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The Eiffel Tower

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It is situated on the Seine River, in the north of the country, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. Within its administrative limits (the 20 arrondissements), the city had 2,241,346 inhabitants in 2014 while its metropolitan area is one of the largest population centres in Europe with more than 12 million inhabitants.

CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


The Arc de Triomphe
L'Hôtel national des Invalides
Notre-Dame Cathedral
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris
The Pont Neuf bridge at sunset.
Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F

In alphabetical order by author or source.
  • Il en coûte bien cher pour mourir à Paris.
    • Les Etourdis, Act I., Sc. II. — (Daiglemoni).
    • To die in Paris costs a pretty penny.
    • François Andrieux Translation reported in Harbottle's Dictionary of quotations French and Italian (1904), p. 56.
  • In Paris a queer little man you may see,
    A little man all in gray;
    Rosy and round as an apple is he,
    Content with the present whate'er it may be,
    While from care and from cash he is equally free,
    And merry both night and day!
    "Ma foi! I laugh at the world." says he,
    "I laugh at the world, and the world laughs at me!"
    What a gay little man in gray.
    • Pierre-Jean de Béranger The Little Man all in Gray, translation by Amelia B. Edwards; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 133.
  • Lindbergh's arrival in Paris became the defining moment of his life, that event on which all his future actions hinged — as though they were but a predestined series of equal but opposite reactions, fraught with irony... In the spring of 1927, Lindbergh had been too consumed by what he called "the single objective of landing my plane at Paris" to have considered its aftermath. "To plan beyond that had seemed an act of arrogance I could not afford," he would later write. Even if he had thought farther ahead, however, he could never have predicted the unprecedented global response to his arrival.
    By that year, radio, telephones, radiographs, and the Bartlane Cable Process could transmit images and voices around the world within seconds. What was more, motion pictures had just mastered the synchronization of sound, allowing dramatic moments to be preserved in all their glory and distributed worldwide. For the first time all of civilization could share as one the sights and sounds of an event — almost instantaneously and simultaneously. And in this unusually good-looking, young aviator — of apparently impeccable character — the new technology found its first superstar.
    The reception in Paris was only a harbinger of the unprecedented worship people would pay Lindbergh for years. Without either belittling or aggrandizing the importance of his flight, he considered it part of the continuum of human endeavor, and that he was, after all, only a man. The public saw more than that... Universally admired, Charles Lindbergh became the most celebrated living person ever to walk the Earth.
  • Paris dictates fashion to the whole world.
    • Maria Callas, as quoted in Women's Wear Daily (20 December 1958), Marie-Jacques Perrier, 'Grande nuit de l’Opéra', New York.
  • The urban renewal programme is one of the most spectacular urban programmes to have been undertaken in Paris; it is certainly the one which has provoked the biggest public outcry. The renewal programme in the strict sense of the term, has two essential characteristics:
    1) It concerns an already structured social space, of which it changes the form, the social content and/or function.
    2) It is based on public initiative, whatever the legal or financial form of the renewal agency, where private enterprise may take over the work, as in the case of Opératioll Italie.
  • I am working in Paris. I cannot for a single day get the thought out of my head that there probably exists something essential, some immutable reality, and now that I have lost everything else (thank God, it gets lost all on its own) I am trying to preserve this and, what is more, not to be content. In a word: I am working.
    • Marc Chagall, A letter to A. N. Benois, 1911, as quoted in Marc Chagall - the Russian years 1906 – 1922, editor Christoph Vitali, exhibition catalogue, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 1991, p. 146
  • Only the great distance that separates Paris from my native town prevented me from going back.. ..It was the Louvre that put end to all these hesitations. When I walked around the circular Veronese room and the rooms that the works of Manet, Delacroix and Courbet are in, I desired nothing more. In my imagination Russia (where Chagall was born, fh) took the form of a basket suspended from a parachute. The deflated pear of the balloon was hanging down, growing cold and descending slowly in the course of the years. This was how Russian art appeared to me, or something of the sort.. ..It was as if Russian art had been fatally condemned to remain in the wake of the West. (on his arrival in Paris in 1910, fh)
    • Marc Chagall My life, Marc Chagall, 1922; as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock -, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 261, (translation Daphne Woodward)
  • Paris is a city of amusements and pleasures, where four fifths of the inhabitants die of the spleen.
    • Sébastien-Roch Nicolas Chamfort. The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, Volume 99, December, 1799, p. 405.
  • Aline and I have travelled a very long, very hard road together, from our working class homes in rural Quebec to the palaces of London, Paris, Moscow, and Beijing. Politics was the route, public service the reward.
    • Jean Chrétien, My Years As Prime Minister (2007) Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2007, ISBN 978-0-676-97900-8 Chapter Fourteen, Vive le Canada, p. 406
  • I had a great Desire to see Paris, & its Curiosities: that being generally esteemed the Centre of Taste, Magnificence, Beauty & every Thing that is polite.
    • William Cole, journal entry (9 May 1766), quoted in William Cole, A Journal of My Journey to Paris in the Year 1765, ed. Francis Griffin Stokes (1931), p. 1
  • Tuit estrangier l'aiment et ameront,
    Car pour deduit et pour estre jolis,
    Jamais cité tele ne trouveront:
    Riens ne se puet comparer a Paris.
    • All strangers love her, will always find her fair,
      Because such elegance, such happiness,
      Will not be found in any town but this:
      Paris is beyond compare.
    • Eustache Deschamps "Quant j'ay la terre et mer avironnée", line 17; text and translation from Ian S. Laurie and Deborah M. Sinnreich-Levi (eds.), David Curzon and Jeffrey Fiskin (trans.) Eustache Deschamps: Selected Poems (London: Routledge, 2003) pp. 62-63.
  • Paradoxically, the freedom of Paris is associated with a persistent belief that nothing ever changes. Paris, they say, is the city that changes least. After an absence of twenty or thirty years, one still recognizes it.
  • Oh, London is a man’s town, there’s power in the air;
    And Paris is a woman’s town, with flowers in her hair;
    And it’s sweet to dream in Venice, and it’s great to study Rome;
    But when it comes to living, there is no place like home.

