Rediscovering Paris

Last week I was in Paris to attend an international technical conference related to Power industry. This takes place once in 2 years and I normally make it a point to attend the event. Delegates from all over the world come here to take part in the conference. Big events like this are invariably inaugurated by politicians without whose blessings nothing moves. Politicians, Businessmen, CEOs and Technologists attended the event. It’s all about role-playing you see, I told my friend. Asked to explain, I said: politicians sell dreams. Businessmen sell visions. CEOs make huge promises and what do we technologists do? We break those promises. Being the lowest in the above hierarchy, we cannot even complain that no one consulted us before making those promises!

One comes to appreciate the importance of time at such conferences. Each contributor is given 3 minutes and an extra one minute to wind up. It’s entirely up to each speaker to effectively plan and use those 3 minutes. It’s indeed a challenge. One speaker explained to me how it felt at the end of 3 minutes when the alarm bell rang warning her to wind up in the next one minute. She said: The coordinator of the session and the entire hall with 400 delegates looked like one big crocodile ready to swallow her up. How true! Time as the devourer of all is depicted in several mythologies.  And when it happens, Time doesn’t even ring the alarm bell and grant us that extra one minute to complete what we intended to finish.

Someone asked me whether I took any time off  for tourism during the week. No chance. With a packed technical programme and meetings, I hardly had any time for that.The organizers, however, hosted a cocktail exclusively for delegates in the famous Louvre museum. It was an exclusive evening visit  to the museum from 7.30pm to 11pm. The place was well illuminated and looked like a paradise on earth. Here is a picture of the place with grand illumination.

Louvre illumination


Picture yourself inside this impressively illuminated pyramid. You sure will get an out of the world experience especially when you climb to the top of the pyramid inside using the elevators provided.  Could it be the equivalent of  the mythological ‘Indraloka’ on Earth, I wondered.  No, I’m not exaggerating.

After a quick round of sober drinks and snacks, I did go around the museum. I managed to see sculptures and famous paintings including the most popular Mona Lisa.

If sightseeing in  Paris can be done in one day, visiting museums will easily take a month. It’s a city of museums with one of the finest collections of art, sculptures and paintings.

If you want to discover the beauty of Paris, the best time to go out and explore the city is in the late evening. I’m not talking about night clubs and the (in)famous Lido show. I’m referring to cruise along the river Seine and visit to museums. Many museums are open in the evening hours twice in a week.  The museums are not crowded at such hours and the ambience is just right to capture the brilliance of painters and sculptors. One feels transported to the ancient times as one listens to the guides who passionately narrate the story of each painting and the painter.

The late evening cruises along the river Seine are wonderful as you pass through well-lit historical monuments on either side of the river. One also gets to see the imposing Eiffel Tower in grand illumination. Interestingly the very same places look very ordinary during the day time.

And finally, a word of unsolicited advice for first-time visitors to France. They say when in Rome be a Roman. So, when in France should one be like the French? I’m afraid no.  For instance, it’s nearly impossible to say Bonjour, Bonsoir, A bientotou etc with the right accent and pronunciation. But even more difficult is to greet a French acquaintance the way the French normally do – that is kiss on the cheeks 3 times.  Ordinarily there should be no difficulty in doing this. However, given our natural inhibitions, I’m sure there will be no spontaneity in our greetings. The second difficulty is that there are several do’s and don’ts for this greeting , as I learnt from a french contact of mine. What are the rules? Depending on which part of France you are from, you do cheek kissing either twice , thrice or four times. And most importantly, you dare not plant your lips on the cheek! You are only supposed to give air kisses! I overheard a Serbian woman explaining to a Brazilian woman: In Serbia, you are supposed to kiss thrice. So if i draw you close 3 times don’t get me wrong!


















Published in: on September 5, 2014 at 9:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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