The Magnetism of Paris

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.

World War I interrupted this exhuberance for a while until things picked up again during the Roaring Twenties (les années folles) then down again during World War II when Nazi Germany occupied Paris for four terrifying years.

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.”

Niederbronn Verdun Paris Urlaub

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



12 thoughts on “The Magnetism of Paris

  1. Superb! Dorothy your description of Paris is so vivid and well done that it would be hard to resist and not take the first plane or train to go and visit this beautiful City

  2. Bravo Dorothy ! Could not be better described. You are doing a great job and you write very well. For somebody like me who knows Paris so well, your description is so accurate and the history part very interesting and well documented. I enjoyed reading you.
    As you know, I never get tired of my visits there, it is my second home.

  3. Hi Dorothy,Beautiful blog with terrific photos.Thanks for sharing!! Hey by the way, did you run across the website of your friend’s son, the one with the tips for travellers?Pam

    Pam Kowalski, MHS, PhD

    Co-Active Coach/Consultant

    Merianweg 11

    61381 Friedrichsdorf

    Tel: 0160 90 122 “At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, no recipient… only the universe rearranging itself.”(Jon Kabat-Zinn – Wherever You Go There You Are)

    Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2014 15:16:09 +0000 To:

  4. Hi again Dorothy, Thanks for the post.  Paris . . . what a great subject!  We were there for only about three days in 2006.  “Magnetism” is the right word.  I want to go back.  Maybe somehow I can pull it off in conjunction with my plans for helping Alli spend some time in Germany next summer.   Larry

  5. Dorothy, there is a new German film out about that General and a Swedish diplomat that did everything he could to talk him out of detonating explosives. Looks good, called The General I think and hoping to see it in October…also the book, Is Paris Burning is based on same. Enjoyed your blog very much! Linda

  6. So true and those of us who lived in Paris and worked for DEA in the US Embassy, had fabulous experiences. Paris indeed has magical qualities. It should be on all “bucket lists” of places to visit !!

  7. Hi Dorothy! Have to agree with you that Paris is magnetic!! I just visited Moscow–not exactly Paris, but full of life-long friends! Now I’m back in Austin unpacking and catching up!

    Hope you have been having a fantastic summer! Hugs, Marisa


    1. Well, gorgeous Moscow has its own special magnetism and Paris and Moscow nearly shared the same destructive fate during WWII with the Nazi Germany army tanks rolling in right up to the city’s edge. The Russians put up a brave battle as we all know.

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