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Published: September 30th 2018
Breakfast of champions
Pain au chocolate, coffee creme (coffee with milk) yumm!
We had my favourite Parisien breakfast this morning of pain au chocolat
and cafe creme (strong coffee with hot milk) at a little bakery a few doors down. We enjoyed it at a sidewalk table, in the chilly morning air. Paris, or this area of Paris, seems to wake up slowly. Even a restaurant that serves breakfast didn’t open until 9:30. It was a lovely breakfast and exactly what I had in mind when I thought of Paris when we were planning the trip.
We headed to our now familiar metro station and hopped on line 11 to Chaletet Les Halles, as usual, and transferred there to the RER B train just one stop to St Michel-Notre Dame, then transferred to the RER C train to Versailles. We were on the correct platform, but we must have got on the wrong train, because after 15 minutes or so the train stopped in a dark cavernous station, and we discovered it wasn’t actually going to Versailles. We had to get the same train back to the Eiffel Tower stop, then transfer to the train to Versailles. We weren’t the only ones, there were quite a few people who had done the
You mean I just can’t walk in?
same thing. Maybe it was a problem with the trains, who knows. We got to Versailles eventually, but it took at least an extra hour, and so it was getting close to 11:30 by the time we got there. It was a Saturday, so this was the exact worst time to go to Versailles. The crowds were unbelievable. The line to get in (even with Museum Passes) was enormous, snaking all around the area. We couldn’t believe that was the line we had to wait in to get in. Susan went to the information office to check about a guided tour while Mom and I stood in line. We had advanced a decent distance when Susan came back and said to leave the line, we had a tour for 2:30 and they advised to visit the gardens first, as we wouldn’t have to wait in line.
So we went through to the entrance to the gardens, and found that, yes, we had to wait in line (albeit a short line) because this was a weekend when the ”musical fountains” were on. It turned out that our museum passes wouldn’t get us into the gardens, because of the musical fountains,
and we had to pay an extra 10 euros each. What? Are you kidding me? We didn’t care about the musical fountains, and just wanted to see the gardens. So, we forked over another 10 euros, and got to the gardens. They were very nice, and it was very enjoyable walking around the gardens, however, uh, why aren’t any of the fountains actually on? I can hear some nice music, ok, and there are all these beautiful fountains, or they would be beautiful if they were on, but none of them are on. I ask an attendant, when are the fountains turned on. She says they were on earlier in the morning, and they will be switched on at 3:30. We will be on our tour at 3:30. Sigh. Why can’t the frickin fountains just be on all the time? Didn’t we pay enough, first with the museum pass, then with the extra 10 euros, to see some fountains? Sheesh.
We did find a nice cafe in the gardens, and had a coffee creme (coffee with hot milk), and I ordered a cheese baguette, then when I was in the bathroom I changed my mind and wanted a grand
marnier crepe. When I got back the food had already arrived, so I ordered the crepe (it was really good and had a shot of warmed grand marnier poured over it). Susan and I shared half the cheese baguette, and I took the other half to go (we ate it later).
We walked around the gardens (they are huge) until it was time for our 2:30 tour of the king’s private residences. The tour was really good and we had a great guide. We saw the private residences which you can only see on a tour. It gave us a good idea of what it was like for the king to live at Versailles. We also saw the beautiful opera house. The tour ended after the opera house, and then we visited the chateau, which was jam packed with visitors. Just our small group was in the private residences so it was so much nicer than the massive crowds in the chateau.
When we left the chateaux (around 4:45 or so) there was no line at all to get in, so late afternoon would be a good time to go to Versailles. We walked a sort distance to
the town (where the train station is) and stopped for a well earned beer. It sure tasted good. Then back on the train for the return journey, which was uneventful.
We had a short rest in our apartment before dinner. We had dinner reservations at a neighbourhood restaurant called Camille. We had a lovely dinner. I had gazpacho and sea bass (so did Mom), Susan had snails - they called them snails on the English menu, not escargot- and filet mignon. We enjoyed the food with a bottle of chardonnay. We shared creme brûlée and raspberry sorbet for dessert, accompanied by coffee creme and grand marnier. It was a fantastic dinner in a little Parisien restaurant.
Tomorrow we are going to the Musee d‘Orsay, in the morning, and likely the Pompidou in the afternoon (though we’ll play it by ear, because we want to just wander around our neighbourhood and check out the shops, which we really haven’t done yet). Good night from Paris!
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