Hi all, so its time for Paris part 2. Sorry I had to post it the next day of the part 1, but just forgot (blame it on no net in Amsterdam). Anyways so here goes…..
Now Paris cannot be done in the 4 days I kept for it, so this is in no way an exhaustive description. Its just my experiecce and a few things I elarned from other fellowtravellers. As I wrote before, if you visit Paris, be prepared to walk a lot. A real lot. Now I’ll list down what I felt was the best and worst of Paris.
The best has to be Sacre Coure and Notre Dame. So amazing infact that I went at these places all days. Both cathedrals are huge and while Notre Dame has always been hailed as one of the masterpieces of Gothic architecture, it instantly makes you feel insignificant. The two tall spires with haunting gargoyles leave one speechless and in awe. Inside there is a loud silence and thousands of candles burn filling it with an everlasting aroma. Acutually all this is jibberish till you see it. Sacre Coure is as big, and sits atop the highest point in the city sparkling like a tall sentinel in a white robe (Gandalf maybe). It gives a bird’s eye view of Paris and is the city’s performing arts headquarters. On the giant steps in the evening there is always a large crowd with multiple artists perorming (music / shows / skills). There is nrver a dull moment and I found it the best way to spend the evening. Chateaux Versailles is just too big for words and could easily devour a day if not more.
The most disappointing though have to be the Eiffel tower and Mona Lisa. Eiffel tower is totally unlike Paris. A modern metal goliath in coplete oddity with the beatiful medival architecture. No wonder the French wanted it demoilished in the early 20th century. But its there, and famous, why I wonder. And the Mona Lisa, let me explain. The procedure to see Mona Lisa:
Enter Louvre, dutifully get lost.
Try to find where you are with the delp of thousands of equally miserable tourists and after walkling for hours you find the way, which evidently was just a left turn away from where you intitally started from.
Reach the room containing exhibit number 4189, aka Mona Lisa and find…….nothing.
TO see the Mona Lisa first you’ve to fight with 152 blood thirsty tourists and after having bitten half of your flesh off, you’re earn the privelage to see it from million miles away. Oh and no, they do not provide you with binacolours.
Now don’t start thinking of a photograph, because for that there is round two with the tourist, and in any case I wonder if you’ve the right camera for it. Cause apart form the distance is hte fact that the painting itself is quite tiny.
So be sensible, go to the nearest souvenir shop, buy a huge Mona Lisa poster, and click a pic. Believe me you’ll see much more detail and no one will come to know aout it.
A little about the Louvre. I wonder if even half the Parisians have seen it completely. From my rough estimate it would require a full month of 8hr days to see couple of the wings. Its massive and evidently there are still half a million exhibits pleading for a small space of display. The pyramids were made to get some sanity in to the place, cause its made up of three palaces and the entry to them was real complicated before the central entry through the pyramids. First monday of every month its free, but hte lines then are so long that if you turn up at 9am, you only get to enter 5 min before closing time. Evidently the pyramids was the idea of a French minister who wanted to give a gift to his Egyptian girlfriend (every Parisian will tell you that).
Ok so when you visit Paris, do walk both in the day and night, cause its totally a different city. The beautiful medival city in the morning turns into some kind of a twinkling carnival city in the night. Not for nothing do they call it hte city of blinding lights. The brasseries actually do come their own only during hte night. However a word of caution. In the summers, the sun only sets down after 9pm, so if you do intend to walk in the night, be prepared to stay out till late.
For teh creatures of the night, the party scene in Paris is very big. Pubs open in the evenings and clubs by about 11pm and go on till about 6am. A word of caution though. Do not roam about in central Paris with your drink in hand (that also includes Red Bull cans), lest you want to get awkwardly close to the gendermarie (trust me there are better ways than this to do that). The Parisians love to party and music is mostly pop and hip hop. Rock is famous but not in the night clubs, only in pubs. There seem to be a lot of Irish pub showing football and I was fortunate to catch a bit of it alongwith a Guiness, which is hte best beer I’ve had in life. Its nothing like normal beer, its quite thick as they put in some Irish cfream into it.
Well so when you go to Paris there is a free tour. Its actually a tour conducted by university students on a tips only basis. Amount of the tip is upto you, but the norm is between 5-10 euros. They walk you around central Paris in about 3-4 hours (witha a break) showing you all hte major sights topped of with little titbits and anecdoted. Being students they are really friendly and the tour is extremely casual with lots of joking in between and the route can be cutomised according to the group’s demands. This should be done on the first day as it’ll give you a fair idea about the layout of the city and what to see. Also the guides give tons of tips for all sorts of interests and soak up all your questions. Being in the younger age group, they can direct you to all the must see as well as happening places / events. And then its a great way to meet like minded travellers and maybe join up with someone for a few short trips.
So that’s Paris in real short. Next post would be the most interesting one, certainly worth a loud laugh (keep guessing). So till then keep having fun and keep commenting