The city of impeccable buildings with a side of the unexpected. Walking along the streets of Paris it is easy to recognise, and be swept up by, the unique Parisian architecture. Ornate buildings stand tall above our heads in perfect lines, each with their own iron balustrade balconies. Neglecting the map now limp in your grasp let your feet guide you down beckoning side streets where you’ll find those gems the tourist guides never shout to you. Those gems you’ll uncover in fact can be some of the most rewarding moments, wandering free of the tourist throng with enough time and space to appreciate the French capital for its roots.
Paris the city of love, patisseries, baguettes, passages, cabaret, voyages, history and a lavish lifestyle still bares the bones of its past whilst the streets revel in contemporary modernity that is the 21st century. Inside Notre Dame there are boards detailing the construction of the cathedral. On the last board an interesting phrase caught my eye encompassing the vision of Paris
“In the tradition of its medieval builders, Notre Dame continues to be modernised to keep it fully in the present.”
It might strike one as surprising that a cathedral as old and iconic as Notre Dame continues to be ‘renovated’ and revamped…but that’s the whole point, Paris is nothing if not stylish and obsessively up to date! [Bringing to the forefront of my mind the thought of Versailles and the royal families incessant need to restyle by the season!]
This theme runs throughout the entire city – not a need to restyle by the season but the tradition of modernization. Whilst you’ll still see the swarm of people that flood through the halls of the Lourve to see the master pieces, what we don’t see is the tremendous amount of art that there simply isn’t room for, and remains in storage. Between the Louvre, Hermitage, rooms of Versailles and innumerable other museums and storage facilities around the world, estimated numbers of the worlds art collection on display is roughly 10%. Honouring the rightful place of France’s treasures, in all areas, the city embodies a culture of appreciation and progression. Our thirst for culture is quenched whilst our desire to experience is wetted. Due to the remarkable balance between old and new much of the past must be left to our imaginations. What is here gives us a glimpse of what was before us and lets it live on in our hearts, minds and spirits. We can appreciate the past for what it was but Paris today shows every sign that it is looking forward, embracing the certainty that as the world changes our faces must too!
In some cases Paris rises above us, surrounding us, letting us revel in all its wonders. At other times it stares us in the face as we inspect the brushstrokes of its creation. At other times our minds and spirits are provoked to imagine and embody the life that was, teasing us to try and imagine it for ourselves – leading us to close our eyes imagine the music and dance out onto the terrace and summer night air…