Brigitte Bardot. Maurice Chevalier. Charles deGalulle. Jean-Paul Belmondo. Edith Piaf. Charles Aznavour. Juliette Binoche. Napoleon. Capucine. Gerard Depardieu. Jeanne Moreau. Jacques Cousteau. Louis XIV. Yves St. Laurent. Jean Genet. Isabelle Huppert. Renoir. Degas. Matisse. Gauguin. Rodin. Cezanne. Fanny Ardant. Charles Boyer. Louis Jourdan. Leslie Caron. Catherine Deneuve.
Shall we go on?
Surely you understand where we're going here.
Yes, before we ever step foot on French soil each and every one of us brings our own set of built-in notions, perceptions and images to all things French.
And no place is more French than Paris.
It's the heart and soul of Gaul.
From an early age we are inundated with the very idea of Paris: opulent, romantic, stylish, trend-setting, life-affirming, beautiful, extravagant, intoxicating, charming, irresistible, even decadent but never dull, never ordinary and light years beyond the everyday and common place.
From the Eiffel Tower to the banks of the Seine to the Paris Opera House to Notre Dame, The Louvre, The Champs Elysées and The Arch de Triomphe, we see it, we think we know it, we absorb it all. Through so many movies photos, songs, ads, paintings and vivid enumerations and depictions Paris is imbedded in us way before we ever actually experience it live and in person -- if we're lucky enough.
But can it really be as we imagine it?
Is the real Paris anything like what we and so many others have come to expect?
Does it live up to its lofty expectations?
Does it even come close?
Well, stay with us over the days that follow as we explore Paris as it really is. We'll give you our views and our observations as we examine Paris against this vast backdrop.
Yet, how can we even begin?
Hmmm . . . after just a few days here, we'll start by simply telling you this: Nothing -- absolutely nothing -- will prepare you for the grandeur of Paris.
For grandeur is grander than grand -- and it matters that the word itself is of French origin.
In Paris the phrase "less is more" is not part of the lexicon. Here, more is more and too much of a good thing is, well -- a very good thing!
Stay with us in the days ahead and we'll explain it all to you -- and show you the best of Paris as well.