Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why is Paris the city of Romance ?

Is it because that most heros and heroines right from Sidney sheldon to Daniel Steele books meet at Paris ?
Is it because of the dates happening at over-expensive restaurants with over-rated french cuisine and all the fancy names like Crème Brulée (which is custard) ?
Is it just the language...I have to admit that I love saying enchanté (pronouned on-shuan-te) which literally translated means enchanted (equivalent to saying 'my pleasure') ?
Is it all the wine and champagne combined with chocolates and cheeses?
Is it because FTV shows the most outrageous people in even more outrageous costumes but with good music and settings and most people are confused between glamour and romance??
Is it the extra touch of charm and chivalry that French display ?
Is it the French kiss ?
Is it the general American enthu for Europe that rubs off on us (since to everyone's surprise abroad, desis are more American and not British as expected)!
or simply is it just the city ??

My first trip to Paris was nearly 7 years ago, in October 2003. I was a student and had just been in Germany for about 6 months. Paris was the second city I visited after Vienna. I did the typical weekend desi student tourist routine - Go to the top of Eiffel, hurriedly look through the Louvre, queue up to see the Monalisa all the while wondering what the big deal was, Stop at McD, find they have nothing vegetarian and so buy biscuits and water, visit Disneyland and then back home exhausted on sunday night and miss lecture on monday morning. And naturally this did not live upto the city of Romance image that everyone else seems to be having, so I decided to give it a second go.

We were there for our third anniversary and although it was cold, it was much warmer than Munich. We began with an evening tour of Montmartre starting from the Moulin Rouge and ending in the basilica (shown in photo). Trip advisor had a lot to say about the tour guide, Chris and he completely lived up to it. Since we were the only ones that evening, Ashok had a chance to pour out all his history questions and what's more Chris was good at taking pictures too.

After the tour, we moved to the tower Montparnesse (the second highest place after Eiffel in Paris) to enjoy the view of the city (that one can never get from the Eiffel because of all the tourists in limited space) and not only did we get to see the Eiffel and the city in all its glory at night, we also got to have good dinner in the roof-top restaurant while watching it. Apparently, it was decided to light every street in Paris to reduce crimes in dark alleys and it worked, so to this day the tradition is maintained giving Paris the name - city of lights !

The next day started with a leisurely tour of the Notre Dame (picture above shows the color glass windows - something I loved in the church), walk through Champ Elysses and finally a wine tasting tour I had arranged as a surprise for Ashok. The wine tasting tour, like I was dreading, was not a place to get drunk but a place to learn the art of drinking wine, the dos, donts and many other interesting facts. I have so much to say that I am going to make this a separate post.

The third day was devoted to Chateau de Versailles. Although the castle was similar to numerous other castles and the state rooms reminded me of the Schloss Residenz in Munich, the hall of mirrors was worth visiting.

On another note, although I did not come across many people dressed fashionably, in all the three days I didn't come across one chubby girl or lady. Young or old, they are all in tip top shape. How unfair !

Anyway, I admit I saw Paris in a different light this time and yes, I enjoyed being there very much. I had a lot of romantic moments but all completely attributed to Ashok and our third wedding anniversary and nothing to do with the city itself....so now, I know, its the people, not the place....its always the people....I wonder if I should start agreeing with what Ashok says often 'If all your friends and relatives moved to Munich, you would love Munich as much as you love Chennai'......hmm...but when I think about it, I also love Pullayar koil, Pondy Bazar, Chaat shop at Vitan, Satyam, Marina Beach and many other places in Chennai...would it be possible to shift them to Munich too ??
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