Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Paris Vacation - Part 2

Day two arrived and we were up early. We went to the market around the corner and bought some baguettes, ham, cheese, and what we thought was butter (but turned out to be cream cheese) so we could take food with us and save a little money.

When I saw "Smoret", I automatically jumped to the conclusion it was the Norwegian word for butter "Smør" (but while checking out, we realized that, well, we're not in Norway anymore, and if I had truly read the fine print, I would have seen the French word "fromage" (cheese) and maybe changed my selection). But we made due. 

We packed a backpack and hopped on a train to Versailles. Of course, that was after a croissant for breakfast.

When we got to our stop, we heard there were guided tours available across the street, so made an effort to walk faster than everyone else, cut a few corners, and end up first in line. Well, that paid off and we got a tour just 20 minutes after we got there...which was definitely a plus because that meant we didn't have to wait in the horrendous 2 hour line. 

Gorgeous entrance (but let's admit it's gaudy), and inside was amazing, too. 

Our tour guide was sweet, but some phrases she repeatedly said made me giggle a little to myself. For example, she was referring to all the marble on the floors and walls and said "Louis XIV loved marbles. There are marbles all over." Okay, that means something completely different. But I got the point and that's all the matters - the guy really liked marble in his palace. Noted. 

Here's a few things we saw in Versailles: 



More paintings on the ceilings and pretty chandeliers. 

And of course, the Hall of Mirrors. (That was very impressive, mostly because it's unlike anything I've ever seen). 

I'm glad we went, and if this were the first-ever castle/palace/home of royalty I had ever seen, I think I would have loved it more - however, I kind of feel like once you've seen a place like this, you've seen 'em all. (Nevermind the rich history and interesting little things we learned about the French Revolution along the way on our tour). 

The place was really crowded, too crowded, so it was nice to go into the gardens: 

It could've been great. It could've been lovely. It could've been the greatest gardens I've ever seen. But it wasn't. It wasn't because we were there for a grand total of ten minutes. Brilliant me was deceived by the morning sunshine at our hotel and I chose, deliberately, not to bring a jacket (really, I'm tired of jackets; I want the sun to be my jacket for once!). I'll be the first to admit that was a dumb decision.

And so I was cold. And my feet hurt. And the crowds were getting on my nerves. And I was starting to get hungry. So we left and ate our sandwiches on the train and all was well again.

After a nap at the hotel, we made our way to a lovely restaurant called the Le Procope for the best food we ate in Paris.

I tried the escargot:

I'm glad I tried it, but don't think I'll get it again. 

So nervous!

I also tried the duck: 

And the duck came with the best fries! They tasted so fresh: 

And for dessert I had an ice cream sampler - 5 different flavors that could be mixed and matched to perfection. :)

After dinner we changed clothes, and wandered around trying to find a place to go out on the town.

While Stian was trying to figure out where to go with an app on my phone, I wandered over to look at some jewelry in a boutique window. While there, I suddenly felt myself surrounded and somebody was speaking to me but I didn't understand. When I turned around there were 3 French guys in front of me. I started to talk to them, admitting immediately that I had no idea what they were saying because I don't speak French, and Stian came over and started to chat, too. We had a good time standing on the street corner, but they said they were on their way to a pub and wanted to know if we wanted to go with them.

So of course, we went....and had a great night!

It was underground and a great local spot!

We had a great day and splendid night. We got back to our hotel really late and as a result, got up really late, changing the course of events for the following day...

...stay tuned!

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