Category Archives: France

Normandy, France

On a sunny April weekend, a friend and I rented a car and started driving towards Normandy, yet again. The destinations we wanted to head to was as always – Etretat & Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France all the way from Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was my 4th time going this route, and I was excited as it was the first time I wasn’t the only one on the driving wheel.

There was a feeling of apprehension brewing inside me right till the trip started, which I initially dismissed as nothing. Little did I know that the journey was going to be riddled with troubles. First signs were quick to show up, as I realised I forgot memory cards for my DSLR camera; and that the film SLR had a dead battery. My only consolation was that I had a small pocket Fuji camera.

We drove through the night, stopping for a nap at a fuel station somewhere on the border France and Belgium. At dawn, we made a proper rest stop for breakfast, toilets and fuel. It is one of my most favourite places in France; the scenery is spectacular.


The fog along the rolling hills and roads just about started to disappear as the sun shone.


The first stop for the night was to be in Etretat, so we went and booked ourselves a hotel room, and then headed to Mont Saint-Michel. I have been dreaming of flying the drone and taking pictures of this place, and it was time.



While heading back to Etretat, I managed to make a quick flight with the drone to capture the spectacular colours of the sandstone cliffs which adorned the coast along the English channel.

My soul, desperately yearning for a soft bed, could hear the hotel calling 250kms away. Before that, there were more important matters to be settled first – food. Instead of settling in for a quick dinner fix, we drove to Le Havre, to eat some Indian food. The morning views were as incredible as I always found them, staying at the same hotel, during earlier trips.

Thus commenced the next phase of my misadventure, where I ended up crashing my drone behind these cliffs. I discovered some tunnels which I walked up to, climbed a little and passed through.

At the potential crash site, I found a secluded beach surrounded by spectacular scenery. After concluding that my efforts were futile, I trekked along. After an hour or so I observed people from up top the cliffs staring at me, as were the passing boats. It turned out the tides have risen few meters cutting me off from the mainland, and they realised I was stranded before I did. Eventually, I signalled few paddlers who then rescued me.



Resigned this was enough adventure at Etretat, we started heading back. En route, an impromptu detour was made to Cap Gris Nez, a place that has been on my todo list and bookmarks for a few years now. With the shores of the UK being just 35kms away, the Cliffs of Dover were visible. I felt an insatiable urge to, touch those cliffs and to see the other side



It was afternoon; the car had to be returned the next day while another 400kms lay ahead. Irrationality prevailed, and we made yet another detour towards Paris, thereby adding another 400kms to the trip, just to have dinner at this one particular restaurant – Saravana Bhavan.

Etretat, France

During one of the long weekends a close friend and I went out on a 2000km long drive towards the french coast starting from Amsterdam. Etretat was the first stop where we hiked on the gigantic cliffs overlooking the coast of english channel which except for the complete absence of waves looked no different from an endless ocean, for it stretched far and beyond the visible horizons.

This was my second trip there. The first time I ended up there, I was on an unplanned and impromptu solo trip that came to be after I had gotten a free upgrade to a Mercedes-Benz and I spontaneously decided to divert from the original plan of just driving along the dijks to go a little further towards Belgium, the french border and eventually to the french coast in Normandy.

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Streets of Paris

Paris is an incredibly enchanting city whose air forever smells of romance. Its filled with gorgeous buildings and facades which invoke a sense of nostalgia. Its always crowded with gorgeous women and fashionable people of all ages. There are delights hidden in every nook and corner, in places one would least expect, like the back lanes of Eiffel Tower to alleys near the Seine; Crowded areas around Pont des Arts to empty streets behind Musse d’Orsay.

I have no words to describe the sights. I only have some pictures

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Musee d’Orsay, Paris

Its an old railway station built in 1900’s in Paris, which now has been converted into a art and sculpture museum, boasting the largest collection of impressionist masterpieces.

On my first trip to Paris, I missed visiting this museum. So I made it a point to do so on my second trip last weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the impressive life-sized realist paintings. But I was far more intrigued by the building, its history and architecture and also the crowd and surrounding ambience. Here are some photos

The museum was buzzing with people patiently waiting in long queues

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I could not comprehend the fact that the interiors were so beautifully designed and built, all for a railway station that saw less than 40 years of service.

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The view of River Seine was dream like

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The way the the museum disappears and the residential buildings begin is just beautiful

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Paris Underground

Oblivious to the world above ground, is another world, hidden below the ground, which is the Paris underground metro. The first time I came across underground metros, it was in Hong Kong and I thought it was as complex as it could get, but boy was I wrong. I have never ever seen anything like this before in my life. Entire city of Paris sprawls with underground stations, situated at several underground levels, below historic monuments, beside rivers, inside hills, below buildings, basically everywhere. The rail lines pass through the city from one end to another, in several levels, never intersecting, going under every possible imaginable structures and water bodies.

Some of the metro stations themselves are so large, that for an outsider it would take an easy 15-30 minutes just to get to the right platform, that is after you have figured out the entrance to the underground, most of which inconspicuously blend into the streets, sometimes with the only indication being a staircase leading into the ground, in places where they strangely appear to have no business of being there. Trying to use connecting trains to get from one place to another is an entirely different deal altogether. In my 5 day stay, I would have walked almost 5-10 miles just underground, while trying to get to the right platform.

What I can neither understand nor comprehend is that many of these rail tunnels that are still in use, were built almost a century ago in the early 1900s, for electric locomotives – talk about having vision! Few routes are now completely automated and are devoid of any human intervention. That for me represents the culmination of old meets new.

Enough words. Here are some pictures…

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Not knowing that the french word ‘Sortie’ meant ‘Exit’ in english, caused quite a bit of confusion the first 2 days, when I tried to find my way out, until I realised it can’t be possible to get to a station named ‘Sortie’ from every corner of the city.

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