After grabbing a full night’s sleep, we made our way downstairs to join our fellow travelers for breakfast. As we all enjoyed authentic croissants, café mocha and the continental breakfast (a British fry-up, it wasn’t), they showed their true hospitality as they let us know they had already reserved our spot in the taxi to the airport for the following morning. Since the ride from our hotel to Charles de Gaulle Airport would typically be around €60 ($70), they decided to have 8 of us share the taxi to split the cost. So, not only was our public transportation around the city free, but our new vacation buddies were looking out for us and saved us almost $60! Paris was quickly becoming my favorite city!
I don’t think these are tomatoes!
After breakfast, we went back to our hotel room, watched an episode of Doctor Who (in French!) and took a nap before boarding a beautifully painted train en route to the Palace of Versailles.
Unfortunately, I slept a bit too long and it was late in the afternoon once we arrived, so the palace was about to close (at least we have something to do next time we visit). Although we weren’t able to explore the lush gardens and ornate hallways, the exterior of Versailles still displayed the ornate French culture. From the gilded fences to the vast expanses of land to the statues of Louis XIV, the area in front of Versailles was photo-worthy.
After walking around Versailles for awhile, we decided to walk around the surrounding neighborhood… and we fell in love! Seriously, if we ever get a chance to have a home in France, it will be near Versailles. Not only did we find a church to attend, but Joel also found a manga store for all our anime needs!
Once we both realized we could be easily entertained in the area, it was time to grab a bite to eat… and my life was changed! While walking down a quaint side street, we came across a sandwich shop. Although we were in France, the owners are Moroccan and spoke pretty good English. For our meal, Joel ordered a gyro and a Coca-Cola, while I ordered a shredded pork sandwich (I think) and the beverage that would change my life… a citrus Schweppes ginger ale! The only ginger ale flavors I had prior to that moment was original and raspberry, but when that orange, lemon and grapefruit effervescence touched my lips, I bought 2 more… and made Joel drink some! It was so good, I contacted Schweppes about having it imported once we arrived back in the states!
Once we devoured our sandwiches (and considered taking a few for the road), we kept our culinary tour going by stopping for the most amazing pistachio crème brûlée (and we don’t even like pistachio!), a surprisingly good almond & apricot cereal bar and a strawberry macaron the size of a softball! Thank God you can walk so many places in France; we could’ve easily put on 5 pounds in one week!
After we satisfied our appetite more than we expected, we made our way back to Paris to take a stroll along the Seine River and visit the Notre Dame Cathedral & the Arc de Triomphe. One of the funniest moments was when a tourist approached us on the train and started asking us (in French) how to get to the Eiffel Tower. We both smiled and said “Oh! We’re not French! It’s 3 stops ahead of here on the right!” As a look of relief washed across his face, he said “Oh, thank God! I’m here with my family and they don’t speak English or French! I’m from America, but their from China!” We all had a good laugh about it before we directed them to the tower. Since it was later in the evening, there were no crowds and we were able to take plenty of pictures without having swaths of fellow tourists in the background.
Finally, it was time to make our way back to the hotel and get a few hours of shut-eye before our 5am taxi ride to the airport for our flight to Rome, Italy. Along our journey, we saw a person carrying a baguette (a stereotype we noticed at least 10 times in 2 days), the exit to Disneyland Paris (which we considered visiting) and an advertisement for the KFC “American Krunch” sandwich. It’s quite interesting how many countries (correctly) advertise Americans as loving fried food & cheese!
Free trains & buses! Woo-hoo!!!!
An hour and a half later, we finally arrived back at our hotel. Before calling it a night, we made sure to document the films released in French at the cinema attached to the hotel.
After a successful 2 days, Joel gave a triumphant fist bump and we headed to bed, ready to see if all roads truly lead to Rome.