Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Whirlwind Weekend In Paris

Last Thursday night I boarded a plane in Chicago, fell asleep somewhere over eastern Canada and woke up about an hour before we touched down in Paris on Friday morning.  After clearing immigration and customs, I located the driver who would take me to Versailles - and Mr. R&R!  At first, the view out the window was nothing terribly special, but about 30 minutes later, as we emerged from a tunnel, my driver said, "Welcome to Versailles," and the view became something that I've dreamed about since I was about 12 years old: narrow cobblestone streets, tiny shops, apartments with flowers blooming in window boxes, and a big open air market.  Within minutes we arrived at the hotel and once again I found myself breathless as I looked up the Rue de Paris at Chateau Versailles.

After a quick shower, we set out to explore the area.

Mr. R&R and I stopped in a little cafe for lunch (quiche lorraine for me, duck confit for him) before strolling up the Rue de Paris to tour Chateau Versailles.

Approaching the Chateau

After concluding our tour, we returned to the hotel for a short nap, it was time. We boarded a train and a short time later we emerged from an underground station to one of the most spectacular sights I've ever seen.

We wandered around Paris drinking in the sights and sounds of the city, had dinner, and then discovered that the trains back to Versailles stopped running at 10:30pm - an hour earlier.  There's nothing like trying to bribe a cab driver in a language you only sort of remember! Eventually, we managed to find a driver to take us back and crashed hard.

On Saturday morning, we located a Starbucks (those tiny espressos just weren't going to cut it) and boarded another train into Paris to continue our adventure.  Since we had such a limited amount of time, we had to make some tough choices about which famous landmarks to visit.  Our first stop: The Louvre.  We knew that we didn't have time to truly tour the museum properly (an endeavor that could take days), so we opted for what we dubbed 'Louvre Light' - a quick peek at some of the museums most famous pieces.

Having a DaVinci Code moment

Winged Victory

A lady who needs no introduction 

Venus De Milo

Cupid & Psyche

 After the Louvre it was on to the Jardin des Tuileries, Rue de Rivoli, and Place de La Concorde.

We stopped in a cafe for lunch (croque monsieur and a perrier) before strolling along the Seine to the Quartier Latin - home of Notre Dame, Pont du St. Michel and The Sorbonne.

After a full day of sightseeing, we met up with one of Mr. R&R's colleagues for some wine, which turned into dinner, which turned into more wine/bar hopping and let's just say that my ability to take non-blurry photos decreased exponentially while my fluency in French increased - or so I'm told!

Street sign that amused me to no end.
Warm Chevre Salad (and where the photo/fluency issue really began)   
Halloween Weekend in the Sorbonne Bars
After convincing another cab driver to take us back to Versailles (it was after 1am at this point), I collapsed into bed swearing off wine for the rest of my natural life - or you know...until the next day!

Sunday morning required another Starbucks stop and then a stroll around Versailles where we stumbled upon a boulangerie/patisserie and possibly the tastiest best thing I ate in France: a sandwich au jambon.  It was the most simple sounding thing in the world, freshly baked baguette slathered with butter and a few slices of ham and cheese tucked inside and It. Was. Amazing. - and cheap!  I seriously can't stop thinking about that sandwich - and neither can Mr. R&R!

We enjoyed our coffee and sandwich on a park bench near Chateau Versailles while we soaked in the atmosphere and marveled at the fact that we were really here!

Once my hangover was under control, we returned to Paris for our final day in the City of Light.

We made our way up the Champs Elysees (which we both thought felt a bit like Times Square in New York) to the Arc De Triomphe.

Eventually we wandered back to Place de La Concorde and the Jardin des Tuileries, stopped at a little stand for a hot gauffre topped with Nutella, and eventually found ourselves sitting on a bench outside the Louvre, munching on a hot brie and chevre sandwich, and watching the sun set over Paris - the perfect ending to a perfect whirlwind of an adventure.


April said...

Whirlwind is right! Sounds like you had an amazing trip. Can you convince Mr. R&R's company to send him back there for a longer trip and your company to send you for research purposes? See how the French do whatever it is you do? LOL

Delyth Edwards said...

Oh such beautiful pics, even the slightly tipsy pics! You managed to squeeze in a lot for the couple of days you were there but I know you would probably have preferred a couple of weeks, there is just so much to see and do isn't there? Glad you had a lovely time and you got home safe! xo

Mary said...

Mr. R&R will likely be sent back to France at some point and I fully intend to tag along - hopefully when I can take more time off!

Mary said...

Weeks...months...possibly years! I really hope to be able to spend more time roaming Paris at some point. There are still so many things I want to see and do.

Jill said...

Merci for the vicarious trip to France! I spent a semester in Paris my junior year in college (many moons ago) and looks like some things never change - the sandwich jambon (ah, the baguettes!), quiche lorraine, long evenings over dinner with great wine....and funny, I think my French gets better with more wine, too.

Loved wandering around the city and of course quite familiar with all the highlight spots you show. How great you got to have this experience. jill @ Pacific Northwest Seasons

Mary said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jill! I'm glad you enjoyed the vicarious trip to Paris.

Megan said...

Gorgeous pictures! I especially loved the one of you and Mr. R&R in the mirror. I thought that was really cute! Glad you guys had so much fun! I'd love to to Paris one day. My grandma and aunt just went in February. They loved it! And though you were there for a short amount of time, you at least got to hit some of main attractions! That's always a plus!

Glad you didn't get delayed on your trip home because of Sandy!

Mary said...

That mirror shot required a couple of attempts to get a good one! If you ever have the opportunity to go to Paris, even for a few days, grab it with both hands. I'm already dying to go back.

Anonymous said...

I finally got around to my blogs! Your pictures are gorgeous and brought back so many amazing memories for me. The city, the lights, the food! Lol