If you have been with me, you know last week I wrote about our trip to Paris. Now, will take you along the roads of Montmartre, inside Louvre the museum and then tag along you to see the Paris top view from Sacre-coeur the white ice-cream colored cathedral.
( The famous - Eiffel Tower)
Day 4- While we were tired and sleeping the other day in the morning, the alarm went off and we didn’t realize that it was 7 in the morning. We did wake up little late, to be precise at 8 o clock in the morning. I knew I had to rush, sometimes it’s too hard to make little children wake up in the morning, anyhow we were there for sight seeing and not sleeping. We finished our breakfast and I quickly assembled our lunch- whole meal bread with loads of chopped vegetables- carrots/ cabbage/red bell pepper/celery stalk and leaves, and layered with butter and cheddar cheese and also with spiced potato- ( prepare this in M/W, just chop small potato pieces and fill little bit of water in a microwave safe bowl and then run it full power for 3-4 mints, potatoes will turn soft but still they will be chunky, then spice it up with paprika and curry powder, salt drizzle some oil and toss well, sprinkle some oregano for a herb touch. Well we did pick curry powder from Leader’s Price on first day of our arrival in Paris. I know you all will be thinking, what? But trust me sometimes ready-made things come handy, and in this case even a curry powder jar.Period.
( Sacre-Coeur Cathedral)
18th arrondissement of northern Paris is stacked over a hilltop that is Montmartre for you. A visible landmark from any part of city is the church of Scare-Coeur. Montmartre has diverse and probably multilingual community. The narrow street that takes you to the steps which leads you to Sacre-Coeur is always bursting with vibrancy. So, you may even come across a Punjabi song playing at the back-ground of an ice-cream parlor, don’t get confused, well you are still in Paris. You can climb up the steps that leads you directly to Sacre-Coeur or there is funicular railway (covered by metro pass) right immediately below it. Sacre-coeur an epitome of French and Byzantine architecture and has white ice- cream dome and is prominent part of French skyline.
(A steep 300 steps is worth a climb for a splendid top view of Paris)
Montmartre has bursting night life - Moulin Rouge in Pigalle,is synonym with Baz Luhrmanns’s English film Mouline Rouge starring Nicole Kidman, the "sparkling diamond", although they have just butchered the "Chamma-Chamma Hindi song " in one remix version, but still whenever we mention Moulin Rouge, the picture came to our mind is, Nicole Kidman dancing to this tune.No, we haven't visited it.But this place is famous for cabarets and extravagant way of show-casing richness and splendor.
( A View of Louvre museum and Royal Palace)
Ok after our short stint in Sacre-coeur, we headed towards the Louvre museum. The world famous museum with breath taking larger than life size paintings.
( "The Coronation of Napoleon"-top left, "The wedding feast at Cana" top right, and "Calvary circa" by Mantegna down left, "Monalisa" by Leonardo da vinci down right)
Although “Monalisa’ was complete let down, yes you read it right, don’t know why this is worth of so many thousand flashes every hour ( or may be my knowledge about art is limited) It was a little disappointed part, but there are many other neglected and breath-taking paintings outside that square which harbored Leonardo-da-Vinci ‘s “ Monalisa”.While there were many other paintings probably dating back couple of centuries, one of modern day painter- caught our attention. I and my daughter were intrigued by the abstract work of art or contemporary art by Gerhard Richter in the Danon wing - room number- 9 and 10.This exhibition will be displayed till 17th of this month.
Anyhow, after our short tour inside musee du Louvre, we came, and sat along the concrete sitting arena with fountains, just outside the glass pyramid.
( A fountain near the glass pyramid and behind Royal Palace)
We finished off our lunch there and then we headed towards the Jardin des Tuilleries, a French garden at par.
We did enjoy a giant wheel ride and came across beautiful landscapes around the glass pyramid and then the Jardin des Tuileries.
( Aerial view of Jardin des Tuileries)Much sort out things is the chairs that surround small
( Three chairs left vacant for us, and all you need after so much walking and touring!!)
And if you can expand your vision then perhaps you can even spot some one painting on a big canvas just like the picture below. We were sitting there, enjoying the atmosphere and relaxing a bit in the garden.
Then after a while we headed towards Bastille.
As we approach narrow streets from Bastille towards place des Vosges. We kept walking and at the end reached this magnificent square, bordered with pink –brick and stone mansions and of course a garden at the centre.
This square was inaugurated in 1605 for the wedding of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria.Actually this was built by Henri IV. These days the arcades harbor a few of restaurants and café.
