Paris Part 1 - Adventures in Versailles

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Bonjour! I'm so excited to finally sit down and write about my trip to Paris! I have so much that i want to share with you so i thought it'd be best to break up the posts a bit so they don't become overwhelming.  Today i'll focus on the first couple of days.  As you know, one of my best friends Vilma who shares a birthday with me, suggested we celebrate our 40th in Paris.  Looking back, i'm so grateful to her for this suggestion because i can't think of a better way to celebrate this milestone birthday than in a city i'd dreamed of visiting my whole life and with a friend i adored.  So we booked our Parisian experience and began to plan! Prior to leaving, we sat down with a map of Paris and ambitiously circled all of the places we wanted to visit in the 5 short days we planned to be there... but still, we were determined! One thing we'd read was that it's best to purchase most of your ticket entries to the places you want to visit ahead of time because it will save you a great deal of time waiting in massive lines.  This proved to be true but more on that later. We decided to create a tentative itinerary for each day in order to figure out the ticket situation.  We purchased our entry tickets to Versailles, the Eiffel Tower (we purchased tickets to take us all the way up to the Summit of the tower which is spectacular), we also booked our ground transportation to and from the airport as well as 3 day tickets to hop off and on tour buses and tour boats on the Seine River which i totally recommend.  These buses/boats stop at every possible tourist attraction making it easy to get around. The metro is also a good and affordable option (just be sure to carry coins with you because many times, there aren't any actual people at the ticket offices to purchase your tickets).

As for the hotel, we knew we wanted to stay near the Eiffel Tower and didn't want to spend a ton of money on the room since we really weren't planning to spend a whole lot of time there.  We did however, still want a nice, clean room with good reviews in an ideal location. After a lot of searching, we came across a perfect boutique hotel that had a ton of great reviews and seemed to be in close proximity to the Eiffel Tower.  The Hotel Eiffel Capitol is such a great gem!  I highly recommend it to anyone looking for the same criteria as us.  The staff was super friendly and helpful, the rooms are beautifully decorated (very small as are most boutique hotel rooms in Paris) but perfect for the hubby and i.  Loved it!

Our flight left on New Year's Day at night and was scheduled to arrive at 7:30 am (haha) so we decided to book the Palace of Versailles for the Friday of our arrival.  Little did we know our flight would be a little more than four hours delayed! Talk about stress! We may have drowned our sorrows in martinis at the airport... haha! Still determined, we dropped off our luggage at the hotel and headed for the train.  As we walked towards the Eiffel Tower (which is where the train station was located, i spotted a place i'd read about years ago and had always wanted to go.  Poilane is essentially a bread heaven!  I may have shed a tear or two seeing this place in person and discovering that it was only one block away from our hotel.  This was obviously a place we'd visit every single morning for a fresh slice of bread or croissant!  A little further down, we spotted what would be our favorite Crepe place.  You could get just about anything on your crepe and since we hadn't had lunch yet, we decided to have a go at our first crepe.  The hubby and i opted for an egg, ham and cheese crepe.  It was so delicious and we documented our first bite with the spectacular Eiffel Tower in the background.  I swear i felt as if i was dreaming! We walked down a street nearing the tower that had a bunch of tents selling souvenirs and all kinds of delicious foods and sweets but we were in a rush to catch the train so there was no time to stop and look.  Once we got to the train station, we attempted to purchase our train tickets at the ticket machine.  Well, it didn't take any of our credit cards and we had not change to purchase with cash.  The line began to grow behind us and so did the annoyed looks.  We decided to run back up to the souvenir shops and purchase a post card with a 10 Euro bill in hopes of gathering some change.  This worked so we were finally able to purchase our train ticket (phew).  The train ride took about 20 minutes.  Once we arrived, the Versailles Palace as only a short walk away.  Versailles is absolutely, positively spectacular! I honestly cannot even put into words just how beautiful this place is.  We arrived around 3:30 and the line to get in was about 40 minutes long (even with tickets... sigh), but we used that time to take a million pictures outside of the Palace. The sun had finally peeked through the clouds that greeted us upon our arrival so it was wonderful to see this breathtaking historical site graced by the sun's rays.






