By Antonio Malara
First January 2010, we woke up so late with big dark circles and clearly upside down. We lost the morning but we had no intention to do the same with the afternoon, the girls already had a plan. We went to Place des Vosges. After a brunch in this neighborhood we headed to the square. This place is famous because here there’s the house of the great writer Victor Hugo. This is is a huge squared square and Victor house was I think on the first floor on the southern corner. There’s an inscription in one pillar that reminds that there Hugo spent his time there. It was nice and I think it’s inspirational, being in the same place where a write has grown up it’s like a contact, you touch with hand something that till that moment was only abstract. Despite the cold we enjoyed time taking pics.
That place was full of those characteristics stores, those that don’t see a renovation since the beginning of times. I remember that in a bookstore I bought a Vang Gogh calendar and the big picture book by Helmut Newton (it is so big that I had to take with me as a hand baggage on the return trip in the airplane).
Later in the evening we moved to Place de la République, even here as usual we took many pics. We walked a lot that day and I think after that visit we back to the hotel.
On day two there was the trip to Versailles, we were a small group because it was a optional tour. I don’t think we leave early because we’ve been there for lunch time. We stopped in a nice place for lunch and I remember that I immediately learned a new word because of food. I took a sandwich and it was so good that I asked for “anotre” (another one). Before entering the royal palace, we spent time to take a look at it even from the outside. In fact you realize that the place is so big from the entrance. There’s a tall and large gate that seems to be built for people who’s at least three meters tall, really the proportion is not for human being. The interior of Versailles palace is like all the palace of that time but much bigger. Essentially there are infinite squared and tall rooms, most of time you need to go through one room to access the other one. I don’t know if they use to built like this for lack of imagination or because was easier. It was full of paints on these rooms walls. The most important rooms were the King and Queen rooms. Yes they use to sleep separately, that is something that I don’t disagree. I can say that the only differences between normal and Royal rooms was the bed. These were tall, big, decorated and with a canopy. I think that the king bedroom was bigger and btw there was an interesting detail. On the left side of the bed there was a camouflaged small door, if I’m not wrong it was a secret passageway for the king lovers. I laughed for this, men unfaithfulness was a bad habit even at that time. Another cool spot to visit inside is the chandeliers room. It is a long rectangular room, with dozens of chandeliers falling from the roof, it’s a must see room. Plus from this room there’s a beautiful and perfect view on the gardens outside the palace. Call it a garden it’s not enough, there’s a point outside the palace when you can see this majestic. As long as you sight can see, there’s green belonging to this garden. There are three main fountains and then a long rectangular green, at the end of it another huge fountain. The place is also full of statues. We walked with pleasure along the whole garden, we stopped for pics and when we get to the last fountain we had the “opposite view”. From that point of view we could see the garden and at the end of it the Royal Palace.
We really had a pleasant time that day but when we back to Paris, we want to enjoy a little bit the city. We back to Place de la Concorde for a walk and we spent there the evening.
The morning of the last day was dedicated to visit the Musée du Louvre. This is the most important museum in Paris. For Italian people it is so popular because it hosts the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. The museum is in a strategic position and even in this case like for the Musée d’Osray, has been used for different things in the years, it was a former Royal Palace, then offices for the government and then a museum. Inside this beautiful place there are paintings and statues.
At the entrance there’s a new design component that is the famous pyramid in glass and steel.
Even here we waited a little to get in but the times goes by fast if you’re interested in architecture. In fact beneath the exterior pyramid there’s another one but it’s upside down. So it’s nice to have a look and to take pics to this strange design. I’ve been guided by my sister to the main operas, so my task was only to follow her and take pics. We started seeing the Cupid and Psyche by Antonio Canova. Actually I didn’t know the statue but I knew the story from which the statue is inspired. The opera by Canova represents the most important kiss that the lovers had. After that we went to the Nike by Samotracia. This statue is a Before Christ opera from Greece. It represents a female god with wings that should be on the bow of a boat. The impressive statue is placed on top of a big staircase, stepping closer you realize how magnificent is. The things I liked is the dynamism, the details are so perfect that it’s look like there’s real wind that hit her.
The last statue we visited was also the most popular. I’m talking about the The Milo Venus. This statue represents of course the famous "Dea" in an half naked pose, unfortunately there’s a missing arms but maybe recognizable for this detail. I think that this statue is like a celebrity. What I mean is that the emotional part of seeing it, is the popularity that it has rather the the statue itself. In fact the room that host this opera was full of people wait to pose for a pic and it was the prelude to the Mona Lisa room. In the huge place where the masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci is exposed there was literally a big mess. When you enter the Mona Lisa room you have to decide if to take a look and appreciate the painting or wait the right moment to take a picture. The paint it’s so popular that they should introduce a separate ticket to see the Mona Lisa. Personally I don’t like how they manage the place, most of time you just have a fast look at the tiny painting (because you can’t get so close) and few unusable pics with a tiny dot (the Mona Lisa) and dozens of people behind you.
We saw many other paintings that morning but my memories are confused, after that we went out for the last funny thing to do. Outside the pyramid there are some footboards installed. They’re used for helping to take funny perspectives with the pyramid in the background. This thing is so stupid to do but it make you feel more stupid to be the only one who doesn’t have a picture in that way, so I end up having a stupid picture there too, like the others.
Even if we stayed for seven days in Paris we had the feeling to miss something so we were looking for new places after the Louvre. I proposed a visit to a structure that always obsessed me since the young age. I’m talking about the Centre Pompidou designed by Renzo Piano. I knew about it because I saw a pic in my old French book at the school. The building was amazing, colorful and with an unusual design. The building is a cultural center, inside there’s a museum, a library and things like this. The singular thing is that many part of structure, like stairs, pipelines, drains are built outside the building and this make the structure so unique. Unfortunately I didn’t visit it inside but I enjoyed the time there taking pictures, especially the details. It was emotional for me to see something that till that moment, was only a tiny pic in a school book.
We were running against time that last day. We visited Notre-Dame from the inside but we couldn’t go up on the roof, we back in our favorite place like Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Elysées but...we forgot we had a deal to go up on the Ferris Wheel. Well we did it, we made ourselves this last gift. We enjoyed from the top the breathtaking view of this magic city.
I wrote a lot and probably I forgot a lot. The time in Paris, this long week we lived without any break, shakes my memories. They pops up randomly, upside down but at the end they’re there. They’re there even after this eight years that separate this time we spent in this unique city. Even if I had the chance, I never back. When you have a beautiful memory of a place, you want to be sure to add only better memories. The point is that the company at that time was so good that it is not easy to make a better one. Plus, after all the time spent there I realized one thing; if you can, you have visit Paris with your soulmate, that’s the perfect way. Of course this is something that you can’t decide by yourself, it’s fate, it’s destiny, it’s that illogical and non rational thing called love. If you found it, go to Paris.
Pictures: Antonio Malara
Camera: Nikon D70s