Paris Syndrome? Humbug!

On landing in Paris, John shared this article on the Paris Syndrome- (, warning me not to get overly excited about my first visit to the City of Light!

I wouldn’t have any of that! In fact, Paris may be the grandest city I’ve ever seen!

On landing we took the Metro from Charles de Gaulle into Paris, changed to the yellow line at Saint Michel Notre Dame. We got off at Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel, which was about 800m from our hotel on Rue de Passay. As we got off and crossed the bridge across the Siene, Eiffel popped up and we never lost sight of her again.

To say the least the tower is beautiful – in its proportion, structure and height. When lit up with 20,000 light bulbs, it is glorious!

On Tuesday John played guide, taking us to the sights he’s seen a few times on previous visits. We set off walking along the Siene in the direction of the Notre Dame (approximately 6km).

Not far from the Eiffel you see shining onion domes – the Russian Orthodox cathedral and cultural centre – an attempt of Putin to share Russian culture with France/ the world. It’s partly funded by the Kremlin and its setting up was riddled with controversy.

A little further down from the Russian structure, is the gleaming, gilded dome of Les Invalides. Established by Louis XIV in 1670 for old or unwell soldiers, the complex of buildings now houses several museums, a church, and—staying true to its origins—a hospital and home for retired soldiers.

Then museums galore on both sides of the river – modern art, sewers (yes- traces the history of Paris’s drains), tribal artefacts and the famous d’Orsay before you reach the Louvre.

Originally built to house the royal family in the late 12th century (it officially opened as a museum in 1793), the palace has undergone countless renovations and extensions since, including the installation of I. M. Pei’s iconic glass pyramids—which topped the museum’s new entrance—in 1989. It is closed on Tuesdays, so we just walked around the magnificent structures admiring the architecture.

Next up along the river was the Notre Dame – closed for repair. The extent of the damage caused by the infamous fire a few years ago is clear only when you see it up close and read about the tremendous work done by the team working on the repair. It’s scheduled to open again in 2024.

After marvelling at the effort to preserve and rebuild, we took the metro to possibly our favourite building in Paris – the Sacre Coeur on top of the hill of Montmartre.

Set upon the highest point in the city is the stunning basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The sight of the majestic structure against the clear blue sky and the green of the hill, takes your breath away, as you climb up the colourful streets of Montmartre and 300 steps up the hill to reach the church. The basilica has maintained a perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament since 1885, in a very beautiful silver monstrance on the altar! The construction of the church has some strange political history but none of that can spoil the beauty and peace of the place. If you have just a day in Paris, make sure you go here.

We then took the metro to Arc de Triomphe. In 1806, Napoléon ordered the construction of the Arc to honor those who fought in the Napoleonic wars.

We walked down the Champs Élysées to check out the House of Dior and Louis Vuitton (from the outside). From there we headed back to the hotel via a Carrefour for a bottle of wine and some jamon. We’d walked 18kms!

Paris – lovely cafés spilling onto the street filled with tourists and perfectly dressed Parisians, stunningly beautiful architecture and designer gardens, beautiful flower shops – aesthetically perfect!

Can’t help noticing the gap between the ‘aristocrats‘ and the ‘sans coulette’ though- like in every other city of the world…time for a revolution?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s