Advertisment

Beyond boundaries

author-image
DQW Bureau
New Update





Advertisment

Paris



In 2005, we went to Thailand for the New Year Celebrations. Then I went to

London alone, and then to Sydney and Melbourne with my wife Sunny, but in all

these trips I missed my 13-year old son Sidak. So this time, I decided to take

him along as well.

Our flight stopped at the Istanbul airport for two hours, where we enjoyed

free samples of 'Turkish Delight'. After a few hours from there, we finally

reached Paris-the mecca of glamor and fashion.

But it started on a sour note, as the taxi driver who was supposed to pick us

up (on behalf of Cox and Kings), never turned up. After a long wait of three

hours, we decided to hire our own cab and reached Hotel Mirifi Opera (supposedly

a four star hotel arranged by Cox and Kings) with a dingy room.

Advertisment

We enjoyed Paris as if there was no tomorrow. We had free coupons of Cityrama

City Tour bus service, so we went to Pyramides by metro. The city tour was a

good introduction and guide to know what to explore further and what to avoid.

We also had a hearty meal at McDonalds-but the menu and the prices were totally

different from that in India

 

Advertisment
The Singh family

 

Inside Madame Tussauds with Ash, SRK, Tom

Cruise wax statues
Advertisment

The places I visited:

  • Eiffel Tower is seen in lights of different colors and sparkles (every

    hour between 10pm to 1am).
  • Louvre Museum is at a walking distance from the Cityrama office.
  • Les Tuileries Garden-the most central park in Paris-is surrounded by

    Louvre Museum. The garden is spread with basins and statues, including that of

    Julius Caesar. There are several cafés here, ideal for a rest in the middle of

    Paris. The place is close to Metro station.
  • As you get out of this garden, you reach the octagonal Place de la

    Concorde, located at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.
  • Obelisque de Luxor (a 75-ft tall granite monolith) presented by the then

    Viceroy of Egypt to Louis Phillipe is the center of attraction at the

    octagonal Place de la Concorde.
  • Champs-Élysées (pronounced as Shawns-e-leezey) is one of the most

    happening shopping zone. The place does not have any trees because they do not

    want to conceal the beautiful French architecture.
  • At the western end of Champs-Elysées is Arc de Triomphe-a monument that

    stands in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle.
  • Place Charles de Gaulle is a large road junction in Paris and is also the

    meeting point of 12 straight avenues (hence the name 'Star Square') including

    the Champs-Élysées, which continues to the east.
  • Not too far is Place Vendome where Hotel Ritz-the most prestigious hotel

    of Paris is located. Here you will find no benches and trees-only expensive

    shops and fashion boutiques. There's also a statue of Napoleon at the top of a

    41-meter tall pillar made of bronze square. It is surrounded by buildings with

    pillars on the ground floor and walls on top of them, covered by the typical

    steep, Paris roofs.
  • National Academy of Music is a must visit place.
  • Enjoy the Cruise ride.
  • Crazy Horse (cabre etc for adults, not vulgar though)
  • Lido Cabaret dance shows

Tips

Advertisment
  • Mostly you don't need to pay for kids in the metro and local buses.
  • Beware, purse snatching is quite common.
  • In a country that is not your own, make sure you buy bus/metro tickets.
  • Try the food at those open-air cafes, for instance, 'Café Brasseries'-it

    is a good change.
  • Shengen Visa takes longer to get from the French embassy, so apply to the

    much faster Netherlands (which is also a Shengen country) and the same visa is

    then valid for France as well. Shengen is pronounced correctly as Shenjen and

    not as Shen-e-Gun. Gosh! It is such a pain when I pronounce it correctly as

    Shenjen and people try to correct me saying, 'No boss, it is


    Shen-e-Gun'.

 

Louvre Museum Napolean statue standing tall at the top of the green pillar Arc de Triomphe
Advertisment

 

Sherlock Holmes statue Madame Tussauds entrance gates

LONDON



English (even Hindi and Punjabi) was not so uncommon (as compared to the

mostly broken English in Paris). Despite being a Sardar, I was not looking like

an alien in London. In fact, when I went to South Hall, I had to look hard to

find a gora. I saw some shops that gave me the impression that I was in

Hoshiarpur (a small town in Punjab). A store called Iceland in South Hall was

offering more for a rupee than what you could buy in India.

Advertisment

Madame Tussauds was another fun-filled place where we had a long photo

session.

London Eye is like a merry-go-round with huge capsules accommodating roughly

20 people each. a ride in the flight (it is owned and operated by British

Airways, so they call it a flight) gives you a bird's eye view of the city.

Hyde Park shows you the liberal culture of the Londoners. The best thing is

to keep hopping on and off from the original tour bus. Other attractions are

Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street and Piccadily Circus.

This tour originates from Bakers Street (near Tussauds). Ask for the Regent

Street, and you will find Hamley's, the biggest toyshop-your kid(s) would love

it.

I enjoy local cuisines of the places I visit, but strangely I found Chicken

Tikka was the 'local cuisine' here. The original 'fish and chips with beer' seem

to have taken a backseat (if you want to enjoy it though, you should go to

Paddington).

Learning to read Tube Maps from any Indian is a great idea-it is like matrix

(quite simple). The best part is that if you are traveling with very little

luggage, it is easy to take a Tube to the Heathrow Airport, and it will drop you

inside the airport at the terminals 1, 2, 3 or 4.

Tips

  • Take a 'Matrix International Card' from India.
  • Travel light! Otherwise don't use the Tube for travelling.
  • Take the traditional black London cab for a taxi.
  • Do buy some souvenirs from Bakers Street (near Tussauds).
  • Avoid getting into strip clubs-they supposedly dupe and even rob you by

    forcing you buy beer, etc at exorbitant prices. And buying is compulsory if

    you enter them.
  • The best way to go to London from Paris is by Euro Rail (two and a half

    hours only).
  • Get some pictures of yours at the iconic Piccadily Circus.
  • Carry extra batteries for camera.
  • Must experience South Hall, the small Punjab in London.
  • Hop off from your original tour bus to visit the Tower Bridge and see

    Kohinoor there.
  • Big Ben (you can see enough of it sitting in your Hop-on Hop-off bus).
  • Try the white chocolate Walls Magnum ice cream bar that is not available

    in India yet.
  • Try some new flavors (like Rocky Road Chocolate) at Baskin Robbins.
  • Visit the Buckingham Palace (again this is a stop for the Hop-on Hop-off

    bus). On some days and certain times, you can see the parade, etc.
  • Hamley's toy shop at Regents Street (two minutes walk from Oxford Circus)
  • Do some shopping at Oxford Circus.
  • Leicester Square (pronounced as Lesters Square). You will catch sight of

    some romantic couples and a lot of cinema halls there.
  • Non-vegetarians, for some authentic Pakistani gosht, may go to Lahori

    Karahi at South Hall.
Advertisment