Flying Solo to the City of Lights - Paris
Paris was my destination first on this experiment. I mixed myself with early morning walk on the by-lanes of Champs-Élysées to reach India Gate of Paris – The Arc de Triomphe on day one while wondering what I am doing to myself. Arc de Triomphe is public monument with patriotic significance. It was built in 1806 to honor soldiers who died for France during Napoleonic Wars and French Revolution. Names of these soldiers are inscribed in inner and outer surfaces of this structure. It was the first time I was breaking out of my comfort zone and I had all sorts of mixed feelings one can ever experience.
As the day passed I spent lot of time with myself, and realized that I wasn’t too bad. I had funny incidents running in my head and I would start smiling to myself, thank god I had Eiffel Tower in front of me to make me look sane. A giant rot iron tower, built between 1887 and 1889 as an entrance to world’s fair, was highly criticized by artists for the design. A structure which is tallest in Paris till date and is the most visited paid monument in the world epitomizes strength of imagination. Sight of Eiffel Tower glittering for 5 minutes every time minutes hand kisses 12 at night lighted up romance in me and I made a promise to myself – I will travel more often.
How could I miss the ICONIC Love Locks Bridge. You must be expecting Notre-Dame Cathedral with this description, but believe me with all buzz about possible fall of the bridge, I went to see the love locks bridge first. The amount of locks on the bridge was overwhelming. Locks must not have felt so important anywhere else in the world. Next to this bridge standing tall was a massive cathedral, yes this time it is Notre-Dame, a medieval catholic cathedral. Even though bustling with crowd, it was really peaceful inside the cathedral. At-least I felt it that way. It is known for finest French gothic architectures and is among the largest churches in the world.
After visiting these most well known places in Paris, there came a time when I thought to myself, lets establish that I do not understand works of most painters and artists, unless they are really pretty to look at. I bought the ticket, stood in a 2 hour long queue, to enter Louvre, museum with largest art collection in the world. Like all other tourists in the museum, I was also following signs to reach “THE Mona Lisa”. It was a nice painting but I had imagined it to be a bit bigger than it actually is.
The place which first time made me realize the benefits of travelling alone was Disneyland. I transcended back to my childhood and lived all those fairy tales, with a twist of roller-coaster, boat rides, and many more. I was in my kiddie land, with no one to judge me for taking the most childish ride in the park. This for the first time made me realize that my fear of new people and places was all in my head and had nothing to do with the big bad world.
I visited many other places in Paris in this 3 day long trip and fell in love with solo travel for the first time. Something which I never thought I was capable of, as I said earlier, I surprised myself. Today, I suggest that everyone should travel alone at-least once in their lifetime, it not only surprises you it also introduces to your own self. On my last night in Paris, I raised a toast to my new found love for solo travel and to many such trips in future.