Embracing The Night - Paris after sunset

     It may seem like an odd photo to use when talking about Paris at night, but let me explain.  When you walk around in Paris during the day, you are surrounded by plenty to see and hear.  If, however, you wish to see what is inside the many shops, restaurants and stores, you will be obliged to go inside and check it out.  All of that changes at night.  Storefront windows become giant versions of movie screens.  Everything that couldn't be seen in the brightness of day is now on full, technicolor view.  Add that to the ambiance of the twinkling, romantic glow of the city and,  believe me, you can walk and window shop for hours. 
The city lives up to its name, The City of Light - La Ville Lumiere.   Ok, Ok...So that nobody feels the need to correct me, I know that Paris is not called the city of light because of the wonderful light show it becomes at night.  In fact, the name dates to a time when there were no electric lights.   Paris was The center for higher learning and university education during the Age of Enlightenment. Since education is considered enlightenment, Paris was a center of light through education,  but in fairness, it was also during this same period that Paris began to install gas street lights throughout the city center.  So the name was a shoe-in, and it stuck.   
     I have to admit that i am more than a little biased about Paris, so I don't think there is a bad time to be there.  However, there are times when it's humid and warm in the summer and it's far more comfortable to be out after dark.  Sometimes I go to the Marais or near the Champs Elysees to window shop and be lured into the stores because of the fantastic sites in their windows.  Many shops which I might never have entered during the day may be closed at night, but the windows are well lit and I see things which make me want to return the next time I am in the area and visit them when they are open. 
     Besides walking around, it's also a great time to choose an outdoor table at a bistro and people-watch while having a meal, a glass of wine, or just coffee.  The feeling is very european and typically french.   Speaking of an evening meal, it's also a great idea to splurge and take a dinner cruise along the Seine.  There are plenty of tour boats to hop on and see the city from the water, but a dinner cruise offers much more comfort with outstanding food, wine and service while you get a first class view of nighttime Paris as you drift along the Seine.
     Whether you are headed to an evening movie and will be inside for a couple of hours, or you are going directly to dinner, take my advice and leave early enough to walk around the area at your leisure before you go inside.  If you are in Paris for a lengthy time, consider getting off of the Metro a stop or two before your final destination so that you can take a nice, long, relaxing walk to the theater or dinner.  If you are like me, you will need the promenade to battle the calories of the wonderful bread and sauces which make french food so famous.  
    Do yourself a favor and see Paris at night.  It's a different side to a city that is beautiful - night or day.


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