Places To Visit In Paris

Jardin des Tuileries: Rendezvous

Jeu de Paume (the Louvre’s Impressionist collections)

Well, it’s a funny name; and afer a visit you may feel that you have shaken hands with a set of longbeards who have just come off afer an extended set defending the cause of the enlargement of human experience. Game, set and match, in fact: this is one of the most moving things in Paris. It is devoted to one century of French painting, a century in which most of the leading men knew each other; it has more masterpieces than Lloyd’s might care to insure, and it is displayed with a real concern for the people involved, who they were, and how and where they painted, that is an exact match for the overwhelming concern that these Impressionists had for human life – even Seurat, even Monet, whose researches into the nature of light are superbly displayed in four views of the west front of Rouen Cathedral. There are so many good things, especially on the upper floor, that a detailed list is impossible; but if you think, as I used to, that Cezanne painted only apples and mountains, in an attempt to produce a new way of seeing, then there are a couple of astonishing portraits here, one of Achille Emperaine, the other a Madeleine de la Douleur which made me want to sit down and howl.

Places To Visit In Paris Photo Gallery

These were tremendous people; this museum has conserved some of their best work and displayed it with taste and above all with an understanding of the whole nature of each man, from Manet of the red hair and academic ambitions to Seurat who was born later and died earlier than any of them What more can you ask than that?

(Corner of rue de Rivoli and Place de la Concorde.)

Best Things to Do in Paris

Place de la Concorde and view to the Arc de Triomphe

Symbol, not reality: everyone has said that it was marvellous for so long that mankind has taken itself in by its own flattery. The place is a large oval roundabout with the centre almost inaccessible because of traffic. It essays formal effects in four directions – three ordinary and one astonishing. It could be called the centre of Paris, but only in the same unreal way as Parliament Square is the heart of London.

Views run to the Louvre, the Chamber of Deputies and the Madeleine – that operatic contralto making sense of Gabriel’s over-praised blocks in the foreground which would otherwise seem messy and hopelessly out of scale. Here, just for once, would be a place for a Parisian skyscraper. But the fourth view is westwards up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, and no amount of photography can make the result less of a shock. For three quarters of the time the avenue is straightforward. Then, at the far end, the gradient suddenly steepens and the Champs-Elysees is seen almost in plan rather than in perspective. This means, at almost any time of day, that the floor of the view is a-swarm with car roofs: a tube of metal ants that suddenly disperse in front of the huge scale of the arch, with nothing beyond to get in the way of the sky.

TOP 10 of the most beautiful places in Paris

Les Egouts

This is an underground journey from the Place de la Concorde to the Madeleine; and though it only happens infrequently, it is so extraordinary that everyone ought to experience it if they can. Haussmann’s real achievement was in the sewers, which correspond exactly to the avenues above. This short journey along one of them is best described as opera noir: a big open boat in a dark tunnel smelling faintly of gas and piss, chain-driven by two massive egoutiers. Tramp, tramp goes your own personal voyage a l ’enfer, shocked into a crazy normality by street names appearing at the appropriate intervals. The weirdest sensation of all is the thud of the pneumatic post, a nineteenth-century invention which provides a better intra-city service than anything the twentieth century can think up. The guide maintains a rational commentary from start to finish, and it is probably just as well.

Maybe You Like Them Too

Leave a Reply

26 + = 33