Supposedly, springtime is the best time to be in Paris. Love is in the air, the flowers are in bloom, the Seine sparkles in the sun and everything feels right with the world. Heck, I even named by blog after this mythical time of the year. Unfortunately, what you need for a great spring is a great weather pattern, and that is something that has largely eluded us. For the most part Paris in the spring has been Paris under the clouds. But no worries, I've found the true time when this city is at its best; when love is in the air, the buildings sparkle and everything feels right with the world. If you want to see Paris at her best then you have to see Paris not in the springtime but in the nighttime.
Paris by night is simply breathtaking. The buildings, monuments and fountains are all lit up, the traffic is calm and late night restaurants and cafés are the places to be. The Eiffel Tower is more beautiful, Notre Dame more imposing and the bridges on the Seine more romantic. By day, the Champs-Elysées is a confusing mass of human and vehicle movement and noise. By night, its wide sidewalks become the perfect place to take a moonlit stroll. When you reach the Arc de Triomphe - glowing in all its grandeur - you'll understand why Paris is the most visited city in the world.
My roommate and I found ourselves outside late last night in a park that is located between the Arc de Triomphe and the Grande Arche of La Défense. The long street that runs between these two landmarks is a perfectly straight line. With old, classic Paris lit up to our left and new, modern Paris lit up to our right, we were so struck by the beauty of it all that we just stood there for a few minutes to take it in. At that moment, there wasn't anywhere else in the world we would have rather been. Spend some time wandering this city at night and I think you'll feel the same way.