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Paris: 3 Days in the City of Light

How can one possibly encompass Paris within a brief article? Arthur Frommer considers “the city of light” his #1 travel destination in the world. Ernest Hemingway called it “a moveable feast.” The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Montmartre, the cafés, the history, the culture, the food, the romance. All this and I had three days to work with!

On my first trip to Paris 25 years ago I spent a full day in the Louvre and tried to cover everything — an impossibility. This time I bypassed the crowds circling the Mona Lisa and focused on Egyptian, Greek and Near Eastern Antiquities. That was plenty in itself.

I also hit the Musee d‘ Orsay to catch the works of my favorite artists, the Impressionists. A Parisian friend introduced me to the Jeu du Paume, an often-overlooked museum within walking distance of the Louvre on the other side of the Tuileries Garden. This is the place, along with the Pompidou, to catch what’s going on in contemporary French art.

The French love the cinema, and the Cinémathèque Française is their tribute to the history of the art form. Designed by Frank Gehry, the world-renowned architect from Santa Monica who designed the Disney Hall in L.A., the Cinemateque was a treat for someone like myself with an interest in the history of movies. If you dig Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles or Francois Truffaut in particular, don’t miss it.

Even if you have just a few days in Paris, don’t simply rush breathlessly to all the sights listed in your guidebook. Find a spot to plant yourself for at least an hour and take in the sights around you, perhaps at a café or bistro. Relaxing near the top of the steps of the Sacre Coeur to enjoy live music and a magnificent view of Paris in the late afternoon is something every visitor here should experience.

Then head into the legendary artistic center of Paris in the 19th century, Montmartre. There are crowds of tourists here but if you walk a few blocks away, you can find yourself alone on a narrow pathway full of discoveries. I caught the Dali museum, one of the more unique museums I had ever visited, and tracked down the old residences of Picasso and Van Gogh. Walking through this section of Paris reminded me of scenes from The Red Balloon, the film (recently re-released) that had introduced me to the city as a child.

I then made it back down the hill and caught the metro to the Picasso museum. As with the Dali, this is one of several museums in Europe devoted to the artist. There is a substantial collection of his works and photographs here.

My final morning in Paris, I relaxed at Les Deux Magots on Boulevard Saint Germain. It is at this café and its neighboring rival the Café de Flore where some of the greatest writers, artists and philosophers used to hang out and search for inspiration — the likes of Sartre, Hemingway, Joyce, Rimbaud, Camus, Picasso, etc., etc. The prices are about the same as the standard French café. Order a café créme and find your own spark of inspiration.

Once you learn to navigate the Metro, the entire city is within your grasp — so much easier than trying to maneuver the traffic jams of L.A. It’s amazing how much you can pack into a few days in this magnificent city — and I didn’t even mention the food!

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John Harris: editor of one of the first English dictionaries

Known as a man of science as a man of faith

How can one possibly encompass Paris within a brief article? Arthur Frommer considers “the city of light” his #1 travel destination in the world. Ernest Hemingway called it “a moveable feast.” The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Montmartre, the cafés, the history, the culture, the food, the romance. All this and I had three days to work with!

On my first trip to Paris 25 years ago I spent a full day in the Louvre and tried to cover everything — an impossibility. This time I bypassed the crowds circling the Mona Lisa and focused on Egyptian, Greek and Near Eastern Antiquities. That was plenty in itself.

I also hit the Musee d‘ Orsay to catch the works of my favorite artists, the Impressionists. A Parisian friend introduced me to the Jeu du Paume, an often-overlooked museum within walking distance of the Louvre on the other side of the Tuileries Garden. This is the place, along with the Pompidou, to catch what’s going on in contemporary French art.

The French love the cinema, and the Cinémathèque Française is their tribute to the history of the art form. Designed by Frank Gehry, the world-renowned architect from Santa Monica who designed the Disney Hall in L.A., the Cinemateque was a treat for someone like myself with an interest in the history of movies. If you dig Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles or Francois Truffaut in particular, don’t miss it.

Even if you have just a few days in Paris, don’t simply rush breathlessly to all the sights listed in your guidebook. Find a spot to plant yourself for at least an hour and take in the sights around you, perhaps at a café or bistro. Relaxing near the top of the steps of the Sacre Coeur to enjoy live music and a magnificent view of Paris in the late afternoon is something every visitor here should experience.

Then head into the legendary artistic center of Paris in the 19th century, Montmartre. There are crowds of tourists here but if you walk a few blocks away, you can find yourself alone on a narrow pathway full of discoveries. I caught the Dali museum, one of the more unique museums I had ever visited, and tracked down the old residences of Picasso and Van Gogh. Walking through this section of Paris reminded me of scenes from The Red Balloon, the film (recently re-released) that had introduced me to the city as a child.

I then made it back down the hill and caught the metro to the Picasso museum. As with the Dali, this is one of several museums in Europe devoted to the artist. There is a substantial collection of his works and photographs here.

My final morning in Paris, I relaxed at Les Deux Magots on Boulevard Saint Germain. It is at this café and its neighboring rival the Café de Flore where some of the greatest writers, artists and philosophers used to hang out and search for inspiration — the likes of Sartre, Hemingway, Joyce, Rimbaud, Camus, Picasso, etc., etc. The prices are about the same as the standard French café. Order a café créme and find your own spark of inspiration.

Once you learn to navigate the Metro, the entire city is within your grasp — so much easier than trying to maneuver the traffic jams of L.A. It’s amazing how much you can pack into a few days in this magnificent city — and I didn’t even mention the food!

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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