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France -- Rouen, Bayeux and Amboise (so far)

Hello all. I have received so much help on this site that I wanted to give back a little by sharing my family's experiences. My husband and I are 51, and our daughter and son are 22 and 17, respectively. This is our second trip to France. Here is info from the first couple of days. I am copying directly from my personal journal, so I hope you don't find the detail tiresome.
Our flight from Atlanta to CDG arrived approximately 20 minutes early. We have no trouble getting through immigration, waiting in line 10-15 minutes. By the time we got to baggage claim, our 2 checked bags were there. We picked them up, got cash at the ATM machine and left the secured area, stopping at the tourism desk to purchase 3 2-day museum passes (our 17 YO didn't need one), and getting carnets for the metro. We headed for the Hertz office and picked up our diesel, automatic Peugeot minivan. We used the in-car GPS, supplemented by my husband's CoPilot App, which worked without cellular data, allowing us to keep data usage down. (We signed up for AT&T's international package with modest data.) It took us about an hour and a half to drive to Rouen, where we had booked 2 rooms at $95 Euro each at the Hotel de la Cathedrale. Driving around the heart of the historic district is a bit tricky due to the many one way streets, etc., but we eventually found the hotel and parked nearby in a garage. The location is fantastic, within easy walking distance of both Notre Dame Cathedral and the Church of Saint Maclou, which is Flambouyant Gothic style.
The hotel public spaces are attractive and inviting. The guest rooms, at least the two we stayed in, met my 3 criteria: clean, good beds and quiet. Our rooms face an interior courtyard, so all I can hear is birdsong.
We walked around both cathedrals last night, ate Italian (the smell sucked us in!) at a street side bistro Tavola Calda Bistrot. Food was terrific and reasonable. We then walked around more and finished by popping into a small market to get bottled water, a bottle of wine, a corkscrew and a bottle of local hard cider. The square across from the other cathedral was packed with people dining (and mostly drinking) at long tables outside in a big square. We seem like the only tourists, which is great. It is delightfully chilly! It was 95 F when we left Alabama, so it was quite welcome to step out of CDG to temps in the mid-60s. We turned in around 10 pm, though it was still light out. Seven and a half hours later, everybody else is still asleep.

Sunday, June 19.
We were up and dressed by 10 am, and walked to Place St. Marc for their big Sunday market. It was very busy and we had a lot of fun walking through admiring the fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, and many kinds of prepared foods, including roast chickens, giant pans of paella and even a massive container of beouf bourguignon. There were also many stalls with various types of clothing, books, vintage items, you name it. My daughter bought a very pretty scary for 5E. All along one side of the market were cafes and bistros with communal outside seating. We found spots at a table and ordered our Grande Cremes, hot chocolate and orange juice, while my daughter waited in line at the Boulangerie to get us croissants, pain chocolate and a baguette. When we finished, we went back through the market and bought a roasted chicken, tomatoes, several cheeses, strawberries and cherries for a picnic lunch. After returning to the hotel briefly to wash our hands and retrieve our luggage, we stowed the bags in our rental car and walked around town a bit more. We spent an hour or so inside Notre Dame Cathedral, which is absolutely beautiful. We saw the sarcophagus of Duke Rollo (notable to fans of the tv series Vikings). We did the 1:00 English tour of the Joanne of Arc historic museum and then hit the road toward Bayeux, stopping enroute at a roadside park for a late picnic lunch with our supplies from the market. More to follow.

