What can I say, I’m in love with Paris, and so Paris can do no wrong. They say you should go to Paris in the spring or the fall, and you probably should. We went in July, it was 35 degrees, and it was magic! No doubt we were hot, I don’t remember. It was too wonderful to care or to even notice. One of my favorite memories of our short stay are the evening strolls, and summer is the best time for those. The parks are beautiful in the evening. Soak up the atmosphere! There is something about Paris that makes you never want to leave and if you have to leave you want to come back.
Paris felt totally safe. Even as a group of women returning to our room late at night we never got that creepy feeling. We’ve all seen the reports of attacks in the news. We noticed a lot of extra security all over the city, groups of police or military were patrolling everywhere. I think, it helped people feel relaxed. That being said, don’t relax too much while enjoying the sights. My husband almost got pickpocketed in crowded Montmatre so if you are traveling with a group keep an eye on each other. If you are traveling alone keep a hand on your bag. Don’t be a victim!
We did a couple of day trips during our stay. A visit to the painter’s village Giverny in Normandy is easy and relaxing from Paris. Several trains a day leave from St Lazare Station which also has 4 Metro lines 3, 12, 13, 14 and a number of buses. So getting there is a snap no matter where your accommodations are. We bought our tickets on line through thetrainline.com for € 9.00 return. We caught the 10:18 which gets to Vernon-Giverny at 11:05. There are earlier trains as well. To see everything you shouldn’t go much later than that. At the Vernon-Giverny station there are shuttles that take you to the village and the main attraction, Claude Monet’s garden and studio. The lineup to get in was not too long, cost is € 9.50 for adults. The house was interesting but the garden was amazing. It’s not big but the plantings recreate the paintings of Claude Monet and walking through the garden really made me wish I could paint, very inspiring.
After our tour of the garden we had lunch at La Musardiere. They have an amazing selection of sweet and savory crepes. And you absolutely must try a boule of cider. The local cider is to die for and is served in what looks like a large tea cup. Bon appetit!
If possible take a stroll around the village after your lunch. We loved the architecture and the little shops a lot.
We rounded the experience by going to the Musee d’Orsay the next day. They have a large collection of impressionist paintings including several Monets. For example we where able to see one of the water lily paintings and that was really special after seeing the recreated water lily pond the day before.
Our trip to Versailles was a bit of a gong show. We carefully planned our route to get there but there was a lot of construction on the train and metro lines that we meant to take. Thanks to the helpful staff we eventually arrived at Versailles, after seeing parts of Paris that are not normally on the tourist’s itinerary. We had another delicious lunch in a sidewalk cafe and then we were ready for the Sunking’s palace, which is absolutely stunning. Besides the main palace tour, it’s also possible to visit the gardens and the carriage house. Unfortunately they were already closed by the time we came out of the palace. Oh well, next time!
Here is how you are supposed to get to Versailles. We trust that the construction is now completed. The round trip to Versailles costs about €7 per person all included. It will take between 1h to 1h 30min to get there. First you take the metro nearest your hotel and travel to a station that has the RER C line. This is a regional train that will take you to the suburbs of Paris. The metro and RER have common ticketing. Your destination should be “Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche”. All the ticket machines work in English. Once you have arrived at the Versailles station it’s only a 13 min walk to the palace, there are signs. Pretty easy, right?
There is no excuse to ever be hungry in Paris. There are cafés on every corner, and we have yet to find one where the the food is not amazing. And there are crepes vendors all over the place. So pick up a delicious crepe and find a park bench, maybe there is a busker playing jazz on the corner, heaven!
One advantage of being in Paris in July are the end of season sales. What could be a better souvenir from this fashion mecca than a designer dress at a discount price!
There is so much more that I want to see d do in this gorgeous city. Can’t wait to come back!