Paris. The City of Light. The City of Love. The Center of Style and Design. The place for excellent cuisine and wine, where dining is an art form and afternoon strolls delight the senses.
The moment you walk out into the streets of Paris you are struck by the beauty of the city itself. There is a fusion of design from the simplistic beauty in the center door knobs on old entryways weathered through hundreds of years of passage to the intricate ironwork on gates and bridges. Different styles and periods merge. The stately buildings of the Louvre and houses built centuries ago compliment the modern sleekness of Parisian shops along Rue Saint Honore. An antique shop rubbing shoulders with a minimalist furniture showroom with the latest designs is representative of the juxtaposition of the old and the new that, in part, is what makes Paris timeless.
Great design is always in style and can blend seamlessly with other great styles from various periods. The detailed carvings in a Louis XV bergere chair look beautiful with a modern metal side table. Contemporary artwork is framed in moldings hailing from the early 18th century and old etchings are sleekly framed in chrome. A Napoleon III settee from the 1850s remains covered in Victorian fabric of the very early 20th century. The painted grays of French cane back chairs of the mid 20th century sit next to a Louis Philippe mirror hailing from a century earlier.This fusion of different styles and periods creates a balance of what was, of what is, and of what can be. Paris is the perfect place for such balance and inspiration.
A few days in Paris can include visits to Musee de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s breathtaking water lilies, a tour of Musee d’Orsay to witness the progression of the impressionists’ works, a stroll through Rodin’s garden of massive sculptures as well as leisurely meals at street side cafes. Just the pathways between these sites are sources for inspiration with the bridges, shops, cafes, parks and high couture stores creating a tapestry rich with diversity. A boat cruise up and down the Seine provides a sense of position and history and a clear day’s view of all that Paris has to offer.
The churches inspire from Notre Dame and her ethereal flying buttresses and Sainte Chapelle’s dance of light on the stained glass windows, to the purity of Sacre Coeur’s white domes rising above the city. The great depth of history and story housed in the Louvre is inspiration in itself. Boutiques in the Marais and the behemoths Le Bon Marche and Printemps are replete with current style heavily influenced by days gone by.
There is the symmetry of the Jardin des Tuilieries’ pathway and fountains and the whimsy of the goats trimming the lawn. The massive engineering feat of the Tour de Eiffel speaks of solidity, yet delicate lace ironwork scrolling adorns the heavy beams.
The classic trench coats and scarves on pedestrians, as well as the formal, yet sincere courtesies reflect the uniqueness that is Paris. Choose your source of inspiration and you will surely find it in the city on the Seine.