Chapter 2 – Au Revoir, Paris!

Hi guys,

I’m back with the next part of the series. If you missed the first one, here it is.

Day 3

I arrived at the Louvre museum at half past ten in the morning. The museum is located in the Louvre Palace on the bank of the river Seine. I wanted to visit the Palace of Versailles but had to scrap that due to lack of time. So here I was. For someone who’s not big on art or museums, this place could be an overload! Having said that, I must admit that it really is something. The collection is massive and it’s incredibly easy to get lost, although they do have one person in every other room to help you find your way. If you’re an art lover, this is the place to be. I did get a selfie with my buddy Mona, so nothing to complain about 🙂

Louvre

A painting within a painting within a photo

I made my way out and walked along the palace walls overlooking the river. I passed by a friendly guy making candies on the street. He let me try some and we had a nice little chat. While I didn’t have a fixed itinerary for the day, I wanted to see Notre Dame. I spent most of the day walking within a three mile radius of the place. On the way, I stopped by the Pantheon (modeled on the one in Rome). When I got there, it started pouring. It now serves as a mausoleum. From the Pantheon, you also get a direct view of the Eiffel Tower.

Louvre Palace walls Seine Pantheon Pantheon Pantheon facing Eiffel Tower Universite de Paris

During my walk, I found myself in a street filled with restaurants, bakeries, you name it. I entered one bakery and tasted macaroons for the first time. Yum!

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Just another cafe Unknown

It was time to resume my quest and I took a turn at some corner nearby and there it was, right in front of me. What a sight. Breathtaking was an understatement. It is a ‘must see’. I would write more but it deserves a post of its own.

What a beauty! Notre Dame de Paris

I was now a content man and went back to the hostel for the evening. That night, I met a couple of friends at an underground bar ‘Le Caveau des Oubliettes’ which translates to ‘The Dungeon Vault’. It is neatly tucked away in an alley and has live blues/jazz/funk music. You should definitely check this place out if you’re in Paris.

The band

The next morning, I left Paris with a heavy heart. I wish I’d had more time to take in this city. But now I have a reason to come back. I shall leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies (Midnight in Paris).

“That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me.”

Jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon

Hi,

Now that I’ve got a decent hang of this thing, I thought I’d venture into the open seas. I do have a Twitter handle already but just created a Facebook page in order to share my stories on another medium as well.

If you like what you see, why not join in? I know at least one person’s day would be made 🙂

You can find me at the links below.

Facebook

Twitter

CheefHobo

Chapter 1 – Love at First Sight

Hi guys,

I know it’s been a while since my last post but I was finally able to sit down and complete the first installment of ‘An Affair with Europe’

Day 1

IMG_2769After landing at Charles de Gaulle airport on the evening of 8th August, I had to take a train to the heart of the city. The train ride was about an hour long but with the singing busker and his accordion time flew. I felt like I was in one of those movies set in France with beautiful French music playing in the background. I was so engrossed in his performance that I forgot to capture it.

After finding my way to the hostel and doing a quick check-in, I grabbed some dinner at a nearby pizzeria and headed back. The effects of multiple flights and long layovers had caught up to me. Time to sleep.

Day 2

IMG_2760Since I hadn’t planned what to see, I approached the front desk at the hostel for suggestions. I came to know that the Eiffel Tower was only a 30 minute walk away.  Armed with a map I set out for the day. Of course it didn’t strike me to ask where I was on the map. I walked up to an elderly lady with a ‘Bonjour’ and asked her for directions. Although she didn’t speak English, I was able to get a general idea as to the direction in which I had to proceed. After walking down four or five blocks, I caught a glimpse of the Tower and things got easier from there.

I approached from Champ-de-Mars, a park like area sandwiched between Ecole Militaire (Military Academy) and the Eiffel Tower. Standing tall at 324 meters, it’s no wonder that the Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. As I made my way through the lawns I became certain that I was one of the very few people to come there alone. Majority of the visitors were couples, young and old. It is the city of love after all. I would have loved to climb up but the queues were so long that it would have taken me a couple of hours to get to the front of the line. Hours I did not have considering I’d be in Paris only for 2 full days.

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My next destination was the Arc de Triomphe. Not really paying too much attention to the map, What should have been a 10 minute walk took a lot longer. I took turns trusting my ‘inner compass’. I eventually found myself on a really fancy road with several luxury stores and cafes, trees on either side. I pulled out my camera to film the road as I walked, for the folks back home. Only later did I realize that I was walking down the famous Avenue des ChampsÉlysĂ©es. The Arc stands in the center of the l’Étoile roundabout, a junction where 12 different roads meet. Navigating your way through without crashing is worth some praise. The Arc was erected to honor the people who had died in Napoleonic and French Revolutionary Wars. Although I did not personally go to the top, I hear that you get a pretty great view of the city. Below the Arc lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which has an eternal flame that burns in memory of those who died fighting in the world wars and were not identified.

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I traced my path back to the Eiffel Tower in order to try my hand at the Shell game played by the tricksters on the Pont d’IĂ©na bridge. I’ll save the details for another post.

Having set myself a strict backpacker’s budget, I stopped at a nearby cafe and had a fairly priced but filling meal.

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I resumed my walk  and eventually found myself in front of a large building with a huge dome in gold, MusĂ©e de l’ArmĂ©e. When I went into buy a ticket, I was warned that most of the display areas had already closed. I decided to restrict myself to the external areas which were free. I took out my map to find out if there were any other places worth seeing. I noticed the cathedral Notre Dame and it reminded me of a story from my childhood, the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I remember the gargoyles perched at the top. I knew I had to see it.

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I was told that the cathedral was a sight to behold and that one should make the climb to the top. I followed the directions in the map and found myself at the Palais du Luxembourg and the attached gardens. The palace currently houses the French Senate and is not open to the public.
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The gardens, however, are accessible. It was the perfect place to spend evenings reading a book or go for a stroll. I spent an hour there enjoying the peace and quiet.

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I continued my search for the cathedral, but found myself on the same bunch of streets repeatedly. After a while, I knew these roads like the back of my hand. By then it was already late and I was exhausted from all the walking. With the help of a ‘Good Samaritan, I was able to get back to my hostel at the other end of the city.

Thank you. Stay tuned for the next chapter of my journey 🙂

CheefHobo

Thank you.

Although it’s been less than a month since I joined, it feels like much longer. When I started, I was here to share my stories but now I find myself spending more time reading what fellow bloggers post. It has become less about ‘me’ and more about ‘us’. While the original motive of this post was to thank those who nominated me for blog awards, I’d like to extend my gratitude further. The feeling I get today from a new ‘follow’, ‘like’ or comment is just as special as the first. While writing is an entirely new experience for me, I am learning. I thank everybody who has dropped by my blog at any point of time.

I received nominations from these lovely people. Why not drop by their page and show them some love? Thanks a ton, guys.

Here is a list of some of the blogs I enjoy following (not exhaustive)

Do check them out. I’m sure you’ll find something to your liking.

Thank you all for reading.

CheefHobo