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After traveling to Prague and then Vienna and now Paris, I have concluded that no city in the world compares with Paris in terms of architectural beauty. Prague, I applaud you for your castle and Charles Bridge. Vienna, your transportation system is supreme, the Albertina is my favorite museum, and I love the summer palaces and "beaches" along the Danube canal. But Paris!

From the Gothic feat of Notre Dame, complete with flying buttresses and several rose windows, to the stained glass of the Saint Chapelle, along with the Luxembourg Palace and gardens, and the Louvre museum; Paris exceeded my expectations. I once visited New York City and found it to be dirty and grey, and I assumed the same of Paris and all large, popular cities. Clearly, I was mistaken.

Our trip of Paris consisted mostly of walking about and just staring around in awe. At Notre Dame, I wished to spend hours studying the western facade---the horizontal frieze depicting kings, and then each portal beneath with figures lining the arches and holding sculptures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Then we ventured to Saint Chapelle, a favorite Gothic cathedral of mine since high school. Here, I cried as I looked up at the stained glass that lined the room.

Later, we visited the French Pantheon, which is inspired by both the Greek Parthenon and Roman Pantheon. Then I read some Les Miserables at the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens, then a exterior visit of the Musee de Louvre, and finally we ended the first night with a spectacular, albeit touristy, light show at the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday, we trekked up 674 steps to the second platform of the Eiffel Tower. Truly, more grand that I ever imagined, this structure is an incredible architectural feat of the late 19th century. Then we spent an afternoon at the Louvre. The museum itself, constructed sometime in the 12th century, was converted from a palace to it's present purpose. Within, great artworks by Gericault, Vermeer, Delacroix, and Michelangelo stand in large, ornate Baroque rooms. Ultimately, I was lost in the sights and architecture of Paris for the whole weekend and I must conclude that it was all a dream.

Artist sketching the Winged Victory of Samothrace
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