June 26, 2005

Paris.

Today, I sent my older son off to Paris. He's studying law, and Cornell Law School runs a five-week program there. I've been to Paris twice, and I haven't been to every city in the world, but, with my limited experience, I think Paris is the most beautiful city. What is more wonderful than to travel to a great city and just walk around and see? I wait for John's photographs and messages. I'm thinking about Paris today.

17 comments:

Pastor_Jeff said...

Ann,
How exciting! I spent my junior year of college studying in Paris (met my wife there; wonderful memories). I agree that Paris is the most beautiful large city in the world.

Will he be staying with a French family? Where in they city will he be living?

Merovingienne said...

Ah, Paris...

And don't forget the food, the FOOD! And the art...the Louvre...Rodin's museum...

I gotta get back to Paris.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, my number one recommendation is the Rodin Museum!

Pastor_Jeff said...

I highly recommend the Impressionism Museum in the old Orsay train station: like the Rodin Museum, beautiful art in a beautiful setting.

I loved going underground to see the foundations of the medieval and renaissance Louvre castle.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, the d'Orsay, the Rodin Museum, and the Picasso Museum, and Notre Dame were my top recommendations for things to go into. My real top recommendation is just to walk around.

Ann Althouse said...

Actually, on the walls of my law school office, I have five posters. They are all from the Musee d'Orsay.

Joe said...

The French are goofy bastards, but that is one nice city.

And if I had to pick a place, I'd keep circling ND, like it's my own personal Kaaba.

Pastor_Jeff said...

I love Notre Dame, but my favorites among religious architecture were the Sainte Chapelle (very near to ND, high gothic, and almost impossibly beautiful) and Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. You used to be able to climb to the top for a great view of the city.

Slocum said...

After visiting Paris and London first as an adult, I can't say I was disappointed--I liked them both very much. But I was surprised to come away with a newfound appreciation of the beauty of Chicago, New York, and San Fransisco. To my eyes, Paris isn't even in the same league as any of those. No drama, no vistas, no scale and scope--just the muddy Seine or muddy Thames. The old buildings are lovely, of course, but the overall effect seems a bit pedestrian in comparison to great American cities. For me, to be truly beautiful, a city needs a skyline and a shoreline to set it off.

Am I odd to prefer the Chrysler Building to Notre Dame?

Ron said...

A friend of mine has a tattoo of a Camille Claudel statue on her forearm. When she went to the Claudel museum in Paris they were so delighted when they saw it, they let her in for free...

Ben said...

I also have not been to every city in the world, but I have been to paris and I've been to Barcelona. In my opinion, Barcelona is the far more beautiful city, especially because of all the varying forms of architecture, and also because the people in Barcelona are....how can I say this....much more polite that their french neighbors.

Richard said...

Hope you’ve warned your son about the people there. I lost all respect for Paris and Parisians after my parents where turned away from viewing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre at 4:40 p.m. because the guards said they closed at 5:00 p.m. and there “wasn’t enough time”. I was 11 years old and my parents wanted to show us kids the famous painting. We had never been to Paris and only had one day there. We had rushed across town to see it. We could actually see the door to the room where the painting was hanging at the time. My mother explained all this to the guard in English because she didn’t know French (a BIG mistake), until the guards started making wild gestures and yelling at us. So they left, us kids in tow. To this day I've never seen that damned woman (the painting, not my mother).

Ann Althouse said...

No one in Paris was ever mean to me. I'd heard all these stories, but it just wasn't true for me. I did always address people in French. They never corrected me, but usually spoke back to me in English. I tried to follow whatever the customs were that I could observe, such as saying "Bonjour" on entering a shop and "Merci" on leaving. I never tried to argue for exceptions to any rules. If someone ordered me to do something, I'm sure I followed the rules.

I had an experience like yours at a museum in London. I had my trip through the Portrait Gallery timed to go to the closing time, but they began empty out the rooms beginning in the back, so I didn't get to see all the rooms. I tried to argue a little and I was sharply informed that I'd have to follow their approach. I felt pretty put out. So should I be irked at the English?

chuck_b said...

Slocum said, "Am I odd to prefer the Chrysler Building to Notre Dame?"

Well, I agree w/ you. But I might be odd too; it's not for us to say.

Sort of off-topic, I want to put in a quick plug for Savannah, GA as a beautiful American city. Well, town. I spent several hours there one evening walking the downtown grid in a light rain stunned and stupefied by the beauty of it all.

Savannah's out of the way for most of us and besides some history and several square blocks of urban beauty, there's not much reason to go. If life ever offers you the random chance to go, I beseech you to take it.

CraigC said...

Good for you, Ann. I lived there for four years. Paris and San Francisco are my two favorite cities. You must walk around Montmartre, and visit Sacre Coeur. You can still walk to the top, but be forewarned, it's along walk up a tiny circular staircase. Not for the aerobically challenged.

As for the French, they are unjustly maligned. If you act like an asshole, you'll get what you deserve. If you're polite, and at least try to speak French, they're very nice. Don't confuse the regular folks with the bureaucrats and socialist elites who run the government.

EddieP said...

I've been to Paris a half dozen times. Mostly business reasons caused me to go, though I once made a personal trip with my wife.
Most citizens of most cities of the world appreciate it if you attempt their language, not Paris. If I attempted French I was ignored. In Germany people always appreciated your efforts. My wife was mugged on the Metro. Another time I arrived late one night at the Lafayette and was told that they had rented out my guaranteed late arrival room. They refused to help me find another hotel. Another time, my wife (in Atlanta) suffered an ectopic pregnancy hemorrhage. My manager tracked me down in Paris. I tried to make a long distance call from my room. They wouldn't permit it. I had to go on the street and find change to use a public phone! I've got a million of them. Give me Berlin, Vienna, Milano, Budapest, Singapore, Duesseldorf, Toronto and about 50 others before you give me Paris!

I'll begrudgingly give a thumbs up to the night sky of Paris. From a high rise in LaDefense, the view is quite spectacular.

XWL said...

What about the unisex bathrooms in Paris?

I had a girlfriend some years ago who had a bad experience with a creep who tried to assault her in a unisex bathroom and a constablery which wouldn't even deign to accept a statement from her since she wasn't a fluent French speaker and an American tourist.

I know this is only one incident, but I also know that Ann has a fondness for unisex bathrooms.

And I know I am probably alone, but I find Los Angeles in all its vastness, grime and glitz to be beautiful.