Audrey Hepburn once said “Paris is always a good idea”
9th October 2017: It was a warm day in Brussels, the sun was friendly and October breeze of Europe was adding the much-needed romance in the air. Paris is always a good idea, legendary British actress once said and she was just right, well but she didn’t warn about a few things.
It was about 10 AM, we were booked to Paris from Brussels on Thalys luxury train. Neha and I were super excited as past few weeks had been the best time of our lives, we had seen some of the most scenic and epic cities in the world Amsterdam, Geithroon, Hoorn, Medamblik, Dwarschast, Brugge, Ghent, Brussels and now it was time for the most celebrated love destination in the whole universe ” PARIS”
Thalys is one euro-rail experience, which I think each who is traveling to Paris from Belgium must put it, in their travel itinerary. It is incredibly awesome, we had booked ourselves into first class ( business class ) and their service and courtesy made our journey a total winner.
Loved the scenic landscape en route Paris, the vast flat green landscape the trains takes you through were nothing but surreal. I had the best coffee of my life on baord , as they serve some really awesome refreshments, coffee & wine. (all included in price ; Hell ya )
1 hour and 25 min ride, we reached the city of love and a destination we were so excited and wanted all these years to explore, it was nothing less than ticking-off a bucket list.
Audrey Hepburn & her idea about this city was on my mind, we alighted the train to breathe the Paris air. I was extremely happy and excited, but then Paris had some other plans for us, Our excitement and zest were short-lived. We were welcomed to the city with some kind of security threat at the station. ( we heard people saying it was a bomb threat)
A bomb threat and within no time, it was a total mess and confusion. The Paris air, you expect to be full of good vibes and love was actually nothing but smog of fear & disarray. We had two large suitcases and two small, the lifts were all zoned off, we had to take the stairs to exit the station. Pulling heavy suitcases, flexing all my super muscles, using all possible ways to spear through the crowd we exit the station and reached the taxi bay.
At Taxi bay, there was a sigh of relief but that too not for long, as it had started raining heavily. Threat, Panic, fear, confusion and now rain: the only thought crossing my mind then was “it’s not the rain or good weather, landscape, beautiful location etc which makes a moment romantic or dreamy or happy but the situation you are in makes the moment a memory of lifetime or a nightmare you want to forget”
That moment when we were standing in an unknown country, at a taxi bay with 4 large luggage, drenched head to toe.. well you must be thinking nothing worse could happen and these two would be in the rage with city .. well to to be honest, It was not as bad as you would imagine. Yes, we were frustrated and little scared but still not in hate with Paris because we loved the city and always wanted to be there.
It was our love for Paris which helped us reach our @airbnb at Montmartre.
Montmartre is as you all must be aware is known to the entire world, especially for the iconic Basilica of the Sacre Coeur, we were staying bang on the street leading to the basilica. Here if I don’t mention our gorgeous and super Airbnb host, it would be unfair on my part. The Airbnb home is hosted by Ms. Laurence: Click for the link https://abnb.me/M4VPzG97ZL. Laurence is a superwoman and really helpful and her house is a dream…
As we entered the apartment, we both fell in love with that small cozy accommodation at the center of the Monmarte. It had a small cozy Parisian window, overlooking the street with mild piano playing all day below at the Piano Bar. Bliss I say.
Our Parisian Tyrst had begun, while she lit and smoked, I poured myself a peg of malt and gulped it down. We were having a good time and our tensed veins were getting relaxed with each sip and puff. I find getting lost in time is priceless, how about you?
Little we knew that the day has not yet ended and is about to take a twist and will make the night the scariest night of our life.
A few pegs and couple of rolled cigarettes, we decided to get dressed ( in fact she decided to get dressed up, I chose to change the T-shirt 😀 ) for the first evening in Paris. The plan was simple, walk up to the Sacre Coeur and then explore around for a bit and walk up to Moulin Rouge and book its ticket for the next night.( as you need to book Moulin Rouge in advance, make sure you do it before traveling into Paris)
As per the agenda & like a great traveling couple, we are ready and had hit the streets, bang on time.
It was dark by now.. and as Paris turns dark it glows and glitters. She is one beauty in dark. The street was buzzing with tourists, there were artists all around us some sketching people while they were eating, some playing the Beethoven symphony, some singing Eric Clapton. It was a beautiful evening and Neha was looking stunning. We held our hand and started walking.. Let me confess it was indeed very romantic.
Moon was up and bright the Basilica looked heavenly, The Eifel tower at a distance looked gorgeous from a viewpoint.
This is when we decided to take stairs down to the street and a disaster in making.As we approached the end of the stairs, there was a tiny little dark patch of the path, as we were crossing, my left hand was pulled and held with full force and Neha was on my right. It was not she holding my hand but a 6ft 7something, strong and huge man. It was a scene from Bollywood flick, a chill ran through my spine and ass.
Before we could react any further, we were surrounded by 5 men, one holding my hand and pulling a finger and other just making a ring around me and Neha. The one holding my hand kept pulling my one finger and threatening to break if I make any noise or shout for help. I just wanted Neha to be out of the mess and was scared of her safety, So I screamed at her to run and reach the other side of the street which was well lit and shops were open.
Neha, I must admit scared the hell out of those men, they did leave her and she managed to reach a safe spot and started looking for help.
Meanwhile, I was still there in the middle of the ring and those 5 men were asking me for money, one of them also offered me weed ( really maan.. in all this he wanted to chill ). Since Neha was had reached a safe spot and was unharmed, my fear was away and now being a typical Indian, I started to use my soft skills in sales to negotiate with these really big men… I was trying to use my humor, charm, making innocent sad faces :D, act cute everything damn thing other than offering them sexual favors to come out of that situation, my condition was one “I will pay them minimum”.
The ordeal went for about 10 minutes, It was when they realized, that I am a tough nut and they cant rob enough euros from me, Neha asking for help might have also played on their mind or maybe my cute faces and charm worked because they set me free and believe me I bargained my ransom to 10 Euros. EEEEHAHAHAHAHA .It was the best fucking feeling in my life. Lit a cigarette held Neha’s hand and started walking into the Paris: the city of love.
This incident naturally shook us and we were scared but then it did not dampen our love for the city or dented an inch of the thought “PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA”
PARIS IS LOVELY AND AN INCREDIBLE CITY !!
Some of the Memoir of our rest of the trip
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