Monday, March 11, 2013
The plan for Monday was to go to Versailles, then come back and walk the Champs Elysees. We woke up and headed off to the train station. We had pre-bought our tickets when we first got to Paris so we didn't need to worry about them later. We figured out which train we were supposed to get on, mostly by eavesdropping on other peoples conversations. Then we got some croissants and juice at the snack stand and waited for our train. We got on the train and sat back and relaxed because we needed to take it all the way to the end, it was about a 45 minute ride. We ate our croissants, which were the most delicious croissants I have ever eaten! Who knew that the croissants that we got at the train station snack stand would be so yummy!!!
During the train ride there was an accordion player who came on board. There was also a man who walked the train and put little cards on the chair next to you. The cards talked about how he was an refugee and wasn't able to find work and needed money for his children. Then a few minutes later, he would come back through the car and pick them up. That happened on more than one of our longer train rides. As we got closer and closer to Versailles, I started to notice that there weren't very many people on the train. It was winter so the tourist sites hadn't been too crowded, but there had been crowds. A few stops before we got there I decided to pull out our Museum Pass that had the times for all of the attractions on it.
Versailles was closed on Mondays...
So we sat there trying to decided what to do. Should we get off the train at the next stop and just head back, should we go all the way to the stop and just look at Versailles. We ended up not quite doing either. We got off at the Versailles stop, then we exited the train station. Luckily the machines were down so we didn't need a ticket to exit. This meant that we didn't end up losing money for this mess up. I was in a rather foul mood and it was sprinkling so shortly after we exited the train station I demanded that we just go back. We were only wasting time, and we would have to come back another day. Jeff had wanted to walk around a bit and explore and go see the Chateau, but I was grumpy and we were doing nothing of the sort. (We hadn't had much time to plan our trip, and I was mad that the situation probably would have been prevented had we planned our day earlier than the night before.)
Anyways.... Getting back on the train was fun. We entered again the train station and go out to the platform. There are two trains. We notice there are a lot of people sitting on one of the trains, so we get on that train. A few minutes after we sit down there is an announcement over the intercom and most of the people on the train get off and go onto the other train. So, we decide to follow them, but we made our decision too late, and the train doors closed in front of us. So, we just go back over and sit on our original train. We sit for a while longer and a second train pulls in and a few people get on board that train. We decide that we are going to sit in this train no matter what. The other train took off and left again before ours did. Weren't we feeling stupid. But, a few minutes later our train left, and we were on our way back to Paris. Changing the plans a bit to incorporate some of the things were planning on doing that Friday.
We started out at the Orangerie which is in the Tuilleries Gardens. Tuillerie is my new favorite French word. Come on say it... Isn't that fun? The Tuilleries Gardens are just outside of the Louvre, and the Orangerie is a Impressionist museum that has Claude Monet's famous Waterlillies. We spent about an hour there, it's not a very large museum.
After the Orangerie, we walked down the road to the Opera Garnier. The Opera Garnier is the famous opera that is pictured in tons of movies, including a favorite of mine, The Phantom of the Opera. The Opera is HUGE and is ridiculously ornate. We had to pay to go inside, but it was worth it. We loved it! There were costumes from old shows, and just room after room of beautiful decorations. My favorite part of the Opera Garnier was the library. I want to have a room just like it in my house someday!
Right across the street from the Opera Garnier was the Galleries Lafeyette. The largest department store I have ever seen! It is 7 stories and takes up two city blocks! We ended up spending 3 hours there! We had so much fun walking around and looking at all the things they sold. Jeff got a couple dress shirts and then we also got some bread and cheese for the next day when we were in England. We also ate at the McDonalds in Galleries Lafeyette because Grammy had told us we needed to eat there and get a brownie. Sadly, we forgot about the brownies. We did however get some sandwiches. My thing with eating at McDonalds in foreign countries is that it's okay as long as you get something you can't get in the United States. So we had sandwiches that had a burger patty and goat cheese and lettuce and some sauce. They were delicious!
After Galleries Lafeyette, we went back to the hotel and dropped off our purchases. We then took the Metro to the end of the Champs Elysees opposite the Arc du Triomphe. It was freezing cold and raining the whole time! We walked pretty quickly and only stopped in three stores. The first we went to was a Paris-Saint Germain soccer team store. Then, we walked along a little farther and went into a clothing store. I really wanted to look and see if they had a warmer coat than the one I had brought. But, I couldn't really find anything I could justify spending the money on. Last we went to the Louis Vuitton store because it was HUGE and we were cold. I'm pretty sure there were more workers than people in that store, and the store wasn't empty!
When we got to the Arc du Triomphe we decided not to go up to the top because it was so cold and rainy. We instead were going to try to find this Fondue restaurant that had been recommended to us by our tour guide, Greg from Australia. We took the Metro from the Arc du Triomphe over to the stop listed next to the restaurant on the sheet we had. We walked around the square looking for the road the restaurant was supposed to be on. We couldn't find it, but we did see the Moulin Rouge... We decided to stop and ask a crepe vendor if he knew where the restaurant was. He didn't know, but he pulled out his phone and called the restaurant to find out. This whole interchange happened in french and when he explained the directions to me in French, I wasn't 100% certain of what he said. So, we walked the way I thought he said, and turns out we were right, however I missed the part where we were then supposed to go like 2 miles down the road.... So it was getting late and it was still raining. We decided to give up and just get on the Metro we were at. When we got down to wait for the Metro, we saw a map. On the map we found the road that it was on, but we decided to just try again another night.
We went back to the hotel and just decided to go to one of the restaurants they recommended that was right behind the hotel. We went to it and it happened to be the exact same menu as the Italian restaurant we went to on the second night, just a different location! We even had the same waitress! We each got something different, and once again the food was incredible! When we left the restaurant it was snowing! We stood there enjoying the snow for a moment, and being Floridians. A man walked past us and muttered something about hurrying to get out of the snow, but we were enjoying ourselves. Can't you tell!
I do have to say that these were the biggest snowflakes I had ever seen! We tried to go to bed quickly that night because we had to be up early for England the next day!