Paris and Versailles

Thursday, August 03, 2017
Paris, Île-de-France, France
This morning we had our free hotel breakfast, which consisted of croissants, yogurt, ham, some funky cheese, and strong coffee. I must've been dehydrated, because I had about 10 glasses of vitamin juice.  After breakfast, we hopped on the metro to the Tour Eiffel. We had tickets reserved for 10 am and had to be in line at that time. I didn't think it was that big of a deal doing the reservation 3 months ago, until I saw the line where people had not purchased tickets. It wasn't so bad at 10 am, but at 11:30, the security line just to get in the area was down the street. We only waited about 15 minutes total between that and going up, so it was definitely worth it. 
We bought tickets to the 2nd floor, and were so fortunate to have a clear morning. I've heard of people who wait in line for hours and go up on a foggy day to really not see anything. Mary loved it. She thought the city looked beautiful, and it really does. It was windy and chilly, so we bought some hot chocolate and coffee and took a few more pictures.  This is my third time seeing the Tour Eiffel, and it's still just as spectacular.  
We took the train to Versailles and to meet Jessica, the gal who lived with me on an exchange 5 years ago. I had not seen her since then. The train (C) that we could've taken straight to the Palace was under construction, so I was able to figure out a way how to get there on my metro map. We were standing outside one of the metro stops. Just to be sure, I decided to verify this with some dude selling Eiffel statues most likely made in China. He called over another dude to help us. Then he indicated to follow him, which made Mary a bit nervous. Ok, had he led us down some dark alley with no one around, I think I would've been smart enough to say "no." 
He then led us through the "exit" gate so we could talk to an information guy inside. A guy leaving said, "no, no, no! The other side."  They yelled at each other for awhile, at which point, Mary turned around and said to me, "we are soooo going to jail."  I laughed and said it was fine. The information guy verified what I thought about the weird way to get to the Versailles station, and indeed, we left the station and went in through the entrance to validate our tickets, which we purchased yesterday.  That made her feel a bit better and that the likelihood of us spending a night in a Parisian jail was not as great. 
We stopped at the McDonald's at the train station in Versailles for a snack, and were impressed how you order from a touch screen kiosk and go pick up your food. You can pay at the kiosk or at the counter. I'm not sure if we are smart enough for something like that in America. We were also surprised at the lovely macaroons and pretty desserts at the counter. 
We met up with Jessica and walked around the Palace Gardens, which were beautiful. It only had about 540,745 tourists, but it still was nice. The sun was shining bright, and Mary was getting annoyed at me applying sunscreen to her bare shoulders every five minutes. But hey, who doesn't have a sunburn this evening?!  Then, we decided to grab a bite to eat on a really cute street. It was so nice to see Jessica again. 
We made our way back to Paris and rested a bit before dinner. I'm not sure if French people are nicer toward Americans or appreciate the tourism or maybe I'm just not as obnoxious as I was when I visited at age 25, but I have found a lot of Parisians friendly and helpful.  We try to be the same in return.
More tomorrow.
Bon nuit,
Jamie and Mary



Good Morning, what a trip for Mary! I don't know you or your family personally, but I've enjoyed many of your trips in the past and this one is no exception. Looks like you guys are having a wonderful time and I look forward to seeing your adventures tomorrow. My husband and I were in Paris in 2002 and it remains my favorite vacation to this day.