Continuing the Paris life.
With our navago travel ticket we can go to Versailles.
It was so easy to get to and we packed our baguettes, fruit and water and hit the estate for a massive day of walking and ogling.
Once you get through seeing inside the main palace and all the throngs of people ( was anyone left in Paris) you can really enjoy what this incredulous estate has to offer.
The gardens are immense. 230 acres of gardens to be precise but in total the land is over 2000 acres.
There is just SOOO much to see.
In all honesty a day doesn’t really cover it. So my suggestion is go early, take a sarong or something similar if it is a warm day and do what we did,take a little snooze under a tree for a good break so you can get the most out of this awesome place.
I’m not going to go on and on but really try not to miss Marie Antoinette’s little farm hamlet.
Also visit the summer palace also called the estate of Trianon.
We prefer this to the large palace but that’s our opinion only.
The above gives you an idea how big Versailles really is. You’ve all seen the photos of how huge the palace is so just look at it in perspective of the whole estate and you will see what I’m talking about.
Needless to say we covered some ground over 23000 steps for the day.
I was quite keen to go rowing on the canal but James wasn’t, he could tell who would be doing the rowing and who would be lying back relaxing and he didn’t see his role as favourable 😂.
Another day we chose to meet for a 2:30 pm free walking tour of The Marais area of Paris. You do pay the guide a tip which the suggested price was slightly more than we expected but hey it was a great look around somewhere we hadn’t fully explored before with some invaluable local knowledge so well worth it.
The great thing about our navigo pass is that we just don’t think about not going somewhere because you can always find your way home using the bus and metro network together. We also don’t mind going for a walk knowing we can always get a ride home if we get too tired.
This way we have ventured out all over locally and just enjoyed finding interesting places.
We also walked to the Eiffel Tower and were going to walk along the Seine when my sandal strap snapped and it was easy to just hop on the metro into the city where we knew a Decathlon outdoor store was and purchase a new pair.
When friends from back on the Coast were in town and called saying they were at The Tower, we knew we could meet them there quickly and easily and go off with them anywhere and not worry about getting home.
Another day we used it to go to the other recommended Chateau Fontainebleau.
This was a magnificent day out and we thoroughly enjoyed both the Château, it’s grounds and the town it is in.
The Chateau was unbelievably less crowded than Versailles and as the home of so many Kings, Queens and the Emperor Bonaparte richly decorated in that over the top elegance that only royalty of those times seemed to be able pull off.
We would highly recommend a trip here to anyone who either has already been to Versailles or just doesn’t do crowds very well.
Some place I have wanted to visit from when I first read about them but hadn’t managed to either find them or have the time on previous visits to Paris ( still can’t believe I can say that. Doesn’t seem that long ago that a once only visit was all I could hope to have here) was the Catacombs of Paris.
The story of this incredible but strange now popular tourist attraction is well worth a little research on google if you’re so inclined.
But to save time I’ve taken a few photos off the catacombs official site and I use them purely as reference material only and claim in no way that I did this research.
It seems we keep adding to our list of places to go and see but we keep going out everyday and tick at least one off our list.
Having been to our local flea markets we decided to go to the BIG PARIS MARKETS one Saturday and were just totally blown away by the scale of these markets and the variety of goods on offer and also the way they are displayed.
From your paddy’s market type of stall right through to arcades full of gorgeous furniture, paintings, chandeliers, rugs and so much more all which could easily have been in any Chateau or stately home.
There was modern art and furniture from all different eras.
Clothing, Nic nacks, even a stuffed lion, oh and a space ship.
So much to see you could spend weekends here just wandering taking it all in.
Another place we wanted to visit was the Buttes Chamond Parc so the next day we made our way on the metro and bus.
The park is full of people running, cycling, exercising whether it was fitness classes, yoga or tai chi. There were families picnicking, lovers like us strolling and everyone enjoying the sunshine.
This isn’t a flat park but rather lots of rolling hills and bridges as well as a big pond circling around. With all the trees and green spaces it’s a nice reprieve from the city.
From there we took the bus down towards the Canal Saint- Martin.
A lively area full of things to do on the canal or on its banks.
There were row boats, motor boats, restaurants and bars both on the canal in boats or on the land. Children’s playgrounds, sandy areas for deck chairs and lots of people watching to be had.
The only spoiler was the condition of the canal itself a real shame that rubbish has been left to build up and algae.
Still we were glad to have found yet another spot in Paris we wouldn’t have seen if we’d only had a week here.
The next day we were off to Orly airport to pick up a car for four days to go see our friend Brigitte which I’ve written up about separately.
Back to Paris after our wonderful time away we settled in for our last nine nights of living in Paris.
We dropped our car off at the airport on Thursday night rather than trek out there again Friday morning and we took two buses home; all on our navigo card.
The next day we lounged at home. James did quite a bit of office work on the iPad and I spent time writing about our time away and looking at our photos.
