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A Night in Paris, France- City of Light

Updated on October 15, 2014
Notre Dame on the Seine at night
Notre Dame on the Seine at night

My First Night in the City of Light

My first night in Paris was energized by pure adrenaline as I had only arrived that morning which was already like 3 P.M. for me. Flying through the night over the Atlantic I received very little sleep on the six hour flight from the US, and I had been up since 7 or 8 A.M., (July 4th), the morning of departure. Upon arrival in the city, the excitement, glamour and romance in the air left me with little thought of sleep, until 11 P.M. that night while dining at a restaurant in Montemartre (more on this later...). Being early July, sunset in Paris was well after 10 P.M. Ahh, the city of light.

Early evening we walked along the river Seine and enjoyed observing the many different cultures of people, university students, families leisurely relaxing with picnics, musicians playing music, partners dancing, those of us walking and listening to the city, enjoying Paris from the great river's perspective. We stopped to relax and have a drink of Perrier on a stationary river barge, a quaint place to stop and have a beverage or light snack. It also gave me time to rest my sore feet, (already), because I chose to wear sandals with chic wooden heels, and they were not cobblestone friendly! I do remember my friend looking down at my feet before we left that evening and he politely said, "you are wearing these shoes?" His polite way of saying, do not wear those shoes. But I had to wear those shoes, it was Paris on a summer night.

It was very nice to sit back and enjoy the quietness of the river and breathe in this city's history and stories, her life. Charles V once described Paris as 'not a city, but a world'. I could feel this world all around me. It was like I was being embraced by culture itself. The Seine cuts through the middle of Paris, making itself the city's widest avenue. It separates the Right Bank and the Left Bank. It is spanned by 37 bridges which offer some of the most beautiful views and entertainment venues of Parisian culture. Three of the bridges are pedestrian only.

The Magnificent Rose Window of Notre Dame

a remarkable miracle of engineering
a remarkable miracle of engineering

Notre Dame de Paris- The Great Cathedral

We made our way to the magnificent Gothic cathedral which is open until 6:45 p.m. It sits on the Ile de la Cite, in the heart of the city. I was so overwhelmed with it's architectural grace that I simply stood in awe and looked upward at the twin towers which reach proudly to meet the sky.

The three massive front doors are each distinctive with exquisitely detailed medieval architectural illustrations. The left portal is the Portal of the Virgin, which depicts the ark of the covenant and the coronation of the Virgin. The middle door is the Portal of the Last Judgment, showing the Resurrection and the wearisome souls on their procession to heaven or hell. The door on the right is the Portal of St. Anne which portrays the Virgin and Maurice de Sully. Above these magnificent doors is the famous Rose Window. It depicts the Virgin and Child in rich reds and glorious blues, and is in itself a miracle of engineering.

When we went inside I immediately knew I was in a very sacred place. It is said that angels live there. I felt a presence that calmed me, enveloped me with it's peace. My friend and I sat in one of the pews; we sat in silence and he squeezed my hand when he knew what I was feeling. Tears streamed down my face, as I was awed by the magnificence and beauty and historical significance which was before me. We toured the rest of the cathedral, standing for a while in the sanctuary where the candles were lit, and looked up at the beautiful stained glass windows. I have a link below from which you can discover more about Notre Dame and it's seven centuries of magnificence.

If you have read Are French Men More Romantic, you know that this was a romantic trip for me. As we were walking through Paris, there were numerous, spontaneous shows of affection, romantic gestures and heavily French accented utterances with the word, 'darling', and 'so beautiful' interspersed between kisses and those lovely embraces. Remember, I'm on a cloud at this point, as I should have been extremely weary, but not yet. The evening is still young.

Pont des Arts and Institute de France

Located in the heart of Paris bridging the Left and Right Bank
Located in the heart of Paris bridging the Left and Right Bank

Academie Francaise and the Pont des Arts

We made our way to the very famous pedestrian bridge, the Pont des Arts which links the Institute de France and the central square of the grand Musee de Louvre. This particular area of Paris is central to the many art galleries, museums, cafes which make up the great literary and arts scene that personifies Paris as the intellectual capital of the world, the left bank.

Before walking across the bridge we stood in front of the magnificent Institute de France which is home to the Academie Francaise. A highly regarded group of 40 members called, Immortals, have the responsibility of preserving and safeguarding the French language and compiling the dictionary of the French language. They attempt to protect the French language from the onslaught of Franglais, (French words characterized by borrowings from English), words such as jogging and marketing, but these words have very common usage in France. Victor Hugo, Louis Pasteur, Voltaire were among a few of the notable immortals.

