Friday, August 17, 2012

Paris :)

(written many months ago :)  )

It was going to be a flying visit to the capital city of France. We were to reach Saturday morning and leave Sunday night. When Sid asked me what i wanted to do, my answer was simple.

‘Walk around Paris' I said.

This was my second trip to Paris. I had gone there first about 2 years ago with some great friends. While the company was fantastic, the problem was the weather. It was dark and damp and raining the whole while. Even then I had told sid that I wanted to come back to Paris in better weather and that is what we did.

Highlights of the trip
Let me start with the lowlights :)

• So we were sitting in the Eurostar train as a group of 4 well dressed, fashionable young women came and sat next to us. A little later a potbellied Indian (Asian for sure) uncle walked past with a camera in his hand. He stopped short when he saw the attractive women, pointed the camera towards one of them and said ‘One picture?’. The girl was visibly shocked. ‘No!’ she said. ‘What no?’ he said slyly as he focussed his camera. The girl then hid her face behind her hands as the Uncle jee clicked the picture. As he left I could see the women roll their eyes at each other. I felt acutely embarrassed by his behaviour. And hence this request to all of us who go about of the country- please enjoy yourselves as much as you want to, but also please respect other tourists and women.

• Made my way to the metro ticket counter in Paris when an elderly man pointed to my bag and asked me to keep an eye on it. Apparently some young men were eyeing it. Not a great start, I thought but how wrong was I.

• You can kill me for it but I don’t find the Eiffel tower beautiful. Majestic, yes, but beautiful no. There is very little in it that appeals to my innate sense beauty. Yet as we stood the Trocadero, with the Eiffel in the background, Tibetan musicians playing a haunting melody as the sun set- the hair on my hands stood up- it was just so beautiful. And around me was life. People were milling about. I stared for hours at a couple who were trying to take a picture of themselves kissing the sides of the Eiffel tower ( in the background). Each click would be followed by them hopefully turning around the camera to have look at the picture and then they would burst out laughing. The looked like they were so much in love. I saw this young family with a little daughter. The father hoisted his daughter high above as the child gurgled with laughter and extended her hand. The mother grabbed the photo op and clicker ferociously as the daughter lunged forward for the camera. Twins wearing identical clothes and hopping around…

• We walked for hours and hours and hours (reached Paris at 11 and walked till 4 when we reached our hotel, left again at 7 and walked till12 on day one. Day two we started out at 12 and walked till 7!) and discovered parts of the city we did not even know about. And that truly is the joy of walking the city on foot.

• At eleven in the night we reached the Louvre. I have been inside the museum before and all I wanted to do was to stare at the building at night. And what a sight it was. The warm yellow from inside the pyramid and the understated elegance of the museum building. I highly recommend going there at night!

• We were entertained by skaters who performed stunts for the tourists next to the Cathedral of Notre Dame

• I bought handmade paintings (tiny ones) from an artist in Paris. They are gorgeous and will add to my collection of handmade paintings by street artists from my travels

• Paris and London are a lot like each other. Yet there are massive differences. The biggest one was music. Parisians sing and play instruments so much more than the Londoners do. So there was this group of Moroccans sitting in the gardens below the Eiffel Towers singing in a group seemingly having the time of their lives. The trocedaro- people has gathered in groups are were playing instruments and singing along…

• River Siene that runs through the city is gorgeous. Particularly around central Paris. The day was sunny and the night was warm. As we strolled, we spotted hundereds of people sitting on the banks, their guitars in tow singing, laughing and having a great time. Everyone was relaxed and happy and it was so nice to be there!

• Our hotel was close to the Eiffel Tower but that was not the best part about it (for as you already know I am not a big fan of the Tower). The hotel was bang in the midle of a criss cross of lanes that had beautiful cafes and restaurants all over. I had a great time exploring the streets, eating in the cafes, inhaling the smell of freshly baked bread….amazing!

• Shopping- in Paris you have to shop. Now generally I can flit in and out of shos for hours and hours and not find a single thing. Very rarely, and it does happen once in a while, I just manage to find a whole lot of stuff that I really like. And that, my dear friends happened in Paris. Quick and clean- I had bought about 6 dresses in one hour flat. Obviously one of the highlights of the my trip

In love with Paris!



Divya said...

I have never been to Paris but it is one place that I wish to go soon :) :) I am surprised you don't find the Eiffel Tower beautiful but then I guess to each his own - I remember the first time I visited the Taj Mahal - I did not like it at all. I could not for the life of me figure out why was it one of the 7 wonders of the world when there are so many other beautiful monuments in our country itself....I love shopping!! Hoping to make it to Paris on one of my travel destinations someday :)

Nisha said...

I loved Eiffel from Trocodaro too.. especially at night. Otherwise, it's not so cool.
I loved the people sitting by Seine river, it was amazing. because of them and many other things, Paris will always be my first love :)

Swati said...

Loved your post about Paris and good to hear that you had such a great time.

Reema said...

sigh!! your post made me jealous!! my sister stayed in paris for 2 years but I never got a chance to visit.