Paris – Day 8

Today we ventured a little further out of the city to a little town known as Melun. It was a fun 40 minute train ride outside the city. It was fun to see the city slowly change from industrial, to rural, to country side.

From there we waited about an hour for the bus to show up to take us to the Chateau Vaux le Vicomte. This was the place that Louis XIV wanted to out do, and he did with Varsaille. This was a little of a disappointment having seen Varsaille first, but still a spectacular building and grounds. They were even getting ready for an Opera production on the grounds with the Chateau as the back drop. Ahhh the French! Alas this did not really allow me to take pictures of the front of the Chateau.

The highlight was definitely being able to walk up to the dome of the Chateau and an amazing view of the grounds. The gardens were spectacular and we were treated this time to the fountain show (every second Saturday they have the fountains on for 3 hours). These fountains are gravity controlled by the resevoir that is on the grounds. Truely amazing.

We of course had to walk the grounds and I was taken back by all the sites. I pictured how it must have felt back then. This was their entertainment, walking the grounds each day and stopping every so often to admire the sounds of the water, the beauty of the fountains themselves and the gardens.

After 3 hours of walking the grounds it was time to get the last bus back to the train station and work our way back to our temporary home.

This has definitely been 2 full days of walking and walking and more walking. My feet are aching and I need a break tomorrow!

Paris – Day 7

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Today was a big walking day.

We woke up early and hopped on a couple of metros and then took the RER (the commutal train) and headed to the Chateau De Versailles. This GRANDE palace was started by Louis XIV when he had heard of another Chateau, Vaux le Vicomte and he wanted to out do it. And boy did he. This Palace is on 105 hectares or is that acres of land. I can’t even begin to put into words how huge it is.

We started by trying to get into the tour of the Palace itself. The line up was huge, and we kept seeing people heading to another direction, the Dauphin’s Apartments and we headed that way. On our way there it lead to the gardens. On look at this and I told Russ I wanted to see them first. To our surprise it was free. We didn’t have to pay a thing to see the gardens. The gardens stretch straight out for over 3.5 km! Based on the guide pamphlet, it would take you about an hour to walk this. We started walking the grounds and admiring the fountains. Unfortunately they didn’t have any of them on. They save this for later on in the evening and charge a fee to get into the gardens at this time.

We ventured up to the Bassin d’Apollon, a grande fountain and rented ourselves a golf cart. We drove around the guardens and came to the Grande Trianon and Petit Trianon at one end of the garden. The Petit Trianon is the area where Marie Antoinette had her residence when she lived at Versailles. She even had a little “Hamlet Village” created so she could play pesdant girl.

After we returned the cart, we headed back up to see the Palace. We paid our 13.50 Euros each to get in, and this included the head set. The tour begins with the grande Chapel. A marvel to see. This then lead to the Opera House, yup an Opera House in there. This Opera House was carved out of wood and gold leafed. Simply Amazing.

The tour then lead to the Kings chambers and the many rooms it holds. This then lead into the Hall of Mirrors. Russ has always told me about this and his mother has told me I have to have my picture taken there. Fighting off the other tourists Russ manage to get my picture taken in there. This room is also being restored to its Grandure and was only 1/2 completed. Still an amazing site.

This then lead into the Queens Chambers and the History of France area. In this area I finally saw the Corination of Nepolean painting I have been wanting to see.

After walking so much, we headed home for a well deserved rest.

Definately a highlight of my day!

Tomorrow we head to Vaux le Vicomte, the “Chateau” that started Varsailles.

Paris – Day 6

Today we woke up late so decided to just venture out to some of the local Museums in our area. Since the Picasso Museum is only 1 block away, we ventured there. This is reportedly the most work of Picasso on display. In true Parisian flare, the Museum itself is a monument. This is housed in the old Hotel Sale. Definitely looked a lot bigger in the photos, but it’s still an amazing building. The collection itself was impressive, spread over 3 floors throughout the hotel. I was amazed at some of the work and a little thrown off by others. Maybe it was because he is a “modern day artist” as opposed to an artist of the 13th or 14th century. I definitely learned that he did more than just paintings, from sculptures in clay or metal to pottery.

