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Paris quotes

Napoleon« Secrets travel fast in Paris » — Napoleon Bonaparte

Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history; so she seemed in this age of Napoleon III with her towering buildings, her massive cathedrals, her grand boulevards and ancient winding medieval streets – as vast and indestructible as nature itself. -Anne Rice

What an immense impression Paris made upon me. It is the most extraordinary place in the world! -Charles Dickens

Good talkers are only found in Paris. — François Villon

I’d like to see Paris before I die. Philadelphia will do. — Mae West

« That was the moment I fell in love with Paris and the moment that I felt that Paris had fallen in love with me. » — Carol, in the 2006 series of mini-films about Paris and love, called Paris Je t’aime

« To err is human. To loaf is Parisian. » — Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Everything ends this way in France – everything. Weddings, christenings, duels, burials, swindlings, diplomatic affairs – everything is a pretext for a good dinner. -Jean Anouilh

You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden. -Allen Ginsberg

Mieux vaut être un authentique Américain qu’un faux Français. — Frederic D. Crowninshield

Coming [to Paris] has been a wonderful experience, surprising in many respects, one of them being to find how much of an American I am. -Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Mon Dieu, plutôt que d’aller au paradis, je préférais aller en Europe. — William Merritt Chase, painter

When spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise. — Henry Miller

Every time I look down on this timeless town,
 whether blue or gray be her skies,
 whether loud be her cheers, or whether soft be her tears,
 more and more do I realize that…I love Paris. – Ella Fitzgerald

« The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant ». -T.S. Eliot

Avec des si et des mais, on mettrait Paris dans une bouteille. – Dicton
If ifs and ands were pots and pans there’d be no work for tinkers’ hands. – Proverb

Compte tenu du nombre de bouchons, Paris a bel et bien été mis en bouteille.  — Régis Hauser

  • La Côte d’Azur est la serre où poussent les racines. Paris est la boutique où on vend les fleurs.
  • A Paris tout le monde veut être acteur; personne ne se résigne à être spectateur. « Le Coq et l’Arlequin » — Jean Cocteau

Paris fait plus que la loi, il fait la mode. — Victor Hugo, « Les Misérables »

Nous aurons toujours Paris… — Humphrey Bogart dans « Casablanca »

Everything culture has an attitude towards nature. I think the French feel that you  have to fit into nature and control it, but live along with it. You cannot violate it without paying for it. It is not necessarily hostile, but you have to be careful to keep nature civilized. –  Laurence Wylie in Contemporary French Culture and Society, 1981

JeanneOf the love or hatred God has for the English, I know nothing, but I do know that they will all be thrown out of France, except those who die here. –  Attributed to Joan of Arc

The whole of Paris is a vast university of Art, Literature and Music… it is worth anyone’s while to dally here for years. Paris is a seminar, a post-graduate course in everything. -James Thurber

« A vingt ans, la Parisienne est adorable ; à trente ans, irrésistible ; à quarante, charmante. Après quarante ans ? Jamais une Parisienne ne dépasse quarante ans.  » — André Maurois

  • London is a riddle. Paris is an explanation.
  • 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.
  • “There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other,” he wrote. “Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it.” – Ernest Hemingway

Paris est la ville où les caniveaux sont les plus propres du monde parce que les chiens les respectent. 
– Alain Schifres

John-Lennon-Let-it-Be

John Lennon by Nate Vanden Bos

Listen, the snow is falling over town… between Tokyo and Paris, between London and Dallas, between your God and mine. Listen, the snow is falling everywhere… –John Lennon, Listen, the Snow is Falling

Savez-vous pourquoi il y a tant d’églises à Paris ? C’est pour permettre aux piétons d’entrer faire une prière avant de traverser la rue.  — Art Buchwald

Tout homme a deux pays, le sien et puis la France! — Henri de Bornier

America is my country and Paris is my hometown. -Gertrude Stein

Conduire dans Paris, c’est une question de vocabulaire. — Michel Audiard

L’Europe se rapproche de l’Amérique d’un centimètre par siècle. Pourtant le prix de la traversée reste le même. — François Cavanna

I could spend my whole life watching the Seine flow by. It is a poem of Paris. — Blaise Cendrars

An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Dieu a inventé le Parisien pour que les étrangers ne puissent rien comprendre aux Français.  — Alexandre Dumas, fils

The national characteristics… the restless metaphysical curiosity, the tenderness of good living and the passionate individualism. This is the invisible constant in a place with which the ordinary tourist can get in touch just by sitting quite quietly over a glass of wine in a Paris bistro.” -Lawrence Durrell

Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past. -Michael Simkins

Paris is always a good idea.
– Audrey Hepburn

The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay, I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café. -Oscar Hammerstein