There are many celebrities who made place des Vosges as their home. One was Victor Hugo, the second floor apartment at no.6 and wrote much of Les Miserables while living there.This novel is a classic 19th century work and is all about history, art and culture of France in those times.This No-6 Maison is now a museum.
( Arcades at Place des Vosges)
We sat there relaxing in the garden and dear daughter played in one of the many sand pits in the garden.
We then headed towards the main Bastille area. Place de la Bastille can be linked to the events of July 14 1789, when Bastille prison was stormed, and which started the French revolution. Bastille day is celebrated on 14 July and this square is the place for partying on the evening of July13.
( July Column the monument in Bastille Square)
( Time Out - relaxing in a Cafe, Paris )
We came back when it was almost dark and prepared a chicken curry and rice for dinner before we finally quit the day off.
( A cafe near Jardin des Tuilleries)
We had our lunch in one many fine eating places that stretched couple of blocks away from Musee the Louvre. Although the pizza was a vegetarian version with sundried tomato, bell pepper and wild rocket toppings, I would say we didn’t relished as much and it wasn’t very wow for our Indian taste buds. But eating out in fancy brassieres day and night will burn the pocket out.
( Top left- A Brasserie across Gare du Nord train station, Top- right -a quiet street in the evening in Place de la Bastille, down left- Palaise de justice across river Seine - and down right- The famous walking avenue- Champs Elysees-can see Arc de triomphe in the background)
Although we really liked gorging occasional Au pains, croissants and smoothies from local cafes or to be precise the Bistorts which are generally very down to earth places with wooden chairs or cane chairs neatly placed outside. From early morning breakfast to late dinners they provide a homely atmosphere. I would say do visit them and enjoy some local cuisine as well. Or if you find time to unwind and relax after a hectic walking schedule all day long, then grab a cold coffee or cold cappuccino, sit back and enjoy the evening with your family and friends.
( a bustling cafe- Saint Severin near Notre-Dam cathedral)
The one thing which was fascinating for us was afternoon break hour, almost all of the bistorts and brassieres in sub-urbs would religiously close during afternoon for couple of hours. The day when we arrived in Paris, we were just strolling and didn’t realize that it was late for our lunch. When we tried to enter a local bistort, the staff there politely told us that they are closed now and will open at 6 in the evening!! So, we had to settle our self with a Macdonald’s, something which we never liked eating in.
(Some times it’s a pleasant surprise to notice something familiar things in a foreign land. These rickshaws are popular with tourist and if you feel tired, hop on to it)
But then this reminds us of Kolkata, where the streets are deserted for a quick afternoon siesta, and shop
owners put their shop shutters down. Come what may come they won’t open, and even the rick-Shaw pullers and some times taxi cab won’t budge no matter what ever high price you would pay to them.
If you are ready to walk, then perhaps this is the best way to explore a city, interact with people and strike pleasant conversations. Don’t be rigid, reach out and ask, Parisian love to inter-act provided you show some initial interest with some French words. A travelers tip is start a conversation with Bonjour Madam or bonjour Monsieur, and then see a familiar smile, although it's hard to find them speaking in English.
There have been many instances where we lost track of roads while walking and Parisian people where extremely helpful, some even showing us the exact road or place of interest on their I-phones.
( A narrow and busy street in Montmartre)
Even though the famous trip was couple of weeks ago, the memories are still fresh.
As I close my eyes, my mind starts wandering in the streets of Montmartre, climbing steps to reach Sacre-Coeur, Notre dam Cathedral and the candles glowing in dark. Eiffel tower a metallic frame still holding head high up. Sitting and relaxing in Jardin Du Luxembourg and picking a Au Pain from a local bakery, then grocery shopping in Monoprix, picking the likes of baked petite Madelines or freshly baked bread, coming back to hotel, preparing meals, travelling in vibrant and cosmopolitan Paris metro and walking freely on the streets near Champs-Elysées and around, cooling off with iced cappuccino in a local café, enjoying a ride in a giant wheel near Jardin des Tuileries.Ok I should stop now otherwise the list will go on…
Every place or a city has an element of something mysterious about itself, just like the picture above, the view above is half visible - the other half hidden by curtain is left for you to discover and unravel.
And what makes the city alluring is the people who live there.If you want to explore then be prepared to walk and live like the locals there. The experiences gained will last longer and the memories will be cherished even more,probably many more years to come, or may be will become a lifetime of affair.
You can catch other details for Part-1 here...
End of my Paris Diary part-2....Take Care Friends..Peace and Love........