A French facelift

Bordeaux is a bit worried that nobody looks beyond its wines. It is not complaining, mind you, just fretting. After all, the city did not win the title of ‘best European destination of the year’ on the strength of its luscious reds alone. Just a decade ago, Bordeaux had slipped into near obscurity, become Europe’s…

We’ll always have Paris

“Suddenly a train appeared. Women cried out with terror. Men threw themselves to one side to avoid being run over. It was panic.” This is not a sensational newspaper report of a train accident; this is the reaction to the first ever motion picture screening by the Lumiere Brothers, as described by an astute observer….

Chasing chateaux in Loire Valley

At first glance, chateau Chambord seems like a mishmash of towers, turrets and chimneys. From up close, the impression remains unchanged. Travel writers have often referred to Chambord as a castle straight out of a fairytale. Me, I think of it as some kind of medieval Disneyland. Except, one designed by the latter’s young visitors…

Friday photo: Bordeaux

In my recent ten days in France, Bordeaux was a revelation. The world’s largest urban UNESCO heritage site, it blends the old and the new beautifully. Who knew there was anything more to it than wine? This Friday – after a long time – an image of the “water mirror” reflecting the stately neoclassical buildings…

Happy 125th, Eiffel Tower!

Paris’ most recognisable landmark, the structure that graces a million postcards, recently turned 125. The Eiffel Tower. Love it or hate it. You cannot ignore it. When you walk through that part of Paris, it feels that any corner you turn, there it is. What is so charming about a tall tower of metal, that…

Friday photo: Provence

From a lazy evening in Aix-en-Provence… Time moves very slowly in Provence. It is this part of the world that J.B. Priestley had in mind when he declared, “A good holiday is one that is spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.” This is not to say that Provençals never take…

Friday photo: Paris

On the streets of Paris, you find the strangest things… but why only Paris? It’s true of any city, I guess? This one was a bridal portfolio in progress and I love the way everyone all around is doing their own thing. Also see: Friday photo series

Angel in disguise

Shakespeare and Company is a bookstore in Paris where one feels like being in one’s own apartment, just exactly how founder George Whitman wanted it to be, says Charukesi Ramadurai George Whitman liked to call himself the Don Quixote of the Latin Quarter. His windmills were the faceless bookstore chains and one-size-fits-all websites that threatened…