We had planned to walk around the city that evening as the 13th is an open night at fire stations and lots of parties but we ended up relaxing with a wine at home instead.
We didn’t know about the big parade on Bastille day down the Champs-Élysées or we would have gone. We saw it on the tv and were disappointed we hadn’t made it there.
Anyway we did go to see the fireworks off the Eiffel Tower that night.
They started at about ten past eleven and not too far away from where we are is a great area for viewing them.
We weren’t the only ones with the same idea and it was a very well behaved crowd of mostly locals who oohed and ahhed as you do when something is done so well as were the fireworks that night.
Well done Paris. It was really spectacular with a great use of the tower, using sparkling lights, moving patterns projected up and down the tower and of course spectacular use of fireworks. A 30 minute entertainment for all.
The next day Sunday the 15th was WORLD CUP FINAL DAY.
We started the day wandering down to the local Sunday markets and looking for a venue to watch the cup final that was starting at 5pm. We found a great bar and was told 3:30 would be a great time to arrive. Unfortunately we arrived about 3:45 and there wasn’t a seat to be had so we wandered back towards home and found a spot in a smaller bar with a great view of the tv screen and settled in.
Several beers and of course with a score of 4-2 there were quite a few moments of rapturous cheering to be had. Car going past beeping their horns and General good spirits.
It was fantastic to be here for their win and a great memory of our time in Paris.
After the game there was dancing and much jubilation on the streets around.
after all the excitement of the last few days we spent the next day at home again catching up on affairs from home etc. But by Tuesday we were ready to go off exploring again. This time we made our way to Provins and incredible Medieval town out of Paris which fortunately we could still get to with our magical navigo pass.
James didn’t really know where we were going and I had only decided to chose here on looking at someone else’s blog.
Winner winner chicken dinner.
What a great place. I don’t know really what to say but it was a great day and here are the photos.
But I should mention the church was built 1000 years ago ( third picture down). And King Henry the first lived in the tower the only circular tower built in a square base.
The day till our departure started to draw closer and we spent a few days in the last week finalising some plans and starting others and of course had a look at our packing.
We had booked a 15kg check in bag in case we needed to and decided that we would any way just to give us the opportunity to take a few books and some toiletries we had that were over the 100 ml size.
we have now started to look forward to our new adventure where swimming will feature and a week visit from a great mate from my teenage years in NZ Craig.
On one of our last days we ended up having a massive walk around Paris and walked home. My home made sangria never tasted so good. But we saw some beautiful sunflowers and mounted police officers. We also could see the great clean up the city had done after their huge weekend.
On the Friday our last full day in France we took the train out to the town of Rambouillet. Here this a lovely Chateau with some very nice grounds.
The Chateau to be fair doesn’t show off a lot of rooms nor a lot of furniture. It does however boast to being the summer home of the Presidents of France and where heads of state are received. On the ground floor is an extremely ugly room all made of marble which is where the first G8 summit was held.
The interior of the rest of the Chateau is Rococo and Neo-Pompeian style.
There was however a particularly strange exhibition on throughout most of the rooms while we were there.
Some very weird taxidermy, some odd animal skin yurts with peep holes in to see lit up animal designs. Anyway made it interesting if not quite in keeping with the property.
The formal French gardens hold canals and six islands and also an English garden. We made the mistake of napping under a tree and a man came along and blew his whistle at us to get off the grass. Oops.
The grounds also house a couple of quirky buildings one which is la Laiterie de la Reine otherwise translated to The Queen Dairy. Built by Louis the XVI for Marie Antoinette it holds an unusual sculpture for a dairy called Almathee and the Nymph.
And the other odd building was a very ordinary country home with the most unusual interior a round high walled room completely and richly decorated with shells.
The sea shelled thatched roofed cottage was built in 1779 by the Duke of Penthievre for the Princess of Lamballe.
We saw the Dairy and the sea shell cottage on a guided tour which was free with our entrance ticket and the only way you were able to view them. Unfortunately the entire hour tour was in French but we got to see them and that was our ultimate aim.
It was one of the only days we’ve seen rain and we got caught out after having nothing but great weather. Still we enjoyed the outing and were home in time for our little cocktail drinks before dinner and to relax on our last night of our French experience.
Thanks to the many people here who have shown us tolerance and patience with our non existent French apart from the few cursory and obligatory Hello, thank you and please.
In a city of 2,250,000 locals welcoming almost 25,000,000 tourists a year I have found every one to be extraordinarily pleasant considering how many times they get asked for help by strangers, have the trains and metro seats taken by tourists when after a day at work they would love a seat. The bad behaviour by some tourists must rankle at times but they accept that the tourists pay a lot of wages etc. There will always be that person who has a bad experience and lets it ruin their stay or make that their focus on storytelling but mostly around the world if you’re polite and respectful to others they give it right back.
Thanks Paris you’re very charming for a big city and we leave with lots of great memories.
Next stop Cavtat Croatia.
Thanks for joining the ride.