The fun is still going in Paris. For sure I’m putting on a couple of pounds of fine dining memories. People ask me what the weather is like here and I always give the same answer: beautiful. I know it sounds as though I’m a Paris groupie but truly Paris is picturesque anytime. I don’t care what the weather is. Paris when the sun is shinning, then Paris when it’s rainy, and Paris when it’s overcast. Each weather condition just adds its own personal shade of drama. The French impressionist painter Claude Monet sometimes painted the same subject in many different lights and seasons to show this spectacle. You will discover the same drama for yourself as you stroll about the city checking out the second half of my dozen must-see sites.
OPÉRA GARNIER: What we generally call “The Paris Opera.” Opulent, stunning, and one of the outstanding jewels of Napoleon III’s regime from 1852-1870. Its illustrious marble staircase and ruby-red box seats have been featured in films from Dangerous Liaisons to Marie-Antoinette, and its backstage corridors are famously haunted by the Phantom of the Opera.
CENTRE POMPIDOU: The Pompidou Centre’s unique “inside-out” design is still visually shocking (it opened in 1977). This is the top destination for modern-art lovers in Paris. The street entertainment outside is wonderful as you sip your aperitif or coffee at a nearby outdoor café.
SACRÉ-COEUR: This wedding-cake looking white basilica dominates Montmartre’s hilltop. The views overlooking Paris are breathtaking. Visit the art and street painters in the area off to the right of the church. It’s what we think of as Bohemian Paris.
MUSÉE DU LOUVRE: The grandest museum in the world was just a humble fortress in the 12th century, but grew in size and prestige as a sumptuous royal palace until the French Revolution turned it into an art museum. Don’t miss the big three—Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Venus de Milo. Across the street is the famous Comedie Française.
SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY: (Metro St. Michel) Time has not extinguished the love-in between literature and Paris’s Left Bank. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore, has long been a fixture of the literary community in Paris. The original shop, which doubled as a library, publisher and boarding house for aspiring writers, was opened by American Sylvia Beach and was featured in Ernest Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast. The store closed during World War II, and was reopened in its current incarnation in 1951 by George Whitman, whose daughter, Sylvia (named after Beach), runs things today. It is located just across the street from Notre Dame. They have outdoor plays here and authors read their works. Always something interesting going on here for writers.
LE PROCOPE RESTAURANT(Featured photo): (Metro Odeon) Paris has far fancier and more famous restaurants but none as historic. It is called the oldest restaurant of Paris due to its continuous operation since 1686. Le Procope has always been the meeting place of the literary set. Benjamin Franklin worked on the U.S. Constitution at a table here. Thomas Jefferson frequented the restaurant when he was ambassador to France.
NOTE TO AUTHORS: Here’s another mini-workshop for you. If you came to Paris and want to write, try using some of the following to get you started until your muse kicks in full-time. You may just surprise yourself. AND be sure to send them to us for publication in the comment section you’ll find at the end of this blog.
HERE ARE YOUR PROMPTS:
- “Every morning…”,
- “The man next to me…”,
- “I watched a woman with…”,
- “Wandering around Paris I was taken with…”.
What brought you to Paris? What you wanted it to be and what it actually was. Write about your little corner of Paris. Write about the cafes and the rain. Write about the tourists. Write about the streets and how you feel when you walk through them. Write about yourself when you’re in Paris and when you’re not.
NEXT BLOG: Potpourri: A Paris medley