On 27 March 2016, only a few days after the deadly attacks in Belgium, at least 75 people were killed and over 340 injured in a suicide bombing that hit the main entrance of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, one of the largest parks in Lahore, Pakistan.
I am sad...what saddens me even more is that there does not seem to global solidarity when such terrible attacks happen in the Middle East, Africa or in Asia, but only when attacks happen in the West. What happened to the one world, one race mentality? Where did we lose our ways? Or am I missing something here? Except the mainstream media, there seems to be little or no coverage elsewhere. Where is that SOLIDARITY that we all show when such attacks happen in Western countries? Food for thought. How sad and ironic that the word Pakistan means 'peace' in Urdu. This was the wish of the country's great founder and it is time we apply peace to the country's true standing.
For those who may get me confused, I am not a Pakistani or have anything to do with Pakistan, but I believe in the one world, one race mentality. It is time we stopped this madness of attacking innocent people just for the sake of getting a political point across. Attacks such as these only create business for media agencies and create fear in peoples mind- it does nothing to solve the problem. Proper dialogue and discussion on the table is what is really required. The world needs a true problem solving leader who can just get things done and be respected by everyone.
Fond memories of Paris....with a beautiful photo I took from the sky in 2010...when Paris was the city of LOVE not WAR. Prayers and thoughts with ALL Parisiens.
Take courage, my French friends (of ALL races and religions).
Prenez courage, de mes amis Français (de toutes les religions).
In a city that prides itself on its fine breakfast cuisine it is difficult to pinpoint a particular restaurant which serves the best breakfast., I can, however, personally recommend the Au Baroudeur located opposite the Gare De Nord.
If you have arrived early in the morning, nothing beats eating a freshly baked croissant accompanied by a café au lait. The restaurant's ambiance and interior design is heavily influenced by fine French architecture blended neatly with the Sahara Desert, which is well complemented by African artifacts - there's even an Indiana Jones Hat on the wall!
It's hard to believe that the luxury Chocolatier, Debauve & Gallis on 30 rue des Saints-Peres, used to be a 19th century pharmacy that sold chocolate for medical purposes. Now it sells the sweet stuff for a more romantic reason!
Those who want to recharge themselves after a day of walking around the quiet side-roads of Paris, head for the culturally inclined Les Deux Magotson 6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Près. Scrumptious desserts and freshly made coffee are some of the tantalizing foods on offer.
One does not need to venture far to see the attractive sight of baguettes, cheese and wine. Even if these were the only things served in Paris then you would still be able to count Parisian meals among some of the best you have ever had! Parisians take their food seriously, even at breakfast foodie treats are on offer at every cafe, such as croissants, baguette with cheese, freshly squeezed orange juice and espressos that pack a punch. Therefore, it is no surprise that the French are best known for their scrumptious cuisine, even more so than for their taste in fashion.
Ask those who fly with Air France their reason for choosing the national flag carrier and they will invariably answer because of the French cuisine. That said, though many Parisian restaurants serve authentic French cuisine, equally delicious international dishes may also be found across the capital but where else are you going to find frog's legs cooked so perfectly?
Paris, the capital city of France is, quite simply, the city to go for romance. The city of lights projects a strong ambiance of romance, and this romantic feeling is evident in all parts of Parisian life, ranging from the endless chains of cafes dotted around the metropolis, authentic French cuisine, local poetic parks and gardens, the French language (and its romantic accent), and, of course, magnificent Parisian architecture. I had flown in from Hong Kong to Paris on Air France, and had a deliberate 16 hour stopover in the capital city. After landing at around 4.30am at Paris CDG, I decided to head over to enjoy the city for the whole day before heading onward towards London in the evening. Oh and of course, being completely jet-lagged with my body operating on China time helped to stay fresh and awake.
Unlike other busier metropolises, such as London or New York, life is laid-back in this city of over 8 million people. As one takes a metro journey from Charles De Gaulle Airport to the city centre, one cannot resist appreciating the sight of a typical native French gentleman wearing a French beret and playing a harmonium; or a young couple kissing passionately on the metro against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower - yes, this is Paris, the city of romance!
