City of Light

Trip Start Aug 08, 2006
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Trip End Oct 11, 2006


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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Return to Paris, FRANCE
(Sep 21-25, 2006)

Although this was my fifth visit to the City of Light or La Ville Lumière, I still discovered a new way to appreciate the beauty of this city. And with the presence of wonderful friends, good food, and great wine, I experienced the joie de vivre in France.

After landing at Orly Airport at around 1:30PM, I went to the Métro counter to buy my train ticket into downtown Paris. There was an elderly Italian man who could not communicate in French. He insisted on asking for information in Italian to a French lady behind the counter. It was quite funny at first seeing how they were having a difficult time trying to understand each other. I then realized the gentleman needed some very important transportation information in order to meet a relative. The woman simply could not understand what he wanted to say. So, I stepped in to translate between Italian and French, much to the delight of the gentleman. Such was my introduction to Paris this time around.

It was nice to see Sara again. After finishing her PhD work in Houston, she opted to transfer to a subsidiary in Paris to be closer to her family in Spain. Jana from Germany, Ian from Honduras, and Sara's colleague, Khouloud from Lebanon, also hung out with us. One evening, I even threw a dinner party for them in my apartment in the 17th District. It was followed by a walk to Place du Trocadéro to see the Eiffel Tower consumed with a million sparkling lights.

To walk along the Seine River under an arcade of autumn foliage, to see the grand monuments illuminated along the river front, to enjoy the bustling, bohemian atmosphere of St. Michel/Latin Quarter -- all were quintessentially French to me. My apartment was even right across the street from Parc Monceau, where Claude Monet painted a series of five idyllic works.

There were so many reasons to revisit Paris, for every time I came back, I would find new surprises of beauty and charm hidden around the city.
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