Can't take Americans anywhere! 


















We finally made our way inside and the crowds were massive. We admired room after room in the main palace but the one that truly took my breath away was the Hall of Mirrors.  I was completely mesmerized by chandeliers and statues that draped over this incredibly beautiful space. All i could think about was the fact that Kim Kardashian actually had her rehearsal dinner at this place... how is that fair!!!! Whatever Kim!  We finally made our way to the grounds and i literally gasped for air when i saw the beauty that lay in front of me.  Mind you, this was winter time so i know that the grounds are their best when they're lush and full but still, they were so stunning and so serene. After a few photo ops, we knew the sun was beginning to set so we made our way down in hopes of locating Marie Antoinette's quarters.  We passes a gorgeous little restaurant nestled within the grounds but knew we had to keep going if we wanted to see more.  We were told were to go, sorta... so we began walking down this somewhat secluded garden.  At this point, the sun has set and all was becoming dark.  We found a palace but the gates were closed.  We weren't really sure where we were and there wasn't anyone around to help us really so we just kept on walking.  After a while, we felt as if were in a scene from the Shining so we soon realized that we weren't going to see Marie Antoinette's quarters and needed to find our way back to the main palace.  We walked and walked in the darkness of the gardens which was really cool and scary all at once considering i was baffled by the fact that there was no security in site.  We spotted a light ahead and began walking towards it.  As we got closer we realized this was the cute little restaurant we'd spotted earlier.  Vilma walked in and asked if they were still taking customers and they told her that they'd take us only for drinks, not food.  We were exhausted so the thought of a seat inside a warm place with a nice glass of french wine sounded divine.  Well, the staff was not friendly at all!  In fact, as soon as we ordered our glasses of wine, they picked up all of the chairs behind us making us feel as though we needed to chug and leave! This was 6:15 and the sign at the door said they close at 7 so technically we had a whole 45 minutes before the place closed but we felt so unwelcome that we actually asked for plastic cups to pour our wine in and leave!  When we made our way outside, we asked someone how to exit the gardens.  They looked at us like we had five heads.  "Oh and you want to leave?  Hmmmm well, there is a gate that might still be open if you go down that long road and turn right".  Um OK then.... this was starting to feel like a movie (two couples trapped in the grounds at Versailles). I suppose there are worst things in life right?  Well after miles of walking in pure darkness surrounded by trees and dirt roads, we finally found said gate and were glad to be back to civilization. We walked back to the train station, cold and hungry but excited for this amazing first day in Paris. Many memories were made and plenty more to come.  Once we arrived at the Eiffel Tower, we grabbed dinner at a restaurant near the hotel and then headed to the room for some R & R.























Note the chairs behind us!!! 



Vilma loved her 'snails' but i refused to taste them!  Yuck!  #sorrynotsorry



The next day, we woke up bright and early.  We peeked out the window and it was raining.... we decided to walk towards Trocadero (a trendy little part of town where i'd read about a 'must-see' vintage shop). We made our 'now usual' stop at the Creperie though this time i opted for a crepe with sucre which was delicious and a lot less filling than the previous one.





 Crossing over the bridge to Trocadero


We made our way across a bridge overlooking the Seine River and the gorgeous Eiffel Tower.  After searching for a while, i finally found the store i'd been looking for!  I began to walk faster and faster with excitement... and the i realize there was a sign on the door.  I couldn't understand what it said since it was written in french.  I quickly reached for my transation app and....
to be continued...

3 comments:

  1. Fabulous timing because I'm heading to Paris!!!! Please keep the posts coming.
    xo
    styleontheside.com

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    Replies
    1. How exciting!!!! OMG you are going to LOVE it!

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  2. What an awesome story about your exciting experience!! Absolutely LOVE all the pictures!! You look so beautiful you fit right in with the classic yet trendy look that the French seem to have perfected!! You have such an incredible gift for both writing and capturing your adventures in beautiful pictures!! Thank you so much for sharing!! What a fun read!!! Only problem is I really want a croissant and I just don't think that fit and healthy multi grain bread is gonna do it!!

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