Bohemian Paris

When you arrive at a train station in Paris, either coming from the airport or by rail from a nearby city, province, or country, you can feel the spirit of the city. Paris is a place of revolutions, artists, and existential philosophers, and for a period, the favorite city and second home of the great American writers.

Gard Saint-Lazare - Paris
Gard Saint-Lazare – Paris

Paris is a bohemian city, so different than the rest of France that people joke about the Parisian accent, and assure you that “there is Paris, then there is France.”

Blue rooftops - Paris
Blue rooftops – Paris

The iconic monuments, like the Eiffel Tower, are not to be scoffed at. To truly understand the magic of the city, you have to walk up to an observation platform and look over patchwork of blue and grey rooftops, and the array of streets that shoot out in every direction, cutting up the neighborhoods. If you can get to the top of the tallest structure in all of Paris, you’ll be standing at the height of an 81 story building.

Eiffel Tower - Paris
Eiffel Tower – Paris

 

Iron Lattice of the Eiffel Tower
Iron Lattice of the Eiffel Tower

 

Observation platform 1 - Eiffel Tower
Observation platform 1 – Eiffel Tower

 

Stairs and the elevator at the Eiffel Tower, Paris
Stairs and the elevator at the Eiffel Tower, Paris

 

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower

 

Trocadéro - Palais de Chaillot - from the observation platform of the Eiffel Tower
Trocadéro – Palais de Chaillot – from the observation platform of the Eiffel Tower

 

Looking down from the observation platform of he Eiffel Tower
Looking down from the observation platform of he Eiffel Tower

 

The Seine, from the Eiffel Tower
The Seine, from the Eiffel Tower

 

The highest point in Paris is not, however, the Eiffel Tower. The Sacré Cœur, a Roman Catholic church and basilica that was finished in 1914 but consecrated after World War I, built on the summit of our favorite neighborhood, Montmartre. Though overflowing with tourists, it is still edgy and lively.

 

Inside the Sacré Cœur
Inside the Sacré Cœur

 

Mosaic - Sacré Cœur
Mosaic – Sacré Cœur

 

Domes inside Sacré Cœur
Domes inside Sacré Cœur

 

Detail of column - Sacré Cœur
Detail of column – Sacré Cœur

 

Exterior of Sacré Cœur
Exterior of Sacré Cœur

 

Sacré Cœur
Sacré Cœur

 

Not far from the Sacré Cœur is the Moulin Rouge, now also more of a tourist attraction than the steamy cabaret. Known as the birthplace of can-can, the building is culturally significant in popularizing the dance throughout Europe, and for introducing patrons the the green fairy.

 

Our cabaret outside Moulin Rouge
Our cabaret outside Moulin Rouge

 

Moulin Rouge - Paris
Moulin Rouge – Paris

 

A better known church, the Notre Dame de Paris, a Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of a small island, the Île de la Cité. Walk around the parks and enjoy the outdoors as much as the indoors, and then find your way to the legendary Shakespeare and Company across the river.

 

Stained Glass - Notre Dame de Paris
Stained Glass – Notre Dame de Paris

 

Inside Notre Dame de Paris
Inside Notre Dame de Paris

 

At the alter - Notre Dame de Paris
At the alter – Notre Dame de Paris

 

Donations for writers - Shakespeare & Company
Donations for writers – Shakespeare & Company

 

Lock Bridge - Paris
Lock Bridge – Paris

 

Notre Dame de Paris from Pont de l'Archevêché
Notre Dame de Paris from Pont de l’Archevêché

 

Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris

 

Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris

 

Playing at the park - Notre Dame de Paris
Playing at the park – Notre Dame de Paris

 

In the evenings go to the parks, especially the ones outside the Louvre near the pyramids of I.M. Pei. Bring a bottle of wine or two, some cheese and cured meats, sweets and bread, and have a feast with friends.

 

Picnic at the Louvre
Picnic at the Louvre

 

Paris is about people. I’ve been there several times alone, but it is not intended to be a city for the loner. Paris is inspiring, and the romantic charm is something you will want to share to fully appreciate what it means to be there.

 

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