Saturday, 8 June 2013

City of love

Starting our 4 months in Europe we caught the Eurostar to Paris. As we pulled into Paris high up the hill we could see Basilique du Sacred Coeur, we headed straight to our little apartment and dumped our bags. Even though it was 10:30 at night the sun was just setting, so excited to see the city we heading out for an evening stroll. As it was such a beautiful evening we walked for hours past, the Opera, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay. After a good nights sleep we were ready to explore the city, heading early to Ste Chapelle to see the beautiful stained glass and exquisite gothic architecture. As we had bought a 4 day Paris pass giving us entry to numerous monuments and museums we decided to visit the palace Conciergerie which was the city main prison during the reign of terror and was were Marie-Antoinette was held during her trial.
We then wandered past Notre Dame and further onto the Centre Pompidou, with its extremely modern building that is 'inside out' and spent the afternoon in the Musee National d'Art Moderne enjoying France's national collection of surrealists, cubists, fauvists and pop artists.

On the way back to our apartment we picked up some supplies for our stay in Paris and for a little romantic picnic for dinner under the Eiffel Tower (it is our second honeymoon after all). At around 8pm we arrived and sat out on the grass beneath the Eiffel Tower with every man and his dog in broad daylight while we set out our little picnic dinner of wine and cheese. We sat and watched the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower which took over 2 hours before heading for a stroll through the city for Ryan to practice his night photography.
One place I had been looking forward to when we visited Paris was Versailles Palace built in the mid 17th century by Louis XIV. As I had previouly have only been to Paris in winter I wanted to see the Gardens surrounding the palace in spring /summer. After a short train trip and a long line up, we went straight into the Palace to escape the wind a rain as the weather was terrible. Quickly distracted by the beautiful artworks and furnishings of the Palace, I was very excited to arrive in the hall of mirrors, to see Marie-Antionette's living quarters and where she attempted to escape the revolutionaries when they came for the royal family. After seeing the inside of the palace the weather had thankfully cleared up and the sun was peaking through the rain clouds. We heading straight out into the gardens to explore the maze of gardens hiding numerous statues and water fountains. We then went further into the Versailles complex to see the swiss guard house, small farm and summer houses of the French royal family used to escape the larger palace, and hide the mistresses.
With only one day left in Paris and not yet visiting the Louvre we started the day there with the obligatory visit to see the Mona Lisa before getting lost in the numerous wings and levels seeing the ancient Egyptian artefacts & art and seeing signature works by Rapheal, Botticelli and Delacroix. Then feeling a small break from museums we walked over to Notre Dame and went inside to view the architecture, the stained glass and beautiful artifacts in the churches treasury. We then went down to the crypts underneath to see how Paris would have looked like before it was build up and the water level was much lower. We then were ready to see the Musee d'Orsay to see after admiring the building, a turn of the century train station we then wander the Museum with artworks from between 1840s and 1914, we particularly enjoyed the Van Gough exhibit with a starry night. We then walked through Jardins de Carrousel before walking up the Champs-Élysées for a small bit of shopping and to pick up some food for dinner - cheeses and a couple of sweets from a patisserie.
Though we didn't want to leave we were up early the next morning to pick up the car to drive to Nuits-st-Georges to visit some family friends at their vineyard.
- Louise -

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