This is a gallery of over 200 mega pics from my just-concluded trip to la belle France.
The pics you see here are of the Bastille, Montmartre, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Montparnasse, and sundry other quartiers we discovered simply by walking about with no fixed agenda or plan.
Places like Paris are more than just one more stop to be ticked off on some tourist bucket list.
Rather, they are markers of a certain type of culture. It is different from, say, New York, in that Paris is designed on a human scale. A pleasing Haussmannian classicism permeates every stone in almost every building that you see in the ancient arrondissements that constitute the heart of this elegant city.
It is not vulgar, nor does it suffer from sleepy, uneducated provincialism — although, if you are fluent in French, you may overhear in crowded restaurants unpleasant ethnic remarks.
That said, these days, Paris refuses to be a bastion of unrelenting kakitocracy, despite the looming Le Pen ascendancy, and the past scandals of a number of its infamous pols, as France is buffeted by forces that appear, for the moment at least, to be unresolvable.
Yet, Paris is a place where literature and art and philosphical ideas still matter, and where you can go to hear amazing bands like Orange Blossoms play in cutting edge venues, such as Divan du Monde.
It is a place where you can feel alive, again, and even blossom; where a butter croissant is a butter croissant and not some pretend approximation; and where the tectonic changes that are taking place in today’s world can be observed at close range, far away from the often insular world of golf courses and small beer, gated “communities.”
I sense this journey of ours is not quite over, even though our ultimate destination remains unknown.
Perhaps the art of living well is nothing more than setting out to find that bit of Paris that exists in all of us, but where the cost of living is more reasonable, and the smell of cigarette smoke doesn’t permeate everywhere you walk.
After all, Paris, as Hemingway once wrote, is in fact a moveable feast.