The Silver Mime

We then walked over to the Pont de Arts, where there were many people crowding around a musician who was singing and engaging the people with his performance. There were many people, both young and old, Parisians and visitors from all over the world. We also saw a mime, and let me tell you, he was not just an ordinary mime with a white face and the very proper red and white striped clothing; he was a shiny silver mime covered from the top of his head to his shoes. His face was silver, every part of him was silver, and he was delightful! The entertainment on the bridge is completely free, and while there is no obligation or mention of $, one can throw in some coins if they wish. The Pont des Arts is used for art exhibitions, entertainment, as a studio for artists, en plein air painters, musicians and photographers. It is a "must experience" on your trip to Paris.

Musee de Louvre at Sunset

The gorgeous glass Pyramid which is the main entrance to the Louvre.
The gorgeous glass Pyramid which is the main entrance to the Louvre.

Paris: City of Art

Paris: City of Art
Paris: City of Art

A beautiful book with more than 850 pages of full-color images. It covers centuries of artistic achievement.

 

Outside the Louvre

The Musee de Louvre is closed at night but we were able to walk through the central square and surrounding courtyards. It is breathtakingly magnificent! We stood and listened to two beautiful university students singing Italian opera. It was lovely beyond words. We stopped to sit by a fountain and I was overwhelmed being surrounded by such architectural beauty and history, realizing where I was sitting. The Louvre is the Palace of the Muses, the grand museum that reaches her heart out to the world to come and taste her magnificence.

Sacre de Couer and Montmartre

By the time we made it to Montmartre, it was dark, which was perfect. We climbed the hill which led to the steps of the basilica of Sacre- Coeur. It is a beautiful white building of the Roman-byzantine style which is in contrast to the gothic architecture of Notre Dame. There were many people sitting on the hill, on the steps, along the path overlooking the city full of lights. There were people strumming guitars, sipping wine, enjoying the best (free) view of Paris. It was so peaceful and light-hearted, full of laughter and fun.

We made our way down the very narrow cobblestone streets which were full of shops of every kind. A man walked up to me and gave me a rose and I thought, 'how lovely'. But then I saw that he simply did this to every woman with a man, as a way of making money. We walked into the square where a few artists had their easels set up and this was the area where many years ago, the famous artists would sit at their easels and draw and paint and sell their work. It was very quaint and full of character.

The Restaurant

It was around 11 p.m. when we made it to L'Ete en Pente Douce in Montmartre. I had never seen so many Vespas in one place. There were people sitting outside and we decided to go inside near the open windows. Now it started to hit me and I realized that I was very tired. I was so happy to be there, finally in Paris with my wonderful friend, but now it hit me hard. As I was eating, I'll never forget a few moments when everything overwhelmed me. Everyone around me was speaking French, I was in a country I had never been in before, I was exhausted and my feet hurt. So as not to spoil this amazing first night in Paris, we decided to finish eating and drive home. And then the night still wasn't over. C'est tout.



Paris, France

Paris, City of Light.. and Love.

Au revoir, merci!
Au revoir, merci!

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    • Time Spiral profile image

      Time Spiral 7 years ago from Florida

      I've never been, but the imagery in your words does a good job of taking you there.

      Be peaceful on your way,

      Time_Spiraling

      "I am Another You"

    • euro-pen profile image

      euro-pen 7 years ago from Europe

      Again very nicely written and a pleasure to read. Concerning the vespas: you should go to an Italian city / town (especially in the Southern parts of Italy). I guess, you would be even more surprised by the numbers there :).

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      thanks so much time_spiral~ that's my goal, to take the reader along and inspire! peace to you also.

      euro-pen, thank you for the compliments! yes, the vespas were everywhere in the city, loved watching them and all the different people riding them! may I ask where you live in Europe? congrats on your climbing success here!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      A lovely travelogue. Thank you for the journey. I enjoyed it very much.

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      merci beaucoup, James!

    • Ambition398 profile image

      Ambition398 7 years ago

      Sounds dreamy. Someday! Thanks for the Hub; I liked the links too.

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      thank you ambition, it was dreamy~~~ I just fanned you and look forward to reading your hubs~~~ they look interesting and appropriate for me at this time! thanks for dropping by.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      Sounds absolutely lovely. Well written. Makes one want to travel. Maybe someday when I'm rich and famous. Ok, forget the famous, maybe someday when I'm rich!

      Great job.

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thank you Duchess! I appreciate your nice words. Your comment reminds me of a quote I found yesterday in the book, Portrait of a Lady. "I think being rich is when someone meets the requirements of their imagination." Best to you!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      Portrait of a Lady sounds like a book I should read!

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

      I enjoyed the journey. Thx to hubbers like you and Princessa that I got to know quite a bit about France / Paris.

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      thank you~ yes, I also love Princessa's articles and would love to return to see more of the country. There will be more to come. thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 7 years ago from UK

      My husband took me to Paris for a surprise and it was amazing apart from all the queing we had to do.