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I really liked Rouen, in large part because there were not many tourists there (ironic, I know). It seemed like a great place to live.
We arrived in Bayeux around 6 pm, and checked into Hotel L'Argouges, which is in a beautiful old home. We had a family room that was just right for us, with a queen bed and two twins, and an attached little room for dressing/luggage. We were on the 3rd floor, so if you have mobility issues be sure to ask for a lower floor, as I didn't see an elevator. We set out to walk around the city center, orienting ourselves to the area. There were many nice retail shops and only a few cheesy souvenir shops. (On reflection, Bayeux is one of our favorite French towns, both because of its size, mix of shops and restaurants, beauty, and friendliness of residents. It reminded us of Dingle, Ireland, but much larger.) We had dinner at LAssiette Norman, near the cathedral. We started with a Kir Norman, which was quite good. I had oysters on the half shell, which were excellent. The Onion Soup,however was disappointing, as it seemed like beef consumme with some onions thrown in. The rest of our mains were so-so. The desserts were much better than the mains. We had Apple tart, a chocolate tart, and sorbet with Calvados. They were all very good. Upon returning to the hotel we sat in the communal breakfast/bar area to watch a little soccer on television and sample some local hard cider. We turned in about 11 pm, and slept well. Our room, and in fact the entire hotel, was very quiet and peaceful.
Monday, June 20
The next morning we were up early to make our 8:10 am reservation for a D-Day tour with the Overlords Tour Group. We had a quick but filling breakfast before setting out. The buffet had bread and pastries, cheese, cold sliced meats, boiled eggs, cold cereal and fruit. The Breakfast Room was gorgeous with beautiful details including crystal chandeliers. The tour was excellent, despite the cold temps and non-stop rain. We stopped for a late lunch in Ste Mer Eglise. We picked one of the handful of lunch spots around the main square. We all had Crique Monsiures with either salad or fries. After the tour, we returned to the hotel cold, wet and exhausted. It was a good day, but long. I definitely recommend spending the money for a small group or private tour. While we could have certainly visited all the sites on our own, we would have missed the rich stories our guide, Alain, shared, and which brought it all to life. My only regret is not having more time to spend at the American cometary and museum, which was our first stop. I could have easily used another 30 minutes to an hour there. When we returned to Bayeux, it was about 10 minutes before 6, so we walked next door to make a quick visit to see the Tapestry of Bayeux. The self guiding headsets in English made it easy to follow along with the story literally woven into the tapestry. That done, we walked the half mile back to our hotel to cleanup and change for dinner. The friendly desk clerk made a reservation for us at Le Rapier and we set out for the 10-15 minute walk to the restaurant. We were warmly greeted and shown to our table in the tiny dining room. The meal was absolutely delicious. We all opted for one of the menu choices with 3 or 4 courses and a wine pairing. The Amuse Bouche was a tiny shot of gazpacho with cucumber and mint. For a first course we had oysters on the half shell, baked oysters in a buttery cream sauce and foie gras. All were fantastic. The palate cleanser was apple sorbet with calvados. Our mains included lamb and roasted chicken. All were good, but the vegetables served along side were delicious. The cheese course was beautifully presented and featured several local choices in addition to other French cheeses. For dessert we had cheesecake, apple tart with ice cream and coconut Panama cotta with pineapple. All were great, as was the service. The meal totaled about $75 per person, but was well worth it.

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We were glad for the 15 minute walk back to the hotel after eating all of that!
We again slept well, but got up about an hour later than we had planned for the drive to Mont Saint Michel. Foregoing the hotel buffet, we ducked into the boulangerie two doors down from the hotel to grab a quick breakfast. Boy were we glad we did. They were taking baguettes from the oven and the shop smelled amazing! We ended up sharing two Demi-baguettes spread with butter, ham and cheese, two pepitos (eggy bread with chocolate chips) and two pain AU chocolate. Scrumptious, and only about 10 euro.
When we stopped to fuel up the car, we went inside and got Starbucks coffees from an automated machine. No problems getting fuel and no sign of lines. What a nice reststop! Clean bathrooms that smelled nice, an in-store bakery and good coffee.
We arrived later than we had hoped at Mont Saint Michel-- around 11:50 as opposed to 10:00. At any rate, we parked and took the shuttle bus from the parking lot to nearer the abbey. We followed Rick Steves' advice and took the right path up to the ramparts and on up to the abbey. The narrow streets lined with shops were crowded, but no more so than Disney World. We got our tickets (2 adults and 2 students for free) and audio guides and set off. We really enjoyed the self-guided tour. The abbey is enormous, and beautiful. We were all very glad that we took time to visit it. While we all made the climb with no problem, I noticed several elderly folks having trouble making it, and stopping to rest along the way. I am not sure all of our parents, who are in their late 79s/early 80s, could have done it, so keep that in mind when making plans.

