The next morning, we walked down to the St. Pancras International station and boarded our Eurostar train for Paris. All Aboard!!
We arrived to a yummy spaghetti lunch! After we ate and settled in a bit, we headed off to the Louvre. We saw tons of paintings and sculptures, but the most famous were the Winged Victory, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, and Venus de Milo. The group picture was taken inside the glass pyramid before we left the museum.
After leaving the Louvre we took a stroll along the Siene River. We could barely see the Eiffle Tower in the distance as we walked toward Notre Dame. There was a bit of a struggle in locating it, but once we found it we enjoyed looking around both inside and outside. It is an extraordinary place.
The detail on the outside of Notre Dame is simply incredible. The interior is full of massive stained glass windows. We were looking around during a service which was interesting. The picture in the bottom middle is a little blurry, but gives an idea of the structure of the building from the side as well.
After dinner, we took an impromptu boat ride on the Siene. We were all sitting on the uncovered top of the boat to begin, but after we passed by the lit up Eiffel Tower, Dad and I moved inside the bottom of the boat. It wasn't as windy and chilly there, but due to a noisy school group we missed most of the commentary from the tour guide. Mom tried to fill us in on the way back to Mary and Dave's apartment.
The next morning, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower. After quite a long wait we were FINALLY able to go to the very tip top of the Tower. The views were stunning! We just couldn't take enough pictures once we made it to the top. I think we were so excited that we were able to make it up there that we just didn't want to come down. I took several pictures that had the shadow of the Tower in them, but the two below are my favorites!
After the Eiffel Tower adventure, we headed off to Versailles for the rest of the day. Upon arrival, we made a stop at McDonald's. Between the strange ordering system and the language barrier Mom and I struggled to get everything ordered, but Dad loved it! We toured the palace of Versailles for most of the afternoon. We didn't make it outside to check out the gardens before closing time, but I included a picture of the part of them we saw looking out of a window in the palace. One of our favorite spots was the Hall of Mirrors (middle top picture below). We had the best time trying to get a good picture here. At one point, we were laughing so uncontrollably that I almost peed my pants!
Before the trip, a friend recommended getting hot chocolate from Angelina's so when I saw one inside the Palace, I knew it was meant to be for me to try it. It was like drinking a melted chocolate bar - very thick and rich. We couldn't even finish it all between the three of us.
That evening, we met Mary and Dave at the Arc de Triomphe. We were able to check out the evening traffic on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and take a few pictures from across the street as well as underneath the Arc. Mary and I were the only ones to venture to the top of the Arc. We climbed over 280 steps to get there with much of those arranged in a spiral pattern. The view was definitely worth it though. We made it to the top just in time for the hourly sparkling Eiffel Tower display. Amazing view of the city!
Mary and Dave were not only kind enough to host us for a couple of days, but also prepared us a homecooked meal on our last evening in Paris and topped it off with Laduree macaroons for dessert! YUM!!
We had a great time visiting with Mary and Dave. So grateful for their hospitality and friendship!! We left their apartment before the sun came up to catch our flight to Rome. Luckily, we were able to flag down a cab to get to the airport. More fun was just around the corner....
PS - If I should ever happen to visit Paris with Christopher, I would like to partake in the tradition of placing a lock on a bridge there. Not entirely sure why, but I just love the whole concept of it. Until then...
Linking up with Helene today!