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      nice surprise! good husband. what was your favorite?? may be hard to answer. I love its beauty and charm, don't recall standing in a lot of lines except at the Louvre. thanks for commenting!

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Did they provide cryogenic napping in the flight? Not sure I could survive otherwise..maybe some cognac, but cryo just makes time really fly. ;)

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      you are a riot, nice to meet you. it was a night flight, as most of the trans-atlantic flights are. I was sitting next to this young, gorgeous Parisian man, so it didn't matter. ;)

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Glad it was a fun trip, too bad Paris doesn't export none too often their men for you. ;)

    • mistywild profile image

      mistywild 7 years ago from Houston, TX (Proud Texan)

      I feel nostalgic when I think of the time I spent in Paris. I long to go back, you're descpriptions put me there again in my imagination. Thank you for the vacation!

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      lol @lxxy~ I experienced one and he spoiled me. if another one comes my way, oo la la!

      @misty, I know the feeling, I also want to go back, thanks for sharing. :)

    • profile image

      philip carey 61 7 years ago

      Some call it the Gem of Europe. It's a place I really need to get to.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      How much I want to go! This is a fantastic hub. Thanks for sharing!

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      thank you philip and paradise. I would definitely put it on your 'bucket list' and just do it. you won't be disappointed.

      I have memories of my trip throughout my home as it was such a life changing trip. Beautiful city! :)

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      I love Paris! I really enjoyed this travelogue with your very personal journey.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      I love Paris - in the springtime, whenever! Thanks for that lovely, detailed trip through that wonderful city!

    • Miss Belgravia profile image

      Kathleen 7 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      You love Paris the way I love London. I'll have to make the trip over on the Eurostar someday. You've really inspired me.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi - just had to come back and post this up :) Enjoy a 360 degrees view of Paris by night!

      http://framboise78.free.fr/Paris.htm

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thank you so much, ladies, for your wonderful comments. I would love to visit Paris in the springtime, everything fresh and colorful again! I'm thrilled to inspire you to see Paris, you will fall in love with the charm of the city.

      @Shalini, thanks so much for the link to the amazing website.

      the photo is breathtaking. I bookmarked it!! :)

    • Danielle Farrow profile image

      Danielle Farrow 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Yeah - finally managed to read this all the way through: merci beaucoup!

      You've given me some insight into all the lovely parts of Paris I missed on my trip - was in acting workshop all day, bar one of my time there, so only managed Tuileries and Tour d'Eiffel.

      Will need to get back sometime and see these glories for myself - thanks for sharing!

    • Cheeky Chick profile image

      Cheeky Chick 7 years ago

      Wow! My feet are hurting. It's like I was there. I too would have chosen the cute painful shoes over the comfortable cobblestone friendly type.

      Your wonderfully descriptive writing makes me yearn to go to Paris.

      XOXO

      Cheeky

    • donna bamford profile image

      donna bamford 7 years ago from Canada

      Hi, enjoyed your article. I think I have things more or less sorted out now as to how to post material. Please visit my site or are we allowed to say that and check out 'the river is dreaming' - the second essay is called Winter in Paris. I'm wondering if you would like it. Any advice woould be welcome. I'm planning on revising my sights to provide intros etc.

    • donna bamford profile image

      donna bamford 7 years ago from Canada

      Great article! Brings back strong memories. Bonne chance!

    • rebekahELLE profile image
      Author

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      thanks ladies for reading and posting comments.

      @danielle, yes, so much to say about Paris, even one summer night is verrrry long and amazing. that's one of the great things about Paris, one never sees everything there is to see!

      @cheeky, I still have those sandals. I call them my Paris shoes as they've walked throughout that city! my legs were so toned after that trip!

      @donna, absolutely love your poems. I've been coming over reading your lovely hubs! thanks for commenting. :)

    • kiwi91 profile image

      kiwi91 7 years ago from USA

      I'd love to visit Paris someday. I haven't made the trek to Europe at all as of yet, but someday I'll get there. Paris, Italy, Greece, Germany, and Ireland are all at the top of my list. Nice work!

    • theindianblues profile image

      theindianblues 7 years ago from Some where on the Globe

      You have good articles here. I just became your fan. Thank you

    • profile image

      Moon Dancer 6 years ago

      Great article about Paris. I have been in Paris one time and it's a wonderful city :)

    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      Have had a similar experience of Paris. Nothing like it. Enjoy.

    • boyfromsweden profile image

      boyfromsweden 6 years ago

      nice articles, i also love Paris. check my hub, tips on going to Paris when you're on a budget. https://hubpages.com/travel/Traveling-To-Paris-In-...

    • festersporling1 profile image

      Daniel Christian 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thanks for this. I enjoyed reading your hub. I myself love Paris and did a hub about a night in paris here: https://hubpages.com/travel/Paris-Is-Great-At-Nigh

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