Favorite thing: What is the origin of Paris "Ville Lumière - City of Light"?
Even in France there are questions so that Radio France Info on 14th July 2012 explained this:
D'où vient cette sensation que Paris brille de mille feux et incarne la ville lumière ? L'explication date du XVIIe siècle. Paris a été la première ville qui a utilisé les lampadaires dans les rues de la ville. C'est Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie qui y apporte l'éclairage public. Pour lutter contre le crime encore trop fréquent dans un Paris mal éclairé.
(= The explanation dates from the 17th century. Paris was the first city that used lamps in the streets of the city. It was Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie who brought public lighting. To fight against crime too often present in a dimly lit Paris).
Another explanation in France is that:
L’inventeur de l’éclairage au gaz, Philippe Lebon, promeut et développe son invention à Paris dans les années 1820. Dans les années 1830, le magnifique éclairage de Paris, en particulier de ses passages commerçants, fascine les Européens. Les Londoniens baptisent Paris City of Lights, périphrase traduite en français par Ville Lumière.
(= The inventor of gas lighting, Philippe Lebon, promoted and developed his invention in Paris in the 1820s. In the 1830s, the beautiful lights of Paris, especially of its shopping alleys, fascinated the Europeans. Londoners baptize Paris City of Lights, periphrasis translated into French by Ville Lumière).
It seems that there is another explanation ( here on VT) according to which "City of Light" might come from the excellence of the intellectual life during the Enlightenment period.
I doubt because the Age of Enlightenment was a cultural movement of intellectuals, indeed in the 17th and 18th century, but was not specific to Paris; it was a European movement:
It was sparked by philosophers Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), John Locke (1632–1704), Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), physicist Isaac Newton (1643–1727), and philosopher Voltaire (1694–1778).
The new intellectual forces spread to urban centres across Europe,…, then jumped the Atlantic into the European colonies, where it influenced Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, among many others, and played a major role in the American Revolution. (ref. Wikipedia).
Reading more about the "Siècle des Lumières" it is clear at least for me that this international philosophical and intellectual movement called "Les Lumières" in France is not linked to the use of streetlights - lampadaires in Paris but I might be wrong.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
The mayor's office
Favorite thing: Bertrand Delanoë was the mayor of Paris for thirteen years, from 2001 to 2014. He was elected twice, in 2001 and 2008, on a clear platform of breaking the stranglehold that automobile traffic has long held on this otherwise beautiful city. In his first campaign, he repeatedly pointed out that “private motorists, who make up a quarter of road users, take up 94 per cent of Paris’s road surfaces”.
After thirteen years the results of his policies are visible in many places all over Paris. Numerous bus, taxi and bicycle lanes have been established on major streets, with space for private motor vehicles typically reduced to one or two lanes.
Until recently conservative politicians would have howled in protest over this sort of progress, but lately they have only been doing some perfunctory grumbling because it hasn't escaped their attention that these improvements are immensely popular.
I've read somewhere that Paris is the least motorized city in France, which may seem like a ridiculous statement if you've ever been caught in city traffic, but what it means is that Paris has the lowest percentage of residents who actually own cars, so there are lots of people who suffer from the noise and pollution of motor traffic without getting any benefit from it.
These people are of course in favor of Mayor Delanoë's policies, just as diehard motorists tend to oppose them. The mayor is also controversial for other reasons, for instance because of his programs to provide subsidized housing for the poor in all twenty arrondissements of Paris. Also he is openly homosexual, like the mayor of Berlin and the former mayor of Hamburg (perhaps this is the beginning of a new trend?), but according to recent polls he is now one of the most popular of all French politicians, with an approval rate of over 60 percent.
Update: In March 2014 Anne Hidalgo was elected as the new mayor of Paris. She is the first woman to hold this office. For thirteen years she was the first deputy mayor under Bertrand Delanoë.
Second photo: Hôtel de Ville from the side.
Third, fourth and fifth photos: Bicycle use in Paris has increased considerably in recent years -- even before Velib! Here you can see some people on bicycles at the Hôtel de Ville.
toilets in Paris
Favorite thing: Usually I go to a café, order a drink and use their WC but sometimes there’s no café around, what if you just walk around, or you’re in a lovely park full of people? During my last trip in Paris (march 2014) I realized the city is full of some big space-shaped boxes, great convenient public toilets with automatic doors. There’s plenty of space inside so people with a wheelchair will fit in easily. I used the one outside Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, very convenient so we could enjoy our picnic later.
