Tuesday, June 3, 2014

France: Day 6

On Day 6 we woke up early, grabbed a quick breakfast (Adam had a chocolate croissant and I had a bag of chips...random) and hopped on the train to head to Versailles! It was a pretty cold and dreary day with no rain, but a constant drizzle. Not to worry though, we brought our raincoats and umbrellas and enjoyed the day!

We started out with a self-guided tour of the interior of Versailles and then walked around the gardens.

The chapel.
With all of the gold all over Versailles, one can sort of imagine why the French were so upset with the French royalty during the time of the French Revolution. Versailles is beautiful, but it is certainly not subtle. Though every part of it is absolutely stunning, it is gaudy...to say the least!

A view of the gardens from inside.

The (crowded) Hall of Mirrors
Though this was not my first visit to Versailles, it was my first time ever seeing the Hall of Mirrors. The first time I visited, several years ago, the hall was being renovated and everything was covered up. I was very excited to see it this time, and it certainly did not disappoint!

After touring the interior, we decided to brave the cold drizzle and walk around the gardens. Unfortunately all of the fountains were being renovated so they were empty and in one case (The Latona Fountain), even the statues had been removed and shipped off to be restored!

Doing a little map reading.
The Fountain of Apollo
After our tour of Versailles, we hopped back on the train and headed back to Paris. We arrived just in time for a nice lunch. We ate wonderful vegetable soup and salad. It was nice to relax for a few minutes!

Pureed vegetable soup.
Adam's chicken caesar salad.
After lunch we tour San Chapelle. If you aren't familiar with San Chapelle, I must recommend that you read up and include it on your next visit to Paris. It sits in the middle of a building complex, now La Conciergerie and is completely tucked away. If you don't know to look for it...you will miss it! San Chapelle is a tiny little Gothic style chapel . It was commissioned by Louis IX to house his relics. It is not the easiest place to photograph as it is very long and narrow, and seems to almost always be under renovation. But this chapel is absolutely stunning. The walls are essentially made of stained glass. And the colors and beautiful. San Chapelle is without a doubt my favorite place to visit in Paris.

There really are no words to describe it's beauty and our pictures don't do it justice...I guess that means you'll have to see it for yourself!

After touring San Chapelle, or really just standing in awe in San Chapelle, we took to the streets to do a little window shopping. Paris has excellent shopping and has a great range of prices, but I can't help but window shop on Rue Saint-Honoré. I say window shop because this is the high fashion shopping district of Paris. Though we did not purchase anything, we really enjoyed walking around and taking in the sights.

As usual, this was followed with a cappuccino and nutella crepe break.

After our snack break, we headed back to the hotel to rest up before dinner. We'd had a pretty long day so we decided to ask the concierge at our hotel to recommend a great French restaurant nearby. He recommended a great place only three blocks from our hotel!

Adam set out on this trip with a list of foods to try. He was determined to try escargot and beef tartare. Now I'm a big fan of beef carpaccio, which is also raw beef...just presented in a different way, but beef tartare was new to me as well. We split a bowl of French onion soup and then each had a raw beef entree...I had the beef carpaccio and Adam tackled beef tartare. 

French onion soup!

Beef carpaccio topped with parmesan and arugula. 

I was so proud of Adam for jumping right in there with the beef tartare and we were both surprised to find that we enjoyed it! The tartare was wonderfully seasoned with garlic, capers, mustard, onions and other spices. To be honest, it tasted a little like my meatloaf...just, obviously, raw.
Beef tartare
We had a wonderful meal and headed back to the hotel to prepare for our last day in Paris!

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