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I am glad Kathy!
We then drove to Amboise to Villa Concorde, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment, which we had arranged to rent for 4 nights. We found the apartment perfectly situated just a short walk (5 minutes at most) from the city center, and well-equipped with everything we need. My bedroom window is directly across the street from the Chateau -- literally 20 feet or less. After unpacking, we set off to find dinner and some supplies for breakfast. We found the main streets to be pleasantly full with people, including families and lots of children on bikes and scooters. We also found that some type of celebration must be going on, for there were live bands, choral groups and dancers performing every block or so. It made for a festive atmosphere. We secured a couple of tables street side at a creperie called Anne Bretagne, and enjoyed people watching with our dinner of various salads, crepes and a nice bottle of Vouray. We then walked over to the CarreFour market which was open until 10 to get breakfast items. Unfortunately, the bands kept playing until about 1 am, and since we are so close, we could hear them quite well. But that's the only downside to this location.
Wednesday, June 22
We slept in a bit this morning, then made coffee in the apartment before setting off down the street to a boulangerie to pick up croissants for breakfast, as well as a baguette to make lunch sandwiches. On the way out the door, we spied a basket piled with giant, fluffy clouds of merengues. We got an almond one for a treat later in the day. We discovered that getting your bread to takeaway is significantly less expensive than eating it there. Returned to the apartment to eat with our son who was stirring by then. After breakfast we headed back down the street to the entrance of the royal Château at Amboise. We walked right in after getting our tickets and audio guides and only had to share the place with a couple dozen people. It was beautiful. It was so interesting to see the contrast between the early building/decoration vs. the more modern decor. The gardens were beautiful also. After looking around to our hearts' content, we returned to our apartment just outside the castle walls and had a late lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches, radishes, carrots, apples and cheese. Yummy, and great on the budget. We all took a brief nap before setting out for the approx. 30 minute walk to Le Clos de Luce. It was also great. We didn't get the audio guides this time, but followed along in the guide book. It was very hot by the time we got there, and the coolness inside the thick walls was welcome. I came away more amazed than ever at the brilliancy of Leonardo Davinci's mind. It is absolutely worth a trip, especially if you have any children, engineer types or artists in your group.
The mosquitos down in the park where the life-size replicas of some of his machines were displayed were absolutely horrendous, though. If you have bug spray, take it with you.
By the time we walked back toward the town center, it was right at 7:00, so we opted to stop along the way and find a shady table for dinner. We picked La Vinci. The food was good, but nothing special. Probably the best thing we ordered was salmon carpaccio. Then back to the apartment for cool showers and some quiet time. Tomorrow we are heading to Cheverney to see the chateau and see the famous feeding of the dogs at 11:30.