From there we ventured to the Museum Carnavalet (the history of Paris). It was a pleasure to walk in and not have to pay for anything :). This museum houses work from the 16th century up to the 20th century both in paintings, sculptures, and furniture. This museum is housed in 2 mansions and creates a figure 8 design. There are 4 different courtyards with different gardens. Now throughout the musems, which ever one you go to here, they always have people making sure you are not touching the paintings or doing anything out of the ordinary. Their jobs are boring to say the least and I wonder how they pass the time. Well during our visit here, I found out how, they take short naps 🙂 I just had to take a picture of him.

From there we ventured off again into unknown area and discovered some more shops and stopped off for a bite to eat. Nothing spectacular to report on the food as I just had a slice of lasagna and Russ had a salad.

From there we headed home but did stop by at a pastry shop and bought some delectable treats for later tonight. We will be eating in tonight to try to save some money as hopefully tomorrow we will venture off to Varsaille Palace, a 40 minute excursion outside of the city.

Paris – Day 5

Ok I just can’t help myself, I’m going picture crazy here in Paris. I’m so glad Russ has brought his laptop with him without it I don’t know what I would do with all the pictures. I think in the past 5 days I have taken over 200 photos. UGH! But hey you have to take alot to get the best ones 🙂

Today was a better day heat wise. Definately a hot day, but bareable.

We went to the Musem D’Orsey. This museum is housed in an old train station and has been redone to be able to house all the fantastic work. Now there is work from Monet, Van Gaugh and an exhibit of Rodin, just to name a few. You get to appreciate the work much more seeing it up close and personal. There are times you just want to actually touch the work, but that isn’t allowed. There are signs through out the museum warning you of this as well as warnings about leaving your bags behind – “any unattended bags will cause the museum to be evacuated” OUCH!

After 3 hours at the Musem D’Orsey, we walked along the street and made our way to the Latin Quarter. Now this is full of fantastic Art shops which line the many streets. We just wondered around, at one point lost, but that was half the fun. We entered a back alley, which turned out to be full of little stores and cafes. One which we sat out and enjoyed a glass of Pepsi, Beer, Crepe and salad, all for an amazing price of 29 Euros! Ahhh the French! But it was fun and enjoyable and we don’t regret it at all.

We slowly ventured our way back to the condo, but managed to stop along the Notre Dame Cathedral and took pictures of one side we didn’t take pictures of yet (I know, unbelievable!!!). We stopped by a tacky shop where I bought some postcards, and then ventured back home to do some laundry (2 loads for 10 Euro, including drying..EEK)

All in all a fun day, more relaxed.

We started planning our other ventures outside the city in the next few days, so keep posted to some new and interesting points of view!

EDIT – What’s hot in fashion here, BIG and I mean BIG belt buckles, can be with reinstones or not, silver or not, just BIG and chunky. Also I was surprised to see more Parisians drinking rose wine, not Zinfindel as in North America.

Paris – Day 4

It’s hard to believe it’s only been 4 Days already. We’ve been going to bed fairly late and waking up even later. I’m starting to feel more Parisian everyday :). The cafes here are amazing. People linger outside on the street, talk, drink, smoke. Just socialize. It’s interesting from a North American perspective.

Today, on advice from Laura, we decided to take it easier. We kept our walking to a minimal and went on a ride in the Metro. Our goal, to see the Effiel Tower. Now I’m not one to give you a history lesson, but from what everyone knows, the Effiel Tower was not loved by the Parisians when it was first built. They HATED it. Walking under the structure you are just awed, granted be warned that the gypsies are everywhere there asking if you “Speak English” and then hold out a card for you to read saying “we are new to this country, just arrived, we haven’t eaten, could you spare some money” HA! and they look so healthy to me!

Anyways, when entering the Tower, you have the option of buying a ticket which observation deck you wish to go to. Prices vary depending on which one of course. I opted out for the 2nd level as I’m not a great person with heights. Also with this option you can choose to walk up the stairs (why?) or take the lift. The lift itself is a double decker lift and you are pilled in there like sardines. We made our way up to the second left and took some amazing photos (see flickr)

We then made our way down to the first level and ate at the cafe there, and looked at the lovely tacky souvernirs. Instead of taking the lift down back to the main floor, we decided to walk down the stairs. I marvelled at the people making their way up. Some looked liked they were regretting it from the get go, and others were just enjoying it. Ahh Paris!!!

Tonight will be a quiet night out, maybe a cafe with some pasteries or not. We shall see.

Tomorrow will be another fun filled day!