Paris,Eiffel and Me:Two months in Paris

“When they go home, they’ll say they know Paris. Tomorrow, they’ll go and see the Mona Lisa and claim they’ve visited the Louvre. But they don’t know Paris and have never really been to the Louvre. All they did was go on a boat and look at a painting, one painting, instead of looking at a whole city and trying to find out what’s happening in it, visiting the bars, going down streets that don’t appear in any of the tourist guides, and getting lost in order to find themselves again. It’s the difference between watching a porn movie and making love.”
Paulo Coelho, the Zahir.


This summer I was on an internship in Paris, one of the best times that I have spend.Yes I know i was the lucky one, a sponsored internship to paris, was what many people would have dreamed of.I was lucky enough to get this opportunity.

I stayed in zone 3-4 border , at a place called Antony( there is a RER B line connecting from main Paris to Antony, which costs about 3.5  Euro per ticket/ if bought in bunched it costs about 2 Euro/ticket(recommended) and in weekends it is weekend pass for I think 4 euro !)
.Antony is a wonderful place by itself, quite calm , but pretty costly for a student(!), one of the best things over there is the Parc De Sceaux , a flamboyant park stretching several miles, and needless to say embellished with shaped trees,bushes , lake and green fields.It was named after the fact that it used to be a muddy water body there, before some artsy person converted it to the park. France is the home of museums, and even parc de sceaux have one,but it was unfortunate the musuem inside was closed for repair during my visit.So if you are there trying to visit the museum and let me know!:D

Eiffel,paris at night

After grueling hours in front of computer during the week, the weekends were the best time( one thing I liked about France is that they really had weekends, where people enjoy,unlike India), it was time to visit Paris, the wonderful place, where If you left me for a day I would still wander about and return to the same place and have the feeling of being different from the last time I saw.Two months was not a plethora of time to see Paris.I being the kind who wanted a silent observation of the people , the lights, the buildings and the work of art in every nook and corner of the city.The city is a wonder by itself. many a time I used to get myself a map of Paris (with of course the Metro map-avaliable from the counter of stations) and just get down at a random most suitable station and just walk around.”Walking” in Paris, is the best thing to do.You will find such huge difference, when walking in noon ,and when walking in midnight.My ultimate destination was always fixed , the Eiffel, because firstly it was easy to locate and secondly it was so enigmatic,powerful and so very hopelessly romantic(I traveled alone, with my friend), that at the end of the enervating walk , I felt refreshed; the joy of looking at Eiffel glittering with its thousand bulbs(well I hopeless ly tried to find an algorithm about the blinking pattern of the “stars” of Eiffel :p, but the beauty of it was enough to make my observation lost, until I found myself grazing at the enigmatic structure).I could go on taking about Eiffel , but paris had so much to offer.One thing would recommend to curious and mystery loving people, is to visit the Masonic church of “Monument des Droits de l’Homme” in front of the eiffel ground build by Ivan Theimer , a  Cezch-French sculptor.It is well hidden act of the masons, yet in front of a world wonder.The temple was build as a treaty of human rights,but instead the monument is stuffed with masonic art,science scriptures,and other mysteries.

Here is a list of what I did, and a potential guide for paris:(I would try to elaborate this post later)

  • Visit Eiffel at round 8:00 in summers, and stay till midnight.
    Walk to the second floor,and take the lift before sundown.It is wonderful to see paris being prepared for the night as the city lights up.The scene is wonderful from eiffel top.
  • *Take a look at the Masonic temple , that i mentioned,take a closer look at the doors and Inside
  • Walk down the streets of paris, specially when it rains!
  • Walk down the latin quarter at the back side of Pantheon, have a look at the various Parisian restaurants, wine shops, prostitutes etc.
  • Have a dinner at an authentic parisian resturant.We had it at “POLIDOR“, the restaurant where Ernest Hemingway used to have dinner, and many famous characters of hollywood too :)(get down at Luxembourg)
  • Walk up to sacre coeur church in the “non-american” way, using the steep road beside Moulin Rounge.Be careful in this area as there are many pickpockets.People will come to tie bands to you, just ignore them.Dont go to ATM,or other money draw here, as my friend got himself looted here
  • If you are a non-christan ,you would probably like to hear the evening hyms at sacre coeur.The sound of the of the echo along with the expressive voice of the priest is commemorative of the place.Also the view of Paris from the top of the hill is wonderful
  • Watch a opera at Concorde.If you are a student you can get a discount.I got mine at 40 Euro instread of 90 Euro.Just go when the show is about to start and show your student ID card
  • Vist Louvre jut not for Mona Lisa, best chances are you will probably not get to see it properly, as it is guarded and you get to see it at a distance.If your heart is unsatisfied with the archaic paintings, vist the post-impressionist museum “musee de orsay” where the pictures of Van Gogh are preserved(starlight head to top floor and then descend)
  • Visit Champs-Elysses , and Arc de Triomphe, Jardin de Luxembourg
  • Visit Notre Dame at evening.And view Notre dame from behind from the bridge.Walk down the roads and feel the tension.
  • Visit Palace of Versailles.This one is a bit far from main paris, but is worth a visit

