Paris, 2009

After I had my first foray into international travel earlier in 2009 (Germany/Innsbruck), I went to Paris that fall. It can be a dice toss for the weather, but I lucked out.

Not to bore you by repeating things here, I have the history of Paris in a previous post.

The Arrival

I flew from Chicago to Charles De Gaulle and then took the RER train to Versailles, well, at least I thought I was.

The train that takes you to Versailles from Gare de Saint Michel has two versions on that number. It seems I picked the wrong one and got off at the station that was heading up to northern France. As I was evaluating the train, a Dutch, Polish and Brazilian series of families were also in the same boat. They asked if I spoke English, and then all said "thank God, we don't speak French" and we proceeded to figure it out from there.

On the train, there were a series of people begging (Romani descent, this is a thing in Paris). The ride goes through some pretty areas and then dropped off south of the center of Versailles. I made my way to the hotel, which is right on the palace grounds.
Crazy non-direct route trains, known as the RER Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace, it's a nice place to stay if you can swing it

Versailles

Formerly a country town with the palace of the king on the edge, now it's a suburb of Paris and somewhat busy.
Monet Garden.  Looks like it goes on forever.  It's good to be King
I'm guessing this was a beautiful place to stay even while awaiting execution during Le Revolution

Paris

It's a few block walk to the RER station in Versailles (at the Gare de Versailles Rive Droite) and then about a 30 minute ride into the Gare Paris Saint-Lazare to reach the nation's capital city. This is connected to Le Metro, the subway system of Paris.

Of course, the first stop must be the Eiffel Tower, via the Trocadero metro stop.
Then walking up the Siene towards the world-famous Louvre museum
The Grand Palais, primarily an exhibition hall, but a grand one Napoleon rivaled the Brits on gathering treasure
The foundations of the Louvre - most don't bother, but I found it very interesting
Well, yes, of course, had to see this One of about a hundred classics around this place Outfit your little Napoleon at FAO Schwartz (now closed sadly)
Then I was off for a night of drinking with my friend Stewart of London and Auckland fame who jumped over for the weekend. After that kind of drinking, I was done for the night and part of the next morning.

Meandering about

The next morning, a Sunday, it seems brunch at the Waldorf is the thing to do, especially if you're stupid rich.
Brunch seems pricey
Then into the center of the old district, kicking around the 1st Arrondissement via Palais Royal Musee de Louvre metro stop.
Former post office, now the Hotel de Ville, this is a GREAT place to get a takeaway or picnic lunch A nice quiet walk through Notre Dame
Rose Window, 800 years old Roman buildings - well, this was the last outpost against the uncivilized

Summary

It's Paris. That alone should bring you here. The cafe experience in all the movies is not inexpensive, but they do make a point of their leisure over their work which I enjoy.

Markets and groceries everywhere. Patisseries will have sandwiches available for reasonable prices. Alcohol tax is 19% on drinks served in the city. Buy a bottle and just bring it for your lunch. Yes, this is acceptable if you're not in the center of a tourist area.