Splendors of Versailles #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travels

On the final day of our tour of Northern France, we had a sightseeing tour of Paris followed by a visit to Versailles to see the splendors of Louis XIV’s palace.

At a picture stop during the morning tour, I took pics of our Gate 1 driver, Sasha, and our tour director Anne with our day guide, Nicolas, who I think was an aristo in a past life. He had nothing good to say about the French Revolution or Francoise Holland, the current president of France. Anne and Sasha made our tour a true pleasure.

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When we got to Versailles, we were given time for lunch, so Rebecca and I headed for a creperie/pizzeria. Rebecca ordered pizza and I had one last galette.

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Because we were with a group we went through a separate entrance and skipped the ticket line. One of the perks of being on a tour. Inside, we went up a wide staircase an odd, modern Swarovski chandelier. It’s probably beautiful when lit and in a proper setting, like a modern hotel, but definitely seemed out of place in a 17th c. palace.

Swarovski Chandelier

Swarovski Chandelier at Versailles

Our tour included the fabled Hall of Mirrors, which is beautiful. It also seemed crowded to me, but our guide, Nicolas, assured us that the palace wasn’t nearly as crowded as usual, tourism being down.

Hall Of Mirrors

Hall Of Mirrors

The rest of the rooms blur in my mind, but I have visions of gilt and rich fabrics everywhere. Some of the fireplaces were very interesting. Free-standing and backed up against a wall with a small door cut into the wall, so servants could light the fires and replenish them without being seen by the aristocrats.

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After touring the palace we went into the gardens, which are extensive, but we were tired, so we walked a short way and then sat on the steps to admire the view. Then we went back inside for liquid refreshment at the cafe.

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Back at the Marriott, we had an early dinner, finished packing and went to bed for our Sunday morning flight to Prague.

And next week, I’ll start sharing our adventures in the beautiful Czech Republic.


Monet Country: Lovely Giverny #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travels
The last stop in Normandy was in Monet country, the lovely village of Giverny where lived and painted in his extensive gardens. I know you’ve all seen his water lily paintings. Well, this is where he painted them. Rebecca and I wore print tops (not quite matching) in colors that reminded us of Monet’s paintings.

Monet actually had two gardens, the water garden and the more traditional Clos Normand. We started in the Water Garden with the large lily pond.

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And the Japanese bridge. Of course, everyone had to have their pictures taken there. The bridge appears in a number of his paintings.

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We had a lovely, warm, early autumn day to explore the grounds, and I was amazed at the array of flowers still blooming. These are just a few of the pictures I took.


Monet garden

When we’d had our fill of the gardens, we toured his large pink house with green shutters. (Interesting color choice.)

Monet home

Monet’s home

We saw a number of his paintings on display inside, but most in a room where photos were prohibited. I did snap some pics in the colorful dining room and kitchen, and I decided I wanted a yellow kitchen at home.

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After a stop in the gift shop, we had lunch at Les Nympheas, a small restaurant on the property. We dined on the patio, relaxing and enjoying the pleasant day.

Les Nympheas

Les Nympheas Restaurant, Giverny

Afterwards we strolled through some of the shops, including one lovely little shop with scarbes and bags and other items all with Impressionist images. Rebecca made some purchases, and I would have, too, but I was literally running out of Euros and still without a credit card. Damn pickpockets.

After Giverny, we drove to Paris, happily going against the traffic. The Friday afternoon getaway was in progress, so traffic going the other direction was quite heavy. At a comfort stop, I picked up a bag of cheese puffs made with Emmental cheese. They were really good, better than the US variety, and with no yellow residue on my fingers. I also loved the Innocent kiwi smoothies sold in the Marriott.

Swiss cheetos

Emmental cheese puffs & smoothie

When we arrived back at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche, I was quite relieved to find my new Mastercard waiting for me at the concierge desk. Thank you, Bank of America!

That night, we had our farewell dinner at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter, complete with wine and entertainment–an accordionist (how French) and a guitarist who thought he was a comedian. He did a lot of mugging for the crowd and flirted with the ladies. Alas, I have no recollection of what we ate, except that it was good.

Next week, Versailles.