Cities of Knights & Lights tour with Adventures by Disney – day 6

On the itinerary for day six was a visit to Château de Versailles followed by a twilight walk to the Arc de Triomphe where we were invited to climb the 284 steps of a spiral staircase to reach the top.

After breakfast, we boarded the coach and enjoyed the short, narrated journey to Versailles.  Versailles–for those of you who aren’t familiar with it–is a royal French estate that was first a hunting lodge built by Louis XIII.  Later, Louis XIV would have it expanded to be one of the largest palaces in the world.  Ah, but you didn’t read this for your daily dose of history, now did you?  You are reading because you want to get a feel for what we did in Paris, right?  I thought so.  Which is why I snapped this picture out the window of the coach.

versaillesbiker Isn’t he so Parisian?  As we drove through the streets of Versailles, we feasted our eyes on the cutest little sidewalk cafes and markets and bakeries.  Oh, what I wouldn’t have given to wander those streets for a bit, sampling and savoring along the way.  Sadly, our schedule was a bit too tight for that and so we had to enjoy what we could from our window seats.  I don’t know where this guy was headed, but I just adore his satchel stuffed with freshly-baked bread.

As we approached the Palace of Versailles, there was certainly no mistaking the opulence contained therein.  Just check out the bling.

versaillesblingHere is a snapshot of Torri and I just outside the golden gate.

versaillesbling2

I stopped at a little boutique outside the palace and bought Kennedy’s first souvenir: a bottle of French perfume from Ladurée.  Torri chose the scent.  I was hesitant to buy something so expensive without Kennedy confirming she liked the scent, but Torri said she’d love the fancy bottle.  And–for the record–Torri was right.

perfume Inside the palace, the glitz goes on.

versaillesceiling

And on.

versaillespainting

And on some more.

versaillespainting2

versailles-hall-of-mirrors

After our tour, we proceeded outside where we took a short stroll through the gardens.

versailles-gardens

Lunch was at a charming little on-site restaurant.  Afterwards, we were scheduled for one of the events I most looked forward to: biking through the gardens.  Sounds utterly dreamy, right?  I thought so.  Only, by day six of our trip I was so tired of being cold.  The weather in Europe in early June was not what I expected.  I thought I was doing well by bringing tons of cardigans and rain gear.  As it turned out, my full winter wardrobe would have been more appropriate.  In any case, we emerged from the restaurant to find the sky spitting a fine rain, with the promise of more where that came from.  Torri and I–to this point–had not wanted to miss a single thing, but neither of us were up for biking through muddy roads in the rain.  We opted to stay behind while {most} everyone else pedaled off.  I do wish we could have enjoyed that bike ride.  But while we were waiting for the rest of the group to return, there were some pretty significant downpours.  I think we made the right choice.

versaillesbikerainOnce we returned to the hotel, we had a bit of time on our own to enjoy dinner.  Torri and I took a recommendation from one of the guides and set out on the streets of Paris in search of a sidewalk cafe.  I’m still not sure whether or not the one we settled on was the one that we had been referred to, but it’s where we decided to eat.  And what–you might be wondering–does one eat when dining out in a city known for its culinary delights?  Well…it may be some sort of sin, but we ordered Italian.  Pizza for me and spaghetti for Torri.  The hotel buffet the night before had not been terribly appetizing.  Sadly, lunch wasn’t anything to write home about either.  And so by this time, we were downright starved.  We wanted something we knew we could stomach.

parisianpizza

After dinner, we walked along the Champs-Élysées.  When we happened upon a Ladurée store, there was doubt that indeed we’d be buying some more macarons.

macarons-ladureeWe finished our purchase just on time to head to the Arc de Triomphe to meet our group for the night climb to the top.

arcdetriomphe

 

We’d been warned that there was but one way up: a spiral staircase of 284 steps.  We waited and waited for our group at the bottom but they were late arriving.  We wanted to be sure not to miss the moment when the Eiffel Tower lit up with thousands of twinkling lights, so we decided to head up with another family from our group who was also waiting.  It is a good thing we did.  When we approached the ticket counter, a very exasperated woman curtly informed us that they were closing early tonight.  In ten minutes, to be precise.  We knew we might not make it to the top of those 284 steps in ten minutes, but it turned out to be a non-issue.  The woman led us to a “secret” elevator.  We totally bypassed the spiral staircase and enjoyed a few short minutes of the views from the top.

arcdetriomphe1

Here is an example of some fancy app work to one of the photos I took that night.

great-travelers

arctop

All told, I’d say it was a great day, despite being rained out of the biking event.  Still ahead: a visit to Notre Dame and the Louvre on the final full day of our tour.

5 Replies to “Cities of Knights & Lights tour with Adventures by Disney – day 6”

  1. Oh Versailles! *sigh* It is something to see for sure, but what an exhausting place! Sorry it rained…you would have enjoyed Marie Antoinette’s private house (FYI: you could have taken a tram instead of a bike ride in the rain). I’ve been twice and if I ever go with someone who just has to see it, I will bring a book and sit on the grass – I can’t walk those gardens again!

    We could not find the secret elevator so we climbed those stairs – not knowing how many there were! It was comical…my friend had on heeled boots and I am claustrophobic, so you can only imagine. But the view from the top is amazing and worth it!

    Yummy macarons! We were in Canada last week and there were some macarons for sell, but after Paris I am so picky that I wouldn’t even try them in Canada – they didn’t “look right” LOL.

    Can’t wait to read more!

    1. Please remind me to pack you along in my suitcase next time I go to Paris. I could have used that little tip about the tram while we were there!

      I’m with you on the Canadian macarons; that just ain’t right :)

  2. After we got off the phone on Monday I realized I didn’t even ask you about your trip (I always forget to ask you something!), but I feel like you’ve already told me since I have been keeping up with your postings. I love these pictures of you.

  3. Hi Darcie ! I’m a lurker reader from France and I had much fun reading your posts of your trip to London and Paris. It’s always interesting as a local to hear what foreigners find most noteworthy :-) I have to say though, you really were out of luck regarding the weather early june:it was unusually dreadful, rainy and cold this spring and we went straight from winter to summer in july. So definitely not typical weather for the season ! Thankfully you and your daughter still seem to have had a great time !

    1. I have to tell you, Sophie, that I am so excited to have an honest-to-goodness French reader. Truly, you just immeasurably increased my blog’s sophistication status ;)

      Torri and I absolutely loved Paris. Because we were part of a guided tour, I feel as though the extent of our travels barely scratched the surface. I have every intention of going back with my husband one day and exploring as much as we can. I haven’t covered it in my blog posts yet, but I will say that I think the Louvre was what I most enjoyed in Paris. I do not consider myself an artsy person at all, but I so appreciated our guided tour there. Hearing background stories behind the pieces of art that we were shown was what made the experience for me. More on that in a post to come.

      Thank you so much for commenting. I would love to hear (read) your French perspectives on more of my posts :)

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