Paris is for Girls
It was a balmy evening in Bangkok as we sat down at a food court in mall with tired feet. Suddenly, tears flowed down my eyes. We were on our honeymoon and poor Adi had horror on his face, he had no idea what his new bride was thinking. (Ah! The sweet joy of arranged marriages)
‘’Actually, I didn’t really have a good time with you today. Shopping is so boring with you. I miss my girlfriends!’’ (Oh! Woman)
So I was on cloud 9 when my two besties since school decided to visit me in London. It was the most awaited trip of the year, the one which had taken several months of planning over ‘watsapp’. Several versions of the itinerary were created and discarded. The best version was ditching the husbands, of course (two of us are married). The super cool version was when we decided to include ‘Paris’ in the list.
As a new Londoner, I have always wondered about the bitter-sweet rivalry of the two cities. With two drastic views, I had no idea what to expect in the City of Lights. My only concern was our ability to survive with zero French speaking ability. But thanks to technology and some planning beforehand, we found it easy to travel in the city. From the super cool St.Pancras International station at London, the Gard du Nord at Paris seemed a little dull to the Londoner in me. (Another blog on London vs Paris?)
The most interesting part of the trip was the location of the apartment. Chateau de Eau has a very mixed migrant community, it has Indian restaurants in one lane, middle eastern grocery shops and dozens of salons for African hair along with French boulganieres and hip cafes and bars (which we made the most of :P). We were puzzled at the ‘gangs’ of men who occupied the streets since morning only to realise later that they were touts for the salons. But as we climbed the narrow wooden stairs of the apartment and the sweet smell from the chocolatier below our apartment greeted us, we knew were in for a treat.
’Eiffel! Kahan hai Eiffel!’’…….we began our Paris darshan with only the iconic Eiffel tower in mind. We had made an attempt to book tickets in advance but some lucky people had already beat us in the booking game. So we simply strolled the streets crossing the magnificent Louvre and then the very beautiful Jarden du Luxembourg.
We were school girls once again, chattering, laughing, giggling, and giving each other an occasional hi-fi! Doing all silly things which we missed in the last two and half years. As we walked bashfully, we crossed the petite Seine to have a view of the Invalides only to walk in the direction of the Eiffel tower. Another day, we thought and decided to cruise the Seine on the popular Batobus. (Nearly thousand plans were made in those four days)
Who says Paris is for romantic lovers? It is for everyone who appreciates beauty and art, fashion and food, coffee and wine. Basically, all good things in life with a feminine vibe.
The summer evening seemed long as we ate our dinner near Champs Elysees and waited with breath for the sunset. The city lights illuminated the grand boulevard as we stood there in awe looking at the Arc de Triomphe.
I could perhaps stand there forever….
The next day we were woken by the smell of freshly baked bread. Enough to inspire us to do a self-guided walking tour of the city’s Montmarte district and the afternoon at Louvre. Bonjur and Merci beaucoup saved us all along. Little had I realised the scale of Louvre….super huge is an understatement. It is an institution. (Top tip: Cover only the must-dos if you are on a short holiday like us)
Was it the Mona-Lisa for me? Not really. It was the intriguing Angel of Time one which took my fancy. The bare emotions of a family were on display as the man of the family is taken away by Angel of Time. Ah! How time passes…
The feeling that we are grown-up felt certain that evening as we unwinded at a bar. There was a sense of relief and awkwardness within me. I was happy to be with my friends of more than a decade and yet gentle awkwardness nudged me. Staying away meant you had seemingly missed out small but important details in each other’s lives. Was it marriage, was it the fact that we were miles apart or was it that we were not school girls anymore? Did technology make things better?
Our non-stop banter continued all day long as we visited the Versailles the next day. We were disinterested by the grandeur of the property, instead we kept singing random Bollywood songs and cracking silly jokes. Who cares what Louis XIV had done?
We only zipped our mouths tight as we lied on the picnic blanket that night with a glass of wine and blinis in front of the Eiffel. At midnight, the Tower shone, sparkled bright much to the content of everyone’s hearts.
We were school girls once again, the very ones who still cry while watching Harry Potter movies on telly for nth time.
(No, we didnt go up the Eiffel, we loved looking up at it from below)
20 July 2015
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