As a kid, every one of us has that one city of our dreams, that one city we liked. Some dream about London, the capital of our colonial masters, or New York, the modern magnetic metropolis, or Melbourne, the sports capital of the world. In my case, I had this deep curiosity about the city I always wanted to visit. Paris – the French capital. How tall the Eiffel tower really is? Why is it called the fashion capital of the world? Is Mona Lisa, indeed, that fascinating!
Summer of 2016, we packed bags for our first European sojourn and landed in Paris on a rainy morning. We had prepared well for this tour. I knew exactly which metro to take from the airport and where to alight. It was carnival time everywhere as Euro 2016 was on. We took the metro from Charles de Gaulle Airport to go to our apartment in Central Paris. The metro was half-filled and comfortable, and the Chatelet Les Halles, our destination, was forty minutes away. The metro zoomed through the suburbs. The green fields and quaint villas were running past our windows. Our apartment was a ten minute walk from the station.
As I mentioned, the apartment was in central Paris. That means the old neoclassical buildings and the historic lanes around the Palais Royale would be surrounding my home for the next three days. My first memory of Paris remains the beautiful Gothic style buildings, and the appetizing fragrance from many boulangeries, the bakeries, common in these arrondissements. It was, nevertheless, an overwhelming experience. For a second, I felt lost.
Thanks to the Google maps’ offline mode, we were on the right track, and our apartment was just a short walk near the banks of River Seine. The famed river was a beauty in itself. Now seemingly quiet and tranquil, no one could imagine that it was flowing monstrously just a few days before, what resulted to be one of the worst floods of Paris in a century. There were endless ponts or bridges on Seine, and the historic sites of Paris, on its banks. Major attractions are on the banks of this river, from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. As they say, the easiest way to explore Paris is through Seine. You don’t miss out on anything, and you won’t get lost either.
We finally reached our apartment, just a lane away from Seine, jetlagged, but surely wanting for more of this city. The excitement was unparalleled. We quickly freshened up, finished our breakfast, and set out on a long day of sight-seeing. Being summer time, the days were long and sun was setting only at 2130 hours. We set our foot to explore the city, which was going to conclude, if it went as per plan, with sipping red wine on the lawns of Place du Trocadero, watching the Eiffel glitter at night! What followed, are three days full of excitement, adventure and thrill. Some events we had planned and some unplanned! Some we had imagined and some unimaginable!
Stay with me to see what happened next!