Paris, ancient as it is, has endured a great plenty of violence, war and revolution. But given the relative peace of recent decades, bloody scenes from the Charlie Hebdo shooting have been shocking indeed. Once again we are reminded that even in one of mankind’s most civilized places, primitive horror can still strike. However, all that was far from my mind on a glorious day last autumn when at the tail end of a European holiday I was privileged to spend a few hours in Paris. I’d been to Paris before and taken in the obligatory sites, so with no agenda, I set out to explore once again a city which never disappoints. Paris really is as gorgeous as the postcards portray. My day ended perfectly too, with a dinner at the atmospheric Left Bank home of my friends, Annette and Robert. So, here are some photos from one afternoon spent wondering the streets of Paris…
___________ Photos: Although millions of tourists traipse through the Cathedral of Notre Dame every year, most seem to miss the lovely park just behind the Cathedral, seen here in two views. There are many more of my photos after the jump.
Relaxing on the Ile St. Louis looking towards the Right Bank. Berthillon is famous in Paris for making fabulous ice creams and sorbets, sold here in a small shop on the Ile St.Louis. I can confirm that their raspberry and pear sorbets, while not cheap, were worth every centime. Bagels seem to be all the rage in Paris. I didn’t have time to taste these, but they sure do look nosh worthy. Largest park in central Paris is the legendary Jardin du Luxembourg. Concert in a bandshell, Jardin du Luxembourg. I remember studying the Medici Fountain (above) in art history class, another of the must-see sites in the Jardin du Luxembourg. One of the dozens of small squares which make the crowded city so livable. This one appeared briefly in the first of the Bourne movies. Paris is loaded with specialty food shops. This elegant Italian food store and take-out caught my eye. Display of new-age books outside a shop: I was especially intrigued by the one at the center with the cat on the cover. The title reads: What Is Your Cat Thinking? Street cafe in one of the oldest areas of the Left Bank, just in from the River Seine Display outside a bistro which specializes in seafood. Last August marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris from Nazi occupation during World War II. I just missed a photography exhibition celebrating that event (above is a poster promoting the exhibition). The Rue de Rosiers is now a smart shopping street in the Marais district on the Right Bank. In former times it was a center of the Jewish community. This plaque commemorates the terrorist bombing of Goldenberg’s Restaurant on August 9th, 1982, in which six people were killed, also on the Rue des Rosiers. Jewish heritage continues on the Rue des Rosiers with several Isreali-style falafel shops. On a previous stay in Paris, I enjoyed patronizing these places for a cheap, quick and healthy lunch. This one is for my mother who loves to collect dolls: a doll shop which was closed when I strolled past. Typical Paris street scene. The art of French pastry is still very much alive. Paris can be dangerous if you love that sort of thing!
Alas, farewell. My last stop on French soil, Gate M48 at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport, one of the world’s busiest. This airport is huge, with three terminals. Before departing for the airport, I suggest knowing not only which terminal you need, but what section of which terminal. Sometimes the smaller, and closer-in Orly Airport (ORY) is the better option.
Please leave a comment. What would you do if you had only one afternoon in Paris?