I always thought Paris to be “city of love”, but just before going there I found out its actually “city of Lights”. Until I spent a night in Paris, I was unable to understand its meaning. Since forever, I have wanted to go to Paris, and finally it came true. I wanted to plan a whole surprise trip for Yoel but the visa procedures restricted me to do so. The time I was looking up on fares flights seemed to be cheaper but when it actually came to booking it was Eurostar which gave me the best deal. Eurostar, as I had heard was one of the fastest train and goes through a tunnel under the English channel, around 100 m depth and a speed of 300kmph. I was quite fascinated by the fact that the train passes through a tunnel which is beneath the water. To my imagination, it was as if I could see fish around when passing through the tunnel, like in aquariums. But soon I was given a reality check that its just a dark tunnel and takes 25 minutes to get through….hahaha….
Schengen Visa is what we applied for, insurance stands as the main criteria while your visa is being decided. We bought an annual insurance anticipating a 12 month visa and thats what we got. Something funnily interesting happened in the French visa application centre, according to them the Indian church marriage certificate is not valid enough (its a registered marriage certificate). For once my heart sunk, thinking what if I dont get but then just in two days we got our visa. I raced against time to reach the collection centre before they close for the day. Spot on time and I was so glad to see the stamp on our passports.
The Eurostar journey was fast and smooth, within no time we were in paris Nord station.Thanks to the pre-ordered trains tickets, we just had to go to the underground station and map our way to the hotel. The hotel was just 5 minutes walk from the underground metro station. While walking suddenly Yoel stopped to say, “look whose there!!” and I was surprised and puzzled at the thought of who could it be. It was the Eiffel tower saying HELLO. Its a massive tower- but I was actually not very impressed seeing, it looked like a huge wrought iron structure. Well, moved on with just this thought “is this the Eiffel tower which everyone comes to see in Paris”… reached the hotel, our room had the sienne river view, which was pretty. It so much reminded of Yarra river in Melbourne.
Buildings and architectures in Paris are at their best, be it the churches or museums, or just the street homes or shopping malls. Our first stop was Eiffel Tower. Oh, the crowd was amazing….its a huge open space with thousands of people. We somehow, forgot booking tickets online to climb the tower, looked around for 10minutes and decided we’ll try coming in the next two days. We then headed to the Sacre’-Coeur. As we got out of the station it felt like a completely different world. We were on a hill and lots of stairs to climb to reach there. We walked through cobbled narrow lanes. Through the lanes we passes several shops selling posters and paintings, also had crepe and ice-cream, yummy!!!. Sacre’-Coeur is supposed to be higher than the Eiffel tower because of its location on the montmartre hill. Several artists have been coming here to paint the view. We just sat on the steps of the building overlooking the city. There was something in the air which rejuvenated the mind and soul. The next morning after a big breakfast we left our hotel to see the Musee’de lourve. It’s famous for its glass pyramid as well as the amazing sculptures of the famous artists and the Monalisa’s painting. the next architectural brilliance is the Notre’ dame. It’s the Gothic catholic cathedral and thus the architecture is amazing with the gothic touch. We caught a train to Notre Dame but due to lot of interchanges thought of walking. Having no clue how far it would be we just walked along, but this walk was one to remember. After getting out of the metro station we were at the cross way thinking which way to choose and then just started walking across the bridge. The bridges are such that you can walk down and walk on the river bank. Being a beautiful sunny day, people sitting in groups having lunch and lil picnics. The cutest of the crowd was a bunch of few girls celebrating a birthday; they had few balloons tied to a string hung on the tree above. We sat there for a while just soaking ourselves in the happy calm environment before we started again… we walked up the stairs to join the main street, with few directions from people we reached a hustle bustle street- people as far as the eye could see. The street acts were entertaining too, then we could see the cathedral, the church towers were black in color, Yoel was quite freaked, but then the front was very pretty. Again a mighty building standing strong under the blue sky. That evening we had booked for a river cruise to enjoy the lights. The weather was fantastic and cruising along the Sienne River through the lighted city under the bridges is one memorable night. The commentary got a bit annoying, cause we wanted to enjoy the moment rather than the history. The best of all the spots was the Isabella garden on the bank where people from all over come together in the evenings and gather to sing n dance –samba, salsa rumba….it was amazing to see….Paris is so relaxed, people sitting on the banks in the evening and singing or having fun…what more can you ask for on a holiday? We came back to see the beautifully lit up Eiffel tower. The “not –so-impressive” structure in the morning was a wonder at night. There are more than 20,000 bulbs used to light the structure and the Paris government has to put n a lot of money for this consumption of energy but every cent is worth. We walked to the garden in front of the tower. Yet again a relaxed atmosphere people just know how to have fun and enjoy the moment. Every hour the tower has the glittering effect for 5 minutes and then stops…its in these 5 minutes that you can see everyone applauding, couples proposing or kissing….for sure a very romantic city. We lay down in the lawn looking up at the mighty tower and enjoying the lovely moon lit night. We visited a very unique pretty garden which is actually a graveyard, the largest in paris, called Pere Lachaise Cemetery. It has lots of renowned french people buried. We walked around the cemetery, there was a sense of calmness and the bright sun shone all over. The graves were different to what I have seen, they were like little houses.
Moulin Rouge was something I really wanted to see. It’s one of the oldest cabaret in Paris infact the world. The show we saw was the 11pm “ferrie” show, the French cancan. Such pretty, colourful and brilliant performance. It was a great show but had its moments of highs and a few lows. I reminisced the “kingdom of Dreams” in Gurgaon India. I was happy and proud in the end, thinking India’s dance and talent is at par with international talents. Being an old cabaret, it’s pretty cramped and we got our seats in the last row. But as soon as the show started we just were so mesmerised that didn’t bother to think about the seats. Guess this is the affect of brilliance.
Shopping not being on the list we just walked through the streets and decided then and there, my next trip to Paris would be for shopping. The fashion is so different from UK and Australia, there was no set trend, everyone seemed to be having their own fashion statements. The stores were fantastic too. Food was great. The cafes were so welcoming. I have always enjoyed sitting outdoors in the cafes relishing french cuisine.
Paris has been my most relaxed trip…thousands of things to see and do but here time relaxes too… the whole aura around you is so soothing. There is hustle bustle, crowd around but everyone is enjoying the moment. I can surely say- Paris is my favorite city till now. I guess we ll be hitting the streets of Paris soon..