Monday, 24 September 2007

An evening in Paris (also 2 days and 2 nights)

There are cities which you like, cities which you hate, cities which you visit and cities which you pass by with out a glance and then there are cities which you fall in love with.......

We started from London by bus to Dover and then took a ferry to cross the english channel and then bus again from Calais to Paris.

The first thing we visited was.....

Eiffel tower is no different from the telecom towers erected by our good old BSNL. In fact Eiffel tower was used as a telecom tower to make the first transatlantic call. Its so huge and magnificent that you cannot help wonder the ingenuity of human mind. We went to the top of the tower and then did what visitors usually do...pose for photos (which is ridiculous....people visit a place and rather than enjoy the scenery or the monument, they are more concerned with posing for photos in front of it.....on top of the tower people were fighting for spots so that they can pose their ugly mugs in front of a ancient city scape so that they can show that to their friends and relatives and keeping in tradition of millions of our predecessors, we also did the same.)

Louvre is a museum is a showcase for those people who had no better work than to churn out one master piece after another. Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Rodin and many more artists/sculptors who were too lazy to do real work (like what we do) for a living have many of their works displayed here.

The museum is huge and its been said that if you spend 30 seconds seeing one artifact, it will take you 3 months to completely cover the whole museum.I did not have that much of time with me so just visited Mona darling (not Loin's Mona, but Leonardo's), Virgin on the rocks,the inverted pyramid (all these may not make much sense to others but for those who are Dan Brown fans, its like you are tracing the same path which the protagonists do in Da Vinci code..which is pretty foolish because Dan wrote it for making money and we ended up paying money for the book and also to look at all the things described in the book. The french government should be indebted to Dan for increasing the tourist to France)
Many researchers, historians have analysed the smile of La Jaconde (aka Mona Lisa). There has been endless arguments on who she is and why is she smiling. The enigmatic smile has perplexed the historians (but nothing new there since the historians are a perplexed lot.They take a piece of metal, which was supposed to be used by a king long back and then spend considerable part of their life analysing the impact of that piece of metal on the kingdom and people. People like Dan Brown write novels on that and make money !). I felt that Mona darling's smile is mocking at those millions of people who throng to see a painting of a slightly obese woman (what inspired Leonardo to paint her?...only he knows).

Then there was Disneyland. While the Louvre showcased the artistry and creativity of man (and woman of course !!), Disneyland shows how imagination can be used to make people come and go through those terrifying, heart attack inducing rides...that too paying money for it.Some of those rides were so terrifying that I thought that I'll just go and sit in one of those rides designed for kids 3-7 years in which the only terrible thing that may happen is a kid dropping ice cream on you.But I prevailed and went in for some crazy rides, which had 360 degree spins, oblique angled turns and sudden drops, which I thought was cool but only after I stopped shaking and realised that I made it in one piece with all my organs attached in their respective places and doing what they are supposed to do.
But nevertheless a great place to take your kids so that in addition to the fear of all those rides, you also fear(or hope !!) that the kids may get lost in the sea of people. And whats worse is they get lost and go in one of those stores (which by the way are present at every ten steps) which sell a lot of cute, lovely, wonderful and horribly expensive Disney character dolls and memorabilia. Once you find back your kid, you'll then have to buy him/her the toy so that he/she will stop crying and also redeem yourself from the guilt of losing the kid while you were checking out that thing in red with long legs (I mean the character of enchanted princess and not what you are thinking).

Perfume (origin Latin "per fumum", meaning through smoke) is no strange to us and Paris is supposed to be very famous for it. So we visited a perfumery. We were explained the history of perfume, how the perfume was made,different kinds of flowers used in making, the processes involved, the different countries which export the flowers, the quantities of flowers involved, the notes, the noses involved etc. We then tested some perfumes, by the end of which my nose was so saturated with the fumes, I could not differentiate one perfume from another. We were quite impressed by this only to realise that the explanation given was not to acquaint us with the world of perfumes, but to justify the price they charge for the perfumes. Expensive is an understatement. But people bought them to gift them to their loved ones. I too bought a set with a with a thought in my brain.

