Friday, January 06, 2006

Paris Day1

Time to write about the Xmas vacations.... Had a GRRRRRRRREAT time...Saw some of the most amazing places and satiated my wanderlust...

24th Dec
Reached Charles de Gaul airport, Paris around 10 am and then started off... First thing that we did was to get the 'Paris Visite' pass for 3 zones...With some research n inputs provided by project members who had already been there we decided to go for the 3 zone pass only... apart from Chateau de Versailles and Disneyland, almost all the other places are within the 3 zones. It took a while to get the hang of the Paris Metro system (details n Metro map) but once u get it it is really simple... and efficient too. By the time we checked in the hotel and had lunch it was 2:30 and our plan included visiting the chateau on 24th as it was closed the next two days.

Managed to reach the 'Château de Versailles' by 3:45 and the next 2 hours were spent in the magnificent place. And the best part is that photography is allowed within most of the palace, except a few. Dont forget to catch the kings's bedroom, the beautiful paintings which adorn the walls and the cielings, the chandeliers, The potraits of famous men n women and the statues. Far too many for me to name here. The palatial gardens are another sight to enjoy. I would suggest that the best time to go there is a bit late in the day when u can catch the sun setting.

The next thing to cover was La Defense. It is a high tech area with tall skyscrapers and offices many big names. The best building is without a doubt 'The Tête Défense', also known as the Grande Arche de la Défense. It is a 106 meters white building with the middle part left open.

Now Manish, my manager who was also in Paris with family, at the same time (as were my other colleagues Datta, Satya n Suresh with their resp families) calls me up n tells us that we should def visit Notre Dame that day as they were having the service on the eve of Xmas and the whole place was worth seeing. So we head to "Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris".

Notre Dame is probably the best example of French Gothic art. It took almost 180 years to complete and on the spot where this majestic cathedral now stands, the Romans had built a temple to Jupiter, which was followed by a Christian basilica and then a Romanesque church.

One of the more interesting features of Gothic architecture is the gargoyle. Hideous monstrous looking creatures, which were to scare off evil spirits and attract pagans(remember Da Vinci Code) to the Christian Church. Many of the multi-headed, mixed creatures were pagan symbols associated with chaos. The grotesque images that gargoyles conjure frightening representations of damnation and perhaps a reminder to lead the spiritual, religious life.

Victor Hugo's 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' talks about the romance of Quasimodo, the bell ringer @Notre Dame and the beautiful gypsy dancer Esmeralda.

The Cathedral has 12 bells and each has a name. The largest is Emanuel which produces a F# (F sharp) sound. The bells are still rung regularly, but not by hunchbacks I hope.

We attended the service there and it was after a 15 years that I entered a church. My Junior school had a church in Delhi and i used to go there regularly. once out of junior school I somehow never went to a church again. Not the typical religious kinds u see. I felt really good after being there.

Opposite the cathedral is Pont de l’Archevêché or the Archbishop's Bridge.

There are many beautiful bridges on the Siene(the most beautiful Pont Alexander III to follow in Day 2). The amusing thing is that Pont Neuf or The New Bridge is the oldest bridge in Paris :-)

Next we walked down till Hôtel de Ville - Paris's city hall, which was well lighted up for the occasion. It is also the Mayor of Paris' office.

Finally called it a day and headed for our hotel. We tried dinner at an Indian restaurant in the vicinity of our hotel, which was near Gallerie Lafayette , which goes by the name "Kashmir Palace" or something similar. Mark my words people. DONT GO THERE. All their nans and parathas are the same(thick n undercooked). The Baingan ka bharta doesnt have any baingan and the Daal Makhani is made with Masoor ki daal. I mean c'mon who makes Dal Makhani with masoor ki dal. Bad end to an otherwise fantastic day.


....R.A.J.A.... said...

excellent pics, excellent description! keep it up, Lalit

Rohit Talwar said...

mujhe bhi jana hai :((

Rohit Talwar said...

hehe.. i meant city not hilton for a change ;)

i have cousins in paris n they keep sending me pics.. damn i am jealous!

Sayesha said...

Awesome stuff! :)

//the Daal Makhani is made with Masoor ki daal.


Sakshi said...

hey Lalit,
Great pictures. I plan to go to Europe, but everytime something else comes up.

~ Deeps ~ said...

brilliant writeup....i like all the lil detail attached to each destination.....good one....
dal makhani chenai main milti hai moong ki dal ki...khani hai chennai aajao :)

Voice said...

great pics... aisa lag raha hai hoda bahut france to humne bhi ghum lia.

ek church banane me unhe 180 saal lage:P . they r slow:P.

~Lord Anshul said...

abe sala..tu to photographer hoi gava hai !![:D]