Paris has always been rather synchronous to the idea of a dream. When I was small, the only place I really wanted to visit someday was the capital of France that held an inexplicable charisma, beauty, lure and radiance. To think of it, most of us have always loved the very sound of the name of this romantic city. Over the years, I traveled around Asia, read travelers’ blogs and perused through travel websites to come to an abstract conclusion about Paris: It must be over-rated. However, it’s difficult not to fantasize about the magnificence that it holds. And then, finally, I got my share of time in pretty Paris.
We decided to embark on a train journey from Nice, the South of France to the capital to spend hours looking outside the broad windows into the quietude and brilliance of the countryside. When we finally got down at the Gare D’Lyon station, I breathed in the air of Paris for the very first time. We stayed in a hotel very close to the Bastille station in the Le Marais neighborhood that clutched on to the Parisian spirit in the most adorable ways. What I really loved throughout was the incredible pace life moved in and yet the ease with which people embraced everything the city boasted of.
To think of the Louvre Museum; the incredible paintings and sculptures, the inimitable splendor and vibrancy and the direct encounter with Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa took my heart away. But, what truly brought me closer to the magic of Paris was this wonderful river cruise trip that introduced us to the wonders of the city, the breathtaking buildings and architecture, the churches, the cathedrals, the houses, the bridges, the love locks, the towers and an amazing aura that made me fall in love with Paris right away. All right, so when you’re in Paris, you can’t afford to miss this.
For me, the city brought back delightful memories of the time when I was in school and I used to learn French. The hoardings or announcements, the maps, the restaurants, everything held a meaning because they were reminiscent of a period in which I learnt the most about the country. While in Paris, we traveled mostly in the excellent metro trains that have a great connectivity or spent hours walking around different locales that seemed so enchanting at all parts of the day. Le Marais is certainly one such place, buzzing with cafés and clubs, restaurants and boutiques and shops and bakeries. So, another piece of advice, take some time out to stroll along the lanes of Le Marais to experience the real Parisian charm.
Early morning one day, we set off to visit the Notre Dame cathedral. Needless to say, it was one of the most beautiful architectural marvels I might have ever seen. When you’re right inside the church, it absorbs you in its splendor, in the huge, bright and artistic windows, the unbelievable interiors and an odd sense of tranquility. And then, there is this appealing coin machine from where you can retrieve different coins with the cathedral’s symbols for 2 Euros each. Get these coins as a souvenir, please. I loved how they looked and you might not get them anywhere else.
Next, we headed towards Galleries la Fayette which is definitely one place that you are not supposed to miss. I know everything in Paris is just so majestic and amazing that a lot of times people do not go to this huge shopping complex that’s incredibly stunning and gives you the best views of the city, especially the Eiffel Tower, from its roof top. People go here majorly to go to the rooftop café, take a few bites of the available snacks and just gaze at the most admired marvel of the city. Also, you can do some remarkable shopping in this building or right across the street where it’s located. I couldn’t resist the urge and I know even you can’t.
We went to the Eiffel Tower later in the evening and kept staring at it for a long long time. It’s very beautiful you know. The more I looked at it, the more I was in awe. Incredible lights sparkle through the whole tower for a few minutes when it turns dark and that spectacle is definitely worth a watch. We couldn’t go up the tower because of the lack of time, but people say it’s amazing. However, I don’t regret it too much because we went for the Lido show next which turned out to be one of the best decisions we made during the whole trip. The Lido is an amalgamation of different forms of creative pursuits. There is dance, there is singing and there is drama. This year the show includes cabaret, salsa, opera and so much more that it’s difficult to not love it. I’d suggest, go for the Lido. It’s incredible. Another major money saving tip: Buy the discounted tickets from a counter located at 15 place de la Madeleine.
I did leave out on some of the other great Parisian spectacles because 2 or 3 days is just not enough for the place that Paris is. Yet, no matter what you do and see in this city or for how long you wander along its attractive neighborhoods; it will enchant you and mesmerize you. Paris was always like a dream and it still is.