|
tr>Bois de Boulogne, where Proust's characters were riding in a carriage, but I was walking in other places. I even tried to sit on the grass (extraordinarily fine) in a park, only to be chased a few minutes later - in Parisian parks you can only sit on metal chairs scattered everywhere, all uncomfortable and occupied by others. The Jardin du Palais Royal, nestled between the wings of Cardinal Richelieu's former palace, is small and intimate. Jardin des Plantes is a medicinal plant garden, with separate plots for various species of plants, a mini zoo and a bunch of flowers. Parc de Buttes Chaumont, without having passed it on the list of tourist attractions, has in the middle a small mountain with a flag at the top, a waterfall and a picturesque bridge that I found under construction. From the top of the “mountain” you can see, not far away, the Sacré-Coeur, perched on another hill. And in the Parc du Champs de Mars I had a wonderful lunch, with the Eiffel Tower rising between flowers and trees.
|I climbed to the second level of the Eiffel Tower (on the stairs) and I had enough energy to hop happily and take pictures, I watched (a little) an impromptu football match near the Alexander III Bridge, I watched others French people playing “boules” in the Jardin du Tulleries, I ran to La Défense and on my way back I traveled, unintentionally, illegally by subway. I discovered a wonderful place, the church of La Madeleine, with an exhibition of sculpture in the basement and a stylized modern Christ planted among flowers. I wandered through Père Lachaise and even came across Jim Morrison's famous tomb - a small eternal place, hidden behind another tomb.|
and the Louvre - after running through the palace rooms, the Dolphin's apartment and the rather bare gardens, you finally reach an absolutely charming place: the Queen's estate with his Little Trianon Marie-Antoinette. Completely different from the grand palace, the estate has many surprises, such as a village built specifically for it, with a mill, a farm, idyllic houses with equally idyllic vegetable gardens, with huge dahlias and gourds on the roof, with loaded balconies of geraniums and a myriad of fish with swollen mouths that do not shy away from eating all your biscuits. Then there's the endless park.
What can I say about the Louvre? No need for presentation. It's just that one day is not enough to visit him leisurely.
Hmmm, maybe I wasn't so disappointed with Paris after all…
No, not at all.
Drop image here…