Parisians favor residence in flats, and they enjoy immensely their outdoor methods of living. At sundown the wide walks in front of brilliant cafes are crowded with well dressed men and women, who seek rest and refreshment in sipping coffee, wine, or absynthe, scanning the papers for bits of social or political news, and discussing the latest fad or sensation of the day. The English hurry but the French rarely.
Paris under electric light is indeed a fairyland. The boulevards are brilliant and the scenes most animating. Everybody is courteous, and all seen bent on a pleasurable time. Cafes, shops, and places of entertainment are very inviting, and you easily forget to note the passage of time. Midnight even overtakes you before you are aware of the lateness of the hour. This is true, if you chance to visit, as did the Harris party, some characteristic phases of Parisian life.
Near the east end of the Champs-Elysees, under the gas light and beneath the trees, they found open-air theaters, concerts, crowded cafes, and pretty booths supplied with sweets and drinks. Every afternoon if the weather is favorable, tastefully dressed children appear in charge of nursemaids in white caps and aprons, and together they make picturesque groups in the shade of elm and lime trees.
At breakfast, Leo proposed a study of Paris, as seen from the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile, so named from the star formed by a dozen avenues which radiate from it. The location is at the west end of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees. This monument is one of the finest ever built by any nation for its defenders. It is 160 feet in height, 145 in width, was begun in 1806 by Napoleon and completed thirty years afterwards by Louis Philippe. Figures and reliefs on the arch represent important events in Napoleon’s campaigns. Arriving at the arch, Leo led the way up a spiral staircase, 261 steps to the platform above which commands fine views of Paris.
The Champs-Elysees, a boulevard one thousand feet in width, extends east over a mile from the monument of the Place de la Concord. Handsome buildings flank the sides, and much of the open space is shaded with elm and lime trees. Grand statues, fountains, and flowers add their charm. Between three and five o’clock every pleasant afternoon this magnificent avenue becomes the most fashionable promenade in the world. Here you will behold the elite in attendance at Vanity Fair; many are riding in elegant equipages, many on horseback, and almost countless numbers on foot.
The popular drive is out the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, 320 feet in width, to the Bois de Boulogne, a beautiful park of 2250 acres, containing several lakes and fringed on the west side by the River Seine. In the southwest part of this park is located the Hippodrome de Longchamp, which is the principal race-course near Paris, where races attract vast crowds, especially when the French Derby or the Grand Prix of twenty thousand dollars is competed for early in June.