25 May, 2010

The European Chronicles - France

How does it feel when something you've always desired finally comes true? 
For me, it was a foreign trip. Pending since 8 years!

Date: 2 May 2010
Place: Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris, France
Local Time: 1400 Hours
Tour Operator: Thomas Cook India
Mission of Tour Operator: 11 countries in 18 days

"I don't believe it! Is this sort of a dream?", said something inside me....

Why didn't it all look the same? There were roads there. There were cars. Traffic. Farmlands. People. Food. Hotels. We have all of that here, as well. Then why didn't it look the same?

On my way to the hotel from our airport, I noticed every single detail of the city with obvious curiosity. Paris didn't look like Mumbai or any other city in India. Forget Paris, the entire continent of Europe was something different and unique. It was appealing! Back there up in Europe, words like discipline, precision and rules hold a lot of heavy meaning. We have cars that follow a speed limit. They fear changing lanes. At the first glance, such kind of a system looked amusing and automatic at the same time. There were farms edited to perfection. There were trees organized with meticulous planning. There were punctual transport systems. Nature was taken care of. This kind of disciplined city planning extended to such an extent, that at the end, it seemed like a beautiful piece of art!

Coming back to France, I had a lot of expectations from this country. Being a French student, I had learnt a lot about this nation. France was delightful and Paris, even more! Paris is a treat for every art student, every history buff, every romantic soul and every tourist. It is a city which shines with elegance and grins with sparkling bright colours through the night. For me, Paris is the most charming city in the world! 

The Paris city cruise on the river Seine is quite renowned and appreciated. It explores some of the most artistic bridges, public building on the river side, cathedrals, monuments and museums. Louvre Museum, known to be the longest museum in the world, was on my wishlist and it still does. Courtesy the tour itinerary! Anyway, after our cruise tour, we were treated to the Lido Show. The Lido Show is a an excellent cabaret event with incredible performing artists. We, including our entire tour group of 40 people couldn't enjoy it to the fullest since we were all dead tired and sleepy by then.

New day. New show. Disneyland was our destination. Though we went through amateurish rides and experiences, that place did remind me a little of my childish self. Disneyland is every child's dream and paradise place. WOW! Wish we could have something similar in our metro cities. Meanwhile, Notre Dame, Arc De Triomphe, Champs-Élysées and other buildings played cameo roles. The evening was the best part. That did tell me we were really in Paris - The Eiffel Tower!

The Eiffel Tower is a magnificent piece of engineering. We went right up to the top, at the summit. 276 metres high, the city of Paris looked beautiful as ever. You've got to really experience that stunning view from the top. One can never imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower. It's what you call, the very foundation of the beauty of this city. No wonder, Paris was the most beautiful city in my entire tour.

Next stop was Nice, a coastal city to the south of France. The TGV - France's fastest train - was our transport route. Known as the train à grande vitesse (High Speed Train), it can clock speeds up to 320 km/h. Seen below is the TGV beside me!

The TGV is not only reputed for its speed, but also for its luxurious and comfortable ride. Just unlike our Mumbai local trains. I wish we could have such brilliant train systems here in India!

Nice (pronounced as the English word 'niece') was definitely nice! Pristine beaches, novelty shops and a beautiful place to stay. It's coast was just the ditto version of our very own Marine Drive!
Here's another snap with trams going round their way...

Our next destination was Cannes. Cannes is basically a tiny city, but is extremely famous for its yearly Film Festival which is held in every May. We reached Cannes about a week before the International Film Festival were to take place, but we could definitely witness the ongoing preparations for it. The city mainly boasts of a lovely seafront and 5 star hotels usually reserved for celebrities and film stars who throng to the annual Film Festival.

I hope you enjoyed reading this experience in France. Coming up next, is a small, pretty principality named Monaco. So, stay updated!