Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Paris Day 7

Since this was our last day in Paris and we didn't have anymore official visits, we decided to have a late morning. We went out at 10am to visit the Les Invalides, which houses the tomb of Napolean and the army museum. The tomb was fairly impressive. It was huge, well designed and splendourous.

The army museum was very informative. We only managed to catch the sections on WW1 and WW2. I learnt a lot about french history during this period. The french were at the height of their power around WW1 and did themselves proud. However, they failed to modernise and were crushed by the germans during WW2.

During WW2, the french were a split people, with some on the side of the Vichy government, which was under the choke of the germans. Others, were rallying behind Charles de Gaulle, to fight, resist and drive the germans out of France. Many of these people were from the colonies and outside France. I also learnt that the BBC was instrumental in helping the resistance by constantly broadcasting messages of hope and 'personal messages', which contained secret encoded messages for the resistance. Wonderful.

By the end of the visit, I could begin to understand why France is so anti-war in every way. The french people truly bore the brunt of WW2. They suffered the most in terms of lives lost as well as monetary damages to infrastructure. They have seen the worst of war and certainly do not want to see it happen again.

We were so engrossed by the museum that we had lost track of time. So, we got back just in time to see everyone getting ready to leave. Good thing that I had packed up earlier in the morning as we didn't have any time left to spare. So, we quickly travelled to Antony and from there, onto Gare du Nord to catch our Eurostar back to London. Check in and customs was quick and easy. The french customs officer was cool enough to say 'Terima Kasih' to all of us.

On arrival in London, we voted to go to chinatown for dinner. I brought them to the malaysian restaurant there and everyone had a wonderful meal. We even got to show JiaHui how distorted Sporean food really is. ['Hokkien Mee' is not yellow!] I have to say that C&R has yet to disappoint me so far. Now I know where to go for good malaysian food in London.

*** photo: military church, where hangs the flags of armies that napolean conquered ***

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