Pardon my next few blogs if they’re a bit disjointed, as I’m trying to catch up. Turns out, there’s just too much to do in all these fascinating places, and finding time to craft coherent blogs is tough.
A rushed overview of Paris…we had a terrific time walking all over the city. We happened to be there on a summer weekend, so most of the sites were packed. In some places this didn’t matter. Seeing the Winged Victory in the Louvre is worth it, whether you share the experience with one person or a thousand. In others, like a crypt in the southern part of the city, had such a long line that they stopped letting people stand in it 2 and a half hours before it was supposed to close. We checked out Montmartre, but the usually peaceful steps had been turned into a trail biking course. We did manage to see the Musée de l’Armée on a Monday. The overview of the lead up to and connection between both of the World Wars gave me an understanding of the conflicts that I’ve never had before.
Just about every meal we had in Paris rivaled the best meals I’ve had in my life, but one in particular was terrific. Anne-Claire got in touch with a childhood friend, Sophie, and we met her for a 4-hour dinner (about typical for a dinner with friends in France, from what I can tell) at a little bistro near our hotel. Charming conversation, a bottle of wine, splendid duck and of course a decadent dessert made for a great evening.
Another not-to-be-missed experience was watching the summer sun set late (around 10:30 or so) in the Jardin des Tuileries with Place de la Concorde in the background. A bunch of teenagers were laughing and enjoying the evening, as were a few couples with wine, sitting in the green chairs that are strewn around the pond.
On the day we left Paris, I took an early train to Versailles. Unfortunately, government workers were threatening to strike that day, so they didn’t open the Palace until later in the morning. I did have a marvelous time getting lost in the gardens and amidst the mythic fountains that Louis XIV and his successors had for their own personal playground. Anne-Claire met me later with a baguette, sausage, two kinds of cheese, and a selection of pastries for a delightful picnic in the gardens.
That afternoon, we took the train to Aix-en-Provence…more on that soon.