Hors service means it’s out of service.
By the way, locals use an application at their smartphones so to located the nearest public toilet:
Check it here:
And don’t forget you can always check for free toilets in main bus terminals, train stations and some large department stores (Printemps, Galleries Layfette)
Falling in love with Paris and the French
Favorite thing: For many years I was a student of French culture, from taking my first books in school of Alexandre Dumas and the mouskeeteers to the Camelias, and Victor Hugo and his Hunchback; Chateaubriand essays and Voltaire explendid interpretation of the world and Rousseau perfect timing
I remember the words that still mark my daily life
" people who talk a lot do little and people who talk little do a lot" Rousseau was right
" I will disagree wholehearly with what you say, but will defend to my death ,your right to say it" ah the great Voltaire.
Then one day decided to visit Paris way back in 1972 while living in Madrid; and it was a snap shot impression to last a lifetime even today living in France.
time went on and my soaking into the French culture continues until one day in 1989 on the bicentennial of the French revolution met a Young lady from nearby Meaux (dept 77 Seine-et-Marne) who was working in Paris 11éme rue d'Hautevilliers as an assistant direction secretary for a luxury real estate company. They help decorate and renovate the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild amongst many.
The love affair continues and she became my wife on December 26 1990 in Daytona Beach Florida USA living there first and then moving to France in August 23, 2003. with our three Florida born boys , French-American family on both sides of the Atlantic.
France has become our goal ,life ,love enjoying every single corner of it, and many still without photos as VT came much later. Paris ,however, has remained the center of it all. We take advantage of every opportunity to be back while enjoying the rest of the country.
You know Ernest Hemingway had a post edited book very famous call the Movable Feast; talking about his expériences in Paris. Well we joke in the family as he was way short of the thing that is France. If he would have travel more, he would have written a second tome edition call France, a movable feast.
Indeed the beauty never ends on all corners of the Hexagone. Enjoy France ,its eternal.
Fondest memory: walking again to the places that got me to know the city, like gare de l'est and parking by the église de pantin, and eating at Chez Clément.
there are too many to mention here really as Paris is a state of mind...Related to:
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Fondest memory: It was a Sunday and things were getting off to a slow start. I decided to duck into this one church near my hotel as I had heard they had a Latin Mass, which I haven't heard since I was growing up.
St Nicholas du Chardonnet is a lovely church in the Latin Quarter. First built in the 13th century it was redone in the 17th century. The church is a bit controversial as it is the home of the Pius X society, very traditionalist Catholics. The women all wear headscarves coming into the church, for example.
Latin Mass can be very beautiful and to hear it sung in this church was a beautiful experience. The acoustics were wonderful, added to the visual beauty of worshipping in such an old church.
You won't be able to hear the Latin Mass sung very often. This is a special place to hear it.Related to:
- Religious Travel
Stunning views of Paris
Favorite thing: Paris is a beautiful city and so many places give you exceptional views of the city.
One such place that I found was the balcony of the Institute du Monde Arabe. You can get on the 9th floor balcony free with your ticket for admission (free with Paris Museum Pass)
and you will pretty much be by yourself. There will be no metal bars to impede your view and no time limitation.
One of my favorite views of Notre Dame to be sure but exceptional views of the cityRelated to:
Statues at Place du Trocadéro
Favorite thing: The Place du Trocadéro is an ideal starting point for a visit to the Eiffel Tower. From the terrace you have a great lookoff to the tower and the "golden"statues at either side at the two parts of the Palais de Chaillot are great to combine in a picture.
The palace was constructed in 1937 on the foundations of the former Palais du Trocadéro.
At December, 10, 1948 the declartion of Human Rigts was agreed in this building by the United Nations Assembly.
From 1952 till 1959 the building was home to the NATO European Headquarter.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Those crazy tourists
Favorite thing: Since you have seen the pictures of the famous sights in Paris so many times before it is only natural that you would want a photo of your own of these famous places.