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Thursday, June 23
Today I got up and dressed early to walk to what has become our favorite boulongerie, La Horlage, to buy our bread for the day. (BTW, My daughter is wearing her Fitbit every day, and we are averaging about 16,000 steps a day. We need to, as we normally don't eat this much bread at home. : ).) Back at the apartment we enjoyed coffee with our flaky croissants, along with local butter and peach jam. My 17 YO wanted something a little more substantive so he made himself a ham and butter sandwich with half of a baguette. After breakfast we are heading to Cheverny to see the chateau and the famous feeding of the dogs at 11:30. It is supposed to be hot again today. As we travel, my daughter and I are on the lookout for some straw market bags with long leather handles like we found in Burgundy last year. We have both used ours almost everyday at home, and we would like to get a few more as gifts
Evening on Thursday
We made it just in time to Cheverny to see the feeding of the dogs. It was very quick, but I am glad we got to see it. The chateau itself was lovely (are there any chateaux that are not?) and well presented. There is a lake with motorized boats, but we skipped that. We had a simple lunch in the chateau's Orangerie, and shared a bottle of their white wine. For just $16 for the bottle, it was a better bargain than my son's bottle of juice, which was 5E. We checked out the estate gift shop on our way out, and my daughter bought a very cute set of 12 illustrated melamine children's plates which teach table manners in French. She plans to use these in her classroom one day. We drove another 30 minutes or so to Chambord. The scale of this place is overwhelming. Looking at it, one can imagine why the French people revolted. This chateau felt much more commercial than the others we have seen, charging 6 E for parking, and even charging ,50 to use the porta potty near the parking lot. Note that you should bring your parking ticket with you. You will need to pay with a chip card before exiting the parking lot.
It continued to be very hot today, and we took every opportunity to get cold water. We opted to eat dinner in tonight, so we stopped in ELeclerc. It's sort of a Target/mall combo. They are a large department store, but there are also boutiques there. This one in Amboise had not only a pharmacie (great place to get cosmetics and skin care), but also a high end perfumerie, with Chanel, Burberry, and many more, at very good prices. We got a rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and cheeses for our dinner, and added the baguette from this morning as well as apples from a couple of days ago. The chicken, in particular, was fantastic.

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Sherrie, great report! Thanks so much for taking the time to share this helpful information!

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I'm loving your report too Sherry, thank you! I especially love the detail. Makes it come to life. We've stayed at Hotel d'Argouges 6-7 times and love it, I recommend it often on this forum. Haven't finished reading your report yet b/c I have to go out now, but I'll enjoy more later... I'm savoring it... : )

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Friday, June 24
Got up and headed to the Friday morning market in Amboise this morning. It was wonderfully cool this morning, and the forecast is for highs in the mid 70s. Such a welcome relief! We found the market easily, as it was along the riverbank. It was quite similar to the Rouen market, but a little smaller. My daughter and got a couple of pretty scarves (is there such a thing as enough scarves?!?) for 5E. We admired the many stalls and their assorted wares. Lots of vegetables and fruit and cheese, of course, and a surprisingly large number of seafood purveyors. Asparagus must still be in season here, as we saw lots of it in the market, including some of the largest white asparagus I have ever seen. Some of them were the diameter of a cigar! We got a pan of escargot in their shells to bake later, as well as tomatoes and cherries. Since we have to say goodbye to Amboise tomorrow, we had to pass on buying more. We decided to take the scenic route back to the apartment, checking out a few streets we hadn't seen before. We passed the movie theater and noted that they had the new "Finding Dory." We discussed whether it would be the US release with French subtitles, or with a French audio track. Oh well, we'll have to wait to see it when we get home. Heading back, we stopped at the Boulangerie for croissants. When we returned to the apartment, my son was up and had eaten his favorite baguette, butter and ham breakfast. The rest of us enjoyed our croissants and cherries, then set out to visit the nearby town of Tours. It was really a lot larger than I thought, and we satisfied ourselves with just driving around. While it seemed like a nice town, it was very large, and I was glad we chose to base in Amboise. Once back here, we had our escargot from the market and finished up the tomatoes, cheese, etc. from the past week's shopping for a smorgasbord-style lunch, and enjoyed a nice Sauterne with it. We had a lazy afternoon, just venturing out to see the museum and the clock tower here before packing for tomorrow's departure. We needed to consolidate our purchases thus far, which include a few coffee table books from some of the sites, a couple of Christmas ornaments, etc. (No luck so far on the market bags.) My daughter also repacked her bags to see what she can send home with us, as she will be staying on until mid-August for her study-abroad program at the Sorbonne.
Someone asked me to mention the clothing/dressing of locals we are seeing. In general, the French seem to favor clothing that fits much more closely than we typically do in the US. I don't mean tight, just more fitted. Women of all ages seem to wear a lot of simple knee-length dresses or skirts, frequently with a waist-length cardigan or jacket over it, if temps allow. They generally have on some kind of sandal that fastens around the foot, either flat or with a low-ish wedge. (As opposed to a slide on or flip flop style.) I've only seen two or three women in heels. They were clearly tourists, and frankly, they looked dangerously precarious trying to walk on the cobblestones. So far I have worn my same pair of black fisherman's sandals with a 1/2 inch heel everyday, and felt fine. I brought two other pairs of flat sandals, but ended up wearing these everywhere. On the day we toured Normandy and it was raining and cold, I wished for a pair of solid shoes, but it was not worth hauling them around for just that one day. Most women seem to have either a medium-sized leather purse dangling from their elbow, or a smaller cross body bag. And virtually half of the people, men and women, you see will be carrying their shopping in some kind of straw market basket or bag, with their baguette wrapped across the middle in a square of paper in hand. Men and teen boys generally have on what we would consider slim fit jeans or pants. Again, not tight, but close to the body. They have on lots of colored jeans/cotton pants, more than denim. More to come....

