Home Travel I’d Like a Cultural, Romantic City Break, Paris

I’d Like a Cultural, Romantic City Break, Paris

by Vidya Sury June 13, 2014 22 comments
Vidya Sury city break paris (1)

“What if you could get away for a few days to Paris?” asked Sury, as we watched a movie set in Paris. Naturally, I raised an eyebrow. He went on to wax poetic about a city break Paris which means fantastic travel options available to those who want to experience the city’s world-class museums, top-level galleries, and stunning landmarks, among other attractions. He spent a few months in Paris years go and loved it. Who wouldn’t?

I was about to be sarcastic and say that Paris wasn’t some place we caught the next bus to, but then I shut my mouth recalling how we had suddenly taken a trip abroad last year, unexpectedly. So, I decided to be positive instead and challenged him with, “name five things you’d want to do again with a city break Paris”

And Sury being Sury, listed things I’d enjoy tremendously. The best way to explore a city is on foot to soak in its culture. Here are the things he listed (besides the Eiffel Tower, naturally!):

The Place du Tertre, close to the Sacre Coeur Basilica crowded with artists selling their paintings. Water colors predominate and there are always good ones to tempt the attention of passers-by. I personally love watercolors and here’s a pretty postcard, a memento from his trip.

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A delightful stroll through Montmartre and its narrow, twisting streets leading to the Sacre Coeur. On sunny afternoons, the hilltop church built of travertine stone gleams and sparkles in the sunlight. The view from here is spectacular.

Vidya Sury city break paris

Vidya Sury city break paris (9)

Inside the Basilica

And of course there’s the famous Moulin Rouge and Dali’s museum. As you walk down from Place du Tertre, there is a sculpture of a man emerging from a wall whose hand you’re supposed to shake for good luck!

A stroll through the cemetery of Pere Lachaise with its 70,000 burial sites offers a fascinating slice of French culture. Edith Piaf, Colette, Camille Pissarro, Moliere, Honore de Balzac, Yves Montand and Simone Signoret to name but a few are all buried here.

On the Left Bank, the beautifully renovated Musee d’Orsay, a former railway station, is now home to many of the great works of the French impressionist, post-impressionist and art nouveau painters.

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The Musee also has impressive collections of sculpture and photography. A visit to the Musee Rodin is a must, especially for first-time visitors. It is home to the works of Auguste Rodin and other great artists. In the museum’s rose garden is one of Rodin’s most famous pieces, the Thinker. I remember we once had to write an essay about The Thinker in French, no less.

Vidya Sury city break paris

Monet’s garden – Monet is one of my favorite french artists. Monet’s home and garden in Giverney, just a short distance from Paris by train, is a romantic and unforgettable memory. Monet created the Jardin D’Eau of waterlily fame himself.

Vidya Sury city break paris

Vidya Sury city break paris

He dug the pond, planted the waterlilies and built the Japanese bridge, which today is covered in wisteria. Here’s his own impression of the garden. This is one of my all-time favorite paintings.

Vidya Sury city break paris (1)

I know – as a city break Paris has so much, so many attractions for people of all ages to experience and enjoy. I’ve always dreamed of strolling the streets in this magnificent city and do what the non-tourists do. I am not surprised Sury would like to visit again and it is a good feeling that if a trip materializes, this time I’ll get to go with him. Europe is on my travel wish list and I started saving up for it ever since my friend Ravi tempted me with hundreds of photos from his own trip a few years ago. Soon, Paris, soon!

Have you been to Paris?

Which is a city, outside the one you live in that you yearn to visit?

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Proactive Indian June 13, 2014 at 10:09 pm

I had been to Paris 30 years back for 2 days: 1 day for a business meeting and 1 day of sight-seeing. My colleague and I were on a shoe-string budget (in those days, there were ridiculous restrictions on the amount of foreign exchange per day when on an official visit), but we managed to do some sight-seeing, partly on a half-day bus tour and partly on foot. The Michelin guidebook was really useful!
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Vidya Sury June 13, 2014 at 10:16 pm

🙂 Yes, Sury mentioned the FE restriction too! He went there as a post doc. I feel jealous every time I see those photos. I used to think the country I wanted to visit most was Spain, especially when I was learning Spanish and our tutor described it so gloriously.

Apparently, Sury sang “Aisa mauka phir kahaan milega…An evening in Paris” at the top of his voice from the top of the Eiffel tower. 😀
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Shailaja V June 14, 2014 at 12:09 am

Here’s hoping that trip materialises soon, Vidya <3 I love Monet's work. There is such a soothing beauty in his paintings.
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Eric D. Greene June 14, 2014 at 1:13 am

Have not been yet, but will definitely visit Monet’s garden when I do! -Eric
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Vidya Sury June 14, 2014 at 9:06 am

Hi Eric! Thanks for visiting. Yes, Monet’s garden is ethereal. By the way, I checked out your etsy store but didn’t find anything there. I’d love to see your work.

