Notes from dinner at the Eiffel Tower and day three of our trip to Paris.
1. Probably not the best idea to pair a five course dinner that is complimented by five glasses of wine, including champagne, with a wine and cheese tasting lunch that was made of five different wines, including champagne, and six different types of cheese. Both meals were outstanding but they combined to make for a restless night’s sleep.
2. After minimal sleep we had an early alarm to catch the C train to Versailles. The C runs direct to Versailles, except when the route is closed due to track maintenance. Time to be flexible and become acquainted with the trains of Paris.
3. A friendly, Parisians are so rude, ticket agent helped reroute us. After a connection and a 15 minute walk, we found our way to the palace of Versailles. The palace and the accompanying gardens are amazing, wildly decadent, and reflect a wee bit of madness. The fact that not one but two additional, slightly smaller palaces were built to allow the family to get away from the palace that was originally conceived to help the family escape the trappings of Paris says it all. Each of the rooms are adorned with marble, gold, tapestries and / or paintings. There were no spaces left unadorned.
4. Think today’s celebrities are over the top? Do they have a hall of mirrors that is over two football fields long and is decorated with statues from the era of Roman rule? Louis the 14th loved him some Louis the 14th, and he loved marble statues because Greek and Roman era statues are everywhere at the Versailles Estate. They’re inside, with one in nearly every room open to the public. They’re along the outside of every wall of the palace. They line the walkways of the gardens and the fountains. One of the statues was of a lion biting the helpless rump of a soldier.
5. We left the palace earlier than planned because we were both really tired and didn’t think we’d make it out of the maze of gardens alive if we tried to see everything. On the way back to Paris we were old pros with the trains and didn’t need to stop and ask for directions once.
6. Originally we were going to enjoy the tour of the River Seine this evening but we decided to go early. Our tickets were for any tour during the day and we managed to find our way onto the 3:00 PM tour just in time. We both almost fell asleep as the gentle rocking of the boat combined with the soft, cool breeze lulled us into a couple of head bobbing, weary travelers. Fortunately we were awake to take in the site of Notre Dame as it rose up before us.
6. After a side trip to the Boulanger and patissier (bakery and sandwhich shop) across the street for a light, late lunch we headed back to the flat for some downtime before dinner.
7. Yes, we are staying in a flat instead of a traditional hotel. It’s a furnished one bedroom apartment with a small, but full, kitchen and bath. Plus it has a washer/dryer. It’s actually cheaper than a hotel room and we can do laundry, which means we don’t need to pack as much. But the real plus is we are living in a real apartment in a real neighborhood. We’re actually getting a taste of the day to day life along our little section of Rue de Saint Dominique. We’re planning on using a similar strategy for our next European vacation.