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Men very often have some type of messenger bag. There are lots of black leather jackets on men and women, and many, many people wear a scarf, even some little kids! Men's shoes tend to be navy, black or brown leather or solid colored sneakers that are dressier than regular athletic shoes. We see some teen girls in short shorts, but I can't tell if they are locals or tourists. All of this to say, no matter what you have on, most people who live here will know you are an American even before you open your mouth. So dress comfortably (and of course appropriately).
For dinner, we tried La Fourchette, but did not really expect to get in at the last moment, so we moved on to Le Patio, and were able to be seated immediately. It was a great choice. Our amuse Bouche was a trio: a shot of cold melon soup, a goat cheese rolled in poppy seeds lollipop, and a tiny palmier with sundried tomatoes and anchovies. Yum! For starters, my son and I again chose oysters on the half shell, and once again they were fantastic. My husband got seared foie gras, which he liked, but he didn't care for the "apple soup" sauce surrounding it. My daughter had ravioli and fresh asparagus. Our mains were duck breast for my son, lamb for my husband and daughter, and sea bass with shrimp and fresh asparagus for me. All delicious. My daughter chose the rice pudding for dessert, my husband got a beautiful layered dessert with flaky pastry, mascarpone and berries, and I got a cheese course. All were great. They finished the service by providing a tray of assorted sweet bites: homemade strawberry marshmallow, bite sized truffles of white chocolate and coconut, and tiny blackberry jelly squares. Let's just say OMGoodness. My husband has found his new favorite in the marshmallow! It was a bit of a splurge at $65ish E each, including wine, but really well done and worth it. We walked slowly back to apartment, taking a few extra minutes to check out the view of the river and to savor our last evening in this lovely town. I will truly miss Amboise!

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Saturday, June 25
We got up early to hand over the keys to the apartment to Karine, the kind and gracious owner of our apartment and to head toward Paris. We dropped off our car at the Hertz dealership directly adjacent to the Chantiers SNCF station at Versailles. No problems there or getting on the train. Making the transfer at the Montparnesse station to the other line, however, was rough. If you have used the Metro, you know how many stairs are involved in such a transfer. Normally, with our typical amount of luggage, it would have been fine. Strenuous, but fine. But because our daughter has an extra bag to get her through the rest of the summer, it was a workout and a half. But we made it, and reached our hotel near the Sorbonne at last. It is a small, pretty hotel with quite generously sized rooms and an included breakfast. After taking half an hour or so to cool off and freshen up, we walked a short distance to a restaurant called Balzar. It was a bit pricey for lunch, but quite tasty. We had fish, scallops and French Onion soup. We then set off to walk toward the Sorbonne to scope out the building where my daughter will have classes, then on to see her dorm. We took the Metro to the dorm and back, making the transfers with no problem without luggage. After returning to the hotel we took a nap before heading out to dinner at La Perraudin. We had reservations, but there were a few tables available. It was simple food, well-prepared. We had starters of Herring, crudités and vegetable soup, followed by Beouf Bourguignon for 2 of us, and roast chicken and frites for 2, followed by their house chocolate mousse for 3 of us and apple tart with ice cream for 1. Mmmmm. It was then about 8:30 and we set out to walk to Notre Dame for some people watching. I guess we were just never in that area in the evenings when we were here last year, but that entire area from Notre Dame south and west to near The Odeon Theater was absolutely hopping. Such a fun place to be. And the weather was spectacular. We were all glad we had changed into warmer clothes and jackets before heading out to dinner. Our total distance covered today was 21,700 steps totaling about 9.63 miles, and including 24 flights of stairs. I think we worked off the mousse.

