So today was a rough one. So many sad things happened today and we definitely had a black cloud over our heads. I don’t know where to start so I will just start at the beginning of the day. I’m sorry if this isn’t the usual optimistic and ‘obsessing over greatness’ post but I want to be as real as I can with you guys…so I’m just going to tell it how it is. I promise our day ended well though so there is that to look forward to!!
The day started off just fine with a nice 45 minute metro ride outside of Paris to the town of Versailles. Accordian players hopped on our train at one point and played some French music which was cute. We got to Versailles and decided to grab some breakfast quick on our way to the Palace. We saw this little café and sat down and ordered coffees. The waiter was an older man who was not very friendly. He brought us our coffees and set the bill down on the table at the same time. This was weird because usually they took a long time to bring the bill to us…plus we wanted to order some food! I waved him over and said en Français that we wanted to order food. I asked for a croissant and he said that they were all out of them then tried walking away. I stopped him again and said I wanted something else. He basically just said no and walked away from me. How rude! I was even talking in French for him to understand. We were a bit upset with this service so we finished our drinks and paid. As we were leaving we noticed other people were being served croissants!!! We went across the street to McDonald’s of all places where they had a nice little bakery stand with pastries. Finally some food! By now we had wasted quite a bit of time trying to find some food and by now hundreds of people had walked past us from the train station towards Versailles. They were coming in swarms of people.
We walked the 10-15 minute walk to the Palace of Versailles and WOW. The people. Thousands of them it seemed were lined up in the courtyard. The courtyard was so big and the line of people looped around 5 times! It had to be at least a 1-2 hour wait in that line. We went to the front of the line with our museum passes and were told that the line was for people WITH tickets like us. Holy cow. We weren’t into standing in line for hours. Pro tip: if you are coming to Versailles, get here EARLY!! I would even try to be here before 9 when it opens. I think by the time we got here it was closer to 11:00 and clearly that is way too late to show up. There was about 40 tour buses full of my favourite foreign tourists and they were all waiting in that line.
We spoke with an employee and we were guided to walk around to the back of the castle and we could visit the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon. Apparently way less people visit here and it’s just as pretty as the Palace. At this point, anything seemed better than standing in that line. We walked about 20 minutes down some pretty trails and by a field of sheep and approached the Petit Trianon first. These buildings were built as a retreat for the king and later was given to Marie Antoinette! She would come here to escape her royal responsibilities and be away from authorities. It was really cool walking through where she slept and ate and partied in the 18th century.
We walked through her gardens and found this beautiful Temple of Love, or Temple de l’Amour. Here are some pictures of that and of the inside of Petit Trianon.
We continued walking through the gardens to the Grand Trianon, the larger of the two.
We walked all the way back to the main palace and the lines were still super long. It was after 2:00 at this point and we had a dinner cruise booked for 6:45 tonight. We headed back to the train station and rode back to Paris. On the train we met a nice lady from Florida and another from Las Vegas and it was nice passing the time chatting about our different trips. We rode back to the Palais Garnier for the second time to go in with our museum passes. Wouldn’t you know it…when we arrived there we discovered that the Opera House is not included in our pass. No!!! Also the auditorium was closed this day which is the main thing I wanted to see at the opera house. We considered paying the 11 euros to pay for the entrance fee but I decided that it wasn’t worth it to pay extra if the auditorium was closed. We sadly left and I enjoyed it from the outside of the building.
Okay! We have to get into somewhere today. Next stop is Musée de l’Orangerie because Steph really wanted to see the Monet room! Halfway there something inside of me told me to check the hours and surprise surprise… it was closed today! We knew the Louvre was closed Tuesdays but not l’Orangerie as well. Before we came to Paris we had a perfect game plan and knew everything was open the days we had planned but that free Heritage Day thing royally messed us up!! We felt like we had wasted most of today riding the metro in between places and being sad when things were not open. At least we had the dinner cruise to look forward to tonight.
We decided to try to get into Notre Dame one last time and when we got there the line was too long to stand in if we were going to make it to our cruise in time. How frustrating!! We stopped and bought some vanilla cigars and smoked our stress away LOL. One of my favourite memories of the trip was watching Katie and Steph try and light a cigar with matches in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The wind was not on our side and it was so funny to watch. 15 matches later we were in business!
Okay!! We had to really rush back to our flat to get ready for the cruise. We made it back and threw on our dresses and freshened up. We were cutting it REAL close. We called an Uber and took some pictures while we waited. We were feeling gorgeous! We were all desperate for a nice big glass of wine and to move on from today.
The Uber ride was torture. If we had left sooner we probably could have made it faster on the metro but the girls were wearing heels and even though they had extra shoes in their bags, we didn’t want to show up to our fancy cruise all sweaty and rushed. While riding in the car we knew we weren’t going to make it. The boat was leaving at 6:45 and it was 6:50. We even had some confusion finding the pier which added more time. We showed up to the marina to find no boat and three very sad girls. We tried to get onto the later boat but they couldn’t help us. We vented for a bit and decided to try and call later to get our $150 back for our tickets and then regrouped.
If I was alone I most likely would have returned to the flat at this point and sulked over the day. However, here we were…3 pretty girls in France dressed up in dresses and heels. Why would we ruin our last night and do that!?
If you’re standing in the streets of Paris and need to cheer up what better place to go than… the Ritz!!!
When we had been researching restaurants and bars before our trip, Katie found this bar called Hemmingway Bar which is where Ernest Hemmingway used to drink back in the day. As soon as we walked into the Ritz, we felt like royalty. There were gorgeous people everywhere and every corner we turned there was another gorgeous person showing us where to go.
The bar itself was really cool! It was decorated very nice and there was definitely some rich people in there. They had to be because one cocktail was 30 euros!! We toasted to our crazy day and to making it a better night. We talked about all the good things that we did and the beautiful places we saw.
So we left the bar and began looking for a restaurant to eat dinner. We were in the First Arrondisement which is the fanciest area of Paris. We loved walking past all of the luxury stores and pretty people. At a red light, this cute French boy was standing beside us and began chatting. Next thing we knew, he was giving us a walking tour of the area and showing us many great places and telling us about Paris. He was so nice and we wish we had met him sooner so we could have talked to him more! He walked us to this area with about 5 or 6 different restaurants all with a view of the Audi dealership and recommended his favourites. We chose a local Italian place and had one of the best meals of the entire trip. The prosecco kept appearing and we ate our sorrows away. What a fantastic way to end our last night! Halfway through the meal, Rémy even came back to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. He put his card on the table next to me and told us next time we are in Paris to contact him!
By now we were feeling great from the wine and good food so we decided to go see the Seine River one last time all lit up at night. We walked past the Louvre and had a hilarious drunken walk to the bridge. I love these girls so much!
What a day!!!!! Our feet were dying so we had a communal foot soak and then packed up all of our stuff before crashing. We don’t want to leave tomorrow!!! Luckily we don’t fly out until supper time so we are going to hit the Louvre finally and see what else we can squeeze in.
Stay tuned for the fifth and final post!