Monday, September 10, 2012

My Paris Diary- Part 2

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.

 ( A view from inside Louvre museum,  have a look at the queue to enter the museum- you can get fast pass from Gare du Nord train station )

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 pond, actually called "basin" in the garden. People can be seen resting and relaxing and these are good spots to admire the surrounding and in case you fancy some coffee, there are couples of cafés nestling among trees as well.

        ( 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.

                                                ( Place des Vosges- centre garden)

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)

Then there is Opera Bastille just along the rue de Lyon which takes us to Gare du Lyon train station and where some initial scenes of the famous movie “Tourist” starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp were picturised.

( Time Out - relaxing in a Cafe, Paris )

On our way back, we picked couple of croissants from one of many bakeries that flourishes in this corner. Although nothing astonishing about this corner with so much graffiti probably all the house walls and available area, I would say try not to go into this quarter late in night.
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)

Day 5- The other day, it was time to come back from our short holiday, and we had some restrictions as with time and also with luggage, it was not possible for us to roam freely. So, we decided to spend some time in Jardine du tuilleries and place de la Concorde and Musee the Louvre as our final stop.
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 were extremely helpful, some even showing us the exact road or place of interest on their I-phones.

  ( A narrow  and busy street in Montmartre)

But most of them don’t like to speak in English, so you have to figure it out what they say in French. Initial and basic French knowledge helps- good to know easy words like right, left, straight and turn for navigation etc do help.

To know a place better, travel in with other locals- in metro, in bus and in trams and you would know what it means to live a life- a life of a Parisian. There are perhaps many hundred other ways to explore a city and travel. This is how we like to stroll whenever we plan for a holiday. Hope you all, who have finally reached here reading this two part series liked what I have shared here.

                                     (Life as it happens in Paris)

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........


  1. Love the pictures and your narration Jaya. You know what was unique and I liked the most? Your vacation menu for everything homemade!! Honestly I can't imagine making chicken curry n rice in Paris on a 5 day trip. Very wise, healthy and thrifty tips for vacationing :)

    1. I think the highlight of this trip can be grocery shopping and then cooking in a completely new environment :-))..actually in a new kitchen.The chicken curry made in hasty with chunks of onions/ginger and /potato just thrown into it- I didn't had the blender in the service apartment( expecting that can be asking way too much)..then using curry powder to make the gravy may sound something going against what others believe in..but then we liked doing this way, even if this sound too much of work.At the end what matters is the end product...So good to see you here.thanks for stopping by.hugs and smiles

    2. And I agree, I too love the thrill of cooking in a new kitchen, at a new place...and just somehow come up with a delectable meal with whatever is available. You managed to get some pictures too which made the post that much more interesting.

    3. It just happened for the second day, from third day onward I was unable to take pictures of food..somehow after all that walking then cooking later at the end of a tiring day , one needs to get down,drop guards, curl feet over the bed or sofa,..and eat thats it and my folks were tired and impatient..I thought why always about taking pictures of food,so I left it for some other day :-))..And believe me those food were indeed very delicious..oh! and theek bolecho cooking in a new kitchen and that too at a new place itself is a sort of adventure..kinto bhalo he legechilo korte..hugs

  2. What matters is that you and your hubby made the effort for homemade food even on a vacation, that too for dinner. I had cooked Indian food without turmeric or any other Indian spice the entire first month of our stay in China. Salt, onion, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and green chillies were all I used to make gravy, curry, daal etc. But the meals had tasted superb :-)

    1. Hain theek bolechile tumi..what I have realized that many a times,"less is more"..less ingredients , little bit of stir and then fry , add less seasonings and the meals taste awesome.Actually we have this innate capability to under-estimate run of the mill things
      :-)and also I do think it's something to do with how well one can manage cooking with limited ingredients in a completely new place..and I know the kind of excellent cook you are, you must have made delicious meals.khub bhalo laglo tumake eyikhane dekhe...hugs

  3. So there you touched the nerve " by saying Bonjour Madam" .....start the conversation with localities :-) Nice write up and good photos to match with. Tumi onek 'Arial shots' o niyecho ki kore? Ekta notun kitchen e giye ranna korar thrill tai alada. You are so organized Jaya...

    1. Hain :-)..oyi ekta giant wheel te boshe chilaam..Jardin des Tuileries e ek dike ekta chilo , ote boshe praye onek dur obdi dekhte para jaye..summer time to, tai there are many funfairs running around that garden..organized janina kinto I try to make some basic plans for holidays and it does help....hugs

  4. Absolutely amazing pictures and your write up. This narration is really mind blowing. Kichu experience emon hoy, ja chirodiner jonnyo mone rekha tene jay.........Wonderful Jaya.

    Smiles and love,

    Today's recipe:

    1. hain Sanoli theek bolecho - chirodiner sriti :-)..thanks for coming by ..hugs

  5. Glad you had such an interesting trip. Enjoyed both this and the previous post's photos.

    1. oh! we did and :-)..thanks for liking both the post..hugs

  6. lovely places n love the clicks dear... hope u enjoyed ur day...

  7. An excellent post and definitely an interesting virtual diary to whoever willing to visit Paris, enjoyed thoroughly Jaya, eventhough i have to visit almost all the places quite often sometimes even daily:).

    1. That must be so exciting Priya, but it's easy for you and for us who don't live in Paris, it's like a beautiful dream :-))..thanks for liking it..hugs

  8. Loved the photo tour of paris, and looks like you had a good time.

    1. Oh! we did Finla and thanks for coming by..hugs

  9. Beautiful pictures, darun jibonto chobi tulecho. Ei post ta porte porte mone hochilo shob pack kore beriye pori. A boro hoy jokhon porbe, khub bhalo lagbe or.

    1. Actually ami ek ta detail record rakte chaichilaam ..mane even if we read it after a decade, pictures should flash instantly..asha kori A'r bhalo lagog boro hoye..ekto lomba hoye giyechilo :-)). and beriye poro ghorte..ghorar kono sesh neyi .koto kichu jana r ache , koto kichu sekhar ache...hugs..


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