Paris is so amazingly photogenic. I personally always travel with a main camera and a backup, in order to avoid the frustration of one that suddenly doesn't work. Carry lots of data disks and supplies, you will definitely be using them.
Fondest memory: Sometimes I have to laugh when I see other tourists. The pictures on this page struck me as funny.
The first one, I was by the Arc de Triumphe and I saw these tourists. They were very highly motivated to get the perfect picture of the Arc or the Champs Elysses. No doubt about it. They must have thought that they were immune to death, because one of these guys literally walked out into the middle of the street and started snapping pictures. Right by the Etoile!
The second, well its just tourist being tourists, jockeying for that great shot:)
Have you done these things?Related to:
Favorite thing: One of the really great surprise discoveries of my first stop in Paris was when i went to a nightclub/karaoke bar in the Latin Quarter. when the karaoke was over, and during intermissions, the dj played some incredible danceable music with this mesmerizing beat. It sounded somewhat like Sting's Desert Rose, which did in fact feature rai singer Cheb Mami. I was told it was called rai, basically an adaptation of Algerian rai music, which was censored due to heavy political overtones in Algeria. With the large Algerian community in France and the need for many popular rai artists to go into exile, there was a fusing of traditional rai with funk and dance music. This is what i heard in Paris, i loved it.
Though it is sung in French or Arabic, neither of which i understand with any great fluency, the music is super!
The things you find on vacation!
History of Paris
Favorite thing: Over the last 2,000 years Paris has grown from a small Gallic settlement to the capital of France. The settlement was founded around 250 BC by a Celtic tribe called the Parisii who established a fishing village on the banks of the river Seine. The area came under Roman control in about 52 BC and over the next few years grew considerably. Roman rule in northern Gaul collapsed and it was overrun in 464 by the Franks and made their capital in 508.Related to:
- Historical Travel
PARIS IN MAY
Favorite thing: We visited Paris in the month of May. We found this to be a time when Paris wasn't full of Tourist's, I'm not saying there weren't tourist's, as there were, but not like have seen and heard about in high season. It was at Notre Dame Cathedral where we met the most tourist's, and I had to wait 5-10mins to enter the Cathedral, much better than the 4 hours I have heard about in the height of summer.
Probably another plus is, prices are a little cheaper for a Hotel Room. The other plus was the weather, nice mild weather, ideal for walking and sightseeing on the top deck of the hop on/off bus. I didn't need a cardigan or jumper on although I did see others with theirs on, I didn't raise a sweat when walking, which is much better than dripping with perspiration and needing to drink heaps of water all the time and look for shade.
For us, we would return again in May to see Paris.
Art is Paris -- Paris is Art
Favorite thing: Two sides of Paris
My favorite museum is The Cluny with its medieval tapestries. A visit to Paris without visiting La Dame à La Licorne is not worth mentioning.
You might enjoy a new book by Kelly Jones, 'The Seventh Unicorn', that blends fact, fiction and romance around the possibility of an additional tapestry in the series.Related to:
- Museum Visits
Favorite thing: Hey, Good pic. I would recommend to go and see Pompidou and Musée d'orsay. And Les Catacombes. Plus take a stroll in the Marais :) A lot of things to do. And buy tickets in advance for the eiffel tower and Louvre, doing that you can skip the cueues. Our hotel was great in helping us with that, plus gave us an app to use. would recommend it!
Free Panoramic View Of Paris
Favorite thing: L'institut du Monde Arabe (Arab Museum) is a stunning modern building with Arab influences. The roof garden, on the ninth floor, can be accessed by a high-speed glass elevator and metal walkway. You can admire the Notre Dame and the river Seine for free, or with the cup of coffee in the cafe/restaurant.
1, rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, Place Mohammed-V, 5emeRelated to:
- Budget Travel
- Museum Visits
France - new history
Favorite thing: Russia and France have been in war several times. For the first (and last) time Napoleonic troops invaded in Russia and got Moscow in 1812. As a result Russian troops went to France and Paris in 1814 and fortunately have never been there since then. That war made the great influence on our relationship. In WWI and WWII Russia and France were allies and it influenced on the modern world construction.
I thought about it when walked along Paris.
You can watch my 3 min 39 sec Video Walking in Paris part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
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