It was another big day in Paris. It was rainy and foggy in the morning. In planning our trip we had booked a bunch of small tours through Viator. This of course added to the cost of the trip but it also utilized every minute of the day so that we could see as much as possible.
Our first tour was to Versailles. We caught the train to the tour office and jumped on a bus. Having never been to Paris before, we now realize that we could have used our city train pass and bought our tickets when we got to Versailles. If you need to buy tickets, the office is in the building to the far left of the entrance. We arrived before the gates were open and there was already a line
Versailles originally started as a hunting lodge and reserve for the royal family and friends. During the Louis XIV reign, Versailles underwent a transformation and it was widely assumed among the royals that it should be a showcase of France and it certainly is. This is also the place that the Treaty of Versailles was signed, officially ending World War I.
Just a few pictures of the inside of the Castle. You are given head phones so that as you walk into each room you are given a description. You have to find the corresponding number and input it into your headset.
This is a back view of the castle
It was too bad it was foggy as we could only see part of the impressive grounds and gardens. You can rent a golf cart and tour the grounds on your own.
Because of Louis XIV influence on the area, there is a large statue of him in front of the castle. If you are on a tour you will need to walk back to see this as the buses drop you off near the entrance gates.
We returned by bus to Paris and used our city train pass and went to the Arc de Triomphe. This was built as a victory arch.
You can walk around the Arc for free or you can pay to go to the top. Only so many people are allowed at one time, and we were lucky and our wait was not long. There are a total of 284 stairs to the top.
There is an inside “room” that has some history information and a gift shop. The outside observation area, gives you incredible views of Paris as well as a fascinating look at traffic as it circumnavigates the Arc.
On the walk down there is a display of French uniforms used in various wars.
Under the Arch is the Eternal Flame of the Unknown Solider from World War I.
We decided to go see the Pantheon. The line was long so we took picture and then stopped at a sidewalk cafe for paninis and salads.
We had time before our twilight tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral so we walked down to the Jardin du Luxembourg park.
It was beautiful, with chairs to relax around the small lake. However, you were not allowed to walk on the grass.
After a relaxing hour, with a bit of a rain storm, we headed to the Notre Dame Cathedral where we met our tour guide.
There are a total of 444 stairs according to the caretaker that was at the Cathedral.
The stairs lead to narrow outside walkways.
lots of gargoyles….
Once at the top we went into the belfry. Thebells rang while we were at the top…AWESOME!!!
A view of the top of the church, including the animal shaped rain spouts. It was a long way down.
We had a great view of Paris just before sunset.
Once down from the church, we learned the history of the intricate carvings on the front of the church, including the story of the headless Saint.
There were statues in the church courtyard, as well as one of the oldest trees in Paris. We were told it was good luck to stand on the sun.
It had been a full day of activities. On the way back to our hotel, we found a back alley food market. Cheap paninis and crepes. We walked 25,000 steps and sleep came easy that night.
Next…Day Five: Normandy and Omaha Beach