Saturday, June 02, 2007

Un week-end à Paris

1. Eiffel Tower is magnificent. It is pretty tall and can be seen from most parts of Paris if the view is unobstructed. And yeah, its awesome, the symmetry, the metal, the curve to the tapering top, just too good. And when its lighted its better. And when it sparkles (which is like 10 minutes every hour from 10pm in the night in summers), its quite a sight to behold. Sadly, cant describe the view from top, didnt queue up for it. Personally, I liked it better than TajMahal (these two are the only modern wonders I have visited)

Most of the tourist attractions are along the Seine river. And the whole area around that is very very charming. Especially the famous road, Champs-Élysées. The square (near Concorde where this road starts) is the biggest I have ever seen! Walking along the Seine should be quite romantic.

Sacré-Coeur, the basilica is very tall and is situated on a hill and has very rich stained glass art. Arc De Triomphe isnt very impressive, quite similar to India Gate. The palace in Versailles too is no great shakes.

Every other shop on the streets ought to be a cafe, bistro, restaurant, takeaway or some such eatery place. And those which arent about food, are about fashion like clothes, hairstyles etc. Yep, food (including drinks) and fashion seem to be their only passion :D.

Monalisa is a very small painting, attracts huge crowds and looks over rated. Other paintings around it, however, are marvellous to say the least. The beauty of these examples of the best art in the world can be perceived even by art-ignoramouses.

The Louvre museum is very well maintained. Its quite friendly and lets visitors use their cameras, mobiles etc unlike some of the less important museums around the world. Photos are not allowed only in 2-3 rooms which have the major paintings (including Monalisa). The glass pyramid entrance sets quite a contrast to the rest of the museum. In all, the museum is surely a must visit.

The public transport system is very good. The metro has many lines all of which are regularly dotted with stations, so not much walking is neccessary when using the metro. The normal rail inside the city and to the suburbs is also pretty good. But some of the metro stations would do well to have escalators. And the metro symbol painted on the trains looks pretty silly with an outline of a face cutting across a green circle.

France is famous for strikes. Well, the postal department was on strike while we were there. All post-offices were closed even on monday.

Going to Paris from London in a bus (Eurolines coach) would mean that there would be visa checking and a terrible journey on a ferry at the dead of the night (2am). Channel tunnel is only for railways, sadly.

Parisians arent friendly or inviting. They are almost rude. The concept of excuse-me and sorry exists as much on the streets of Paris as in India, which is almost nil. They dont even respond to sorry or pardon. Unlike the general perception, Parisians do know and respond in english. They also carry huge umbrellas which can almost be substituted as canopy-shades (patio umbrella) on cafe-tables in the open.

Paris has a lot of immigrants. Its not easy to spot many native French. And in general, the parts occupied by the immigrants are dirtier than most cities in India. As such, Paris is the dirtiest foreign place that I have visited.

Paris tip1: In the direction boards, an arrow pointing downwards signifies that you should go straightahead.
Paris tip2: Stamps are available in shops labeled 'Tabac'.
Paris tip3: Buy metro tickets in bunches of 10, it will cost much cheaper.


Sreejith said...

'Walking along the Seine should be quite romantic'

I dont like the 'should' in there... what say?

aprameya said...

Walking down the seine should be quite romantic?

I thought that you'd be walking down the Seine with two super-models - one on your left and one on your right

Su said...

what did u expect? french babes frenching u all the way from the port of entry to exit?!

btw, tabac's traditionally are tobacco shops. guess they still are.
ah paree, hahh.

kunal said...

I envy you!
one-by-one you are ticking off countries from your travel list - first Switzerland, England, now France, and I am yet to go outside India ...
damn! I should have done PhD :P

Karan said...

I agree with Kunal ;)

mythalez said...

@sreejith, hmm .. somethings cant be helped?

@aprameya, well ... perhaps I was? :P

@su, 'great expectations' .. tabac is a general 'baddi kottu' as we have back home ;)

@kunal, not to forget japan (the first country i visited), a little bit of Kuala Lumpur (while in transit) and perhaps even wales (though part of uk .. they wud prefer to be called a country)

@karan, u still have chance for phd :P

Anonymous said...

sounds great! how long are these schengen visas normally valid for?

Dutt y said...

who can deny kunal, worth envying.
So 5 more to go (wonders)!

dirty annappudu india tho compare chestava? Lavangam garu, inkokka sari india gurinchi edanna annaro, mee body lo okka angam kuda pani cheyyadu. --Manmathudu

Argentyne said...

wow. quite enlightening!

mythalez said...

@anon, thanks .. they may range frm the actual duration of ur trip to max 6months validity with 90 days stay

@dutt, hmm .. pyramids next? wat say? :D

@argentyne, ahem .. thanku thanku :P