Day 19 - Spain/France Trip - Paris

July 9 Tuesday

Today we were up early and to breakfast by 7:30. We had a driver pick us up at 8 and we were on our way to Versailles!

The line was already very long but we had a special pass and was told To go into a different door on the side. From there we were escorted to close to the front of the line where we moved right through security and into the palace!

Jackson and I grabbed an audio guide and started walking. There are many art exhibitions set up in the wings of the palace so at times we were seeing art pieces being displayed. At other times we were seeing ornate decorations and furniture. There was so much gold and mirrors and chandeliers in areas that it was a little overwhelming. That feeling quickly turns into awe which is probably what the royalty at the time we’re pursuing in their design.

Of course everyone favorite room is the hall of mirrors. This is an elongated room with high windows opening up to the gardens on one side and large mirrors mimicking the shape and size of the windows on the opposite wall. Elaborate sparking chandeliers are evenly spaced through the hall and add to the royal feeling of the room.

Once we were satisfied with seeing everything in the palace, we went out to the gardens. I’m a little surprised that the paths for the gardens are just gravel and not some fancy stone. The flowers and hedges are gorgeous though! Of course everyone’s favorites are the fountains. There is music playing throughout the gardens and at certain times specific fountains erupt to the music. It is really a beautiful experience.

I did enjoy the fountains but I also really loved the hedges that grew to make tunnels.  Walking through those corridors feels like something out of a fairy tale.

Jackson was tired of walking so we got a trolley ticket to take us to the far end of the garden and the Grand and Petite Trions. These are like vacation homes on the estate surrounded by beautiful gardens as well.

We were dropped off at the Grand Canal which had boats that you rent to enjoy the lake there. Adjacent to the Grand Canal is Apollo’s fountain which is really popular.

We made our way through the maze of the gardens hitting the must see fountains and catching a few of them in action. We made our way back to the Palace and went to get out free champagne and soda. I asked if I could have water and Jackson could have an ice cream instead and so we enjoyed a break before heading back to the meeting point. Our driver was waiting for us and we got back to the hotel by 3:30!

We dropped things off and headed down the street to the Concierge. This used to be a palace turned into a prison. It was where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned. The inside was lovely, but the cells were small and all stone with no light except a small hole with bars in the door. It must have been very depressing! There were not many visitors here so we were able to just walk right in.

Our next stop was Sainte La Chapelle. We were worried about the line outside but it was short and moving quickly. That line was for security. Once we went through security we went into a courtyard and could see the church with a huge line of people! We looked at the signs and found that if you had a Museum Pass(which I did) you could get into a different line and bypass Everyone else! We went right in and saw the gorgeous stained glass! It was amazing!! The light was coming through some of the windows and it was perfect!

We walked a couple of blocks and stood outside of Notre Dame. The front looks undamaged but the sides and back or covered with scaffolding due to the fire that occurred in April. And of course the spire of the church is gone.

Our final site seeing stop of the day was to Shakespeare and Company. This is a book store that at one time was a library and bookstore that has been visited by many famous authors. It is fantastic inside. There are old desks and typewriters set up. Some you can sit at and some are in loft areas. There are also little nooks and crannies that you can squeeze into to snuggle in and read for awhile. The store is packed with shelves and shelves of new and old books so it can be a bit of a maze. I loved it and if it weren’t packed with people and it wasn’t time for dinner I would have liked to pick a spot and just soak in the atmosphere! Jackson did buy a book that has French and English stories in it so that will be fun for him to practice French.

We went down St Germaine and found these cute little carts set up on the street selling unique things like leather and jewelry. Jackson found the perfect bracelet for Marene and I found a cute ring that I now wish I had bought.

For dinner we went to a place recommended by our first cab driver. The food was good and not overly expensive. We had a gentleman sitting near us who like Jackson’s scrunchie on his arm. He started telling us about his partner and himself and how they have been together 50 years! He lives in California. There are so many Americans in Paris! It is unbelievable!!

To finish out our day we went to the roof of the hotel to see the view. The sun had set and the sky was glowing with color. The illumination of the Eiffel Tower was the icing on the cake!


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