One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to capture and document my trips. Our recent trip to Paris was pretty much perfect, despite the fact that I managed to go a whole week in France without eating a single crepe. I plan on breaking my recap into smaller posts because I have a LOT of pictures. so here goes.
Our first day was technically our second since we took a red-eye flight from D.C. straight to Paris. After a quick trip through customs and a cab ride, we arrived at our hotel around 8 AM. We were pretty wiped out, so we took a nice long nap before venturing out into the city around lunch time.
Since I didn’t have enough Marriott points to stay in the center of town, we were staying just on the outskirts in the business district. Luckily, it was a quick walk to the metro, so we purchased some tickets and went on our way…….all the way to the turnstile where our tickets wouldn’t work.
After some embarrassing touristy fumbling, we figured out that we’d bought the wrong tickets and they’d only work on one of the metro lines, not the one we were trying to use. Rookie mistake. We hopped on the right train and made our way into town, where we stopped at our first Paris cafe for lunch.
It was just ok and we were crammed in too closely to other people, but we were hungry and it was right there and we were sipping wine at a Parisian cafe, so we went with it. Afterwards, we wandered around the Tuileries gardens, which were right across the street. We got our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance and it was so cool.
It started to rain and we had not prepared for rain that day, so we decided to pop into the closest indoor attraction, which just so happened to be the Louvre.
Luckily, there was no line, so we got in quickly and started exploring. We covered a lot of ground in just a few short hours!
We like art, but we are not exactly art fanatics, if you know what I mean. After a couple hours of solid walking around the museum, our feet were ready for a break. Sadly, the Louvre was the only museum we went to in Paris. I would’ve liked to see a couple others, but we generally have a rule that if there’s an hour long wait to do something, we won’t be doing that thing.
Back at our hotel, we were still pretty jet lagged and decided to enjoy dinner courtesy of the Marriott club lounge (thank you Gold status!!).
Then we passed out early to get caught up on sleep.
We started our day with a tasty breakfast, yet again courtesy of the club lounge.
Pretty much every breakfast I ate the rest of the week looked like that one. I was not complaining.
Day 2 was going to be super exciting! We had plans to take a train to Epernay in Champagne country and do some tastings. We got up early, loaded up Riley’s backpack, and took the metro to the train station to buy tickets. 30 minutes of confusion later and several failed conversations with station attendants, I eventually realized that I’d taken us to the wrong train station. Whoops. That was rookie mistake #2 and totally my fault. We became pros at trains and metros after those first two mistakes, but by the time we figured it out, we’d missed the train we wanted.
Riley, ever the problem solver, suggested we take that day to visit Versailles instead. After taking some more metros and trains (and lots of “yes, Riley, this is right train. I know I already said that once today”), we were on our way.
The lines to get into the palace at Versailles were ridiculous! It was chilly and overcast, so I figured everyone was trying to go inside first and visit the gardens later, so we headed straight to the gardens first.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Seriously, the gardens alone were worth the visit. I can’t describe to you how incredibly massive the grounds are at Versailles. We spent hours wandering through passages, looking out at the water, and imagining Marie Antoinette and famous kings roaming the area.
Everything was so beautiful and well-planned out. We went on one of their “musical gardens” days, so there was classical music basically coming from the trees as we walked around. It was basically just an excuse for them to charge more for tickets, but it was a nice touch.
It was pretty cold outside, so we took breaks to sit down and relax. We also popped into a cafe for a quick cup of coffee to warm up, which was nice.
My favorite area of the estate was the Hamlet area, where Marie Antoinette made her hand maidens dress like peasants. She basically had a whole area built up to look like a little village so she could play commoner and pretend she was living a simple life. If I’d been married off at age 14, I might want to play dress-up in my made-up village too.
After several hours in the gardens, we grabbed a quick lunch of baguette sandwiches before braving the palace. It was 2 pm by this point, so luckily my theory proved right and there wasn’t a line at all to get in.
The palace was a bit of a mad house. We were crammed in with the tourists and I was disappointed that you couldn’t just go through rooms as you pleased. Instead, you had to follow everyone from room to room in the same order. We got super claustrophobic and got out of there as quickly as possible. Other than the hall of mirrors, I don’t really remember much except thinking “get me out of here!”
A quick train ride had us back at our hotel in no time. After a quick nap, we ventured back out to the Champs-Élysées to find some dinner and ended up at Cafe George V, which was not super memorable, but great for people watching.
We were too tired to stay out long, but we had a few drinks at our hotel before calling it a night.
Part #2 coming soon!
How good are you at navigating new cities?
Where are you going on your next vacation?