One morning in May, a bright sliver-and-blue jet airplane landed at Charles De Gaulle airport outside Paris, France. Mrs and Mr Nikhil with their two daughters, Alisha and Indrani, stepped out into the warm sunshine. The Nikhil family had come from India to live for a year in this beautiful country. Mrs Nikhil had come to study the French perfume business for the Indian government while Mr Nikhil would train as a chef. Alisha and Indrani Nikhil would study in a french school.
As the taxi took them into Paris, Mr Nikhil started to tell his daughters something about France.
‘It’s about one-fourth the size of India,’ he said. ‘It is among the largest countries Europe; Russia is the largest.’
Mr Nikhil went on to say that unlike India, France isn’t crowded. There is plenty of room for everyone. There are forests and farms in France. The soil is rich and the sea surrounds much of France. So, there is no shortage of good vegetables, fruit, grains, meat, and fish to eat.
‘France has snow-capped mountains called the French Alps. France also has broad rivers and plains where the cattle graze on luscious grass. Dairy farming is also popular as the french love cheese; it is a part of there diet. On sunny hillsides, juicy grapes from vineyards are harvested and pressed into wine, for which France is famous,’ added Mrs Nikhil.
France also has large cities and many factories. The country has almost everything that people need for a comfortable and happy life.
Suddenly Indrani pointed and said excitedly, ‘Oh, there’s Eiffel Tower! It looks just like it does on postcards.’
‘Yes, that’s right,’ said Mr Nikhil. ‘The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of France just as a Taj Mahal is a symbol of India.’
Paris is a very beautiful old city. Its white stone buildings gleam in the sun. The people love the outdoors, especially the parks and gardens. There are parks with ponds where the children sail toy boats. In some of the parks, there rows of trees and flowers everywhere. Some of the trees are so trimmed that they look like huge, green lollipops. The city is well maintained, which is why the people of Paris are proud of their city. It is also the reason why tourists love to visit this city and speak highly of it.
Paris is the capital and the largest city of France. Most highways and railroads in France lead to Paris. Many people in other parts of France and the world often dress according to the fashions of Paris. Mrs Nikhil said that she had read somewhere that when Paris sneezes, the rest of France catches a cold! Her family laughed.
The Nikhils’ taxi crossed a bridge over the seine, the river that winds through Paris like a wet, gray ribbon. They got out of the taxi and joined the people of the crowded street. They passed sidewalk cafes where people sat at little tables outdoors, eating, drinking and talking.
There was much to see in Paris, and Mr Nikhil took the family to visit the Musée du Louvre, one of the finest museums in the world. After a few weeks, the Nikhils left to visit the rest of France. First, they visited Normandy and Brittany–two of the oldest parts of the country.
Indrani and Alisha Knew that Brittany is a peninsula and that part of Normandy is a peninsula, too. That, the land reaches out into the sea.
They founds this part of France very cool and pleasant. Sometimes, there were storms from the ocean, and it rained a little almost everyday. The people here, mainly farmers and fishermen, seemed a little old-fashioned. They were not too interested in trying new things, unlike the people in other parts of France.
The Nikhils enjoyed visiting the old seaports. They knew that long ago, in the days of wooden sailing ships, soldiers and colonists had sailed from there. In the last day of World War 2, big guns had thundered there, bombs had exploded, and bullets had ripped through the trees and gardens.
However, the seacoast and the countryside looked very peaceful when the Nikhil’s family visited them.