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Gargoyle-in paris

Have you seen mystical characters at top of Gothic cathedrals in and around paris? I always wondered what these creatures were, it seemed so out of place being placed at the top of a place which seems to be holy.It was some kind of pagan belief that had been carried on to the cathedrals, as one of the artist writes in his website.I did a quick search about them and here is what I came up with. A
About Gargoyle:
  • Often made from hard stones such as granite ,etc.(long lasting.?)
  • They are endowed with magical and mystical appearance and demonic looks, created in the image of animals humans etc.
  • Normally placed at the top of the cathedral, where they are used to drain rain water.The construction adds a pagan look to the cathedral.
  • In mythological context ,Gargoyles are neither mammals, nor reptiles, nor birds. They are part of a biological class called gargates, presumably descended from the great reptiles of the Mesozoic Era or the late Paleozoic Era. The only other known species in this group is the gargoyle beasts, which were domesticated by gargoyles as companions millennia ago.
  • The most prominent biological feature of gargoyles is that they turn to “stone” in the daytime.
  • Folk history:The origin of gargoyles traces back to france.It alleges that in the 6th century, the town of Rouen was threatened by a dragon named Gargouille that arose out of the river Seine. Gargouille laid the lands around the town waste and devoured everyone in his path, until Archbishop Romanus defeated and slew him. He then consigned the dragon’s body to the flames, but Gargouille’s head and neck were too toughened by its fiery breath to be consumed. So the Archbishop had Gargouille’s head mounted upon the walls of the town as a commemoration of the dragon’s defeat.
  • The legend of gargoyle have its wings spread to Maya, China, India, Mesopotamia, Persia, ancient Egypt, and even ancient Greece and Rome.

Why are they there?

  • No possible obvious reasons.But can be explained with respect to some assumptions
  • They appeal to our imagination and the subconscious. They take human characteristics, exaggerate, change them, blend them with animal characteristics, so they can symbolize any aspect of our personalities. Humans are differentiated from the animals by our imagination, creativity, humor, and an appreciation of art. Gargoyles fit in that realm, and are part of what make us human. Artists can express humanity and emotion in a creative fashion by using distorted or fantastic forms.
  • In Gothic churches they are there to ward off evil
  • Some similatities with the weeping angels of Dr Who?
  • Beware children at night!!!!

So next time you go to bed just dont remeber the gargoyle hanging down the cathedral and please dont combine the weeping angels and the gargoyle , its a nasty thing to do. Good night:)

References and Online resources:

Two important things to carry while travelling(repairing your glasses and belt)

Few days back,I had some strange problems while I was traveling to Belgium.
1. somehow the clip from the buckle of my belt broke off.
2. my friends spectacles support came off.

Now it was very difficult to find a shop in and around and specially when you are travelling you dont know where the shops are and adding salt to it some said mending would be quite expensive.I was unwilling to pay 3 euros for a ‘small’ mend. Buying a new belt would have costed me about 8 euros, so it was out of question!

I thought a way out, it was really a hotfix, fixing the belt with a straightened paper clip(pic).
In the axle in the end of the buckle,just wrap around the metal rod (straight paper clip),so that it can move freely.
You can also cut the remaining part of the clip if you have a cutter handly.I didn’t have one.
I just realized this could be used for fixing many things which had long attachements,and would be very useful to carry along.

