Paris

June 11, 2007 at 12:31 pm (Uncategorized)

The capital of France – home to a wonder of the world. We were due to leave for Paris on the 21st. We planned to drive from Nootdorp in a rented car. On the 20th, my dad went to Den Haag to pick up the Ford Focus StationWagon that we’d booked online. My dad didn’t come back with a Ford Focus. EuropCar had none of those left, so we got a free upgrade to a Volvo V50!

It was a completely packed car in which we departed at 7:00 on the 21st, exactly one hour later than planned in our usual style :D. Armed with nothing but GoogleMaps print-outs, none of my aunt’s friends expected us to get to our destination without getting lost. We proved them wrong. We only got mildly lost after entering Paris, and had to ask for directions. Magically, we found our way to Parking Rambutaeu in Forum des Halles, a 5 minute walk from the apartment we’d booked at Rue Tiquetonne. The highlight of the day has got to be the fact that we realised we’d been pronouncing the name of the street right. Tiquetonne IS, in fact, pronounced Tikitohn. And we thought we’d been making fun of French spelling all this time!

We got to the apartment, ate some MTR “Ready to Eat” Rasam Rice and Pongal, and slept like babies. We woke up at about 5 in the evening and took a cab to the Eiffel Tower.

Although the Eiffel Tower is not as visible from the rest of Paris as I imagined it’d be, it’s one massive structure and one fabulous piece of architecture. We went all the way to the top and took in the stunning view. It was interesting to note that nobody wanted to pay one Euro to use the telescope mounted there. Camera zoom seems to be enough for all practical purposes nowadays!

If the Eiffel Tower was beautiful by day, it was doubly so by night. When the lights come on, it looks wonderful beyond description. We ate dinner under the Eiffel. Chocolate waffles and authentic French Fries with godly ketchup.

We had a problem getting back to the apartment. For one, it was 23:30. There were not too many taxis to be found. Compounding our problem was the fact that we were a family of five. It’s difficult to get cabs that’ll accomodate six. It was 00:30 when we reached the apartment. We retired to bed, planning to wake up at seven the next morning so we could reach Disneyland Resort Paris comfortably by 10:00, which was when the resort opened.

We woke up at 9:00 on the 22nd. While my mom fixed us sandwiches for breakfast, I volunteered to go to the car to get the chocolate milk. I found my way to Forum des Halles, after carefully retracing my steps from the previous day. No glitches so far. It was after this that I got lost. I walked the entire length and breadth of the mall searching for the parking lot. I had a vague idea of which level we’d parked on, but I hadn’t completely registered the location. I was immensely relieved when I found a sign that led me to “Berger Parking”. Funnily, though, nothing seemed familiar. I didn’t see the loo that said “hommes” on the door.

I spent about half an hour hunting down the parking lot, and finally, I found it. Who on earth expects multiple parking lots in a mall. A parking lot is a parking lot. Why would one be called Rambutaeu and one Berger? Anyway, it was 11:00 by the time I got back to the apartment, and everyone was ready to leave.

We took the RER to Disneyland, and it was WONDERFUL! Magical! No scary rides though. There was one roller coaster that was remotely scary called Space Mountain Mission 2. Shruti and I rode it thrice in a row. Awesome fun! The ride through the Disney stories was simply fabulous, for want of a better word.

The only sad part of it all was that Sheetal lost her Minnie Mouse balloon on the way out because someone bumped her, causing the string to break. We had already exited the park, so we couldn’t go back for another one.

We had dinner at Subway, where my folks had a hard time explaining what vegetarian meant. We then went into a Supermarket and somehow managed to pick out cheese, butter and milk from the store. My parents left me in charge, and went to see the show playing at The Lido. There was a free half bottle of champagne with the show. My parents let me down. They refused to partake of the “divine liquor”, and settled for Coke!

The next day, we started late. Not like we’d started early on any day, but on the 23rd, we started late even by our own standards. We first took a taxi to the Arc de Triomphe, where we saw some very Indian sounding names engraved. Mutta Thaal? Heavens! We then took another cab to the Louvre Museum. Some of the exhibits were mega impressive. The glass pyramids were architectural delights. The Mona Lisa failed to elicit any admiration from me. Far from Da Vinci’s best piece is what I feel about it. The only reason people admire it is because they’re looking for a reason to admire it. Someone said that Mona Lisa’s eyes appears to follow you around the room. That is, indeed, true. But I tried it with another painting, and another, and it worked there too!

With my expert directions, we walked back to the apartment, and got completely packed, all ready for the next leg of the journey.

Pictures on http://picasaweb.google.com/sidzoo/Paris

Haven’t proofread this, but I hope everything’s in order…

Sid.

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