I've always wanted to say that!
And, with our most recent trip--now I can. Of course, it will just sound silly as an off-the-cuff-unrelated-to-anything comment.
There were many high points in our recent trip. I loved Lyon. While it was very early in the season, Provence was charming. One striking place was Les Baux. This small town takes it name from the word "Baou" which is the Provençal word for a prominent protruding rock. In turn, Les Baux gave its name to bauxite (aluminum ore), which was discovered first there in 1821.
Here are two photos that show ever so briefly the stunning vistas that we saw at Les Baux.
But, enough about the provinces--let's celebrate Paris.
We had been in Paris about 10 years ago, and had an extensive tour of the Eiffel Tower, including riding the elevators as high as they go. On this visit, we approached the Eiffel Tower from the right bank. Perhaps predictably, this was one of the most crowded places--the obligatory visit to Eiffel Tower.
We went to other sites we had not seen 10 years ago--The church at Les Invalides above.
The Palais du Luxembourg is a lovely palace built for Marie de Medici who missed her Italian homeland. She was the second wife of Henry IV, king of France. His first marriage had been annulled and he married Marie de Medici, of the Tuscan Medici family, in 1600. She was more than he bargained for, however, as she did not like his lead mistress. When the king died in 1610, she became regent. She began building the palace in 1615.
Here she is in all her stony glory.
I thought the fountain in the gardens at the Palais du Luxembourg quite lovely.
Another major site we had not seen was the whole Montmartre area. To get there, we rode this "petit train", bouncing all the way up and down the hills of Montmartre. This area has a history interwoven with artists. For a long time, it was outside the official city limits of Paris, so it became a popular gathering place, without the taxes imposed within Paris. The area was slated for destruction when Paris was undergoing its urban renewal, and was saved by artists who helped preserve its unique character.
Another artistic site is a restaurant named La Maison Rose, a place painted by various artists, including Utrillo.
We walked around Place des Tertres, where today's artists have license to exhibit paintings. Frankly, we saw no budding Picassos or Dalis or Renoirs. The area was even more crowded than the area around the Eiffel Tower. Since we were there in early spring, presumably we were there when crowds were light. Can't imagine what it is like in the summer--although I am happy to miss the crowds.
One other find was a Wallace fountain. We had learned of them from the guide who took us around Montmartre. The fountain name derives not from the designer but from Richard Wallace who underwrote the cost to have hundreds of these fountains placed around Paris.
The crowning glory of Montmartre is the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur. This 19th century site was built to commemorate deaths suffered in the Franco-Prussian War and the resulting uprising of working classes in Paris in the Paris Commune.
In addition to the over-the-top architecture of the basilica, its location at the height of Montmartre gives it a commanding view of Paris.