The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Paris—and a Preview—Part 1: An Evening Stroll

Many of you have asked where I’m going on my annual “big trip” this fall. Well it was a late decision this year, but I’ve decided to “road trip” through France. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. So at the end of September I will be spending 2 weeks driving from Paris to Nice.

That said, my itinerary does not include any time in Paris. It was a sad decision to make but it was hard enough narrowing down my stops as it was—and the whole point was to see other areas of the country. So it was ironic when (with less than 24-hours’ notice) I was asked to attend a meeting in Paris last week on business! It was a busy business trip, but I did manage two bits of free time: one sunset walk through the center of town, and a fascinating visit to the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

First, here are some of the sights on my walk from our hotel near the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre. It got off to a bad start when I ripped my arm open on a sign, but after some medical attention I was good to go again! The Arc looked particularly lovely in the orange glow of the setting sun:

Then I headed up the Champs-Élysées to La Place de la Concorde:

La Madeleine was originally conceived by Napoleon as a “Temple to the Glory of the Great Army” but instead eventually became a church dedicated to Mary Magdalene:

Although I’ve still never seen a performance there, how could I not stop to see the Opéra Garnier. It was interesting to see how its appearance changed in the setting sun:

Finally, it was well after dark when I reached the courtyard of the Louvre with its famous Pyramide and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel:

Coming up in Part 2, we see dead people in the royal tombs of the Basilica of Saint-Denis…or do we…


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