After a long haul flight (about 16 hours with a layover in Hongkong) we arrived in Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, which is about an hour away from the city-centre. Peering down my window from the plane, Paris looks flat and uninteresting. There are no mountains or bodies of water.
My impression changed immediately upon arriving within the city-center. The sight of tree-lined streets and renaissance architecture evokes romantic feelings even from a cynic. Not one structure looks alike. Each café, brasserie, boulangerie or even an office building is done in a distinct way and the materials used appear to be stone, brick and glass. Within the city-center, there appears to be a form of ordinance which requires newly-constructed buildings to adhere to the style of architecture of surrounding structures. This became apparent as we passed by one building currently under construction with a photo of its planned façade. In a way, Paris architecture is homogenous.
After walking along the river Seine and watching birds playing along it, I can see why many artists flock to the Seine to find inspiration. The entire city itself is art with its people to serve as a backdrop (also the actual paintings / sketches being peddled by street vendors are art lol). Parisians in general seem pleasant, despite their contrary reputation. I must disclose that I’m pretty much all smiles too so that must be a factor there. Other than the usual bonjour and merci, I did not attempt to learn and speak their language as some cultures tend to become offended when you mimic their accent.
But , photos speak louder than words. Here are some photos of the city.
As a caveat, these sights do not represent the entire Paris. A few meters away from the Arc de Triomphe lies the business district with its towering skyscrapers and city lights.
You can’t come to Paris and not see Versailles, which is about 45 minutes outside of Paris.
After Versailles we took a wrong turn and ended up at an outlet store an hour away. 150 Euro-deliberate-cab ride away to the La Vallee Village where you can find premium stores such as Valentino, Gucci, Armani, etc.
A drive through the french countryside shows its sprawling plains and farms trickled with windmills. We dropped by the beautiful town of Beaune in Burgundy, wine region of France. Walking around town, you half-expect Brad Pitt to jump out with his army tank!
What do you love most about Paris?