G - L

  • If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
  • I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know."
  • But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.
  • Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, chapter 6, p. 143 (1868), originally published 1858
  • Paris somehow lends itself to conceptual new ideas. I don't know why it is. There is a certain magic to that city.
    • Walter Kohn In a discussion with UCSD's Ivan Schuller, on UCTV Series: "UCSD Guestbook" (9/1999) (Science) (Show ID: 4136)
  • Fair Paris caught the crimson hue —
    Well may I call it fair.
    With its pure heaven of softest blue.
    Its clear and sunny air —
    Soft fell the morning o’er each dome
    That rises mid the sky ;
    And, conscious of the day to come,
    Demand their place on high.

    Round the Pantheon’s height was wrought
    A web of royal red ;
    A glory as if morning brought
    Its homage to the dead.
    And Notre Dame’s old gothic towers
    Were bathed in roseate bloom,
    As Time himself had scattered flowers
    Over that mighty tomb.

M - R

  • The words of the great French anthem rang out over the town square, sung for the first time by liberated Frenchmen in the free capital of Normandy and sung with such a feeling of life and warmth as has not been heard in France for four years.... Paris is the happiest city in the world tonight. All Paris is dancing in the streets.
  • In Paris one is too preoccupied by what one sees and what one hears, however strong one is; what I am doing here has, I think, the merit of not resembling anyone, because it is simply the expression of what I myself have experienced.
  • Send me 300 francs; that sum will enable me to go to Paris. There, at least, one can cut a figure and surmount obstacles. Everything tells me I shall succeed. Will you prevent me from doing so for the want of 100 crowns?
    • Napoleon I of France Letter to his uncle, Joseph Fesch (June 1791), as quoted in A Selection from the Letters and Despatches of the First Napoleon. With Explanatory Notes (1884) edited by D. A. Bingham, Vol. I, p. 24
  • The Paris slums are a gathering-place for eccentric people — people who have fallen into solitary, half-mad grooves of life and given up trying to be normal or decent. Poverty frees them from normal standards of behaviour, just as money frees people from work. Some of the lodgers in our hotel lived lives that were curious beyond words.
  • As our tour of the history of forgotten violence comes within sight of the present, the landmarks start to look more familiar. But even the zone of cultural memory from the last century has relics that feel like they belong to a foreign country. Take the decline of martial culture. The older cities in Europe and the United States are dotted with public works that flaunt the nation’s military might. Pedestrians can behold statues of commanders on horseback, beefcake sculptures of well-hung Greek warriors, victory arches crowned by chariots, and iron fencing wrought into the shape of swords and spears. Subway stops are named for triumphant battles: the Paris Métro has an Austerlitz station; the London Underground has a Waterloo station. Photos from a century ago show men in gaudy military dress uniforms parading on national holidays and hobnobbing with aristocrats at fancy dinners. The visual branding of long-established states is heavy on aggressive iconography, such as projectiles, edged weapons, birds of prey, and predatory cats. Even famously pacifistic Massachusetts has a seal that features an amputated arm brandishing a sword and a Native American holding a bow and arrow above the state motto, “With the sword we seek peace, but under liberty.” Not to be outdone, neighboring New Hampshire adorns its license plates with the motto “Live Free or Die.”

S - Z

  • It was the human spirit itself that failed at Paris. It is no use passing judgments and making scapegoats of this or that individual statesman or group of statesmen. Idealists make a great mistake in not facing the real facts sincerely and resolutely. They believe in the power of the spirit, in the goodness which is at the heart of things, in the triumph which is in store for the great moral ideals of the race. But this faith only too often leads to an optimism which is sadly and fatally at variance with actual results. It is the realist and not the idealist who is generally justified by events. We forget that the human spirit, the spirit of goodness and truth in the world, is still only an infant crying in the night, and that the struggle with darkness is as yet mostly an unequal struggle…. Paris proved this terrible truth once more. It was not Wilson who failed there, but humanity itself. It was not the statesmen that failed, so much as the spirit of the peoples behind them.
    • Gen. Jan Christian Smuts, letter (Jan. 8, 1921); published in the New York Evening Post (March 2, 1921).
  • America is my country and Paris is my home town and it is as it has come to be.
  • And so I am an American and I have lived half my life in Paris, not the half that made me but the half in which I made what I made.
  • Good talkers are only found in Paris.
  • Paris flared — Paris, which the divine sun had sown with light, and where in glory waved the great future harvest of Truth and of Justice.
    • Émile Zola Paris (1898) Last of Les Trois Villes [The Three Cities] trilogy
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