Basically I spent all of the 1970s in Paris. So if someone asks me about things that happened during those years in the USA, I generally draw a blank. I was busy checking out all that Paris had to offer. I taught school (English teacher) and I founded The Paris English Theatre (where 9 of my plays were originally produced.) My writing career began and flourished here and when I returned to America in 1980, I was ready to take my place in writing in my own country.
Many people have often asked me what makes Paris so special. I tell them that it is a city of discovery. Not only can you learn who you are but you can learn to observe. Paris has always been a city of adventure to me. This means you can turn down any street in the city and it will open up a whole new set of adventure for you. I’m not kidding. So many little shops, so many historical places, so many famous people who have lived here. Truly, just turn and walk down any street—and you’ll see quaintness and adventure at every curve. Stop and have a coffee at a sidewalk café and watch the passing parade. It’s like a non-stop movie.
But to those of you who ask me for my top twelve sites that make Paris the city it is, I am only to glad to offer the following:
EIFFEL TOWER: (Featured Photo) Originally built as a temporary exhibition for the 1889 World’s Fair; today there’s no other monument that symbolizes Paris better than this world-famous Iron Lady. It’s breathtaking, no matter from where you view it. One of my favorites viewing spots is to ride Line 6 of the Metro from Place d’Italie to Trocadero. The Metro comes up from under the ground and there before you is the Eiffel Tower in all its glory.
NOTRE-DAME: It took almost 200 years to finish this 12th-century Gothic masterpiece immortalized by Victor Hugo and his fictional hunchback. Climb the spiral staircase of the bell towers for a close-up gander at the gargoyles, or have a peek at relics such as the Crown of Thorns in the cathedral treasury.
JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG (Luxenbourg Gardens): This is one of the prime leisure spots on the Left Bank for a wonderful time-out rest break. Relax in a reclining park chair, visit an outdoor exhibition, watch a marionette show or enjoy one of the best people watching places anywhere. Visit the Musée Luxembourg in a wing of the 17th-century Palais de Luxembourg, which is now home to the Paris Senate.
JARDIN DES TUILERIES: (Garden of the tile makers) The 17th-century formal French landscape of these gardens behind the Louvre is punctuated by contemporary sculptures, a café, and two noteworthy museums: the Musée du Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l’Orangerie. In summer there’s a small amusement park and Ferris wheel.
ARC DE TRIOMPHE: The 164-foot-tall Arc de Triomphe has served as the backdrop to official military parades that go down the Champs Elysees since its completion in 1836. Even the Germans used it for that purpose when they took Paris during World War II. The view from the top is spectacular. The locale is called Place Etoile (Star) because all the streets feeding into it makes it look like a star.
MUSÉE D’ORSAY: Formerly a train station constructed for the 1900 World’s Fair, this beautiful Belle Époque building is filled with Art Nouveau objects, Impressionist paintings, vintage photography, and realist sculptures.
MINI WRITING WORKSHOP (especially for readers presently in the USA)
Begin a writing journal. This is how many writers begin their hobby or career as writers. In your journal, write about the following prompts. Become published immediately by sending them as a comment at the bottom of today’s blog. We’d love to share your thoughts and experiences.
- I’ve never been to Paris but I’d like to go and why.
- The top three things I would like to see.
- I’ve been to Paris. The three things I liked most and why.
- What I’d like to see in Paris on my next trip that I didn’t see on my previous trip or trips.
- Name three unusual people you have seen today and what makes them unusual.
NEXT BLOG: Jack’s Top Paris Sites, #7 through #12. And another mini-writing workshop for you.