Paris!!

On my last weekend in Switzerland I decided to take a trip to Paris.  I had never been previously and so it was about time that I went.  I visited my two friends Erica and Dan.  On day one I arrived by train at the Gare de Lyon and took quite a bit of time to find Erica.  Then we had lunch at an amazing Italian place, brought my stuff over to my hostel in Montmartre, and met up with some of her friends at the Great Canadian Pub near the Place Saint Michel.  On day two I met up with Dan and we played the tourist and visited the classic destinations of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Centre Pompidou (Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano), the Louvre (I.M. Pei), the Arch de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower.  We went up the tower at twilight and got to see it all lit up and looked down on Paris by night.  On day two we visited the Tour Montparnasse (one of the few skyscrapers in central Paris), the Fondation Cartier (Jean Nouvel), the Observatory, the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens, the St. Sulpice Cathedral, the area of the Sorbonne, the Pantheon (Jacques-Germain Soufflot), the Arabic Center (Jean Nouvel), and the Opera building.  At the Pantheon we saw the resting places of some of the ‘grandes hommes’ including Rousseau, Voltaire, Pierre and Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas.  On day three I was on my own and went inside the Louvre and saw works such as the throne of Napoleon, ‘The Turkish Bath’ and ‘La Grande Odalisque’ by Ingres, ‘The Lacemaker’ by Vermeer, the statue of the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace’, and of course the one and only ‘Mona Lisa’ by Leonardo da Vinci (not so enjoyable because there were way to many people and too much red tape).  I also went to La Défence district to see the Grande Arche building and got to see the radical contrast between that area of new and tall architecture with that of the older and denser streets of Paris (it was too foggy to bother going to the top).  All in all it was a great time!  Paris was a beautiful city and I was very impressed by the expansive metro system (which I very quickly mastered of course).  I also loved the scale of the city and find that buildings of six levels work extremely well with the human scale.  Below are some of my favourite pictures from my trip.  Compliments to Dan for all of these great photographs!

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