Paris - for fashion and food!
Lined with internationally branded chic boutique shops selling designer wear and chocolates, the elegant boulevards of Saint-Germain-des-Près, on the left bank, are a must for any tourist, irrespective if you are on a romantic trip or a business trip. For times immemorial the area has been a favourite hotspot of gifted writers and thinkers, such as Jean-Paul Sarte, Ernest Hemingway and Albert Camus, who spent endless days whiling away their time writing, drinking fine coffee and people-watching. Nowadays, Saint-Germain-des-Près is an area renowned for shopping - luxury shopping! Paris's equivalent of London's Mayfair or Primrose Hill, Saint-Germain-des-Près has built a strong reputation for being the most sought after expensive area, and a favourite with French and International A-listers for some ridiculously hot shopping.
Interspersed along the boulevard are home-design showrooms, boutiques', cafés, local bakeries, and Parisian chocolatiers. The exceedingly comfortable thought about being in Paris is that, after a long day walking and sight-seeing, one can always take a brief respite along one of the many cafes or eateries on any street in the city.
Take a stroll!
An evening stroll along the banks of the Seine, or around the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries is, of course, not only free but also healthy, and très romantique! Even if you are on your own on business trip take a walk with your camera along one of the many streets of the Marais neighborhood, during the day or evening; it can provide some stunning insight into the local Parisian culture, beauty and history. For the romantic at heart another place to explore can be the artistic area around the Montmartre.
Visit the Eiffel Tower
This spectacular symbol of France was first constructed for the Paris Expo in 1889, and since then has become an ideal place to go. During the daytime it is beautiful but is even more so in the evening. Why not try a delicious meal at either of the tower's two restaurants and enjoy the beautiful view at the same time! Altitude 95 is on the 1st floor, +33(0)1 45 55 20 04; and the Le Jules Vernes Restaurant is on the 2nd floor, +33 (0)1 45 55 61 44. It is highly recommended to reserve at least a few days in advance as it's something of an accomplishment to get a table here.
Can't miss the Champs- Élysées!
The glamorous Champs-Elysées is the place where you'll find most of the city's dining, shopping, museums, beautiful gardens and maybe even some Hollywood celebs, known to frequent the avenue! The Arc de Triomphe, overlooking the unmistakable Champs-Élysées, was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 as a tribute to the country's military victories. It houses some of the world's most treasured sculptures of the Napoleonic battles, a terrace, and a hall. A visit to the top is worthwhile on any day of the week to get panoramic views across Paris- you'll be exposed to a sea of splendid stone architecture.
Architecture of Arc De Triomphe, and Champs Elysees
Notre Dame de Paris
Eiffel Tower and River Seine
Located only 5 minutes from the Champs de Mars metro station in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the RIBE is an exceedingly popular eatery with tourists, business persons as well as love-birds.
The RIBE is a bustling restaurant with an extensive menu, which includes an equally broad drinks list. Try the "Assortiment des Fromages avec le Salade" (Assortment of Cheeses with salad), as an ideal French starter, followed by "Saumon Poché Au Beurre Blanc" (Poached Salmon with Butter Sauce).
Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe, from the top of La Defense, is arguably the most expensive street on the planet to get a coffee (London/New York are no match...trust me...the Brits and the Yanks are still trying to work out how to make the stuff let along sell it!). Looking down to the Place De La Condorde where the gift from the Egyptians, the Obelisque, has replaced Madame Guillotine; and further, through the gardens to the Louvre Museum. Well, here is a Brit who is going to indulge in enjoying a very expensive coffee (even the Italians would argue!).
I took a short hop across the pond to visit our French friends for a day, and take in the sights and smells of the Parisian way of life. It's amazing how many things you can see in a day in Paris. Go and enjoy ONE of the most romantic cities in the world.
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