Here is the pic of the mended belt

Now after coming back from the tour, the next morning my friends reading glasses support (one over the ears)came off ,Now he started worrying about his spectacles, and the money to be spend for repair. I couldnt fix this with a paper clip it was too thick and long,(and i dont have a cutter).I thought for a while and looked around for things, when I noticed a stapler pin(pic).This was just perfect to just get in the small screw hole of the glasses.

The fix worked like a charm and it got fixed like never before…and best of it you could never tell a difference from outside..:)

I would always carry these small things always with me from next time:)

A morning walk in manikaran

On August 2010 ,we went to manikaran.
reaching there it was like,”is this place on earth?”.I have always favored manali more than any other hill station,so wanted to put up my stay there.But all of a suddent manikaran seemed so flamboyant and heavenly,that i hardly realised the strong sound of the water of parvati churning the rocks of himalayas.Its small but sweet,the people are friendly,the clouds gives the heavenly look and the hot spring an ideal for bathing in the cold outset.

view from the bridge..U one
local huts
view enroute

We reached manikaran on 10th August.We had put up in the guruduwara,though im not a sikh by religion,we got that booked,and it was an opportunity to stay cheap,and enjoy the environment there.we spend the evening listining to punjabi songs,though i ddnt understand a word they were saying,i got hold of their surroundings, the strong murmur of the river merged with the rythmic tunes of the mridangam  and the devotional songs endlessly vibrated the enviroment.

On next morning I wanted to have a stroll around alone.My parents were still in their deep sleep,resting from their daily work,i got myself on roads at 5:30 am,whith some warm cloths on me.I walked straight upto the place where you cross the bridge to get to gurudwara ,to right is the temple.crossed the bridge and walked along the main road.
After some leisurely troll,i met a local old guy,who was also on his way.I asked him where he was heading this morning.
“Im going back my home”
I wondered how far it might be and asked “kitna dhur hai?(how far is it?)
“Its a 12 hours walk from here”
I was more than surprised,i wondered how this man could travel so long, quickly approximated the distance with average 5 kmph to be 60 km.
The chitchat went along;I asked him how cold it was in the winter and how did they manage to stay in these harsh conditions.
He replied,”during winter we have no work,we collect ration,and food for cattle in summer and in winter everything is covered with snow,so no works.”
curiously i asked him if he had come here for work,and my guess was positive, he was going back to his village after a week’s work.
i continued on my way,enjoying the nature and the breathtaking beauty of the morning clouds.I crossed the river(U turn on map).The view from this position to the opposite side of the power plant is also photogenic.With my old panasonic lumix DMC-FX9,i got hold of some snaps,befor continuing journey.

but by that time I could see that man had reached way far,i wondered how was that possible for a momnet,until i realized he took shortcuts by climbing off the mountains and short cattle roads.and he walked quite fast pace too..(so it must be more than 60 kms by road..)

I walked past the few huts there,i like these mountain huts,it thrills me how these people live away from the busy city life.I walked till i reached a end.A landslide had occured and the road ahead was blocked almost with a huge boulder and electric wires.I didnt dare to go further.As i was bound to return,i noticed a car come and stop in the other side of the landslide…

Aguy came out of the car and huried past the wires and said he was heading to the city,i asked him where he had been,he replied he owned an apple orchard and had gone there to collece apples.I followed him.Downhill was a bit easier,but that man suddenly took some shortcuts,i follwed him on them,they were steep cattle roads,carefully i managed to cross them .Then instread of taking the U over the bridge he took a shortcut over the river in front of the power house.There is a broken bridge and a wooden log(i dont know if its still there)he climbed down the steep from the road. and stepped into the log.I somehow followed.crossing the river with a tree log and a broken bridge early in the morning was thrilling.then i took the left road and through the jungle path guided by small wodden bridges i reached the place in front of the main bridge… overall it was a fab experience..

returning road bidges

Short description of the way to cross river:Take the uphill staircase just opposite to the bridge.then take will find a very narrow road covered with large bush on one side.It was thrilling,specially in the morning,then cross the river in front of the power house.There is a broken bridge and a wooden log(i dont know if its still there)cross via it after the broken bridge and then climb the road