Mum's end to tiffin box tantrums......

Monday, 12 September 2016

Europe diary 2016: A paradise known as Paris!

My journey started from Paris, France. The very first sight of Charles de Gaulle airport was impressive. The runway seems to be too close to the departure lounge that was a difference I noticed with any other airport of my knowledge. We were picked up by the Parisian taxi chauffer and dropped at the hotel of our desire. The chauffer followed the GPRS network to track our hotel from the airport which hardly took 30 minutes. The traffic was disciplined, followed the signals heartily but the traffic congestion was a bit more being a weekday.  Afterwards we reached our hotel which was situated in the heart of the city and beside a renowned metro station. We settled our luggage, took shower and went off for some shopping. We discovered Franpirx, Monoprix and other stores from where we bought necessary items for breakfast. We had our dinner in an Italian restaurant. The cost of a medium sized pizza starts from 9 euros.  The most exciting part was to see faint sunlight till 9:25 pm. It starts to darken completely at 10 pm. quite interesting enough!

I came back to the hotel and collected a city map which was distributed to all tourists free of cost. This gave me an idea of the metro stations, important landmarks, bus routes and taxi depot. There are various city tours popular to tourists the most used being big bus tour. There are specified big bus depots where you can board or disembark the coach and enjoy the city throughout the day. It took 33 euros per person for a day trip that ended at 7 pm. We preferred to take this trip and saw various landmarks that defines Paris. The other way to have a good trip was to take the sea route. A cruise along the river Seine will give you good view of the best landmarks.

Cruise across the river Seine

Big bus- a great way if city touring!

Convenient city bus

Metro- the fastest way to travel

Paris is rightly called the city of culture. Dance, music, drama, painting, modelling – whichever field you aspire to excel Paris will definitely find you the way.  The Parisians work hard, eat, drink and are fond of theatre.  Never to go without a peg of wine once you are in Paris. In fact the country has got the best collection of wines and champagnes. We saw and photographed various places of historic importance.

‘Garnier Palais’ or Opera House:  The Opera house or Garnier Palais is situated on 8 rue scribe, the heart of the city. The magnificent structure was the symbol of grandeur and opulence built by Charles Garnier from 1861 to 1875. It’s a 1979 seating arrangement opera which has been influenced by the architectural styles of second empire, baroque revival and beaux arts. The mighty building has a single entrance where you may buy tickets. Separate rates apply for singe entry of group. A guided tour might cost you 15 euros or you might carry an audio guide that will cost you 5 euros against your identity card. You may be guided by the literature that speaks on the massive structure.

The Palais garnier stands tall

The grand escalier is the staircase that leads to the thirty meter high vault. The marbles used were pure Italian. The very feeling was ecstatic and I became nudge to rediscover the stories associated with each stone.

The magnificent chandeliers

The beautiful chandeliers will attract the visitors. The crystal and bronze fitted lighting system is the most elegant and covers the entire length of the galleries. There was a story that the slight overweight lead to breakage of a single chandelier resulting in the death of an audience.  The story was the inspirational source for the play ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

The gallery where history reverberates

The great auditorium seating capacity over 1200

The auditorium was a horse shoe shaped structure with seating arrangement and almost 340 lights attached to the bronze plated chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The ceiling paintings were done by Marc Chagall. The house curtain was inspired by theatrical painters. The corridors were spacious with various opera dresses flanged inside glass show cases. We posed in front of those costumes imagining ourselves in those attires.

History  escalates the stairs

Contains the history of 3 decades of the Opera.

Costumes used by famous artists.

Library museum of the opera is a collection of 300 year old history of the place. The museum exhibits books, audiovisual of the glimpses of theatre which the country boasts to possess. This place was meant for the researchers who want more stories on the theatre and its greatness.


The Louvre museum:  The museum of louvre of muse du louvre is situated on the right side if river seine, one of the largest attraction of France and second most   visited museum of the world. Spread over an area of 60,600 sq. metres and exhibiting 35,000 objects from the pre historic ages to the 21st century. It was started to be built by Philip II in the 12th century.

The Louvre at dusk
It takes 15 euros per person to enter the museum and it’s valid for a day. There are no tickets for children below 18 years. The louvre museum is accessible by bus as well as metro routes. It’s open till 9:45pm at night on Wednesday and Fridays. You will get guided tours for a group of 25-30. Else you may hire the audiovisual tour and thereby understand the importance of each section.

Hindi a medium of instruction in the louvre
The sub divisions are- Paintings ( 215 works) , Egyptian antiques ( 207 works), Greek and Roman antiques ( 275 works), Near eastern antiques ( 182 works) , sculptures ( 83 works), Decorative arts ( 262 works) , Islamic work ( 12 works) and the Pavilion de L’horloge.

The galleries with sculptures
The painting collection dates back to the reign of Francis I of France. The paintings are preserved in chronological order in the first floor of Denon wing. The other works are in the Richelieu wing.
Louvre is the platform for masterpieces by famous painters- Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rosso, and Primmaticco dwell side by side. We saw the original Mona Lisa which was the most crowded place. Each and every tourist wants to get the central position to pose with Mona Lisa or might be click Mona Lisa. How the lady influenced the painter as well as she is appreciated today for her mysterious smile.

Monalisa- a reason to travel miles!
The collection of Egyptian antiques was not only a result of Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt between 1798-1801. There were other European collectors who visited Egypt, performed a deep research and aided the French Govt to ship some of the best pieces of art to the land. The works of famous Egyptian excavators deserves special mention here. The secrets of the pharaonic writing were discovered by various researchers.

Sculpture of King Louis XIV
The antiques department was opened in 1793 was a result of seizure of property during the French Revolutions. Over 500 marble sculptures belonged to the Borghese collection. The museum collection has various facets of the Northen Africa and from the Ottoman Empire. A section of the Greek artwork was secured from the queen’s winter apartment. The Etruscan displayed was kept in the ground floor near the Petite gallerie.

Some jewelry on display

Near Eastern antiques are a result of excavation in the 19th century when the French scholars and excavators travelled to the land of Bible. The world’s first ‘Assyrian museum ‘was opened in Louvre in 1847. There is evidence of Palestinian and Jewish antiques in the magnificent Louvre. The code of Hammurabi is preserved in the great platform.

The louvre attracts millions of visitors each year
The Louvre museum is house to a number of ancient and medieval sculptures. Collections by Peinture are kept here.  Various roman and Italian collection adds to the glory of the museum.  Amongst the few notables were Michelangelo’s slaves that went for exhibition.
The department of prints and drawings are exhibited in temporary phase but never in permanent phase. The chalcography or engraved plates are displayed in a particular illumination and humidity. Most of them were King Louis XIV’s purchase.

The latest department in the history of louvre is the addition of Islamic arts which was reopened in 2012 in complete new and restyled settings. After the Second World War the Islamic department was reshuffled from the far eastern works.
The decorative arts is a collection of jewelry, silverware, enamels, ivories, bronzes and semi-precious stone works

After I experienced Louvre I feel I was standing amidst history of the entire world. The culture, the stories and some truth in form of stones and sketches stands in front of me and I experience a time machine. I traveled across various ages and the stories flashed in the form of imagination. The modern world has a lot to learn from the past and add glory to its future.

That was enough for the day. The louvre tour took me about 5 hours and I returned to my hotel, had dinner and slept.  French bread and vegetable, meat make a great dinner for me.I was waiting for the day 2 visit of exciting and irresistible Paris. By the way I saw the tower of Eiffel standing tall and felt attracted to climb the monument of immense historical importance.

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