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Sunday, June 26
Slept very well last night. Our rooms were blissfully quiet. After a lovely Petit Dejeuner in the hotel (included), we took the Metro to the Bastille Market. Spent a while looking around there before heading to the Rodin Museum, our first time there. It was absolutely terrific, both the sculpture and paintings, but also the gardens themselves and the home. I was particularly smitten with the interior decoration -- the plaster cornices, wall color, chandeliers, etc. I also very much enjoyed seeing Rodin's paintings, which I was fairly ignorant of, previously. Around 12:30 it started to sprinkle rain, so we ducked into the cafe in the garden and enjoyed a simple lunch there. By the time we finished, the rain had also, so we completed our tour in a leisurely fashion and caught the Metro again, this time headed to the Marmottan, also a first for us. I particularly enjoyed the works of Berthe Morisot, as well as the Monet Collection. I have to admit we made quick work of most of the rest of house, due to the heat inside. Maybe we can came come again another year at a cooler time of year. The basement where most of the Monets are displayed was either air conditioned or just naturally cooler, so we lingered there. Some of his pieces there seemed to me to have a rather different palette from his works in the Orangerie and many of those in the d'Orsay. I was particularly taken with those featuring a red, green and gold palette. We made our way back to the hotel around 5:30, just enough time for a catnap and freshening up before meeting one our daughter's roommates in their study abroad program for dinner at Marco Polo on Rue Saint-Sulpice. Dinner was fabulous. I highly recommend this one. Some of the dishes we loved include these appetizers: Proscuitto, Avocado and shrimp salad, Buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad. Mains: tagliatelle with truffle cream, gnocchi, and pasta with eggplant and marinara. Desserts were very good too: fresh berries, tiramisu, and panna cotta with berries. Service was excellent.
After dinner we walked around the area again before turning in. 12.96 miles today, or 29202 steps.

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Monday, June 27
Enjoyed another nice breakfast at the hotel before walking to the Louvre. We spent most of the day there, concentrating on the Richileu wing, and its sculpture, in particular. After lunch in one of the cafes, we split up for a while. By 2:30, it was getting more and more crowded, so we decided to call it a day there. My husband and son headed to Napoleon's tomb/les Invalides, while my daughter and I went shoe shopping on Rue du Four, then on to City Pharma at 26 Rue du Four. We had shoe success at Pointure and Heyraud. City Pharma was packed, as we had expected, but we got several products we like and made our way upstairs to join the que to pay. They were out of one thing I was looking for, but I found the rest easily. I had excellent, friendly customer service from a couple of the staff. Exhausted, (I think standing on the stone floors in the Louvre is harder on the feet and legs than just walking) my daughter and I headed back to the hotel for a rest. To our surprise and delight, we passed by an antique market going on around Saint Sulpice church. It was terrific, and we detoured to check out some the booths. We both found lots of things we would have liked, but passed. Had I an unlimited budget, I would have come home with a suitcase full of vintage silver! The boys got back around 6 and we compared notes on our afternoons, before heading somewhere close for a simple pizza dinner. We picked Islotto based on Yelp reviews and proximity. (25 rue Saint-André des arts) it was quite good, with the star of the show being their Parma Ham and fresh Buffa mozzarella. We shared a Parma and melon appetizer and a Caprese salad, then each had a pizza. We had way too much food -- we should have shared 2 pizzas instead of four. The pizza was good, with thin, crackly crust and fresh arugula on a couple of them, and more of the Parma and fresh mozzarella on a couple. Very good service. Only my son had dessert -- his favorite, Lemon Sorbet. We walked back to the hotel and turned in early. Tomorrow we are supposed to go to Versailles and have a private tour of the apartments, but strikes have delayed the opening past our appointment time. We are supposed to call in the morning to see if they will open at all. Our plan B is the d'Orsay.

