French Allure - An Indian perspective
The French do not react to English! This pooped our colonial-bred ego. We couldn't communicate despite the global power-language, English.
Rekha and Colonel Shradhanand Dhondiyal spent 80 days in the French countryside. Fontainebleau, Moret Sur Loing and Paris enchanted them with their infectious leisurely, laid back lifestyle and the heady smell of wine at all times of the day. They share with AnandWay their special experience with all things French in the fresh French air…
Fontainebleau, 40 km from Paris is proud of its Vast château which was a royal residence and hunting lodge. It was inhabited and modified by most French monarchs from Middle Ages to the 19th century. Its notable state rooms, furniture, art, and architecture are still in remarkable condition!
Treaty of Versailles
Napoleon had signed the treaty of Versailles right here at Fontainbleau. Even now, Napoleon's forest, a few quaint churches, and the lively market place give it an old and new world charm. At the same time Insead B school at Fontainebleau attracts many international students.
The French take pride in all things French, be it food, wine, language, fashion, and most of all their lifestyle which alternates busy weekdays with leisurely weekends.
It is easy to see that nothing beats the French zest for leiseure! Lingering over meals, wine and coffee they catch up with life beautifully. There are lovely cafes all over the place for this almost spiritual act of relaxation.
Sightseeing tour: Paris
Paris with its Eiffel tower and shopping malls enthralled us. A cruise by night on river Sienne was just another sample of the fierce pride that the French take in their culture and history. River Sienne was lit up by the lights on the monuments along its banks. It was a light and sound show for our benefit. The narrator's voice introduced us to the history of these monumnets. We saw the place where Mairy Antoniette had famously said, 'If there is no bread give them cake…'
Communicating with the French
We had a tough time with communication. The French do not react to English! English is simply alien to them! And that pooped our colonial bred ego. We couldn't communicate despite being armed with the global power language English!
Secondly, vegetarianism was as alien to them. We had a tough time with food. Even French fries come fried in lard. Salads proved far too expensive for our Indian pockets! When converted it came to over Rs 500 for a simple plate of carrots and lettuce! But, wine was available for all pockets and tastes. We got back four bottles.
French girls are truly beautiful. All girls have lovely figures and show a lot of skin here but they don't look vulgar at all.
French food seems very healthy, going by the general physique and stamina of the locals. They work hard and walk very fast. Even an 80 year old can walk at a brisk pace lugging a heavy load. No work is undignified for them and a waitress is as respected as a high flyer corporate executive.
Shopping was a very tempting affair, what with all branded stuff strutted in fancy malls! The best brands are available here. The spread is too much to choose from and actually dazzles. Automation has transformed France in a big way. Only 20% of the population works and 80% stays home at leisure.
Disneyland in France
Disneyland with ticket for 40 Euros and 8 Euros for parking cost us Rs 8000! But it was great fun in the electrified fantasy land. We went only for a day but there are hotels nearby and people stay for as many as five days at a stretch. The French don't compromise on leisure, ever! The weekend begins on Friday itself and Monday also gets roped in at times.
The Louvre again, startled us with its collection of art. 2-3 days can be well spent in simply getting acquainted with the exotic art-works at display. Mona Lisa smiled at our star-struck expression.
This French holiday inspired us to taste and enjoy life down to its tiniest details, exactly as the French do.