BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
PARIS— It’s not just about the Eiffel Tower.
Paris is about the grand boulevards, the cathedrals, the centuries-old architecture, the Seine River.
It’s not just about the Mona Lisa. It’s about the Musée du Louvre that houses it, and the works from throughout the world and throughout history that fill its vast, ornate halls.
Paris is more than the City of Lights. It’s the city of history, art and music; of bridges, museums, cathedrals and monuments.
Both good and bad have happened here. Monet painted and Debussy composed. There were revolutions and there was political upheaval.
And through it all, the city has maintained its light.
Salt Lake International Airport’s only nonstop to Europe lands in Paris, a real advantage to travelers who would rather not deal with layovers, not to mention customs and passport control in a bustling New York airport between flights on the long trip home. The chance to get on a plane in Salt Lake and get off in Paris Р and vice versa Р is worth its weight in gold.
The most important thing to pack for a visit to Paris is comfortable walking shoes.
You may think a visit to one of the fashion capitals of the world would require only the latest, most fashionable footwear, but you would be sorry within a few hours on the first stop of your first day.
The Louvre itself can mean miles of walking. And then you’ll want to head from there through the Tuilieries, around the Place de la Concorde to the Champs-Elysées. And once you’ve done some people watching at a cafe along the famous boulevard, the Arc de Triomphe doesn’t look that much farther away, and then of course, that landmark tower beckons and appears to be an easy distance. By now you’ve covered more than four miles С but what an incredible four miles.
Rather than retrace your steps, you can hop on to one of the low-slung boats that ply the waters of the Seine and rest your feet as you drift under the ancient bridges (including the ornate Pont Alexander III) and learn from guides about the city you are exploring. The boats will take you past the Louvre and tie up near Île de la Cité, where you can explore Notre Dame, and, being rested from the boat trip, climb to the top of one its the towers.
There are interesting side trips all along the route. Across the river and down a bit is the Musée d’Orsay, (which has most of the Impressionist work you recognize). Or maybe you’re one who would like to learn more about the sewers of Paris, made famous by Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean. There is a tour for that farther along the river.
There is the Madeleine or the Rodin museum or the Opéra. Or take the subway to see Sacré-Coeur in one direction, more of Monet’s work in another. The train gets you to Versailles, amazing both inside and out.
Paris is a city that can fill as much time as you can give it.
Give it as much time as you can manage.