Our second year to visit Paris for the Jimmy Buffett concert, this time with friends Eric and Teri.
The trip began with a small glitch. Two weeks before we left, Eric had a heart “incident” that resulted in him being grounded from flying for several weeks. (Not to worry, he is well, just under doctor’s orders until he can revisit.) So, the three of us flew while he spent the day on the train: almost 6 hours to Barcelona, then the high-speed train to Paris.
We flew an airline we hadn’t used before: Trans Avia, a subsidiary of Air France. We were impressed. First of all, they didn’t hesitate to offer a credit for Eric’s ticket. Unlike other airlines we have flown (RyanAir), their instructions for carry-ons and cabin-checked luggage were clear, so we knew exactly what we could and could not take. We opted to check a bag, which meant physically checking in at the airport in Alicante. They had three gate agents, and all were friendly and efficient. Fastest check-in we’ve had there to date.
When we arrived at Orly, we took a cab to the International Paris Hotel. This lovely hotel is located on a quiet street in the 11th Arrondissement near the Place de Republique. Cabs in Paris operate on a fixed rate from the airport, so, while expensive, there are no surprises.
We were greeted at check-in by the lovely Helen, who spoke excellent English – and better Spanish than we did! She had lived in Valencia for a while – because it’s a small world. She helped us with restaurant recommendations and reservations, and with directions to get to our tourist spots.
After getting settled, we strolled around the neighborhood and encountered St. Joseph Church:
My favorite part: the apostles with their names in elementary-teacher lettering, so the children in the church school can learn who’s who:
Often, the best tourist spots end up being those you stumble upon.
We settled in for drinks across the street and watched the locals and their dogs enjoy the early evening, then walked back to the hotel, arriving just as Eric’s cab pulled up.
At Helen’s recommendation, we had dinner at Aubergine……all of our dinners were perfect. Pricey, but perfect.
We headed out early Thursday morning for Versailles. The guy working the desk gave us different directions than Helen had. He sent us to the Republique metro stop so we wouldn’t have to change there. I had told Helen we were familiar with metros, so she had had us start at the closest stop, only three blocks away.
Rush hour on the Paris metro. Crowded and crazy, but we made it to the stop where we picked up the C Train to Versailles. We stopped into a bistro there and had coffee and croissants for breakfast, then walked to the Chateau.
Photos don’t do it justice, but we took them anyway:
Stairs worn down over the centuries:
And the Hall of Mirrors! Striking today – I can’t imagine what it must have been like when mirrors were rare:
Then a ride on the Petit Train to the Grand Trianon, a much more manageable royal house. Teri dubbed this royal getaway the Palace of the Chairs:
Lunch at Delices D’Agra – FABULOUS Indian food – and great people watching:
Then back to Paris and a siesta before dinner at Bouillon Chartier, which had been recommended by a friend in Alicante. Good food – not great food – reasonably priced. Large, crowded, noisy restaurant, but the waiter was adorable and he figured the bill at the table – on the table top!
An early evening – by Alicante standards – and a reasonable start Thursday morning.