Do you dream of visiting France one day? The most visited country in the world. One of the most surreal and romantic destinations on the planet. Because An Evening in Paris, because Akele Akele Kahan Ja Rahe Ho, because Eiffel Tower, because the most preferred honeymoon destination - because you might want to go there with your would be spouse? Or family?
You are a romantic at heart and France just suits your personality.
But...but...yeah, I get that. It's the budget thing! One of the costliest countries in the world. So here's an alternative for you, right here in India. The 'French City of India' down south, just alongside the crystal clear blue sea beaches, French people and romantic restaurants - all curated for the romance-seeking-you. Rumaniyat - that's what we call in Hindi. What a word!
I had been there a couple of days back, and the place is amazingly captivating. So here, I will be writing my first-hand experience. I don't believe in second hand, do you?
And the flower-ridden boulevards, French architecture and cuisine, here's an opportunity for Rendezvous with France, right here in our very own country. And I am no kidding!
Just keep scrolling to know how you can visit France in India. Let's begin the journey.
The French City of India has 12,000 French people still living there, according to locals. The French came to India in 1673 and their descendants proudly dwell in the France of India. This Union Territory of India has French as one of its official languages. However, the French people have mixed up well with the locals, speak their language and follow some of their customs as well, like taking part in local festivals.
Exactly the same way, these French people hang over here, in India! The artistically rich wooden plates hanging on a beautifully carved out iron-rod support. Beauty is in the details.
And that's how they make it in India too. That's called architectural legacy. Wherever they are living, they have made it in the same way. Looks beautiful.
Look closely at the gate, there's a mini gate at the door. That's how things are in France as well. Also, the windows are very important part of the architecture. So, in the European architecture, you will find well-decorated, beautiful windows.
When I walked through the city, I came across signboards that have French phrases, together with their local language. India is so bloody diverse!
This photo speaks enough, and I do not need to write anything. Just keep looking at it. Hats off to the Photographer.
And that's called symmetry, that's called pattern. Don't forget that the initial scenes of Life of Pi had been shot in this Union Territory.
Can you guess the place now? If not, scroll down.
This is the garden and walkway alongside the mesmerising Auro beach. The cool breeze, extensive greenery and clean water will surely make your day! Just alongside this park, you will find French cuisine and wine shops.
And when the sun sets, the place becomes the City of Lights! According to European Architecture, lights play an important role and they need to be placed just at the right place. That's how the architecture is lit up.
One more example of perfect lighting. You must have started loving the place by now but you still don't know the place. Wait, wait...I am just coming there. Just keep looking at the beautiful images.
And when I think of Yellow, what comes to my mind? Can you Guess?
And what does come to your mind, mango?
That which looks good to the eyes goes straight to the soul. That which goes straight to the soul, stays there forever. Once you visit this place, it will surely stay with you, in your heart.
But this Union Territory is now known as Puducherry, reverted to its pre-colonial name. Other than the French, people speak Tamil in this fabulous place, together with English and some smattering of Hindi.
I bet you are not going to get similar beaches anywhere in India. Not even in Goa! See the sand, the water, the clouds...I guess you are thinking about Seychelles now? No, it's Pondi dude, just run away to this place, don't ask your boss.
Puducherry is also famous for Auroville, a universal township created by Shri Aurobindo - a place where people from all nationalities, religion and colour live in peace and harmony. This is Matrimandir, the Concentration Zone at Auroville. When you are done visiting the French settlement and the beaches, this is the place that will welcome you with open arms.
The trip won't cost you more than Rs 7,000 for 2 nights and 3 days, that I can assure you.
Joie De Vivre! If you don't understand French, it means extreme excitement!