How to lay out a city…in eight and one half minutes

While reviewing some of the great action movie stunts of all times, I was steered (get it: steered?) to this short film by French New Wave auteur Claude Lelouch.  While you probably don’t want to recreate this famous and wildly reckless driving scene, take eight minutes to focus on the beauty and layout of Parisian streets.  For me, this is as close as I’ll get to a romantic French getaway for some time.

Notice the tree canopy throughout the city.  Notice the varying widths of both sidewalks and streets.  Notice that many of the long, straight thouroughfares end with a magnificent, landmark building that is framed by the buildings along the street.  Notice the monuments, churches and other iconic buildings.  Notice the public spaces and how they connnect.  Notice the set backs and use of both residential and retail.  Notice that not all the streets are really that pretty in and of themselves.  Mostly, though, notice how all of these compliment each other and create a real sense of place.

After all, where else could this possibly be but Paris?