Sunday, November 21, 2010

Paris- Doorway to Happiness

Paris is the center of fashion, art and people-watching; a city where Chanel-clad ladies walk poodles along grand boulevards; a place where the waiters are rude but the food is amazing. Paris is all of that and more. Your love affair begins once you look beyond the closed door, open yourself to explore the backstreets of many neighborhoods, and make Paris your own.

Comfortable shoes are essential for this city of a thousand walks, landscaped gardens and cavernous galleries. Reserve your ticket for speedy access to the Louvre, which sidles up to the Jardin des Tuileries. Across the Seine on the Left Bank, take your pick from Impressionist hangout Musée d'Orsay, Notre-Dame's Gothic grandeur and Musée Rodin's Kiss sculpture. OK, you really can't leave without seeing Paris light up from the Eiffel Tower, open till midnight.

Parisians luxuriate in shopping -- bidding shopkeepers bonjour and pausing to lèche-vitrines ("lick the windows" or window shop). Saunter the boutiquey Marais for home-grown fashion, and voguish rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, home to concept store Colette, for haute-couture. Where else can you find such palatial department stores as Art Nouveau Printemps and rival Galeries Lafayette? Antiques, bric-a-brac, vintage Chanel -- it's all at Saint-Ouen's enormous weekend flea market; arrive early for bargains and stay for brunch.

Visiting Paris opens doors to every sensual pleasure. It is mysterious, magical and welcoming. I took pictures of doors I saw around the city. Many were very old. All were very interesting.

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