Paris. Just thinking about the name induces a palpitation in one’s imagination. Everyone, it seems, wants to visit Paris – at least once.
At the turn of the 20th century Paris was the center of the world, gushing with sophistication and setting the standards for taste, elegance and luxury. When The City of Light opened her gates in 1900 to the Universal Exposition, 51 million people poured in from around the world to see the international wonders and to experience the many sensory pleasures that the most beautiful city in the world offered.
Now, Paris has reclaimed her premier position and is the number one travel destination in the world. The Eiffel Tower, built for the 1900 exposition and was only to be a temporary monument, became the enduring emblem of Paris. The draw to this emblematic place is powerful. It’s almost as if it emits an electromagnetic message around the world saying, “Come, COME! Visit me. I almost died 70 years ago.”
I wonder how many of today’s visitors realize that in 1944 this magnificent monument along with the entire city almost disappeared by one crazy man waving his hand.
In August 1944, as the allied forces were heading toward Paris, Hitler sent out the order to the General in charge of Paris that the city should not fall into allied hands. He ordered the destruction of all bridges and razing the entire city. He wanted Paris flattened out and burning. Thankfully, Gen. Choltitz ignored these orders and today we still have beautiful Paris. On August 25 Parisians gathered in front of their city hall Le Mairie for a spectacular commemoration of the liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany.
Yes, everyone should experience Paris. At least once.
Photography by Frank Meitzke www.hdrfoto.me