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9335 posts

Looking forward to your next chapter! Was it the Orsay or Versailles?... : )

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346 posts

Susan, both!
Tuesday, June 28
With so much uncertainty about Versailles today, we opted to go to d'Orsay this morning after breakfast. We got to see many of the paintings and sculpture we had liked last time, with a few exceptions. They had one entire section in the main hall blocked off, so we didn't get to revisit a few favorites. We continued to check social media for Versailles updates, and found out that they were opening today after all. To save time after d'Orsay, we grabbed ham sandwiches at the kiosk outside the museum and got on the train headed to the palace. We got there sometime after 1:00, and the lines for security and ticket sales were huge. We had bought tickets for both the chateau and the private apartment tour (9:30 tour) ahead of time, so we headed to the side entrance for tours. There were two employees who talked with us and told us we had just missed the only rescheduled tour in English, so we were out of luck. We could get a refund online, but not get the tour. After speaking with them a few minutes and asking about our options, we turned to head outside to just skip seeing the palace (and the enormous line) and head directly for the gardens and the Petit Trianon and Hamlet. One of them apparently felt sorry for us and came after us and asked if we wanted to just tour on our own. We said yes, and she took us past the line directly to the door, escorted us inside and trough security and sent us on our way. That was incredibly kind of her, and just goes to show that being polite and nice usually produces better results than being mean. I am so grateful that she took pity on us! I think that must have been what being a celebrity is like. I could get used to it! Anyway, we toured the interior then set out for the gardens via the petite train. We enjoyed seeing it much more than the palace itself because there were relatively few people there or in the hamlet. The crowds in the palace were unbelievable. Maybe it's always that way, but I don't plan to go back -- it's a one and done for me. While in the hamlet we enjoyed seeing the swans, fish and other birds, and even saw a mystery animal that must have been a river rat. The tail was too long for a ground hog. We treated ourselves to cups of fresh squeezed orange juice at the hamlet before heading back to the palace and then on to the train to Paris.
On our way back to the hotel from the Metro Staion, we stopped in Monoprix for a couple of items, and found that this location (Ste. Germaine) is fantastic, and they were having a sale! After spending a few minutes there, we continued to the hotel for freshening up, and then set out to a restaurant for our last night in Paris. We did not have a reservation, but took a chance and walked to La Cuisine de Philippe (25 rue Severandoni) just after 7:00. We were happy to get a table, as they filled up soon after and turned away others without a reservation. I am so glad we picked this place. It was delicious. Their specialty is soufflés, and we had the blue cheese soufflés and a lobster soufflé to start, followed by Scampi Ravioli for two of us, coqauvin for another, and duck for the third. The ravioli was one of the best dishes I had the entire trip, and my daughter and husband really enjoyed their coqauvin and duck as well. We finished with the special dessert soufflé -- chocolate and coffee -- for 3 of us, and nougat ice cream for my son. All were terrific. Service was great, too. All in, a great choice for our last night. Now back to the hotel to pack and get to bed early for our 4:30 am taxi to CDG. Another great family vacation

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208 posts

Sherrie, really enjoyed your detailed trip report. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Hope you and the family have a safe trip home. Thanks so much for all interesting information about your vacation.
Tony

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1264 posts

Sherrie - This sounds like the trip my wife and I are planning. You have made everything much easier for me. ;-). Thanks

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Thank you Sherrie for sharing a throughly report of your wonderful trip.