On our second day in Paris, exhaustion was starting to take its toll. Our bodies were hurting and tempers were getting short. We planned on going to Versailles this rainy Sunday morning. On the way, we had to change metro stations with a short walk near the Eiffel Tower. We were both miserable. We argued. I have no idea about what. We got over it by having a quiet breakfast at some overpriced café. We then headed out to Versailles.
If you plan on going anywhere where plenty of walking is required, you must research shoes. Buy fashionable shoes if you must, but make sure they are comfortable. Don’t go by brand. Read reviews. It may seem obsessive, but when you are walking the cobblestone streets of Versailles or marching up the Champs Des Elysees you realize you must keep your feet as comfortable as possible. Moccasins make for great shoes in that they are dressy, casual and comfortable at the same time.
Versailles is a strange beautiful place. Yes, it is a house as tourist location, but Versailles is much more than that. You know from history classes that this will be a magnificent palace. When you turn the corner, you are just awed by how magnificent it is. Even though it’s undergoing some needed restoration, you are instantly transported back in time.
We weren’t the only ones that planned on going to Versailles today. It’ was Disneyworld in summer crowded. Having read Rick Steves, we ordered our museum passes ahead of time. This allows us not to do the double wait – for tickets and then for entry. We basically just walked in skipping what some people had said was a forty minute wait.
We toured the house first. The opulence is amazing. I’ve shown the pictures to my classes and each one when seeing the ceiling of the private chapel asks immediately if it was the Sistine Chapel. I think this points out how ornate the building is more than the kids being misinformed. We walked through the rest of the palace and end up in the Hall of Mirrors. I’m suddenly thinking of all the history the mirrors as seen: The Bourbon Royalty, Napoleon, the signers of the Treaty of Versailles. I turn to Cristina who is fixing her hair in the mirror, or using the room as it was originally designed.
On the way back to the train station, we noticed a Tex-Mex restaurant. Curiosity got the better of us. I know we are supposed to be eating French food, but we had to see how the French interpret Tex-Mex. Plus, we were getting a little home sick and Cristina loves Mexican food. It was a good idea to be normal for a change. Cristina ordered fajitas which were quite good and very similar to Superior Grill. I ordered tres amigos which was kabobs with chicken, steak, and sausage. The star of my dish was the sausages which were fresh and spicy.
On the return to Paris, we decided to stay with the theme of French royalty even if that royalty was self-proclaimed. We headed to the L’Hôtel National des Invalides which serves as both a French army museum as well as the final resting place of Napoleon. Also, it is also part of the Paris Museum Pass. For military buffs, this is a very detailed museum of the French army from medieval times up till the turn of the last century. We only toured two sections of the museum and our brains were overloaded with information. We worked our way to the section where Napoleon was buried. We all know that Napoleon wasn’t a huge guy, yet his sarcophagus is enormous. Really, the pictures don’t do it justice.
Leaving the museum, Cristina’s feet were killing her. The shoes were not handling the uneven surfaces of the some of the streets and sidewalks. Neither one of us was tired, but the shoes had done her in. We went back to the hotel and enjoyed a simple dinner from a local restaurant or maybe even the hotel, I cant remember.
We had one more day in Paris. And we packed in as much as we could in that one day. First stop: The Louvre.