Monday, July 2, 2012

Paris in Spring Time in the Rain

I have no idea why this took me so long to get done! Anywho here is a blog post about le trip, and hopefully from now on we can back to regularly scheduled blogging.

Ok...lets see how much I can remember...

On May 27th Mike, my friend Trish and I left Toronto Pearson Airport. Just getting there was an adventure as Mike and I decided to be thrifty and take public transit to airport. One Streetcar/subway/bus ride later (but only 3$ each) we were finally there. We checked in, waited and then boarded the plane (on time and stress free), and settled in for our long flight across the Atlantic.

None of us had travelled to Europe before, and we were all extremely excited and didn't get much sleep. One of the highlights of the flight were flying right over Trish's and my hometown! I remember seeing planes fly by my window as a kid at night wondering where they were I know!

Blurry, but you get the idea
Once arriving into Charles De Gualle Airport on a rainy France morning, we spent about 2 hours trying to find a shuttle bus, and then headed into the city! I think we were all in a state of shock from the lack of sleep and actually being in there!

After checking into our hotel, and since sleep wasn't an option, we decided to head out to Versailles. The concierge at the hotel said to take a taxi to save time. In retrospect, that was a dumb suggestion as the train was just as fast and was way cheaper. However our cab driver was fantab and we got to practice our French. Once he found out we were Canadian, he was super nice to us!

As we arrived in Versailles, I think that was when I realized we were actually in France. It was so serene with the light spring rain, the lush landscape, and oh you know...a friggin PALACE!

Panorama of Versailles Palace
The line up wasn't too long and soon we were in experiencing all of the glamour of the Palace.

Hall of Mirrors yo.

Mike chillin with Laplace (Nerd.)
After the great tour, and then getting lost in Versailles, buying some amazingly cheap wine (4 Euro)
Bad signage!!!
...then taking the train back to Paris, we arrived at our hotel running on no sleep after 30 hours of work/travel/sightseeing.

We then went to drink the wine, and realized we had no bottle opener. To borrow one from the hotel was 5 Euro, and we all decided that was a waste of money and googled/youtubed alternative ways to open it. Mike's attempt of using a shoe against the wall did not work, where another method of using a pen to push in the cork did...until the wine splashed everywhere. I don't know if it was because we were tired or what, but this was a pretty epic moment. 

That is Engineering right there. 
After a delicious but late dinner (AMAZING FOOD!!) we arrived back to the hotel and passed out, ready for day 2. 

Sunday was a much nicer day out so we decided to actually spend some time out and about in Paris. After some delicious coffee we headed out to St. Michels Fountain. Our friend Brittany recommended this 3 hour free tour, and we had Alex as our tour guide. I cannot recommend this tour enough. It hit all the highlights, Alex was an amazing tour guide..oh and did I mention it was free!! At the end the guides ask for a tip, that is it! 
Alex our Tour Guide
We got see most of Paris on that trip, and it was great to do that first, then know what we had to go back to see. 

Ooo site seeing!

One thing that is amazing about Paris (to a nerd like me) is the Public Transit System, or the Metro. There are so many lines an stops it takes you everywhere you just have to be willing to make a lot of transfers! We had to take full advantage of this to get from our hotel to the Gare de Lyon where we where catching the Bullet train to La-Seyne-Sur-Mer to visit our friend Brittany (the main reason for the trip!). We literally ran through the subway stations/transfers, but got there just in time!
Gare de Lyon is actually really nice, didn't get much of a chance to see it though!
After a quick 5 hour ride, we made it to La-Seyne-Sur-Mer where Brittany had prepared a delicious dinner, and once again we crashed after another eventful day!

Since this post is getting long and photo heavy, I am going to delay the rest of the trip for later this week. In summary...
1. The free tour was a highlight
2. The food/wine/coffee in France is making me hungry just thinking about it
3. The subway/train system is intense
4. Versailles is totally worth the trip to see. 
5. The stereotype of people in France being rude to tourists isn't true if you speak or attempt to speak French. That being said we totally got some glares for speaking English on the train. 

Have you been to Paris? What were your favorite things to do? Did you have to boot it to get to a plane/train/bus on time while travelling?

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