Sep 6, 2008

Paris 3

God: Sim Jun Yi, the lazy guy who went to Paris, promised to blog a trilogy but only completed two...
Me: I...I...I did the youtube clip. That was considered the third sequel.
God: Lazy and yet lots of excuses. You will be punished for owing your readers!
Me: Please...merciful God...I will do it very soon!
God: You better be, or else I'll befall upon you endless troubles this semester, and you will pay equally for what you owe.
Me: I'll do it right away sweet lord!
God: Go! And don't write anymore rubbish such as the useless Trivial Nothings!

La Defense is the modern commercial district of Paris, located approximately 10 minutes away by train, it houses chic and savvy companies hiring suit-wearing and robe-droning workforces

Quite literally a city within itself, filled with offices and food outlets in every nook and corner

Then comes the Marais, the second oldest district of Paris with its distinctive medieval architecture and students still in their salad-and-sandwich days

The Luxembourg district is for the average middle class Parisians - nice little parks surrounded by busy cafes and city council offices

La Grand Palace houses Musee de Beaux Arts or Beautiful Arts Museum, senseless isn't it?

The Invalides plays a major role in propagating the French Revolution - a huge amount of arms were stolen from here during the start of the revolution

Commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte, it was a house for retired soldiers. Now a battle and warfare museum.

The origin of the can-can dance - La Moulin Rouge! Located at the gate of Montmartre, it is a fantasy for both to-be artists living here as well as tourists seeking...sexual gratification

Sorbonne, or the University of Paris. Only one of the many colleges in the district, the Sorbonne has alumni ranging from French patriot Hugo to Chinese premiere Chou Enlai - an interesting note: the International Olympics Committee was born in the rooms of this university

Pantheon - remembering the great and the good

...such as St-Exupery, writer of Le Petit Prince (The Little Price), who also happens to be one of the premiere French pilots during WWII

French patriotism - The National Convention urges its people: live free or die

Mr. and Mrs. Curie contributed to modern physics and radiology. How many people got two elements - polonium and radium - and a scientific unit - Curie - named after them? Both happen to be professors at the Sorbonne, too

Needless to say Victor Hugo is present as well, contributing to French nationalism through his writings as well as his policies which changed France later in his life

Musee d'Orsay, originally a train station, houses impressionist art from Monet to Van Gogh. A very appealing museum to visit should you wish to escape from the other art forms

The Thinker by Rodin - at Musee Rodin would be my last stop in France before heading home the following morning

As mentioned in my film, and as precisely described by Hemingway, Paris is a moving gastronomical feast. You have the history flowing by just next to you - Napoleon marching with his soldiers under the Triumphal Arch; Curie discovering radiologic particles late in the night at the Sorbonne; the French revolutionaries storming the Bastille and Invalides...
The blood, sweat, tears and cries of joy that echoes through Paris' 2000 years of history is simply too intense for the travellor to sample in a brief 5 days' time.
And we still have not got to the French lifestyle - following a madame to the morning market for the day's freshest produce, purchasing a baguette on the way home; cheese, wine, music, cuisine, joie de vivre...
It's been 5 weeks since I left France. The spirit of fighting for freedom and enjoying the littlest joys of life still lingers within me. For me the French taught me 'liberty' to its fullest, and that life is not always about scores and efficiency.
Merci beaucoup!