PARIS THROUGH THE PAGES!

April 13, 2017

 I have very different memories of Europe, yes memories is the word because I had seen the Europe during renaissance and world wars and romantic movement and the communist era through yellowing pages and some oddly potent movies. So my memories of Europe have been different and some new revised ones will get added to the album now. But of all that I have seen, I love the Louvre and Arc De Triomphe most!

 

 That place is a symbol of excellence, represents so very many notions and ideas of changing times! It also portrays idealism, how things should have been. Art in its best role of historian, mirror and an idealist stands proudly here... Dan Brown is also to be thanked, his deeply controversial Da Vinci code does attract several people here to prove or disprove all that he has suggested, you can easily spot those zealots. Louvre is exhausting though for the body and mind, surely something that requires at least 2 well informed days to really enjoy!My memories are being re written, some stitched, some tailored, some trimmed and some newly created. I have actively in my own space seen a rise and a fall and a re-rise of a civilization too...

As i sat and contemplated my stay in the night i realized a crucial difference between the two sides of Europe that i saw and i realized we have been asking the wrong question all along, "which side won the world wars" did you ask? Well the question should have been "which side didn't lose?" you can see the scars of wars and revolutions. On paper, the French were among the victors, they could dismiss that past and its horror as a part of their so called win, they never had the traumatic rule of the communists. They learned to stand tall again, dig deeper and attach themselves to more older history, roots that lay stretched farther away, they rediscovered their spirits and to their extent they moved on. The east though suffered the same revolutions, the tag of losers or the rescued (and in wars both statuses are not very different) and then had the communist regime which is still something that the middle aged generation remembers, something they have seen and suffered in their youth. Their old spirits still exhibit that deep want to break away from oppression, the desperate want for freedom and a chilling want for peace. A lot happened not less than hundred years ago, a lot suffered, a lot grew out of it, a lot was and were born after it, that mysterious time even wipes the worst away except from cultural memories, from the thrumm in the air and from the will of the population who in their collective unconscious are seeing yet another civilization rise and yet another fall...Louvre is overwhelming, bamboozling and simply yarrr.... You are surrounded by the masters of Arts from all sides. There are artifacts, sculptures and paintings, great names that we read in textbooks and saw in Google images are before the naked eye. David of Michelangelo would have been just another "pretty aged" sculpture had i not had the audio tapes that we get at Louvre, you punch the code in and you get to hear the history of the work and the artist and the technical merits of it explained in simple and interesting manner. With the risk of being butchered in bed though i must say that to the common eye the least extraordinary painting in that place is Mona Lisa! Shocking na! But it is so.. And my initial disappointment in seeing her vaned only when I realized that while rest of the subjects were Christ and Magdalena and mother Mary and Egyptian Pharaohs and David and psyche and Minerva and Zeus, their among that unreal assembly stood a woman who breathed and lived and smiled because she was happy about having her second baby boy and moving into her new home. The times in which she was painted, she was a rarer subject than the Gods so she may be deserves her place of pride...

 

The journey from Czech to France or actually Austria to France was only 2 hours but a lot has changed in that while. Paris is an entirely different ball game altogether. This place is busy and teeming with people, rich and poor at the same time, old and new at the same time, it’s a typical city. Of course it has more monuments to boast of than most, Eiffel, Arc De Triomphe, Louvre, Notre dame are too many great places to accommodate in a single space. The beauty lies in their excellent maintenance and brilliant marketing, that’s one of many things that these people have mastered, to make something larger than life.

 

 

 

But there is a faint thrumm in the air of Paris. The wars and revolutions have brought a constant feeling of unrest to their air. Everything moves quickly, there is a want to get ahead of times, forget the past; only all that which is forgettable. Hence the monuments are all pre-war. That’s the past they choose to remember, napoleon is a painful truth too but too far away to harm. The wars are now, that pain is still fresh and hence methodically suppressed. Their investment in more distant past is commendable though! All the monuments speak only of the assertive French will to freedom from their monarchs, from slavery. It reflects in their monuments, references and their literature. They flaunt their pride in being some of the premiers of modern world in equality, fraternity and human rights. The weather is close to the English one (rather regrettable keeping their undercurrents of ever alive enmity in picture), but it adds to the strange beauty of this place. The monuments are such an integral part of the city and have so much space around them that they can be spotted easily from afar. Another of my favourites was Arc De Triomphe. That structure looks fairly similar to India gate, but the carvings! And its sheer indomitable presence can rob one of their senses. On one end stands arc of triomphe on the other the Concorde (imagine London eye) and in between stretches Champs Elysee, the infamous shoppers paradise.

 

Glitzy and gleamy. Rich and the place of those who have always had plenty. All of leading brands have their shops here, the street itself is beautifully decorated with well-spaced and well-trimmed trees, and it is exactly as beautiful as in the pictures if not more. I walked from both ends to the other, the poet in me saw a journey first from the old indomitable spirit to the modern day wonder and then later from something new and relatively temporal to something eternal, the spirit of those people, their true pride, their more lasting reality, a celebration of the triumph of a common French man's assertive independence. It is alarmingly beautiful.

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