Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. I find it magical and enchanting in every aspect, even its most clichéd ones. Whether it’s roaming up and down the Champs Elysees for the hundredth time, exploring museums that hold exquisite Renaissance paintings and sculptures, dining at gourmet restaurants and crepe stands at every corner, going for a walk on the River Seine, or watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle with stars every night, Paris’ romantic aura is too strong to resist.
MUSEUMS, AN ARTIST’S HAVEN
Museums in Paris are an artist’s haven, as you have access to a whole spread of Renaissance art. On the museum bucket list is The Louvre (of course). The three main wings look like they’re a mile long, and walking around the whole museum is enough to bruise your feet. The beautiful Tuileries Gardens and glass pyramid in the centre make the atmosphere even more architecturally brilliant, contributing to the artistic feeling the area has to offer. The all time favourite Da Vinci painting — the Mona Lisa is constantly bombarded with thousands of tourists daily — is not the only beauty the Louvre has. One of my favourite sculptures is the Winged Victory of Samothrace, which was made in the 2nd century BC during the Hellenistic period and is a realistic statue of a headless, winged woman.
One of the smaller museums, the Musee D’orsay, has an outstanding collection of art. It holds some of Van Gogh’s and Monet’s finest works, along with a huge portion of Rodin’s statues. The D’orsay is much smaller than the Louvre, so you could easily finish the museum within a day. Each exhibit has work from different artists based on their style. One version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night is at the Musee D’orsay, while another version that he painted is at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Van Gogh’s first Starry Night was painted before he realised his mental state, so it’s a calm depiction of the night sky, while his second Starry Night was painted after he was admitted into a mental hospital. As a result, it’s messier and represents his mental state at the time. One of the paintings at The D’orsay that made me fall in love was Paul Signac’s, Palais Des Papes, Avignon, painted in 1909.
Other than museums, Paris has many other beautiful attractions. Montmarte is one such magical place. Located at the top of a hill, the beautiful church is one of Paris’ most famous attractions, along with the Artist’s corner behind the church. Just a few steps from the entrance, you can hear the music and swirl of paintbrushes and pens as artists busy themselves with sketching tourists and picture perfect representations of the Eiffel Tower and more. You can choose to either take the cart up the mountain, or if you’re daring enough, you could take the stairs (cardio is always an option in Paris).
While Paris is a big city, transportation is easy — just take the metro everywhere. Put in your destination in Google Maps or the “MetrO” app, buy a metro ticket and voila, you’re anywhere you want to be. Walking around is also an efficient way to see the city as many things are close to each other. And of course, one cannot miss the Eiffel Tower that can be seen from all over the city.
The French language is one of the three romance languages, and categorised as such with good reason. The French love freely. Even their daily greeting consists of kissing each person on either cheek. This is known as “bisous bisous,” which can be directly translated into “little kiss or friendly kiss.” Paris holds secrets of art, food and music that one can only explore in the city itself.
So when you’re planning your summer vacation, Paris is definitely a good option to explore culture through fantastic art and mouth watering food.
- Maya Jindal