Paris is a huge, modern city, with all the pleasures and tribulations of the 21st century. It's the most densely populated city in Europe, with 2.25 million people crammed into just 105 square kilometers — about 41 square miles. San Francisco, by comparison, covers 47 square miles but has a population of only 840,000. A Parisian might feel a little lonesome there! The island of Manhattan in New York City is more densely populated, but there are many more high-rise apartment buildings there.
Not all the streets in Paris are narrow and quaint. In fact, it's mostly a city of grand avenues and boulevards. Above you see the 59-story Tour Montparnasse (an office building) from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, looking up the Rue de Rennes. Many people hate it, but it's been there for more than 40 years now, which means that for people like me it has always been part of the Paris skyline. It just is.
Construction cranes are also a feature of the skyline these days. New buildings are going up all around the edges of the historic core of the city. The city changes constantly, but it keeps its character. This is a view of the Right Bank from a spot near the Jardin des Plantes and the Gare d'Austerlitz.
These are on the Right bank too, along the river across from the Austerlitz train station. The eastern part of the city, which was given over to warehouses and even factories well into the 20th century, is being redeveloped. There's a lot of steel and glass.
There's a lot of car and truck traffic in the city, but maybe less than there was 30 years ago. Dedicated bus, taxi, and bike lanes have been created to encourage people to get out of their cars and move around by public transit, on bike, or on foot. There is no such thing as unpaid parking any more. Paris is a world unto itself. It has been said that Paris and France are two different places, and there's a lot of truth in that. Mais Paris est aussi la France !