An Evening In Paris

Paris is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the World; the grandest, best preserved and loved for its unique pleasures; from culture to cuisine and at night, Paris becomes the “City of Lights”.

After our usual tour of the city and its attractions in broad day light, we decided to take a dekko at the city’s brilliantly illuminated monuments and squares. During summer, the tour starts at 10 pm; all the monuments are lit up by then. It is an hour and a half’s tour with multi-lingual earphone guides.

Our bus left from the tourist office and our first stop was the Arc de Triomphe. Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 as a memorial for the French Army, this towering monument stands gallantly on the most important avenue of the city, Champ Elysees, the centre of 12 avenues in central Paris. The Arc even has an observation deck on the top from where there is a brilliant view of the city.

The bus strolled along Champ Elysees resembling a path of gold with all the streetlights and the car headlights on. Leaving behind the Arc we reached Place de la Concorde, the grandest and most infamous square in Paris.

                                                                               (Arc de Triomphe)

Lit up beautifully, the gleaming Obelisk and the building in the background looked like a palace decorated for some royal ceremony. Earlier known as the Place de Revolution after it became the guillotine site that beheaded nearly 3000 people including Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, it was renamed Place de la Concorde.

Leaving behind the radiant site the bus rolled again as the best was yet to come; the world’s most loved Louvre Museum and its Pyramid. The entire combination looked like a dreamland. The subtle lights inside the pyramid reflected and dazzled the prism and the Museum looked hauntingly beautiful in the back ground. The floor too looked glossy with the reflection of light on it. What a radiant sight! Électricité de France designed and donated the lighting system, which uses xenon bulbs in custom, low profile fixtures. The intensity is gradually raised as night sets in to keep the effect subtle.

The Notre Dame Cathedral and its famous bell tower, immortalized by Victor Hugo’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ was our next stop. Being one of the masterpieces of Gothic art in Western Europe, its facade, the soaring Gothic ribbed vaulting, its huge light-filled interior looked beautiful with the vivid lights reflecting on it.

 (Place de la Concorde)

(The Pyramid at Louvre)

(Notre Dame Cathedral)

The commentary went on and we listened till the bus turned towards the Latin Quarter, the heart of the left bank of Seine. It is perhaps the most happening place in the entire city and has been regarded as an intellectual center with many writers, artists and creative people living here. Over the past few years many luxury fashion brands have set up stores in the area and this scintillating place did not really need any kind of illumination support. It was all very jazzy and bright throughout.

Driving on the St. Germain Boulevard and leaving behind the university area we reached Invalides. This place is a little secluded so far as other structures are concerned but an absolute beauty with its unique gold tomb beneath which lies the tomb of Napoleon.

We waited eagerly as our bus pulled up towards the glittering landmark of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Named after its designer, Gustavo Eiffel, it stands 1050ft high. There are three viewing platforms that can be reached by elevator. The entire illuminated structure perched high up almost on the sky looked like innumerable gold stars sparkling away.

Our tour ended at the Opera Garnier which was also our final destination. The rich and luxurious Opera with grand architectural styles, red and gold decor is a luminous monument in a busy place somehow creating a mismatch between its structure and ambience. At some corner of my mind, I wished I could see Erik, the phantom of the Opera (believed to be written with this in mind)


(The Eiffel Tower)

(Opera Garnier)