Our next stop was Paris. It’s a wondrous city from its culture and architecture to its history and food.
Day 5 | On to Paris, the City of Lights
Taking the Eurostar from London was a breeze and we were in Paris in just a couple of hours. First stop, the Louvre. This place is massive so it’s best to have a plan of what you want to see before going.
Tip – book your tickets early to avoid the line. The best time to go is in the afternoon on a day the Louvre is open late.
Of course it was neat to see the Mona Lisa, but the real winner was actually not the Mona Lisa, but the painting across from it “The Wedding at Cana” by Paolo Veronese. The Wedding at Cana is a life-like painting depicting Jesus converting water to wine and is the largest painting currently housed at the Louvre.
Day 6 | Movie Sets in Paris
Today we took a walking tour of movie set locations. This was a very interesting way to explore the Left Bank, Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter. Here are a few of the interesting facts we learned…
- Diary of a Vampire was shot in Paris basements.
- It’s Illegal to fully replicate Nazi attire so when they shot movies in Paris they had to modify the attire in some way to make it less authentic.
- In Devil Wears Prada Meryl Streep never stepped foot in Paris, instead she shot her scenes back in the states, but we saw the lamp post that Anne Hathaway twists around before kissing Simon Baker.
- Hunch back of Notre Dame was written in an attempt to save the Notre Dame from being torn down.
Day 7 | Versailles
On our seventh day we took a bus to Versailles which is about 10 miles southwest of Paris. Public transportation can be a bit tricky in Paris, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time. When I think of Versailles I think of the Sofia Coppola movie, Marie Antoinette, with Kristen Dunst. The movie showcases the decadency and rock style life of the late 17 century French aristocracy. The reality of seeing Versailles, packed with people on a hot afternoon was definitely different than the fantasy. Still, the grounds and palace are impressive and I’m glad we went.
The Palace was originally a hunting house for Louis XIII. In 1682, his son Louis XIV moved the court to Versailles. Over the years the palace continued to transform into the 2,300 rooms it contains today. The most famous being the Hall of Mirrors.
We walked for hours exploring the gardens alone. Easy to do with the ground covering over 800 acres of land! It was my favorite part of the day. Make sure you have a full day in Versailles, you will be glad you did.
We spent several hours exploring Marie Antoinette’s house and the “peasant village” that she had built for herself to escape from the pressures of court. The village was supposed to represent the life of a commoner. Instead it was more resembling a Disney movie. All the glamor and charm, but no trace of the real hardships that the peasants truly faced during this time in Paris.
Day 8 | Shopping at the Galleries Lafayette
No trip to Paris would be complete without a “little” shopping. The department store, Galleries Lafayette, has been a fashion institution in Paris for 120 years. The building has 70,000 square feet of retail floor space, with more than 3,500 brands from around the world. The building is topped with an Art Nouveau dome that is worth seeing even those who don’t like to shop.
L’affineur’affiné is a cheese restaurant in the 9th district, they picked wine, cheese and meats based on our tastes, who knew cheese could taste like that, simply heaven.
Our last night in Paris we had Italian at I PUPI Restorante and Pizzeria in the 7th district. The Italian owner who waited on us was a lot of fun. Molto Bene!
Where we Stayed
Hotel Joyce – Astotel, had huge rooms, soft welcoming beds and amazing air conditioning! I would definitely stay here again on a return trip. But watch out for the elevator, it’s not for the claustrophobic.
Our Top 5 Experiences in Paris
- The Louvre
- Paris at Night
- Eiffel Tower
- The Seine River
Books I read before going on this trip: Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd
Time to say goodbye to Paris and board the scenic train to Germany.