I love Paris
I will try and recollect my first images of Paris here, because those images vary to a very large extent, now that I have been a regular to Paris.
Paris is a pretty small city compared to many other European capitals. The Govt had mooted an idea of extending its boundaries to the suburbs in order to make a “Greater Paris” area, aka London, but this seems to be stuck in the pipeline despite President Sarkozy taking this on himself and making it a priority!
We reached Paris on a warm sunny day. The trees were alive with new leaves, people were seated on sidewalk cafes chatting amicably, and drinking in outdoor terraces – window gazing and ambling lazily on the streets – it’s easy to love spring in Paris. I absolutely love this city. A thriving megapolis Paris also has many hidden treasures. We discovered this cute little village like lane where we strolled along under blossoming trees and a canal cris-crossing at intervals never once being cut off by any vehicular traffic. Now that is never possible in a Bombay:)
The slight nip in the air saw the evenings receive light showers. That made it comfortable if you are snug in a jacket to walk about with pleasure. I was warned well in advance that I was not likely to find any food (veg) to my liking, so I was so well prepared to last out on bread and cheese that when I stumbled on eateries I was so gloriously delighted to find great tasting veg food! Minus the French onion soup though!
On a wintry afternoon I discovered the crepes guy making hot crepes that melted in the mouth with maple syrup – o so so so yum! Meethinks the French spend more time eating compared to any other country including Italy. Not surprising, giving the gourmet foods on display and the glorious cheeses and wines! But the one thing that stood out for me was the formal attitude of the waiters and waitress in the patisseries and cafes and lounges and restobars. I've never come across one with an attitude that could be described as remotely 'casual'. Always propah, always formal stiff and starched- a sunny smile could do wonders in the winter chill am sure:)
I was also warned about the rude French folks who would neither be helpful nor polite. And of course that they wouldn’t speak English no matter what! And once again I was so pleasantly surprised. They spoke English, they were courteous, charming and above all very helpful. Wonder why the Parisians have earned themselves such a -ve brand equity.
Anyway moving to what is an absolute must in case you are visiting for the very first time, take in this gorgeous city at face value. It is indeed the land of romance and love – and you will find young and old smooching, hugging, holding hands, in a tight clinch anywhere and everywhere. Lovely isn’t it!:)
Ok coming to the sites and sounds- of course the Eiffel Tower, is a must see, this colossal landmark, although initially hated by many Parisians, is now a famous symbol of French civic pride. It looks beautiful at night when lit
Notre Dame Cathedral, this famous cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture (12th century marvel), stands on the Île de la Cité is the symbolic heart of the city.
Luxembourg Gardens, are a beautiful 25 hectares green oasis on Paris’s fashionable left bank showing off many statues, fountains and flowers, it is one of the most popular destinations for relaxation.
Louvre Palace-Museum, home to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. The Louvre is more than simply the largest museum in the world. The stones of the building are a collective symbol of French identity. It has an unparalleled collection of items covering the full spectrum of art through the ages of 800 years of history. There is much to see here, please wear sensible shoes for the immense lengths you will be walking here.
Arc de Triomphe, This world-famous landmark structure has served ever since the days of Napoleon as a symbol of victory for triumphant French troops returning home.
Pantheon, this ancient church is the resting place for many of France's greatest heroes.
If you like some expensive entertainment, the Lido on the Champs Elysées is a good choice. We went to the show Bonheur, which is still playing. I guess you can compare it with the Moulin Rouge, but it's better actually.
I've been to both and the Lido is more glamorous and there are more dancers. You really can't compare the show - it's just different. In the Lido the stage moves all the time. They have great dancers, clothing, light, water and even a real horse in their show.
It costs a lot of money, but for the Lido is more worth it than the Moulin Rouge.
And once you have done all these- make sure you eat in the sidewalk cafes, sip wine in the evenings at restobars, lounge about in some cozy cafes and bars, explore the cuisine and try your hand at new foods, get yourself going on the Parisian culture of etiquette and fine living:)
Its always au revoir for Paris for me – goodbye till we meet again:)
Posted by Mee at 04:06