It was only some time back, that I was roaming in the lanes of champ-de-elysees, drowned in gaiety, I was witnessing the grandeur, world class brands and sheer panache all around. But all good things come to an end and the same is true for holidays, but the happy news is, they don't vanish. They continue to reign supreme on the dwindling paths of your memory lane. At times bringing a smile to your lips, or leaving you gasping for more.
The days I spent in Paris, will be cherished forever. Some say it is overcrowded due to the incredible number of tourists it pulls, but the reality is, it is an impeccable travel destination. After all, is there a soul on the face of this earth, you wouldn't love to sail in a cruise, on the emerald waters of a river and see couples sitting by the bank playing guitar, while the Eiffel Tower at a distance, lights up in its resplendence? I guess none.
The make of the city makes it unique. The lack of high risers, uniformity of architecture, splash of history, resonance of art, the narrow stone lanes and the open air street restaurants, it is extremely difficult to be not overwhelmed.
Our first day, was the day the city revealed its eccentricity to us. We had opted for a home-stay option through Airbnb and the apartment was in Bastille, the heart of Paris. Truly speaking it was a great location to be. Very well connected to all major tourist spots and also a happening locality lined with many eateries, which are open till late at night. Our hosts, the lovely couple Yacine and Emmanuel were great company to be with. They made us very comfortable and we actually had long hours of chat. While Emmanuel is French, Yacine is from Africa, both of them are majorly associated with social work. It was indeed a pleasure meeting people, who believe in humanity and love, and practiced the same through their lives. Emmanuel also helped us in figuring out the best way of commuting in the city, and his magic bus number '69' made traveling easy and fun. This bus basically goes to every place of interest in Paris.
The first rendezvous with the majestic Eiffel Tower, is a moment I will always cherish. Books, internet and many other sources have made it visible to the world, but nothing compares to standing in front of its hugeness. It was one moment when I felt so happy to have planned the vacation.
The amount of walking I have done in the city is incredible, probably I don't walk that much in a month in India. And the sole reason being the weather, which infused infinite amount of energy into my ever lazed out self.
Well, at this point I must confess. that this post is not about the artistry you cherish in Louvre, or the excitement of climbing 300 mt to the top of Eiffel or even the ecstasy of cruising on the river Seine, because the world knows enough of that. My narrative is enjoying unison with the soul of a city, and breathing in sync with it. It is the unbridled joy of walking kilometers hand in hand with your loved one on the banks of the river, waiting patiently for the sun to sink and the tower to light up.
Nature was truly giving and we cherished its different hues in full galore. The dawn and the dusk, the cloudy and sunny, it even drenched us in an unexpected shower when we were relaxing on the garden adjacent to Eiffel Tower one evening.
Some words of advice to travelers:
a. Paris is famous for pickpockets and snatchers, be very cautious. One wrong move and you are doomed. However, it is not as bad as it sounds, but its very important to know about this in advance.
b. Well, my personal experience says,never go with a tours and travels agency. Public transport is easy and safe, you can easily avail and roam around. Besides if you are an uncurbed soul, you need to have the power of deciding. However you have to do a good amount of homework about the metro and bus routes, which my husband did for us.
c. Food is expensive and be prepared to spend a good amount on that. But the eateries have great aura and are worth experiencing.
d. You can book a home-stay from Airbnb. It is safe. But while choosing see the location and study it's accessibility from nearby metro station and bus stands. We stayed in Bastille, with Yacine and Emmanuel. They are wonderful and warm hosts and the location is very convenient.
e. Make a note of holidays, on some days the Louvre Museum is closed.
f. We had booked our Eiffel, Louvre and Seine Cruise, through Viator. But I didn't find it very well organised and it's overpriced.
g. A little warning about Paris Airport, Charles De Gaulle, dear readers its huge and baffling. And anytime if you plan to transit via Paris, have sufficient lay over to enjoy hassle free travel.
Travel tales, like that of Paris, are more than just travel. They impart that pleasure for the soul, if you truly want. Yes it is crowded, yes it is expensive but its unique, in its aura, its vibe, its architecture and of course its soul, which unifies with that of the traveler if they intend to.
We loads of paintings, artistry and ambiance we have returned back to India, to relish those memories forever.