Ah, April in Paris. I had never experienced the pleasure until this year, when I was lucky enough to see Paris first hand. The weather was cool, but it did not dampen the thrill of exploring the “city of light” for the first time. Paris has an endless collection of iconic sites that a newcomer is obligated to visit.
Notre Dame - Since our Air BNB was located on the Left Bank, in the Latin Quarter, we were only a short walk to Notre Dame, which is on an island in the center of the Seine River. So our first stop was the 800 year old cathedral popularized by bell-ringer Quasimodo. Notre Dame is an awe inspiring site due to its majesty. Flying buttresses, gargoyles, intricate details and many spires give you so many places to look. The exterior features excellent examples of gothic post lights. Here is one that lights up the St. John Paul II statue.
Inside, they mostly rely on sunlight and a few large brass chandeliers.
Arch de Triomphe – A stroll down the Champs Elysees (perhaps the most expensive shopping in the world) took us to the famous Arch, which is surrounded by a chaotic round-about. So we accessed the arch from underground. The Arch de Triomphe did not have much lighting, but it offered a great 360 degree view of the city at dusk.
Seen in the above image, the iconic capture of the liberation of Paris during WWII. This image encapsulated the arch becoming hollowed ground. The following photo shows the view from the top of the Arch de Triomphe, facing downtown Paris, France.
The Louvre – Perhaps the most famous museum in the world, the Louvre is the home of the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo among countless other priceless gems. More gothic and European style lighting graces the exterior of the Louvre.
Orsay Museum– Across the Seine, a short walk west of the Louvre sits a regal erstwhile train station that now holds some of the best French impressionist art. The Orsay is much easier to cover in one session and is home to some artful light fixtures. Glass pendants and antique clock in the grand hall View of Montmarte thru the roman clock Even the pendants in the cafeteria were wavy brass delights.
Opera Garnier – This grand opera house is one of the most impressive buildings in Paris. The exterior features classic euro design and gold statues. Gothic exterior lights feature sharpened spires and intricate details. Inside, the grand staircase leads to the 2,000 seat theatre. Check out the elaborate brass chandeliers and brass post lights. Perhaps the most famous chandelier in the world hangs high above the opera theatre. This enourmous fixture supposedly fell on the audience during the Phantom tale.
Versailles – A short metro ride southwest of the city took us to Versailles. King Louis the XIV needed to upgrade his hunting lodge, so what the heck, why not build a palace? Versailles features over-the-top opulence. No expense was spared (As Mel Brooks said, “It’s good to be king!”) The hall of mirrors features dozens of huge crystal chandeliers. Brass and Crystal combine for a classic pre-electricity chandelier.
Moulin Rouge – After touring Montemarte cathedral, we walked down to the sketchy Boulevard de Clichy. (Not a great place for kids at night.) Glowing in the distance, we found the famous dance hall Moulin Rouge.
Charles DeGalle Airport – I couldn’t resist the “gumdrop” pendants as we sadly had to leave the city of light.
Next stop, Vienna and Salzburg. Our Austrian adventure.