Sunday, May 6, 2012

Amour or Humour Noir? Oh Paris!

On the left-hand side: Saint Denis, patron of France. And of headaches. 

Hopefully you didn't take me too seriously when I said "I love Paris every day of the year, because my love is here"
This would be a very interesting twist and a jaw dropping anecdote to tell my friends, but nope.

For my fourth time in Paris I had wished to (finally) visit the catacombs. No kidding!

Sure, there are enough majestic views of this city to make you crave for some "vintage postcard romance": the never ending elegance invites you to day-dream about how fantastic and perfect just any relationship would be in such setting. 

Your beau and you, biting macarons (not macaroons) and whispering passionate French words to each other. 

Think of that: you are strolling through the Tuileries Gardens after having visited the Louvre and admired Mona Lisa's smile.
A little exhausted, you'd need a short rest on the park benches so dear to the locals (or so you are told!).

How wonderful to sit in what had been the Garden for a palace wanted by Catherine de' Medici.
She wasn't exactly a white dove, being responsible for the killing of thousands of Huguenots on what's known as the Saint Batholomew 's Day Massacre, but her gardens are gracious.

Heading west, now, for Place de la Concorde.
It was re-named "Concorde", but it was called Place de la Révolution during the French Revolution and here, in this beautiful octagonal space sandwiched between Tuileries and Champs-Élysées, Marie Antoinette - but also the revolutionary Robespierre, Danton and thousand others - were beheaded.

La Révolution!I picture myself in 1794, fighting the monarchy, but - honestly - the guillotine is nothing I would have looked forward to. Even though it is said to have been less painful than other execution methods.

I love Paris. I have always loved it even before actually visiting, back in the eighties.
It is always very absorbing - sometimes overwhelming - to be surrounded by the beautiful architecture, the splendid gardens, the windows displays' perfection and people's relaxed elegance.

Finding the time to enjoy all this didn't leave much room for additional sightseeing, amazing discoveries or a thorough exploration of the underground.

This means I didn't make it to the catacombs (sadly).

Yet, I found something for my collection of manhole covers, on the north front of Les Invalides.

Aren't Parisians hilarious, sometimes?