We also went on a boat ride on river seine (which by the way runs through Paris). The Parisians have built innumerable number of bridges across the river. Each and every time something important happens, they build a bridge to commemorate it (bridges honouring Henry the Vth, Alexander, the French Revolution, the new bridge--which is around 200 years old, etc...Every time a king comes to power,a bridge and when he dies another bridge)When I was leaving Paris I heard that there was plans to build one more bridge.....yes to commemorate my visit.The boat ride was good and you could have a look of all the important buildings and monuments on either side of the river.
One of the bridges is Pont Alexandre III (which honours Tsar Alexander III of Russia). It is supposedly the most beautiful bridge in Paris (and it is). The local belief is that if you hold hands with the one you love while crossing the bridge underneath, you will spend the rest of your life with him/her. So while the boat was going underneath the bridge, all the men had their hands in their pockets and their wives/girl friends were trying hard to remove them from pockets and hold them.It involved a lot of pushing and scrabbling and in the end men succumbing to women (nothing new there heh..). I did not have anybody beside me to hold hands other than the friend who accompanied me and believe me I don't want to spend my life with him. So as I sat there looking at those couples, a resolution formed in my mind.

Landmarks, monuments and buildings in Paris

Champs-Élysées is a seventeenth century garden-promenade turned avenue connecting the Concorde and Arc de Triomphe. It is one of the many tourist attractions and a major shopping street of Paris. This avenue has been called "la plus belle avenue du monde" ("the most beautiful avenue in the world").
Avenue Montaigne is home to luxury brand labels such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton (LVMH), Dior and Givenchy.

Place de la Concorde , built as the "Place Louis XV", site of the infamous guillotine. The Egyptian obelisk is Paris's "oldest monument". On this place, on the two side of the Rue Royale live two identical stone buildings: the eastern houses the French Naval Ministry, the western the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon. Nearby Place Vendôme is famous for its fashionable and deluxe hotels (Hotel Ritz and Hôtel de Vendôme) and its jewellers. Many famous fashion designers have had their salons in the square.

Faubourg Saint-Honoré is one of Paris' high-fashion districts, home to labels such as Hermès and Christian Lacroix.
Opéra Garnier is the opera house, which is a splendid building.

Les Invalides which is a church and also tomb of Napoleon.
La Défense is a key suburb of Paris and is one of the largest business centres in the world.

Notre Dame de Paris, often known simply as Notre Dame in English, is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in Paris, France, with its main entrance to the west.A magnificient building which has to be see (An interesting fact is that it took 100 years to build it....wondering whether the work was outsourced to Indian government contractors).
Eiffel Tower which needs no introduction

The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle.The arch honours those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars, and today also includes the tomb of the unknown soldier.

The statue of Liberty, Louvre and numerous other museums, parks, buildings, churches make Paris a great place to visit and go oooh...aaah look at that !!! while ignoring many such places back home. No seriously Paris is a great city.

Monuments and buildings are placed on either side of the river, it looks like the city was designed by a tourist company which wanted people to visit and spend their money here. Each building is beautiful, historical and represent a important part of French history.

Then there is Paris by night...Only two words to explain it...Beautiful,Colourful, Magnificent, Sensous,Splendid.Er...well my maths too goes wrong when I try to explain Paris by night. You have to see it and experience it.All the above places and buildings which are beautiful by day, become more beautiful by night. The Eiffel tower with lights on, the opera house bathed in light, the Champs-Élysée lit up in white lights, the fashion houses(names of which we had read or seen in FTV :-) where its said that the there are no price tags on the products and if you ask for the price, then you cannot afford to buy it) and of course the Lido (famous for Cabaret, which unfortunately we could not visit) makes Paris truly the city of light and fashion capital.

The Paris experience made me realise that its been high time since I stopped being single. What other reason than the ones listed below you need to get hitched up

  • To buy expensive perfume to gift it to your loved one.
  • To hold hands under the pont Alexandre III
  • To roam the streets of Paris by night (of course not through the fashion houses, which may may make you rue the your decision once the missus starts asking for those dresses and jewels)
Well The next thing on my agenda is to call up my parents and tell them to find a girl (I know I can't do it myself), so that I can do all these things for and with her.She should come with a french visa though...

hmmm....quite a long post..well I'll stop here.... until next time revoir

1 comment:

malathi said...

HI Ravi ji..

So finally the Lion's in the den... hurrae!!!

Atleast you got a thought abt marriage right gud !!!!