We are continuing with our Paris saga, this post has been written by my sister Alka. We visited Paris in November 2018. Over to Alka.
When my sister asked me, what if we visit Paris this year, my joy knew no bound. Paris always fascinated me. Being a student of history, French Revolution, the fall of Bastille and the rise and fall of Napoleon held a special place in my mind and heart. I could not wait for our trip to begin.
Our first stop in Paris was the Louvre Museum as it was on the same Metro Line as our hotel. But at that time, we didn’t go inside to see Monalisa. It was late and we decided we would go back early in the morning the next day!
We visited the Eiffel Tower next. The minute I reached there, I felt as if I was in Atta Market, Noida! The milieu was so hilariously similar. If you have been to Atta Market, you can easily understand what Im trying to say.
There you are, enjoying the hustle and bustle of the local market established upon the pavements, with cars and buses incessantly honking and the shopkeepers, busy selling their goodies, paying scant regard to the inconvenience caused to the passers-by.
And then suddenly there is this insane scrambling, firstly originating at the extreme end of the street and then causing a ripple of commotion throughout the settlement. The shopkeepers start winding up, collecting their belongings in sheets and running helter-skelter, alerting their fellow shopkeepers, “Committee wale aa gaye, bhaago! Committee wale aa gaye!”
Well, I witnessed something similar near the Eiffel Tower.
I first threw a glance at all those shopkeepers selling their goodies, then I beheld the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, engrossed in my “aha!” moment just for a few seconds and then suddenly, there was commotion.
I saw the shopkeepers, scooping their goodies in their sheets in a single, swift sweep, and running away from the payment, just the way they do it in Atta! Uttering and screaming in French, Im pretty sure, “Committee wale aa gaye, bhago!” I laughed uncontrollably.
Next we went inside the Eiffel Tower area, admired its beauty and clicked pictures to our hearts’ content. I even made a video call to my kid and husband and showed them the Eiffel Tower.
But we decided against going at the top as it was a foggy day and we would not have gotten any view of the city from the top. You see, how with age, wisdom comes knocking at your door, whether you appreciate it or not.
When we came out of the Eiffel Tower, the pavement shopkeepers were back doing brisk business, after happily sailing through the danger and dodging it successfully.
After spotting us, one was even trying to sell us a small replica of Eiffel Tower, by shouting, “Ek Euro! Ek Euro!”
We came out of the Eiffel Tower area and started searching for a place to sit and admire things while munching on something. We had
baguette sandwiches with coffee. To two tired and hungry individuals, our snack tasted heavenly.
We enjoyed our snacks while watching a wedding shoot. The bride looked out of this world and obviously, the bridegroom beamed with pride at his choice.My sister put on her photographer’s hat and gatecrashed the wedding shoot.
After a while I saw , my sister was not alone and others too were clicking away the bride and groom happily. Being the lazy one, I just kept on eating and sipping my coffee and thanking God, that my sister has not acquired the habit of crashing a party so that she can do some food photography!!
I know she is not a foodie, but has a photographer’s eye, and an insatiable hunger for good photo opportunities. Rejuvenated, and with our hunger satisfied, we started walking along pathways near the Seine river.
My sister suggested we should go to Bir-Hakeim. It’s nearby. We would get a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower from that bridge. She was absolutely right. And we witnessed two more pre-wedding shoots there!
If you go to the Eiffel Tower, please don’t miss this bridge. You will get an amazing view and for a while you will forget you are standing in the midst of heavy traffic.
The river , a path lined with trees, and the Eiffel Tower, make you forget everything and what you will carry home would be amazement, contentment and the image of a marvel known as the Eiffel Tower.
PS. Even though this was a personal trip, there were two collaborations that I need to mention. This trip was made special by Atout France – France Tourism Development Agency and Paris Tourist Office who helped us discover the city of lights at our own pace by providing two 6 day travel cards for public transport and 2 Museum Passes for 4 days, allowing us to explore the city at its fullest. I also had the M50 on loan from Canon India, a big thank you to them.
Alka and I went to Budapest together in November 2017. It was our first trip together as adults! We also left behind our family to take the break. We wanted to make it a yearly affair and I am happy to say that we went to Paris this November! I am keeping my fingers crossed for the next year too.
As this was the second trip, comparisons were bound to arise. But every trip is unique, Paris is Paris and Budapest is Budapest. But that wonderful feeling of going on a holiday with your sister was exactly the same!
This year Alka had a grand idea- that we both will wear sari and click pictures. The last time I wore a sari must have been 2004 or 2005 (and it is not a typo) as I used to work in a college where it was compulsory to wear a sari on the convocation. But I left that job in 2005. Before that I wore it at my own wedding!
In the end Alka could not manage a blouse for herself and I was the only candidate left with this grand scheme! I resisted it, I anyway don’t like getting clicked unless I am jumping from a cliff or something like that!
But if anyone could have convinced me, it is Alka. I managed to push it till the last day! But on the last day, there she was, and I could come up with nothing to dissuade her!
So on a cold cold day in Paris I was wearing a sari and going around in the metro trains! It attracted a ton of attention! But it was OK.
Once I wear a sari, I can deal with it though I can’t tie it completely on my own. But it didn’t take much time for Alka and I to get it done together. It was anyway mostly her doing.
I am totally stiff when it comes to posing for pictures. I was giving Alka a tough time, till I decided to jump, in a sari and all at the Louvre! After that I somehow lost some of my inhibition and enjoyed getting clicked, to the extent I can enjoy it!
My initial proposition was that we would click around the hotel as the day was way too cold to roam around in a sari even with an overcoat. But as Louvre was on the same metro line as ours, Alka convinced me to go up to the Louvre at least.
Another interesting thing is I am the one who likes to take pictures but this time Alka was behind the camera. The camera was the brand new Canon EOS M50 which I had on loan from Canon India. It is a mirrorless camera and I was keen to try it out on this trip.
And somehow from Louvre we hopped on to Bir Hakeim which is a cool bridge with an excellent vantage point of Eiffel Tower!
Alka wanted us to go near the Eiffel Tower too but by then I had enough. It was cold and it was drizzling. The sari was getting wet at the hem and I was finally getting uncomfortable. She readily agreed when I said I wanted to go back to the hotel and change!
Will I do it again? I think I have no choice on a holiday that I take with Alka. Was it fun? Yes it was and it was a little bit of madness too, going around in sari on an overcast cold day with temperature at 6 degree Celsius! But then what is travel without a little madness, particularly when you are traveling with your sister!
PS. Even though this was a personal trip, there were two collaborations that I need to mention. The France Tourism Board provided us with two 6 day travel cards for public transpor and 2 Museum Passes for 4 days; I had the M50 on loan from Canon India. A big thank you to both of them.
I am Mridula Dwivedi, I love to travel! I started my travel blog in 2005. I have been going places since! For more details do check out my media kit! In another life I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur. I was a professor when I quit my job in 2015.
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