July 17, 2014

Paris Day 2: City Tour, Fragonard Parfumeur, Versailles

I'm finally back home in Ohio after a none too pleasant stay overnight in the Newark airport. Having only been home 2 days, it's surprising to me how parts of my trip already seem like distant memories. I feel as though I may slip into a post traveler's depression at any moment saved only by the fact that I simply must begin making plans for my next jaunt across the sea.

Before these days begin to blur together any further, I'll get on with my recaps of each city on my tour.

Paris Day 2

Day 2 was our first full day in Paris. After scarfing down our typical hotel breakfast (scarfing because sleep always wins) our group hopped on our bus for a drive around the city with a local guide.

Before getting started with the guide we toured the Musée du Parfum where we learned the origins of perfume and how it's history so greatly impacts that of France. My favorite part was the sampling of scents at the end of the tour and I bought a couple as souvenirs.
After the museum we hopped on the bus for a lack-luster city tour. Nothing--I repeat, nothing is fun when viewed through tinted, bus glass no matter how large the window. Even when you finally get that picturesque view, it's nothing more than a glance quickly swiped from your vision by traffic. Because we were on a bus I felt the guide could have been a lot more entertaining and offer more "fun facts" to counter being lulled to sleep by a moving bus in city traffic.

The tour did however give me a good idea of sights I knew I wanted to head back and see on foot. We said, "Au revoir" at the base of the Eiffel Tower and walked around the corner to grab lunch from one of the many boulangeries. One-stop-shop for savory sandwiches on fresh baguettes and delicate, mouth-watering pastries.

Our whole group was interested in touring Versailles even though it wasn't part of the included tour. For a small fee, our bus driver drove us to the palace and we used our monument pass (a worthy investment if you're visiting Paris!) to enter. Welcome to my summer home...

As a symbol of wealth and royal power, each of the 3 French kings to take up residence in the Palace ofVersailles added their own to it's overwhelming grandeur and beauty. It's hard to fathom such lavish living quarters possible only by gouging the public citizens of everything they had.

The spark of the French Revolution came during the final royal reign at Versailles when King Louis the XVI left the palace under pressure from the people. Under similar pressure his infamous wife, Marie Antoinette, was sent to the guillotine years later. Here was her "main house" bedroom though she had her own estate separate from the palace, on the grounds.

Since the fall of the French empire, the palace remains embodied with French history. And however obtained, there is no mistaking the majestic and historical beauty when walking the grounds. Each part of every room was so intricately and purposefully decorated.

The famous Hall of Mirrors was so elegant and just walking through made me feel like royalty if even just until my eyes fell upon my own reflection which blended into the crowd. 

The well maintained gardens are depicted in paintings as holding all kinds of extravagant balls and royal parties. They are just as much enjoyable to the eye as the inside of the palace. I suggest ending your tour in the gardens to revel in the fresh air after pushing through stuffy crowds in the palace rooms.

After our time wandering the grounds, a few of us walked over to a local crêperie and I enjoyed a Nutella crêpe with creme. It wasn't the best thing I ate in France, but how could you not love something smothered in Nutella?!

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