13 October 2005

Holy cow! I'm in Paris!

This one's for Pico...

So, this morning I was riding the bus up to the Bibliothèque Nationale and remembered Pico's advice (Don't forget to wake up every morning and say "Holy ____, I'm in Paris!"). As we drove northwest out of the Place Denfert-Rochereau, we passed the Observatoire de Paris and the Cimitière Montparnasse. Moments later, I could see the infamous Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower)--the only skyscraper in Paris proper, about which Parisians have been complaining since it was built. Passing through the 6th arrondissement into the 7th, the Eiffel Tower appeared over the rooftops.

Moments later, the bus crossed the Seine on the Pont Royal (Royal Bridge), providing a gorgeous view of the Grand Palais and the waterfront, with the Eiffel Tower seeming to emerge from the Musée d'Orsay. I quickly turned my head as we entered the 1st arrondissement through the south gates of the Louvre. Going through the Place du Carrousel, I had the difficult choice of looking to the right at I.M. Pei's Pyramid and the Musée du Louvre, or looking to the left at the great Parisian trilogy--the Arc du Triomphe du Carrousel, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Grande Arche de la Défense (when viewed from this location, the three line up perfectly, with no buildings obstructing the view of any of them).

After passing through the north gates of the Louvre, we went past the Palais Royal and the Comédie-Française (or as I like to think of it, the Theatre-that-Molière-built). This put us on the avenue de l'Opéra, which affords the best possible view of the Palais Garnier (the old home of the Paris Opéra and the theatre in which "Phantom of the Opera" supposedly took place).

The ride home at the end of the day takes a slightly different route, offering me additional views of Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde and the Palais Bourbon, home of the Assemblée Nationale (the equivalent of the US House of Representatives).

Yes, we love the food here, the weather's been better than I expected, and the people are great. The museums here hold some of the world's greatest art, too. But the greatest work of all has to be the city itself. When you come to visit, be sure to spend time just looking at the city. Ride the buses when you can, so you can watch the neighborhoods pass by and get a feel for what it's like to live amongst all these monuments.

Oh yeah, and be sure to say, "Holy (fill in the blank), I'm in Paris!"


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