Wednesday, January 28, 2015

3 Day Getaway: Paris - La Deuxième Partie

We were warned about the massive crowds an Versailles, so we woke up our first morning in Paris extremely early in order to catch an early train and make it to the Palace before it opened at nine am. 

Getting to Versailles was very easy; We bought our RER C tickets at the station that morning (to and from Versailles Rive Gauche) which were 4,10 Euros one way. Once off the train, we followed the signs to Château de Versaille until we came upon the pretty gates below.

Imagine our surprise when we found the place totally empty! We would have probably been 8th in line to enter the Palace at nine am but because we had bought the Paris Museum Pass we skipped it entirely and made our way to the courtyard. 

We plugged in our earphones and followed Rick Steve's Versailles audiotour as we walked through the Palace. 

Managed the awesome feat of capturing a picture in the Hall of Mirrors that is not crammed full of unknown tourists. Traveling in the low season definitively has it's perks!

The Queen's Grand Apartments
Unfortunately traveling in late November also has it's drawbacks. The sky looked grey and gloomy all during our stay in Paris and Versailles was no exception. In addition because of the season, the fountains were all turned off or undergoing repairs, the garden statues were wrapped in tarp, most of the trees had no leaves and we didn't see a single flower.

On a positive note, in addition to it being fairly deserted, we did get to see some splendid fall colors in the gardens! We grabbed lunch off the only open food kiosk (Right before the canal, right by the bike rental shop) and sat on one of the benches by the canal to eat. From there, we walked through a pretty trail for about 30 minutes until we reached the Grand Trianon.

Grand Trianon
Grand Trianon
I could close my eyes and imagine walking up to this view every morning @ Grand Trianon
The French Pavilion @ Petit Trianon,Versailles. 
Petit Trainon
We then wandered around the huge lawns until we found the Queen's Hamlet. Although they were closed for the season and we couldn't go inside, we enjoyed walking around this little village which seem plucked out of a children s fairy tale.

Temple of love @ Versailles
On our way back we stopped by the " Temple of Love" before heading back to the Petit Trianon, where we hopped on a trolley back the Palace. By then it was three in the afternoon, we had spent 6 hours exploring Versailles. It was time to get back to the city in order to climb the Eiffel tower before sundown.

The weather was not in our favor, it was extremely cloudy by the time we made it back to Paris, so cloudy in fact that the top of the Eiffel Tower was lost up invisible among the clouds. We postponed our visit until the next day, glad that we had not bought tickets in advance. At the suggestion of the Rick Steve's guidebook we settled on Le Bosquet for an early dinner. Highlight of the meal: the escargot... it was so delicious, I ended up ordering it again.

After dinner, we hopped on the Metro and made it to the Louvre around six pm (On Wednesdays the the muesum has extended hours until ten pm).  We popped in our earphones again, this time to enjoy Rick Steve's Louvre Audiotour, which took us through the highlights of the museum.

It was right around here where we stumbled across one of our good friends from college. What are the odds of running across someone relatively close to you, all the way in Paris in the biggest museum ever?

Yes, it really is a lot smaller than you imagine it to be. 

At closing we raced around so Tomas could fulfill his DaVinci Code wish of seeing the inverted pyramid.

We had agreed to meet our friends at the entrance of the museum at closing and together we walked the blocks to Le Nemours, a charming little café with views of Place Colette. It was a nice place to sit outside people watch and indulge in a post-museum drink(s!). I learned afterwards that the café was the sight for the opening scene of Angelina Jolie’s “the Tourist”. We wrapped things up around midnight, exhausted after a very busy 18 hour day!

Read about the rest of our time in Paris:
3 Day Getaway: Paris - La Première Partie - Arc de Triomphe & Champs Elysee
3 Day Getaway: Paris - La Troisième Partie - Old Paris, Les Invalides & the Eiffel Tower
3 Day Getaway: Paris - La Quatrième Partie - Montmarte & Musée d'Orsay

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