We woke up early on our second day and took the train to the Palace of Versailles. The train is only 30 minutes away from the centre of Paris and if you are from Europe and under 25, you can get into the palace and the gardens for free by showing your driving license or passport. Bargain!
The palace is magnificent – it’s unbelievably huge and covered in gold. The tour of the palace is a must do. It’s packed full of information, videos, art, and original furniture. The Hall of Mirrors was my favourite room of the house, it’s so over the top (rumour has it Kimye are having their wedding there in May, how apt!) and grand. It’s truly breath-taking but it’s so hard to get a good photo of the room as there are so many people in there and it’s so long. We stopped for lunch at the legendary Angelina tearoom inside the palace where we tucked into club sandwiches. Jamie also enjoyed the infamous Angelina hot chocolate, which he described as melted chocolate in a cup – a must for any chocolate fans!
I think the gardens are the highlight of the palace. They are GIGANTIC, they go on for miles and miles. It would take you a whole weekend to walk around the whole thing but it would be worth it as they are absolutely stunning. As we didn’t have a whole weekend to wander the grounds, we hired a golf buggy to explore as much of the gardens as possible in one day. We zoomed through the gardens (at a top speed of 5mph) as our buggy played classical music and an automatic tour guide described each section in detail. We parked at various spots to have a little walk and to take photos.
I really wanted to see Marie Antoinette’s ‘small’ mansion, where she stayed when she wanted to get away from it all, so we made our way there. Along the way we somehow took a wrong turn and our buggy switched itself off as we were now outside the garden boundaries. The only way to get the cart to turn back on was to reverse it all the way back into the garden’s border. We had a Princess Diaries moment with our once nice tour guide speaker telling us to keep off the grass in every language imaginable! It was like a comedy sketch and hilarious but you probably had to be there at the time!
Once we were back within the limitations of the gardens we giggled all the way to Marie Antoinette’s house where we parked outside as if we owned the place and explored the charming hideaway. After this, it was late afternoon and we made our way to our hotel to freshen up for the afternoon.
We strolled around the shopping areas and ended up in Galeries Lafayette. It is a paradise for all shopaholics. Not only does the actual building look amazing but everything in it is to die for too. Handbags, shoes, dresses, make up, home ware – you name it, they have it! We started off our evening with a glass of Veuve, watching the shoppers buy their various goodies.
We walked up the Champ Elysses as the sun was setting to catch the view of the City from the top of the Arc D’Triomphe. Nobody told us that you have to walk to the top of it, all 284 steps on a spiral staircase!
By the time we reached the top we were slightly dizzy and definitely out of breath but the views were totally worth it. You feel like you are on top of the world. We watched the sun set over the city of light and the Eiffel Tower illuminate for the evening and by the time we got to the bottom again it was dark!
Jamie and I then ate dinner at the Hard Rock Café – I know, I know, we are supposed to indulge in the French culture and eat at a quaint little café somewhere but it’s a been a tradition ever since we first met to go to a Hard Rock Café when we travel if there is one. You know what to expect when you go and we are a sucker for their nachos! If you are a regular at Hard Rock Café’s too, then you should invest in a VIP Hard Rock rewards card. You can get to the front of the queues for a table and can collect points to use in the gift shop or your food. Result!
After dinner, we wanted to catch one last glimpse of the twinkling Eiffel Tower before we left the next day. We made our way to the Place du Trocadero for the best view and like clockwork, the Tower sparkled on the stroke of the hour and lit up the night.
It is mesmerising – you can’t take your eyes off it!