paris day 1

On our first day in Paris, we woke up early and left our apartment by 8am.  Speaking of our apartment, we found our place through Airbnb again.  And, just like in London, we were very pleased.  In London we had only a private room and ensuite bathroom to ourselves, but in Paris we had a whole apartment, which was very nice.  Our host, Etienne, met us on the evening we arrived to give us the key, a tour, and some info, but we didn’t see him again.  If you want to see the Airbnb listing, check it out here, although I think the only thing you need to see to understand the place is the view from the main room and from the porch… DSC09955 DSC09952 I think I could have never left the apartment for the five days we were there and I would have enjoyed Paris.  It was really great.  As you can see, it was a beautiful morning, and once we left our place we walked towards the Eiffel Tower, where we caught the RER (train) to Versailles. DSC09956The train ride was about thirty minutes long, and we only had to walk a short distance to arrive at the palace.  We got there shortly after they opened at 9am, and did the audio guide tour through the king’s rooms, the state rooms, the queen’s rooms, the battle rooms, and more.  I think that we saw all of the rooms, in fact.  If you’ve been to Versailles, you no doubt know two things: it’s exceedingly grand and it’s exceedingly crowded.  I know that my pictures don’t really prove those two facts, but that’s because 1) I’m not a skilled photographer with a high quality camera so they look average at best and 2) any photo that isn’t packed with people was either taken of a room that nobody cared about or a room that people were banned from entering (in that case, we didn’t enter, we just looked in).  Now that that’s out there, we can proceed… DSC09963 DSC09966 DSC09973 DSC09980 Hello, Hall of People Mirrors. DSC09988 DSC09996 DSC00008 DSC00015 Around 11am, we finally found a cafe that sold some (overpriced) breakfast-type items.  We really tried to find something on our way to the RER station, at the RER station, outside of Versailles, and even right after entering Versailles, but just could not.  As will be a theme for the rest of my Paris posts, we really struggled with eating in Paris (more on that later), but enjoyed these very belated breakfast treats nonetheless. DSC00019 After ‘breakfast,’ we walked through a few more rooms, and then headed out to explore the gardens. DSC00021 DSC00023 DSC00024 DSC00037 DSC00040 DSC00043 DSC00052 We saw that row boats were available for hire, and although I was initially a bit reluctant, Danny convinced me into it.  We he rowed all around the lake for about an hour, and it was probably our favorite part of Versailles. We were able to escape the mobs of people and enjoy what felt like a taste of the summer we never got here in Colorado Springs (it was in the mid 80’s that day!).  It was just so peaceful and beautiful and perfect. DSC00055 DSC00065 DSC00064 We returned our boat, looked for some lunch (a fruitless search we quickly gave up), and walked to Marie Antoinette’s hamlet and the Grand Trianon. DSC00093 DSC00098 DSC00102 DSC00105 After we were sufficiently worn out and sick of gardens, we walked back towards the main palace.  We settled on a cheese pizza and a tomato and cheese sandwich for lunch around 3:30pm (did I mention we ate meals on a very irregular schedule?) and left Versailles.  It felt like we’d been inside the grounds for a week – we were so tired from all the walking and people and unexpectedly warm weather – so we stopped for ice cream on our way back to the train station. DSC00108 DSC00109 Once in Paris again, we walked from the train station back to our apartment, where we rested and tried to regain some energy (hello, granola bars we brought from home) before heading out again.  Around 6:30pm we took the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe, which we walked around and then up the 284 stairs to the top, which we enjoyed very much. DSC00111 DSC00113 DSC00114 DSC00118 DSC00121 DSC00127 From there, we walked down the Champs-Elysees for a while, but realized there wasn’t really much to see/do if we didn’t want to shop and spend gobs of money, so we took a side street in the direction of the Eiffel Tower looking for a place to eat dinner.  We settled on a restaurant called Prego, which offered a meal deal that we couldn’t turn down, so we split a salad, half a cheese pizza, penne pasta with a delicious red sauce, a smoothie, and a cup of tiramisu, and kept walking towards the tower, which with the help of some locals, we finally found. DSC00131 We took a 9:15pm Vendettes de Paris boat ride on the Seine, and ended up standing for most of it since the seats along the water and at the front of the boat were taken by the time we got on.  I was really looking forward to the boat ride, and it was neat, but…I don’t know…I left feeling kind of disappointed.  Perhaps it was the fact that we could barely hear the commentary or that we chose to stand the whole time or maybe I was just tired.  The city was pretty at night though, and all the lights reflecting on the water was kind of magical. DSC00137 DSC00142 DSC00161 After our boat ride finished up, we walked around the Eiffel Tower, and split a crepe with jam, which we ate while walking back to our apartment. DSC00166 DSC00168 DSC00170 DSC00172 When we got back, we found out that the washer/dryer fiasco was still not resolved, 24 hours later, and thus we didn’t make it to bed until 1am.  Sigh.  Our Airbnb experiences were really great and without complaint, but this washer/dryer situation…what a mess. Our first day in Paris was good.  We really enjoyed Versailles, however the mobs of people inside of the main part of the palace did put a bit of a damper on it.  The highlight of our time there was definitely renting a row boat, although I really enjoyed the rooms of King Louis and his family as well.  If we went back, I’d probably think ahead and pack a lunch to eat in the gardens (or on the boat?!), and rent bikes to ride around the grounds.  I’d also pay attention to the weather reports and not wear long pants if the temperature was supposed to be in the mid-80’s.  The rest of our day in Paris was fine.  I may touch on it in further posts, but I didn’t love Paris.  I did find the view of Paris from the Arc de Triomphe really neat, though.  It’s just so neat how so many of the building look so similar and then bam! the Eiffel Tower juts out in the middle of it all. Check out our nine days in London here, if you’d like.


5 thoughts on “paris day 1

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