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Posted on Dec 18, 2013 at 07:20 AM

Paris is a romantic city, the capital of art.

In 2005, I arrived in Paris in the cool autumn wind. At that time I was in a low mood, thus I could not fully appreciate the picturesque scenery. That was a pity. I long for a revisit when I can approach her to discover her glamour.

Gare de Lyon. It was a nearly ten-minute walk from the residence to the Gare de Lyon, quite convenient. In the light of dawn I went to school, walking to the Gare to take the underground. A faint glimmer of orange light came from the café, the tantalising fragrance of coffee wafted in the air, waiters were busy preparing for the arrival of the customers of the day. Office-staff passed in a hurry, holding  Le monde or a baguette in hand. The big clock at the top of the Gare faithfully served the travellers, telling the time precisely.

La Bastille. This was two blocks away from the residence. In my history textbook for secondary school, the capture of La Bastille marked the start of the French Revolution, and of other revolutions worldwide. The renowned La Liberté guidant le peuple (Freedom guiding the people), in the Louvre, was a masterpiece depicting this epic historic event, and is regarded as the symbol of the French nation. Under the guidance of Monsieur Boden, we visited the ruins of la Bastille. Evidences of the fierce alley fights of the time can no longer be traced, the site is a scene of peaceful civic life instead. Only La Déclaration remains glorious and permanent in the course of history.

Le Panthéon. Our classes were held in the Université Paris I (Panthéon –Sorbonne). Outside the entrance to the university was a small square in front of le Panthéon. The pediment decorated with delicate carvings, the huge columns supporting the architrave, the wide stylobates resting on the ground, all these features gave le Panthéon the majestic grandeur of a Greek temple, solemn and dignified. Inside, numerous great philosophers and masters were honoured such as Montesquieu, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Voltaire and so on, an ideal venue for the public to admire their geniuses and remarkable achievements.

From the square, La Tour Eiffel could be seen thrusting into the sky in the far distance. A straightforward avenue ran in the direction of the tower, lined with cafés and bookshops that seemingly bowed to the tower and fairly highlighted its grandeur. I recalled a film starring Sophie Marceau (Fang Fang) that had a shot of this avenue, where can be regarded as an archetypal sign of Paris. At one end of it was a big crossroads adjoining the beautiful Parc de Luxembourg. At the crossroads I turned right and shortly came to La Seine. On the bridge I looked around and the elegant building of Notre Dame came into sight.

In my mind, the classic work of Notre-Dame de Paris (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”)was synonymous with tragic love. Both the gripping plot and the vivid characters contributed to its huge success, for instance, the beautiful, innocent and kind Gipsy girl, the ugly, hunchbacked but warm-hearted bell-ringer. Facing the Cathedral, I attempted to imagine what had happened here according to the novel. However, none of the miserable atmosphere of that touching story could be perceived. Just like her name, Notre Dame stands there, in such a demure and graceful manner, overlooking the tourists rushing to and fro at her feet; twin bell towers extend towards the blue sky, a gothic spire rising at the east end. Fine statues of religious images solemnly rest in place, finely sculpted in an amazing way. My endeavours to take an overall photo of Notre Dame failed, her height beyond the camera’s scope. What a shame, I thought. Several years later, I saw a painting of Notre Dame by Mr. Liu Haisu, the renowned contemporary Chinese artist, his Notre Dame was also partly portrayed. At that moment I felt relieved. Maybe, like 
the statue of Venus lacking her arms, the soul of the art was to capture and express the spirit of the object rather than anything else.

Following the congregation I entered Notre Dame, the faint light and holy ambience instantly calming my heart. Passing rows of benches, I noticed a giant ivory cross hung on the right side of the aisle, “Amen” I murmured. Moving forward, I came to the sanctuary at the centre of the Cathedral. The Crucifix loomed high behind it; on the golden cross, a look of suffering across Jesus’s face. Gazing at his emaciated face in the candle light, I prayed silently. After a while church services began. Boys in white robes stood at both sides of the sanctuary, holding lilies in their hands. The sound of the organ rose from the gallery, the beautiful choir echoed it in the hall. The scene was so pure and gorgeous that I was moved to tears.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The next year I had my internship in a firm near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées (the boss couple were kind). At the end of April, the tall French xx trees were in blossom, as if wreathed in pale purple clouds, fantastically decorating the boulevard. The neighbourhood was the well-known commercial area of Paris, dense with luxury brands, which enabled you to grasp the latest trends of fashion in no time. Moving forward, the towering Arc de Triomphe comes into view, its stunning splendour seeming to demonstrate Napoleon’s great ambition to the world.


The Louvre was the venue I most frequently visited during my one-year stay in Paris.  At weekends there was free admission for students.

On the square of the Louvre, the transparent pyramid was quite striking, serving as the symbol of the Louvre, the masterwork of Mr. Bei Yiming, the most famous Chinese architect.

It was said that the Louvre was built on the ruins of an ancient royal palace, the remains still being displayed at the museum. The parts of the Louvre above ground were designed symmetrically and neatly arrayed. The terraced buildings adjoined each other to form a vast square court, elegant and full of geometric beauty, the typical style of French palaces.

Within the museum, crisscrossing passages led to the exhibition halls of each continent. The Louvre was much more enormous than I had imagined. No wonder it was the largest museum in the world. I was eager to locate its three gems: the Goddess of Victory, Venus and the Mona Lisa. I spent a long time observing them, I could not tear my eyes away; I was totally fascinated, thrilled to be able to appreciate such great works of art.

The displays of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures were my favourites where I lingered for the most time. Unlike the other halls, there is a big indoor yard for the display of the huge statues. Every time I crossed the yard, I couldn’t help looking up at their eyes, as though I was drawn by some kind of mysterious force. They are cold and silent statues, yet they seem to possess a life of their own. I suppose it is the magic of art. Filled with curiosity about this magic effect, I approached to have a close look. It seems that the white marble is given the temperature of the human body, the muscular lines present

Life is a piece of dance. You need to find the right partner to make it beautiful.
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Posted on Dec 19, 2013 at 03:24 PM

Thanks for reading.

Life is a piece of dance. You need to find the right partner to make it beautiful.
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