Saturday, September 20, 2008

France Encore!

I continue living the dream as I made my deuxième voyage to France just months after my first. My destination this time was Nice, a touristic Shangri-La. I did manage to find some time outside the conference schedule to tour the city and regale my appetite with bountiful servings of seafood. After the conference, I decided to say hello to good old Paris and acquaint myself with Versailles, its august neighbor. Below are some photographic highlights from this pleasant trip. The full collection of photos is here.


The city of Nice is located in Southern France on the Mediterranean coastline, a region better known in French as Côte d'Azur and in English as the French Riviera. It was a delightful experience strolling around the city through its lovely parks, the seafront, and the narrow alleys of Vieux Nice (the old town). 

La mer Méditerranée
A thoroughfare in Nice
Mr. Blockhead there is a an office building!
The port of Nice
The narrow alleys of Old Town Nice by night


The famous Château of Versailles was home to the French royalty until the French Revolution. The château was frightfully crowded during my visit. So, unfortunately, my photo collection is far from fabulous. The interiors of the château are awe-inspiring with exquisite artwork and heavily gilded panels. Curiously though, the works of contemporary artist Jeff Koons were on display at the château during my visit. I found the contrast between the classical and the contemporary quite bizarre! If I had more time in hand, I would have loved to spend it exploring the Jardins du Château or the Palace Gardens. I had heard so much about the château but had no idea that the garden next to it was equally astounding with its incredible expanse and immense beauty. 
The golden gate guarding the château
Heavily gilded decor
Oh the contrast! The interiors of the château - delicate, sophisticated, ornamental - and Jeff Koons' balloon dog - grotesque, garish, gargantuan. (Disclaimer: This photos was added later from the internet since I lost my original Versailles collection.)
The sprawling garden behind the chateau
A fountain in the garden
A giant reclining statue in the garden

Ça et Là (Here and There)

My stop at Paris was on a rather inopportune day of the week as the museums I was dying to visit were all closed. The upside though was that it gave me a reason to walk around aimlessly in the city something which I always wanted to do. Here are some snapshots from some less visited corners of the fabulous French capital.

From a bridge atop the Seine
Clicked at a park in the outskirts of Paris during a remarkably pleasant solitary promenade 

Some beautiful artwork near the Grande Arche de la Defense (Can you spot the Arc de Triomphe?)

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