Paris was by far one of my favorite parts of my time in Europe so far. It's right up there with London, the pair of good days on the hill in Switzerland, and the ancient ruins of Rome. Like London, I felt like I could have spent another two weeks there without running out of really interesting things to see. Adding the experience of living there would give even more things to experience and people to meet.
The city was beautiful. The architecture was beautiful and the design of the broad central squares and boulevards was really incredible. It gives a sense of a city that really has its act together (though French transport was hardly ever on time). The metro within the city was very efficient and covered the whole city - great for tourists.
I found the people I met throughout France to be very helpful and accommodating with language barrier and information. That goes against most American prejudices and stereotypes and was a pleasant surprise.
I was also able to catch up with some American friends during my stay. Had a great time with Diane and her friends with a night out at the Louvre and a few bars (a big thanks to the Berkeley kids who put us up for the night after the Metro closed). Caught up on Berkeley news with Steven and Jen over lunch. It was great to see someone from my home continent.
Another thing I've realized during my travels is how cool Aussies are. They've been in hostels everywhere since it's their summer break. I had a great time on the last day with good weather touring Versailles with Matt and James, two guys from down under. I also spent some time on my last day talking with Nathan, another Aussie, and Cassie from Claremont, CA. We exchanged some stories and photos from our travels. Cassie had spent a good amount of time in Eastern Europe. Talking to the two of them made me want to go see some of the things they had seen (thought, at another time - I've had enough travel over the past month). Between the Aussies and Cassie, I'd say it's easy to have a good time travelling by yourself in hostels.
The French term for Hall of Mirrors can also be translated as 'Hall of Ice Cream'. It would be interesting to see Ben and Jerry do a redesign but if they're going with the 'Hall of Mirrors' translation, they did a pretty impressive job:
Notre Dame Cathedral still has its Christmas tree up - must be like those lazy neighbors who never take the lights down:
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc du Triomphe looking down to La Defense, the financial district:
Really strange mix of modern and classic architecture:
The facade of the Louvre is photogenic at night:
On a historical note - empty frames after the evacuation of the Louvre before the Nazi invasion: