Paris, France

Map showing location of France in the world.

I spent almost two weeks in Paris, the capital of France, during the month of November 1969. I was very poor, trying to survive on $5.00 a day, so I found a cheap room on the Left Bank of the Seine River. It was primitive. There was a toilet in the hall, and if you wanted a shower, you had to pay extra. But, there was a sink in my room, so I washed myself there. And it was cold, because they turned off the heater during the day, expecting you to see the sights instead of staying in your room. But, it was warm enough at night. The weather in November tended to be rainy and cloudy. I wore a winter coat and gloves.

As of 2018, there are 2.4 million people residing in Paris. Besides Europeans, there are many Africans and Vietnamese living there. The current president is Emmanuel Macron. The government is a democracy.

I had a wonderful time, exploring the city. Since I was on a tight budget, I did not dine at 5 star Michelin restaurants. Instead, I had a croissant and a cafe au lait for breakfast, a crepe chocolat for lunch, and pho (noodle soup) at a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. Sometimes, I bought a loaf of French bread and jam to eat in my room.

Crepes were made on a griddle in a stall on the sidewalk. There were two types, chocolate and strawberry. I always bought the chocolate crepes:

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See the source image

The Louvre is located on the Right Bank and is the largest art museum in the world. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the present are exhibited there:

Louvre Museum

I saw Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre, which was painted with oil on wood. I noted the multitude of tiny cracks. It is quite large, measuring 30 x 20 7/8 inches. Da Vinci began painting it in 1503 and likely worked on it over a period of several years. It is the epitome of Renaissance Art:

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I was impressed with Notre Dame Cathedral, which opened in 1345. It is a medieval Catholic church, consecrated to the Virgin Mary, and is noted for its beautiful French Gothic architecture. It was destroyed by a fire in 2019, and is currently being rebuilt. The stained glass windows are incredible:

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See the source image

I saw the Eiffel Tower, but did not go in. It opened in 1889, to commemorate the French Revolution:

Eiffel Tower

I saw the Arc de Triomphe on the Right Bank. It opened in 1836 and honors those who fought and died during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It also contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I:

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I enjoyed the Luxembourg Gardens, created in 1612 by Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for her new home, the Luxembourg Palace. The French Senate now convenes in this palace:

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Sorbonne University was established as a college in 1257. It is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. As of 2021, Sorbonne’s alumni and professors have received 33 Nobel Prizes:

The Seine River flows through Paris and has many bridges spanning it:

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I took the Paris Metro, when I tired of walking:

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See the source image

I remember the traffic jams in Paris, and it seems that there will always be traffic jams in Paris:

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During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Paris was the city where artists, writers, and composers congregated. Artists like Picasso and Monet, writers like Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller, and composers like Bizet and Debussy — they all wanted to be in Paris.

Georges Bizet’s opera, “Carmen,” is the most popular opera in the world. It was first performed in Paris in 1875. It scandalized Parisian audiences because of its torrid love triangle, which ends when the rejected suitor kills his girlfriend, Carmen, a Spanish gypsy. The arias in this opera are world famous:

Bizet: Carmen

Ah, Paris! Who does not want to visit Paris?

I studied French for two years at the University of Hawaii.

My favorite expression is:

“Je t’aime beaucoup.” (French)

“I love you a lot.” (English)

19 Responses to “Paris, France”

  1. DavidH Says:

    What can I say. You have been almost everywhere and have experienced so much. Congratulations!

  2. Valerie-Jael Says:

    Paris is indeed a beautiful city, thanks for sharing your memories! Valerie

  3. tomthebackroadstraveller Says:

    …The Louvre is a masterpiece!

  4. AC Says:

    You were young enough to live like that, and prices were such that you could do it. Then the world changed.

  5. DJan Says:

    When I visited Paris and the Louvre, I couldn’t even get close enough to the Mona Lisa to see the cracks! Nice tour of the city. Thank you for taking the time to remind me of it.

  6. Martha Says:

    What a fantastic adventure!

  7. Olga Says:

    Oh, what a wonderful life!

  8. Doug M Says:

    The City of Lights… would love to see it all in person. It amazes me that as poor as you were at the time, you managed to live there, Gigi. I wish I’d been more adventuresome in my younger days.

  9. Arkansas Patti Says:

    What an adventurous person you were. You saw so much and experienced so much and on $5 a day. Amazing!! Thank you for taking us down that splendid memory trip for free.

  10. Lois Evensen Says:

    Thank you! What a wonderful post! I love seeing your pictures and reading about your experiences! You spent much more time in Paris than we did. We generally passed through on our way to somewhere else. We spent a great deal of time in the South of France, though, especially Villefranche which was a regular port when hubby was working at sea on a cruise ship. We always went ashore there and the locals knew us by name we were there so often. We also visited Cannes, Nice, and so many other wonderful French ports. Ah, yes, those were the days of world travel!

  11. Christine Says:

    Wonderful memories you have of Paris (well except for those accommodations! I loved it there. Well you ate a lot for $5 a day in those days.

  12. Elephant's Child Says:

    What wonderful memories. Your memory banks are so very, very rich.

  13. marmeladegypsy Says:

    Oh, this post makes me miss one of my favorite cities in all the world all the more. What a grand time in your life to be there! I have to say, you ate then the way we do now when we’re there — very simply. There might be a few nights at a nicer cafe for dinner but our breakfasts and lunches were like yours and we get the bread and cheese and jam and often had a picnic! What a lovely post, Gigi.

  14. Kay G. Says:

    Merci du fond de coeur.
    I might not have spelled that correctly but I think you can translate! What adventures you have had in your life! Happy for you to share them here. x

  15. Lakshmi Bhat Says:

    Such wonderful memories. We were there for some days in 1988 and walked so much, seeing all that we had read about. It was a good experience. Your photos brought back memories. Thank you.

  16. Iris Empereur Says:

    I was there for but three days, loooong ago. Thank you for the memories. I was lucky, we stayed in my friend´s Dad´s apartment (I was there for two weeks in Louviers with the Mum and Daughter).
    Eeek. I lived for a year with toilet and shower across the hall when studying. Same in Egypt. I am too old for that now 😉

  17. Joared Says:

    Cont.problem commenting here regularly. Always wanted to visit Paris. Enjoyed this.

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