We are back from France! I’m tired and I’m jet lagged. What day is it? We left France on July 7th at 9:15 am and touched down in San Francisco the same day at 11:20 am. Needless to say we had a fantastic vacation and I want to tell you all about it through my blog. This blog is the first in a series of at least five posts looking back on our France adventures. For most of the hotels/B & Bs, sights, and restaurants I attached a link so you can get more information.
We left for France on Tuesday, 6/26/18 and arrived the next day on 6/27/18 at about 10:30 am. Yes, a redeye flight and honestly all we wanted to do was get our rental car, drive to our hotel, and take a nap. The first stop on our vacation was to Versailles which is about 35 minutes south west of Paris. Since I knew the first day we’d pretty much be out of it from jet leg, I booked an extra day. We stayed in Versailles from 6/27-6/30.
Wednesday, 6/27 We stayed at the Hotel de France. This hotel (which is the only hotel we stayed at) was a 17th century townhouse. It was right across the street from Chateau de Versailles and the Gardens which made it very convenient. Parking was a real hassle, all off street, and not free. We were able to check in after 1 pm which was delightful since we arrived at about 1:30. We immediately took a much needed nap to revive ourselves.
Later that evening we took a walk to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings and to have a late dinner. As we started out on our walk we stumbled upon the Cathedral Saint Louis. This church is from the 18th century and was built at the wish of King Louis XV. Construction started in 1742 and lasted for about 12 years.
Next we found a street off the main drag, Rue de Satory, which was lined with outdoor cafes and restaurants. Each place was bustling with people eating, drinking, and enjoying conversation with their companions. This is exactly how I envisioned dining life to be in Versailles. We also found an outdoor vegetable market toward the end of the street. The produce was some of the best I’ve seen. Beautiful and fresh.
For dinner we really wanted to experience traditional French crepes. There were a few creperies to choose from and we decided to eat at Le Ble Noir . What a learning experience! Savory crepes that you would eat as your main dish are called galettes not crepes. Crepes are sweet and are saved for dessert. I ordered the Nordique (pictured below). Isn’t it beautiful? What a presentation This is a buckwheat crepe with emmental cheese, smoked salmon, and a sour cream dill sauce
Thursday, 6/28 It’s amazing what a shower and sleep can do. Le petit de jeuner (breakfast) was served served between 7-10:30 am. We were downstairs at right about 7 am, hungry and eager to plan our day. The breakfast consisted of cereals, yogurts, croissants, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, juices, coffee & tea. Oh the bread! Yum!
After breakfast we took a walk since it was still pretty early. I loved walking the streets and looking at the architecture. We came across a patisserie (bakery) and it was unlike anything I’ve seen in the United States. Breads, pastries, cakes, and macaroons lined the baking cases. Of course my favorite….Pain au Chocolate.
Mid morning we decided we would tour the Gardens (which is FREE) and then tour the Palace in the afternoon. Louis XIV planned and cared for his gardens until his last days. He had many VIPs visit, and threw lavish parties here. These pictures show the fountains on the Royal Drive. If you look carefully you can see the Grand Canal in the distance. Palace & Gardens
After touring the gardens and lunch we decided to take a rest along the Grand Canal. This grassy area is lined with benches where you can sit, eat ice cream, and watch the swans and ducks. You can also rent canoes if you’d like to explore the Grand Canal. For me I enjoyed eating ice cream and watching the swans.
At about 2 pm we thought we would tour the Palace. The line was amazingly long, probably about an hour wait at best. It was hot and we were tired. We decided to go back to the hotel, take a nap, and try again around 4 pm. That was an extremely smart decision since there was virtually no line to speak of when we returned! Palace & Gardens
Scenes Inside the Palace
The Hall of Mirrors – My absolute favorite room!
Friday, 6/29 Our last day in Versailles! Today we toured Grand Trianon and Domaine de Marie-Antoinette.
Grand Trianon – This was a “get a way” for Louis XIV if you can believe it. The exterior is pink and is set among beautiful gardens. Construction for this “escape” lasted between 1670-1688.
Domaine de Marie-Antoinette – This is near Trianon Palace. It is a white French pavilion where Marie-Antoinette spent her summers with family and friends.
For dinner we had to try another creperie. Galettes and crepes became our new favorite. Tonight we decided on Creperie Satory. Again we were surprised and delighted with our dinner. I had Galette de Maison which was smoked salmon with a leek fondue and potato. Absolutely delicious!
We had such a fun time in Versailles. I hope you enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures we took. If you have any questions about Versailles please ask me. Stay tuned for our next stop in the Loire Valley where we tour chateaus, and eat more galettes and ice cream!