Paris and Versailles, the Finale

Heavy fog chased us from Rennes toward Versailles and shelved our plan to stop by Chartres. Arrived in Versailles by 1pm, after dropping off VH at her place, we got our AirBnB key and a thorough introduction of our apartment which is located near RER station Château de Versailles Rive Gauche. Excellent choice and what luck! The place is spacious, clean and close to everything. We quickly hopped on train then metro toward Paris’ Au Printemps. Goal was a purchase of Louis Vuitton Slender wallet for hubby. Metro was packed tight like sardine and my return train ticket was pickpocketed. Oh well…we got free wine tasting at Printemps as a trade off.  Line for entry to women LV store was long. Tip: go through men store, line was short and when done with purchase or perusing, you can go down stairs to connect to the women store. While looking for the escalator to rooftop Le Déli-Cieux café, we found a free wine tasting event held under the magnificent stained glass dome.  Actually we passed by it and curious but shy, didn’t go in. QN asked a nearby lingerie attendant to check it out for us and she amazingly did. Telling us that it’s free.How’s that for customer service! We each had a taste of white and red wine from Domain de Baron’arques from the Languedoc. The wine was strong in our hungry stomach so it went straight to our brain totally dissolved what little knowledge we learned about the wine. We quickly escaped for fresh air at the rooftop of Printemps. Although cloudy it has a gorgeous panoramic view of the city and the golden gilded tops of Printemps. Fabulous and free! Dinner time calling so we headed to L’avant Comptoir De la Mer in Odeon area. Bypass the crêpe section in the front and parting the plastic curtain, we stepped into my favorite Parisian hangout. Big thick block of Bordier butter and Poilâne bread awaiting! The restaurant now focuses on seafood. The clams in coconut broth and octopus risotto left us swooned. Wine from Côte du Rhône elevated us further and we happily skipped out of the restaurant to claim our tarte de citron and croissant amande at Eric Kayser a few stores away. Quelle belle vie! 

Walking along the Seine toward Notre Dame, we basked in the glimmering city lights, gazed at the fountain at Saint Michel, wandered street of Le Marais, clicked our feet at Point Zero to guarantee another return to Paris. Big city rats scurrying between wastebaskets near Saint Jacques tower, and military men with their rifles milling among tourists woke us from our reverie but we didn’t  care. Terrorism and vermints be gone! It was close to midnight when we return to Versailles, full of tales to relay to DD who had gallantly stay behind to let the ladies have their fun in the city.

Next morning we arose early to thick blanket of fog shrouding over us as we trotted to MacDonald. Their croissant and café at 1.90€ were a dream. So good! 

Waiting for market to open, we veered toward Notre Dame de Versailles. Like most people I had been to Versailles only to visit the Chateau. I soon discovered the city’s charm. The lack of tourists’crowd meant wide open streets and good value for your money and intermingling with locals. Morning commuters joined us on the streets of Versailles as we walked to the cathedral. Peace and tranquility awaited us inside. We sat a while and listened to the quiet. A few devout sat in prayers as church men busy at the altar up front. It was nice to be still and observe after all the days of movement. 

But commerce beckoned so up we went. Shoes stores were hit first. Big sales made curbing our wants difficult. Bags in hand we went to outdoor market to buy lunch provisions. French food markets are heaven to the senses. Noises from conversations, colors of foods and produces, aroma of cooked meats,  feels of merchandise… Amazing! Rotisserie chicken and sausages, salad of frisée and pear plus baguette, our winnings from the market, fortified us with enough energy for another jaunt to Paris.

We visited Le Marais with its charming medieval buildings and pedestrian streets. Having seen Brittany’s extraordinary towns, which are like medieval on steroids, Le Marais now appeared ordinary. L’as du Falafel was closed for renovations so we went shoes shopping to console ourselves…again…followed with the prerequisite seating at a café, with a quintessential French waiter in black vest and white apron!  Alas the cappuccino QN ordered was terrible. So it’s true… don’t order cappuccino past breakfast. Our café has the view of Place Des Vosges. French families were sitting and enjoying the twilight of the autumn evening. It’s a magnificent scene capping off our Paris visit.

Returning to Versailles we went to the wrong platform but quickly realized our mistake when the screen did not display our stop. Back at our AirBnB we had a quick dinner followed by packing then sleeping early — all done forlornly and reluctantly!

Uber took us to CDG airport from Versailles next morning, we saw many cars on the road but the ride was smooth and we got there 3 hours ahead. After an interminable but uneventful wait required for air travel nowadays, we boarded the purple plane to return to good ol’ USA. Sad but glad to head home at last.

Epilogue

It was hard to believe how many places we’ve visited for this trip…in short time and for so little. Wow airlines has stringent rules and nickel and dime their passengers on everything, but if playing by the rule, one can travel to Europe for less than $500 RT. Brittany France is so beautiful, so affordable. A croissant in Paris is around 4€ but is 0.50€ in Brittany area. We rely on AirBnB for lodging for the first time and absolutely love the idea of having a kitchen to prepare meals since French market is abundant of fresh delicious foods. We visited many outdoor markets and found them a quintessential part of French culture. All encounter but one with French revealed a group of gracious, charming and funny people. Rude French is a myth! I had so much fun traveling with QN, DD, + VH. We got along tremendously well for first time traveling together in my opinion.What more can one ask? Good times, great people and beautiful places make perfect travel memories. I’m hooked!

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