Betsy/Zen Mama June 14, 2014 at 4:33 am

I’ve been to Paris many times including all the sites you mention. It is a dream of mine to go back again and live there for 6 months or so. My father was born just outside of Paris. I have wonderful cousins to visit and maybe even a place to stay. My children are as obsessed with Paris as I am. They’ve taken French classes for as long as I can remember. My oldest in fact just majored in French and Spanish at college. I loved reading your post. Thanks for bringing me back there!
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Ed June 14, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Even though I took five years of French in high school and college, I’ve never been to Paris or anywhere else in France. And really have no desire to go.

On the other hand, Monet is my favorite artist so maybe I need to go! 🙂
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simple girl June 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

oh.. gorgeous post on the city.. I do want to go paris and many other cities.. may be someday. My wish to go to Paris developed after seeing the movie -‘Jules et Jim’… Oh how I loved the movie..
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Vidya Sury June 14, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Hey Simple Girl! 😀 I love Jules et Jim too, and have seen it more than once! Unusual story. Thank you for commenting!

Debbie June 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Great article about Paris, Vidya! I was there way back in 1966 (also Versailles and Strasbourg) and would love to go back, now that I’m old enough to truly appreciate it. We went to Greece and Athens last year and that’s another fantastic city, as is Rome, which we have visited three times so far (family lives there). Still on my unfulfilled bucket list is Venice. Hope to get there within the next few years.
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Vidya Sury June 14, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Whoaa Debbie! Greece is another place on my wishlist. Actually, all of Europe is exciting. It all seems magical. 🙂 How nice to have family in a place you’d like to visit again! Glad you stopped by!

My Inner Chick June 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Monet’s garden! What a treat. WOW.

I’ve never been to Paris, but would love to go and write there!! So very Earnest Hemmingway.

Three of my all time favorite places to play are Hawaii, London, & Bermuda.

Love you more than lilies dancing in cool breezes.

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Vidya Sury June 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm

I am enchanted when I read about Paris, Kim! I was thinking the same about Monet’s garden..imagine writing there! 🙂 Hawaii sounds gooood to me! I love you more than peacocks dancing in the rain!

nabanita June 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm

I went to Paris this March and I fell in love with it… But to answer your question it would be Florence…I really want to go there!
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Jayanta Tewari June 15, 2014 at 12:24 am

Paris as a destination that always invites me. Fortunately got a chance to spend one day due to a flight connection while returning from Netherlands There are so many places with history and heritage..Place du Tertre – one of the ultimate places for so many artists including Picasso…Monet is one of my favorites as well…
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Kaarina Dillabough June 15, 2014 at 12:26 am

We’ve been to Paris, and enjoyed every minute of it. But imagine the fun and mischief we could have together:) Cheers! Kaarina
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Suzy June 15, 2014 at 7:41 am

Paris is an enchanting city. I loved watching the street artists. I hope you get to go there someday. I would love to go again.
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Michelle Liew June 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I remember my trip there too!! It’s beautiful.
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Beloo Mehra June 15, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Would love to go to Paris some day…though can’t see that happening in near future 🙂 But your lovely post dreaming of walking in the city and especially visiting Monet’s garden sounds so inviting. Here’s wishing you safe and happy travels to Paris, whenever that happens for you 🙂 I like how you end the post, almost by telling Paris to wait for your arrival 🙂
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Birgit June 16, 2014 at 3:59 am

Oh yes I have been back in 1997. So many, in North America place the French people as rude but they were anything but! I found if you try to speak their language they are more than willing to help. The sad thing was when we saw…and heard a couple, from the southern states, speak loudly and slowly, in English, asking if the man spoke American…not English but American. If anyone did that to me in their own language I would pretend too. After I went to the man and asked for tickets to Versailles. I stated could not speak French and tried feebly and he spoke to me, in English. The American couple looked at me and I asked the man if he could sell them tickets too and he did-lol The couple were actually quite nice but just ignorant on how to approach people who speak another language. Anyway, I would go back to the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Montmatre, and Versailles. I would go back to Chartres and take in Monet’s place and Reims. So much to see and such wonderful memories. Walking along the streets was just grand..Oh and I would go back to St. Chapelle which I loved better than Notre Dame
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Carol Graham June 16, 2014 at 9:04 am

For years I dreamed of going to Paris but never made it there. As time went on, my desire waned and other places became more appealing. Thank you so much for taking me on this journey – I remembered my dreams of years gone by.
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Pheno Menon June 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Vive Paris !! One of our bucket list…….

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