On day 2 we went to Versailles in the morning after breakfast, We spent the time at a chateau where Louis the 14th used to spend his down time. The chateau itself is a large building and very ornate, the front courtyard is huge and has a large iron gate painted black and gold. It was 15 Euros for entry to the chateau and gardens.
Photos for this post can be found at http://mephistorolling.com/Photo-pages/Paris-Day-2.html
The rooms inside were very beautiful, full of ceiling paintings and patterned walls with large painting that take up 70% of the wall itself. My favourite parts was the statues, the rooms themselves start off amazing but after a few rooms you start to get numb to the sheer number of things in each room. The statues however seem to stand out against he ornate walls and still draw attentions.
In one large room there are dozens of statues each labelled with the names of famous people from history, only a few stand out for me however.
After a few rooms i quickened the pace and before long was outside in the gardens, which are enormous, they are not cluttered like some gardens and instead use the expanse to design shapes and patterns that can be viewed from the height of the chateau windows.
I only managed to follow the right half of the gardens in the time I had left, but some other people from our group hired bikes and buggies to travel around the gardens faster.
After the drive back to Paris we were all super hungry. A group of us went to this nice little restaurant down a side street near the arc de triomphe, I had the duck confit and my first cappuccino of the trip. The coffee in France is not good, its not exactly bad, but just not good. The coffee is very strong with no aroma or sweetness to it, the flavour is quick singular and woody with no hints of other scents of flavours. The foam however was unlike any cappuccino I have had before, it was whipped so light that it moved and bubbled like bicarb with vinegar, after touching it with my spoon it had totally dissolved.
After we ate we went next door to a bakery that was absolutely amazing, it had a real rustic feel to it with all the pastries at the front and different breads lining the wall behind the counter. The lady serving there was very nice, i’ll touch on french people later in a later post, but it’s safe to say I was pleasantly surprised with how nice they are.
We ate our pastries as we walked down the street to the Arc de Triomphe, we took the stairs down under the road so we didn’t risk getting killed by the crazy french traffic. And was lucky the lines were very short, it was 12 Euros for people over 25 to climb to the top of the Arc. There were around 300 steps to the top and it was hard going on no energy. The duck confit had been the first big meal I have had since I left for Europe.
The view from the top was very nice, you could see the design of the city and how they had angled the roads to direct everyone to and around the iconic attractions. We took some great photos from the top, but a group quickly decided that looking down at the traffic and hoping for an accident was more interesting, unfortunately no accident happened, watching the traffic around the arc highlights just how crazy french traffic is, also people just park their car anywhere there is space. On the footpath, on the side of corners and roundabouts anywhere it will fit.
After we climbed back down the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe we headed down the Avenue des Champs Elysees, we strolled very casually and talked as we walked, it would have been interesting to look at how expensive some of the shops were but we were trying to get to the Musée du Louvre so didnt stop anywhere long.
Near the Louvre we stopped at Angelinas, it is a cafe and bakery that is famous for their hot chocolates, the line for seating was fairly long and we didnt have long until pickup so we just bought some macaroons and continued walking. The macaroons were 4 for 7.7 Euros. A few shops down was a souvenir shop that sold berets and other items, I bought an apron for the costume party in 2 days time. By the time we got the to Louvre we only had enough time to get a few photos and then head back over to the pickup area and wait for the bus, it started raining as we got near to the pickup spot but not very heavy just enough for people to seek cover.
That night we had dinner at Le Sultan, the same restaurant that we had the Escargot at on the first night, and straight after dinner we hopped back onto the bus to head to the Eiffel tower for sunset photos.
I realised afterwards that my camera was on the wrong settings so the photos were not magnificent but enough to give me memory reminders.
When I was putting my bags through the scanner to get into the Eiffel tower they told me that I couldn’t take my padlock that I use to keep my bag safe, but I didn’t want to just throw it away, so I ran back out to under the tower to try find someone to give it to, but everyone was on their way up to the top. So I went to a garden nearby, at first I was going to clip it onto the fence so no one could steal it, but that is the exact reason the french don’t like padlocks, so I buried it in the garden itself. Later when I came down and went to retrieve my lock, it was surrounded by around 30 army soldiers with rifles, as I approached them one of them told me to stop and go away, but I continued walking towards the garden trying to explain that my lock was there, they watched me dig out my lock and then let me go. I’m lucky its a country that doesn’t like shooting people or else I am sure they would have threatened me a little harder.
As we were leaving on the bus we were aware that not everyone was with us, and as we got to the end of the street Ben could be seen running after the bus, we needed somewhere clear to park and so had to continue driving around the corner, Ben managed to catch up to us, and the others who were missing took taxis home later.