PARIS, FRANCE


Eiffel Tower

Paris… One word is enough, one name to immediately, in romantic nostalgia, associate our thoughts with a city of love, city of light, of style, culture, art, spirit, with the capital of fashion, cuisine, wine, with architecture, museums, galleries, theatres and all the splendor of this vibrant gem whose glare lingers on. All explanations, no matter how long or amply, would be insufficient to depict its indescribable beauty and significance. Sometimes I think that they are not even necessary, because there is no person who haven’t heard of Paris and many had visit it, enjoying in city’s innumerable notabilities.

The view from  Eiffel Tower

The view from Eiffel Tower

One of the well known landmarks undoubtely is the Eiffel tower, a magnificent artistic installation which from the moment of its inauguration in 1889. leaves breathless and attracts millions of visitors. The tower is 300 meters high, weighs 7300 tones and there is 1665 steps that ascends to the top or, more accurately, to the platform from which a elevetor leads to the very peak. I came to Paris after one personal, life changing event so I decided to climb up the tower using stairs. With each one that I would overcome, Paris unfolded beneath my feat, the view has become more and more majestic and enthralling and all the way up was swift, relaxed and leisurely. I also had a opportunity to thoroughly examine the construction itself, compounded from 18038 pieces of iron attached together with 3.5 millions rivets. What is especially fascinating is the fact that the whole work was done by only 300 men. Sadly, this specific structure did not elude notorious human need to dispute and oppose anything new or different. The tower was heavily challenged in public which, above all, contested its aesthetic form so Eiffel was granted 20 years for his fabulous assembly, after which the tower was to be transferred uder city ownership with a plan to demolish it. Fortunately, this did not occur and Eiffel tower, evoking reverance and admiration, still proudly stands.

Place de la Concorde

The best way to familiarize with any town, particularly Paris, is to take a walk. It’s an unforgettable sensation just to wander off and get lost in its avenues, paved streets, vaulted aisles, shaded walkways, alongside countless coffee shops from wich a sweet, melancholic music echoes and caresses our ears, until one of beautiful squares opens before our eyes and than we can, for a while, feel like Parisians. Largest Parisian square is Place de la Concorde, jewelled with two amazing fountains, north fountain of the rivers and south fountain of the seas, as well as gigantic Egyptian obelisk Luxor, inscribed with hieroglyphs. The history of the square is not so glamorous as 1119 people was executed there during French revolution, including king Louis XVI and queen Marie Antoinette.

Arc de Triomphe

A valid site to point out is Arc de Triomphe, a memorial to all those who fought and died for France, primly in Napoleonic wars, which is located in the heart of Charles de Gaulle square and with its monumentality simply entices and calls for a closer observation of details written on inner and outer surfaces – names of all French victories and generals. Under its vault lies a Tomb of an unknow soldier from World War I.

Ponte Alexandre III

Paris is also reputed for its numerous bridges over the river Seine and the one that mesmerized me the most is Ponte Alexandre III, completed in 1900. as a symbol of Franco-Russian alliance. The bridge is adorned with four pillars on top of which lies four guardian statues: Fame of the Sciences, Fame of the Arts, Fame of Commerce and Fame of Industry. In order not to block the scenery of Champs Élysées the bridge is somewhat lower, but that is not, by no means, a disadvantage because in that way it provide a dazzling perspective on Eiffel tower. Central arches are embellished by nymphs of Seine and Neve with reliefs of the arms of Paris and Imperial Russia. Glanced upon at twilight, while magically lit with ornated lanterns, the bridge with its luminous extravagance induces sparkling, fairytale emotions.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Before I arrived in Paris, I knew of only one Notre-Dame and later discovered that every city in France that I visited has a cathedral of the same name. However, the most renowned and celebrated is this Parisian one. First time I heard of it was when I read Victor Hugo’s famous novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I had an ineffable experience sitting in front of the church at a time when bells started to knell with their powerful, mighty, astonishing music whose cadence infiltrates in the very essence of human being and there, for a brief instant, encouraged by the look at gargoyles and chimeras on outside walls, in my imagination I could see Quasimodo, main figure of Hugo's novel, while he was, high in the belfries, lurking in shadows and swinging in the rhytm and dance of massive bells. The cathedral is built in gothic style and is distinguished by the symmetry and harmony of architectural elements. Its principal features are spaciousness, balance of the facade, refinement of the counterfort and invaluable stained-glass windows that emphasize all the lightness and slenderness of gothic architecture which characterize every part of this grandiose edifice.

Louvre Museum

An interesting blend of modern and historic architecture can be found on the entrance to Louvre, another locale that comes to mind at the mention of Paris. Namely, there is a Glass Pyramid on the square in front of Louvre, designed in the fashion of those from bygone Egypt. Its sophisticated elegance, often described as ultra-modern, is in conscious contrast to the baroque ponderosity of the building and the dramatic intervention ensued from tendency to promote Louvre as a contemporary museum while retaining its true soul of an 800 years old palace of kings and reminder of glorious France. Such unusual solution, shaped in the symbol of divine, pharaonic magnitude, inspires an impression of distinction and pertinence and represent a worthy ingress into one of the world’s greatest treasuries of art.

Mona Lisa

When we speak of Louvre, it’s inevitable to indicate one of the ultimate artworks of all times that this museum store within its walls: Mona Lisa. I remember with how much curiosity and excitement I awaited the moment when I will finally encounter this priceless piece, but in the end I was utterly disappointed: there is no way to get closer to that painting and savor a peaceful view at it. Instead of the solemn, sublime silence and atmosphere of awe which would be expected to surround us when we are just a few steps from something so supurbly grand, arround Mona Lisa reigned a general madness and circus. In the scuffle of cameras and mobile phones there was very little or no attention devoted to what really matters – the painting itself and Mona Lisa, without its own culpability, has lost its original artifice and become a means of self-promotion on photographs and social networks. In addition to Mona Lisa, Louvre is full of important works from all periods of human history, from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, Middle East, across European Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque and other art directions. It’s hard to estimate how much time would took to see them all and percieve their preciousness, to comprehensively recognize this place that lauds man’s creativity, passion, imagination, ingenuity, which prove to us how the human spirit, in spite of everything, is capable of producing intangible, almost unimaginable beauty.
Paris
This several short portrayals only approximately demonstrates all that Paris offers and with what it delights. For example, there is a charming street layout, rectilinear upbuilding, the landscaping of parks and trees with neatly and equally trimmed crowns. But, as I said at the beginning, Paris can’t be paraphrased, Paris must be adventured, an incredible city that patiently waits to be visited again, to reveal something new and yet unseen.
Have you ever visited Paris? What are your impressions?

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