27 November 2014

Today's Paris

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 !


  1. Definitely nice cite but I wonder if London is not much more densly populated

  2. Not according to Wikipedia. London 13K/sq. mi., Paris 21K.

  3. "Mais Paris est aussi la France !....
    not to the locals around here...
    they seem to dislike Paris as a city...
    and they detest the Parisians who have "quinzaine" holiday homes here...
    and deplore their crass behaviour and ill manners...
    and the fact that they only seem to use the boulangerie when here for the 15 to 30 days per year.
    On the other hand...
    permanent movers from Paris to here are welcomed....
    I think that they might be seen as "refugees"?

  4. I rather wish my city had kept its centre intact, as a city of Victorian architecture and the high rise on the edge. I also wish we traffic was more actively discouraged in the city.

  5. Err, the last sentence. You probably know what I mean.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Walt and all your American readers.

  7. Paris is France to me and NYC is America and we are the all part of the Internet world now. Happy Thanksgiving, Ken and Walt and all who celebrate.

  8. happy turkey day to you & Walt

  9. I'm thankful for you and Walt and your wonderful blogs. Happy Thanksgiving!

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