Well, our days in Paris have come to a close. We are now sitting on a train, zooming towards Belgium and two more days of adventure before we head back to ESDES. This is my first time on a real train, and so far I’m loving it! For only two dollars more per ticket, we could get first class which includes huge seats, lots of legroom, free breakfast, and wifi! I have a little time before we arrive so I’ll update you on the last few days.

Tuesday was a rather relaxed day. Our first stop of the day was a cemetery where lots of famous people are buried. We hopped on the metro, quickly found the location, and Ryan bought a map so we could quickly find the tombstones we wanted to see. It was a lovely fall day and we all enjoyed walking through the cemetery which was actually quite beautiful. We saw the grave of Oscar Wilde and many others. I enjoyed being off the bustling streets of the city for a bit and enjoying the autumnal weather that we don’t really get in Spain. 

After the cemetery, we decided to go to Sacre Coeur, a huge cathedral on the top of a hill. The area was surprisingly touristy, so we didn’t spend a ton of time there. After Subway for lunch we stopped at Christina’s cupcake shop. Christina works for another American woman who also married a French man and now owns a cupcake shop not too far from Moulin Rouge. We bought some cupcakes and chatted for awhile. I was glad to have some time to sit down but soon we were on our way again. 

We decided to stop at the Pantheon since we’d seen it from the top of the Eiffel tower and it was covered by our museum pass. Sadly, we got there just as it closed, but got some photos outside. It was getting a little late in the day so we decided to make just one more stop before heading back to the apartment. This was my favorite part of the day. 

It was just after dusk when we arrived at the Trocadero, where the view of the Eiffel Tower stretched before us. It was lit up for the night and people from all over the world gathered, taking photos and taking in the vista. Before long we decided it was time to find our way home and grab some groceries for dinner. 

When we arrived in Paris, Thomas helped us get metro tickets for the whole week and suggested that we save Versailles for the last day for the ease of getting the correct tickets. This ended up being the best choice of the trip. For starters, yesterday was the most beautiful day since we’ve been here. The air was crisp and cool but the sun was shining. We got up early to arrive at the palace by 9 and avoided lines and crowds all day. 

Versailles is absolutely huge. The building itself is giant and impressive, but the grounds and gardens are the best part. My favorite was the back part of the grounds where Marie Antionette had her own little palace styled as an English farm. It actually was a working farm and still has small petting-zoo animals for visitors to enjoy. We first toured the inside of the palace with free audio-guides that explained each room and the over-done gold pomp that the royalty loved so much. It was indeed impressive but not at all anything I find personally lovely. I preferred the back houses (mansions, really) which had less gold and more feminine stylings. 

We wandered out to the gardens and were greeted by the view of the canal which runs the length of the grounds. It’s huge, so big that rowing teams were practicing before the tourists came through. Even though I’m sure Versailles was busy that day, it seemed so much more peaceful to all of us after so much time in Paris. We meandered through the gardens and stopped for an early lunch of paninis which were not too pricy and quite delicious. We made our way back to the farm and spend the rest of the afternoon walking. It was so nice to see trees changing color and to get away from palm trees for awhile. We stopped to sit around 3:00 and watched couples and groups attempt to steer their rented rowboats around the canal.

Since we had to get up so early today, we decided to make it a short day and walked back to the metro. We ran into Thomas at the grocery store where we got a few more supplies for our last dinner and made it back to the apartment before seven. We watched some TV and then went to bed on our final rotation of who-has-to-sleep-on-the-floor. 

Now we’re on our way to Belgium and I’m so excited for the next few days. Some friends from ESDES have been renting an apartment there all week and we are going to share it tonight and then after they leave tomorrow we get to keep it one more night. Brussels is much smaller than Paris and I’m looking forward to a few days of relaxation before going back to school. 
Sheri Seibold
11/1/2012 07:40:16 am

Oh, my favorite thing you've shared so far is the charming Marie Antoinette English style farm. It is everything my mind imagines when I think of European beauty in architecture. Isn't it funny, one would think with all the gold flourished, columns and arches, a quaint farm wouldn't be the most appealing and more lovely to see. Oh, but it is!

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grandma
11/1/2012 07:48:22 am

Oh, what a time you are having in Paris. I know you must be enjoying it thoroughly. Your pictures are great. The Versailles, what a huge place, but I'm with you, my favorite is Marie Antoinette's palace. It's all very beautiful. Now you are ready for Belgium.

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meg
11/2/2012 02:55:10 am

Ok I absolutely love those turquoise feather-y tomb doors on the picture of you and Rachel standing by the tombs! They would match my couch so well!!!!! ;) Versailles and the little farm cottages both look so amazing for completely different reasons. I would really love to visit someday!

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arielle
11/6/2012 11:37:01 am

I really don't know what to comment on first. Grave of Oscar Wilde? Cupcake shop near the Moulin Rouge? Marie Antoinette's little English style farm!?!? It all sounds so incredible! Although I must say I have a soft spot for the farm--I have always loved the Marie Antoinette movie and one of my favorite parts was always the shots of her by that little back-of-the-grounds farm place. It all looks so quaint and beautiful. And everything you've photographed looks so beautiful in the fall! What lovely colors :) I'm so happy for you getting to have these wonderful adventures!

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