Fuel is exceedingly dear in Paris, and the buildings are not made for in-door comfort. If they were as warmly made as the houses of New York, they would be comfortable in winter, but such not being the case, and fuel being costly, comfort in private apartments is rarely to be had by any but the rich. Coal is not used to any great extent, though charcoal is burned in small quantities, but wood is the fuel principally used. It is sold in small packages, and is principally brought up from the distant provinces by the canals. The amount of wood required to make what a Frenchman would call a glowing fire, would astonish an American. A half a dozen sticks, not much larger or longer than his fingers, laid crosswise in a little hearth, is sufficient for a man’s chamber. A log which one of our western farmers would think nothing of consuming in a winter’s evening, would bring quite a handsome sum in Paris on any winter day. The truth is, the economical traveler had better not spend his winter in Paris, for comfort at that time costs money. The houses admit such volumes of cold air, the windows are so loose and the doors such wretched contrivances, and that, too, in the best of French cities, that the stranger sighs for the comforts of home. Nowhere in the world is so much taste displayed as in Paris, in the furnishing of apartments. This is known as far as Paris is, but it is always the outside appearance which is attended to, and nothing more. It is like the Parisian dandy who wears a fine coat, hat, and false bosom, but has no shirt. The homes of Paris are got up, many of them at least, upon this principle. The rooms are elegantly furnished, and in pleasant weather are indeed very pleasant to abide in, but let a cold day come, and they are as uncomfortable as can be, and the ten thousand conveniences which a New York or London household would think it impossible to be without, are wanting.
The longest day in Paris is sixteen hours, the shortest eight. The cities of Europe are distant from it as follows: Brussels, one hundred and eighty-nine miles; Berlin, five hundred and ninety-three; Frankfort, three hundred and thirty-nine; Lisbon, one thousand one hundred and four; Rome, nine hundred and twenty-five; Madrid, seven hundred and seventy-five; Constantinople, one thousand five hundred and seventy-four; St. Petersburgh, one thousand four hundred and five. These places are all easily reached from Paris in these modern days of railways and steamers.
The situation of Paris is much more favorable to health than that of London. London is a low plain—Paris is upon higher ground; yet London is the healthiest city. The reason is, that the latter is so thoroughly drained, and the tide of the Thames sweeping through it twice a day, carries away all the impurities of the sewers. Paris might surpass London in its sewerage easily, but as it is, some of its narrow streets in warm weather are fairly insupportable, from the intolerable stench arising in them.