Edit Blog Post
Published: November 9th 2007
Paris street shot.
We took the earliest train out of Heidelberg, which got us into Paris at about 10:30, a little later than I’d wished because of all we wanted to see on this trip. The first thing we did was buy a “Paris Visite” pass at the ticket office in the train station, and while standing at the window, I am pooped on by a pigeon. So really, the first thing I see in Paris is the train station bathroom, where I am charged fifty euro cents to clean the bird poo from my hair and backpack, so luckily this was not our first trip to France’s capital city.
Outside of the station was a stop for the L’OpenTour Bus, and we climbed aboard heading directly for the top of the two-level bus. This seemed like the perfect way for us to tour Paris again, since we’d already been around the city and inside most of the tourist attractions. (See “Our Weekend in Paris” from August 2006).
We saw the Madeleine church, the Opera, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Parliament building, the Place de Concord with the Obelisk, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and many other sites
Paris street shot. The Louvre.
to include the Hard Rock Café, where we got off the bus for lunch. We’d had enough sightseeing after all this, including some stops we made to go shopping, and we discarded the tour bus for the metro and sought out our hotel. The Ibis Paris Marne la Vallée had very, very tiny rooms, but would prove comfortable enough. We drop off our backpacks and as we’re freshening up, I discover more bird poo in my hair…
We get back on the RER train and head out to find some outlet shopping, which eludes us, so we go to Downtown Disney instead. This felt just like home to us, since both of us have spent countless hours in the Downtown Disney in Orlando. This may have been smaller, but it all felt so familiar. We shopped a bit, then sat by the water to enjoy some Ben & Jerry’s in some awesome waffle cones, and Seth accidentally eats a gnat. We decide to try out Planet Hollywood for dinner, and I have to say this was one of the worst mistakes we’d made in awhile: the food was extremely expensive and it tasted horrible. This was turning into an
Paris street shot. Near the Louvre.
We grab some breakfast at the hotel and get back on the metro to find ourselves doing circles for half an hour in what was only supposed to be a connecting station. It takes us over two hours to get to Versailles, but we have no idea why since we’ve never had any problems with the trains in any other city we’ve visited. Anyway, we show up in the city of Versailles, and then have to ask directions a couple of times to find the palace, whose direction was not sufficiently labeled throughout the town.
This visit to the palace of the Sun King was not all that I had hoped. We knew there was some reconstruction and renovation taking place, but until you’re standing in the shadow of this mighty palace and are confronted not with the spectacular beauty you were expecting but instead with large canvas sheets and scaffolding covering the palace outside and darkening the inside, and until you are exploring the gardens to find fountain after fountain lifeless and stifled, can you realize the full power of the renovations to effect the ambiance of one of the world’s most famous
Paris street shot. The Seine River.
The visit was pleasant enough, however, and I am glad we saw it. The renovations to the Hall of Mirrors were thankfully finished, but I was still a bit sad to see that none of the fountains were working, that there was no water flowing through any of them.
We take the 1045 tour and are shown through the king’s apartments and chapel before heading off on our own with audio guide headphones to view the rest of the palace. We learned that during the French Revolution 17,000 pieces of furniture were auctioned and Versailles has only been able to recover about 200 of those pieces, some other pieces known to be currently displayed in museums around the world. Versailles was originally a hunting lodge constructed for Louis XIII in 1623. His son, Louis XIV expanded the palace from 1661 to 1670, and it became the official residence of the king in 1682. It is very large inside, and we wandered through the Dining Room, multiple drawing rooms, the Apollo Room - which was once the throne room, the Hall of Mirrors, and the bedrooms of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. After this it was off to
Paris street shot.
the gardens, which were seemingly endless. The gardens were certainly spectacular but disappointing nonetheless, and only because none of the fountains were working. While wandering the gardens we find an outside café called La Flottille where we have an excellent lunch, with some even more excellent Merlot.
After leaving Versailles and heading back toward the hotel, I spend some time clothes shopping before we return to Downtown Disney. We eat a late dinner at Billy Bob’s, which had some great country music until the live band came on, featuring a French man singing country songs in English. We left when that happened.
After checking out of our hotel we head to Disneyland Paris and drop off our bags at the front gate. Again, this is all just so familiar to us even though we’ve never actually been here. It all looked so new and fresh and clean, which may be because it was revamped for their current 15th Anniversary celebration, but either way we kept saying that this is what Disney in Orlando must have looked like forty years ago.
Our first visit was Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, which was so pretty. I loved the stained
Paris street shot.
glass on the inside. We spent most of our time in Fantasyland, as evidenced by our photos. Fantasyland was my favorite and I loved the playfulness of it. This land may also have been the best for us since we couldn’t really go on many rides. We did visit all of the park sections, though, getting lost in Alice’s Curious Labyrinth in Fantasyland, exploring pirate caves in Adventureland, dining on spareribs in Froniterland, touring the Nautilus in Discoveryland, and shopping on Mainstreet, U.S.A. We had some wonderful “gelati” and waffles in Fantasyland, and we catch the Once Upon a Dream parade after a day of Disney, when it’s time to head back to the train station.
We had a nice trip and, once again, I was sad to leave Paris. Can’t be helped. It will be nice to curl up in my own bed and sleep for a day to recuperate. À bientôt, Paris! Until we meet again....
Tot: 0.095s; Tpl: 0.052s; cc: 14; qc: 25; dbt: 0.0176s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb