Posted by: Rajiv in: Travel & Vacation
“Skied to Roland Garros to watch a play!”…. Does sound weird ah! Pick the 3 key words – Ski, Roland Garros & a play and it summaries the last trip to Paris.
The first weekend, we drove about 500kms from Paris towards the south of France to La Clusaz on the Alps ranges. Our good friend, born in the area and grew up skiing, created a life experience for us over the next 2 days. Lovely people, great food, variety cheese & wine, unmatched hospitality and of course, the ski. We began with getting on the appropriate jackets and visited the store to hire the equipment. The massive boots, weighing about 5kgs, was overwhelming on the feet to begin with. Next, these boots were placed in right spot on the ski and pushed down with the heels to clip them firmly. All set! While the expert friend could balance himself in snow just as how we do on land, for me it was like walking on a hanging rope! With some pushing and pulling, we took the ski lift to the top to begin the course. Doing my best to follow the instructions from the expert friend, I slowly but surely learnt to balance on flat and mild slopes. The key was to control the speed and that helped us to relax & enjoy the slide. After about 2 hours and many rounds, the brave hearts moved to a steeper slope and that kinda straightened the over-confidence that had built within us! The highlight of the second day was to learn turning and negotiating the track smoothly. For lunch, we skied to the restaurant and its felt very good. In all this, I fell, lost control, crash landed __ number of times in many angles and dimensions! Getting back to feet, rather getting back feet on ski was a mammoth & creative effort that was fun & boosted the confidence.
The next weekend, visited the Roland Garros, venue of the French Open. Who is Roland Garros? Your natural guess is probably that he was somebody in the French tennis history. The unnatural correct answer is that he was a French fighter pilot & hero in the World War 1! Clay courts, unlike grass do not create the wow factor. Further sand was irregularly put over the court to absorb the moisture. Preparation for the French Open was getting underway. The fascinating part was the visit to the backstage areas. The most pampered seem to be the press with TV rooms, covered sitting area in the courts, bar and even a massage room! Finally, finished with shopping for the usual suspects – key chain souvenirs.
Later that evening, it was time for an English play called “How to become a Parisian in one hour?” by Oliver Giraud. House full audience of about 250-odd Parisians and foreigners from 16 countries, laughed out loud to the tune of the chef turned standup comedian. If you are the kinds who like to experience a place by its people & way of life, this is a must-see. Else, you are better off waiting in the queue to go up Eiffel tower!