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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 9: Paris Day 2: Chateau Versailles, Palais Garnier, and Moulin Rouge

We started today with breakfast at the hotel. I had ham and yoghurt. We also met a French family near the elevator. The guys sons took the stairs, but the father stayed at the elevator. He asked where we were from and when we said Texas, he got excited and told us how he lived in San Antonio for five years. He said he was taking his kids to visit later this summer. When we got downstairs, he called his sons and said "Boys, these people are from Texas!" It was a nice start to the morning.

A spur of the moment decision was made the night prior to this day once we realized we were an hour ahead of schedule. We decided to cram as much as possible into Paris Day 1 as we could without feeling rushed. By doing so, we were able to visit the location I wanted to see the most: Versailles. It was about a half hour train ride and it was a full train. Everyone was visiting that day. We arrived around 11 and entered the castle a little after noon. We only bought a ticket for the palace, so I'll go back someday and visit the gardens, but for yesterday, the palace was enough.

The next pictures are of the approach to the palace and the queue we waited in. I might caption some, I might not.








Finally out of the line and into the courtyard where we would be surrounded by tons of people for two hours. The people who got audio tours took up all available space to stand looking aimlessly at a wall whilst listening to their tour.

All of the ceilings were this ornate. 



The second pastry from the right was a chocolate covered marshmallow. I would have gotten it, but it was reserved for tea room patrons.
While Versailles was beautiful, I didn't enjoy it too much. We didn't eat lunch until around 2, so I was getting cranky. People who stopped in front of me infuriated me and it was hot. I just wanted food. I had a lot more fun after eating.

After we finished at Versailles, we headed back to catch another train to Paris. Our first location to find was Palais Garnier. We were about ten minutes late to go inside, but it's the opera house that inspired Phantom of the Opera!

We popped out of the metro station, took a picture, and went back into the station.
After Palais Garnier, we tried finding a vintage shop that Patricia had found online. We found a shop, but not the one she wanted to see. Instead of getting hopelessly lost, we decided to just go to the final stop of the night.

We took the metro all the way one station over to Blanche where we found the Moulin Rouge. It's kind of in the red light district, so we weren't planning on sticking around too much, but there was a fantastic souvenir shop that I got a ton of stuff for family at for super cheap.

The Moulin Rouge!
After the Moulin Rouge, we decided to find dinner near the hotel and call it an early night. The Place d'Italie, where our hotel was, had a ton of little cafes near it, so we picked a different one for every meal. I had a burger (with no bun) and french fries. I ate way too many potatoes this last week...
For dessert, we HAD to have ice cream. 

Vanilla, coffee, chocolate
After that, we headed back to the hotel, which now that I'm no longer there, can tell you was called Holiday Inn Express Place d'Italie, to try to Skype the Wizard of Oz cast back in Wichita Falls. They were having a matinee show, so we called during intermission. It didn't work too well, but we got to say "Hi" to everyone!

Speaking of the hotel, it was really tough to decide on. I was dead set against a hostel, so we had to find a hotel in a safe area for a reasonable price. We searched hours on Tripadvisor and I decided to click on this one, even though it was out of the zone we were looking in. I saw almost immediately that one of my Facebook friends had reviewed it. It was my old teacher! She had good reviews, so I texted her and she said it was a great hotel. It had free breakfast and free wifi, so with all of that, we picked the hotel! The front desk let us check in a half hour early and they were super nice.

After that, we packed everything, set an early alarm, and went to sleep.


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