I have recently written about how much I loved visiting Paris and all the really cool things there are to do and see in the City of Lights. (Quick aside: How did it come to be known as the “City of Lights?” In 1828, Paris began lighting the Champs-Elysées with gas lamps, becoming the first European city to do so, earning the nickname “La Ville-Lumière” or The City of Light.) Here’s a quick refresher of just some of what we found to be among the highlights of our visit to Paris.
1) The amazing architecture, perhaps best illustrated by this photo of the Notre Dame cathedral…
…or this photo of Sacre Coeur.
… and what would a post addressing the architecture in Paris be without the obligatory photo of the Eiffel Tower. Here’s the one I liked the best.
2) Paris “Walking Tours”. We took two during our 3 days there. Since I attempt to include some information about the European transportation system from time to time, here are two photos that offer some insight into the historical significance of the Parisian transportation network that I learned on our walking tours.
- This is the oldest Metro Station entrance in the city, an art nouveau entranceway.
- This is the oldest sidewalk in Paris, according to our tour guide. (Note the “curbs”. Those kept horse drawn carriage wheels from running over people in the streets, a fate met by more unfortunate people than you might imagine.)
3) The city’s art and the grandeur of its museums and churches. As an example, here is a little video I shot that features me (I have no selfie control, as you have surely learned by now) inside the Louvre, which used to be the palace of one Napolean Bonaparte.
But everyone is aware of Paris’ positives. I’m going to break fresh ground here and point out a few of its negatives, or things that bugged me just a little bit. Without any further ado, here are some of the nits I chose to pick.
A) The locks.
Someone at somepoint had the bright idea to memorialize the steadfastness of their relationship by securing a lock to the railing of a bridge over the Seine and then throwing the key into the river. (Get it? “Nothing can come between us, because I threw the key into the Seine!!”) As you can clearly see in the picture below, this has become something of a problem. My understanding is that it all started on one bridge, but it has metastasized city-wide now. (I just saw on the news recently that plans are to replace the railings then cover them with plexi-glass. That’ll be attractive.)
B) Tiny elevators.
This is really minor, but I shot this photo, which I find somewhat amusing so I have to mention it somewhere. It’s true of all European cities, but Paris in particular: There is barely enough room for 2 people on an elevator. This is a photo of our legs and our small suitcase jammed in on our hotel’s elevator. Yes, that is the entire elevator.
C) The Metro turnstiles.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Parisian metro system and although we walk most places, from time to time it is necessary – and fun – to ride the metro. But beware, because sometimes the ticket you just bought fails to trigger the turnstyle. That happened to me twice, and so I had to channel my inner Renaldo Nehemiah (google him if your under 50) and hurdle that bad boy!
D) The crowds
I know, shocking that we’d encounter lots of other tourists in Paris. But there are crowds and then there are crowds. Here’s a fun example of what I’m talking about. You might recognize the portrait that drew a little bit of interest.