Paris je t’aime
I am a big fan of art, it could be any kind – paintings, music, sculpture, architecture, fashion, food, people… and Paris has it all.
We arrived at the Gare Du Nord by Eurostar (the very efficient rail service of Europe) and after settling our baggage at the Hyatt we decided not to waste any time and headed straight to the Louvre.
I had always wondered why the Mona Lisa was such a coveted piece of art so I decided to find out for myself. What really caught my attention was the magnificence of the Louvre – with thousands of visitors everyday and its sheer size, the management, maintenance, security and cleanliness was really daunting, but the efficiency was mindboggling.
As I thought of my favorite heist films like Oceans 12 and The Thomas Crown Affair, I smiled and my daughter gave me a condescending look that said “don’t even try anything silly!” (I had tested the fire alarm system in her London student housing by burning a toast). So that put an end to any ploy of my mischievous mind and I decided to concentrate on the art at hand.
As we walked across the various galleries I was astounded by Paulo’s The Wedding at Cana – an extraordinary piece of art in terms of depth, dimension, colour and the visual of recording an event. The sculpture of the Winged Victory of Samothrace left me astounded. The flimsy drapery of Goddess Victory’s garment etched in marble as it clings to her body against the wind… like marble turning to clay! Now that’s real craftsmanship.
Two hours weren’t enough to see the Louvre in its entirety so we left it for another day as our tummies called to be satisfied. We caught a cab to the Latin Quarter to experience the local cuisine. As the restaurants were in plentiful we had an awful time deciding which one to start from. My hubby, the pure Vegan quickly zeroed in on Le Safran (Indian). We all shook our heads in a vehement “No!” but it was of no avail. The food however was delicious (no wonder of course that it was a Michelin starred restaurant).
We then strolled across to the Church of Notre Dame, possibly one of the best architectural designs. The gargoyles (mythical creatures that supposedly protected the people against evil) that formed the main visage were the focal point of my daughter’s Nikon. Take a guide and you will hear the folklore of the French in the most adept form of story-telling… something which we enjoyed entirely.
(The reality however is that they are actually used as drain spouts for expelling rainwater from the roof.) Having finished our photoshoot we decided to head out to the old city to see the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur.
Wanting to enjoy the Parisian breeze, we decided to walk up the cobbled roads of Montmartre that seemed to be straight out of a story book. I let the little girl in me frisk up those winding roads, keeping up the pace with my daughter while thanking myself for my daily workouts and gymming sessions. It’s an effort worth taking as it leads up to the lovely Artisan’s Square. Bustling with young emerging artists, some there to sell their art while some were just there to draw inspiration, the atmosphere was full of life and contagious energy.
Restaurants bordered the tiny square, well aware that tourists would find it ideal to experience the “French Vibe”. I settled there with a slice of thin crust pizza and my son with his gelato, while my daughter became an artist’s muse.
An afternoon well spent, we walked up to a spectacular view of Paris. Standing atop a hill, the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur overlooks the entire city of Paris. At sundown the glow is almost magical. Against the soft notes of the flute played by a local musician I sat on the steps mesmerised by the visual before me. A newly married couple emerged for a photoshoot (much to the amusement of the bystanders) but then that’s romance – it’s what the city does to you.
So that night my hubby and I decided to enjoy a special dinner at Les Ombres – a breathtaking view of the well-lit Eiffel Tower, a table outdoors thoughtfully reserved by my son, impeccable service and a carefully wrapped gift that said, “Je t’aime” – that’s all it took to ignite the embers (with a little help from the delicious cheesecake of course).
I felt that instant urge to cuddle up with my hubby as we took the night boat ride on the river Seine, against the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower. With a glass of the best Champagne, a handsome guitarist serenading me as his music was used to add lyrics of love that my hubby sang to me… now that was romance!
Any questions then as to why I love Paris?
I would say try the quaint little shops as you walk through Montmartre as a different take on fashion than the high street brands. For shoppers worldwide Champs-Élysées is the place – one cannot go to Paris and not go down the road where world meets fashion. So the next morning we headed to the 1.9 mile shopping gourmet. From Louis Vuitton to Cartier – it is a shopper’s paradise. It also boasts of the Lido – one of the finest cabaret shows, the George V café that serves the most amazing foie gras, while the Ladurée next to Louis Vuitton is the house of mouthwatering macaroons. There is everything for everyone, including the most ideal location to just sip coffee watching the best of the well dressed and the best of the elites. Paris je t’aime.