Paris – a magic city that taught the “Eli that runs between a million things to do a day” a powerful lesson. It showed her the Seine. People around her were drawn to it just as she was. They carried their dinners out in little picnics and sat in groups along its edge. Eli found Life so much slower in Europe – and not in a bad way at all, but in a much needed way. At least, much needed for her. Spending time by the Seine, Eli was slowly decompressing and succumbing to the beautiful life that these Parisians were showing me. Slow Down. Live slowly.
Highlight from Paris
Successfully managing to order croissants and a baguette from the bakery around the corner from the AirBnB Eli and her family were staying! Eli’s brother’s birthday breakfast was purchased purely using the French she could recall from high school. The bakery was quaint and the smell of fresh baked goods was heavenly. Plus, the baker was kind of enough not to laugh at Eli’s sad French and the giddiness at her success.
Favourite Place in France: Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was Eli’s mum’s dream come true. When she was little, she wanted to go with her family. Unfortunately, it was a costly trip for her large family. Almost 50 years later, she came back, this time with her own family. After four trains and an hour plus wait in line, she made it!
The Palace of Versailles became the palace where King Louis XIV ruled (turning France into a super country). Louis XV took over, and finally Louis XVI, along with his wife, Marie Antoinette, were thrown out by the French Revolution. Fun fact: Louis XIII started the fashion of wearing wigs because of his receding hairline. Thank you, Rick Steves.
The Hall of Mirrors
Louis XIV had a huge hall built for parties, the Hall of Mirrors, which was a huge deal because mirrors were a luxury during that time.
The King’s Beds
Louis XIV also had two beds. One for where he really slept and the other where he rushed over to every morning and pretended to wake up with everyone watching him. Apparently, it was a public viewing sort of thing because the day could not start without the Sun King. No bed head for him, I guess.
The Palace Grounds
And while you are trying to wrap your mind around the size of the palace, you are suddenly out on the grounds which they say is larger than two Central Parks. I bet the King got lost everyday in there (we sure did) and just that no one recorded that in the history books. That OR he had a servant sit in the trees and whisper directions like a stage prompter… OR he was carried everywhere (most likely, right?)
If you plan on visiting Versailles, get the full passport pass that lets you into everything. Even though we wanted a full day at the palace, there is a certain amount of time that was spent waiting in line 😉 You can buy your tickets ahead of time online (make sure you have a printer to print tickets out after) or you can purchase them at a tourist shop right outside the RER-C train station (exit to get onto the street). We bought at the tourist shop and waited in line for 30 minutes (instead of the hour wait at the actual Palace). We lined up again at the palace to get in (this is a 1-2 hour line so listen to Rick Steve’s audio guide about the palace on his free app – you learn so much!)
Au revoir for now, France. Next stop: Brussels!