I have been fascinated by the French culture for a while now. It came about when I was evaluating how consumerist urban India is becoming and if, apart from the American dream, there is an alternate way of life inspired by Europe. The French way of life is about living each day, loving yourself and the time you have. They take art and beauty so seriously, they eat fresh, visit the bakery even twice a day, indulge a bit everyday, buy fewer but more expensive things and make them last longer, and move – a lot. The weekends are about going for outdoor picnics, hikes and the like and there are hardly any mall outings. I wouldn’t presume to know too much about the culture, but it sounds good. So I was quite looking forward to the two days in France we had. This was a quick stopover to watch 3 of the Euro matches on our way to a longer sojourn in Italy.
Looking forward wasn’t exactly true, i was indeed excited to see France ‘live’, also in the aftermath of the recent unhappy incidents, but my previous experience of French hospitality hadn’t been too pleasant.
That was before I chanced upon C MY PARIS. I don’t remember how it all started, but Larissa from C my Paris buzzed me about my Paris itinerary and offered to help with finding our way around with kids.
I really liked the concept of C MY PARIS. The idea is to help the visitor see the city through the eyes of a local resident. Almost like having a friend show you around to the places you’d like to see. I had wanted to do a bit of travel dating along similar lines, where we’d plan to meet up with friends of friends or similar, who live in the city and have kids – a great way to experience the place and have kids make new friends.
Larissa’s recommendations on everything, from parks close to where we were staying, to helping us with information on getting local sims and about the stadium rules for the Euro matches, were detailed and useful. It was a pleasure to catch up with her and her two sons. The kids were busy playing around while we chatted away at a cafe. I got to know a bit more about the Parisian life, and watched the kids play quite oblivious of the fact that they were speaking in different languages.
Our 2 days were actually 3 matches between Paris and Lens. The live match experience, as always, was awesome, for even sport agnostics like me. Especially, the England vs Wales at Lens. The walk to the stadium itself was beautiful and all the pubs were filled with fans.
We did manage to catch an evening at the Eiffel tower too. From the Trocadero side this time.
Oh, and the one thing i didn’t really expect to see was the public urinals of this kind, right near the Eiffel!
The airport we went to though, wasn’t CDG but Orly. We sampled the famed macaroons, halted for fun at the play area and made good use of the generous baby care rooms.
All in all, it was a short and hectic amuse bouche but better than my previous short visit. Maybe this was a coloured view given I’m fascinated by their way of life, but I’d definitely like to see more.