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Published: July 15th 2010
At Chateau de Fontainebleau
Saturday, March 20th was a travel day for the most part. On the way to Paris we stopped at Chateau de Fontainebleau, located in the city of Fontainebleau. The Chateau was used by the monarchy as a hunting residence and vacation home of sorts beginning in the 12th century. Zach, Mike and I took our obligatory tourist photos of the grounds and then passed on the formal tour to explore the city. We ended up at a bar (hard to believe, I know). Zach, who speaks fluent French, conversed with the bar tender who mistook us for being British. We took it as a compliment and the bartender reminded us that England was Playing France that night for the 6 Nations Rugby Championship, suggesting that we play it cool should England win so not to get our asses kicked by Parisians.
After a few drinks and good conversation we boarded the bus for Paris, arriving at 7:30PM. At this point I was physically spent. We checked into the room and I was on the bed and out. I woke up around 11:00PM (lame), only to find that I was the only one still at the hotel. I went by myself
Napoleon saying goodbye to his troops outside the Chateau de Fontainebleau (1814)
for a random half-hour walk in a light rain. Just a note for fellow travelers: finding an open restaurant in Paris at 11:00PM is a no go. Back to the hotel I went for room service. I ordered a club sandwich with a salad and I am not even kidding - one of the best sandwiches I have ever had in my life. It was an uneventful night, but a nice relaxing one.
The morning of March 21st we embarked on a guided tour of the city. These had proven to be invaluable, providing us travelers with an understanding of the layout of the city while pointing out places of interest. After the city tour we made our way to Versailles to tour the Palace of Versailles. The Palace is, in a word, phenomenal and really something you have to see for yourself. The court of Versailles was the center of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution (thanks, Wiki). Everything about the palace is lavish beyond belief. As you walk through it
The city of Fontainebleau, Zach, Mike and I relaxing outside a bar
studying the intricate detail, you can’t help but be overwhelmed. The hand painted murals on the ceiling, marble, wood, gold filigree, all of which was imported from throughout the world so to ensure only the best was used. This is what happens when the government controls 90% of the country’s wealth. Bring on the revolution! 😊
After Versailles we were unleashed on the city of Paris. I first stopped by the Eiffel Tower. Dr. Noe, Mike T., Sarah and I decided to forgo the long line to take the elevator and instead walk to the first observation deck. It was 20+ stories up and Dr. Noe and I almost died - ‘nuff said. The view was beautiful! After Eiffel we made our way over to Les Invalides, which is a military history museum and final resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte. Unfortunately it was closed for the day but we walked the grounds and took some good photos.
Sunday night we made our way via subway to the Sacre-Cœur Basilica. Sacre-Coeur is a Roman Catholic Church and was consecrated in 1919. It is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics, offering services 24-hours a day. It is located high on a
City of Fontainebleau. Mike and Zach outside a bar
hill and at its base you are treated to a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. We stayed for a while, taking it all in. It was a wonderful end to a memorable day!
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