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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Europe Trip - Paris

My wife and I visited Europe for a short vacation. In the span of 9 days, we visited London, Rome and Paris. The "Europe Trip" series of Blogs will talk about our travel experiences and any useful tips that I might have to share.

In this post, i shall talk about the Paris leg of our tour.

(1). The first thing that strikes you in Paris is the fact that most people are pretty stylishly dressed - no wonder then that this place is considered the Fashion capital of this world. An average Joe "understands" fashion on average more than the other average Joes of the world.

(2). We visited a LOT of places in Paris - shown below through some photographs:

Seine Cruise

Concorde Point

Arch of Truimph

Champs Elysses

Louvre Museum

Eiffel Tower

Gallery Lafeyette

(3). Fashion industry is HUGE out here - all fashion designers have huge outlets here. Of course, you cannot shop in them if you are a layman :). These outlets are just for "window-shopping" - it is a way to just improve the brand - for example, if you see a shoe at 400 Euros, you will wonder why is it so expensive, but then you will see the brand and say, probably it is worth it - then the next time, you get your salary, your mind will itch to go and buy that 400 Euros shoe. No, thats not how i think - but thats how most Parisians generally think. This was best illustrated by the receptionist in our hotel - most of her eating and shopping recommendations were always in "chic" areas - we got a good idea of where her salary goes :).

(4). People tend not to speak in English - even if they do, it is difficult to understand. Needless to say, you are better off if you know French.

(5). French cuisine is so different than the food that we are used to - we didn't enjoy it too much - so, we just stuck with Italian and Indian food :).

(6). I was surprised at the amount of time people spend in restaurants during lunch time. Most of them had a 3 course lunch and would just take it easy and not hurry back to work. Try doing that out here - in fact, the restaurant waiter will hurry you up here so that he can give your table to another person :). The answer to this actually lies in the EU's work culture - they have 35 hour weeks (US and UK have 40 hours weeks) - really, why are we working so hard here ;-).

(7). The most iconic thing in Paris is the Eiffel Tower and for a good reason. You can see the tower from almost any place within Paris - it is tall, majestic and simply beautiful. It is something that has to be seen to be believed. We were lucky to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower - Gustafo Eiffel was indeed a remarkable man.

(8). Common words that will help you in Paris - Bon Jour (hello), Missuer (Mr), Merci (Thanks)

(9). From what i could understand, most of all famous building in Paris has something to do with Napolean - either he built it or it was built in his honor or he did something on it.

Cheers,
Thyaga

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