Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The French still have an Edifice Complex

It is the symbol of Paris, for good reason!
En route to a ten day trip in Morocco last month, I decided to take a side trip to Paris for 4 days. I love the city, especially the overall architectural harmony resulting from the consistent scale and use of materials in much of the city.
I stayed at L'Empire, a small boutique hotel in the 1st arrondissment very close to the Louvre. I can recommend it as a comfortable place in an excellent location with a good breakfast....although the rooms are small. www.l'

Long time Vancouver planner and development consultant Chuck Brook, who now keeps a home in the south of France, joined me for 2 days. We wandered through the city, visiting his favourite spots, including Le Marais where we looked like a couple of aging North American Jews trying to dress as French men.
We also toured 2 new architectural tours de force: Jean Nouvel's still under construction Philharmonic Hall, (It strikes me as a colossal waste of money....and it's not even beautiful) and Frank Gehry's Louis Vuitton Foundation gallery. I call it a gallery but it is intended to be much more....although I'm not exactly sure what! It does have a cafe called Frank which features flying fish, fish being a Frank Gehry trademark.

Unfortunately, I inadvertently deleted most of my Paris photos, thinking I had transferred them to the Microsoft Surface that I took on this trip in lieu of my computer. The Surface then crashed after Chuck transferred some of his photos, so this and subsequent blogs are being written after the fact. However, I hope you enjoy some of the photos, and appreciate why I am delighted there is now a non-stop Air France service between Vancouver and Paris.
I was astounded at how many people were shopping at Printemps and Gallerie Lafayette

Why don't we have street kiosks like these? They add pedestrian interest and are very convenient.
Moulin Rouge is still there! And always will be!
The train stations in Paris are spectacular. Gare de Lyon above, Gare de Nord below
A good friend hoped he would see some good photos of French food. Here's my souffle
I have always been intrigued by French cars. This is Renault's latest electrical vehicle....a 2 seater (one behind the other)
In addition to bike-share there is now an electric car-share network of vehicles around Paris
Chutzpah! William Saurin tells you to eat fruit and vegetables to be healthy, while advertising its pate!
Chutzpah? a fellow places this yellow card on the seats in front of travellers on the train in from the airport
Whenever I can, I take a river/water cruise in every city I visit. Why don't we have more readily available cruises around the waterways in Vancouver?
I love this...he has his own amphibious car on his barge!
I would have thought the Brigitte Bardot would be a more beautiful, curvilinear boat!
I watched these Chinese tourists (and there were a lot of Chinese tourists in Paris) taking dozens of selfies as we cruised down the Seine
On my return to Paris before catching the inaugural non-stop flight to Vancouver, I took Chuck's advice and stayed at the CitizenM hotel at Charles de Gaulle airport. It was very impressive.
The rooms are small, very small, but state-of-the-art from a technological point of view. From a bedside tablet you control everything, including the mood lighting!

I completed my trip with a night-time cruise along the Seine
It offered an opportunity to see what is described as the smallest building in Paris. (I suspect they mean the narrowest in the city)

Nice touch. French attendants greet passengers on the inaugural non-stop Air France service to Vancouver.

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