It is perfectly possible to be enamoured of Paris while remaining totally indifferent or even hostile to the French. -James Baldwin

Mark-Twain

Mark Twain by Nate VandenBos

  • …anywhere is better than Paris. Paris the cold, Paris the drizzly, Paris the rainy, Paris the damnable. More than a hundred years ago somebody asked Quin, « Did you ever see such a winter in all your life before? » « Yes, » said he, « Last summer. » I judge he spent his summer in Paris. Let us change the proverb; Let us say all bad Americans go to Paris when they die. No, let us not say it for this adds a new horror to Immortality. – letter to Lucius Fairchild, 28 April 1880
  • In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language. – The Innocents Abroad
  • Trivial Americans go to Paris when they die.
    - Mark Twain

Paris ain’t much of a town. -Babe Ruth

Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant. -Honoré de Balzac

  • “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and jeffersonin the point of Life.”
  • “I am savage enough to prefer the woods, the wilds, and the independence of Monticello, to all the brilliant pleasures of this gay capital [Paris]”.
  • “France is every man’s second country”.― Thomas Jefferson

“The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Each sentence we produce, whether we know it or not, is a mongrel mouthful of Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Miltonic, Johnsonian, Dickensian and American. Military, naval, legal, corporate, criminal, jazz, rap and ghetto discourses are mingled at every turn. The French language, like Paris, has attempted, through its Academy, to retain its purity, to fight the advancing tides of Franglais and international prefabrication. English, by comparison, is a shameless whore.”
― Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within

« Paris a mon coeur dès mon enfance. Je ne suis français que par cette grande cité. Grande surtout et incomparable en variété. La gloire de la France et l’un des plus nobles ornements du monde ». — Michel de Montaigne

There is an atmosphere of spiritual effort here. No other city is quite like it. I wake early, often at 5 o’clock, and start writing at once. -James Joyce

  • J’ai deux amours…..Mon pays et Paris.
    (I have two loves…..my country and Paris.)
  • I like Frenchmen very much, because even when they insult you they do it so nicely. — Josephine Baker

« To inhale Paris preserves the soul. » – Victor Hugo, ‘Les Misérables’

You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden. – Allen Ginsberg

This is what you do on your very first day in Paris. You get yourself, not a drizzle, but some honest-to-goodness rain, and you find yourself someone really nice and drive her through the Bois de Boulogne in a taxi. The rain’s very important. That’s when Paris smells its sweetest.  It’s the damp chestnut trees.- Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina

Ajoutez deux lettres à Paris : c’est le paradis. – Jules Renard

Le vrai parisien n’aime pas Paris, mais il ne peut vivre ailleurs. – Alphonse Karr

Les yeux de la Parisienne ont toujours l’air de faire quelque chose de plus que de vous regarder.  — Chevalier de Gramont

That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me. – Adriana in Midnight in Paris

The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American. It is more fun for an intelligent person to live in an intelligent country. France has the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older – intelligence and good manners. -F. Scott Fitzgerald

À Paris dans chaque faubourg
Le soleil de chaque journée
Fait en quelques destinées
Eclore un rêve d’amour.
Parmi la foule un amour se pose
Sur une âme de vingt ans.
Pour elle tout se métamorphose
Tous est couleur de printemps.
À Paris quand le jour se lève
À Paris dans chaque faubourg
À vingt ans on fait des rêves
Tout est couleur d’amour

Georges-Brassens

Georges Brassens by Nate Vandenbos

À Paris dans chaque faubourg
Quand la nuit rêveuse est venue
À toute heure une âme émue
Évoque un rêve d’amour.
Des jours heureux il ne reste trace
Tout est couleur de la nuit.
Mais a vingt ans l’avenir efface
Le passé quand l’espoir luit
À Paris dès la nuit venue
À Paris dans chaque faubourg
À toute heure une âme émue
Rêve encore à l’amour.

– Chanson de George Brassens
Paris is the only city in the world where starving to death is still considered an art. –Carlos Ruiz Zafón
A final reminder. Whenever you are in Paris at twilight in the early summer, return to the Seine and watch the evening sky close slowly on a last strand of daylight fading quietly, like a sigh. –Kate Simon

Even the pigeons are dancing, kissing, going in circles, mounting each other. Paris is the city of love, even for the birds. –Samantha Schutz

It is no accident that propels people like us to Paris. Paris is simply an artificial stage, a revolving stage that permits the spectator to glimpse all phases of the conflict. Of itself Paris initiates no dramas. They are begun elsewhere. Paris is simply an obstetrical instrument that tears the living embryo from the womb and puts it in the incubator. –Henry Miller

Être parisien, ce n’est pas être né à Paris, c’est y renaître.  — Sacha Guitry

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