Paris Part 2: Stinky Cheese Edition

(Travel recaps, continued!  I’m almost done, I swear).

On Thursday morning, we got up and took the 40 minute train ride to Versailles, where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and probably lots of other people lived in the 1700’s.  It was huge, opulent, and crowded as all get out.  Prime elbow-sticking-out time, I tell you.  The line was long but moved quickly, and the cost to enter was included in our museum passes.

We all grabbed audio tour walkie talkies, which became irrelevant once we were trapped inside the hall of mirrors with 8,000 of our closest friends.  The hall of mirrors was pretty striking, and included – you guessed it – a shit ton of mirrors.

And of course, Marie Antoinette’s famous bedroom (this is one of those pictures where you keep moving, stick your camera up in the air, and hope for the best).  I haven’t seen the Sophia Coppola movie yet, but it’s on the Netflix queue for the next time hubs goes out of town, yessssss.

We went out the back of the palace to the gardens that go on for miles and miles and miles…I wonder if Bon Iver has been there.

The back of the palace itself is not too shabby either, I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing.

There was a LOT of ground to explore, so we made our way back towards what we thought included the farm area that M.A. used to use as her getaway, but I guess we got lost/tired/hungry and never got to any of these places.  But they look fun I guess.

We took the train back to Paris around the midday point, and all of us decided that it would be nice to have some time away from the group. First, we headed to the apartment to regroup, where I finally accepted the fact that the small wheel of seemingly harmless Camembert cheese I bought the day before was making our apartment uninhabitable with its odor.  Cammie had to go.

Sorry again, everyone.

Hubs and I then went off on our own to explore Notre Dame (he is Catholic, after all).  Honestly, compared to the various churches we visited in Salzburg, the inside of Notre Dame was pretty underwhelming.  But the outside was ridiculous.

Here is Notre Dame’s badonkadonk:

I have photos of the inside, but to its credit, Notre Dame is massive and my photos are limited in scope, so you’d probably get a better idea of its structure if you google imaged it.  I will give them a shout out for being hip with the times though, because they had TVs for people who had to sit behind the pillars.  So modern of them.

Our museum pass included entry to the top of Notre Dame, but, predictably, that line was also crazy long, and the guy behind us, in what I’ll assume was an attempt to shorten said line, was clearing out his sinuses in a way that I wouldn’t believe unless I had heard it myself.  So.  Freaking.  Disgusting.  So we bailed in favor of wine and crepes, which I forgot to document, since we were alcohol-famished.

With only a handful of minutes left on our 2-day museum pass, we milked it for every last penny and went to the Pantheon.

While entering, the guy at the door recognized us as Americans (I can’t imagine how), and informed us that the original version of the Statue of Liberty was downstairs in the crypt, but that we only had 15 minutes to find it.

We passed a giant pendulum before heading down a creepy winding staircase, then literally jogged around the crypt, looking for a statue that we never found.  We did find the graves of Marie and Pierre Curie, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and dozens of others, but I didn’t take any pictures, out of respect/time.  Although now that I read the Wikipedia page on it, I’m realizing that a lot of them are buried without their hearts, and some of them were just hearts in urns…this disturbs me.

Hubs and I exited the Pantheon, then trudged through the rain towards home, I mean the Eiffel Tower.

Once home, we re-accepted the others into our tree of trust, and headed out for a most fantastic dinner at Cafe du Marche, which was 2 blocks from our apartment.  The owner keeps the entrees cheap enough for the locals to eat there nightly, so for only €10, you can get roasted duck, truffle cream pasta (which changed my life), and about a dozen other glorious things.  Plus crazy strong mojitos and a waiter with a crazy strong personality (in a good way).

Dessert was your standard life-changing assortment of creme brulee and cannolis.  We may have ordered more dessert than there were people at our table.

We headed from dinner back out to the Eiffel Tower to watch it light up, as it does on the hour every night.  It was so great to be so close to the tower that we could easily visit it in the evenings.  Although it’s not easy to photograph.  I did my best.

Next up: Jean Claude van Damme’s homeland, aka Brussels.  Stay tuned!

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