I hope you enjoyed Sightseeing in France – Week 1. Just as it was in Week 1, I had a terrible time deciding what to share and then what pictures to take out. I do hope you’re able to get a sense of all that we experienced in the pictures I finally selected. So here goes.
Sightseeing In France: Week 2
Here we are in week 2 of our adventure. It had been magical so far, and we had many more adventures to go.
The wedding was such a great experience for us. It is very different from our American style weddings, but that is for another post.
The day after the wedding, there is always a brunch that is held for family members and anyone who had traveled to attend the wedding. Part of that is to help clear the hall where the reception had been held. Everyone pitched it and then we ate.
The food was fantastic. Charlotte’s Mom was a fabulous hostess for all the visitors and family who were there to celebrate the new married couple and, of course, for helping clean up after the wedding reception.
We slept in the next day. There were still things the family needed to do after the wedding, so Elsie and I set out to explore an adjacent village to Hebecourt called Dury. Here, are a few pictures of what we saw.
This is the Magistrates office for Dury and the surrounding villages.
Of course, every village has a Boulangerie (Bakery). This is where Charlotte’s Mom shops, daily, for her bread and pastries. The Boulanger (Baker) is a good family friend and provided much of the wedding pastries and for the reception.
As we walked down the road, we saw so many things. Everyday things for people who live here, but we were mesmerized.
I loved the gates. Behind every gate is an incredible surprise.
Like this. I think I could live there.
And this. The path just keeps going.
And then it was time to head back home to pack. We were leaving for Versailles the next morning.
We arrived in Versailles. We were staying in a charming Hotel one door down from Charlotte & Guillaume’s flat.
Once we unpacked, we went to Charlotte & Guillaume’s flat for lunch.
The Hotel and Charlotte & Guillaume’s Flat are part of the original compound provided for the servants who served the Palace of Versailles, built in the 1700s. Charlotte and Guillaume live on the third floor of the building in one of the small flats. In most cases the architectural details, original tile, and wood flooring still exist in the hallways and the Flats themselves.
These are the original doors to the entryway of the building, which is just a few steps away from our Hotel.
The stairs to their flat were vintage and charming.
After lunch, we walked over to the gate of the Palace of Versailles just a few blocks away. Yep: that’s Elsie and me.
The next day we spent time at the Palace of Versailles. It was nothing short of amazing. There is no way I can capture the splendor and scale of this place in the few pictures I have selected. This is a must see place. So here we go through the gate to the Palace.
We are now at the front door. Should we knock?
In our self-guided tour of the Palace, we were first given a history of the castle up to contemporary times. If you look closely at the painting, it will provide you with an idea of the size and scale of this place. It’s HUGE. We spent all day here and hardly scratched the surface.
This is the second story view of the king’s private chapel. I think I could find a space to pray here.
The famous hall of mirrors. Mirrors were very hard to make and were extraordinarily expensive at that time. To have an enormous ballroom of mirrors like this was amazing. It’s still amazing even today.
This is the area where large paintings were commissioned to showcase the history of France and the many military victories that were won. It was fascinating to see John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin in some of the paintings. It brings home the fact that our histories and cultures are very intertwined.
After spending the morning touring the inside of the Palace, we then ventured out into the gardens. They are equally massive and just as impressive. I will show you my favorite part, Marie Antoinette’s Domaine. It was a full village that was built by the King for the Queen’s Birthday so that she and their children could play peasant for the day. Really!
This is the center of the village.
The Mill was a working mill and actually ground grain for the Palace.
The creeks and ponds were stocked with fish for the entertainment of the royal family and their guests. This served a dual purpose by providing fish for the Palace table.
The village is quite a bit larger than what I have shown you.
It was time to leave, and I had time for one last picture.
We ended our day and headed back to our hotel. We were having dinner with Charlotte and Guillaume that evening and had a lot to share with them about our day.
Early the next morning we had a quick breakfast at the hotel and headed for Paris on the train. Our first stop was the Eiffel Tour. There it is, and there we are. It’s very hard to imagine just how massive this structure is until you’ve seen it up close and in person.
After taking a million pictures, we were off to Notre Dame and the Flower Mart.
There are flowers everywhere in France. They also have a great love for window boxes.
I think it would be the coolest thing to take a cruise on the Seine. Don’t you?
The Louvre is much larger than I could have ever imagined. It would take a week to see it all.
Now we’re off to the Champs Elyisee for some lunch, and we can’t forget about some retail therapy.
After visiting Louis and buying some French Macaroons, we headed for home.
It was a glorious day, and we were now back on the train heading back to Versailles to have dinner with Charlotte and Guillaume.
The next day we spent time exploring the city of Versailles. We were specifically looking for art galleries to buy a painting or two to take home with us. It was fun.
We loved looking at the antique shops in the side alleys. They were cool. It was where we found some beautiful drawings of Versailles.
The market in Versailles was in full swing. More on that in another post.
Just as it is with the Boulangerie’s (Bakeries); every village, town, or neighborhood have a Charcuterie (Butcher Shop)
That night we were treated to their National Day (Bastille Day) fireworks over the Palace of Versailles. How cool is that?
If you look closely, you can see the Palace of Versailles, lit up, in the background. It was a special moment for us.
The next day we said goodbye to Versailles and headed back to Amiens for a farewell luncheon with Charlotte’s family.
And we can’t forget dessert, can we?
Someone decided that I needed to be in a picture so here is what they took.
Even though we were looking forward to going home, it was bittersweet because we had had such a great time and we would miss everyone. The day was a bit rainy as it had been on the whole trip, but it never stopped us from having a great time, and I was still able to get some great pictures.
So I will end this with a picture I captured on one of our walks. It says so much about France and all that it encompasses. “Vivre, Rire, Aimer” (To live, To laugh, To Like/Love).
We left very early the next morning with many hugs, tears, and kisses. As we were settling in our seats on the plane, Elsie said: “That was a trip of a lifetime” and I agreed. Then an hour later I came down with the flu.
Ah … but it’s not over for you yet. The wedding post is next. So keep an eye out. You will not want to miss this one.
What adventures have you had of late? Where would you like to visit, given the opportunity?
Life’s journey continues…
If you enjoyed this article, check out the other “Trip To France” articles: Week 1, A French Wedding, Flowers in France, and Pineau des Charentes 2010. They are full of pictures from the many places we visited. It will indeed give you a feel of France and all that we experienced.