Like almost every other American tourist in Paris, I could do nothing but squeal the moment I laid eyes on the Eiffel Tower. And that was only within my first few hours of arriving in the City of Lights: Paris, France.
Having studied the French language and culture for five years, I knew a good amount of information about Paris and what sights are most worth seeing. However, since I only had three days to stay in Paris before my return to Rome, I knew I was pressed for time to see everything I was looking forward to visiting.
As I wandered along the streets near the Bastille in the city’s Fourth Arrondissement, I came across dozens of couture boutiques all within the radius of a few blocks. Paris’ fashion is unlike any other in this world: every designer you could think of and the most cutting edge fashion imaginable. I was in retail heaven.
After succumbing to my weakness and splurging on clothes and shoes, I started off to find the Centre G. Pompidou Museum, which houses Paris’ finest modern art. The architecture of the building itself is a piece of art in its own right. Comprised of all different colored beams and paired with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the Pompidou is a marvel of modern architecture. The artwork inside the museum is equally noteworthy. Inside, there are pieces by famous modern artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Kandinsky. After seeing so many museums filled with Baroque-styled art in Italy, it was refreshing to view some more contemporary art for a change.
From the fifth floor of the Pompidou, there is an observation deck which gives a gorgeous panoramic view of all of Paris. I was able to get a spectacular look at the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the everyday populous of Paris going about their normal routines. The fact that this place is actually home to millions of people who actually experience the delights of this city of brilliance every day is truly amazing.
In addition to the Pompidou, I knew a trip to Paris would not have been complete without visiting the Louvre Museum. Inside the central courtyard sits a glass pyramid that was constructed during the first of a series of renovations during the Grand Louvre Project. This pyramid is made entirely out of glass and serves as the main entrance to the museum. Its construction does not completely coordinate the architecture of the building.
Knowing that I would need at least two weeks to view each piece of art in the Louvre, I chose to try a different taste of art once again. This time, I headed over to the African and Oceanic Art wing. This wing was merely a fraction of one of the larger sections of the Louvre, and even this small exhibit took me over four hours to complete. The enormosity of the Louvre can not be put into words; it truly is an amazing sight to behold.
Since all the voyages I ventured on before Paris were part of an itinerary, I decided to wander around Paris without a map in hand and discover things as I came upon them. While strolling down the Parisian boulevards, I stumbled upon Place des Voges. Comparable in its idea to New York City’s Central Park, Place des Voges is home to a serene park right off of one of Paris’ busiest streets. Inside, I found many Parisians basking in the beautiful day’s sunshine, small children laughing and playing in a sandbox, and others simply promenading. I feel as if I have genuinely adopted the European lifestyle; it seems as though I find a place to relax mid-afternoon in every city I visit.
And of course I take full advantage of each opportunity I get.I had a wonderful time relaxing in the park, but I knew I had to start going again if I wanted to see everything I had my heart set on. Since I received my second wind of energy for the day, I decided to go to √éle de la Cit√©, which houses the Notre Dame Cathedral, and take the never-ending spiral-stair cased walk to the summit. Up close, the Cathedral’s architecture was unlike any other I’ve seen in any European holy structure. The gargoyles etched in stone were so detailed that, they seemed like living, breathing creatures.
The views from each prominent building in Paris are not similar, from the top of the Pompidou, Notre Dame to the top of the Eiffel Tower, yet each view is equally breathtaking. The vivid images of the scenery and sunsets I witnessed will never leave my memory.