Monday, October 11, 2010

On y va à Paris!

Statue of Arras At the Gare du Nord

Monday Gramma and I took the train to Paris.  We arrived close to noon, but got a little lost looking for our hotel on rue Rochechouart, rather then boulevard Rochechouart. It worked out very well though when we stumbled upon the restaurant “Aux Pipalottes Gourmandes” which was one of the best meals I’ve had in Paris! The menu is selected from a variety of salads and spreads that are combined with wholesome quiches and other savoury baked goods. The restaurant is also tiny; the walls are filled to the top with gourmet items for sale, while the restaurateurs eat at little bistro tables lined up along the centre. 

We did make it to our hotel to drop off our luggage and from there we caught l’Open tour bus that stops outside the hotel. We took the bus around the major sites stopping off to see the interior of the l'Opéra de Paris and go to the Galleries Lafayette for a café on their roof top terrace. 

Roof top Terrace Galleries Lafayette

We got back on the tour bus to go see Notre Dame. After wandering along the Seine we hopped on the Batobus to cruise our way to the Eiffel tower as the sunset. At the Eiffel Tower  we finished our day of sight seeing and took the Metro back to our hotel. We had diner at a little bistro near around the corner. Gramma had a croque monsieur and I had confit de canard, two very safe bets in a French restaurant. Andre met us at the restaurant and we returned to our hotel for the night. 

The next morning we went back on the tour bus to see the sights. We got off at the Madeline Cathedral and walked over to la Place de la Concord for a picnic lunch along the Champs-Élysées. We then hopped back on the tour bus to go around the Arch de Triumph and back to the Eiffel tower where we switched lines onto the Batobus Boat tour (included with our two day pass) which we took down to the Musee d’Orsay the line was far to long and it was a beautiful day so we opted instead to walk across the Seine to the Tuileries Gardens for a pint and some ice cream.

Back on the bus we went to our hotel to relax for the evening with some snacks and the view of the Sacré-Cœur. Once reinvigorated we took the trolley up to the Sacré-Cœur for the view over the city. We had dinner at the base of the Sacré-Cœur at l’ete en pente douce, another fantastic meal. I would recommend planning your trip around going to this restaurant for dinner! Besides, then you can see the Sacré-Cœur at night too!

We returned to our hotel to rest up for the next day and our trip Versailles.

Versailles Hall of Mirrors
Fountains Versailles
We took the RER to Versailles the next morning. 
We had thought to go early to beat the crowds but I guess that’s what everyone thought…. Versailles was PACKED we waited in line at the tourism office for our tickets and then we waited in line again to get in, but the whole visit felt like a line there were so many people jammed into the rooms we all shuffled amongst each other trying to see the elaborate decor.

Repos before catching the RER back to the Gare du Nord
We broke free of the crowds at the first exit and escaped to the beautiful gardens. We wandered through the hedged walkways, grabbed an ice cream cone and walked along the pooled fountains.  It was a very hot day, but a beautiful spot to be outside sitting in the shade of the trees. It was quite the experience, and I cannot wait to go again!

We returned that afternoon to Arras for my Gramma’s last night in France. We spent the evening relaxing to prepare for the early morning train and her long trip home. We had such a fantastic time.

Thank-you Gramma!!! (tu me manque)

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